Ye nymphs whom starry rays invest,
By flattering poets given,
Who shine, by lavish lovers dress'd,
In all the pomp of heaven.
Wear the gown and wear the hat,
Snatch thy pleasures while they last;
Though countless as the grains of sand
That roll at Eurus' loud command;
Though countless as the lamps of night
Lovely courier of the sky,
Whence and whither dost thou fly?
Scattering, as thy pinions play,
Liquid fragrance all the way:
When Scaliger, whole years of labour past,
Beheld his lexicon complete at last
And weary of his task, with wond'ring eyes,
The man, my friend, whose conscious heart
With virtue's sacred ardour glows,
Nor taints with death the envenom'd dart,
Clouds do not always veil the skies,
Nor showers immerse the verdant plain;
Nor do the billows always rise,
Or storms afflict the ruffled main.
Wouldst thou to some steadfast seat,
Out of Fortune's power retreat?
Wouldst thou, when fierce Eurus blows,
Calmly rest in safe repose?
The man who pants for ample sway,
Must bid his passions all obey;
Must bid each wild desire be still,
Nor yoke his reason with his will: