Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Italy: Vols. XI–XIII. 1876–79.

Soracte, the Mountain


By Horace (65–8 B.C.)

(From Odes)
Translated by R. M. Hovenden

SEE, Thaliarch, how deep in snow

Soracte stands, the laboring woods

Bend with their load, and wintry floods,

Benumbed with frost, forget to flow.

Heap log on log the spell to thaw:

Shall winter’s frown our banquet mar?

Or from thy raciest Sabine jar

Brimful the generous magnum draw.

Commit the rest to Jove’s high hand:

At the first bidding of his will

The wave and brawling wind are still,

Erect the ash and cypress stand.

Why, curious, turn the morrow’s page?

Set down as gain whatever chance

The day affords; enjoy the dance,

Make love; full soon will peevish age

Put such toys by. Now let us go

Where open square and public walk

Buzz all around with whispered talk

And sighs at nightfall breathing low:

Thence track the scarce reluctant maid

By laughter to her form, and snatch

From arm or hand the ring to match,

Whereon sweet forfeit must be paid.