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Title: Echoes from the Sabine Farm
Author: Roswell Martin Field and Eugene Field
Release Date: October 27, 2004 [eBook #13885]
Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1
***START OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK ECHOES FROM THE SABINE FARM***
One Sunday evening in the winter of 1890 Eugene Field and the writer were walking in Lake View, Chicago, on their way to visit the library of a common friend, when the subject of publishing a book for Field came up for discussion.
The Little Book of Western Verse and The Little Book of Profitable Tales had been privately printed the year before at Chicago, and Field had been frequently reminded that the writer was ready and willing to stand sponsor for any new volume he, Field, might desire to bring out.
"The only thing I have on hand that might make a book," said Field, "are some few paraphrases of the Odes of Horace which my brother, 'Rose,' and I have been fooling over, and which, truth to tell, are certainly freely rendered. There are not enough of them, but we'll do some more, and I'll add a brief Life of Horace as a preface or introduction."
It is to be regretted that Field never carried out his intention with respect to this last, for he had given much thought and study to the great Roman satirist, and what Eugene Field could have said upon the subject must have been of interest. It is my belief that as he thought upon the matter it grew too great for him to handle within the space he had at first determined, and that tucked away within the recesses of his literary intentions was the determination, nullified by his early death, to write, con amore, a life of Quintus Horatius Flaccus.
This determination to write separately an extended account of Horace greatly reduced the bulk of the material intended for the Sabine Echoes, and it was with respect to this that Field apologetically and, as was his wont, humorously wrote:
"The volume may be rather thin in corpore, but think how hefty it will be intellectually."
When it came to the discussion of how many copies should be printed it was suggested that the edition be an exceedingly limited one, in order to cause as much scrambling and heartburning as possible among our bibliophilic brethren. And never shall I forget the seriousness of the man's face, nor the roars of laughter that followed, when he suggested that fifty copies only should be made, and that we should reserve one each and burn the other forty-eight!
It was a biting cold night and we had been loitering by the way, stopping to debate each point as it arose—but now we plunged on with excess of motion to keep ourselves warm, breaking out with occasional peals of laughter as we thought of our plan to make the publication what the booksellers call "excessively rare."
Field, elsewhere, has said he did not know why the original intention as to the destruction of the forty-eight copies was not carried out, but the answer is not far away. As the time for publication approached it was found impossible that such and such a friend should be forgotten in the matter of a copy, and so it went on until it was deemed prudent to add fifty to the number originally intended to be issued, and that decision, in the light of what followed, proved to be an eminently wise one. More than once some to me unknown friend of Field would write a pleasant lie as a reason to gain possession of the book, and up in a corner of the letter would be found an endorsement of the request after this fashion:
|What's writ below
I'd have you know
Nor falsehood nor romance is;
It's solemn truth,
So grant the youth
The boon he seeks, dear Francis.
It is perhaps unnecessary to add that, however flimsy the pretext upon which the request for a copy was made, it never failed of its object if it brought with it Field's endorsement. Among many pleasant utterances on this subject Field has said that but for the writer the Horatian verses would not have been given to the world—and this has been taken to mean more than was intended, and much unearned praise has been bestowed. But, in allusion to the original issue of the Odes, Field added, "in this charming guise," which places quite another construction upon the matter.
It may be that the enthusiasm displayed not only pleased Field, and incited him and his brother Roswell to perform that which, otherwise, might have been indefinitely deferred, but there is no question but that they intended to publish the Horatian odes at some time or another. Field was greatly delighted with the reception of this work, and I once heard him say it would outlive all his other books. He came naturally by his love of the classics. His father was a splendid scholar who obliged his sons to correspond with him in Latin. Field's favorite ode was the Bandusian Spring, the paraphrasing of which in the styles of the various writers of different periods gave him genuine joy and is perhaps the choice bit of the collection. The Echoes from the Sabine Farm was the most ambitious work Field had attempted up to the time of its issue. He was not at all sure that the public for whom he wrote, what following he then felt was his own, would accept his efforts in this direction with any sort of acclaim. Unquestionably, Field, at all times, believed in himself and in his power ultimately to make a name, as every man must who achieves success, but he was as far from believing that the public would accept him as an interpreter of Horatian odes as was Edward Fitzgerald with respect to Omar Khayyám. In short, he looked upon his work in the original publication of Echoes from the Sabine Farm as a labor of love—an effort from which some reputation might come, but certainly no monetary remuneration. It was because he so regarded it that he permitted the work to be first issued under the bolstering influence of a patron. It was, so he thought, an excellent opportunity to show his friends and acquaintances that his Pegasus was capable of soaring to classic heights, and he little dreamed that the paraphrasing of the Odes of Horace over which "Rose and I have been fooling" would be required for a popular edition. With the announcement of the Scribner edition of The Sabine Echoes came also the intelligence of Field's death.
I have found people who were somewhat puzzled as to the exact intentions of the Fields with respect to these translations and paraphrases. However, there can be no chance for mistake even to the veriest embryonic reader of Horace, if he will but remember that, while some of these transcriptions are indeed very faithful reproductions or adaptations of the original, others again are to be accepted as the very riot of burlesque verse-making.
The last stanza in the epilogue of this book reads:
Or if we part to meet no
January 22, 1896.
|Come, dear old friend, and with us twain
To calm Digentian groves repair;
The turtle coos his sweet refrain
And posies are a-blooming there;
And there the romping Sabine girls
Bind myrtle in their lustrous curls.
I know a certain ilex-tree
Whence leaps a fountain cool and clear.
Its voices summon you and me;
Come, let us haste to share its cheer!
Methinks the rapturous song it sings
Should woo our thoughts from mortal things.
But, good old friend, I charge thee well,
Watch thou my brother all the while,
Lest some fair Lydia cast her spell
Round him unschooled in female guile.
Those damsels have no charms for me;
Guard thou that brother,—I'll guard thee!
And, lo, sweet friend! behold this cup,
Round which the garlands intertwine;
With Massic it is foaming up,
And we would drink to thee and thine.
And of the draught thou shalt partake,
Who lov'st us for our father's sake.
