THE FIRST BOOK
ODES OF HORACE.
Mæcenas, descended from royal ancestors, O both my protection and my darling honor! There are those whom it delights to have collected Olympic dust in the chariot race; and [whom] the goal nicely avoided by the glowing wheels, and the noble palm, exalts, lords of the earth, to the gods.
This man, if a crowd of the capricious Quirites strive to raise him to the highest dignities; another, if he has stored up in his own granary whatsoever is swept from the Libyan thrashing floors: him who delights to cut with the hoe his patrimonial fields, you could never tempt, for all the wealth of Attalus, [to become] a timorous sailor and cross the Myrtoan sea in a Cyprian bark. The merchant, dreading the south-west wind contending with the Icarian waves, commends tranquility and the rural retirement of his village; but soon after, incapable of being taught to bear poverty, he refits his shattered vessel. There is another, who despises not cups of old Massic, taking a part from the entire day, one while stretched under the green arbute, another at the placid head of some sacred stream.
The camp, and the sound of the trumpet mingled with that of the clarion, and wars detested by mothers, rejoice many.
The huntsman, unmindful of his tender spouse, remains in the cold air, whether a hart is held in view by his faithful hounds, or a Marsian boar has broken the fine-wrought toils.
Ivy, the reward of learned brows, equals me with the gods above: the cool grove, and the light dances of nymphs and satyrs, distinguish me from the crowd; if neither Euterpe withholds her pipe, nor Polyhymnia disdains to tune the Lesbian lyre. But, if you rank me among the lyric poets, I shall tower to the stars with my exalted head.
TO AUGUSTUS CÆSAR.
Enough of snow and dreadful hail has the Sire now sent upon the earth, and having hurled [his thunderbolts] with his red right hand against the sacred towers, he has terrified the city; he has terrified the nations, lest the grievous age of Pyrrha, complaining of prodigies till then unheard of, should return, when Proteus drove all his [marine] herd to visit the lofty mountains; and the fishy race were entangled in the elm top, which before was the frequented seat of doves; and the timorous deer swam in the overwhelming flood. We have seen the yellow Tiber, with his waves forced back with violence from the Tuscan shore, proceed to demolish the monuments of king [Numa], and the temples of Vesta; while he vaunts himself the avenger of the too disconsolate Ilia, and the uxorious river, leaving his channel, overflows his left bank, notwithstanding the disapprobation of Jupiter.
Our youth, less numerous by the vices of their fathers, shall hear of the citizens having whetted that sword [against themselves], with which it had been better that the formidable Persians had fallen; they shall hear of [actual] engagements. Whom of the gods shall the people invoke to the affairs of the sinking empire? With what prayer shall the sacred virgins importune Vesta, who is now inattentive to their hymns? To whom shall Jupiter assign the task of expiating our wickedness? Do thou at length, prophetic Apollo, (we pray thee!) come, vailing thy radiant shoulders with a cloud: or thou, if it be more agreeable to thee, smiling Venus, about whom hover the gods of mirth and love: or thou, if thou regard thy neglected race and descendants, our founder Mars, whom clamor and polished helmets, and the terrible aspect of the Moorish infantry against their bloody enemy, delight, satiated at length with thy sport, alas! of too long continuance: or if thou, the winged son of gentle Maia, by changing thy figure, personate a youth upon earth, submitting to be called the avenger of Cæsar; late mayest thou return to the skies, and long mayest thou joyously be present to the Roman people; nor may an untimely blast transport thee from us, offended at our crimes. Here mayest thou rather delight in magnificent triumphs, and to be called father and prince: nor suffer the Parthians with impunity to make incursions, you, O Cæsar, being our general.
TO THE SHIP, IN WHICH VIRGIL WAS ABOUT TO SAIL TO ATHENS.
So may the goddess who rules over Cyprus; so may the bright stars, the brothers of Helen; and so may the father of the winds, confining all except Iapyx, direct thee, O ship, who art intrusted with Virgil; my prayer is, that thou mayest land him safe on the Athenian shore, and preserve the half of my soul. Surely oak and three-fold brass surrounded his heart who first trusted a frail vessel to the merciless ocean, nor was afraid of the impetuous Africus contending with the northern storms, nor of the mournful Hyades, nor of the rage of Notus, than whom there is not a more absolute controller of the Adriatic, either to raise or assuage its waves at pleasure. What path of death did he fear, who beheld unmoved the rolling monsters of the deep; who beheld unmoved the tempestuous swelling of the sea, and the Acroceraunians–ill-famed rocks?
In vain has God in his wisdom divided the countries of the earth by the separating ocean, if nevertheless profane ships bound over waters not to be violated. The race of man presumptuous enough to endure everything, rushes on through forbidden wickedness.
The presumptuous son of Iäpetus, by an impious fraud, brought down fire into the world. After fire was stolen from the celestial mansions, consumption and a new train of fevers settled upon the earth, and the slow approaching necessity of death, which, till now, was remote, accelerated its pace. Dædalus essayed the empty air with wings not permitted to man. The labor of Hercules broke through Acheron. There is nothing too arduous for mortals to attempt. We aim at heaven itself in our folly; neither do we suffer, by our wickedness, Jupiter to lay aside his revengeful thunderbolts.
Severe winter is melted away beneath the agreeable change of spring and the western breeze; and engines haul down the dry ships. And neither does the cattle any longer delight in the stalls, nor the ploughman in the fireside; nor are the meadows whitened by hoary frosts. Now Cytherean Venus leads off the dance by moonlight; and the comely Graces, in conjunction with the Nymphs, shake the ground with alternate feet; while glowing Vulcan kindles the laborious forges of the Cyclops. Now it is fitting to encircle the shining head either with verdant myrtle, or with such flowers as the relaxed earth produces. Now likewise it is fitting to sacrifice to Faunus in the shady groves, whether he demand a lamb, or be more pleased with a kid. Pale death knocks at the cottages of the poor, and the palaces of kings, with an impartial foot. O happy Sextius! The short sum total of life forbids us to form remote expectations. Presently shall darkness, and the unreal ghosts, and the shadowy mansion of Pluto oppress you; where, when you shall have once arrived, you shall neither decide the dominion of the bottle by dice, nor shall you admire the tender Lycidas, with whom now all the youth is inflamed, and for whom ere long the maidens will grow warm.
What dainty youth, bedewed with liquid perfumes, caresses you, Pyrrha, beneath the pleasant grot, amid a profusion of roses? For whom do you bind your golden hair, plain in your neatness? Alas! how often shall he deplore your perfidy, and the altered gods; and through inexperience be amazed at the seas, rough with blackening storms who now credulous enjoys you all precious, and, ignorant of the faithless gale, hopes you will be always disengaged, always amiable! Wretched are those, to whom thou untried seemest fair? The sacred wall [of Neptune's temple] demonstrates, by a votive tablet, that I have consecrated my dropping garments to the powerful god of the sea.
TO MUNATIUS PLANCUS.
Other poets shall celebrate the famous Rhodes, or Mitylene, or Ephesus, or the walls of Corinth, situated between two seas, or Thebes, illustrious by Bacchus, or Delphi by Apollo, or the Thessalian Tempe. There are some, whose one task it is to chant in endless verse the city of spotless Pallas, and to prefer the olive culled from every side, to every other leaf. Many a one, in honor of Juno, celebrates Argos, productive of steeds, and rich Mycenæ. Neither patient Lacedæmon so much struck me, nor so much did the plain of fertile Larissa, as the house of resounding Albunea, and the precipitately rapid Anio, and the Tiburnian groves, and the orchards watered by ductile rivulets. As the clear south wind often clears away the clouds from a lowering sky, now teems with perpetual showers; so do you, O Plancus, wisely remember to put an end to grief and the toils of life by mellow wine; whether the camp, refulgent with banners, possess you, or the dense shade of your own Tibur shall detain you. When Teucer fled from Salamis and his father, he is reported, notwithstanding, to have bound his temples, bathed in wine, with a poplar crown, thus accosting his anxious friends: "O associates and companions, we will go wherever fortune, more propitious than a father, shall carry us. Nothing is to be despaired of under Teucer's conduct, and the auspices of Teucer: for the infallible Apollo has promised, that a Salamis in a new land shall render the name equivocal. O gallant heroes, and often my fellow-sufferers in greater hardships than these, now drive away your cares with wine: to-morrow we will re-visit the vast ocean."
