Ode to Licinius

L ICINIUS , wouldst thou wisely steer
That barque which is thy soul,
Not always trust her without fear
Where deep-sea billows roll;
Nor, to the sheltered beach too near,
Risk shipwreck on the shoal.

Who sees in fortune's golden mean
All his desires comprised,
Midway the cot and Court between
Hath well his life devised;
For riches, hath not envied been,
Nor, for their lack, despised.

Most rocks the pine that soars afar,
When leaves are tempest-whirled.
Direst the crash when turrets are
In dusty ruin hurled.
The thunder loveth best to scar
The white brows of the world.

The steadfast mind, that to the end
Is fortune's victor still,
Hath yet a fear, though Fate befriend,
A hope, though all seem ill.
Jove can at will the winter send,
Or call the spring at will.

Full oft the darkest day may be
Of morrows bright the sire.
His bow not everlastingly
Apollo bends in ire.
At times the silent Muses he
Wakes with his dulcet lyre.

When stormy narrows round thee roar,
Be bold; nought else avails.
But when thy canvas swells before
Too proudly prospering gales,
For once be wise with coward's lore,
And timely reef thy sails.
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