Page:The works of Horace - Christopher Smart.djvu/46

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book i.



To quarrel over your cups, which were made for joy, is downright Thracian. Away with the barbarous custom, and protect modest Bacchus from bloody frays. How immensely disagreeable to wine and candles[1] is the sabre of the Medes! O my companions, repress your wicked vociferations, and rest quietly on bended elbow. Would you have me also take my share of stout Falernian? Let the brother of Opuntian Megilla then declare, with what wound[2] he is blessed, with what dart he is dying.—What, do you refuse? I will not drink upon any other condition. Whatever kind of passion rules you, it scorches you with the flames you need not be ashamed of, and you always indulge in an honorable, an ingenuous love. Come, whatever is your case, trust it to faithful ears. Ah, unhappy! in what a Charybdis art thou struggling, O youth, worthy of a better flame! What witch, what magician, with his Thessalian incantations, what deity can free you? Pegasus himself will scarcely deliver you, so entangled, from this three-fold chimera.



The [want of the] scanty present of a little sand[3] near the Mantinian shore, confines thee, O Archytas,[4] the surveyor of

  1. A sort of hendiadys,—"revelries by night."
  2. i.e. by what love.
  3. Pulveris exiqui munera. The ancients believed that the souls of those whose bodies were left unburied, were not permitted to pass over the river Styx, but wandered a hundred years on its banks. In allusion to this opinion, Horace says, "Parvo munera pulveris exigui cohibent te, retinent tuam umbram ab Elysiis campis." A little present of dust detains you; that is, you are detained from the Elysian fields for want of a little present of dust. Dac.
  4. Archytas, a philosopher of Tarentum, a noble city in the farthest of the ancient Magna Grecia, now Tarento; it was inhabited by Spartans, under Phalantus their captain. Archytas was a great mathematician, astrologer, and geometrician, and famous for his martial