You see how Soracte stands white with deep snow, nor can the laboring woods any longer support the weight, and the rivers stagnate with the sharpness of the frost. Dissolve the cold, liberally piling up billets on the hearth; and bring out, O Thaliarchus, the more generous wine, four years old, from the Sabine jar. Leave the rest to the gods, who having once laid the winds warring with the fervid ocean, neither the cypresses nor the aged ashes are moved. Avoid inquiring what may happen to-morrow; and whatever day fortune shall bestow on you, score it up for gain; nor disdain, being a young fellow, pleasant loves, nor dances, as long as ill-natured hoariness keeps off from your blooming age. Now let both the Campus Martius and the public walks, and soft whispers at the approach of evening be repeated at the appointed hour: now, too, the delightful laugh, the betrayer of the lurking damsel from some secret corner, and the token ravished from her arms or fingers, pretendingly tenacious of it.
Mercury, eloquent grandson of Atlas, thou who artful didst from the savage manners of the early race of men by oratory, and the institution of the graceful Palæstra: I will celebrate thee, messenger of Jupiter and the other gods, and parent of the curved lyre; ingenious to conceal whatever thou hast a mind to, in jocose theft. While Apollo, with angry voice, threatened you, then but a boy, unless you would restore the oxen, previously driven away by your fraud, he laughed, [when he found himself] deprived of his quiver [also]. Moreover, the wealthy Priam too, on his departure from Ilium, under your guidance deceived the proud sons of Atreus, and the Thessalian watch-lights, and the camp inveterate against Troy. You settle the souls of good men in blissful regions, and drive together the airy crowd with your golden rod, acceptable both to the supernal and infernal gods.
Inquire not, Leuconoe (it is not fitting you should know), how long a term of life the gods have granted to you or to me: neither consult the Chaldean calculations. How much better is it to bear with patience whatever shall happen! Whether Jupiter have granted us more winters, or [this as] the last, which now breaks the Etrurian waves against the opposing rocks. Be wise; rack off your wines, and abridge your hopes [in proportion] to the shortness of your life. While we are conversing, envious age has been flying; seize the present day, not giving the least credit to the succeeding one.
What man, what hero, O Clio, do you undertake to celebrate on the harp, or the shrill pipe? What god? Whose name shall the sportive echo resound, either in the shady borders of Helicon, or on the top of Pindus, or on cold Hæmus? Whence the woods followed promiscuously the tuneful Orpheus, who by his maternal art retarded the rapid courses of rivers, and the fleet winds; and was so sweetly persuasive, that he drew along the listening oaks with his harmonious strings. But what can I sing prior to the usual praises of the Sire, who governs the affairs of men and gods; who [governs] the sea, the earth, and the whole world with the vicissitudes of seasons? Whence nothing is produced greater than him; nothing springs either like him, or even in a second degree to him: nevertheless, Pallas has acquired these honors, which are next after him.
Neither will I pass thee by in silence, O Bacchus, bold in combat; nor thee, O Virgin, who art an enemy to the savage beasts; nor thee, O Phœbus, formidable for thy unerring dart.
I will sing also of Hercules, and the sons of Leda, the one illustrious for his achievements on horseback, the other on foot; whose clear-shining constellation as soon as it has shone forth to the sailors, the troubled surge falls down from the rocks, the winds cease, the clouds vanish, and the threatening waves subside in the sea–because it was their will. After these, I am in doubt whom I shall first commemorate, whether Romulus, or the peaceful reign of Numa, or the splendid ensigns of Tarquinius, or the glorious death of Cato. I will celebrate, out of gratitude, with the choicest verses, Regulus, and the Scauri, and Paulus, prodigal of his mighty soul, when Carthage conquered, and Fabricius.
Severe poverty, and an hereditary farm, with a dwelling suited to it, formed this hero useful in war; as it did also Curius with his rough locks, and Camillus. The fame of Marcellus increases, as a tree does in the insensible progress of time. But the Julian constellation shines amid them all, as the moon among the smaller stars. O thou son of Saturn, author and preserver of the human race, the protection of Cæsar is committed to thy charge by the Fates: thou shalt reign supreme, with Cæsar for thy second. Whether he shall subdue with a just victory the Parthians making inroads upon Italy, or shall render subject the Seres and Indians on the Eastern coasts; he shall rule the wide world with equity, in subordination to thee. Thou shalt shake Olympus with thy tremendous car; thou shalt hurl thy hostile thunderbolts against the polluted groves.
O Lydia, when you commend Telephus’ rosy neck, and the waxen arms of Telephus, alas! my inflamed liver swells with bile difficult to be repressed. Then neither is my mind firm, nor does my color maintain a certain situation: and the involuntary tears glide down my cheek, proving with what lingering flames I am inwardly consumed. I am on fire, whether quarrels rendered immoderate by wine have stained your fair shoulders; or whether the youth, in his fury, has impressed with his teeth a memorial on your lips. If you will give due attention to my advice, never expect that he will be constant, who inhumanly wounds those sweet kisses, which Venus has imbued with the fifth part of all her nectar. O thrice and more than thrice happy those, whom an indissoluble connection binds together; and whose love, undivided by impious complainings, does not separate them sooner than the last day!
TO THE ROMAN STATE.
O ship, new waves will bear you back again to sea. O what are you doing? Bravely seize the port. Do you not perceive, that your sides are destitute of oars, and your mast wounded by the violent south wind, and your main-yards groan, and your keel can scarcely support the impetuosity of the waves without the help of cordage? You have not entire sails; nor gods, whom you may again invoke, pressed with distress: notwithstanding you are made of the pines of Pontus, and as the daughter of an illustrious wood, boast your race, and a fame now of no service to you. The timorous sailor has no dependence on a painted stern. Look to yourself, unless you are destined to be the sport of the winds. O thou, so lately my trouble and fatigue, but now an object of tenderness and solicitude, mayest thou escape those dangerous seas which flow among the shining Cyclades.
When the perfidious shepherd (Paris) carried off by sea in Trojan ships his hostess Helen, Nereus suppressed the swift winds in an unpleasant calm, that he might sing the dire fates. "With unlucky omen art thou conveying home her, whom Greece with a numerous army shall demand back again, having entered into a confederacy to dissolve your nuptials, and the ancient kingdom of Priam. Alas! what sweat to horses, what to men, is just at hand! What a destruction art thou preparing for the Trojan nation! Even now Pallas is fitting her helmet, and her shield, and her chariot, and her fury. In vain, looking fierce through the patronage of Venus, will you comb your hair, and run divisions upon the effeminate lyre with songs pleasing to women. In vain will you escape the spears that disturb the nuptial bed, and the point of the Cretan dart, and the din [of battle], and Ajax swift in the pursuit. Nevertheless, alas! the time will come, though late, when thou shalt defile thine adulterous hairs in the dust. Dost thou not see the son of Laërtes, fatal to thy nation, and Pylian Nestor, Salaminian Teucer, and Sthenelus skilled in fight (or if there be occasion to manage horses, no tardy charioteer), pursue thee with intrepidity? Meriones also shalt thou experience. Behold! the gallant son of Tydeus, a better man than his father, glows to find you out: him, as a stag flies a wolf, which he has seen on the opposite side of the vale, unmindful of his pasture, shall you, effeminate, fly, grievously panting:—not such the promises you made your mistress. The fleet of the enraged Achilles shall defer for a time that day, which is to be fatal to Troy and the Trojan matrons: but, after a certain number of years, Grecian fire shall consume the Trojan palaces.”
TO A YOUNG LADY HORACE HAD OFFENDED.
