Page images
PDF
EPUB

EPISTOLARUM

LIBER PRIMUS.

EPISTOLA II.

AD LOLLIUM.

EXCELLENT remarks on the moral lessons which may be drawn from Homer's poems. They are addressed to M. Lollius, the eldest son (hence in line 1, maxime) of M. Lollius, to whom the 9th ode of the 4th book is addressed. The youth was studying oratory at Rome. Horace was spending the summer at Praeneste (now Palestrina.)

TROJANI belli scriptorem, maxime Lolli,

Dum tu declamas Romae, Praeneste relegi;

Qui quid sit pulchrum, quid turpe, quid utile, quid non,
Planius ac melius Chrysippo et Crantore dicit.
Cur ita crediderim, nisi quid te detinet, audi.
Fabula, qua Paridis propter narratur amorem
Graecia Barbariae lento collisa duello,
Stultorum regum et populorum continet aestus.
Antenor censet belli praecidere causam.
Quod Paris, ut salvus regnet vivatque beatus,
Cogi posse negat. Nestor componere lites
Inter Peliden festinat et inter Atriden;

Hunc amor, ira quidem communiter urit utrumque.
Quidquid delirant reges, plectuntur Achivi.

5

10

4. Chrysippus, a Stoic philosopher; Crantor, an Academic, a fol. lower of Plato.-7. Barbariae. The Trojans, not being Greeks, were barbari.-8. Aestus = cupiditates.-9. Antenor. See Iliad, vii. 348. Antenor and Aeneas had always recommended peace. For praecidere we should have in prose praecidi. Horace, by poetic licence, omits the subject, perhaps Priamum.-11. Nestor. See Iliad, i. 254.-13. Hunc; namely, Atriden. Agamemnon was irritated at the loss of Chryseis.-14. The Greeks had to pay for their leader's quarrel; for

21*

(245)

Seditione, dolis, scelere atque libidine et ira
Iliacos intra muros peccatur et extra.
Rursus quid virtus et quid sapientia possit,
Utile proposuit nobis exemplar Ulixen,

15

Qui domitor Trojae multorum providus urbes

Et mores hominum inspexit, latumque per aequor,

20

Dum sibi, dum sociis reditum parat, aspera multa
Pertulit, adversis rerum immersabilis undis.
Sirenum voces et Circae pocula nosti;
Quae si cum sociis stultus cupidusque bibisset,
Sub domina meretrice fuisset turpis, et excors
Vixisset canis immundus vel amica luto sus.
Nos numerus sumus et fruges consumere nati,
Sponsi Penelopae, nebulones, Alcinoique
In cute curanda plus aequo operata juventus,
Cui pulchrum fuit in medios dormire dies et
Ad strepitum citharae cessatum ducere Curam.
Ut jugulent homines, surgunt de nocte latrones;
Ut te ipsum serves, non expergisceris? Atqui
Si noles sanus, curres hydropicus; et ni
Posces ante diem librum cum lumine, si non
Intendes animum studiis et rebus honestis,
Invidia vel amore vigil torquebere. Nam cur,
Quae laedunt oculum, festinas demere; si quid

25

30

35

they were unsuccessful after Achilles in his anger left them to them. selves.-16. Result of the poet's observations in regard to the moral bearings of the Iliad. He comes now to the Odyssey.-19. Domitor Trojae, because it was by his advice that the wooden horse was built. Horace here translates the commencement of the Odyssey: providus = πολύτροπος, inspexit alludes to the Homeric νόον ἔγνω. 23. Sirenum. See Odyssey, xii. 39. Circae pocula. See Odyssey, x. 136.-24. Stultus cupidusque for stulte cupideque. Ulysses did drink of Circe's cup, but not till he had received an antidote from Hermes.-27. Ulysses is a pattern of wisdom. The suitors of Penelope, on the other hand, the juventus Alcinoi, so called from their chief, are examples of average humanity, men born to eat and drink, and counted by their heads, not their opinions-they not having any; hence numerus. Among these he jocularly reckons himself, saying nos.-29. Cute, here corpore.-31. Cessatum ducere Curam. Cura is conceived as a goddess, whom, by the sound of the lyre, the suitors endeavour to induce to be quiet and cease from annoying them. Cessatum is the supine.-32. The poet passes over to the general remark, that men have little anxiety for moral improvement. De nocte, by night,' beginning before night ends. Zumpt, 308. -34. Hydropicus. Much walking was considered as a preventive of dropsy. Ni posces-torquebere. The sense is: if you do not rise early to pursue the study of philosophy, envy and desire (amor taken generally) will keep you awake, to your great annoyance.—

=

Est animum, differs curandi tempus in annum?
Dimidium facti, qui coepit, habet: sapere aude:
Incipe. Qui recte vivendi prorogat horam,
Rusticus expectat, dum defluat amnis; at ille
Labitur et labetur in omne volubilis aevum.
Quaeritur argentum puerisque beata creandis
Uxor, et incultae pacantur vomere silvae.
Quod satis est, cui contingit, nil amplius optet.
Non domus et fundus, non aeris acervus et auri
Aegroto domini deduxit corpore febres,
Non animo curas: valeat possessor oportet,
Si comportatis rebus bene cogitat uti.

