ODE 29.

O thou of royal ancestry,1
A cask of wine unpierced for thee2
I keep, and wreaths of roses fair,3
And essences to dew thy hair.4
Hie then to Tibur’s dripping shore,5
Rich Æsulæ’s green slope explore ;6
And those sweet hills, where reign’d and
Telegonus the parricide.8
Quit, quit thy cloying luxuries,9
And turrets that invade the skies :10
Nor longer Rome’s gay scenes admire,11
Her smoke and opulence and stir.12
A charm in change the wealthy feel ;13
And oft the simple cottage-meal,14
From tapestried halls and purple far,15
Has smooth’d the furrow’d brow of care.16
Bright Cepheus now his fire displays,17
Now Procyon pours his raging blaze ;18
With madden’d beam the Lion burns,19
And all the thirsty year returns.20
And now his fainting herd the swain21
Drives languidly o’er swelter’d plain,22
To bosky bourn or cooling lake,23
Though not a breeze it’s silence wake.24
Yet you still anxious guard the state,25
Mæcenas, still anticipate26
(Wakeful for all, your patriot cares)27
What the discordant East prepares.28
But Heaven, wise Heaven, from human
The future shrouds in thickest night ;30
And smiles, when self-tormentors feign31
Of woes to come a horrid train.32
The present hour spend frugally :33
The rest in Tiber emblem’d see,34
Now to the main calm gliding on ;35
Now tree uprooted, shatter’d stone,36
And floating flocks and structures strong37
Whirling in one wild sweep along ;38
With echo of the hills and woods,39
When torrents vex the sleeping floods.40
Lord of himself and blest is he,41
Who when bright Phœbus seeks the sea,42
Can truly boast ; “ I’ve lived to day.43
Tempest to-morrow as he may44
Dread Jove, or spread the skies with blue,45
Even he may not the past undo ;46
O’er that, not Heaven itself has power :47
’Tis gone—and I have had my hour.48
Fortune, ’mid sternest ravage gay,49
And bent her haughty game to play,50
Quick her capricious honours shifts ;51
Now me aloft, now others lifts.52
I praise her stay but if her wing53
She shake, her gifts away I fling,54
Wrapp’d in my own integrity,55
And blest with dowerless poverty.56
When groans the mast, it is not mine,57
Poor grovelling mendicant ! to whine58
With stipulating vow, and crave59
Redemption from the greedy wave60
For my rich cargoes. Some soft gale61
May gently fill my little sail ;62
And safe, beneath the Twins, shall ride63
My skiff across the billowy tide.”64