Page:The works of Horace - Christopher Smart.djvu/42

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24

ODES OF HORACE

book i.


ODE XXII.

TO ARISTIUS FUSCUS.[1]

The man of upright life and pure from wickedness, O Fuscus, has no need of the Moorish javelins, or bow, or quiver loaded with poisoned darts. Whether he is about to make his journey through the sultry Syrtes,[2] or the inhospitable Caucasus,[3] or those places which Hydaspes,[4] celebrated in story, washes. For lately, as I was singing my Lalage, and wandered beyond my usual bounds, devoid of care, a wolf in the Sabine wood fled from me, though I was unarmed:[5] such a monster as neither the warlike Apulia nourishes in its extensive woods, nor the land of Juba,[6] the dry-nurse of lions, produces. Place me in those barren plains, where no tree is refreshed by the genial air; at that part of the world, which clouds and an inclement atmosphere infest. Place me under the chariot of the

  1. Aristius Fuscus, a good man, of virtuous morals. Horace, for the most part, dedicates his poems (and writes them on a subject) suitable to the virtues and vices of those ho addresses them to. So Sat. ix. Book i. "Ecce Fuscus Aristius occurrit mihi charus." "Behold Aristius Fuscus, dearly beloved by me, meets me." Watson.
  2. Syrtes, two quicksands on the African shore, the greater beyond Tripoli, about four hundred miles in compass; the lesser on this side, near one hundred and ninety miles in circumference. Watson.
  3. Through Caucasus, a high mountain in Asia, betwixt the Euxine and Caspian Seas, called also Garmas, and of later geographers, Cocas, or Cochias: it is situated about Iberia and Albania, on the north part. It is of great height, covered with snow, rocky, and full of trees. Watson.
  4. Hydaspes. the name of two rivers in Asia; the one in Media, near the city Susa; the other in India, near the city Nysa, which he here calls fabulous, because there are several strange things storied of it, such as that it abounds with golden sands, pearls, and precious stones, etc. Watson.
  5. "Donatus scribit Virgilium solitum dicere nullam virtutem commodiorem homini esse patientià, ac nullam fortunam adeo esse asperam, quam prudenter patiendo vir fortis non vincat. Proprie igitur sententia ipsum nunc consolatur Horatius." Fabric.
  6. The land of Juba. He was king of Mauritania, who in the time of the civil war was on Pompey's side; he overthrew Curio, and, after Pompey was overdone, he joined with Scipio, but they being conquered by Cæsar, rather than he would be the matter of Caesar's scorn and triumph, Petrcius and he running at each other, were purposely slain. Watson.