but there must be a fit age, and a method of life, and
a guiding God. Is it not so? No one quits the port,
or sets sail, till he hath sacrificed to the gods, and implored their assistance; nor do men sow without first
invoking Ceres. And shall any one who has undertaken so great a work attempt it safely without the
gods? And shall they who apply to such a one,
apply to him with success? What are you doing else,
man, but divulging the mysteries? As if you said,
" There is a temple at Eleusis, and here is one too;
there is a priest, and I will make a priest here; there
is a herald, and I will appoint a herald too; there is a
torch-bearer, and I will have a torch-bearer; there
are torches, and so shall there be here. The words
said, the things done, are the same. Where is the
difference betwixt one and the other?" Most impious man ! is there no difference? Are these things
of use, out of place and out of time? A man should
come with sacrifices and prayers, previously purified,
Q. Horatius Flaccus (Horace), Odes (ed. John Conington), Book 3, Poem 2 (search)
perils, brace his life.
Methinks I see from rampired town
Some battling tyrant's matron wife,
Some maiden, look in terror down,—
“Ah, my dear lord, untrain'd in war!
O tempt not the infuriate mood
Of that fell lion I see! from far
He plunges through a tide of blood!“
What joy, for fatherland to die!
Death's darts e'en flying feet o'ertake,
Nor spare a recreant chivalry,
A back that cowers, or loins that quake.
True Virtue never knows defeat:
Her robes she keeps unsullied still,
Nor takes, nor quits, her curule seat
To please a people's veering will.
True Virtue opens heaven to worth:
She makes the way she does not find:
The vulgar crowd, the humid earth,
Her soaring pinion leaves behind.
Seal'd lips have blessings sure to come:
Who drags Eleusis' rite today,
That man shall never share my home,
Or join my voyage: roofs give way
And boats are wreck'd: true men and thieves
Neglected Justice oft confounds:
Though Vengeance halt, she seldom leaves
The wretch whose flying steps she h