Imitation from HORACE Eheu fugaces &c Lib.II. Ode XIV.

Eheu fugaces &c Lib.II. Ode XIV. [1] 

Alas! my friend, the flying years
Glide with an all-resisting force!
Time mocks our idly-wasted tears,
Our efforts vain to stop his course.
Can piety delay his speed,5
Or hide his traces from our eyes?
Ah no, tho' hecatombs should bleed,
And hourly prayers invoke the skies!
Destroying age his step attends,
And daily steals from life some charm,10
'Till faint beneath his power it bends,
Expecting death's all-conquering arm.
For this at length must be our fate,
To this alike we all must yield;
From him who boasts his regal state,15
To the poor slave who ploughs his field.
Yes, we have breathed the vital air,
And seen the sun's enlivening light,
The fruits of earth awhile to share,
Have toiled the day, and wept the night.20
For this, condemned, the price to pay,
We sink at last beneath the grave,
Forced to forego each tender stay,
And pass th'irremeable wave.
In vain we guard, with idle care,25
Our bodies destined to the tomb,
In vain we shun the noxious air,
The fatal hour shall bring our doom.
Regardless of surrounding ease,
Death hovers o'er Arcadian bowers,30
Nor, but his destined prey can seize,
Tho' sanguine Mars invoke his powers.
No form of danger need appal,
No skill our cherish'd good can shield;
One certain fate awaits on all,35
Nor cautious love defence can yield.
Fearless, my friend, pursue thy way,
Tho' loud the hoarse Atlantic roars,
Tho' threatening rocks demand their prey,
And pale disease should waste the shores.40
Ah! what awaits the pleasing friend,
The loved companion prized in vain?
Soon, soon to Death our joys descend,
Nor shall we long to weep remain.
The flowers shall blow, the sun shall rise,45
The fragrant earth shall charm the eye,
When we no more these charms can prize,
And in the dust forgotten lie.
Of all this earth which blooms so gay,
Nought but the grave shall soon be ours,50
Exchanged for night the cheerful day,
For cypress glooms these roseate bowers.


[1] EDITOR'S NOTE: "Imitation from Horace Eheu fugaces &c Lib.II. Ode XIV" does not appear in Psyche, with Other Poems or Mary (or Collected Poems and Journals) and is undated in Verses. It presents a verse translation of Horace's Ode 2.14 addressed to Posthumus (“Alas, O Posthumus, Posthumus, the years glide swiftly by,” Charles E. Bennett translation), and invokes the Atlantic versus Adriatic ocean:

Eheu fugaces, Postume, Postume,
labuntur anni nec pietas moram
rugis et instanti senectae
adferet indomitaeque morti,
non, si trecenis quotquot eunt dies,5
amice, places inlacrimabilem
Plutona tauris, qui ter amplum
Geryonen Tityonque tristi
compescit unda, scilicet omnibus
quicumque terrae munere uescimur10
enauiganda, siue reges
siue inopes erimus coloni.
Frustra cruento Marte carebimus
fractisque rauci fluctibus Hadriae,
frustra per autumnos nocentem15
corporibus metuemus Austrum:
uisendus ater flumine languido
Cocytos errans et Danai genus
infame damnatusque longi
Sisyphus Aeolides laboris.20
Linquenda tellus et domus et placens
uxor, neque harum quas colis arborum
te praeter inuisas cupressos
ulla breuem dominum sequetur;
absumet heres Caecuba dignior25
seruata centum clauibus et mero
tinguet pauimentum superbo,
pontificum potiore cenis.