Monday, December 12, 2016

Missal tow

   .. Let the storm come on,

   Let my little boat shudder and plunge in the turbulent sea,
   I will not do as the voyaging merchant does
   And cravenly pray and bargain with vows to the gods
   To save my goods. I'll ride the storm out, and,

   Perhaps, at last, with the help of the heavenly twins,
   Castor and Pollux, under whose fortunate sign
   The storm subsides and the clouds disperse, I'll sail,
   Carried by clearing breezes, safe into port.

In the year-ending days set aside, at least by custom, to so much reflection as events, themselves, now heap in our paths, one wouldn't like to be without the poet cited so often here, as being at one's back. This was an incredibly gutsy writer; although sustained by an imperial patron whose name is still synonymous with authoritarian magnificence, he also stood stunningly, dangerously independent, and enormously outlived his era as few ever have. Now, when we remark with any favor at all, on Caesar, it's for his gift for prose. But he's not who's hauled the wonder of his language to this day, setting true its pur-pose, as we know it still.

The Odes
23 - 16 BC
David Ferry
Book III, xxix
  To Maecenas
Farrar, Straus & Giroux
op. cit.

iii  Ladislav Sitensky

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