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marius @ sublime requiem

Though innocent you shall atone for the crimes
of your fathers, Roman, until you have restored
the temples and crumbling shrines of the Gods
and their statues grimy with smoke.

Acknowledge the rule of the Gods-and rule:
hence all things begin, to this ascribe the outcome.
Contemned, the Gods have visited many
evils on grieving Hesperia.

Already twice Monaeses and Pacorus' band
have crushed our ill-starred offensive
and preen themselves on having added
Roman spoiles to their paltry gauds.

Our city is busied with sedition has almost
suffered destruction by Egypt allied to Dacia,
the former renowned for her fleet, the latter
rather for hurtling arrows.

Teeming with sin, the times have sullied
first marriage, our children, our homes:
sprung from that source disaster has whelmed
our fatherland and our people.

The grown girl loves to be taught to be
artful and dance oriental dances,
obsessed to her dainty fingernails
with illicit amours.

She sniffs out young philand'rers at her
husbands feet, not is she nice to choose
to whom she (hurriedly) grants her favours
when the lamps are removed.

but brazenly stands when called-with her
husband's assent-though some travelling
salesman or Spanish captain
may be the agent of Shame.

The generation that dyed the Punic
sea red with blood and laid low Pyrrhus,
Antiochus and Hannibal was not born
of parents such as these,

but of manly comrades, yeoman soldiers
taught to turn the soil with Sabine hoes
and carry cut firewood at a strict
mother's bidding when the Sun

advanced the shadows of the hills
and lifted the yokes from the weary steers,
his departing chariot leading in
the hours of comfort.

What does corrupting time not diminish?
Our grandparents brought forth feebler heirs;
we are further degen'rate; and soon will beget
progeny yet more wicked.

- Horace


© Marius de Romanus
Part of Sublime Requiem