The "Ars Poetica" Of Horace

A poem by Eugene Field

XXIII.


I love the lyric muse!
For when mankind ran wild in groves,
Came holy Orpheus with his songs
And turned men's hearts from bestial loves,
From brutal force and savage wrongs;
Came Amphion, too, and on his lyre
Made such sweet music all the day
That rocks, instinct with warm desire,
Pursued him in his glorious way.

I love the lyric muse!
Hers was the wisdom that of yore
Taught man the rights of fellow-man--
Taught him to worship God the more
And to revere love's holy ban;
Hers was the hand that jotted down
The laws correcting divers wrongs--
And so came honor and renown
To bards and to their noble songs.

I love the lyric muse!
Old Homer sung unto the lyre,
Tyrtaeus, too, in ancient days--
Still, warmed by their immortal fire,
How doth our patriot spirit blaze!
The oracle, when questioned, sings--
So we our way in life are taught;
In verse we soothe the pride of kings,
In verse the drama has been wrought.

I love the lyric muse!
Be not ashamed, O noble friend,
In honest gratitude to pay
Thy homage to the gods that send
This boon to charm all ill away.
With solemn tenderness revere
This voiceful glory as a shrine
Wherein the quickened heart may hear
The counsels of a voice divine!

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