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The Works of Horace   By: (65 BC - 8 BC)

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Handy Literal Translations

THE WORKS OF HORACE

TRANSLATED LITERALLY INTO ENGLISH PROSE

By C. Smart, A.M.

Of Pembroke College, Cambridge

A NEW EDITION

REVISED BY

Theodore Alois Buckley B.A. Of Christ Church

THE FIRST BOOK OF THE ODES OF HORACE.

ODE I.

TO MAECENAS.

Maecenas, descended from royal ancestors, O both my protection and my darling honor! There are those whom it delights to have collected Olympic dust in the chariot race; and [whom] the goal nicely avoided by the glowing wheels, and the noble palm, exalts, lords of the earth, to the gods.

This man, if a crowd of the capricious Quirites strive to raise him to the highest dignities; another, if he has stored up in his own granary whatsoever is swept from the Libyan thrashing floors: him who delights to cut with the hoe his patrimonial fields, you could never tempt, for all the wealth of Attalus, [to become] a timorous sailor and cross the Myrtoan sea in a Cyprian bark. The merchant, dreading the south west wind contending with the Icarian waves, commends tranquility and the rural retirement of his village; but soon after, incapable of being taught to bear poverty, he refits his shattered vessel. There is another, who despises not cups of old Massic, taking a part from the entire day, one while stretched under the green arbute, another at the placid head of some sacred stream.

The camp, and the sound of the trumpet mingled with that of the clarion, and wars detested by mothers, rejoice many.

The huntsman, unmindful of his tender spouse, remains in the cold air, whether a hart is held in view by his faithful hounds, or a Marsian boar has broken the fine wrought toils.

Ivy, the reward of learned brows, equals me with the gods above: the cool grove, and the light dances of nymphs and satyrs, distinguish me from the crowd; if neither Euterpe withholds her pipe, nor Polyhymnia disdains to tune the Lesbian lyre. But, if you rank me among the lyric poets, I shall tower to the stars with my exalted head.

ODE II.

TO AUGUSTUS CAESAR

Enough of snow and dreadful hail has the Sire now sent upon the earth, and having hurled [his thunderbolts] with his red right hand against the sacred towers, he has terrified the city; he has terrified the nations, lest the grievous age of Pyrrha, complaining of prodigies till then unheard of, should return, when Proteus drove all his [marine] herd to visit the lofty mountains; and the fishy race were entangled in the elm top, which before was the frequented seat of doves; and the timorous deer swam in the overwhelming flood. We have seen the yellow Tiber, with his waves forced back with violence from the Tuscan shore, proceed to demolish the monuments of king [Numa], and the temples of Vesta; while he vaunts himself the avenger of the too disconsolate Ilia, and the uxorious river, leaving his channel, overflows his left bank, notwithstanding the disapprobation of Jupiter.

Our youth, less numerous by the vices of their fathers, shall hear of the citizens having whetted that sword [against themselves], with which it had been better that the formidable Persians had fallen; they shall hear of [actual] engagements. Whom of the gods shall the people invoke to the affairs of the sinking empire? With what prayer shall the sacred virgins importune Vesta, who is now inattentive to their hymns? To whom shall Jupiter assign the task of expiating our wickedness? Do thou at length, prophetic Apollo, (we pray thee!) come, vailing thy radiant shoulders with a cloud: or thou, if it be more agreeable to thee, smiling Venus, about whom hover the gods of mirth and love: or thou, if thou regard thy neglected race and descendants, our founder Mars, whom clamor and polished helmets, and the terrible aspect of the Moorish infantry against their bloody enemy, delight, satiated at length with thy sport, alas! of too long continuance: or if thou, the winged son of gentle Maia, by changing thy figure, personate a youth upon earth, submitting to be called the avenger of Caesar; late mayest thou return to the skies, and long mayest thou joyously be present to the Roman people; nor may an untimely blast transport thee from us, offended at our crimes... Continue reading book >>






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