HORACE, in the fruitful Sabine country,

Where the wheat and vine are most abundant,

Where the olive ripens in the sunshine,

Where the streams are voiced with Dian’s whispers,

Lived in quiet, with a woman’s passion

To inspire his lute and bring contentment

In the gray still days of early winter.

I, remote from cities, like the poet, {127B}

Tune my lesser lyre with other fingers,

Yet am not a whit the less beloved.

Unto me the stars are never silent,

Nor do sea and storm deny their music,

Nor do flower and breeze refuse their kisses:

So my soul is flooded with their magic;

So my love completes the joy of living.

I am like the earth, to whom there gather

Rays of gold to bid the gray horizon

Melt, recede, and brighten into azure.

Let me sing, O holy one, Apollo!

Sing as Horace sang, and flood the ocean

With a living ecstasy of music

Till the whole creation echo, echo,

Echo till the tune dissolve the heavens? {128A}

Still the song lingers; lamely from the lute string

Steals a breath of melody; the forest

Treasures in its glades the sighs I utter.

Yet may I be happy, storing honey

Lover’s lips hold, gathering the sunlight

Eyes and hair have kept for me, delighting

In the bells far-off, in yonder thrushes,

In the tawny songster of the forest,

In the stream’s song, all the words of passion,

Echoes of the deeper words unspoken

In thy breast and mine, O heart of silence!

Will they pierce one day to other nations

Clear and strong and triumphing?

It may be.

Then we shall not envy you, my Horace! {128}


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