O daughter, more charming than your charming mother, put what end you please to my insulting iambics; either in the flames, or, if you choose it, in the Adriatic. Nor Cybele, nor Apollo, the dweller in the shrines, so shakes the breast of his priests; Bacchus does not do it equally, nor do the Corybantes so redouble their strokes on the sharp-sounding cymbals, as direful anger; which neither the Noric sword can deter, nor the shipwrecking sea, nor dreadful fire, not Jupiter himself rushing down with awful crash. It is reported that Prometheus was obliged to add to that original clay [with which he formed mankind], some ingredient taken from every animal, and that he applied the vehemence of the raging lion to the human breast. It was rage that destroyed Thyestes with horrible perdition; and has been the final cause that lofty cities have been entirely demolished, and that an insolent army has driven the hostile plowshare over their walls. Compose your mind. An ardor of soul attacked me also in blooming youth, and drove me in a rage to the writing of swift-footed iambics. Now I am desirous of exchanging severity for good nature, provided that you will become my friend, after my having recanted my abuse, and restore me your affections.
The nimble Faunus often exchanges the Lycæan mountain for the pleasant Lucretilis, and always defends my she-goats from the scorching summer, and the rainy winds. The wandering wives of the unsavory husband seek the hidden strawberry-trees and thyme with security through the safe grove: nor do the kids dread the green lizards, or the wolves sacred to Mars; whenever, my Tyndaris, the vales and the smooth rocks of the sloping Ustica have resounded with his melodious pipe. The gods are my protectors. My piety and my muse are agreeable to the gods. Here plenty, rich with rural honors, shall flow to you, with her generous horn filled to the brim. Here, in a sequestered vale, you shall avoid the heat of the dog-star; and, on your Anacreontic harp, sing of Penelope and the frail Circe striving for one lover; here you shall quaff, under the shade, cups of unintoxicating Lesbian. Nor shall the raging son of Semele enter the combat with Mars; and unsuspected you shall not fear the insolent Cyrus, lest he should savagely lay his intemperate hands on you, who are by no means a match for him; and should rend the chaplet that is platted in your hair, and your inoffensive garment.
O Varus, you can plant no tree preferable to the sacred vine, about the mellow soil of Tibur, and the walls of Catilus. For God hath rendered every thing cross to the sober; nor do biting cares disperse any otherwise [than by the use of wine]. Who, after wine, complains of the hardships of war or of poverty? Who does not rather [celebrate] thee, Father Bacchus, and thee, comely Venus? Nevertheless, the battle of the Centaurs with the Lapithæ, which was fought in their cups, admonishes us not to exceed a moderate use of the gifts of Bacchus. And Bacchus himself admonishes us in his severity to the Thracians; when greedy to satisfy their lusts, they make little distinction between right and wrong. O beauteous Bacchus, I will not rouse thee against thy will, nor will I hurry abroad thy [mysteries, which are] covered with various leaves. Cease your dire cymbals, together with your Phrygian horn, whose followers are blind Self-love and Arrogance, holding up too high her empty head, and the Faith communicative of secrets, and more transparent than glass.
The cruel mother of the Cupids, and the son of the Theban Gemele, and lascivious ease, command me to give back my mind to its deserted loves. The splendor of Glycera, shining brighter than the Parian marble, inflames me: her agreeable petulance, and her countenance, too unsteady to be beheld, inflame me. Venus, rushing on me with her whole force, has quitted Cyprus; and suffers me not to sing of the Scythians, and the Parthian, furious when his horse is turned for flight, or any subject which is not to the present purpose. Here, slaves, place me a live turf; here, place me vervains and frankincense, with a flagon of two-year-old wine. She will approach more propitious, after a victim has been sacrificed.
My dear knight Mæcenas, you shall drink [at my house] ignoble Sabine wine in sober cups, which I myself sealed up in the Grecian cask, stored at the time, when so loud an applause was given to you in the amphitheatre, that the banks of your ancestral river, together with the cheerful echo of the Vatican mountain, returned your praises. You [when you are at home] will drink the Cæcuban, and the grape which is squeezed in the Calenian press; but neither the Falernian vines, nor the Formian hills, season my cups.
ON DIANA AND APOLLO.
TO ARISTIUS FUSCUS.
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, or the inhospitable Caucasus, or those places which Hydaspes, 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: such a monster as neither the warlike Apulia nourishes in its extensive woods, nor the land of Juba, 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 too neighboring sun, in a land deprived of habitations; [there] will I love my sweetly-smiling, sweetly-speaking Lalage.
You shun me, Chloe, like a fawn that is seeking its timorous mother in the pathless mountains, not without a vain dread of the breezes and the thickets: for she trembles both in her heart and knees, whether the arrival of the spring has terrified by its rustling leaves, or the green lizards have stirred the bush. But I do not follow you, like a savage tigress, or a Gætulian lion, to tear you to pieces. Therefore, quit your mother, now that you are mature for a husband.
What shame or bound can there be to our affectionate regret for so dear a person? O Melpomene, on whom your father has bestowed a clear voice and the harp, teach me the mournful strains. Does then perpetual sleep oppress Quinctilius? To whom when will modesty, and uncorrupt faith the sister of Justice, and undisguised truth, find any equal? He died lamented by many good men, but more lamented by none than by you, my Virgil. You, though pious, alas! in vain demand Quinctilius back from the gods, who did not lend him to us on such terms. What, though you could strike the lyre, listened to by the trees, with more sweetness than the Thracian Orpheus; yet the blood can never return to the empty shade, which Mercury, inexorable to reverse the fates, has with his dreadful Caduceus once driven to the gloomy throng. This is hard: but what it is out of our power to amend, becomes more supportable by patience.
The wanton youths less violently shake thy fastened windows with their redoubled knocks, nor do they rob you of your rest; and your door, which formerly moved its yielding hinges freely, now sticks lovingly to its threshold. Less and less often do you now hear: “My Lydia, dost thou sleep the live-long night, while I your lover am dying?” Now you are an old woman, it will be your turn to bewail the insolence of rakes, when you are neglected in a lonely alley, while the Thracian wind rages at the Interlunium: when that hot desire and lust, which is wont to render furious the dams of horses, shall rage about your ulcerous liver: not without complaint, that sprightly youth rejoice rather in the verdant ivy and growing myrtle, and dedicate sapless leaves to Eurus, the companion of winter.
to ælius lamia.
A friend to the Muses, I will deliver up grief and fears to the wanton winds, to waft into the Cretan Sea; singularly careless, what king of a frozen region is dreaded under the pole, or what terrifies Tiridates. O sweet muse, who art delighted with pure fountains, weave together the sunny flowers, weave a chaplet for my Lamia. Without thee, my praises profit nothing. To render him immortal by new strains, to render him immortal by the Lesbian lyre, becomes both thee and thy sisters.
TO HIS COMPANIONS.
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 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 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 near the Mantinian shore, confines thee, O Archytas, the surveyor of 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. Thus also did the father of Pelops, the guest of the gods, die; and Tithonus likewise was translated to the skies, and Minos, though admitted to the secrets of Jupiter; and the Tartarean regions are possessed of the son of Panthous, once more sent down to the receptacle of the dead; notwithstanding, having retaken his shield 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 pass by. The south wind, the tempestuous attendant on the setting Orion, has sunk me also in the Illyrian waves. But do not thou, O sailor, malignantly grudge to give a portion of loose sand to my bones and unburied head. So, whatever the east wind shall threaten to the Italian sea, let the Venusinian woods suffer, while you are in safety; and manifold profit, from whatever port it may, come to you by favoring Jove, and Neptune, the defender of consecrated Tarentum. But if you, by chance, make light of committing a crime, which will be hurtful to your innocent posterity, may just laws and haughty retribution await you. I will not be deserted with fruitless prayers; and no expiations shall atone for you. Though you are in haste, you need not tarry long: after having thrice sprinkled the dust over me, you may proceed.
O Iccius, you now covet the opulent treasures of the Arabians, and are preparing vigorous for a war against the kings of Saba, hitherto unconquered, and are forming chains for the formidable Mede. What barbarian virgin shall be your slave, after you have killed her betrothed husband? What boy from the court shall be made your cup-bearer, with his perfumed locks, skilled to direct the Seric arrows with his father’s bow? Who will now deny that it is probable for precipitate rivers to flow back again to the high mountains, and for Tiber to change his course, since you are about to exchange the noble works of Panætius, collected from all parts, together with the whole Socratic family, for Iberian armor, after you had promised better things?
