ODES - BOOK 4 - VODES - BOOK 4 - V
Horace (Q. Horatius Flaccus)tr. W.G.Shepherd
Divis orte bonis, optime Romulae
custos gentis, abes iam nimium diu;
maturum reditum pollicitus patrum
sancto concilio, redi.

lucem redde tuae, dux bone, patriae:
instar veris enim vultus ubi tuus
adfulsit populo, gratior it dies
et soles melius nitent.

ut mater iuvenem, quem Notus invido 
flatu Carpathii trans maris aequora
cunctantem spatio longius annuo
dulci distinet a domo,

votis ominibusque et precibus vocat, 
curvo nec faciem litore dimovet:
sic desideriis icta fidelibus
quaerit patria Caesarem.

tutus bos etenim rura perambulat, 
nutrit rura Ceres almaque Faustitas,
pacatum volitant per mare navitae,
culpari metuit fides,

nullis polluitur casta domus stupris, 
mos et lex maculosum edomuit nefas,
laudantur simili prole puerperae,
culpam poena premit comes.

quis Parthum paveat, quis gelidum Scythen, 
quis Germania quos horrida parturit
fetus, incolumi Caesare? quis ferae
bellum curet Hiberiae?

condit quisque diem collibus in suis, 
et vitem viduas ducit ad arbores;
hinc ad vina redit lactus et alteris
te mensis adhibet deum;

te multa prece, te prosequitur mero 
defuso pateris et Laribus tuum
miscet numen, uti Graecia Castoris
et magni memor Herculis.

'longas o utinam, dux bone, ferias 
praestes Hesperiae!' dicimus integro
sicci mane die, dicimus uvidi,
cum sol Oceano subest.
Sprung from the Gods, first guardian of the race
of Romulus, already your absence is too long:
since you promised the sacred council
of the Senate an early return, return.

Give back the light, dear leader, to your country:
for when, like spring, your face
has flashed upon the people, more pleasant
runs the day and the sun shines brighter.

As with vows, with omens and with prayers
a mother calls for more than a year her son
whom Notus with jealous bluster detains
lingering far from his sweet home

across the stretches of Carpathian sea,
nor turns her face from the curving bay:
so, smitten with loyal love,
his fatherland yearns for Caesar.

For when he's here the ox in safety roams
the pasture and Ceres and kind Prosperity
feed the farmland and sailors glide across
peaceful seas; good faith fears rightful blame;

no lewdness pollutes the chaste home;
custom and law cast out spotted sin; mothers
are praised for their children's family likeness;
punishment presses close behind guilt.

Who would fear the Parthians, who the icy
Scythian, who the brood that bristling Germany
bears, with Caesar unharmed? And who
would mind the war with feral Spain?

Each man passes the day on his own hillside,
marrying his vines to lonely trees;
thence he gladly returns to his wine, and at
the second course invokes your godhead:

he worships you with many prayers
and pure wine poured from bowls, and mingles
your power with his household Gods, like the Greek
who remembers Castor and mighty Alcides.

'Dear leader, grant long holidays
to Italy!' we say dry-mouthed
at break of day, and say again having drunk
when the sun is beneath the ocean.

Transl. Copyright © W.G.Shepherd 1983 - publ. Penguin Classics


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