Ah, not from learned Peace and gay Content Shall we of England go the way HE went - The Singer of the Red Wine and the Rose - Nay, otherwise than HIS our Day is spent!
Serene he dwelt in fragrant Nashapur, But we must wander while the Stars endure. HE knew THE SECRET: we have none that knows, No Man so sure as Omar once was sure!
In what manner of Paradise are we to conceive that you, Horace, are dwelling, or what region of immortality can give you such pleasures as this life afforded? The country and the town, nature and men, who knew them so well as you, or who ever so wisely made the best of those two worlds? Truly here you had good things, nor do you ever, in all your poems, look for more delight in the life beyond; you never expect consolation for present sorrow, and when you once have shaken hands with a friend the parting seems to you eternal.
Quis desiderio sit pudor aut modus Tam cari capitis?
So you sing, for the dear head you mourn has sunk, for ever, beneath the wave. Virgil might wander forth bearing the golden branch "the Sibyl doth to singing men allow," and might visit, as one not wholly without hope, the dim dwellings of the dead and the unborn. To him was it permitted to see and sing "mothers and men, and the bodies outworn of mighty heroes, boys and unwedded maids, and young men borne to the funeral fire before their parent's eyes." The endless caravan swept past him--"many as fluttering leaves that drop and fall in autumn woods when the first frost begins; many as birds that flock landward from the great sea when now the chill year drives them o'er the deep and leads them to sunnier lands." Such things was it given to the sacred poet to behold, and "the happy seats and sweet pleasances of fortunate souls, where the larger light clothes all the plains and dips them in a rosier gleam, plains with their own new sun and stars before unknown." Ah, not frustra pius was Virgil, as you say, Horace, in your melancholy song. In him, we fancy, there was a happier mood than your melancholy patience. "Not, though thou wert sweeter of song than Thracian Orpheus, with that lyre whose lay led the dancing trees, not so would the blood return to the empty shade of him whom once with dread wand, the inexorable God hath folded with his shadowy flocks; but patience lighteneth what heaven forbids us to undo."
Durum, sed levius fit patietia!
It was all your philosophy in that last sad resort to which we are pushed so often -
"With close-lipped Patience for our only friend, Sad Patience, too near neighbour of Despair."