Quintus Horatius Flaccus, known in the English-speaking world as Horace, was the leading Roman lyric poet during the time of Augustus.
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Famous Horace Poems
Bkii:Xvii We’ll Go Together
Why do you stifle me with your complaining?
It’s neither the gods’ idea nor mine to die
before you, Maecenas, you’re the great
glory, and pillar of my existence.
Ah, if some premature blow snatches away
half of my spirit, why should the rest remain,
no longer as loved, nor surviving
entire? That day shall lead us to ruin
together. I’m not making some treacherous
promise: whenever you lead the way, let’s go,
let’s go, prepared as friends to set out,
you and I, to try the final journey.
No Chimaera’s fiery breath will ever tear
me from you, or if he should rise against me
hundred handed Gyas: that’s the will
of all-powerful Justice and the Fates.
Whether Libra or fearful Scorpio shone
more powerfully on me at my natal hour,
or Capricorn, which is the ruler
of the waters that flow round Italy,
our stars were mutually aspected in their
marvellous way. Jupiter’s protection shone,
brighter for you than baleful Saturn,
and rescued you, and held back the rapid
wings of Fate, that day when the people crowding
the theatre, three times broke into wild applause:
I’d have received the trunk of a tree
on my head, if Faunus, the guardian
of Mercurial poets, hadn’t warded off
the blow with his hand. So remember to make
due offering: you build a votive shrine:
I’ll come and sacrifice a humble lamb.
Bkii:V Be Patient
She’s not ready to bear a yoke on her bowed
neck yet, she’s not yet equal to the duty
of coupling, or bearing the heavy
weight of a charging bull in the mating act.
The thoughts of your heifer are on green pastures,
on easing her burning heat in the river,
and sporting with the eager calves
in the depths of moist willow plantations.
Forget this passion of yours for the unripe
grape: autumn, the season of many-colours,
will soon be dyeing bluish clusters
a darker purple, on the vine, for you.
Soon she’ll pursue you, since fierce time rushes on
and will add to her the years it takes from you,
soon Lalage herself will be eager
to search you out as a husband, Lalage,
beloved as shy Pholoë was not, nor your
Chloris, with shoulders gleaming white, like a clear
moon shining over a midnight sea,
nor Cnidian Gyges, that lovely boy,
whom you could inser in a choir of girls,
and the wisest of strangers would fail to tell
the difference, with him hidden behind
his flowing hair, and ambiguous looks.
Bki:Xxxvi Numida’s Back Again
With music, and incense, and blood
of a bullock, delight in placating the gods
that guarded our Numida well,
who’s returned safe and sound, from the farthest West, now,
showering a host of kisses
on every dear friend, but on none of us more than
lovely Lamia, remembering
their boyhood spent under the self-same master,
their togas exchanged together.
Don’t allow this sweet day to lack a white marker,
no end to the wine jars at hand,
no rest for our feet in the Salian fashion,
Don’t let wine-heavy Damalis
conquer our Bassus in downing the Thracian draughts.
Don’t let our feast lack for roses,
or the long-lasting parsley, or the brief lilies:
we’ll all cast our decadent eyes
on Damalis, but Damalis won’t be parted
from that new lover of hers she’s
clasping, more tightly than the wandering ivy.
Bki:Xxxiv Fortune’s Changes
Once I wandered, an expert in crazy wisdom,
a scant and infrequent adorer of gods,
now I’m forced to set sail and return,
to go back to the paths I abandoned.
For Jupiter, Father of all of the gods,
who generally splits the clouds with his lightning,
flashing away, drove thundering horses,
and his swift chariot, through the clear sky,
till the dull earth, and the wandering rivers,
and Styx, and dread Taenarus’ hateful headland,
and Atlas’s mountain-summits shook.
The god has the power to replace the highest
with the lowest, bring down the famous, and raise
the obscure to the heights. And greedy Fortune
with her shrill whirring, carries away
the crown and delights in setting it, there.
Bki:Xxxiii Tibullus, Don’t Grieve
Tibullus, don’t grieve too much, when you remember
your cruel Glycera, and don’t keep on singing
those wretched elegies, or ask why, trust broken,
you’re outshone by a younger man.
Lovely Lycoris, the narrow-browed one, is on fire
with love for Cyrus, Cyrus leans towards bitter
Pholoë, but does in the wood are more likely
to mate with Apulian wolves,
than Pholoë to sin with some low-down lover.
