Quamuis digressu ueteris confusus amici
laudo tamen, uacuis quod sedem figere Cumis
destinet atque unum ciuem donare Sibyllae.
ianua Baiarum est et gratum litus amoeni
secessus. ego uel Prochytam praepono Suburae;
Grieved though I am to see the man depart,
Who long has shared, and still must share my heart,
Yet (when I call my better judgment home)
I praise his purpose; to retire from Rome,
And give, on Cumae’s solitary coast,
The Sibyl—one inhabitant to boast!
Full on the road to Baiae, Cumae lies,
And many a sweet retreat her shore supplies—
Though I prefer even Prochyta’s bare strand,
To the Subura:—for, what desert land,
What wild, uncultured spot, can more affright,
Than fires, wide blazing through the gloom of night,
Houses, with ceaseless ruin, thundering down,
And all the horrours of this hateful town?
Where poets, while the dogstar glows, rehearse,
To gasping multitudes, their barbarous verse!
Now had my friend, impatient to depart,
Consign’d his little all to one poor cart:
For this, without the town, he chose to wait;
But stopp’d a moment at the Conduit - gate.—
Here Numa erst his nightly visits paid,
And held high converse with the Egerian maid:
Now the once-hallow’d fountain, grove, and fane,
Are let to Jews, a wretched, wandering train,
Whose furniture’s a basket fill’d with hay,—
For every tree is forced a tax to pay;
And while the heaven-born Nine in exile rove,
The beggar rents their consecrated grove!
Thence slowly winding down the vale, we view
The Egerian grots—ah, how unlike the true!
Nymph of the Spring! More honour’d hadst thou been,
If, free from art, an edge of living green,
Thy bubbling fount had circumscribed alone,
And marble ne’er profaned the native stone.
nam quid tam miserum, tam solum uidimus, ut non
deterius credas horrere incendia, lapsus
tectorum adsiduos ac mille pericula saeuae
urbis et Augusto recitantes mense poetas?
sed dum tota domus raeda componitur una,
substitit ad ueteres arcus madidamque Capenam.
hic, ubi nocturnae Numa constituebat amicae
(nunc sacri fontis nemus et delubra locantur
Iudaeis, quorum cophinus fenumque supellex;
omnis enim populo mercedem pendere iussa est
arbor et eiectis mendicat silua Camenis),
in uallem Egeriae descendimus et speluncas
dissimiles ueris. quanto praesentius esset
numen aquis, uiridi si margine cluderet undas
herba nec ingenuum uiolarent marmora tofum.