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Maecenas, born of monarch ancestors,
The shield at once and glory of my life!
There are who joy them in the Olympic strife
And love the dust they gather in the course;
The goal by hot wheels shunn'd, the famous prize,
Exalt them to the gods that rule mankind;
This joys, if rabbles fickle as the wind
Through triple grade of honours bid him rise,
That, if his granary has stored away
Of Libya's thousand floors the yield entire;
The man who digs his field as did his sire,
With honest pride, no Attalus may sway
By proffer'd wealth to tempt Myrtoan seas,
The timorous captain of a Cyprian bark.
The winds that make Icarian billows dark
The merchant fears, and hugs the rural ease
Of his own village home; but soon, ashamed
Of penury, he refits his batter'd craft.
There is, who thinks no scorn of Massic draught,
Who robs the daylight of an hour unblamed,
Now stretch'd beneath the arbute on the sward,
Now by some gentle river's sacred spring;
Some love the camp, the clarion's joyous ring,
And battle, by the mother's soul abhorr'd.
See, patient waiting in the clear keen air,
The hunter, thoughtless of his delicate bride,
Whether the trusty hounds a stag have eyed,
Or the fierce Marsian boar has burst the snare.
To me the artist's meed, the ivy wreath
Is very heaven: me the sweet cool of woods,
Where Satyrs frolic with the Nymphs, secludes
From rabble rout, so but Euterpe's breath
Fail not the flute, nor Polyhymnia fly
Averse from stringing new the Lesbian lyre.
O, write my name among that minstrel choir,
And my proud head shall strike upon the sky!
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