Prayers of Horace
by: M. Horatius Piscinus
Q. Horatius Flaccus (65-8 BCE)
Satires II 6.20-3
Father Matutinus, or else Janus, if You so prefer to hear, regarded by men as the beginning of works and life's labors, so does it please the Gods, may You begin my song.
Epistles I 18.107-12
May I have what I have now, and also a little more, that, the Gods willing, I may yet live what remains of a lifetime. May I have enough books and provisions to last the year, and not wallow in doubts with hopes wavering each hour.
It is enough to pray, Jupiter, who gives and takes away; may You grant me life; may You grant me the means, and I shall provide a balanced mind myself.
Satires II 3.281-4
Early each morning a freedman, very much up in age, made his circuit of neighborhood shrines, fasting and with washed hands praying to each in turn, "Spare me alone; it is but a little thing to ask," he would add, "Spare me alone from death. Truly, for the Gods it is something easily done."
Satires II 3.288-92
For a child lying sick in bed for five long months, a mother calls out, "O Jupiter, who gives and takes away great anguish, if the quartan ague leaves my child, then on the day You indicate to hold a fast, nude he shall stand in the Tiber River."
Carminum Liber I v
...stare in wondering shock
At winds gone wild on blackening seas!
...how false the breeze can blow.
Pity all those who have not found out
Your glossy sweetness! My shipwreck's tale
Hangs, told in colours, on Neptune's temple wall, a votive
Plaque, with salvaged clothes
Still damp, vowed to the sea's rough lord.
Carminum Liber I v 35-40; 49-52
Father of our nation, recall your neglected grandchildren. We pray You return. Alas, too long have You grown weary of the game; its din of battle, the gleaming helmets, the legions and bloodthirsty Mauri grimacing upon each other as enemies.
Rather may You love once more to be called Father and Prince, carried in great triumphal processions, and not allow the Medes to ride away unavenged. Lead Caesar to You
Carminum Liber I v 33-4
Glad Venus of Erycina, (we pray You may come), with Laughter and Cupid attending.
Carminum Liber I: xxx.1-8:
Come to us Venus, O Queen of Cnidos and Paphos, leave Cyprus, though the isle is dear to you, come instead to where the incense is thick and Glycera sings to you, that you may transfer your home to your new shrine among us. Bring along for your company desirous Cupid, loose-girdled Graces and Nymphs, youthful Juventus and Mercury, who without you are graceless
Carmina Liber III.xviii.1-8
Amorous Faunus, from whom the Nymphs flee, step lightly across my boundaries and sunny fields, and soon depart, leaving your blessing on my young lambs and kids, and leveled tender shoots.
If gentle, at year's end a plumb kid I'll offer, with wine libations liberally poured from the cups of Venus' devotees, and many sweet, fragrant herbs I?ll burn on your ancient altar.
Carmina Liber III.xxii.1-8
Guardian of hills and forest groves, Virgin, whom young mothers thrice invoke at childbirth, listen and deliver them from death. Triple goddess, to you I dedicate this pine tree that now overhangs my villa, and each year the blood of a wild boar, who ponders an oblique thrust, I will gladly give to its roots as drink.
Carminum Liber I ii 30-3
Pray now, come, augur Apollo, we pray You may come with shining shoulders shrouded in clouds.
Carminum Liber II: xix.7-8
Euhoe! Save me Liber, spare me grave master of the fearful ivy-rod.
Satres II 6.4-5
It is all for the best. Nothing more ample do I pray, O Maia's son, save that You will make these my gifts last throughout my life.
Satires II 6.14-5
May You make plump the riches of my house and all else there, save my natural talents in any case, and as usual, may You remain the primary guardian over me.
Satires II 6.8
O if only this nearby corner of land would fall to my share, which squares the little field I now have.
Satires II 6.10-3
O if only an urn of silver Fortuna would ordain that for me, like the man who found a treasure, and with it bought the very same field in which he worked as a hired hand, a divine favor from Hercules.
Note: Compare to Persius Satires II 11, "O if only favoring Hercules would set an urn of silver beneath my serrated hoe."
O shining Phoebe and forest Diana,
shining ornaments of the sky,
ever gentle and refined, O sacred brows,
give us what we pray for now,
Against what the Sibyl warned,
rich voices of choice virgins and
innocent boys lift in song on behalf
of these seven hills.
Nurturing Sol, shining charioteer,
who brings forth and conceals light,
born each day unaltered, may you
Never see a city greater than Rome.
Gentle Moon, Ilithyia, Lucina,
by whatever name you wish called,
Gentalis, watch over mothers,
may you give them gentle deliveries.
Goddess, bring forth offspring,
May Rome prosper by the Senate?s
new law on marriage and parenthood
with many more boys and girls.
So that in eleven decades of years
new throngs of Romans shall witness
these games and songs, for three
clear days and three long nights.
And you, O Fates, faithful prophets,
keep Rome safe throughout time,
harness her destiny with glories
and a future of great renown.
May Mother Earth, fertile in fruit
and cattle, crown Ceres with wheat,
and nurture the fertility of the land,
healthful waters, and gentle breezes.
Apollo, put aside your bow, and listen
mildly and kindly to the prayers of boys.
Luna, crescent Queen of the Stars,
Listen to the prayers of virgin girls.
Rome was your great work, when Ilians
followed your advice to abandon Troy
and carry their Lares to a safe haven
on Etruscan shores.
Pure Aeneas, passionate and honest,
last of the royal house of Troy,
paved the way for greater glories
than Ilium that he left behind.
Gods, show our children the ways of
virtue. Gods, give our elderly peace and
quiet. Give wealth, offspring, and every
honor to the houses of Romulus.
Tonight with the blood of a white ox
the glorious son of Anchises and Venus
venerates you. Grant that he may long
Be victorious, and lenient on his foes.
Over land and sea Rome?s potent hand now
stretches; the Medes fear for their safety;
and once haughty Scythians and India now
ask for gentle response to their entreaties.
Fidelity, Peace, Honor, and Modesty, and
once neglected Virtue now returns, and
with them plentiful blessing pour on Rome
as fruits from a cornucopia.
Phoebus, augur, archer of the flashing bow
accepted master of the nine Muses
whose arts bring health and eases the ills
of a wearied body,
Be pleased by what you see on the altars
upon the Palatine, and answer our prayers
that lasting prosperity and happiness
you bestow on Rome and the Latins.
Diana, who dwells on the Aventine and
Algidus hilltops, graciously lend your ears
to the prayers of virile men and young boys
May Jove and all the gods approve these
good wishes, that the skilled choir,
singing the praises of Diana and Apollo,
may happily carry home their hopes.