Page:The works of Horace - Christopher Smart.djvu/47

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

ode xxviii.

ODES OF HORACE.

29

sea and earth, and of the innumerable sand: neither is it of any advantage to you, to have explored the celestial regions, and to have traversed the round world in your imagination, since thou wast to die.[1] Thus also did the father of Pelops, the guest of the gods, die; and Tithonus[2] likewise was translated to the skies, and Minos,[3] though admitted to the secrets of Jupiter; and the Tartarean regions are possessed of the son of Panthous,[4] once more sent down to the receptacle of the dead; notwithstanding, having retaken his shield[5] from the temple, he gave evidence of the Trojan times, and that he had resigned to gloomy death nothing but his sinews and skin; in your opinion, no inconsiderable judge of truth and nature. But the game night awaits all, and the road of death must once be traveled. The Furies give up some to the sport of horrible Mars: the greedy ocean is destructive to sailors: the mingled funerals of young and old are crowded together: not a single person does the cruel Proserpine[6] pass

    exploits, having made his escape when Pythagoras and some of his disciples were killed; he was greatly beloved by Plato and Timæus, upon whose account he came to Italy. Watson.

  1. This is the proper force of "moriturus." So also "moribundus" is used in Virgil.
  2. Tithonus, the son of Laomedon, who, desiring long life, was so wasted with old age, that the poets feigned him to be turned into a grasshopper: he was said to be beloved by Aurora, (on whom he begat Prince Memnon,) for that he used early rising, whereby he preserved his life long. Watson.
  3. Minos, a king of Crete, the son of Jupiter by Europa. He first gave laws to the Cretans, and for his justice was after death made chief judge in hell; he married Pasiphaë, the daughter of Sol, and had many children by her. Watson.
  4. Euphorbus is here meant in name, but Pythagoras in reality. This philosopher taught the doctrine of the transmigration of souls, and is said to have asserted that he himself had animated various bodies, and had been at one time Euphorbus the Trojan. To prove his identity with the son of Panthous, report made him to have gone into the temple of Juno, at, or near Mycenae, where the shield of Euphorbus had been preserved among other offerings, and to have recognised and taken it down. Anthon.
  5. Clypeo refixo. Figere and refigere are terms borrowed from the Roman law. When a law was publicly set up, and proposed to the people, they made use of the word figere; when they took them down, they used the terms refigere leges. Dac.
  6. Proserpina fugit. In allusion to a superstition of the ancients, who believed that no person could die, until Proserpine or Atropos had cut off a lock of their hair. This ceremony was considered as a kind of first-fruits, consecrated to Pluto. Torr.