So Venus has it, who delights in the cruel
game of mating unsuitable bodies and minds,
under her heavy yoke of bronze.
I, myself, when a nobler passion was called for,
was held in the charming bonds of Myrtale,
that freed slave, more bitter than Hadria’s waves
that break in Calabria’s bay.
Bkiii:Xxiv Destructive Wealth
Though you’re richer than the untouched
riches of Araby, than wealthy India,
and you fill the land, and inshore
waters, with your deposits of builders’ rubble:
if dread Necessity fixes
her adamantine nails in your highest rooftops,
you’ll not free your spirit from fear,
nor free your very being from the noose of death.
Better to live like Scythians
in the Steppes, whose wagons haul their movable homes,
that’s custom, or the fierce Getae,
whose unallocated acres produce their fruits,
their harvests of rye, in common,
where cultivation’s not decided for more than
a year, and when one turn is done,
it’s carried on by other hands, as a duty.
There, as their own, the unselfish
women raise those children who have lost their mothers:
and the richly dowered wife never
rules her husband, or believes in shining lovers.
Their greatest dowry’s their parents’
virtue, and their own chastity, which is careful
of another’s husband, in pure
loyalty, sin is wrong and death’s its penalty.
O whoever would end impious
killing, and civil disorder, and would desire
to have ‘City Father’ inscribed
on their statues, let them be braver, and rein in
unbridled licence, and win fame
among posterity: since we, alas, for shame,
filled with envy, hate chaste virtue,
and only seek it when it’s hidden from our eyes.
What use are sad lamentations,
if crime is never suppressed by its punishment?
What use are all these empty laws
without the behaviour that should accompany them?
if neither those parts of the Earth
enclosed by heat, nor those far confines of the North,
snow frozen solid on the ground,
deter the trader, if cunning sailors conquer
the stormy seas, if poverty,
is considered a great disgrace, and directs us
to do and to bear everything,
and abandon the arduous paths of virtue?
Let’s send our jewels, our precious
stones, our destructive gold, to the Capitol, while
the crowd applauds, and raises its strident clamour,
or ship them to the nearest sea,
as causes of our deepest ills,
if we truly repent of all our wickedness.
Let the source of our perverted
greed be lost, and then let our inadequate minds
be trained in more serious things.
The inexperienced noble youth is unskilled
at staying in the saddle, he
fears to hunt, and he’s much better at playing games,
whether you order him to fool
with a Greek hoop, or you prefer forbidden dice,
while his father’s perjured trust cheats
his partner and his friends, hurrying to amass
money for his unworthy heir.
While it’s true that in this way his ill-gotten gains
increase, yet there’s always something
lacking in a fortune forever incomplete.
Bkiii:Xxiii Pure Hands
Phidyle, my country girl, if you raise your
upturned palms to heaven, at the new-born moon,
if you placate the Lares with corn
from this year’s harvest, with a greedy pig:
your fruiting vines won’t suffer the destructive
southerlies, nor your crops the killing mildew,
nor will the young of the flock be born
in that sickly season, heavy with fruit.
Since the destined victim, grazing, on snowy
Algidus, amongst the oak and ilex trees,
or fattening in the Alban meadows,
will stain the axes of the priest with blood:
there’s no need for you to try and influence
the gods, with repeated sacrifice of sheep
while you crown their tiny images
with rosemary, and the brittle myrtle.
If pure hands have touched the altar, even though
they’ve not gratified with lavish sacrifice,
they’ll mollify hostile Penates,
with the sacred corn, and the dancing grain.
Bkiv:Ii Augustus’s Return
Iulus, whoever tries to rival Pindar,
flies on waxen wings, with Daedalean art,
and is doomed, like Icarus, to give a name
to glassy waters.
Like a river, rushing down from the mountains,
that the rain has filled above its usual banks,
so Pindar’s deep voice seethes, immeasurably,
and goes on flowing,
Pindar, deserving Apollo’s laurel crown,
whether he coins new phrases in audacious
dithyrambs, and is carried along in verse
that’s free of rules,
or whether he sings gods, and kings, the children
of gods, at whose hands the Centaurs, rightly, died,
and by whom the fearful Chimaera’s fires
were all extinguished,
or speaks of those godlike ones an Elean
palm, for boxing or riding, leads home again,
granting a tribute much more powerful than
a hundred statues,
or weeps for the young man snatched from his tearful
bride, praises his powers, to the stars, his spirit,
his golden virtue, begrudging all of them
to gloomy Orcus.
