Quem tu , Melpomene , semel
nascentem placido lumine videris ,
illum non labor Isthmius
clarabit pugilem , non equus impiger
curru ducet Achaico
victorem , neque res bellica Deliis
ornatum foliis ducem ,
quod regum tumidas contuderit minas ,
ostendet Capitolio ;
sed quae Tibur aquae fertile praefluunt
et spissae nemorum comae
fingent Aeolio carmine nobilem .
Romae principis urbium
dignatur suboles inter amabilis
vatum ponere me choros ,
et iam dente minus mordeor invido .
O testudinis aureae
dulcem quae strepitum , Pieri , temperas ,
o mutis quoque piscibus
donatura cycni , si libeat , sonum ,
totum muneris hoc tui est ,
quod monstror digito praetereuntium
Romanae fidicen lyrae ;
quod spiro et placeo , si placeo , tuum est .
He whom thou , Melpomene ,
Hast welcomed with thy smile , in life arriving ,
Ne ' er by boxer ' s skill shall be
Renown ' d abroad , for Isthmian mastery striving ;
Him shall never fiery steed
Draw in Achaean car a conqueror seated ;
Him shall never martial deed
Show , crown ' d with bay , after proud kings defeated ,
Climbing Capitolian steep :
But the cool streams that make green Tibur flourish ,
And the tangled forest deep ,
On soft Aeolian airs his fame shall nourish .
Rome , of cities first and best ,
Deigns by her sons ' according voice to hail me
Fellow-bard of poets blest ,
And faint and fainter envy ' s growls assail me .
Goddess , whose Pierian art
The lyre ' s sweet sounds can modulate and measure ,
Who to dumb fish canst impart
The music of the swan , if such thy pleasure :
O , ' tis all of thy dear grace
That every finger points me out in going
Lyrist of the Roman race ;
Breath , power to charm , if mine , are thy bestowing !
Melpomene , Muse , one whom you
have looked on with favourable eyes at his birth
Ismian toil will never grant
fame as a boxer : while no straining horses
will draw him along , triumphant
in a Greek chariot , nor will his acts of war
show him to the high Capitol ,
wreathed with the Delian laurel crown , who’s crushed
the bloated menaces of kings :
but the waters that run beneath fertile Tibur ,
and the thick leafage of the groves ,
will make him of note in Aeolian song .
It’s thought that I’m worthy by Rome’s
children , the first of cities , to rank there among
the choir of delightful poets ,
and already envy’s teeth savage me less .
O Pierian girl , you who
command the golden tortoise shell’s sweet melodies ,
O you , who could , if you wished ,
lend a swan’s singing , too , to the silent fishes ,
all of this is a gift of yours :
that I’m pointed out by the passer-by as one
who’s a poet of the Roman lyre :
that I’m inspired , and please as I please : is yours .