Book Fourth, Ode Second.

He who to Pindar’s heights would soar,1
Ventures on wing like that of yore2
Glued to the ambitious boy, who gave3
His name to Græcia’s glassy wave.4
As mountain stream, by tempests fed,5
Swells foaming o’er its wonted bed,6
So Pindar boils, so pours along7
His deep illimitable song.8
Around his brow be wreathed the bay,9
Whether the dithyrambic lay10
He roll, in fierce poetic heat,11
Where mingle numbers wild and sweet ;12
Or gods, and god-descended kings,13
Who smote the centaurs, grace his strings14
Smote with just stroke, and quell’d the ire15
Of dread Chimæra, breathing fire ;16
Or round the victor’s palm-crown’d head,17
On Pisa’s plain for strength or steed18
Renown’d, he twine one chaplet more,19
To which the bust, the pillar’s poor ;20
Or helpless bride his lyre record,21
Entirely widow’d of her lord ;22
His golden truth, his matchless might,23
Redeeming from oblivion’s night24
Light buoyant through th’ empyreal air,25
The Theban swan strong breezes bear ;26
While I, with tiny industry,27
I, like the toiling matin bee,28
(Whose wing o’er many a thyme-bed roves,29
Untired,) ’mid Tibur’s bowery groves,30
Or by its dripping banks remain31
To meditate my lowlier strain.32
But thou, my friend, in bolder verse,33
Shall laurell’d Cæsar’s praise rehearse,34
Follow’d by captive hordes, what time35
His car the Sacred Hill shall climb ;36
Cæsar, than whom indulgent Heaven37
No nobler boon to man has given,38
Nor e’er shall give, though backward roll’d,39
The age resume its garb of gold.40
Be thine Rome’s transports to record,41
For Cæsar to her vows restored,42
And grateful games, and truce-closed war,43
Waged whilom by the wrangling bar.44
Then, too, if aught of power be mine,45
This voice shall fondly chime to thine,46
And hail the day, with gladsome airs,47
Which grants Augustus to its prayers.48
As on thou sweepest, oft around49
Shall echo the triumphal sound :50
Rome, Rome shall swell the loud acclaim,51
And incense at each shrine shall flame.52
For thee ten bulls, ten udder’d cows53
Oblation fitting shall compose ;54
My vow the weaned calf shall pay,55
Now in green pastures frisking gay ;56
Whose front a snowy crescent bears,57
Such as the third night’s Cynthia wears,58
Save that ah mark, in all beside,59
Unspotted is his tawny hide.60