Son of Antony, a powerful breeze raises
the Dircean swan, whenever it’s carried
to cloudy heights. While I create my verses,
in the manner
of a humble Matinian bee, that goes
gathering pollen from all the pleasant thyme,
and labours among the many groves, on the banks
of flowing Tiber.
You, a poet of much greater power, will sing
Caesar, honoured with well-earned wreaths, as he climbs
the sacred slopes, drawing along in his wake
the savage Germans:
he, whom no greater and no better ruler
has Fate, and the true gods, given to the world,
nor ever will, though the centuries roll back
to that first age of gold.
You’ll sing of those happy days, and the City’s
public games, when our brave Augustus returns,
in answer to our prayers: you’ll sing the Forum
free of all quarrels.
Then, if what I utter’s worth hearing, the best
strains of my voice, thrilled by Caesar’s return,
will rise, and I will sing: ‘O lovely sun, O
worthy to be praised!’
While you lead us along: ‘Hail, God of Triumph!’
not once but many times: ‘Hail, God of Triumph!’
all the city will shout, and offer incense
to the kindly gods.
Ten bulls will acquit you, and as many cows:
me, a tender calf that has left its mother,
one that’s been fattened on wide pastures, one that
can fulfil my vow,
echoing, with its brow, those returning fires
of the crescent moon, at the third night’s rising,
appearing snow-white where it carries a mark,
and the rest tawny.
Bkiv:Vii Diffugere Nives
The snow has vanished, already the grass returns to the fields,
and the leaves to the branches:
earth alters its state, and the steadily lessening rivers
slide quietly past their banks:
The Grace, and the Nymphs, with both of her sisters, is daring enough,
leading her dancers, naked.
The year, and the hour that snatches the kindly day away, warn you:
don’t hope for undying things.
Winter gives way to the westerly winds, spring’s trampled to ruin
by summer, and in its turn
fruitful autumn pours out its harvest, barely a moment before
lifeless winter is back again.
Yet swift moons are always repairing celestial losses:
while, when we have descended
to virtuous Aeneas, to rich Tullus and Ancus, our kings,
we’re only dust and shadow.
Who knows whether the gods above will add tomorrow’s hours
to the total of today?
All those you devote to a friendly spirit will escape from
the grasping hands of your heirs.
When once you’re dead, my Torquatus, and Minos pronounces
his splendid judgement on you,
no family, no eloquence, no righteousness even,
can restore you again:
Persephone never frees Hippolytus, chaste as he is,
from the shadow of darkness,
nor has Theseus, for his dear Pirithous, the power to
shatter those Lethean chains.
O you who are cruel still, and a master of Venus’s gifts,
when a white, unexpected plumage surmounts all your arrogance,
and the tresses that wave on your shoulders have all been shorn away,
and the colour that now outshines the flower of the crimson rose
is transformed, my Ligurinus, and has changed into roughened skin:
whenever you look at your altered face in the mirror, you’ll say:
‘Why didn’t I have, when I was a youth, the mind I have today,
or why can’t those untouched cheeks return to visit this soul of mine?’
Bkiv:V To Augustus
Son of the blessed gods, and greatest defender
of Romulus’ people, you’ve been away too long:
make that swift return you promised, to the sacred
councils of the City Fathers,
Blessed leader, bring light to your country again:
when your face shines on the people, like the shining
springtime, then the day itself is more welcoming,
and the sun beams down more brightly.
As a mother, with vows and omens and prayers,
calls to the son whom a southerly wind’s envious
gales have kept far from his home, for more than a year,
lingering there, beyond the waves
of the Carpathian Sea: she who never turns
her face away from the curving line of the shore:
so, smitten with the deep longing of loyalty,
the country yearns for its Caesar.
Then the ox will wander the pastures in safety,
Ceres, and kindly Increase, will nourish the crops,
our sailors will sail across the waters in peace,
trust will shrink from the mark of shame,
the chaste house will be unstained by debauchery,
law and morality conquer the taint of sin,
mothers win praise for new-born so like their fathers,
and punishment attend on guilt.
Who’ll fear the Parthians, or the cold Scythians,
and who’ll fear the offspring savage Germany breeds,
if Caesar’s unharmed? Who’ll worry about battles
in the wilds of Iberia?