Hark you! from yonder Sabine farm
Echo the songs of long ago,
With power to soothe and grace to charm
What ills humanity may know;
With that sweet music in the air,
'T is Love and Summer everywhere.
So, though no grief consumes our lot
(Since all our lives have been discreet),
Come, in this consecrated spot,
Let's see if pagan cheer be sweet.
Now, then, the songs; but, first, more wine.
The gods be with you, friends of mine!
|TO M.L. GRAY||E.F.|
|AN INVITATION TO MÆCENAS.||Odes, III. 29||E.F.|
|CHLORIS PROPERLY REBUKED.||Odes, III. 15||R.M.F.|
|TO THE FOUNTAIN OF BANDUSIA.||Odes, III. 13||E.F.|
|TO THE FOUNTAIN OF BANDUSIA.||R.M.F.|
|THE PREFERENCE DECLARED.||Odes, I. 38||E.F.|
|A TARDY APOLOGY. I.||Epode XIV||R.M.F.|
|A TARDY APOLOGY. II.||E.F.|
|TO THE SHIP OF STATE.||Odes, I. 14||R.M.F.|
|QUITTING AGAIN.||Odes, III. 26||E.F.|
|SAILOR AND SHADE.||Odes, I. 28||E.F.|
|LET US HAVE PEACE.||Odes, I. 27||E.F.|
|TO QUINTUS DELLIUS.||Odes, II. 3||E.F.|
|POKING FUN AT XANTHIAS.||Odes, II. 4||R.M.F.|
|TO ARISTIUS FUSCUS.||Odes, I. 22||E.F.|
|TO ALBIUS TIBULLUS. I.||Odes, I. 33||E.F.|
|TO ALBIUS TIBULLUS. II.||R.M.F.|
|To MÆCENAS.||Odes, I. 1||R.M.F.|
|TO HIS BOOK.||Epistle XX||R.M.F.|
|FAME vs. RICHES.||Ars Poetica, line 323||E.F.|
|THE LYRIC MUSE.||Ars Poetica, line 301||E.F.|
|A COUNTERBLAST AGAINST GARLIC.||Epode III.||R.M.F.|
|AN EXCUSE FOR LALAGE.||Odes, II. 5||R.M.F.|
|AN APPEAL TO LYCE.||Odes, IV. 13||R.M.F.|
|A ROMAN WINTER-PIECE I.||Odes, I. 9||E.F.|
|A ROMAN WINTER-PIECE II.||R.M.F.|
|TO DIANA.||Odes, III. 22||R.M.F.|
|TO HIS LUTE.||Odes, I. 32||E.F.|
|TO LEUCONÖE I.||Odes, I. 11||R.M.F.|
|TO LEUCONÖE II.||E.F.|
|TO LIGURINUS I.||Odes, IV. 10||R.M.F.|
|TO LIGURINUS II.||E.F.|
|THE HAPPY ISLES.||Epode XIV. line 41||E.F.|
|TO POSTUMUS.||Odes, II. 14||R.M.F.|
|TO MISTRESS PYRRHA I.||Odes, I. 5||E.F.|
|TO MISTRESS PYRRHA II.||R.M.F.|
|TO MELPOMENE.||Odes, III. 30||E.F.|
|TO PHYLLIS I.||Odes, IV. 11.||E.F.|
|TO PHYLLIS II.||R.M.F.|
|TO CHLOE I.||Odes, I. 23||R.M.F.|
|TO CHLOE II.||E.F.|
|A THIRD PARAPHRASE.||E.F.|
|A FOURTH PARAPHRASE.||E.F.|
|TO MÆCENAS.||Odes, I. 20||E.F.|
|TO BARINE.||Odes, II. 8||R.M.F.|
|THE RECONCILIATION. I.||Odes, III. 9||E.F.|
|THE RECONCILIATION. II.||R.M.F.|
|THE ROASTING OF LYDIA.||Odes, I. 25||R.M.F.|
|TO GLYCERA.||Odes, I. 19||R.M.F.|
|TO LYDIA. I.||Odes, I. 13||E.F.|
|TO LYDIA. II.||R.M.F.|
|TO QUINTIUS HIRPINUS.||Odes, II. 11||E.F.|
|WINE, WOMEN, AND SONG.||Odes, I. 18||E.F.|
|AN ODE TO FORTUNE.||Odes, I. 35||E.F.|
|TO A JAR OF WINE.||Odes, III. 21||E.F.|
|TO POMPEIUS VARUS.||Odes, II. 1||E.F.|
|THE POET'S METAMORPHOSIS.||Odes, II. 20||E.F.|
|TO VENUS.||Odes, I. 30||E.F.|
|IN THE SPRINGTIME. I.||Odes, I. 4||E.F.|
|IN THE SPRINGTIME. II.||R.M.F.|
|TO A BULLY.||Epode VI.||E.F.|
|TO MOTHER VENUS.|
|TO LYDIA.||Odes, I. 8||E.F.|
|TO NEOBULE.||Odes, III. 12||R.M.F.|
|AT THE BALL GAME.||Odes, V. 17.||R.M.F.|
|Dear, noble friend! a virgin cask
Of wine solicits your attention;
And roses fair, to deck your hair,
And things too numerous to mention.
So tear yourself awhile away
From urban turmoil, pride, and splendor,
And deign to share what humble fare
And sumptuous fellowship I tender.
The sweet content retirement brings
Smoothes out the ruffled front of kings.
The evil planets have combined
To make the weather hot and hotter;
By parboiled streams the shepherd dreams
Vainly of ice-cream soda-water.
And meanwhile you, defying heat,
With patriotic ardor ponder
On what old Rome essays at home,
And what her heathen do out yonder.
Mæcenas, no such vain alarm
Disturbs the quiet of this farm!
God in His providence obscures
The goal beyond this vale of sorrow,
And smiles at men in pity when
They seek to penetrate the morrow.
With faith that all is for the best,
Let's bear what burdens are presented,
That we shall say, let come what may,
"We die, as we have lived, contented!
Ours is to-day; God's is the rest,—
He doth ordain who knoweth best."
Dame Fortune plays me many a prank.
When she is kind, oh, how I go it!
