Alfred Austin

(30 May 1835 – 2 June 1913 / Headingley)

The Reply Of Q. Horatius Flaccus To A Roman - Poem by Alfred Austin

Good friends, you urge my Odes grow trite,
And that of worthless station,
Of fleeting youth and joy, I write
With endless iteration.

But say, in mortals, base or great,
Have you a change detected?
Are they, when victors, less elate,
When vanquished, less dejected?

Do they no more in mundane mire
For golden garbage scramble?
Or, but companioned with the lyre,
Up twisting Anio ramble?

Hath fortune ceased to prove a jade?
Hath favour waxed less fickle?
Hath shamed Bellona dropped her blade,
Or Death put up his sickle?

Doth age no longer rime the hair?
Finds Virtue always supper?
Or, when cit. rides a Knight, doth Care
No more bestride the crupper?

Do not the rosy hours wax pale,
New loves old loves disherit;
And sleight of golden showers prevail
'Gainst Danae's brazen turret?

Sooth, verbum sap. But then, Jove knows!
Men are not wise, but foolish,
Whether they scan Soracte's snows,
Or those near Ballachulish.

Still, still they hug the bestial sty,
And have not changed one wee bit;
Unpleasing truth, which ``Repeti-
Ta decies (non) placebit.''

Ask such to share my Sabine meal!
To twine the parsley classic!
For such to break the Manlian seal,
And liberate my Massic!

A pretty tale! Why, ken you not,
Good friends, as lately showed I,
In verse already you've forgot,-
Profanum vulgus odi?

Fair maid or Minister I dine,
Toast Rome or Alma Venus:
When Lydia will not kiss my wine,
Why, then, I ask Maecenas.

For such and self the chords I strike
Of wisdom, love, and scorning;
And if the world my themes dislike,
Well,-gentlemen, Good morning!

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Poem Submitted: Thursday, April 8, 2010

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