Page:The works of Horace - Christopher Smart.djvu/57

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You are treating of the civil commotion,[1] which began from the consulship of Metelius,[2] and the causes,[3] and the errors, and the operations of the war, and the game that fortune played, and the pernicious confederacy of the chiefs, and arms stained with blood[4] not yet expiated—a work full of danger and hazard: and you are treading upon fires, hidden under deceitful ashes: let therefore the muse that presides over severe tragedy, be for a while absent from the theaters; shortly, when thou hast completed the narrative of the public

  1. Caius Asiniua Pollio was a person who made a very considerable figure in the court of Augustus. As he was distinguished by his valor and conduct, he had frequently the command of the armies given him. He vanquished the Dalmatians, and triumphed over them. He was no less eminent for his learning, than for his warlike accomplishments.
  2. "From the consulship of Metellus." The narrative of Pollio, consequently, began with the formation of the government denominated (although erroneously, since it was no magistrates) the first triumvirate, by Cæsar, Pompey, and Crassus, A. u. c. 694, in the consulship of Q. Cæcilius Metellus Celer, and L. Afranius. This may well be considered as the germ of the civil wars that ensued, and which blazed forth with fury ten years later. The Romans marked the year by the names of the consuls, and he who has most suffrages, etc., was placed first. Anthon.
  3. Causas, i. e. the death of Crassus, the death of Julia, and the ambition and rivalry of Cæsar and Pompey. Orell. The term vitia has here a particular reference to the rash and unwise plans of Pompey and his followers, and, also, to the mismanagement of Crassus in his expedition against the Parthians. McCaul.
  4. Cruoribus, i. e. "blood shed often and in many places:" thus αἵματα is used by the Tragedians, as Æsch. Suppl. 262:

    Παλαιῶν αἱμάτων μιάσμασιν. McCaul.