But if again she's harsh,—why, then
I am a very proper poet!
When favoring gales bring in my ships,
I hie to Rome and live in clover;
Elsewise I steer my skiff out here,
And anchor till the storm blows over.
Compulsory virtue is the charm
Of life upon the Sabine farm!
Chloris, my friend, I pray you your misconduct to forswear;
What's good enough for Pholoe you cannot well essay;
'T is more becoming, Madame, in a creature old and poor,
|O fountain of Bandusia!
Whence crystal waters flow,
With garlands gay and wine I'll pay
The sacrifice I owe;
A sportive kid with budding horns
I have, whose crimson blood
Anon shall dye and sanctify
Thy cool and babbling flood.
O fountain of Bandusia!
The Dog-star's hateful spell
No evil brings into the springs
That from thy bosom well;
Here oxen, wearied by the plow,
The roving cattle here
Hasten in quest of certain rest,
And quaff thy gracious cheer.
O fountain of Bandusia!
Ennobled shalt thou be,
For I shall sing the joys that spring
Beneath yon ilex-tree.
Yes, fountain of Bandusia,
Posterity shall know
The cooling brooks that from thy nooks
Singing and dancing go.
O fountain of Bandusia! more glittering than glass,
In vain the glory of the brow where proudly swell above
The Dog-star's cruel season, with its fierce and blazing
When of the graceful ilex on the hollow rocks I sing,
|Boy, I detest the Persian pomp;
I hate those linden-bark devices;
And as for roses, holy Moses!
They can't be got at living prices!
Myrtle is good enough for us,—
For you, as bearer of my flagon;
For me, supine beneath this vine,
Doing my best to get a jag on!
Mæcenas, you will be my death,—though friendly you
A god, Mæcenas! yea, a god hath proved the very curse of
Now, you yourself, Mæcenas, are enjoying this
You ask me, friend,
Why I don't send
The long since due-and-paid-for numbers;
Why, songless, I
As drunken lie
Abandoned to Lethean slumbers.
Long time ago
(As well you know)
I started in upon that carmen;
My work was vain,—
But why complain?
When gods forbid, how helpless are men!
Some ages back,
The sage Anack
Courted a frisky Samian body,
Singing her praise
In metered phrase
As flowing as his bowls of toddy.
Till I was hoarse
Might I discourse
Upon the cruelties of Venus;
'T were waste of time
As well of rhyme,
For you've been there yourself, Mæcenas!
Perfect your bliss
If some fair miss
Love you yourself and not your minæ;
I, fortune's sport,
All vainly court
The beauteous, polyandrous Phryne!
|O ship of state
Shall new winds bear you back upon the sea?
What are you doing? Seek the harbor's lee
Ere 't is too late!
Do you bemoan
Your side was stripped of oarage in the blast?
Swift Africus has weakened, too, your mast;
The sailyards groan.
Of cables bare,
Your keel can scarce endure the lordly wave.
Your sails are rent; you have no gods to save,
Or answer pray'r.
Though Pontic pine,
The noble daughter of a far-famed wood,
You boast your lineage and title good,—
A useless line!
The sailor there
In painted sterns no reassurance finds;
Unless you owe derision to the winds,
My grief erewhile,
But now my care—my longing! shun the seas
That flow between the gleaming Cyclades,
Each shining isle.
|The hero of
Affairs of love
By far too numerous to be mentioned,
And scarred as I'm,
It seemeth time
That I were mustered out and pensioned.
So on this wall
My lute and all
I hang, and dedicate to Venus;
And I implore
But one thing more
Ere all is at an end between us.
O goddess fair
Who reignest where
The weather's seldom bleak and snowy,
This boon I urge:
In anger scourge
My old cantankerous sweetheart, Chloe!
SAILORYou, who have compassed land and sea,
Now all unburied lie;
All vain your store of human lore,
For you were doomed to die.
The sire of Pelops likewise fell,—
Jove's honored mortal guest;
So king and sage of every age
At last lie down to rest.
Plutonian shades enfold the ghost
Of that majestic one
Who taught as truth that he, forsooth,
Had once been Pentheus' son;
Believe who may, he's passed away,
And what he did is done.
A last night comes alike to all;
One path we all must tread,
Through sore disease or stormy seas
Or fields with corpses red.
Whate'er our deeds, that pathway leads
To regions of the dead.
SHADEThe fickle twin Illyrian gales
Overwhelmed me on the wave;
But you that live, I pray you give
My bleaching bones a grave!
Oh, then when cruel tempests rage
You all unharmed shall be;
Jove's mighty hand shall guard by land
And Neptune's on the sea.
Perchance you fear to do what may
Bring evil to your race?
Oh, rather fear that like me here
You'll lack a burial place.
So, though you be in proper haste,
Bide long enough, I pray,
To give me, friend, what boon shall send
My soul upon its way!
|In maudlin spite let Thracians fight
Above their bowls of liquor;
But such as we, when on a spree,
Should never brawl and bicker!
These angry words and clashing swords
Are quite de trop, I'm thinking;
Brace up, my boys, and hush your noise,
And drown your wrath in drinking.
Aha, 't is fine,—this mellow wine
With which our host would dope us!
Now let us hear what pretty dear
Entangles him of Opus.
I see you blush,—nay, comrades, hush!
Come, friend, though they despise you,
Tell me the name of that fair dame,—
Perchance I may advise you.
O wretched youth! and is it truth
You love that fickle lady?
I, doting dunce, courted her once;
Since when, she's reckoned shady!
Be tranquil, Dellius, I pray;
Where the white poplar and the pine
Let's live while chance and youth obtain;
One ghostly boat shall some time bear
So come, I prithee, Dellius mine;
|Of your love for your handmaid you need feel no shame.
Don't apologize, Xanthias, pray;
Remember, Achilles the proud felt a flame
For Brissy, his slave, as they say.
Old Telamon's son, fiery Ajax, was moved
By the captive Tecmessa's ripe charms;
And Atrides, suspending the feast, it behooved
To gather a girl to his arms.
Now, how do you know that this yellow-haired maid
(This Phyllis you fain would enjoy)
Hasn't parents whose wealth would cast you in the shade,—
Who would ornament you, Xan, my boy?
