Ode I, 5: To Pyrrha

By Horace Horace

Translated By John Milton

What slender youth, bedew’d with liquid odors,
Courts thee on roses in some pleasant cave,
             Pyrrha? For whom bind’st thou
             In wreaths thy golden hair,
Plain in thy neatness? O how oft shall he
Of faith and changed gods complain, and seas
             Rough with black winds, and storms
             Unwonted shall admire!
Who now enjoys thee credulous, all gold,
Who, always vacant, always amiable
             Hopes thee, of flattering gales
             Unmindful. Hapless they
To whom thou untried seem’st fair. Me, in my vow’d
Picture, the sacred wall declares to have hung
             My dank and dropping weeds
             To the stern god of sea.

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Poet Horace

POET’S REGION Italy

Subjects Love, Desire, Realistic & Complicated, Mythology & Folklore, Greek & Roman Mythology

Biography

Horace wrote poetry ranging from iambi (epodes) and sermones (satires and epistles) to carmina (lyrics). These poems paint a detailed self-portrait—laughing poet of moderation; ironic and gentle moralist; enigmatic observer of the Augustan principate; and self-deprecating lover of the Italian countryside, good wine, his friends, and, most of all, his art. By offering a poetic persona who speaks to so many human concerns, Horace . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Love, Desire, Realistic & Complicated, Mythology & Folklore, Greek & Roman Mythology

POET’S REGION Italy

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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