To Asterie

by Horace


Asterie, why do you bewail
Him, whom the zephyrs shall restore,
Which fill with vernal breath the sail,
Wafting Bythinian wealth on shore,
The happy Gyges, whose fair truth is known,
And constancy has made so much your own?
He, driv'n by that autumnal goat
And southern winds, is forc'd away,
His meditations to devote
On fair Asterie night and day,
And joyless, sleepless, spends the year,
With many a melancholy tear.
And yet the busy footman speeds
And many a subtle art he tries,
To urge how Chloe burns and bleeds,
And how she pines, and how she dies:
And, anxious to receive him to her bed,
Has many such like stories in her head,
" How a false woman could persuade
King Proetus, credulous too much,
With false pretences that she made
To murder him, who shunn'd the touch
Of all impurity and shame,
The chaste Bellerophon by name.
How Peleus was condemn'd almost
To hell, in that he had abstain'd,
And wary 'scap'd the am'rous post
Where fair Hippolyte remain'd."
And mentions many a novel tale,
That teaches mortals to be frail.
In vain — for deafer than the rocks
Of Icarus he hears the lure,
And as temptation's voice he mocks,
Asterie, thou art still secure —
And yet — Enipeus — give me leave —
Do not with so much joy receive.
Tho' (to be fair) no man can ride
Upon the Martian plain so well:
A goodly sight, of gallant pride,
And skill equestrian to excel;
Nor any active man alike
Can through the yielding Tiber strike.
Soon as the day begins to close,
Shut up the doors, shut up the gate,
Nor in the street yourself expose,
Nor for the scurvy minstrels wait —
The more they call you hard and hard,
The more your doors and ears be barr'd.

Last updated May 19, 2019