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I have ventured to treat 'Terrarum dominos' in the sixth line as agreeing not with ‘Deos' in the same line, but with ‘quos' in the third. This is not the usual construction, but it is one which the words will perfectly well bear, and which, I think, gives them additional significance. Mr. Macleane thinks it probable that the first three books of Odes were published together, with this as a preface, and, at the same time, graceful dedication to Maecenas of a work consisting of fugitive pieces the composition of which had occupied and amused the poet at intervals for some years, and which he may probably have put forth in a collected form at his patron's instigation.
MAECENAS, offspring of ancestral kings,
O thou my cherished ornament and trust!
Some men there are, to whom delight it brings
To gather round their car Olympian dust;
Whom, goal by hot wheel cleared, and palmy prize
Uplift, as lords of earth, unto the skies.
This, if a mob of fickle burghers strive
That he to tripled dignity may soar:
That, if within his granary he hive
Whate'er is swept from Libyan threshingfloor:
Or one, whose pleasure is in furrowing
His patrimonial acres, never thou
Wilt, with Attalic proffers, trembling, bring,
Myrtoan sea, to cleave with Cyprian prow.
The merchant, fearing when the south-west wind
Buffets Icarian waves, no praise omits
Of village life;-yet, ill to want resigned,
He, presently, his shattered barks refits.
There are, who goblets of old Massic wine
Scorn not; nor, for a while from business fled,
I. AD CILNIUM MAECENATEM.
MAECENAS atavis edite regibus,
O et praesidium, et dulce decus meum!
Sunt quos curriculo pulverem Olympicum
Collegisse juvat; metaque fervidis
Evitata rotis, palmaque nobilis
Terrarum dominos evehit ad Deos.
Hunc, si mobilium turba Quiritium
Certat tergeminis tollere honoribus
Illum, si proprio condidit horreo
Quidquid de Libycis verritur areis;
Gaudentem patrios findere sarculo
Agros, Attalicis conditionibus
Nunquam dimoveas, ut trabe Cypria,
Myrtoum pavidus nauta secet mare.
Luctantem Icariis fluctibus Africum
Mercator metuens, otium et oppidi
Laudat rura sui: mox reficit rates
Quassas, indocilis pauperiem pati.
Est qui nec veteris pocula Massici,
Nec partem solido demere de die
Full length, 'neath green arbutus, to recline,
Or by some hallowed streamlet's tranquil head.
Many there are, whose taste is for camp life,
And wars that mothers hate, and mingled strains
Of trump and horn. Forgetting his fond wife,
The hunter 'neath inclement sky remains,
If his staunch hounds have spied an antler, or
Through tapering toils hath rushed a Marsic boar.
Me, doth the ivy, wreathed for learned brow,
Mix with Supernal Gods: me, forest shade
And agile choirs of Nymphs and Satyrs, now,
Distinguish from the crowd;-if, nor the aid
Of her own reed, Euterpe, nor my claim
Do Polyhymnia to her lute deny:
But if 'mid lyric bards thou place my name
With head sublime, shall I then strike the sky.
Probably written on the return of Augustus to Rome after the taking of Alexandria, when the civil wars were brought to a close, and the temple of Janus shut, B.C. 28. The poet signifies his acquiescence in the then prevailing opinion that the assumption of absolute power by Augustus would be the best remedy for reforming the disorders of the state. The prodigies referred to in the opening stanzas are supposed to have been those which followed the death of Julius, B.C. 44, and which are also described by Virgil at the end of the first Georgic.
SNOW, and dire hail sufficient hath the Father
Now upon earth sent down: and with a gleaming
Right hand, the sacred capitol assailing,