Very likely the poor chick sheds copious tears,
And is bitterly thinking the while
Of the royal good times of her earlier years,
When her folks regulated the style!
It won't do at all, my dear boy, to believe
That she of whose charms you are proud
Is beautiful only as means to deceive,—
Merely one of the horrible crowd.
So constant a sweetheart, so loving a wife,
So averse to all notions of greed
Was surely not born of a mother whose life
Is a chapter you'd better not read.
As an unbiased party I feel it my place
(For I don't like to do things by halves)
To compliment Phyllis,—her arms and her face
And (excuse me!) her delicate calves.
Tut, tut! don't get angry, my boy, or suspect
You have any occasion to fear
A man whose deportment is always correct,
And is now in his forty-first year!
|Fuscus, whoso to good inclines,
And is a faultless liver,
Nor Moorish spear nor bow need fear,
Nor poison-arrowed quiver.
Ay, though through desert wastes he roam,
Or scale the rugged mountains,
Or rest beside the murmuring tide
Of weird Hydaspan fountains!
Lo, on a time, I gayly paced
The Sabine confines shady,
And sung in glee of Lalage,
My own and dearest lady;
And as I sung, a monster wolf
Slunk through the thicket from me;
But for that song, as I strolled along,
He would have overcome me!
Set me amid those poison mists
Which no fair gale dispelleth,
Or in the plains where silence reigns,
And no thing human dwelleth,—
Still shall I love my Lalage,
Still sing her tender graces;
And while I sing, my theme shall bring
Heaven to those desert places!
INot to lament that rival flame
Wherewith the heartless Glycera scorns you,
Nor waste your time in maudlin rhyme,
How many a modern instance warns you!
Fair-browed Lycoris pines away
Because her Cyrus loves another;
The ruthless churl informs the girl
He loves her only as a brother!
For he, in turn, courts Pholoe,—
A maid unscotched of love's fierce virus;
Why, goats will mate with wolves they hate
Ere Pholoe will mate with Cyrus!
Ah, weak and hapless human hearts,
By cruel Mother Venus fated
To spend this life in hopeless strife,
Because incongruously mated!
Such torture, Albius, is my lot;
For, though a better mistress wooed me,
My Myrtale has captured me,
And with her cruelties subdued me!
IIGrieve not, my Albius, if thoughts of Glycera may haunt you,
Nor chant your mournful elegies because she faithless proves;
If now a younger man than you this cruel charmer loves,
Let not the kindly favors of the past rise up to taunt you.
Lycoris of the little brow for Cyrus feels a passion,
And Cyrus, on the other hand, toward Pholoe inclines;
But ere this crafty Cyrus can accomplish his designs
She-goats will wed Apulian wolves in deference to fashion.
Such is the will, the cruel will, of love-inciting Venus,
Who takes delight in wanton sport and ill-considered jokes,
And brings ridiculous misfits beneath her brazen yokes,—
A very infelicitous proceeding, just between us.
As for myself, young Myrtale, slave-born and lacking graces,
And wilder than the Adrian tides which form Calabrian bays,
Entangled me in pleasing chains and compromising ways,
When—just my luck—a better girl was courting my embraces.
Mæcenas, thou of royalty's descent,
Here one is happy if the fickle crowd
One there may be who never scorns to fill
But as for me, the ivy-wreaths, the prize
|You vain, self-conscious little
Companion of my happy days,
How eagerly you seem to look
For wider fields to spread your lays;
My desk and locks cannot contain you,
Nor blush of modesty restrain you.
Well, then, begone, fool that thou art!
But do not come to me and cry,
When critics strike you to the heart:
"Oh, wretched little book am I!"
You know I tried to educate you
To shun the fate that must await you.
In youth you may encounter friends
(Pray this prediction be not wrong),
But wait until old age descends
And thumbs have smeared your gentlest song;
Then will the moths connive to eat you
And rural libraries secrete you.
However, should a friend some word
Of my obscure career request,
Tell him how deeply I was stirred
To spread my wings beyond the nest;
Take from my years, which are before you,
To boom my merits, I implore you.
Tell him that I am short and fat,
Quick in my temper, soon appeased,
With locks of gray,—but what of that?
Loving the sun, with nature pleased.
I'm more than four and forty, hark you,—
But ready for a night off, mark you!
|The Greeks had genius,—'t was a gift
The Muse vouchsafed in glorious measure;
The boon of Fame they made their aim
And prized above all worldly treasure.
But we,—how do we train our youth?
Not in the arts that are immortal,
But in the greed for gains that speed
From him who stands at Death's dark portal.
Ah, when this slavish love of gold
Once binds the soul in greasy fetters,
How prostrate lies,—how droops and dies
The great, the noble cause of letters!
|I love the lyric
For when mankind ran wild in grooves
Came holy Orpheus with his songs
And turned men's hearts from bestial loves,
From brutal force and savage wrongs;
Amphion, too, and on his lyre
Made such sweet music all the day
That rocks, instinct with warm desire,
Pursued him in his glorious way.
I love the lyric muse!
Hers was the wisdom that of yore
Taught man the rights of fellow man,
Taught him to worship God the more,
And to revere love's holy ban.
Hers was the hand that jotted down
The laws correcting divers wrongs;
And so came honor and renown
To bards and to their noble songs.
I love the lyric muse!
Old Homer sung unto the lyre;
Tyrtæus, too, in ancient days;
Still warmed by their immortal fire,
How doth our patriot spirit blaze!
The oracle, when questioned, sings;
So our first steps in life are taught.
In verse we soothe the pride of kings,
In verse the drama has been wrought.
I love the lyric muse!
Be not ashamed, O noble friend,
In honest gratitude to pay
Thy homage to the gods that send
This boon to charm all ill away.
With solemn tenderness revere
This voiceful glory as a shrine
Wherein the quickened heart may hear
The counsels of a voice divine!
|May the man who has cruelly murdered his sire—
A crime to be punished with death—
Be condemned to eat garlic till he shall expire
Of his own foul and venomous breath!
What stomachs these rustics must have who can eat
This dish that Canidia made,
Which imparts to my colon a torturous heat,
And a poisonous look, I'm afraid!
