Wednesday, October 07, 2009

The Man of Doubtless Honour...

Here's another poem from one of my (former) year 12 students - her version of Horace Odes I.22. It's much longer than the original poem, but very well done in my opinion. For a comparison you might like to check out this version, by John Wesley, the 18th century preacher.

The man of doubtless honour,
Ne’er once will he require
Hostile blood-stained spears,
Forged in blood-red fire...

The guiltless man shan’t need
The quiver nor the arrow,
Poisoned though it be,
And sharp to pierce the marrow.

Fearless shall he roam
And make a journey far.
In stormy Syrtes still,
His weapons need not mar.

Untouched shall this man be
And all the lands will know,
(even gruff Caucasus!)
That free, this man shall go.

And if that man should venture,
To the mountains or the sea,
Shores washed by the Hydaspes,
Safe shall this man be.

And all these things I know,
For once I was unarmed,
And strolled in careless bliss,
Alone and yet, unharmed.

Far from home went I,
With Sabine trees above,
But as I walked I sang
Of Lalage, my true love.

And this, my song, preserved me
From dangers yet unknown;
A savage wolf appeared- but fled!
Again I was alone.

The beast was great and fearsome;
A creature of the night,
With fiendish fiery eyes.
I marvelled at his flight.

And if I went to Daunia,
I doubt that I could find,
In all her darkened forests,
A monster of this kind.

Besides, the land of Juba,
That bare and barren nurse
Of lions, awe-inspiring,
Has never birth'd that curse.

Thus I would not protest,
Dwelt I on lifeless plains-
The deathly still and silence;
Devoid of steady rains...

And I would not complain
If banished to that land
Oppressed by clouds and thunder,
By Jove’s unyielding hand.

So place me just below
The blazing star of day.
The chariots led too close,
Too late are pulled away.

And let me there be found,
Unsheltered from the heat.
No companions or respite-
Just dust beneath my feet.

I will endure this woe,
Still singing with delight
Of sweet Lalage laughing,
And speaking day and night!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm famous... wooo!
Even if I fail the HSC, i do believe
I have created a monument more everlasting than bronze. And so I am content.