30. On the Death of Rusticus -

Foul Asian coast, his life hast thou betrayed,
On thee by guilty waves his corpse was tossed.
Close in her breast his loving spouse conveyed
The sacred urn, too soon the seas were crossed,
Too soon those ashes in the earth she laid,
And seemed twice widowed of a love twice lost.

29. On an Old Woman's Grave -

Death snatched you away before your day and took you to Lethe's shore,
You could beat old Parr, but Methuselah might give you a month or more.
What a voice to be dumb — it could overcome the market's or schoolroom's clatter,
A revivalist hymn, or the river's brim with a million cranes a-chatter.
There was none like you foul tricks to do, as a witch you have left no double:
Be your covering slight and of sand so light that the dogs may have little trouble.

26. To Nerva -

Send verse to Nerva? Nay, a bard so bold
Might give cheap scent to Cosmus, hope to please
Paestum with privet flowers or marigold,
Send bitter honey to Hymettus' bees.
Yet is there grace in humbler lines — for these
Are olives taken after daintier cheer;
Yet wonder not should my Thalia fear
(Knowing her meaner power) your face to see;
Did not a Nero dread your taste austere,
Reading his merry verse? and so doth she.

22. To Pastor -

Friend , if for larger wealth I seem to pine,
It is not as the vulgar herd desire it;
They long that Rheims may toil to give them wine,
And slave-drive half a county to acquire it;
They hunt for ormolu and Adams fine
Or gilded " Empire" stuff, — I don't admire it —
And quaff from crystals of the rarest sort
Dark draughts of richest Burgundy or Port.

The liveried menial lies beneath my ban,
I seek no crowd of fools to bow before me,
Let others keep the pampered serving-man,

21. Live Up to Your Name -

A RTEMIDORUS bought a pretty slave
And sold his lands to pay — the price was great —
But Calliodorus with the sum he gave
Became the master of the whole estate.
Who bears the name of Artemis should rate
Love at a price far meaner; and its charm,
To him that's called from beauty, prove a bait
Much more alluring than a dirty farm.

18. A Petition to the Emperor -

While Caesar reigns, long may my country cot
And tiny house in Rome be mine; but lo,
Yon straining pole doth bring my garden-plot
Its scanty waters from the vale below;
But here, though nigh at hand the fountains flow
No quickening drop doth slake my parching home;
One rill divine a bard would love to owe
To him, the Muses' lord, the God of Rome.

2. To Lupus -

On us you've not a farthing to expend,
But oh, how generous to your lady friend!
On dainty cakes and pastries she is fed,
Your guest has only black and musty bread;
For her iced wine is poured of vintage rare,
For him a muddy acid ordinaire;
You sell a farm her favours to command
For one short hour; your friend tills alien land.
She flaunts in priceless Orient pearls — and yet
Your client haled away is sold for debt;
Eight Syrian slaves the minx's litter bear,
Your needy friend a pauper's bier will share:

Preface -

Fame is your right, O noble soul,
Though you reject your due
Till Death, defying your control,
Shall force the crown on you.
Meantime may this quatrain I send
Beneath my bust proclaim
'Twas you that chose to set your friend
With bards of noblest name.

Reader, I gained what I desired,
The palm for lighter verse,
And if you hold me not inspired
You love me none the worse.
Let others claim the epic rage,
The seers of lofty dreams,
While men unwearied con my page
That trills on little themes.


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