Debits and Credits

The Last Ode

(Nov. 27, B.C. 8)

HORACE, Ode 31, Bk. V.

Rudyard Kipling

AS watchers couched beneath a Bantine oak,
    Hearing the dawn-wind stir,
Know that the present strength of night is broke
    Though no dawn threaten her
Till dawn’s appointed hour—so Virgil died,
Aware of change at hand, and prophesied

Change upon all the Eternal Gods had made
    And on the Gods alike—
Fated as dawn but, as the dawn, delayed
    Till the just hour should strike—

A Star new-risen above the living and dead;
    And the lost shades that were our loves restored
As lovers, and for ever. So he said;
    Having received the word . . .

Maecenas waits me on the Esquiline:
    Thither to-night go I . . . .
And shall this dawn restore us, Virgil mine,
    To dawn? Beneath what sky?

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