O Pompey, often led, with me, by Brutus,
the head of our army, into great danger,
who’s sent you back, as a citizen,
to your country’s gods and Italy’s sky,
Pompey, the very dearest of my comrades,
with whom I’ve often drawn out the lingering
day in wine, my hair wreathed, and glistening
with perfumed balsam, of Syrian nard?
I was there at Philippi, with you, in that
headlong flight, sadly leaving my shield behind,
when shattered Virtue, and what threatened
from an ignoble purpose, fell to earth.
While in my fear Mercury dragged me, swiftly,
through the hostile ranks in a thickening cloud:
the wave was drawing you back to war,
carried once more by the troubled waters.
So grant Jupiter the feast he’s owed, and stretch
your limbs, wearied by long campaigning, under
my laurel boughs, and don’t spare the jars
that were destined to be opened by you.
Fill the smooth cups with Massic oblivion,
pour out the perfume from generous dishes,
Who’ll hurry to weave the wreathes for us
of dew-wet parsley or pliant myrtle?
Who’ll throw high Venus at dice and so become
the master of drink? I’ll rage as insanely
as any Thracian: It’s sweet to me
to revel when a friend is home again.
Last updated May 19, 2019