To Phyllis

by Horace


Full nine years old my cellar stows
A cask of good Albanian wine,
And parsley in my garden grows;
For Phyllis chaplets to compose,
Much ivy too is mine:

With whose green gloss you shall be crown'd;
With burnish'd plate the house looks gay,
The altar, with chaste vervains bound,
Craves to be sprinkled from the wound,
As we the lambkin slay.

All hands are busied — here and there
Mixt with the lads the lasses fly,
The bustling flames, to dress the fare,
Roll up thick smoke, which clouds the air
Above the roof on high.

But would you know what joy resides
With me, to tempt you at this time —
You are to celebrate the ides,
The day which April's month divides,
And Venus calls her prime:

A feast observable of right,
Which I more heartily revere,
Than that which brought myself to light,
From whence my patron to requite,
Flow many a happy year!

Young Telephus, at whom you aim,
Is not for such as thee at all;
A rich and a lascivious dame
Upon his love has fixt her claim,
And holds him in sweet thrall.

Let blasted Phaeton dissuade
Presumptuous hope too high to soar;
And he a dread example made
By Pegasus, who scornful neigh'd
That he a mortal bore.

Things worthy of yourself pursue,
Nor go where vain desire allures;
'Tis lawless to extend your view
To one that's not a match for you —
Hail! crown of my amours!

For, after this, I will be free
From every other flame and fair —
Come, learn the song I made for thee,
And join, with charming voice and me,
To banish gloomy care.

Last updated May 19, 2019