non sibi sed toti

Classics Teaching Resources

Mosella by Ausonius


The Journey ; The Hymn ; Looking into the depths ; The Fishes ; The Vineyards ; The gods ; Reflections in the River ; Boatmen at Play ; The Anglers ; Riverside Villas ; Some of the Villas Described ; Tributaries of the Moselle ; A Salutation ; One day Ausonius will write of eminent Belgians ; The Moselle flows into the Rhine ; Ausonius on himself ; There is so much more to sing ; All other rivers will bow to the Moselle

14. One day Ausonius will write of eminent Belgians.

With slack-held reins I've wandered far, Too far, too many ways. I'm filled with love of you. Why mar The heralding of your praise? My song must end; lay up the lyre, My Muse. I've struck the strings. The time will come, when I retire, To work at humbler things. I'll sit in the sun as old men do To soothe each care and frown; But if my subject still be you, Honour shall be my crown. I'll sing of Belgians' derring-do, And their ancestral ways, And, man by man, the heroes who Brought glory in their days. Muses my gentle song shall spin - Threads delicate and fine - And weave the aptest patterns in, As warp and weft combine. Purple will deck my spindle too. Who then shall be my theme? The quiet farmer, wise man of law, The orator supreme, Distinguished counsel for defence, The local magistrate, The leader, known for excellence, Of his own local state, The speaker, from a college, whence Grave senators once sprang, Who dares to match the eloquence Of old Quintilian.
These ruled their cities, ministered Pure justice in their court; And though they bore the axe or sword No blood by it was sought. Some ruled the tribes of Italy, As second-rank governor, Or children of the north wind free, In far Britannia. One all but held the highest rank - Though equal to the best - And ruled the world's head city, Rome, The Emperor's colleague-guest. Fate hastens to amend at last The error she has made, That taste of honours in the past Was all that she displayed. She'll now complete what was begun. Now truly there will be The height of honour to be won By this man's progeny.
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