To Augustus

by Horace


Clio, to sing on pipe or lyre,
What man, what hero is your choice,
And with what God will you inspire
Glad echo's mimic voice?
Or in the Heliconian shade,
Or Pindus or cool Haemus sped,
Where the vague woods at random stray'd
With Orpheus at their head?
E'en he who, by his mother's art,
The loud cascade, the rapid wind
Cou'd stop — and ears to oaks impart,
To his soft airs inclin'd?
First then the usual form of praise
Is his, who men and Gods impow'rs,
The earth, the sea, the world he sways,
The seasons and the hours.
From whom no greater can proceed,
To whom no being's like or near;
Yet Pallas challenges the meed
Of secondary fear.
Nor thee, brave Liber, will I slight,
Nor thee, fair Forrester, the foe
Of beasts, nor thee which aim'st so right,
Dread Phoebus, with thy bow.
Alcides next, and Leda's twins,
In chivalry and cestus too
I praise, whose star, when it begins
To bless the seaman's view,
Its brightness makes the waves subside,
The winds are still, the clouds disperse,
And smooth at their command's the tide,
That roar'd but now so fierce.
Now shall I Rome's first founder sing,
Or Numa's peaceful reign commend,
Or Priscus great and mighty king,
Or Cato's glorious end?
Great Regulus I will enroll,
The house of Scaurus, Paulus write,
So lavish of his godlike soul,
And grateful thee recite,
Fabricius, with rough Curius join'd;
Him and Camillus too for arms
A hardy poverty design'd
In their paternal farms.
As imperceptibly the pines,
Marcellus, so thy fame aspires:
The Julian star, like Luna, shines
Amongst the lesser fires.
Sire and preserver of our race,
From Saturn sprung, do thou convey,
That Caesar hold the second place
In thine eternal sway;
Whether o'er Parthia's threat'ning host
At a just triumph he arrive,
Or, subject to the eastern coast,
Confed'rate Indians drive.
Subordinate to thee alone,
He o'er the happy world shall reign,
While thou shalt thunder from thy throne
On each polluted fane.

Last updated May 19, 2019