Excerpt from Carmen Saeculare

Horace

Phoebus Apollo, Diana, queen of the forests,
O deities the glories of the sky,
Most worthy to be worshiped, grant, we pray,
Our prayers in the sacred season.

Now is the time the Sibylline Leaves ordain
That the chosen maidens and pure young men should sing
The poem written in honor of the gods
Who favor the Seven Hills.

Beneficent sun who carries the light
And bears it away again, born every day
Anew and yet the same, may sun never shine
On any greater city.

Ilithyia, kind goddess, Genitalis,
Or Lucina, as you choose, whose kindness is
To bring to birth all things when they are ready,
Watch over mothers now.

Bring up our offspring tenderly, O goddess,
And foster well the Fathers’ marriage laws
And bless new marriages that there may be
New offspring to be blessed,
That joyful throngs, ten times eleven years
Come round again, may celebrate with songs
And festive games three days the sun shines on,
Three moonlit joyful nights.

An may the Fates, having been true to us
In what they told, fulfill the prophecy
Until the end; may fortunate destiny
Be joined to fortunate past.
Fertile in crops and fertile in cattle too,
May Earth crown Ceres with a wheaten crown,
And may Jove’s favoring rains and favoring breezes
Ensure an abundant harvest.

Apollo, gentle and mild, put away your arrow,
Hearing the supplications of the youths;
And Luna, crescent queen of all the stars,
Hear the young maidens.
Rome is your work, and those who came from Troy,
Bearing their household gods and seeking new homes,
Came to the Tuscan shore at your command,
Watched over by you,
When pious Aeneas, he who survived the flames,
Made his dangerous journey across the seas,
Loading his people to freedom, and bringing with them
More than they left behind.

O teach our young how to learn virtuous ways;
Give to our elders peaceable tranquil days;
And grant to all who descend from Romulus
Prosperity and honor.
Grant what the heir of Anchises and of Venus
At the sacrifice of the milk-white oxen prays for:
That he may be victorious in conquest,
Magnanimous to the conquered.

The parthians fear our power on sea and land;
They fear the axes of our Alban warriors;
The Indians and Scythians once were scornful,
And now they sue for peace.
Now Faith and Peace and ancient Modesty
And long-neglected Virtue and Honor dare
To return to be among us, and Plenty with
Her cornucopia.

Augur Apollo who carries the shining bow,
You whom the goddess Muses serve and adore,
You with your healing art, the medicine of
Afflicted mind and body,

 

 

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