They say that ere Jason attempted to yoke
The fire-breathing bulls to the plow
He smeared his whole body with garlic,—a joke
Which I fully appreciate now.
When Medea gave Glauce her beautiful dress,
In which garlic was scattered about,
It was cruel and rather low-down, I confess,
But it settled the point beyond doubt.
On thirsty Apulia ne'er has the sun
Inflicted such terrible heat;
As for Hercules' robe, although poisoned, 't was fun
When compared with this garlic we eat!
Mæcenas, if ever on garbage like this
You express a desire to be fed,
May Mrs. Mæcenas object to your kiss,
And lie at the foot of the bed!
To bear the yoke not yet your love's submissive neck is
Give up your thirst for unripe grapes, and, trust me, you shall
Soon she will seek a lord, beloved as Pholoe, the coy,
Lyce, the gods have heard my prayers, as gods will hear the
For blooming Chia, Cupid has a feeling more than brotherly;
For jewels bright and purple Coan robes you are not
To my poor Cinara in youth Death came with great celerity;
ISee, Thaliarch mine, how, white with snow,
Soracte mocks the sullen sky;
How, groaning loud, the woods are bowed,
And chained with frost the rivers lie.
Pile, pile the logs upon the hearth;
We'll melt away the envious cold:
And, better yet, sweet friend, we'll wet
Our whistles with some four-year-old.
Commit all else unto the gods,
Who, when it pleaseth them, shall bring
To fretful deeps and wooded steeps
The mild, persuasive grace of Spring.
Let not To-morrow, but To-day,
Your ever active thoughts engage;
Frisk, dance, and sing, and have your fling,
Unharmed, unawed of crabbed Age.
Let's steal content from Winter's wrath,
And glory in the artful theft,
That years from now folks shall allow
'T was cold indeed when we got left.
So where the whisperings and the mirth
Of girls invite a sportive chap,
Let's fare awhile,—aha, you smile;
You guess my meaning,—verbum sap.
Now stands Soracte white with snow, now bend the laboring
The rest leave to the gods, who still the fiercely warring
Now on the Campus and the squares, when evening shades
|O virgin, tri-formed goddess fair,
The guardian of the groves and hills,
Who hears the girls in their despair
Cry out in childbirth's cruel ills,
And saves them from the Stygian flow!
Let the pine-tree my cottage near
Be sacred to thee evermore,
That I may give to it each year
With joy the life-blood of the boar,
Now thinking of the sidelong blow.
If ever in the sylvan shade
A Lesbian first thy glories proved;
O shell, that art the ornament
What end the gods may have ordained for me,
If for more winters our poor lot is cast,
Seek not, Leuconöe, to know how long you're going to live
IThough mighty in Love's favor still,
Though cruel yet, my boy,
When the unwelcome dawn shall chill
Your pride and youthful joy,
The hair which round your shoulder grows
Is rudely cut away,
Your color, redder than the rose,
Is changed by youth's decay,—
Then, Ligurinus, in the glass
Another you will spy.
And as the shaggy face, alas!
You see, your grief will cry:
"Why in my youth could I not learn
The wisdom men enjoy?
Or why to men cannot return
The smooth cheeks of the boy?"
O Cruel fair,
When you behold
|Oh, come with me to the Happy Isles
In the golden haze off yonder,
Where the song of the sun-kissed breeze beguiles
And the ocean loves to wander.
Fragrant the vines that mantle those hills,
Proudly the fig rejoices,
Merrily dance the virgin rills,
Blending their myriad voices.
Our herds shall suffer no evil there,
But peacefully feed and rest them;
Never thereto shall prowling bear
Or serpent come to molest them.
Neither shall Eurus, wanton bold,
Nor feverish drought distress us,
But he that compasseth heat and cold
Shall temper them both to bless us.
There no vandal foot has trod,
And the pirate hordes that wander
Shall never profane the sacred sod
Of those beautiful isles out yonder.
Never a spell shall blight our vines,
Nor Sirius blaze above us,
But you and I shall drink our wines
And sing to the loved that love us.
So come with me where Fortune smiles
And the gods invite devotion,—
Oh, come with me to the Happy Isles
In the haze of that far-off ocean!
|Should painter attach to a fair human head
The thick, turgid neck of a stallion,
Or depict a spruce lass with the tail of a bass,
I am sure you would guy the rapscallion.
Believe me, dear Pisos, that just such a freak
Is the crude and preposterous poem
Which merely abounds in a torrent of sounds,
With no depth of reason below 'em.
'T is all very well to give license to art,—
The wisdom of license defend I;
But the line should be drawn at the fripperish spawn
Of a mere cacoethes scribendi.
It is too much the fashion to strain at effects,—
Yes, that's what's the matter with Hannah!
Our popular taste, by the tyros debased,
Paints each barnyard a grove of Diana!
Should a patron require you to paint a marine,
Would you work in some trees with their barks on?
When his strict orders are for a Japanese jar,
Would you give him a pitcher like Clarkson?
Now, this is my moral: Compose what you may,
And Fame will be ever far distant
Unless you combine with a simple design
A treatment in toto consistent.
O Postumus, my Postumus, the years are gliding past,
Old friend, although the tearless Pluto you may strive to
Yet must that flood so terrible be sailed by mortals all;
And all in vain from bloody war and contest we are free,
Alas! the black Cocytus, wandering to the world below,
Behind you must you leave your home and land and wife so
Your worthier heir the precious Cæcuban shall drink
IWhat perfumed, posie-dizened sirrah,
With smiles for diet,
Clasps you, O fair but faithless Pyrrha,
On the quiet?
For whom do you bind up your tresses,
As spun-gold yellow,—
Meshes that go with your caresses,
To snare a fellow?
How will he rail at fate capricious,
And curse you duly,
Yet now he deems your wiles delicious,—
You perfect, truly!
Pyrrha, your love's a treacherous ocean;
He'll soon fall in there!
Then shall I gloat on his commotion,
For I have been there!
