Other people shall more subtly make
bronze into breathing creatures,
others will draw our living faces from marble,
others will plead better their cases at court, with the rod
discover the motions of the heavens
and learn to tell the rising of the stars.
But you, o Roman, remember to rule with your power—
these are your arts— and to impose the law of peace;
to be merciful to the conquered, and to cast down the proud.
Billowing up in a trice, clouds tear away heaven and daylight,
Blinding Teucrians’ eyes; dark night settles ghastly on ocean.
Sky roars thunder above, air ﬂashes and ﬂashes with lightning.
All signs menace the men with immediate death and destruction…
But time meanwhile is flying, flying beyond recall, while we,
charmed with love of our theme,
linger around each detail…
A sudden madness came down upon the unwary lover [Orpheus] –
forgivable, surely, if Death knew
how to forgive.