Verse > John Dryden > Poems
John Dryden (1631–1700).  The Poems of John Dryden.  1913.
The Third Ode of the First Book of Horace;
Inscribed to the Earl of Roscommon, on his intended Voyage to Ireland
SO 1 may th’ auspicious Queen of Love,
And the Twin Stars, (the Seed of love,
And he who rules the rageing wind,
To thee, O sacred Ship, be kind;
And gentle Breezes fill thy Sails,        5
Supplying soft Etesian Gales:
As thou, to whom the Muse commends
The best of Poets and of Friends,
Dost thy committed Pledge restore,
And land him safely on the shore;        10
And save the better part of me,
From perishing with him at Sea.
Sure he, who first the passage try’d,
In harden’d Oak his heart did hide,
And ribs of Iron arm’d his side;        15
Or his at least, in hollow wood
Who tempted first the briny Floud:
Nor fear’d the winds contending roar,
Nor billows beating on the Shoar;
Nor Hyades portending Rain;        20
Nor all the Tyrants of the Main.
What form of death cou’d him affright,
Who unconcern’d, with steadfast sight,
Cou’d view the Surges mounting steep,
And monsters rolling in the deep!        25
Cou’d thro’ the ranks of ruin go,
With Storms above, and Rocks below!
In vain did Natures wise command
Divide the Waters from the Land,
If daring Ships, and Men prophane,        30
Invade th’ inviolable Main;
Th’ eternal Fences overleap,
And pass at will the boundless deep.
No toyl, no hardship can restrain
Ambitious Man, inur’d to pain;        35
The more confin’d, the more he tries,
And at forbidden quarry flies.
Thus bold Prometheus did aspire,
And stole from heav’n the seed of Fire:
A train of Ills, a ghastly crew,        40
The Robber’s blazing track persue;
Fierce Famine, with her Meagre face,
And Feavours of the fiery Race,
In swarms th’ offending Wretch surround
All brooding on the blasted ground:        45
And limping Death, lash’d on by Fate
Comes up to shorten half our date.
This made not Dedalus beware,
With borrow’d wings to sail in Air:
To Hell Alcides forc’d his way,        50
Plung’d thro’ the Lake, and snatch’d the Prey.
Nay scarce the Gods, or heav’nly Climes,
Are safe from our audacious Crimes;
We reach at Jove’s Imperial Crown,
And pull th’ unwilling thunder down.        55
Note 1. Text from the original of 1685. [back]

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