O Venus, queen of Gnidus and Paphos, neglect your favorite Cyprus, and transport yourself into the beautiful temple of Glycera, who is invoking you with abundance of frankincense. Let your glowing son hasten along with you, and the Graces with their zones loosed, and the Nymphs, and Youth possessed of little charm without you and Mercury.
What does the poet beg from Phœbus on the dedication of his temple? What does he pray for, while he pours from the flagon the first libation? Not the rich crops of fertile Sardinia: not the goodly flocks of scorched Calabria: not gold, or Indian ivory: not those countries, which the still river Liris eats away with its silent streams. Let those to whom fortune has given the Calenian vineyards, prune them with a hooked knife; and let the wealthy merchant drink out of golden cups the wines procured by his Syrian merchandize, favored by the gods themselves, inasmuch as without loss he visits three or four times a year the Atlantic Sea. Me olives support, me succories and soft mallows. O thou son of Latona, grant me to enjoy my acquisitions, and to possess my health, together with an unimpaired understanding, I beseech thee; and that I may not lead a dishonorable old age, nor one bereft of the lyre.
We are called upon. If ever, O lyre, in idle amusement in the shade with thee, we have played anything that may live for this year and many, come on, be responsive to a Latin ode, my dear lyre—first tuned by a Lesbian citizen, who, fierce in war, yet amid arms, or if he had made fast to the watery shore his tossed vessel, sung Bacchus, and the Muses, and Venus, and the boy, her ever-close attendant, and Lycus, lovely for his black eyes and jetty locks. O thou ornament of Apollo, charming shell, agreeable even at the banquets of supreme Jove! O thou sweet alleviator of anxious toils, be propitious to me, whenever duly invoking thee!
Grieve not too much, my Albius, thoughtful of cruel Glycera; nor chant your mournful elegies, because, as her faith being broken, a younger man is more agreeable, than you in her eyes. A love for Cyrus inflames Lycoris, distinguished for her little forehead: Cyrus follows the rough Pholoë; but she-goats shall sooner be united to the Apulian wolves, than Pholoë shall commit a crime with a base adulterer. Such is the will of Venus, who delights in cruel sport, to subject to her brazen yokes persons and tempers ill suited to each other. As for myself, the slave-born Myrtale, more untractable than the Adriatic Sea that forms the Calabrian gulfs, entangled me in a pleasing chain, at the very time that a more eligible love courted my embraces.
A remiss and irregular worshiper of the gods, while I professed the errors of a senseless philosophy, I am now obliged to set sail back again, and to renew the course that I had deserted. For Jupiter, who usually cleaves the clouds with his gleaming lightning, lately drove his thundering horses and rapid chariot through the clear serene; which the sluggish earth, and wandering rivers; at which Styx, and the horrid seat of detested Tænarus, and the utmost boundary of Atlas were shaken. The Deity is able to make exchange between the highest and the lowest, and diminishes the exalted, bringing to light the obscure; rapacious fortune, with a shrill whizzing, has borne off the plume from one head, and delights in having placed it on another.
O Goddess, who presidest over beautiful Antium; thou, that art ready to exalt mortal man from the most abject state, or to convert superb triumphs into funerals! Thee the poor countryman solicits with his anxious vows; whosoeverplows the Carpathian Sea with the Bithynian vessel, importunes thee as mistress of the ocean. Thee the rough Dacian, thee the wandering Scythians, and cities, and nations, and warlike Latium also, and the mothers of barbarian kings, and tyrants clad in purple, fear. Spurn not with destructive foot that column which now stands firm, nor let popular tumult rouse those, who now rest quiet, to arms–to arms–and break the empire. Necessity, thy minister, always marches before thee, holding in her brazen hand huge spikes and wedges, nor is the unyielding clamp absent, nor the melted lead. Thee Hope reverences, and rare Fidelity robed in a white garment; nor does she refuse to bear thee company, howsoever in wrath thou change thy robe, and abandon the houses of the powerful. But the faithless crowd [of companions], and the perjured harlot draw back. Friends, too faithless to bear equally the yoke of adversity, when casks are exhausted, very dregs and all, fly off. Preserve thou Cæsar, who is meditating an expedition against the Britons, the furthest people in the world, and also the new levy of youths to be dreaded by the Eastern regions, and the Red Sea. Alas! I am ashamed of our scars, and our wickedness, and of brethren. What have we, a hardened age, avoided? What have we in our impiety left unviolated! From what have our youth restrained their hands, out of reverence to the gods? What altars have they spared? O mayest thou forge anew our blunted swords on a different anvil against the Massagetæ and Arabians.
This is a joyful occasion to sacrifice both with incense and music of the lyre, and the votive blood of a heifer to the gods, the guardians of Numida; who, now returning in safety from the extremest part of Spain, imparts many embraces to his beloved companions, but to none more than his dear Lamia, mindful of his childhood spent under one and the same governor, and of the gown, which they changed at the same time. Let not this joyful day be without a Cretan mark of distinction; let us not spare the jar brought forth [from the cellar]; nor, Salian-like, let there be any cessation of feet; nor let the toping Damalis conquer Bassus in the Thracian Amystis; nor let there be roses wanting to the banquet, nor the ever-green parsley, nor the short-lived lily. All the company will fix their dissolving eyes on Damalis; but she, more luxuriant than the wanton ivy, will not be separated from her new lover.
TO HIS COMPANIONS.
Now, my companions, is the time to carouse, now to beat the ground with a light foot: now is the time that was to deck the couch of the gods with Salian dainties. Before this, it was impious to produce the old Cæcuban stored up by your ancestors; while the queen, with a contaminated gang of creatures, noisome through distemper, was preparing giddy destruction for the Capitol and the subversion of the empire, being weak enough to hope for any thing, and intoxicated with her prospering fortune. But scarcely a single ship preserved from the flames bated her fury; and Cæsar brought down her mind, inflamed with Egyptian wine, to real fears, close pursuing her in her flight from Italy with his galleys (as the hawk pursues the tender doves, or the nimble hunter the hare in the plains of snowy Æmon), that he might throw into chains this destructive monster [of a woman]; who, seeking a more generous death, neither had an effeminate dread of the sword, nor repaired with her swift ship to hidden shores. She was able also to look upon her palace, lying
in ruins, with a countenance unmoved, and courageous enough to handle exasperated asps, that she might imbibe in her body the deadly poison, being more resolved by having pre-meditated her death: for she was a woman of such greatness of soul, as to scorn to be carried off in haughty triumph, like a private person, by rough Liburnians.
TO HIS SERVANT.
Boy, I detest the pomp of the Persians; chaplets, which are woven with the rind of the linden, displease me; give up the search for the place where the latter rose abides. It is my particular desire that you make no laborious addition to the plain myrtle; for myrtle is neither unbecoming you a servant, nor me, while I quaff under this mantling vine.
- Caius Cilniua Mæcenas, who shared with Agrippa the favor and confidence of Augustus, and distinguished himself by his patronage of literary men, is said to have been descended from Elbius Volterenus, one of the Lucumones of Etruria, who fell in the battle at the lake Vadimona, a. u. c. 445. The Cilnian family were from a very early period attached to the interests of Rome, when devoted alliance was of value. Anthon.
- Gaudentem. This word is used to denote a separate character, him who delights: thus, desiderantem quod satis est. 3 Carm. i. 25: him who bounds his desire by a competency. Fulgentem imperio, 3 C. xvi 31, etc. Anthon.
- Because most of the commentators take sarculum for the plow, I have followed them. But Torrentius says, that the Romans used two kinds of weeding-hooks; one, when the corn was young like grass, with which they cleft the earth, and took up the young weeds by the root; the other, when the corn was grown up, with which they cut out the strong weeds as they thought proper; for the weeds do not grow up all at the same time, and the sarculum being no part of the plow, it can not be taken for it by synecdoche. Watson.
