Odes From Horace. - To Licinius Murena. Book The Second, Ode The Tenth.

A poem by Anna Seward

Not always, dear Licinius, is it wise
On the main Sea to ply the daring Oar;
Nor is it safe, from dread of angry Skies,
Closely to press on the insidious Shore.
To no excess discerning Spirits lean,
They feel the blessings of the golden mean;
They will not grovel in the squalid cell,
Nor seek in princely domes, with envied pomp, to dwell.

The pine, that lifts so high her stately boughs,
Writhes in the storms, and bends beneath their might,
Innoxious while the loudest tempest blows
O'er trees, that boast a less-aspiring height.
As the wild fury of the whirlwind pours,
With direst ruin fall the loftiest towers;
And 't is the mountain's summit that, oblique,
From the dense, lurid clouds, the baleful lightnings strike.

A mind well disciplin'd, when Sorrow lours,
Not sullenly excludes Hope's smiling rays;
Nor, when soft Pleasure boasts of lasting powers,
With boundless trust the Promiser surveys.
It is the same dread Jove, who thro' the sky
Hurls the loud storms, that darken as they fly;
And whose benignant hand withdraws the gloom,
And spreads rekindling light, in all its living bloom.

To-day the Soul perceives a weight of woe; -
A brighter Morrow shall gay thoughts inspire.
Does [2]Phoebus always bend the vengeful bow?
Wakes he not often the harmonious lyre?
Be thou, when Danger scowls in every wave,
Watchful, collected, spirited, and brave;
But in the sunny sky, the flattering gales,
Contract, with steady hand, thy too expanded sails.

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