What dainty boy with sweet perfumes bedewed
How oft will he deplore your fickle whim,
Wretched are they to whom you seem so fair;—
|Lofty and enduring is the monument I've reared:
Come, tempests, with your bitterness assailing;
And thou, corrosive blasts of time, by all things mortal feared,
Thy buffets and thy rage are unavailing!
I shall not altogether die: by far my greater part
Shall mock man's common fate in realms infernal;
My works shall live as tributes to my genius and my art,—
My works shall be my monument eternal!
While this great Roman empire stands and gods protect our fanes,
Mankind with grateful hearts shall tell the story
How one most lowly born upon the parched Apulian plains
First raised the native lyric muse to glory.
Assume, revered Melpomene, the proud estate I've won,
And, with thine own dear hand the meed supplying,
Bind thou about the forehead of thy celebrated son
The Delphic laurel-wreath of fame undying!
ICome, Phyllis, I've a cask of wine
That fairly reeks with precious juices,
And in your tresses you shall twine
The loveliest flowers this vale produces.
My cottage wears a gracious smile;
The altar, decked in floral glory,
Yearns for the lamb which bleats the while
As though it pined for honors gory.
Hither our neighbors nimbly fare,
The boys agog, the maidens snickering;
And savory smells possess the air,
As skyward kitchen flames are flickering.
You ask what means this grand display,
This festive throng and goodly diet?
Well, since you're bound to have your way,
I don't mind telling, on the quiet.
'T is April 13, as you know,
A day and month devote to Venus,
Whereon was born, some years ago,
My very worthy friend, Mæcenas.
Nay, pay no heed to Telephus;
Your friends agree he doesn't love you.
The way he flirts convinces us
He really is not worthy of you.
Aurora's son, unhappy lad!
You know the fate that overtook him?
And Pegasus a rider had,—
I say he had, before he shook him!
Hoc docet (as you must agree)
'T is meet that Phyllis should discover
A wisdom in preferring me,
And mittening every other lover.
So come, O Phyllis, last and best
Of loves with which this heart's been smitten,
Come, sing my jealous fears to rest,
And let your songs be those I've written.
Sweet Phyllis, I have here a jar of old and precious wine,
Now smiles the house with silver; the altar, laurel-bound,
Yet you must know the joys to which you have been summoned
A rich and wanton girl has caught, as suited to her mind,
The winged Pegasus the rash Bellerophon has chafed,
Come now, sweet Phyllis, of my loves the last, and hence the
IWhy do you shun me, Chloe, like the fawn,
That, fearful of the breezes and the wood,
Has sought her timorous mother since the dawn,
And on the pathless mountain tops has stood?
Her trembling heart a thousand fears invites,
Her sinking knees with nameless terrors shake,—
Whether the rustling leaf of spring affrights,
Or the green lizards stir the slumbering brake.
I do not follow with a tigerish thought,
Or with the fierce Gætulian lion's quest;
So, quickly leave your mother, as you ought,
Full ripe to nestle on a husband's breast.
IIChloe, you shun me like a hind
That, seeking vainly for her mother,
Hears danger in each breath of wind,
And wildly darts this way and t' other;
Whether the breezes sway the wood
Or lizards scuttle through the brambles,
She starts, and off, as though pursued,
The foolish, frightened creature scrambles.
But, Chloe, you're no infant thing
That should esteem a man an ogre;
Let go your mother's apron-string,
And pin your faith upon a toga!
|How happens it, my cruel miss,
You're always giving me the mitten?
You seem to have forgotten this:
That you no longer are a kitten!
A woman that has reached the years
Of that which people call discretion
Should put aside all childish fears
And see in courtship no transgression.
A mother's solace may be sweet,
But Hymen's tenderness is sweeter;
And though all virile love be meet,
You'll find the poet's love is metre.
Since Chloe is so monstrous fair,
Close to her mother's side she clings,
Whilst thus the years of youth go by,
|Why, Mistress Chloe, do you bother
With prattlings and with vain ado
Your worthy and industrious mother,
Eschewing them that come to woo?
Oh, that the awful truth might quicken
This stern conviction to your breast:
You are no longer now a chicken
Too young to quit the parent nest.
So put aside your froward carriage,
And fix your thoughts, whilst yet there's time,
Upon the righteousness of marriage
With some such godly man as I'm.
Syn that you, Chloe, to your moder sticken,
|Than you, O valued friend of mine,
A better patron non est!
Come, quaff my home-made Sabine wine,—
You'll find it poor but honest.
I put it up that famous day
You patronized the ballet,
And the public cheered you such a way
As shook your native valley.
Cæcuban and the Calean brand
May elsewhere claim attention;
But I have none of these on hand,—
For reasons I'll not mention.
|So, come! though favors I bestow
Cannot be called extensive,
Who better than my friend should know
That they're at least expensive?
If for your oath broken, or word lightly spoken,
But no sooner, the fact is, you bind, as your tact is,
It is advantageous, but no less outrageous,
Now Venus, I own it, is pleased to condone it;
Our boys you are making the slaves for your taking,
The thrifty old fellows your loveliness mellows
HEWhen you were mine, in auld lang syne,
And when none else your charms might ogle,
I'll not deny, fair nymph, that I
Was happier than a heathen mogul.
SHEBefore she came, that rival flame
(Had ever mater saucier filia?),
In those good times, bepraised in rhymes,
I was more famed than Mother Ilia.
HEChloe of Thrace! With what a grace
Does she at song or harp employ her!
I'd gladly die, if only I
Could live forever to enjoy her!
SHEMy Sybaris so noble is
That, by the gods, I love him madly!
That I might save him from the grave,
I'd give my life, and give it gladly!
HEWhat if ma belle from favor fell,
And I made up my mind to shake her;
Would Lydia then come back again,
And to her quondam love betake her?
SHEMy other beau should surely go,
And you alone should find me gracious;
For no one slings such odes and things
As does the lauriger Horatius!
HORACEWhile favored by thy smiles no other youth in amorous teasing
Around thy snowy neck his folding arms was wont to fling;
As long as I remained your love, acceptable and pleasing,
I lived a life of happiness beyond the Persian king.
LYDIAWhile Lydia ranked Chloe in your unreserved opinion,
And for no other cherished thou a brighter, livelier flame,
I, Lydia, distinguished throughout the whole dominion,
Surpassed the Roman Ilia in eminence of fame.
HORACE'T is now the Thracian Chloe whose accomplishments inthrall me,—
So sweet in modulations, such a mistress of the lyre.
In truth the fates, however terrible, could not appall me;
If they would spare her, sweet my soul, I gladly would expire.
LYDIAAnd now the son of Ornytus, young Calais, inflames me
With mutual, restless passion and an all-consuming fire;
And if the fates, however dread, would spare the youth who claims me,
Not only once would I face death, but gladly twice expire.
HORACEWhat if our early love returns to prove we were mistaken
And bind with brazen yoke the twain, to part, ah! nevermore?
What if the charming Chloe of the golden locks be shaken
And slighted Lydia again glide through the open door?
LYDIAThough he is fairer than the star that shines so far above you,
Thou lighter than a cork, more stormy than the Adrian Sea,
Still should I long to live with you, to live for you and love you,
And cheerfully see death's approach if thou wert near to me.
|No more your needed rest at night
By ribald youth is troubled;
No more your windows, fastened tight,
Yield to their knocks redoubled.
No longer you may hear them cry,
"Why art thou, Lydia, lying
In heavy sleep till morn is nigh,
While I, your love, am dying?"
Grown old and faded, you bewail
The rake's insulting sally,
While round your home the Thracian gale
Storms through the lonely alley.
What furious thoughts will fill your breast,
What passions, fierce and tinglish
(Cannot be properly expressed
In calm, reposeful English).
Learn this, and hold your carping tongue:
Youth will be found rejoicing
In ivy green and myrtle young,
The praise of fresh life voicing;
And not content to dedicate,
With much protesting shiver,
The sapless leaves to winter's mate,
Hebrus, the cold dark river.
|The cruel mother of the Loves,
And other Powers offended,
Have stirred my heart, where newly roves
The passion that was ended.
'T is Glycera, to boldness prone,
Whose radiant beauty fires me;
While fairer than the Parian stone
Her dazzling face inspires me.
And on from Cyprus Venus speeds,
Forbidding—ah! the pity—
The Scythian lays, the Parthian meeds,
And such irrelevant ditty.
Here, boys, bring turf and vervain too;
Have bowls of wine adjacent;
And ere our sacrifice is through
She may be more complaisant.
|When, Lydia, you (once fond and true,
But now grown cold and supercilious)
Praise Telly's charms of neck and arms—
Well, by the dog! it makes me bilious!
Then with despite my cheeks wax white,
My doddering brain gets weak and giddy,
My eyes o'erflow with tears which show
That passion melts my vitals, Liddy!
Deny, false jade, your escapade,
And, lo! your wounded shoulders show it!
No manly spark left such a mark—
Leastwise he surely was no poet!
With savage buss did Telephus
Abraid your lips, so plump and mellow;
As you would save what Venus gave,
I charge you shun that awkward fellow!
And now I say thrice happy they
That call on Hymen to requite 'em;
For, though love cools, the wedded fools
Must cleave till death doth disunite 'em.
When praising Telephus you sing
Soft down my cheek the tear-drop flows,
Perchance yon silly, passionate youth,
Be warned; he cannot faithful prove,
Whom golden links unbroken bind,
|To Scythian and Cantabrian plots,
Pay them no heed, O Quintius!
So long as we
From care are free,
Vexations cannot cinch us.
Unwrinkled youth and grace, forsooth,
Speed hand in hand together;
The songs we sing
In time of spring
Are hushed in wintry weather.
Why, even flow'rs change with the hours,
And the moon has divers phases;
And shall the mind
Be racked to find
A clew to Fortune's mazes?
Nay; 'neath this tree let you and me
Woo Bacchus to caress us;
We're old, 't is true,
But still we two
Are thoroughbreds, God bless us!
While the wine gets cool in yonder pool,
Let's spruce up nice and tidy;
Who knows, old boy,
But we may decoy
The fair but furtive Lyde?
She can execute on her ivory lute
Sonatas full of passion,
And she bangs her hair
(Which is passing fair)
In the good old Spartan fashion.
Plant thou the vine
Within this kindly soil of Tibur;
Nor temporal woes,
Nor spiritual, knows
The man who's a discreet imbiber.
For who doth croak
Of being broke,
Or who of warfare, after drinking?
With bowl atween us,
Of smiling Venus
And Bacchus shall we sing, I'm thinking.
Of symptoms fell
Which brawls impel,
Historic data give us warning;
The wretch who fights
When full, of nights,
Is bound to have a head next morning.
I do not scorn
A friendly horn,
But noisy toots, I can't abide 'em!
Your howling bat
Is stale and flat
To one who knows, because he's tried 'em!
The secrets of
The life I love
(Companionship with girls and toddy)
I would not drag
With drunken brag
Into the ken of everybody;
But in the shade
Let some coy maid
With smilax wreathe my flagon's nozzle,
Then all day long,
With mirth and song,
Shall I enjoy a quiet sozzle!
|O Lady Fortune! 't is to thee I
Dwelling at Antium, thou hast power to crown
The veriest clod with riches and renown,
And change a triumph to a funeral
The tillers of the soil and they that vex the seas,
Confessing thee supreme, on bended knees
Invoke thee, all.
Of Dacian tribes, of roving Scythian bands,
Of cities, nations, lawless tyrants red
With guiltless blood, art thou the haunting dread;
Within thy path no human valor stands,
And, arbiter of empires, at thy frown
The sceptre, once supreme, slips surely down
From kingly hands.
Necessity precedes thee in thy way;
Hope fawns on thee, and Honor, too, is seen
Dancing attendance with obsequious mien;
But with what coward and abject dismay
The faithless crowd and treacherous wantons fly
When once their jars of luscious wine run dry,—
Such ingrates they!
Fortune, I call on thee to bless
Our king,—our Cæsar girt for foreign wars!
Help him to heal these fratricidal scars
That speak degenerate shame and wickedness;
And forge anew our impious spears and swords,
Wherewith we may against barbarian hordes
Our Past redress!
