Piger

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sed tu, dum nimio possessa Hyperione flagrat
torva Cleonaei iuba sideris, exue curis
pectus et assiduo temet furare labori.
et sontes operit pharetras arcumque retendit
Parthus, et Eleis auriga laboribus actos
Alpheo permulcet equos, et nostra fatescit
laxaturque chelys: vires instigat alitque
tempestiva quies; maior post otia virtus.
talis cantata Briseide venit Achilles
acrior et positis erupit in Hectora plectris.
te quoque flammabit tacite repetita parumper
desidia et solitos novus exsultabis in actus.
certe iam Latiae non miscent iurgia leges,
et pacem piger annus habet, messesque reversae
dimisere forum, nec iam tibi turba reorum
vestibulo querulique rogant exire clientes.
cessat centeni moderatrix iudicis hasta,
qua tibi sublimi iam nunc celeberrima fama
eminet et iuvenis facundia praeterit annos.
felix curarum, cui non Heliconia cordi
serta nec imbelles Parnasi e vertice laurus,
sed viget ingenium et magnos accinctus in usus
fert animus quascumque vices. nos otia vitae
solamur cantu ventosaque gaudia famae
quaerimus. en egomet somnum et geniale secutus
litus ubi Ausonio se condidit hospita portu
Parthenope, tenues ignavo pollice chordas
pulso Maroneique sedens in margine templi
sumo animum et magni tumulis accanto magistri.
(Statius, Silv. 4.4.27-55)

But while the grim mane of Cleonae’s star* blazes in the grip of too powerful Hyperion, strip your breast of its cares and steal yourself from ceaseless work. The Parthian covers his guilty quiver and unstrings his bow, the charioteer bathes his horses in Alpheus, hard-driven in the labors of Elis; my lyre too grows weary, its strings relax. Timely rest stimulates and fosters strength, energy is greater after ease. So came Achilles the fiercer after he had sung of Briseis; putting by his quill, out he burst against Hector. You also shall idleness silently inflame, sought again for a little while, and you shall leap up fresh to your wonted activities. Sure it is that Latium’s laws now cease their wrangling, the lazy season enjoys peace and returning harvests have discharged the Forum. Defendants no longer throng your anteroom nor querulous clients ask you to come out. Idle stands the Spear** that rules the Hundred Judges, whereby your eloquence is already borne far and wide conspicuous on the wings of Fame, outstripping your youthful years. Happy in your avocations, you care not for Helicon’s garlands or peaceable laurels from Parnassus’ peak; vigorous your wit, girt up for great employments your mind shoulders whatever betides, while I solace a leisured life with song and seek the fickle joys of fame. Look! Pursuing sleep and the genial shore where stranger Parthenope*** found refuge in Ausonian haven, I idly strike the slender strings; sitting on the verge of Maro’s shrine****, I take heart and sing at the tomb of the great master.

* The lion killed by Hercules at Cleonae became the constellation Leo.
** Sales of enemy or confiscated property were conducted sub hasta. Why the symbolic spear also served as emblem for the civil court of a hundred is uncertain, like many other things about this institution.
*** One of the three Sirens, who flung themselves into the sea after failing to entice Ulysses. One legend had it that she was washed ashore in the Bay of Naples and somehow founded the city.

(tr. David Roy Shackleton Bailey, with his notes)

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