Page:The works of Horace - Christopher Smart.djvu/23

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ode iii.



of the winds, confining all except Iapyx,[1] direct thee, O ship, who art intrusted with Virgil; my prayer is, that thou mayest land[2] him safe on the Athenian shore, and preserve the half of my soul. Surely oak[3] and three-fold brass surrounded his heart who first trusted a frail vessel to the merciless ocean, nor was afraid of the impetuous Africus contending with the northern storms, nor of the mournful Hyades[4], nor of the rage of Notus, than whom there is not a more absolute controller of the Adriatic, either to raise or assuage its waves at pleasure. What path of death[5] did he fear, who beheld unmoved the rolling monsters of the deep; who beheld unmoved the tempestuous swelling of the sea, and the Acroceraunians[6]–ill-famed rocks?

In vain has God in his wisdom divided the countries of the earth by the separating[7] ocean, if nevertheless profane ships bound over waters not to be violated. The race of man presumptuous enough to endure everything, rushes on through forbidden wickedness.

The presumptuous son of Iäpetus, by an impious fraud,

    as long as they lived, freed the seas from pirates and robbers, they are said to have received power from Neptune, the god of the sea, of helping those who were in danger of being shipwrecked, by being turned into stars, which makes our poet invoke them under this epithet, "Lucida sidera, fratres Helenæ." Watson.

  1. The W. N. W.
  2. With reddas and serves understand ut, which stands in opposition to sic. "Usus hic particulæ sic in votis, precibus, obtestationibusque ita proprie explicandus: 'Uti nos a te hoc vel illud optamus, sic, ubi nostras preces exaudieris, hoc vel illud, quod tu optas. tibi contingat.'" Orell.
  3. In robur there is first the idea of sturdy oak, of which the Roman clypeus was made, and then, metaphorically, of strength of mind; so also in œs triplex there is allusion to the Lorica, hence the use of circa pectus. McCaul.
  4. The Hyades are a constellation in the head of the bull, whose rising and setting are frequently attended by rain, from whence the poet calls them Tristes. Francis.
  5. What kind of death could affright him. The ancients dreaded shipwreck as the worst sort of death, as being thereby liable to be devoured by fish, dashed against rocks, or cast upon an uninhabited island. Watson.
  6. The poet, with a very delicate flattery, calls these rocks infamous, because Augustus very narrowly escaped shipwreck on them, when he returned from the battle of Actium. Francis.
  7. Active, as "Genitabilis aura Favoni," Lucret. i. 11; "penetrabilo fulmen," Ovid, Met. xiii. 857.