Page:The works of Horace - Christopher Smart.djvu/86

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68

ODES OF HORACE.

book iii.

soldier, to be sure, ransomed by gold, will return a braver fellow!—No—you add loss to infamy; [for] neither does the wool once stained by the dye of the sea-weed ever resume its lost color; nor does genuine valor, when once it has failed, care to resume its place in those who have degenerated through cowardice. If the hind, disentangled from the thickset toils, ever fights, then indeed shall he be valorous, who has intrusted himself to faithless foes; and he shall trample upon the Carthaginians in a second war, who dastardly has felt the thongs with his arms tied behind him, and has been afraid of death. He, knowing no other way to preserve his life, has confounded peace with war. O scandal! O mighty Carthage, elevated to a higher pitch by Italy’s disgraceful downfall! He (Regulus) is reported to have rejected the embrace of his virtuous wife and his little sons like one degraded;[1] and to have sternly fixed his manly countenance on the ground, until, as an adviser, by his counsel he confirmed the wavering senators, and amid his weeping friends hastened away, a glorious exile. Notwithstanding he knew what the barbarian executioner was providing for him, yet he pushed from his opposing kindred and the populace retarding his return, in no other manner, than if (after he had quitted the tedious business of his clients, by determining their suit) he was only going to the Venafrian plains, or the Lacedæmonian Tarentum.


ODE VI.

TO THE ROMANS.

Thou shalt atone, O Roman, for the sins of your ancestors, though innocent, till you shall have repaired the temples and tottering shrines of the gods, and their statues, defiled with sooty smoke. Thou boldest sway, because thou bearest thyself subordinate to the gods; to this source refer every undertaking; to this, every event. The gods, because neglected, have inflicted many evils on calamitous Italy. Already has

  1. Ut capitis minor, "As one no longer a freeman." Among the Romans, any loss of liberty or the rights of a citizen was called Deminutio Capitis. Anthon.