Page:The works of Horace - Christopher Smart.djvu/93

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ode xii.



with your delightful harmony, their vessel for some time remained dry. Let Lyde hear of the crime, and the well-known punishment of the virgins, and the cask emptied by the water streaming through the bottom, and what lasting fates await their misdeeds even beyond the grave. Impious! (for what greater impiety could they have committed?) Impious! who could destroy their bridegrooms with the cruel sword! One out of the many, worthy of the nuptial torch,[1] was nobly false to her perjured parent, and a maiden illustrious to all posterity; she, who said to her youthful husband, “Arise! arise! lest an eternal sleep be given to you from a hand you have no suspicion of; disappoint your father-in-law and my wicked sisters, who, like lionesses having possessed themselves of calves (alas)! tear each of them to pieces; I, of softer mold than they, will neither strike thee, nor detain thee in my custody. Let my father load me with cruel chains, because out of mercy I spared my unhappy spouse; let him transport me even to the extreme Numidian plains. Depart, whither your feet and the winds carry you, while the night and Venus are favorable: depart with happy omen; yet, not forgetful of me, engrave my mournful story on my tomb.”[2]



It is for unhappy maidens neither to give indulgence to love, nor to wash away cares with delicious wine; or to be dispirited out of dread of the lashes of an uncle’s tongue.[3] The

    pierced, and full holes, that it could not retain any; by which means their labor was perpetually renewed. Watson.

  1. This expression is taken metaphorically for the marriage; because in the nuptial ceremonies the bride was conducted in the night to the bridegroom's house by the light of torches. San.
  2. Ovid (Her. xiv. 128) supplies the epitaph:

    Scriptaque sunt titulo nostra sepulcrha brevi:

    "Exul Hypermnestra pretium pietatis iniquum

    Quam mortem frati depulit, ipsa tulit." Anthon.

  3. Among the Romans, uncles had a great power over their nephews: