Page:The works of Horace - Christopher Smart.djvu/36

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18

ODES OF HORACE

book i.

winds in an unpleasant calm, that he might sing[1] the dire fates. "With unlucky omen art thou conveying home her, whom Greece with a numerous army shall demand back again, having entered into a confederacy to dissolve your nuptials, and the ancient kingdom of Priam. Alas! what sweat to horses, what to men, is just at hand! What a destruction art thou preparing for the Trojan nation! Even now Pallas is fitting her helmet, and her shield, and her chariot, and her fury. In vain, looking fierce through the patronage of Venus, will you comb your hair, and run divisions[2] upon the effeminate lyre with songs pleasing to women. In vain will you escape the spears that disturb the nuptial bed, and the point of the Cretan dart,[3] and the din [of battle], and Ajax swift in the pursuit. Nevertheless, alas! the time will come, though late, when thou shalt defile thine adulterous hairs in the dust. Dost thou not see the son of Laërtes, fatal to thy nation, and Pylian Nestor, Salaminian Teucer, and Sthenelus[4] skilled in fight (or if there be occasion to manage horses, no tardy

    by Yirgil he is called Grandaevus. Nereus is also sometimes taken for the sea. Watson.

  1. "Canere" is commonly used of uttering predictions.
  2. The expression carmina dividere feminis, according to Anthon, means nothing more than to execute different airs for different females, in succession; but Paris would hardly do this in the presence of Helen. Orelli's view is, "that the whole piece consists of two parts, the vocal and the instrumental. The symphony of the lyre breaks (dividit) the continuity of the song. The song divides the symphony," i. e. you sing, and alternately play upon your amorous lyre, strains, etc. "We should, I think, construe divides with carmina, and grata with feminis, as expressive of their effeminacy. The phrase means simply to execute various soft airs upon the lyre. The word "division" in our own language, derived, of course, from the Latin dividere, was used in the sixteenth century, technically for musical compositions. Thus Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet:

    Some say the lark makes sweet division,
    This is not so.

    Again,

    And all the while sweet music did divide
    Her looser strains with Lydian harmonies."

    Spenc. F. Q., quoted by Howell.McCaul.

  3. Calami spicula Gnossii. It is probable, from this expression, that the Cretans, who were excellent archers, instead of arrows, made use of a kind of hard, slender, pointed reed, which grew in the sands of their island. Thus Ovid; "Nec Gortiniaco calamus levis exit ab arcu." San.
  4. Sthenelus, the son of Capaneus and Evadne, one of the Greek captains that was at Troy, and was also shut up in the wooden horse. Watson.