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The Spike or Victoria College Review, June 1907

Antipodean Horace — Carmen I

Antipodean Horace

Carmen I

McKenna, sprung from Ancient Kings
Of Erin, O My friend in need,
Of many men the poet sings;
And first of such as love the steed;
The centaurs of the Classic race
At Riccarton or Avondale
Leap from the barrier, set the pace,
And closely hug the inner rail
And spurn the dust along the straight
And win the cup and stakes, that crown
Them lords of earth, and gods create
For seventh heaven of renown.
Then here a man, if city mobs
To pride of office him would bear,
With ecstacy of triumph throbs,
When he is thrice elected mayor;
And there another lives to hoard
The fruits of Canterbury fields,
And keeps them in his corner stored,
Till to his price the market yields.
The freehold farmer with his plough
Not all the gold of Grand Waihi
Would tempt aboard an Auckland scow
To cleave the barren Tasman sea.
The merchant midst the billows high
Of wind-swept Straits afraid to drown
For rural restfulness will sigh
Back in the suburbs of his town;
page 73 But soon upon the Patent Slip
He has repaired his battered craft
And braves the Terawhiti rip,
With genteel poverty abaft.
What of the man who does not spurn
A fragrant cup of rich Bohea
And snatches by the steaming urn
Part of the solid business day!
Lo, here the kilted warrior wipes
His lips and chafes his ice-cold knees,
Then marches to the to the skirling pipes,
While mothers erring infants seize;
See there the hunter bivouac,
Unmindful of his tender wife,
When stag is viewed by yelling pack
Or boar at bay awaits the knife.
The hero of the bounding ball
'Mid jostling forms of friend and foe
Essays with might and main to fall
Across the line in heaving throe.
The student, for his learning capped
A Bachelor of Laws or Arts,
Straight on Olympian clouds is wrapt
And from the mob for ever parts.
But me the cooling bush delights
Across the harbour at the bay
And quaint fandangos danc'd o' nights
By rustic nymphs in light array;
Yet if Torzillo touch the lyre
Or Arral warble sweetest bars,
I feel such music might inspire
Songs worthy of the lyric stars.

Translation by A. F. T. C.