Be careful with your tongues! Songs unheard
Before, I sing, priest of Muses,
to girls to boys.
The power of fearsome kings is for their
herds, for the kings themselves of Jupiter,
noted for routing the Giants
swaying all things with a look.
Look how one man sets his trees
in wider rows than another; how this kinder
candidate comes down to gladhand; how this
one, his opponent, is more known, nobler.
That one has a broader mob of admirers.
With edict favoring none, Necessitas allots
the leading and the least. A roomy urn
moves every name.
For whom the drawn sword dangles
atop his head, Sicilian feasts yield
no sweet elaborate flavor, no songs
of birds or strings yield
Sleep. The gentle sleep of farmers
won’t boycott his humble homes
and shady river bank, and ravines
unruffled by the winds.
The roaring sea does not excite
the one desiring just enough,
nor the cruel assaults of Arcturus
falling, Zeta rising;
Nor the vineyard knocked with hail and
the fickle farm, with trees now chiding
the floods, now the sun inflaming the fields
now the wicked winters.
The fish feel the loss of sea when the
mansions are built there. Here constantly the
contractor with his slaves lays foundations;
and there’s the testy owner of the land.
But Fear and Threats climb the same stairs
as the owner. Black Care rides behind
the knight and never disembarks
from the copper-fitted ships
If Phrygian stone, if purple dyes
brighter than stars, if Falernian wine,
if Persian spices do not console
Then why would I upgrade my sublime atrium
in the latest rage with envy-causing columns;
why exchange my Sabine home for
more taxing assets?