O gracious jar,—my friend, my twin,
Corvinus is the sort of man
How dost thou melt the stoniest hearts,
Now, prithee, make us frisk and sing,
|Pompey, what fortune gives you back
To the friends and the gods who love you?
Once more you stand in your native land,
With your native sky above you.
Ah, side by side, in years agone,
We've faced tempestuous weather,
And often quaffed
The genial draught
From the same canteen together.
When honor at Philippi fell
A prey to brutal passion,
I regret to say that my feet ran away
In swift Iambic fashion.
You were no poet; soldier born,
You stayed, nor did you wince then.
To my help, which same
Has frequently saved me since then.
But now you're back, let's celebrate
In the good old way and classic;
Come, let us lard our skins with nard,
And bedew our souls with Massic!
With fillets of green parsley leaves
Our foreheads shall be done up;
And with song shall we
Protract our spree
Until the morrow's sun-up.
|Mæcenas, I propose to fly
To realms beyond these human portals;
No common things shall be my wings,
But such as sprout upon immortals.
Of lowly birth, once shed of earth,
Your Horace, precious (so you've told him),
Shall soar away; no tomb of clay
Nor Stygian prison-house shall hold him.
Upon my skin feathers begin
To warn the songster of his fleeting;
But never mind, I leave behind
Songs all the world shall keep repeating.
Lo! Boston girls, with corkscrew curls,
And husky westerns, wild and woolly,
And southern climes shall vaunt my rhymes,
And all profess to know me fully.
Methinks the West shall know me best,
And therefore hold my memory dearer;
For by that lake a bard shall make
My subtle, hidden meanings clearer.
So cherished, I shall never die;
Pray, therefore, spare your dolesome praises,
Your elegies, and plaintive cries,
For I shall fertilize no daisies!
|Venus, dear Cnidian-Paphian queen!
Desert that Cyprus way off yonder,
And fare you hence, where with incense
My Glycera would have you fonder;
And to your joy bring hence your boy,
The Graces with unbelted laughter,
The Nymphs, and Youth,—then, then, in sooth,
Should Mercury come tagging after.
|'T is spring! The boats bound to the sea;
The breezes, loitering kindly over
The fields, again bring herds and men
The grateful cheer of honeyed clover.
Now Venus hither leads her train;
The Nymphs and Graces join in orgies;
The moon is bright, and by her light
Old Vulcan kindles up his forges.
Bind myrtle now about your brow,
And weave fair flowers in maiden tresses;
Appease god Pan, who, kind to man,
Our fleeting life with affluence blesses;
But let the changing seasons mind us,
That Death's the certain doom of mortals,—
Grim Death, who waits at humble gates,
And likewise stalks through kingly portals.
Soon, Sestius, shall Plutonian shades
Enfold you with their hideous seemings;
Then love and mirth and joys of earth
Shall fade away like fevered dreamings.
The western breeze is springing up, the ships are in the
Our Lady of Cythera now prepares to lead the dance,
Now it is time with myrtle green to crown the shining pate,
Impartially the feet of Death at huts and castles strike;
The Shades and Pluto's mansion follow hard upon the grip.
|You, blatant coward that you are,
Upon the helpless vent your spite.
Suppose you ply your trade on me;
Come, monkey with this bard, and see
How I'll repay your bark with bite!
Ay, snarl just once at me, you brute!
And I shall hound you far and wide,
As fiercely as through drifted snow
The shepherd dog pursues what foe
Skulks on the Spartan mountain-side.
The chip is on my shoulder—see?
But touch it and I'll raise your fur;
I'm full of business, so beware!
For, though I'm loaded up for bear,
I'm quite as like to kill a cur!
|O mother Venus, quit, I pray,
Your violent assailing!
The arts, forsooth, that fired my youth
At last are unavailing;
My blood runs cold, I'm getting old,
And all my powers are failing.
Speed thou upon thy white swans' wings,
And elsewhere deign to mellow
With thy soft arts the anguished hearts
Of swains that writhe and bellow;
And right away seek out, I pray,
Young Paullus,—he's your fellow!
You'll find young Paullus passing fair,
Modest, refined, and tony;
Go, now, incite the favored wight!
With Venus for a crony
He'll outshine all at feast and ball
Then shall that godlike nose of thine
With perfumes be requited,
And then shall prance in Salian dance
The girls and boys delighted,
And while the lute blends with the flute
Shall tender loves be plighted.
But as for me, as you can see,
I'm getting old and spiteful.
I have no mind to female kind,
That once I deemed delightful;
No more brim up the festive cup
That sent me home at night full.
Why do I falter in my speech,
O cruel Ligurine?
Why do I chase from place to place
In weather wet and shiny?
Why down my nose forever flows
The tear that's cold and briny?
|Tell me, Lydia, tell me why,
By the gods that dwell above,
Sybaris makes haste to die
Through your cruel, fatal love.
Now he hates the sunny plain;
Once he loved its dust and heat.
Now no more he leads the train
Of his peers on coursers fleet.
Now he dreads the Tiber's touch,
And avoids the wrestling-rings,—
He who formerly was such
An expert with quoits and things.
Come, now, Mistress Lydia, say
Why your Sybaris lies hid,
Why he shuns the martial play,
As we're told Achilles did.
A sorry life, forsooth, these wretched girls are undergoing,
Sweet Cytherea's winged boy deprives you of your spinning,
Who could resist this gallant youth, as Tiber's waves he
He shot the fleeing stags with regularity surprising;
So I repeat that with these maids fate is unkindly dealing,
What gods or heroes, whose brave deeds none can dispute,
Sing not, my Orpheus, sweeping oft the tuneful strings,
Now steps Ryanus forth at call of furious Mars,
Lo! from the tribunes on the bleachers comes a shout,
Like roar of ocean beating on the Cretan cliff,
And as Achilles' fleet the Trojan waters sweeps,
So waxes fierce the strife between these godlike men;
But as for me, the ivy leaf is my reward,
The day is done; and, lo! the shades
Was not the wine delicious cool
But, oh, the echoes of those songs
The day is done. Now off to bed,
But sometime we shall meet again
Or if we part to meet no more
***END OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK ECHOES FROM THE SABINE FARM***
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