quicumque primum, et sacrilega manu
produxit, arbos, in nepotum
perniciem opprobriumque pagi.
Illum et parentis credidderim sui
fregisse cervicem et penetralia
sparsisse nocturno cruore
hospitis; ille venena Colcha
et quicquid usquam concipitur nefas
tractavit, agro qui statuit meo
te, triste lignum, te caducum
in domini caput immerentis.
Quid quisque vitet, numquam homini satis
cautum est in horas. Navita Bosphorum
Poenus perhorrescit neque ultra
caeca timet aliunde fata;
miles sagittas et celerem fugam
Parthi, catenas Parthus et Italum
robur; sed improvisa leti
vis rapuit rapietque gentis.
Quam paene furvae regna Proserpinae
et iudicantem vidimus Aeacum
sedesque discriptas piorum et
Aeoliis fidibus querentem
Sappho puellis de popularibus
et te sonantem plenius aureo,
Alcaee, plectro dura navis,
dura fugae mala, dura belli.
Utrumque sacro digna silentio
mirantur umbrae dicere; sed magis
pugnas et exactos tyrannos
densum umeris bibit aure vulgus.
Quid mirum, ubi illis carminibus stupens
demittit atras belua centiceps
auris, et intorti capillis
Eumenidum recreantur angues?
Quin et Prometheus et Pelopis parens
dulci laborem decipitur sono,
nec curat Orion leones
aut timidos agitare lyncas.
He placed you on an inauspicious day,
whoever first placed you, and with a sacrilegious hand
he tended you, tree, to the ruin of his descendants
and the shame of the district.
I would believe that he had broke the neck
of his parents and that he had scattered the
hearthstones with the nocturnal blood
of h is guest; he has dealt with Colchian poisons
and whatever sin is ever conceived,
he who placed you in my field,
wretched log, you destined to fall
on the head of an undeserving master.
That which one avoids, one is never cautious
enough from one hour to the next. A Punic sailor
trembles at the Bosphorus, and does not fear
blind fates from somewhere else beyond;
a soldier trembles at the arrows and swift flight
of Parthia, and a Parthian fears Italian chains and
strength; but the unexpected strength of death
has seized and will seize the nations.
How nearly I did see the kingdoms of
dusky Proserpina and judging Aeacus
and the assigned seats of the pious ones and
Sappho complaining with an Aeolian lyre
about the local girls
and you, Alcaeus, sounding more fully
with a golden quill of the hardships at sea,
the evil hardships of exile, and the hardships of war.
The shades each marvel to say things worthy
of a sacred silence; but the crowd, packed to the
shoulders, drinks with their ear more
the battles and exiled tyrants.
What strange thing is it, when the hundred-headed
beast, astounded by these songs, droops his black
ears, and the snakes twisting
in the hairs of the Fates rest?
Yes, even Prometheus and the parent of Pelops
are deceived with respect to their labor by a sweet sound,
nor does Orion care to pursue
the lions or the timid lynxes.