Propertius's Bid For Immortality
Horace: Book III, Ode 3
"Carminis interea nostri redæmus in orbem---"
Let us return, then, for a time,
To our accustomed round of rhyme;
And let my songs' familiar art
Not fail to move my lady's heart.
They say that Orpheus with his lute
Had power to tame the wildest brute;
That "Vatiations on a Theme"
Of his would stay the swiftest stream.
They say that by the minstrel's song
Cithæron's rocks were moved along
To Thebes, where, as you may recall,
They formed themselves to frame a wall.
And Galatea, lovely maid,
Beneath wild Etna's fastness stayed
Her horses, dripping with the mere,
Those Polypheman songs to hear.
What marvel, then, since Bacchus and
Apollo grasp me by the hand,
That all the maidens you have heard
Should hang upon my slightest word?
Tænerian columns in my home
Are not; nor any golden dome;
No parks have I, nor Marcian spring,
Nor orchards--nay, nor anything.
The Muses, though, are friends of mine;
Some readers love my lyric line;
And never is Callipoe
Awearied by my poetry.
O happy she whose meed of praise
Hath fallen upon my sheaf of lays!
And every song of mine is sent
To be thy beauty's monument.
The Pyramids that point the sky,
The House of Jove that soars so high,
Mausolus' tomb--they are not free
From Death his final penalty.
For fire or rain shall steal away
The crumbling glory of their day;
But fame for wit can never die,
And gosh! I was a gay old guy!