The sixth poem of the second book of Horace's Odes (published 23 BCE) represents Horace's powerful verbalisation of the sentimental longing for the countryside that was so prevalent in the upper levels of Roman society. In this ode, Horace speaks movingly of his desire for a tranquil and lovely place to dwell (and to end his days), where the climate is clement and the fertile soil bestows bounty upon the inhabitants.

Septimi, Gadis aditure mecum et
Cantabrum indoctum iuga ferre nostra et
barbaras Syrtis, ubi Maura semper
aestuat unda:

Tibur Argeo positum colono
sit meae sedes utinam senectae,
sit modus lasso maris et viarum

unde si Parcae prohibent iniquae,
dulce pellitis ovibus Galaesi
flumen et regnata petam Laconi
rura Phalantho.

ille terrarum mihi praeter omnis
angulus ridet, ubi non Hymetto
mella decedunt viridique certat
baca Venafro,

ver ubi longum tepidasque praebet
Iuppiter brumas et amicus Aulon
fertili Baccho minimum Falernis
invidet uvis;

ille te mecum locus et beatae
postulant arces: ibi tu calentem
debita sparges lacrima favillam
vatis amici.

(ed. Fr. Vollmer, Leipzig 1917)

Septimius, who with me would brave
Far Gades, and Cantabrian land
Untamed by Rome, and Moorish wave
That whirls the sand;

Fair Tibur, town of Argive kings,
There would I end my days serene,
At rest from seas and travellings,
And service seen.

Should angry Fate those wishes foil,
Then let me seek Galesus, sweet
To skin-clad sheep, and that rich soil,
The Spartan's seat.

O, what can match the green recess,
Whose honey not to Hybla yields,
Whose olives vie with those that bless
Venafrum's fields?

Long springs, mild winters glad that spot
By Jove's good grace, and Aulon, dear
To fruitful Bacchus, envies not
Falernian cheer.

That spot, those happy heights desire
Our sojourn; there, when life shall end,
Your tear shall dew my yet warm pyre,
Your bard and friend.

(transl. John Conington, London 1882)

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