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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
 
An Invitation to Mæcenas
By Horace (65–8 B.C.)
 
Paraphrase from ‘Echoes from the Sabine Farm,’ by Eugene and Roswell Martin Field

DEAR noble friend! A virgin cask
  Of wine solicits your attention;
And roses fair to deck your hair,
  And things too numerous to mention.
So tear yourself awhile away        5
  From urban turmoil, pride, and splendor,
And deign to share what humble fare
  And sumptuous fellowship I tender.
The sweet content retirement brings
Smooths out the ruffled front of kings.        10
 
The evil planets have combined
  To make the weather hot, and hotter;
By parboiled streams the shepherd dreams
  Vainly of ice-cream soda-water.
And meanwhile you, defying heat,        15
  With patriotic ardor ponder
On what old Rome essays at home,
  And what her heathen do out yonder.
Mæcenas, no such vain alarm
Disturbs the quiet of this farm!        20
 
God in his providence obscures
  The goal beyond this vale of sorrow,
And smiles at men in pity when
  They strive to penetrate the morrow.
With faith that all is for the best,        25
  Let’s bear what burdens are presented;
Then we shall say, let come what may,
  “We die, as we have lived, contented!
Ours is to-day; God’s is the rest—
He doth ordain who knoweth best.”        30
 
Dame Fortune plays me many a prank:
  When she is kind, oh, how I go it!
But if again she’s harsh, why, then
  I am a very proper poet.
When favoring gales bring in my ships,        35
  I hie to Rome and live in clover;
Elsewise I steer my skiff out here
  And anchor till the storm blows over.
Compulsory virtue is the charm
Of life upon the Sabine Farm!        40
 
 
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