Monday, June 11, 2018

Scottish Poetry XI

Horace. Book II. Ode X.
Rectius vives, Licini
by James Beattie


Wouldst thou through life securely glide;
Nor boundless o'er the ocean ride;
Nor ply too near th' insidious shore,
Scar'd at the tempest's threat'ning roar.

The man, who follows Wisdom's voice,
And makes the golden mean his choice,
Nor plung'd in antique gloomy cells
Midst hoary desolation dwells;
Nor to allure the envious eye
Rears his proud palace to the sky.

The pine, that all the grove transcends,
With every blast the tempest rends;
Totters the tower with thund'rous sound,
And spreads a mighty ruin round;
Jove's bolt with desolating blow
Strikes the ethereal mountain's brow.

The man, whose steadfast soul can bear
Fortune indulgent or severe,
Hopes when she frowns, and when she smiles
With cautious fear eludes her wiles.
Jove with rude winter wastes the plain,
Jove decks the rosy spring again.

Life's former ills are overpast,
Nor will the present always last.
Now Phoebus wings his shafts, and now
He lays aside th' unbended bow,
Strikes into life the trembling string,
And wakes the silent Muse to sing.

With unabating courage, brave
Adversity's tumultuous wave;
When too propitious breezes rise,
And the light vessel swiftly flies,
With timid caution catch the gale,
And shorten the distended sail.

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