Academic journal article Parnassus : Poetry in Review

Two Odes by Horace

Academic journal article Parnassus : Poetry in Review

Two Odes by Horace

Article excerpt

1.5

Pyrrha, now who's the skinny young thing on top of you,

drizzled in perfume, rolling on beds of roses laid

deep in some grotto's shade?

Who is it for, that blonde hairdo

so careful to seem careless? Poor kid! How many tears

he'll shed at the shifting weather, surprised by the deities'

mood swings, and the rough seas

and black winds, wet behind the ears,

who's so in love now, thinking you're golden through and through,

that you'll be free forever, you'll be forever kind,

and doesn't know the wind

deceives. Poor bastards, for whom you

glitter before they sail. Not me-a seaside shrine

shows on a votive tablet I've hung this dedication

to the great Power of ocean:

my sailor's clothes, still wet with brine.

1.22

A man whose life is whole, whose heart is clean,

Fuscus, doesn't need Moorish spears to seize on,

or bows or quivers of arrows that have been

tipped with poison,

not if he makes for Libya's boiling sands,

or for the Caucasus, where wind whiplashes

the hostile peaks, or for the fabled lands

the Indus washes.

The proof? A wolf, as I wandered wholly charmed

by Lalage, singing of her, and lost in thought

out through my Sabine woods, though I was unarmed,

took off like a shot;

a prodigy such as no army ever spied

among the oaks in Apulia's green environs,

or in Numidia, that baked and dried

nursemaid of lions. …

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