haec ubi sum furtim lingua titubante locutus, qui mihi monstraret, vix fuit unus, iter. “di tibi dent, nostro quod non tribuere poetae, molliter in patria vivere posse tua. 25duc age! namque sequar, quamvis terraque marique longinquo referam lassus ab orbe pedem.” paruit, et ducens “haec sunt fora Caesaris,” inquit, “haec est a sacris quae via nomen habet, hic locus est Vestae, qui Pallada servat et ignem, 30haec fuit antiqui regia parva Numae.” inde petens dextram “porta est” ait “ista Palati, hic Stator, hoc primum condita Roma loco est.” singula dum miror, video fulgentibus armis conspicuos postes tectaque digna deo, 35et “Iovis haec” dixi “domus est?” quod ut esse putarem, augurium menti querna corona dabat. cuius ut accepi dominum, “non fallimur,” inquam, “et magni verum est hanc Iovis esse domum. cur tamen opposita1 velatur ianua lauro, 40cingit et augustas arbor opaca fores2? num quia perpetuos meruit domus ista triumphos, an quia Leucadio semper amata deo est? ipsane quod festa est, an quod facit omnia festa? quam tribuit terris, pacis an ista nota est?
- 3Jupiter Stator.
- 4The oaken wreath was given to Augustus as saviour of the citizens, but the oak was also sacred to Jove.
- 5Augustus’ house was (by a degree of the senate) kept continually adorned with oak and laurel, triumphal insignia. His victory at Actium occurred near the temple of Leucadian Apollo and he honoured Apollo above all other gods.
21 When thus I had spoken timidly, with hesitant tongue, I found with difficulty just one to show me the way.
23 “May the gods grant you what they have not vouchsafed our poet, the power to live at ease in your native land—come, lead me; I will follow, though by land and sea I come in weariness from a distant world.”
27 He obeyed, and as he guided me, said, “This is Caesar’s forum; this is the street named from the sacred rites.1 This is the place of Vesta guarding Pallas2 and the fire, here was once the tiny palace of ancient Numa. Then turning to the right, “That,” he said, “is the gate of the Palatium. Here is Stator3; on this spot first was Rome founded.” While I was marvelling at one thing after another, I beheld doorposts marked out from others by gleaming arms and a dwelling worthy of a god!
35 “Is this also Jove’s abode?” I said, and for such thought an oaken wreath4 gave to my mind the augury. And when I learned its master, I said, “No error is mine; it is true that this is the home of mighty Jove. But why is the door screened by the laurels before it, their dark foliage surrounding the august portals? Can it be because that home has deserved unending triumph or because it has always been loved by the Leucadian5 god? Is it because the house itself is full of joy or because it fills all things with joy? Is it a mark of that peace which it has given to the world? And as