Every man passes the day among his own hills,
as he fastens his vines to the waiting branches:
from there he gladly returns to his wine, calls on
you, as god, at the second course:
He worships you with many a prayer, with wine
poured out, joins your name to those of his household gods,
as the Greeks were accustomed to remembering
Castor and mighty Hercules.
‘O blessed leader, bring Italy endless peace!’
That’s what we say, mouths parched, at the start of the day,
that’s what we say, lips wetted with wine, when the sun
sinks to rest under the Ocean.
Let the wicked be led by omens of screeching
from owls, by pregnant dogs, or a grey-she wolf,
hurrying down from Lanuvian meadows,
or a fox with young:
May a snake disturb the journey they’ve started,
terrifying the ponies like an arrow
flashing across the road: but I far-seeing
augur, with prayer
for him whom I’m fearful for, out of the east
I’ll call up the ominous raven, before
the bird that divines the imminent showers
seeks standing water.
Galatea, wherever you choose to live
may you be happy, and live in thought of me:
no woodpecker on your left, or errant crow
to bar your going.
But see, with what storms flickering Orion
is setting. I know how the Adriatic’s
black gulf can be, and how the bright westerly
wind commits its sins.
Let the wives and children of our enemy
feel the blind force of the rising southerly,
and the thunder of the dark waters, the shores
trembling at the blow.
So, Europa entrusted her snow-white form
to the bull’s deceit, and the brave girl grew pale,
at the sea alive with monsters, the dangers
of the deep ocean.
Leaving the meadow, where, lost among flowers,
she was weaving a garland owed to the Nymphs,
now, in the luminous night, she saw nothing
but water and stars.
As soon as she reached the shores of Crete, mighty
with its hundred cities, she cried: ‘O father,
I’ve lost the name of daughter, my piety
conquered by fury.
Where have I come from, where am I going? One
death is too few for a virgin’s sin. Am I
awake, weeping a vile act, or free from guilt,
mocked by a phantom,
that fleeing, false, from the ivory gate brings
only a dream? Is it not better to pick
fresh flowers than to go travelling over
the breadths of the sea?
If anyone now could deliver that foul
beast to my anger, I’d attempt to wound it
with steel, and shatter the horns of that monster,
the one I once loved.
I’m shameless, I’ve abandoned my country’s gods,
I’m shameless, I keep Orcus waiting. O if
one of the gods can hear, I wish I might walk
naked with lions!
Before vile leanness hollows my lovely cheeks,
and the juices ebb in this tender victim,
while I am still beautiful, I’ll seek to be
food for the tigers.
My absent father urges me on: ‘Why wait
to die, worthless Europa? Happily you
can hang by the neck from this ash-tree: use
the sash that’s with you.
Or if cliffs and the sharpened rocks attract you,
as a means of death, put your trust in the speed
of the wind, unless you’d rather be carding
some mistress’s wool,
you, of royal blood, be handed over, as
concubine to a barbarous queen.’ She moaned:
Venus was laughing, treacherously, with her
son, his bow unstrung.
When she’d toyed enough with her, she said: ‘Refrain
from anger and burning passion, when the bull,
you hate, yields you his horns again, so that you
can start to wound them.
Don’t you know you’re invincible Jupiter’s
wife. Stop your sobbing, and learn to carry your
good fortune well: a continent of the Earth
will be named for you.
Bkiii:Xix Let’s Drink
You can tell me the years between
Inachus and Codrus, who wasn’t afraid to
die for his country, Aeacus’
line, and the fights by the walls at sacred Troy:
but you can’t say what price we’ll pay
for a jar of Chian wine, who’ll heat the water,
or under whose roof, at what time,
I can escape at last from Paelignian cold.
Don’t wait: drink to the new moon, boy,
to the midnight hour, to the augur, Murena:
the wine is mixed in three measures,
or nine, depending which of the two is fitting.
The poet, inspired, who’s in love
with the odd-numbered Muses, will ask for three times
three: fearing our quarrels, the Grace,
who’s hand in hand with her naked sisters, forbids
more than triple. I like to rave:
why have the blasts of the Berecyntian flute
fallen silent? Why is the pipe
hanging there speechless, next door to the speechless lyre?
I dislike those hands that refrain:
scatter rose petals: and let envious Lycus
hear our demented noise-making,
and the girl who’s next door, who won’t suit old Lycus.