- Demere partem de solido die, "sine ulla dubitatione est meridiari, i. e. ipso meridie horam unam aut alteram dormire; quod qui faciunt, diem quodammodo frangunt et dividunt, neque eum solidum et ὁλόκληρον esse patiuntur. Varro alicubi (de R. R. 1, 2, 5) vocat diem diffindere institicio somno." Muretus.
- Octavianus assumed his new title of Augustus, conferred upon him at the suggestion of Munatius Plancus, on the 17th of January, (XVIII. Cal. Febr.) a. u. c. 727; the following night Rome was visited by a severe tempest, and an inundation of the Tiber. The present ode was written in allusion to that event. Anthon.
- Of snow and dreadful hail. Turnebus, lib. vi. cap. 8, Appianus, lib. iv., and Dion, lib. xlvii., give an account of the dreadful thunder and lightning, snow and rain, that followed the murder of Julius Cæsar; that many temples were so struck down or very much damaged, which was looked upon as a presage of the horrible civil war that soon after followed. Watson.
- Dira, an epithet applied to any thing fearful and portentous, as "din cometæ," Virg. Georg. i. 488. Orelli.
- "Terris" is a Grecism for "in terras." See on Virg. Ecl. viii. 101.
- Horace alludes to a superstitious opinion of the ancients, who believed that thunders which portended any revolution in a state were more inﬂamed than any other; as they fancied that the lightnings of Jupiter were red and ﬁery; those of the other gods, pale and dark. Cruq.
- Wife of Deucalion, king of Thessaly; in his time came the deluge or universal ﬂood, which drowned all the world; only he and his wife got into a little shallop, which was carried to Mount Parnassus, and there staid, the dry land first appearing there. When the ﬂood was dried up, he consulted with the oracle of Themis, how mankind might be repaired; and was answered, If he cast his great mother's bones behind his back; whereupon he and Pyrrha his wife took stones, and cast them over their shoulders, and they became men and women. Watson.
- The Tiber discharges itself into the Tuscan Sea which being swollen by tempests, and a prodigious fall of snow and hail (the wind at the same time blowing up the channel). made the river ﬂow backward (retorquere) against its natural course. The Littus Etruscum means the shores of the Tuscan Sea, into which the Tiber should naturally flow, and from whence it turned upward to its fountain-head. Cruq.
- Respicis, "Thou again beholdest with a favoring eye." When the gods were supposed to turn their eyes toward their worshipers, it was a sign of favor; when they averted them, of displeasure. The Greeks use ἐπιβλέπειν with the same meaning. Anthon.
- Sallust calls Julius Caesar Adolescentulus, when he was thirty-six years old; the same age in which Horace here calls Augustus Juvenem. Varro tells us this last word is derived from Juvare, as if this age were capable of rendering the most considerable services to the republic. San.
- Augustus, in the month of August, 725, had triumphed three days. The first, for the defeat of the Pannonians and Dalmatii; the second, for the battle of Actium: the last, for the reduction of Egypt Dac.
- Venus was invoked by mariners, not only because she sprung from the ocean, but because her star was useful to navigation. Cruq.
- Brothers of Helen, Castor and Pollux. Leda, wife of Tyndarus, king of Lacoriia, as fame goes, brought forth two eggs; out of one of them came Pollux, and Helena, born immortal, begotten by Jupiter; of the other, Castor and Clytemnestra, begotten by Tyndarus: because those brothers, as long as they lived, freed the seas from pirates and robbers, they are said to have received power from Neptune, the god of the sea, of helping those who were in danger of being shipwrecked, by being turned into stars, which makes our poet invoke them under this epithet, "Lucida sidera, fratres Helenæ." Watson.
- The W. N. W.
- With reddas and serves understand ut, which stands in opposition to sic. "Usus hic particulæ sic in votis, precibus, obtestationibusque ita proprie explicandus: 'Uti nos a te hoc vel illud optamus, sic, ubi nostras preces exaudieris, hoc vel illud, quod tu optas. tibi contingat.'" Orell.
- In robur there is first the idea of sturdy oak, of which the Roman clypeus was made, and then, metaphorically, of strength of mind; so also in œs triplex there is allusion to the Lorica, hence the use of circa pectus. McCaul.
- The Hyades are a constellation in the head of the bull, whose rising and setting are frequently attended by rain, from whence the poet calls them Tristes. Francis.
- What kind of death could affright him. The ancients dreaded shipwreck as the worst sort of death, as being thereby liable to be devoured by fish, dashed against rocks, or cast upon an uninhabited island. Watson.
- The poet, with a very delicate flattery, calls these rocks infamous, because Augustus very narrowly escaped shipwreck on them, when he returned from the battle of Actium. Francis.
- Active, as "Genitabilis aura Favoni," Lucret. i. 11; "penetrabilo fulmen," Ovid, Met. xiii. 857.
- Crelum ipsum petimus. In allusion to the fable of the giants. Francis.
- According to Vegetius, the seas were unfit for navigation "ex die iii. Id. Novembr. usque in diem vi. Id. Mart." Orelli.
- The ancients used to draw their ships on shore during winter. San.
- Fannus, he was son to Picus, father to Latinus, and the third king of the aborigines in Latium; who, because he taught the people somewhat of religion and tillage, was accounted a country god. And that rude people might be kept in awe of him, they pictured him with feet of horn, and two horns on his head. Afterward all the gods of the woods went by this name. Watson.
- This use of the ablative is common with ritual words; so, "facere," "immolare," are used. Orelli.
- Lucius Sextius, or Sestius, kept up a constant friendship with Brutus, after he was routed, yet was commended by Augustus, and made consul with Cneius Calpurnius Piso, in the year after the building of the city 730. Watson.
- By "the unreal manes" are meant, the shades of the departed, often made the theme of the wildest fictions of poetry. Some commentators, however, and among them Orellius, understand the expression in its literal sense, "the manes of whom all is fable," and suppose it to imply the disbelief of a future state. Comp. τι δέ Πλούτων; Μῦθος; Call. Epig. xiv. 3. Fabulœ is the nom. plural, i. e. Manes fabulosi, inanes. McCaul.
- A king of wine: it was a custom among the ancients, at feasts, to chose a king, or master, to order how much each guest should drink, whom all the company were obliged to obey; he was chosen by throwing of the dice, upon whose sides were engraven or painted the images of Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Apollo, Venus, and Diana. He who threw up Venus was made king; as Horace, Book II. Ode vii. insinuates: Quem Venus dicet arbitrum bibendi." Watson.
- I have borrowed Milton's happy version.
- He alludes to a custom among the Romans, of offering some votive tablet or picture to the god by whose power they thought themselves preserved from shipwreck. In these pictures the storm and circumstances of their escape were represented. Dac.
- The term alite refers to a custom, in which the ancient poets often indulged, of likening themselves to the eagle and the swan; Μουσᾶν ὄρνιχες. Theocr. Id. vii. Anthon.
- Agrippa gained the victory in two sea-fights. The first against Pompey's lieutenants; the second against Pompey himself, besides the share which he had in the battle of Actium. Cruq.
- Perhaps the poet intended to express Ulysses' appearing through the whole Odyssey in two characters, or, if the expression may be allowed, in a double character, such as a prince and a beggar, etc. Francis.
- See Orelli; who regards this conclusion as merely jocular.
- Tempe, a pleasant vale in Thessaly, lying between the hills Ossa, Olympus and Pelion; the river Peneus running through the midst of it.
- Lucius Munatius Plancus, whose country-seat was Tibur, or at least near to it, and therefore not far from Horace's country-house. Watson.
- Teucer, the son of Seamander Cretensis, a king of Troy, who reigned with his father-in-law Dardanus, from whom the Trojans are called Teucri. But the Teucer meant here was the son of Telamon, an excellent archer; at his return from Troy, being banished by his father, he went to Cyprus, and built there a city, which he called Salamis, by the name of his own country. Watson.
- Which shall be so like that Salamis which we have left, in glory and grandeur, that it shall be difficult to distinguish them. San.
