Page:The works of Horace - Christopher Smart.djvu/41

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plause was given to you in the amphitheatre,[1] that the banks of your ancestral river,[2] together with the cheerful echo of the Vatican mountain, returned your praises. You [when you are at home] will drink the Cæcuban,[3] and the grape which is squeezed in the Calenian press; but neither the Falernian vines, nor the Formian[4] hills, season my cups.



Ye tender virgins,[5] sing Diana; ye boys, sing Apollo with his unshorn hair, and Latona passionately beloved by the supreme Jupiter. Ye (virgins), praise her that rejoices in the rivers, and the thick groves, which project either from the cold Algidus, or the gloomy woods of Erymanthus, or the green Cragus. Ye boys, extol with equal praises Apollo’s Delos, and his shoulder adorned with a quiver, and with his brother Mercury’s lyre. He, moved by your intercession, shall drive away calamitous war, and miserable famine, and the plague from the Roman people and their sovereign Cæsar, to the Persians and the Britons.

  1. It is probable, from the 17th Ode of the second Book, that this applause was to congratulate Mæcenas for his escaping some accidental danger; and as the ancients were used to mark the age of their wines by the names of the consuls, or by the most extraordinary event of the year, the poet had chosen this instance of the glory and good fortune of his patron, for the date of his wine. San.
  2. Paterni fluminis. It seems as if Horace could not find a more glorious epithet for the Tiber than this, which calls it the river of Mæcenas's ancestors, who came originally from Etruria, where the Tiber has its source. San.
  3. Cæcubum, a town in Campania, not far from Caieta, The wine produced there was much esteemed. Watson.
  4. Mount Formanum, near the city Formiæ, the seat of the Læstrygones, now swallowed up by the sea, and called Golfo di Gaietta. The wine of the place was much valued. Watson.
  5. In the celebration of the festival of Bacchus, a select number of virgins, of honorable families, called κανηφόροι, κισσοφόροι, κιστοφόροι, carried small baskets of gold, in which were concealed, beneath vine, ivy, and other leaves, certain sacred mysterious things, which were not to be exposed to the eyes of the profane. Anthon.