Notus in fratres animi paterni. Hor. Carm. lib.II.2.
A blessйd lot hath he, who having passed His youth and early manhood in the stir And turmoil of the world, retreats at length, With cares that move, not agitate the heart, To the same dwelling where his father dwelt; And haply views his tottering little ones Embrace those agйd knees and climb that lap, On which first kneeling his own infancy Lisp'd its brief prayer. Such, O my earliest Friend! Thy lot, and such thy brothers too enjoy. At distance did ye climb Life's upland road, Yet cheered and cheering: now fraternal love Hath drawn you to one centre. Be your days Holy, and blest and blessing may ye live!
To me the Eternal Wisdom hath dispens'd A different fortune and more different mind— Me from the spot where first I sprang to light Too soon transplanted, ere my soul had fix'd Its first domestic loves; and hence through life Chasing chance-started friendships. A brief while Some have preserved me from life's pelting ills; But, like a tree with leaves of feeble stem, If the clouds lasted, and a sudden breeze Ruffled the boughs, they on my head at once Dropped the collected shower; and some most false, False and fair-foliag'd as the Manchineel, Have tempted me to slumber in their shade E'en mid the storm; then breathing subtlest damps, Mix'd their own venom with the rain from Heaven, That I woke poison'd! But, all praise to Him Who gives us all things, more have yielded me Permanent shelter; and beside one Friend, Beneath the impervious covert of one oak, I've rais'd a lowly shed, and know the names Of Husband and of Father; not unhearing Of that divine and nightly-whispering Voice, Which from my childhood to maturer years Spake to me of predestinated wreaths, Bright with no fading colours! Yet at times My soul is sad, that I have roam'd through life Still most a stranger, most with naked heart At mine own home and birth-place: chiefly then, When I remember thee, my earliest Friend! Thee, who didst watch my boyhood and my youth; Didst trace my wanderings with a father's eye; And boding evil yet still hoping good, Rebuk'd each fault, and over all my woes Sorrow'd in silence! He who counts alone The beatings of the solitary heart, That Being knows, how I have lov'd thee ever, Lov'd as a brother, as a son rever'd thee! Oh! 'tis to me an ever new delight, To talk of thee and thine: or when the blast Of the shrill winter, rattling our rude sash, Endears the cleanly hearth and social bowl; Or when, as now, on some delicious eve, We in our sweet sequester'd orchard-plot Sit on the tree crook'd earth-ward; whose old boughs, That hang above us in an arborous roof, Stirr'd by the faint gale of departing May, Send their loose blossoms slanting o'er our heads!
Nor dost not thou sometimes recall those hours, When with the joy of hope thou gavest thine ear To my wild firstling-lays. Since then my song Hath sounded deeper notes, such as beseem Or that sad wisdom folly leaves behind, Or such as, tuned to these tumultuous times, Cope with the tempest's swell!
These various strains, Which I have fram'd in many a various mood, Accept, my Brother! and (for some perchance Will strike discordant on thy milder mind) If aught of error or intemperate truth Should meet thine ear, think thou that riper Age Will calm it down, and let thy love forgive it!