Odes 3.4






Latin English





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Descende caelo et dic age tibia
regina longum Calliope melos,
  seu voce nunc mavis acuta
    seu fidibus citharaque Phoebi.

auditis, an me ludit amabilis
insania? audire et videor pios
  errare per lucos, amoenae
    quos et aquae subeunt et aurae.

me fabulosae Volture in avio
nutricis extra limina Apuliae
  ludo fatigatumque somno
    fronde nova puerum palumbes

texere, mirum quod foret omnibus,
quicumque celsae nidum Acherontiae
  saltusque Bantinos et arvum
    pingue tenent humilis Forenti,

ut tuto ab atris corpore viperis
dormirem et ursis, ut premerer sacra
  lauroque conlataque myrto,
    non sine dis animosus infans.

vester, Camenae, vester in arduos
tollor Sabinos, seu mihi frigidum
  Praeneste seu Tibur supinum
    seu liquidae placuere Baiae.

vestris amicum fontibus et choris
non me Philippis versa acies retro,
  devota non extinxit arbor,
    nec Sicula Palinurus unda.

utcumque mecum vos eritis, libens
insanientem navita Bosphorum
  temptabo et urentes harenas
    litoris Assyrii viator;

visam Britannos hospitibus feros
et laetum equino sanguine Concanum,
  visam pharetratos Gelonos
    et Scythicum inviolatus amnem.

vos Caesarem altum, militia simul
fessas cohortes abdidit oppidis,
  finire quaerentem labores,
    Pierio recreatis antro.

vos lene consilium et datis et dato
gaudetis, almae. scimus ut impios
  Titanas immanemque turbam
    fulmine sustulerit caduco,

qui terram inertem, qui mare temperat
ventosum et urbes regnaque tristia,
  divosque mortalesque turmas
    imperio regit unus aequo.

magnum illa terrorem intulerat Iovi
fidens iuventus horrida bracchiis
  fratresque tendentes opaco
    Pelion imposuisse Olympo.

sed quid Typhoeus et validus Mimas,
aut quid minaci Porphyrion statu,
  quid Rhoetus evulsisque truncis
    Enceladus iaculator audax

contra sonantem Palladis aegida
possent ruentes? hinc avidus stetit
  Vulcanus, hinc matrona Iuno et
    numquam umeris positurus arcum,

qui rore puro Castaliae lavit
crinis solutos, qui Lyciae tenet
  dumeta natalemque silvam,
    Delius et Patareus Apollo.

vis consili expers mole ruit sua:
vim temperatam di quoque provehunt
  in maius; idem odere vires
    omne nefas animo moventes.

testis mearum centimanus Gyas
sententiarum, notus et integrae
  temptator Orion Dianae,
    virginea domitus sagitta.

iniecta monstris Terra dolet suis
maeretque partus fulmine luridum
  missos ad Orcum; nec peredit
    impositam celer ignis Aetnen,

incontinentis nec Tityi iecur
reliquit ales, nequitiae additus
  custos; amatorem trecentae
    Pirithoum cohibent catenae.

Descend from heaven, O Queen Calliope,
and play upon the flute a long-continued
melody, or sing with thy clear voice, dost
thou prefer, or to the strings of Phoebus' lyre!

Do ye hear, my mates? Or does some fond
illusion mock me? Methinks I hear her and
am straying through hallowed groves, where
pleasant waters steal and breezes stir.

In childhood's days, on trackless Vultur,
beyond the borders of old nurse Apulia,
when I was tired with play and overcome
with sleep,

the doves of story covered me o'er with
freshly fallen leaves, to be a marvel to all who
dwell in lofty Acherontia's nest and Bantia's
glades, and the rich fields of Forentum in the dale --

how I slept safe from bears and black
serpents, how I was overspread with sacred
bay and gathered myrtle, with the gods' help a
fearless child.

As yours, yes, yours, O Muses, do I climb to
my lofty Sabine hills, or go to cool
Praeneste, or sloping Tibur, or to cloudless
Baiae, has it but caught my fancy.

Friend of your springs and dancing choirs,
not Philippi's rout destroyed me, nor that
accursed tree, nor the Sicilian wave near
Palinurus' headland.

Whenever ye are with me, gladly will I as
mariner essay the raging Bosphorus, or as
wanderer the blazing sands of the Syrian
shore.

I'll visit all unscathed the Britons, no friends
to strangers, the Concanian that delights in
draughts of horses' blood, the Geloni that
wear the quiver, and the Scythian stream.

'Tis ye who in Pierian grotto refresh our
noble Caesar, when he seeks to soothe his
cares, now that he has settled in the towns his
cohorts wearied with campaigning.

Ye give gentle counsel, and delight in giving it,
ye goddesses benign. Full well we know how the
impious Titans and their frightful horde were
struck down with the descending bolt by him

who rules the lifeless earth, the wind-swept
sea, cities, and the gloomy realms below,
who alone with righteous sway governs the
gods and throngs of men.

Mighty terror had been brought on Jove by
that insolent crew, bristling with hands, and
by the brothers who strove to set Pelion on
shadowy Olympus.

But what could Typhoeus avail and mighty
Mimas, what Porphyrion with his threatening
mien, what Phoetus and Enceladus, bold
hurler of uprooted trees, in their rush against

the ringing aegis of Minerva! On this side
stood eager Vulcan, on that, matron Juno and
he who from his shoulder shall never lay
aside the bow,

who laves his flowing locks in Castalia's pure
dew, who haunts the Lycian thickets and the
forests of his native isle, god of Delos and of
Patara, Apollo's self.

Brute force bereft of wisdom falls to ruin by
its own weight. Power with counsel tempered,
even the gods make greater. But might that in
its soul is bent on all impiety, they hate.

Be hundred-handed Gyas the witness of my
verdict, Orion too, well-known assailant of
chaste Diana, subdued by the arrow of the
maiden-goddess!

Earth, heaped upon her monstrous offspring, mourns
and laments her progeny hurled down to murky
Orcus by the thunderbolt. Nor yet has the
swift-darting flame eaten through Aetna's pile,

nor does the vulture leave the breast of
lawless Tityos, set as a watchman o'er his
infamy. And thrice a hundred chains hold fast
the amorous Pirithous.

In this long poem, Horace makes brief reference in line 22 to the Sabine hills near his villa. Whenever he comes here, or to Praeneste, Tibur, or Baiae, he comes as a friend of the Muses, who have offered him protection. In line 27, Horace again recalls the incident of his narrow escape from the falling tree (see above, Odes II.13 and II.17).


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Epistles: 1.7 | 1.10 | 1.14 | 1.16 | 1.18
Epode: 2
Odes: 1.17 | 1.20 | 1.22 | 2.13 | 2.17 | 2.18 | 3.1 | 3.4 | 3.8 | 3.13 | 3.18 | 3.22 | 3.23 | 3.29
Satires: 2.3 | 2.6 | 2.7
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