Horace’s Integer Vitae

Translated by Thomas De Quincey, 1800, Aged 15

Fuscus! the man whose heart is pure,
Whose life unsullied by offence,
Needs not the jav’lines of the Moor
In his defence.

Should he o’er Lybia’s burning sands
Fainting pursue his breathless way,
No bow he’d seek to arm his hands
Against dismay.

Quivers of poisoned shafts he’d scorn,
Nor, though unarmed, would feel a dread
To pass where Caucasus forlorn
Rears his huge head.

In his own conscious worth secure,
Fearless he’d roam amidst his foes,
Where fabulous Hydaspes pure,
Romantic flows.

For late as in the Sabine wood
Singing my Lalage I strayed,
Unarmed I was, a wolf there stood;
He fled afraid.

Larger than which one ne’er was seen
In warlike Daunia’s beechen groves,
Nor yet in Juba’s land, where e’en
The lion roves.

Send me to dreary barren lands
Where never summer zephyrs play,
Where never sun dissolves the bands
Of ice away:

Send me again to scorching realms
Where not one cot affords a seat,
And where no shady pines or elms
Keep off the heat:

In every clime, in every isle,
Me Lalage shall still rejoice;
I’ll think of her enchanting smile
And of her voice.

Translated by Leigh Hunt, 1801, Aged 17

The man, my friend, that in his breast
With ev’ry purer virtue’s blest,
Safe in his own approving heart
Needs not the Moor’s protecting dart,
Or seeks to bend against the foe
With nervous arm the pliant bow,
Nor o’er his neck throws, proudly great,
The quiver big with pois’nous fate.

Whether on Afric’s desert coast,
Mid burning sands his steps are lost;
Or where Caucasian rocks on high
Lift their proud summits to the sky,
Heap’d with inhospitable snow
Pale gleaming o’er the plains below,
Or where the streams romantic glide
Of soft Hydaspe’s silver tide.

For, as along the Sabine grove
I sung the beauties of my love,
And, free from care, too distant stray’d
Within its dark embow’ring shade;
The prowling wolf, with blood-shot eye,
Unarm’d, beheld me wand’ring nigh;
And, while I shook in silent dread,
With howls the rav’ning monster fled!

Such, the grim terror of the wood,
Ne’er learnt to lap the trav’ller’s blood,
Or from the panting victim tore
The quiv’ring limbs with stifled roar,
Where Daunia’s spreading oaks arise
In rugged grandeur to the skies;
Or where the Moorish lion stalks
With monarch pride his arid walks.

O lay me where Sol’s gayest child,
Refulgent Summer, never smil’d;
Nor Zephyr’s mild refreshing breeze
Fann’d the rich foliage of the trees;
Where ev’ry black portentous cloud
And all the foggy vapours croud,
When angry Jove in noxious air
Extends his arm for vengeance bare;

O lay me where Sol, driving high,
Flames wide along the sultry sky,
No roof, beneath his parching ray,
To soothe the pilgrim’s weary way;
Yet, yet will I, nor ask for more,
My lovely Lalage adore;
Her, who each love-wing’d hour beguiles,
As soft she speaks, and sweet she smiles!