- This is the usual collocation in adjurations; first the preposition, then the individual entreated, and then the object or deity by whom the adjuration is made, and last the verb. Thus Ναὶ πρὸς σε τῆς σῆς δεξιὰς εὐωλένου, Eurip. Hipp. 605, where Elmsley remarks, "observa syntaxin. Græcis solenne est in juramento aliquid inter Præpositionem et Casum ejus interponere." Virgil, also, has a similar collocation, Æn. iv. 314, "Per ego has lacrymas, dextramque tuam, te." etc. Anthon.
- Amando has a passive signification, "By being beloved." As in Virgil; Uritque videndo fœmina. Instances of this kind are frequent in the best authors. Dac.
- The discus was a kind of quoit, very large and heavy, made of wood or stone, but more commonly of iron or brass. It was almost round, and somewhat thicker in the middle than at tiie edges. It was thrown by the sole force of the arm. San.
- Soracte, a hill in Italy, in the country of the Sabines, consecrated to Apollo; which now is called St. Sylvester's Mount, because a pope of that name hid himself in a cave there, when Maxentius raised a sore persecution against the Christians. Watson.
- Appone. Ponere and apponere were terms used in arithmetic by the Romans. Dac.
- Susurri. This word is formed by the figure onomatopœia, from an imitation of the sound in whispering, as in Greek, ψιθυρίζειν, in Italian, bisbiglio, and in French, chucheter. Dac.
- Atlas, king of Mauritania, and brother to Prometheus; he was turned by Perseus into a mountain, whose top was so high, that it reached heaven, and is said to bear heaven up. Watson.
- Menelaus, the son of Atreus and Aerope, brother of Agamemnon, and king of Laccdæmonia, who (when Paris had stolen away his wife Helen) called together all the princes of Greece to take revenge on the Trojans for this fact, and to fetch her home again. Accordingly they met, and made up a fleet of a thousand ships, lifting themselves under the conduct of Agamemnon, as commander-in-chief; and vowing never to return home till they had sacked Troy, which cost them ten years' pains, and that to little purpose, till at length, more by deceit than valor, they won and ruined the city. Watson.
- Golden rod or tipstaff. With this he conducted the good to happiness; but it was ferrea virga, an iron rod, with which he compelled the wicked men to Pluto's dominions: he calls it the terrible rod, Ode xxiv. "Non sanguis redeat vanæ imagini, quam semel Mercurius horrida virga compulerit nigro gregi." Watson.
- The Babylonians were infatuated with judicial astrology, and made use of astronomical tables to calculate the fortunate or unfortunate days of life. These tables the poet calls Numeros. Francis.
- The construction ia remarkable, "ut meliu est, quanto melius est pati quicquid erit!" How much better is it to bear whatsoever shall happen, than to depend upon the idle predictions of astrologers! San.
- Vina liques. The ancients used to filter their wines, to render them more soft and smooth. Cruq.
- Helicon, a hill of Bœotia near Thebes, now called Zagaya, consecrated to Apollo and the Muses. Watson.
- Pindus, a mountain of Arcadia, running with a long ridge into Thessaly and Macedonia, sacred also to the nine muses. Watson.
- Hæmus, the greatest mountain of Thrace, dividing it from the lower Mysia: it hath divers names by the inhabitants through which it passes; by the Turks it is called Balkan, by the Sclavonians Cumo. Watson.
- Maternal art, that is, the art of music, of singing with his voice, and playing upon the harp, as instructed by Calliope his mother, one of the nine Muses. Watson.
- "Lucida atque simul cœlo serenitatem reducens," ut Od. i. 7, 13; albus notus. Orelli.
- Tarquinius Priscus, the fifth king of Rome, the son of Demaratus, a Corinthian, but born at Tarquinium in Etruria, and called Lucumo, till by the persuasion of his wife Tanaquil, an ambitious woman, and skillful in augury and other kinds of divination, to which the Etrurians were very much addicted, he came to Rome, where by his money and good address he grew popular, and so insinuated himself into the favor of Ancus Martius, that when he died he left him guardian to his children, whom he defrauded, usurping the kingdom. Watson.
- Marcus Attilius Regulus, a consul of Rome in the first Punic war, in the year of the city 420, a great example of strict honor in observing his engagements, even with enemies. Watson.
- Fabricius, the name of a Roman family, of which this Caius Fabricius Luscinus was a consul, who conquered Pyrrhus, king of Epirus, the best soldier of his time. Watson.
- Curius, a nobleman of Rome, surnamed Dentatus; he was thrice consul, and was noted for his courage, singular honesty, and frugality. Watson.
- Camillus. a noble Roman; he, though banished from Rome, out of love to the welfare of his distressed country, saved Rome from its final ruin by the Gauls. Watson.
- Marcellus is a diminutive from Marcus, Marculus, Marcellus: there were several Roman knights of this name. Claudius Marcellus is meant here, a valiant commander, called Ensis Romanorum, the Roman sword, who first proved it was not impossible to conquer Hannibal, as Victor expresseth it After a long siege he took Syracuse. Watson.
- "Castus is a religious epithet. Thus Festus has castum Cereris for sacrum. These woods, therefore, were polluted by incest or homicide, for such only, according to Aero, were stricken by lightning." Orelli.
- "The plural is here employed as equivalent to the double manet" Anthon.
- "Each god," observes Person, "was supposed to have a given quantity of nectar at disposal: and to bestow the fifth, or the tenth part of this on any individual was a special favor." The common, but incorrect, interpretation of quinta parte is, "with the quintessence." Anthon. Yet the common opinion appears to be the correct one. The allusion is to the fifth essence of the Pythagoreans, i. e. the æther. The schoolmen of the fifteenth century revived the term "quinta essentia (quintessenz)," using the word to denote the most subtle flavors and refined essences. For quinta, quanta was proposed by Ramirez de Prado, and received by Scaliger and Pine. McCaul.
- In the year 725 u. c. Augustus consulted his favorites, Mæcenas and Agrippa, whether he should resign the sovereign authority. We have in Dion a speech of Mæcenas upon that occasion, in which the allegory of a ship and the republic is so strongly maintained, and hath something so extremely like this ode, that probably the poet took his design from thence, as a compliment to his illustrious patron.
In the year 727 Augustus began his seventh consulship, with a request to the senate that they would discharge him from an office which his infirmities could no longer support. In the interval of these two events, (the consultation of Octivius with his favorites, and his declaration to the senate.) Horace wrote this ode, in which he endeavors to persuade the Romans not to suffer that prince to abandon tho government of the empire. San.
- "Of one ship, as limina, tecta, are often used of one house. So Dulichias rates is used by Virg. Ecl. vi. 76, for the one ship of Ulysses.", Orelli.
- These were the gods whose statues were placed on the stern of the ship, which, being broken by tempests, had lost its tutelary divinities.
- A Pontic pine-tree. "Ex familia in Ponto," of a family in Pontus, a country in Asia Minor, where Horace's father was born. Watson.
- Besides the statues of the gods, the stems of their ships were adorned with paintings and other ornaments, which the Greeks called in general Acrostolia, and the Latins Aplustria. Dac.
- The poet expresses by solicitum tædium that sorrow and anxiety which he felt, when he was engaged in the party of Brutus. Torr.
- Cyclades, isles in the Ægean Sea; they are in number fifty-three, and are now called, Isole del Archipelago. Watson.
- In the year 722 u. c. Antony set sail, with a numerous fleet, from Egypt to Peloponnesus, intending to pass over into Italy with Cleopatra, and make his country the scene of a second civil war. Inflamed with a violent passion for that princess, aspiring to nothing less than making her mistress of the universe, and supported by the forces of the East, he declared war against Octavius. Horace, therefore, in a noble and poetical allegory, represents to Antony the fatal effects of such conduct, by proposing to him the example of Paris, and the ruinous consequences which attended his passion for Helen.
We are assured by Torrentius, that the best and most ancient manuscript which he had seen gave this title to the Ode, "Ad Alexandrum Paridem, sub cujus persona exponit imminentia bella;" from whence it appears that the allegorical manner of explaining it, is at least of an ancient date. San.
