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26

ODES OF HORACE.

book i.

to us on such terms. What, though you could strike the lyre, listened to by the trees, with more sweetness than the Thracian Orpheus; yet the blood can never return to the empty shade, which Mercury, inexorable to reverse the fates, has with his dreadful Caduceus once driven to the gloomy throng. This is hard: but what it is out of our power to amend, becomes more supportable by patience.


ODE XXV.

TO LYDIA.

The wanton youths less violently shake thy fastened windows with their redoubled knocks, nor do they rob you of your rest; and your door, which formerly moved its yielding hinges freely, now sticks lovingly to its threshold. Less and less often do you now hear: “My Lydia, dost thou sleep the live-long night, while I your lover am dying?” Now you are an old woman, it will be your turn to bewail the insolence of rakes, when you are neglected in a lonely alley, while the Thracian wind[1] rages at the Interlunium:[2] when that hot desire and lust, which is wont to render furious the dams of horses, shall rage about your ulcerous liver: not without complaint, that sprightly youth rejoice rather in the verdant ivy and growing myrtle, and dedicate sapless leaves to Eurus, the companion of winter.[3]

  1. Between an old and new moon, the wind is usually most tempestous. "Interiuniorum dies tempestatibus plenos, et navigantibus quàm maximè metuendos, non solùm peritæ ratio, sed etiam vulgi usus intelligit." Dac.
  2. "Sub interlunia μεσοσελήνῳ, "at the time which intervenes between the old and new moon." Or, in freer and more poetic language, "during the dark and stormy season when the moon has disappeared from the skies." Interlunium, "biduum illud, quo in coitu solis luna non conspicitur." Orell.
  3. Aridas frondes hyemis sodali dedicet. The sense and interpretation of these words depend on the two former lines. Young men, says the poet, are more pleased, magis gaudent, with trees which are always green, such as are myrtle and ivy; but despise dry and withered leaves. Bent.