Ripe Rhode is searching for you,
Telephus, you with the glistening hair, oh you,
who are like the pure evening star:
while a slow love, for Glycera, has me on fire.
Bkiii:Xviii To Faunus
Faunus, the lover of Nymphs who are fleeing,
may you pass gently over my boundaries,
my sunny fields, and, as you go by, be kind
to all my new-born,
if at the end of the year a tender kid
is sacrificed to you: if the full bowls of wine,
aren’t lacking, friend of Venus: the old altar
smoking with incense.
All the flock gambols over the grassy plain,
when the fifth of December returns for you:
the festive village empties into the fields,
and the idle herd:
the wolf wanders among the audacious lambs:
for you the woods, wildly, scatter their leaves:
the ditcher delights in striking the soil he
hates, in triple time.
Bki:Xxv A Prophecy Of Age
Now the young men come less often, violently
beating your shutters, with blow after blow, or
stealing away your sleep, while the door sits tight,
hugging the threshold,
yet was once known to move its hinges, more than
readily. You’ll hear, less and less often now:
‘Are you sleeping, Lydia, while your lover
dies in the long night?’
Old, in your turn, you’ll bemoan coarse adulterers,
as you tremble in some deserted alley,
while the Thracian wind rages, furiously,
through the moonless nights,
while flagrant desire, libidinous passion,
those powers that will spur on a mare in heat,
will storm all around your corrupted heart, ah,
and you’ll complain,
that the youths, filled with laughter, take more delight
in the green ivy, the dark of the myrtle,
leaving the withering leaves to this East wind,
Bkii:Xi Don’t Ask
Don’t ask what the warlike Spaniards are plotting,
or those Scythians, Quinctius Hirpinus,
the intervening Adriatic
keeps off, don’t be anxious about the needs
of life: it asks little: sweet youth and beauty
are vanishing behind us, and dry old age
is driving away all our playful
affections, and all our untroubled sleep.
And the glory of spring flowers won’t last forever,
and the blushing moon won’t always shine, with that
selfsame face: why weary your little
mind with eternal deliberations?
Why not drink while we can, lying, thoughtlessly,
under this towering pine, or this plane-tree,
our greying hair scented with roses,
and perfumed with nard from Assyria?
Bacchus dispels all those cares that feed on us.
Where’s the boy now, who’ll swiftly dilute for us
these cups of fiery Falernian,
with clear water drawn from the passing stream?
Who’ll lure Lyde, that fickle jade, from the house?
Go, tell her to hurry, with her ivory lyre,
her hair done in an elegant knot,
tied up, as if she were a Spartan girl.
Bkii:I To Pollio, Writing His History Of The Civil Wars
You’re handling the Civil Wars, since Metellus
was Consul, the causes, errors, and stages,
Fortune’s game, and the heavy friendships
of princes, and the un-expiated
stain of blood over various weapons,
a task that’s filled with dangerous pitfalls,
so that you’re walking over embers
hidden under the treacherous ashes.
Don’t let the Muse of dark actions be long away
from the theatre: soon, when you’ve finished writing
public events, reveal your great gifts
again in Athenian tragedy,
you famous defendant of troubled clients,
Pollio, support of the Senate’s councils,
whom the laurel gave lasting glory
in the form of your Dalmatian triumph.
Already you’re striking our ears with the sounds,
the menace of blaring horns, and the trumpets,
already the glitter of weapons
terrifies horses, and riders’ faces.
Now I seem to hear magnificent leaders,
heads darkened, but not with inglorious dust,
and all the lands of earth are subdued,
but not implacable Cato’s spirit.
Juno, and those gods friendly to Africa,
who, powerless to avenge the land, withdrew,
make funeral offerings to Jugurtha,
of the grandchildren of his conquerors.
What fields are not enriched with the blood of Rome,
to bear witness with their graves to this impious
struggle of ours, and the sound, even heard
by the Persians, of Italy’s ruin?
What river or pool is ignorant of these
wretched wars? What sea has Roman slaughter failed
to discolour, and show me the shores
that are, as yet, still unstained by our blood.
But Muse, lest you dare to leave happy themes,
and take up Simonides’ dirges again,
search out a lighter plectrum’s measures,
with me, in some deep cavern of Venus.