- The treacherous shepherd, Paris, otherwise called Alexander, the son of Priam and Hecuba, king and queen of Troy. Once upon a time there fell out a controversy betwixt Juno, Pallas, and Venus, about a golden apple that the goddess Discord had given them at Peleus' wedding, on which it was written, "Let it bo given to the fairest:" They could not agree among themselves, but every one thought herself the fairest. At last they made Paris judge; and when he had seen them naked (but they offered him bribes besides; Venus, that if he would judge it to her, he should have the most beautiful woman in the world; Juno promised him a kingdom; Pallas, the excellency of wisdom.) ho adjudged it to Venus. After this ho came to be owned at court, and after sometime, pretending business, ho took ship for Greece, where he became acquainted with Helen, the famed beauty of that country, and, in the absence of her husband, carried her home with him; which proved tho occasion of making good tho former dream of Hecuba, and setting all Troy in flames. Watson.
- Nereus, a god of tho sea, tho son of Oceanus and Tetbys, and father of the Nereides. Orpheus calls him the most ancient of the gods, whence
- "Canere" is commonly used of uttering predictions.
- The expression carmina dividere feminis, according to Anthon, means nothing more than to execute different airs for different females, in succession; but Paris would hardly do this in the presence of Helen. Orelli's view is, "that the whole piece consists of two parts, the vocal and the instrumental. The symphony of the lyre breaks (dividit) the continuity of the song. The song divides the symphony," i. e. you sing, and alternately play upon your amorous lyre, strains, etc. "We should, I think, construe divides with carmina, and grata with feminis, as expressive of their effeminacy. The phrase means simply to execute various soft airs upon the lyre. The word "division" in our own language, derived, of course, from the Latin dividere, was used in the sixteenth century, technically for musical compositions. Thus Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet:
Some say the lark makes sweet division,
This is not so.
And all the while sweet music did divide
Her looser strains with Lydian harmonies."
Spenc. F. Q., quoted by Howell.—McCaul.
- Calami spicula Gnossii. It is probable, from this expression, that the Cretans, who were excellent archers, instead of arrows, made use of a kind of hard, slender, pointed reed, which grew in the sands of their island. Thus Ovid; "Nec Gortiniaco calamus levis exit ab arcu." San.
- Sthenelus, the son of Capaneus and Evadne, one of the Greek captains that was at Troy, and was also shut up in the wooden horse. Watson.
- Meriones, a brave captain, who went out of Crete to the siege of Troy. Watson.
- Diomedes, king of Ætolia, the son of Tydeus and Deipyle, one of the Grecian worthies in the Trojan wars. Watson.
- See Orelli. Anthon and others take "incola" as meaning "habitana quasi in pectore."
- Imprimeretque muris. It was a custom among the Romans, to drive a plow over the walls of a city which they destroyed, to signify that the ground upon which it stood should be forever employed in agriculture. Torr.
- Celeres iambos. The poet calls this kind of verse swift, or rapid, because the first syllable of each foot was short, by which the cadence was quicker. San.
- Lycæus, a mountain in Arcadia, sacred to Faunus, who is the same with Pan. So Virgil, Eclog. ii. "Pan Primus Calamos cera conjungere plures instituit: Pan curat oves oviumque magistros." Pan, who first taught us to conjoin our reeds. Pan, who protects the sheep and their masters. Watson.
- Lucretilis, a mountain in the country of the Sabines, not far from Rome, where Horace had a country-house. Mutat Lucretilem Lycæo, by the figure hyperbaton, which puts that first which should be last, for Mutat Lycæum Lucretili, he interchanges Lycæus for Lucretilis. Watson.
- Literally, "wards off the summer from the goats." So Virg. Ecl. vii 47, "solstitium pecori defendite."
- See note on Virg. Ecl. vii. 7.
- Penelope, the daughter of Icarus; the wife of Ulysses, a woman of rare chastity. Watson.
- Circe, the daughter of Sol, and nymph of Perse; a sorceress, and skillful in the nature of herbs. Watson.
- A people of Thessaly, near Mount Pelion, who first broke horses for war; whence it came to pass that they, being seen by other people on horseback at a distance, were supposed to be but one creature, who had the upper part like a man, and the other part of his body like a horse. Watson.
- Lapithae, a people of Thessaly, near Mount Olympus. Pirithous was their king, who having drank to excess at his wedding, the Centaurs endeavored to ravish Hippodamia. the king's new-married queen; or, as some say, attempted to ravish the wives of the Lapithæ at the wedding, and were therefore all put to death. Watson.
- The epithet candide is here very expressive, and refers to the unfading youth and beauty which the mythology of the Greeks and Romans assigned to the deity of wine. Compare Broukhus. ad. Tibull. iii. vi. 1, and Dryden (Ode for St. Cecilia's day), "Bacchus, ever fair and young," and Ovid. Fast. iii. 772:
"Candida formosi venerabimur ora Lyaei." Anthon.
- Scythia was a large country, now called Tartary, divided into the Asiatic and European. Watson.
- Parthian. Parthia, a country in Asia, lying between Media and Carmania, and the Hyrcanian Sea. The Parthians fought with bows and arrows, and that flying; so that by turning about their horses, they shot and wounded the enemy who was pursuing them. Watson.
- When the ancients filled their casks, they closed them with wax, pitch, gum, or plaster, and although the Sabine wine was by no means worthy of so much care, yet as Mæcenas at that time had received some remarkable applause in the theater, the poet preserved on his vessels the remembrance of a day so glorious to his patron. San.
- It is probable, from the 17th Ode of the second Book, that this applause was to congratulate Mæcenas for his escaping some accidental danger; and as the ancients were used to mark the age of their wines by the names of the consuls, or by the most extraordinary event of the year, the poet had chosen this instance of the glory and good fortune of his patron, for the date of his wine. San.
- Paterni fluminis. It seems as if Horace could not find a more glorious epithet for the Tiber than this, which calls it the river of Mæcenas's ancestors, who came originally from Etruria, where the Tiber has its source. San.
- Cæcubum, a town in Campania, not far from Caieta, The wine produced there was much esteemed. Watson.
- Mount Formanum, near the city Formiæ, the seat of the Læstrygones, now swallowed up by the sea, and called Golfo di Gaietta. The wine of the place was much valued. Watson.
- In the celebration of the festival of Bacchus, a select number of virgins, of honorable families, called κανηφόροι, κισσοφόροι, κιστοφόροι, carried small baskets of gold, in which were concealed, beneath vine, ivy, and other leaves, certain sacred mysterious things, which were not to be exposed to the eyes of the profane. Anthon.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- "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.
- 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.
- Melpomene, one of the muses, who first composed tragedies; and therefore Horace properly addresses himself to her for assistance in writing a funeral elegy on Quinctilius Varus. See Ode xviii. Watson.
- Quinctilius. This is not Quinctilius Varus, who commanded the army in Germany under Augustus as his general, who, after his army was routed, killed himself For that was twenty-seven years after Virgil's death, and eighteen after Horace died. But Quinctilius Varus, the poet and critic of Cremona, an intimate friend of Virgil's, who died about the tenth consulship of Augustus. Watson.
- Between an old and new moon, the wind is usually most tempestous. "Interiuniorum dies tempestatibus plenos, et navigantibus quàm maximè metuendos, non solùm peritæ ratio, sed etiam vulgi usus intelligit." Dac.
- "Sub interlunia μεσοσελήνῳ, "at the time which intervenes between the old and new moon." Or, in freer and more poetic language, "during the dark and stormy season when the moon has disappeared from the skies." Interlunium, "biduum illud, quo in coitu solis luna non conspicitur." Orell.
- Aridas frondes hyemis sodali dedicet. The sense and interpretation of these words depend on the two former lines. Young men, says the poet, are more pleased, magis gaudent, with trees which are always green, such as are myrtle and ivy; but despise dry and withered leaves. Bent.
- In the year 719, u.c., the Parthians expelled Phraates for his cruelty, and set Tiridates upon the throne. In 724, Phraates was restored by the Scythians; and Tiridates, obliged to fly, carried with him the son of Phraates to Octavius, who was then in Syria. That prince, delighted with having the son of the greatest enemy of the republic in his power, carried him to Rome, and permitted Tiridates to remain in Syria; who being impatiend to recover his throne, solicited Augustus for succors. In 731, Phraates sent an embassy to Rome, with an offer of restoring to Augustus to Roman eagles, which were taken in the defeat of Crassus, if he would send his son and Tiridates to him. Augustus made the report to the senate, who remitted to him the decision of the affair. He granted the embassadors the first part of their demand, but kept Tiridates at Rome, and promised to entertain him in a manner suitable to his dignity.
