Odes by Horace

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E'en as the lightning's minister,

Whom Jove o'er all the feather'd breed

Made sovereign, having proved him sure

Erewhile on auburn Ganymede;

Stirr'd by warm youth and inborn power,

He quits the nest with timorous wing,

For winter's storms have ceased to lower,

And zephyrs of returning spring

Tempt him to launch on unknown skies;

Next on the fold he stoops downright;

Last on resisting serpents flies,

Athirst for foray and for flight:

As tender kidling on the grass

Espies, uplooking from her food,

lion's whelp, and knows, alas! Those new-set teeth shall drink her blood:

So look'd the Raetian mountaineers

On Drusus:--whence in every field

They learn'd through immemorial years

The Amazonian axe to wield,

ask not now: not all of truth We seekers find: enough to know

The wisdom of the princely youth

Has taught our erst victorious foe

What prowess dwells in boyish hearts

Rear'd in the shrine of a pure home,

What strength Augustus' love imparts

To Nero's seed, the hope of Rome.

Good sons and brave good sires approve:

Strong bullocks, fiery colts, attest

Their fathers' worth, nor weakling dove

Is hatch'd in savage eagle's nest.

But care draws forth the power within,

And cultured minds are strong for good:

Let manners fail, the plague of sin

Taints e'en the course of gentle blood.

How great thy debt to Nero's race,

O Rome, let red Metaurus say,

Slain Hasdrubal, and victory's grace

First granted on that glorious day

Which chased the clouds, and show'd the sun,

When Hannibal o'er Italy

Ran, as swift flames o'er pine-woods run,

Or Eurus o'er Sicilia's sea.

Henceforth, by fortune aiding toil,

Rome's prowess grew: her fanes, laid waste

By Punic sacrilege and spoil,

Beheld at length their gods replaced.

Then the false Libyan own'd his doom:--

"Weak deer, the wolves' predestined prey,

Blindly we rush on foes, from whom

'Twere triumph won to steal away.

That race which, strong from Ilion's fires,

Its gods, on Tuscan waters tost,

Its sons, its venerable sires,

Bore to Ausonia's citied coast;

That race, like oak by axes shorn

On Algidus with dark leaves rife,

Laughs carnage, havoc, all to scorn,

And draws new spirit from the knife.

Not the lopp'd Hydra task'd so sore

Alcides, chafing at the foil:

No pest so fell was born of yore

From Colchian or from Theban soil.

Plunged in the deep, it mounts to sight

More splendid: grappled, it will quell

Unbroken powers, and fight a fight

Whose story widow'd wives shall tell.

No heralds shall my deeds proclaim

To Carthage now: lost, lost is all:

nation's hope, a nation's name, They died with dying Hasdrubal."

What will not Claudian hands achieve?

Jove's favour is their guiding star,

And watchful potencies unweave

For them the tangled paths of war.

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