Muses of Sicily, a loftier strain
Be ours: the lowly offspring of the plain,
Shrubs and the humble tamarisk, please not all;
Worthy of consuls be our woodland pastoral!
Comes the last age, by Cumæ's maid foretold:
'Afresh the mighty line of years unroll'd,
The Virgin now, now Saturn's sway returns;
Now the best globe a heaven-sprung Child adorns,
Whose genial power shall whelm earth's iron race,
And plant once more the golden in its place--
Thou, chaste Lucina, but that child sustain:
And, lo! disclosed thine own Apollo's reign!
This glory, Pollio, in thy year begun,
Thence the great months their radiant course shall run;
And, of our crimes should still some trace appear,
Shall rid the trembling earth of all her fear.
His shall it be a life divine to hold,
With heroes mingled and 'mid gods enroll'd;
And, form'd by patrimonial worth for sway,
Him shall the tranquil universe obey.
'Gladly to thee its natal gifts the field,
Till'd by no human hand, bright Boy, shall yield;
The baccar's stem with curling ivy twine,
And colocasia and acanthus join.
Home their full udders goats, unurged, shall bear;
Nor shall the herd the lordly Lion fear:
Flowers of all hues shall round thy cradle vie,
The snake and poison's treacherous weed shall die,
And far Assyria's spice shall every hedge supply.
'But Soon as thou thy father's acts can'st read
And heroes' toils, and rate each deathless deed;
With soften'd harvests every plain shall glow,
On the wild brier the grape's rich cluster grow,
And gnarled oaks with dripping honey flow.
--Yet of old guilt shall still survive some stain:
Still the bold ship shall tempt the boisterous main;
Cities with walls shall still repel the foe,
And earth's torn breast be furrow'd with the plough.
Some Tiphys other chiefs again shall guide,
And other Argos bear them o'er the tide:
Fresh wars shall rise; and, eager to destroy,
A new Achilles shall be sent to Troy.
'When now to vigorous manhood thou art come,
O'er seas no more the laboring keel shall roam;
No more to distant realms shall Traffic hie:
Each land each produce shall, itself, supply.
O'er the vex'd tillage shall no harrow sound,
No pruner's hook the vine luxuriant wound:
The sturdy ploughman shall unyoke his steer,
The wool no counterfeited stain shall bear;
But tinctured from the mead he crops, the ram
Shall flush with scarlet, or in saffron flame,
While native crimson tints the frolic lamb.
'Flow, happy ages,' to their distaffs cried
Th' harmonious Fates; 'and pour your golden tide.'
'Those honors thou--'tis now the time--approve,
Child of the skies, great progeny of Jove!
Beneath the solid orb's vast convex bent,
See on the coming year the world intent:
See earth and sea and highest heaven rejoice;
All but articulate their grateful voice.
'O reach so far my long life's closing strain!
My breath so long to hymn thy deeds remain!
Orpheus, nor Linus, should my verse excel;
Though even Calliope her Orpheus' shell
Should string, and (anxious for the son the sire)
His Linus' numbers Phoebus should inspire!
Should Pan himself before his Arcady
Contend, he'd own his song surpass'd by me.
'Know, then, dear Boy, thy mother by her smile:
Enough ten months have given of pain and toil.
Know her, dear Boy,--who ne'er such smile has shown,
Nor board nor bed divine 'tis his to own.'