This ode was written when the affair was depending, and we may judge how Tiridates must have been alarmed, while he was afraid of being sent to Phraates, from whom he could expect nothing but tortures and deat. San.
- Ælius Lamia was a Roman knight, whose character is thus drawn by Cicerto: "Vir summo splendore, summá gratiá; nullo prorsùs plùs Homine delector." Dac.
- When the poets intended to sing any thing extraordinary, they used to change the strings of their lyres. Dac.
However, this changing the strings of the lyre seems rather a poetical, metaphorical expression for the change of the subject. Fran.
- Sappho, a famous poetess, inventress of the Sapphic verse, being rejected by her lover Phaon, she destroyed herself. There was a promontory in Arcadia called Leucate, on the top of which was a little temple dedicated to Apollo. Watson.
- A sort of hendiadys,—"revelries by night."
- i.e. by what love.
- 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.
- 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 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.
- This is the proper force of "moriturus." So also "moribundus" is used in Virgil.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Which declines to its setting. The rising and setting of this constellation are usually attended with storms. Virgil calls it aquosum and nimbosum. Torr.
- "Parum curas, pro nihilo habes culpam hujusmodi in te admittere." Orelli; who however, reads the sentence interrogatively, which is more animated.
- Piaculum signifies both the crime and the sacrifice by which it was expiated. San.
- Iccius, a philosopher; he was Agrippa's procurator in Sicily, and by him presented with much land. Watson.
- Sabæa, the chief city of Arabia Felix, now called Zibit, where is great store of cinnamon, cassia, frankincense, and myrrh. Watson.
- Non antè devictis. We can understand these words only of that part of Arabia called Sabæa, for the Romans had carried their arms into others parts of Arabia under several different generals. Dac.
- Socraticum domum. Horace calls the sect of Socrates Socraticum domum, as the schools of the philosophers were called familiæ. Dac.
- Gnidus, a town in Caria, a country in Asia Minor, between Lycia and Ionia, on the side of the mountain Taurus, where Venus was worshiped. Watson.
- In the year 726, u.c. Octavius dedicated to Apollo a temple and library in his palace on Mount Palatine; which having been struck with lightning, the augurs said the god demanded that it should be consecrated to him. Horace was then thirty-eight years old. Dac.
- "A god is said himself to be dedicated, to whom a new temple is consecrated. Cic. de N. D. 2, 23; ut fides, ut mens, quas in Capitoliis dedicatas videmus." Orelli.
- Diespiter signifies Diei pater, as Jupiter is put for Jovis pater, and Marspiter for Mars pater.SAN.
- Tænarus, a promontory and seaport town of Peloponnesus, full of thick woods, where the poets feign was a descent to hell, called by Ovid Tænaria Porta, the Tænarian Gate; by Virgil, Tænariæ Fauces, the Tænarian jaws.WATSON.
- Atlas, a mountain in Mauritania, so high, that the top of it is said to reach to heaven, and bear it up.WATSON.
- The subject of this ode is perfectly noble, well designed, and well executed. The versification is flowing and harmonious, the expression bold and sublime.
In the year 719, Augustus was on his march to Britain, but was recalled by a revolt of the Dalmatians. In 727, having ended the civil wars by the defeat of Antony, he again resolved to turn his arms against that island, but was satisfied with an embassy from thence, and a promise of obedience to any conditions which he pleased to impose upon them. These conditions not being well observed, he was determined to make the Britons feel the effects of his displeasure, yet was again obliged to employ the forces of the republic in suppressing an insurrection of the Salassi, Cantabri, and Asturii.SAN.
- Antium, an ancient city of Italy, the capital of the Volscians, the country of Nero, and a good harbor for shipping.WATSON.
- The Carpathian Sea, so called from Carpathus, an isle between Rhodes and Crete, which usually retaineth its ancient name. Watson.
- Bithynia, a country of Asia the Less, next to Troas, over against Thrace, and, as is supposed, planted by Thracians; whence Xenophon calls it Thracia Asiatica. Watson.
- Dacia was a country of Hungary beyond the Danube.
- Nec comitem abnegat] se, ut Ter. Enn. 2, 3, 84, "facile ut eunucho probes," i.e. te Ovid. A.A. i. 127, "Si qua repugnarat nimium comitemque negarat," se. Orelli.
- Eois timendum. In the end of the year 727, Ælius Gallus marched with an army to succeed Cornelius in the government of Egypt, and as he wanted a fleet for his expedition against the Arabians, he ordered a number of ships to be built in the ports of the Red Sea. As this army alarmed all the countries of the East, so the Romans had the greatest expectations that it would revenge all the insults which the republic had received from the Parthians. San.
- It is probable that this ode was written in the year 730, when Numida returned with Augustus from the war of Spain, and we may judge with how much tenderness Horace loved his friends, when he celebrated their return with sacrifices, songs, and dances. San.
- Mutatæque simul togæ. At the age of seventeen the Roman youth put on the toga, and were no longer under the tutor's power. The toga was a large mantle worn over the tunica, and different in length, color, and ornaments, according to the fortune or profession of the wearer. San.
- Cressâ ne careat. As chalk was found in great abundance in Crete, the ancients used to say proverbially, a Cretan mark, for any mark of joy and happiness: on the contrary, their unlucky days were said to be marked with black Lamb.
- Threïciâ Amystide. This term is Greek, and signifies a custom among the Thracians of drinking a certain measure of wine, without closing the lips, or taking a breath. Lamb.
- At the first announcement of the victory at Actium, Horace encourages his companions to give free reins to joy and hilarity, yet still to honor and admire the noble spirit and bold resolution this ill-fated Cleopatra. With the true spirit of a Roman citizen he is silent of his fellow Roman, Antony. The senate, too, had not proclaimed war against him, but against Cleopatra, and Augustus triumphed not ostensibly over his fallen colleague in the triumvirate, but over an Egyptian queen. It was, indeed, his interest, that men should speedily forget that his former friend and relative had been, by him, forced to death, and that in the glare of victory the Romans should be flattered, not alarmed.
The tidings of the death of both were brought to Rome, in the autumn of A.U.C. 724, by M. Tullius Cicero, the son of the orator and then Consul Suffectus; and that this is one of the earliest lyric compositions of Horace is probable, as well from its subject as by the irregularity of its composition, such as the synalephe in v. 5, and neglect of the cæsure in vs. 5 and 14. Anthon.
- The Salii were priests of Mars, instituted by Numa Pompilius, twelve in number, of the senatorial rank; their number was doubled by Tullus Hostilius. These, armed with a brazen helmet, belt, and breastplate, went through the city with a constant even pace, dancing to the sound of musical instruments. Their solemn processions were very magnificent. Hence the proverb, Dapes Saliares, for a grand entertainment.
- Ab ignibus. The fleet of Antony, even after his flight, made such an obstinate resistance, that Augustus was obliged to send for fire from his camp to destroy it.
- Daret ut catenis. Octavius had given particular directions to Proculeius and Epaphroditus to take Cleopatra alive, that he might make himself master of her treasures, and have the glory of leading her in triumph. Justly sensible of this ignominy, she had reserved a dagger for her last extremities, and when she saw Proculeius enter, she raised it to stab herself, but he dexterously wrenched it from her. Lamb.
- Sævis Liburnis. The poet mentions those vessels, not only because they were particularly serviceable in gaining the victory, but in compliment to his patron Mæcenas, who commanded that squadron. San.
by Yirgil he is called Grandaevus. Nereus is also sometimes taken for the sea. Watson.
ἐξοχὴν, the perversity of whom Horace now called insanity. Greg. Naz. Invect. Pr. in Julian, p. 79: ἂσοφος, ἲν᾽ οὒτως ὀνομάσω, σοφία.ORELLI.