Professor in Pure Foolishness

I, who have never been
A generous or a keen
Friend of the gods, must now confess
Myself professor in pure foolishness

And, driven by sheer force
Of proof to alter course,
Must shift my sails and voyage back
To think again upon a different tack.

For Jove, who usually throws
A lightning-flash that goes
Glittering through intervening cloud,
This morning hurtled with his thunder-loud

Chariot and horses through
A sky entirely blue
The brute earth and its restless waters,
Styx and the hateful underworld’s grim quarters,

Even the last known land
Where Atlas takes his stand
Staggered. I see, then, that God can
Change high and low: the unregarded man

Steps up, the proud backs down.
Here Fortune sets a crown,
And there upon her screeching wing
She swoops to dispossess another king.

(Horace, Ode XXXIV, Book I, Translated by James Michie)