Bkii:Xiv Eheu Fugaces
Oh how the years fly, Postumus, Postumus,
they’re slipping away, virtue brings no respite
from the wrinkles that furrow our brow,
impending old age, Death the invincible:
not even, my friend, if with three hundred bulls
every day, you appease pitiless Pluto,
jailor of three-bodied Geryon,
who imprisons Tityos by the sad
stream, that every one of us must sail over,
whoever we are that enjoy earth’s riches,
whether we’re wealthy, or whether we are
the most destitute of humble farmers.
In vain we’ll escape from bloodiest warfare,
from the breakers’ roar in the Adriatic,
in vain, on the autumn seas, we’ll fear
the southerly that shatters our bodies:
We’re destined to gaze at Cocytus, winding,
dark languid river: the infamous daughters
of Danaus: and at Sisyphus,
son of Aeolus, condemned to long toil.
We’re destined to leave earth, home, our loving wife,
nor will a single tree, that you planted here,
follow you, it’s briefly-known master,
except for the much-detested cypress.
A worthier heir will drink your Caecuban,
that cellar a hundred keys are protecting,
and stain the street with a vintage wine,
finer than those at the Pontiff’s table.
Bkiii:V No Surrender
We believe thunderous Jupiter rules the sky:
Augustus is considered a god on earth,
for adding the Britons, and likewise
the weight of the Persians to our empire.
Didn’t Crassus’ soldiers live in vile marriage
with barbarian wives, and (because of our
Senate and its perverse ways!) grow old,
in the service of their hostile fathers.
Marsians, Apulians ruled by a Mede,
forgetting their shields, Roman names, and togas,
and eternal Vesta, though Jove’s shrines
and the city of Rome remained unharmed?
Regulus’s far-seeing mind warned of this,
when he objected to shameful surrender,
and considered from its example
harm would come to the following age,
unless captured men were killed without pity.
‘I’ve seen standards and weapons,’ he said,
‘taken bloodlessly from our soldiers,
hung there in the Carthaginian shrines,
I’ve seen the arms of our freemen twisted
behind their backs, enemy gates wide open,
and the fields that our warfare ravaged
being freely cultivated again.
Do you think that our soldiers ransomed for gold,
will fight more fiercely next time! You’ll add
harm to shame: the wool that’s dyed purple
never regains the colour that vanished,
and true courage, when once departed, never
cares to return to an inferior heart.
When a doe that’s set free, from the thick
hunting nets, turns to fight, then he’ll be brave
who trusts himself to treacherous enemies
and he’ll crush Carthage, in a second battle,
who’s felt the chains on his fettered wrists,
without a struggle, afraid of dying.
He’s one who, not knowing how life should be lived,
confuses war with peace. O, shame! O mighty
Carthage, made mightier now because
of Italy’s disgraceful decadence.’
It’s said he set aside his wife’s chaste kisses,
and his little ones, as of less importance,
and, grimly, he set his manly face
to the soil, until he might be able
to strengthen the Senate’s wavering purpose,
by making of himself an example no
other man had made, and hurrying,
among grieving friends, to noble exile.
Yet he knew what the barbarous torturer
was preparing for him. Still he pushed aside
the kinsmen who were blocking his way,
and the people who delayed his going,
as if, with some case decided, and leaving
all that tedious business of his clients,
he headed for Venafrum’s meadows,
or Lacedaemonian Tarentum.
Bkii:Vii A Friend Home From The Wars
O Pompey, often led, with me, by Brutus,
the head of our army, into great danger,
who’s sent you back, as a citizen,
to your country’s gods and Italy’s sky,
Pompey, the very dearest of my comrades,
with whom I’ve often drawn out the lingering
day in wine, my hair wreathed, and glistening
with perfumed balsam, of Syrian nard?
I was there at Philippi, with you, in that
headlong flight, sadly leaving my shield behind,
when shattered Virtue, and what threatened
from an ignoble purpose, fell to earth.
While in my fear Mercury dragged me, swiftly,
through the hostile ranks in a thickening cloud:
the wave was drawing you back to war,
carried once more by the troubled waters.
So grant Jupiter the feast he’s owed, and stretch
your limbs, wearied by long campaigning, under
my laurel boughs, and don’t spare the jars
that were destined to be opened by you.
Fill the smooth cups with Massic oblivion,
pour out the perfume from generous dishes,
Who’ll hurry to weave the wreathes for us
of dew-wet parsley or pliant myrtle?
Who’ll throw high Venus at dice and so become
the master of drink? I’ll rage as insanely
as any Thracian: It’s sweet to me
to revel when a friend is home again.