Horace

(8 December 65 BC – 27 November 8 BC / Italy)

BkI:I The Dedication: To Maecenas


Maecenas, descendant of royal ancestors,
O my protector, and my sweet glory,
some are delighted by showers of dust,
Olympic dust, over their chariots, they
are raised to the gods, as Earth’s masters, by posts
clipping the red-hot wheels, by noble palms:
this man, if the fickle crowd of Citizens
compete to lift him to triple honours:
that one, if he’s stored away in his granary
whatever he gleaned from the Libyan threshing.
The peasant who loves to break clods in his native
fields, won’t be tempted, by living like Attalus,
to sail the seas, in fear, in a Cyprian boat.
The merchant afraid of the African winds as
they fight the Icarian waves, loves the peace
and the soil near his town, but quickly rebuilds
his shattered ships, unsuited to poverty.
There’s one who won’t scorn cups of old Massic,
nor to lose the best part of a whole day lying
under the greenwood tree, or softly
close to the head of sacred waters.
Many love camp, and the sound of trumpets
mixed with the horns, and the warfare hated
by mothers. The hunter, sweet wife forgotten,
stays out under frozen skies, if his faithful
hounds catch sight of a deer, or a Marsian
wild boar rampages, through his close meshes.
But the ivy, the glory of learned brows,
joins me to the gods on high: cool groves,
and the gathering of light nymphs and satyrs,
draw me from the throng, if Euterpe the Muse
won’t deny me her flute, and Polyhymnia
won’t refuse to exert herself on her Lesbian lyre.
And if you enter me among all the lyric poets,
my head too will be raised to touch the stars.

Submitted: Wednesday, May 02, 2012

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