The Spike: or, Victoria College Review, June 1909
Antipodean Horace. — Liber I. Carmen IV
Liber I. Carmen IV.
"Solvitur acris hiems grata vice veris...."
Keen winter, with his icy southern blast,
in languor melts before the breath of Spring.
The yachtsman trims his vessel, steps the mast,
Brings forth the canvas like a folded wing,
and into her loved ocean guides the keel
for months athirst In durance of the stocks.
The fisherman now plies his rod and reel,
or flings the Baited line from off the rocks;
And as a swallow in the northern sphere,
Prime herald of the season through the land,
Flies near the gelid waters— not too near—
a bather unadorned flits o'er the sand.
Then Venus leads the chorus of the sand.
a measure to love's immemorial tune;
fond lovers hear the simple opening bars,
and trip it blithely, neath the vernal moon.
Now is it time to deck the glossy head
with crown of straw in verdant ribbon bound,
and in a posy brightest flowers thread
Whate'er on earth emancipate is found.
Meanwhile, in shady haunts of savage man,
Bay whares where on holidays he stops,
The glowing altars sacrifice to Pan
Burnt offerings of sausages or chops.
Hut of the poor or mansion of the rich,
Death knocks with even hand at either door;
Brief is the sum of life : Death turns the switch —
Our little light is out to burn no more.
Thee, happy Hendry, will the darkness whelm,
Sooner or later, and amid the host
of phantoms thronging through the cheerless realm
of night eternal, shalt thou roam a ghost.
In spirit-land, there to when thou shalt come,
Thou shalt not toss the coin to see who pays
For wine: nor Flora, tender as a plum,
Adore—Flora, whom all the youth now praise;
Sans wine, sans women shalt thou pass thy days!