Odes by Horace

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Full well had Danae been secured, in truth,

By oaken portals, and a brazen tower,

savage watch-dogs, from the roving youth That prowl at midnight's hour:

But Jove and Venus mock'd with gay disdain

The jealous warder of that close stronghold:

The way, they knew, must soon be smooth and plain

When gods could change to gold.

Gold, gold can pass the tyrant's sentinel,

Can shiver rocks with more resistless blow

Than is the thunder's. Argos' prophet fell,

He and his house laid low,

And all for gain. The man of Macedon

Cleft gates of cities, rival kings o'erthrew

By force of gifts: their cunning snares have won

Rude captains and their crew.

As riches grow, care follows: men repine

And thirst for more. No lofty crest I raise:

Wisdom that thought forbids, Maecenas mine,

The knightly order's praise.

He that denies himself shall gain the more

From bounteous Heaven. I strip me of my pride,

Desert the rich man's standard, and pass o'er

To bare Contentment's side,

More proud as lord of what the great despise

Than if the wheat thresh'd on Apulia's floor

I hoarded all in my huge granaries,

'Mid vast possessions poor.

clear fresh stream, a little field o'ergrown With shady trees, a crop that ne'er deceives,
though men know it not, their wealth, that own All Afric's golden sheaves.

Though no Calabrian bees their honey yield

For me, nor mellowing sleeps the god of wine

In Formian jar, nor in Gaul's pasture-field

The wool grows long and fine,

Yet Poverty ne'er comes to break my peace;

If more I craved, you would not more refuse.

Desiring less, I better shall increase

My tiny revenues,

Than if to Alyattes' wide domains

I join'd the realms of Mygdon. Great desires

Sort with great wants. 'Tis best, when prayer obtains

No more than life requires.

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