Monday, February 28, 2011

Horace, Epode 16

Altera iam teritur bellis civilibus aetas,
suis et ipsa Roma viribus ruit:
quam neque finitmi valuerunt perdere Marsi
minacis aut Etrusca Porsenae manus,
aemula nec virtus Capuae nec Spartacus acer
novisque rebus infidelis Allobrox,
nec fera caerulea domuit Germania pube
parentibusque abominatus Hannibal,
impia perdemus devoti sanguinis aetas,
ferisque rursus occupabitu solum.
Barbarus heu cineres insistet victor et urbem
eques sonante verberabit ungula,
quaeque carent ventis et solibus ossa Quirini
(nefas videre) dissipabit insolens.
Forte quid expediat communiter aut melior pars
malis carere quaeritis laboribus.
Nulla sit hac potior sententia: Phocaeorum
velut profugit exsecrata civitas
agros atque lares patrios, habitandaque fana
apris reliquit et rapacibus lupis,
ire pedes quocumque ferent, quocumque per undas
Notus vocabit aut protervus Africus.
Sic placet, an melius quis habet suadere? Secunda
ratem occupare quid moramur alite?
Sed iuremus in haec: "Simul imis saxa renarint
vadis levata, ne redire sit nefas;
neu conversa domum pigeat dare lintea, quando
Padus Matina laverit cacumina,
in mare seu celsus procurrerit Appenninus,
novaque monstra iunxerit libidine
mirus amor, iuvet ut tigris subsidere cervis,
adulteretur et columba miluo,
credula nec ravos timeant armenta leones,
ametque salsa levis hircus aequora."
Haec et quae poterunt reditus abscindere dulcis
eamus omnis exsecrata civitas,
aut pars indocili melior grege; mollis et exspes
inominata perprimat cubilia.
Vos quibus est virtus, muliebrem tollite luctum,
Etrusca praeter et volate litora.
Nos manet Oceanus circumvagus: arva, beata
petamus arva divites et insulas,
reddit ubi Cererem tellus inarata quotannis
et imputata floret usque vinea,
germinat et numquam fallentis termes olivae,
suamque pulla ficus ornat arborem,
mella cava manant ex ilice, montibus altis
levis crepante lympha desilit pede.
Illic iniussae veniunt ad mulctra capellae,
refertque tenta grex amicus ubera,
nec vesperinus circumgemit ursus ovile
neque intumescit alta viperis humus;
pluraque felices mirabimur: ut neque largis
aquosus Eurus arva radat imbribus,
pinguia nec siccis urantur semina glaebis,
utrumue rege temperante caelitum.
Non huc ARgoo contendit remige pinus,
neque impudica Colchis intulit pedem;
non huc Sidonii torserunt cornua nautae,
laboriosa nec cohors Ulixei.
Nulla nocent pecori contagia, nullius astri
gregem aestuosa torret impotentia.
Iuppiter illa piae secrevit litora genti,
ut inquinavit aere tempus aureum;
aere, dehinc ferro duravit saecula, quorum
piis secunda vate me datur fuga.

Now another age is worn away by civil wars,
and Rome itself collapses with its own strength:
which neither the neighboring Marsi have the strength to destroy
nor the threatening Etruscan hand of Porsena,
imitate neither the virtue of Capua nor the bold Spartacus
and the treacherous Allobrox with their new things,
nor the blue eyed youth of Germany and Hannibal
hated by parents,
we, impious age devoted of those devoted to blood, will destroy
the land, and the land will again be taken over by wild beasts.
Alas, a barbarian conqueror will stand on the ashes, and the cavalry
will strike the city with resounding hooves,
and the bones of Quirinus which are removed from the winds and the sun
will be scattered arrogantly (a crime to behold).
By chance you all together seek what would liberate us
to be free from these wretched toils.
Let no opinion be better: just as the cursed
city-state of the Phocaeans escaped their ancestral
fields and gods, and abandoned the temples about to be
inhabited by boars and grasping wolves,
the infantry consider to go anywhere, wherever through the waves
Notus or violent Africus will call.
Is it thus resolved, or does someone have something better to suggest? Why do
we delay by a favorable fight to overtake the boat?
But let us swear to this: "When the stones from the lowest
depths raise up, let it be lawful to return;
and let it not be shameful to turn and sail home, when
the Padus will have washed the Matina peaks,
or if the high Appennine will have jutted out into the sea,
and a strange love will have joined new monsters
with desire, when it is pleasing for tigers to lie down with stags,
and a pigeon commits adultery with a hawk,
when the trusting cattle do not fear the tawny lions,
and when the smooth goats love the salty seas."
The entire state having sworn these things and those things which
will delay our return, let us go,

Get rid of your feminine grieving, you all who have virtue,
and fly beyond the Tuscan shores.
The Ocean remains around us: we seek fields, blessed fields
and rich islands,
where earth unplowed returns grain every year
and the unpruned vines ever flower,
and a branch of never-deceptive olive germinates,
and the dark fig decorates its own tree,
honeys drip from hollow oak tree, and from the high
mountains waters crash down with a light foot.
There the unbidden goats come to the milking pails,
and the loyal flock brings back full udders,
at evening the bear does not roar around the sheepfold
and the ground does not swell high with vipers;
and we, happy, will wonder at more things: how rainy Eurus
does not erode the fields with plentiful storms,
how the fat seeds are not burned from the dry soil,
because the king of gods restrains both.
The pine with oarsmen of the Argo does not hasten to this place
and the unchaste . . .
Phoenician sailors did not turn their yardarms to this place,
nor the laborious cohort of Ulysses.
No infections harm the herds, no constellation's
blazing fury burns the flock.
Jupiter separated those shores for righteous people,
when he tainted the golden age with bronze;
from the bronze, from here he hardened the time with iron, the ages
from which a favorable flight is given to pious ones by me, a prophet.


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