Qui cupit aut metuit, juvat illum sic domus et res,
Ut lippum pictae tabulae, fomenta podagram,
Auriculas citharae collecta sorde dolentes.
Sincerum est nisi vas, quodcunque infundis acescit.
Sperne voluptates; nocet empta dolore voluptas.
Semper avarus eget; certum voto pete finem.
Invidus alterius macrescit rebus opimis;
Invidia Siculi non invenere tyranni

Majus tormentum. Qui non moderabitur irae,
Infectum volet esse, dolor quod suaserit et mens,
Dum poenas odio per vim festinat inulto.

Ira furor brevis est: animum rege, qui nisi paret,
Imperat; hunc frenis, hunc tu compesce catena.
Fingit equum tenera docilem cervice magister
Ire viam, qua monstret eques; venaticus ex quo
Tempore cervinam pellem latravit in aula,
Militat in silvis catulus. Nunc adbibe puro
Pectore verba, puer, nunc te melioribus offer.

[blocks in formation]

39. Est for edit = consumit, an Homeric expression. In annum, proverbial, till next year.'-42. Rusticus expectat; that is, is like a clown who waits. The story is that, when a stupid rustic came to a river, beyond which his road lay, he said he would wait till the river ran past. -44. Beata = dives. · 45. Pacanturarantur, are changed from wildness to peace, fertility. They become friendly and useful to man. - 46. Connect cui contingit quod satis est, (is) optet nil amplius. —48. Deduxit, in an aorist sense. —54. Sincerum =purum. The sense is: unless the mind is pure, it cannot enjoy any life, even the most prosperous.-56. Certum finem, 'a definite aim.' to reach which will content thee.-57. The poet begins to describe some vices: 57-59, envy; 59-63, anger. This leads him to exhort all to learn virtue when young, because old age is stiff-necked. -58. Siculi tyranni, such as Phalaris, Agathocles, and the two Dionysii, all infamous for their cruelty.60. Dolor et mens, a ev dià Svoiv, mens dolens, the spirit smarting under a sense of injury.' -61. Odio inulto is the dative. Festinat =festinanter repetit. 66. This was the mode of training dogs for the chase: a stag's skin

Quo semel est imbuta recens, servabit odorem
Testa diu. Quodsi cessas aut strenuus anteis,
Nec tardum opperior nec praecedentibus insto.

70

was stuffed and set up. -71. The sense is: here you have my precepts, and may use them as you please. For my own part, I have a definite system of action: I step along the course of life at a moderate speed, neither waiting for the loiterers nor treading on the heels of those before me.

EPISTOLA III.

AD JULIUM FLORUM.

WHEN Tiberius, afterwards emperor, went to the East, in the year 20 B. C., to restore Tigranes, king of Armenia, to his dominions, he, being a man of education and taste, had many poets with him. Among these was Julius Florus, a writer of satires, if we may credit the scholiasts. To him this epistle is addressed, which contains friendly inquiries about himself and some other friends of our poet.

JULI FLORE, quibus terrarum militet oris
Claudius, Augusti privignus, scire laboro.

Thracane vos Hebrusque nivali compede vinctus,

An freta vicinas inter currentia turres,

An pingues Asiae campi collesque morantur?

5

Quid studiosa cohors operum struit? hoc quoque curo.

Quis sibi res gestas Augusti scribere sumit?

Bella quis et paces longum diffundit in aevum ?
Quid Titius, Romana brevi venturus in ora,
Pindarici fontis qui non expalluit haustus,
Fastidire lacus et rivos ausus apertos?

10

3. We see that Florus accompanied Tiberius on his journey through Thrace and Macedonia to Asia, and also that it was during winter, the Hebrus being frozen.-4. Turres, of Hero and Leander; hence between Sestos and Abydos, towns on opposite sides of the Hellespont.-6. Cohors. See Satires, i. 7, 23. Studiosa, without litterarum, has here the meaning which it often has in the writers of the Silver Age, literary.'-8. Bella et paces. The plural indicates the several wars and peaces which were made in the reign of Augustus. Longum diffundit in aevum. See Carm. iv. 14, 3.-9. Ti tius. This person is said by the scholiasts to have written but not published lyrics (hence compared with Pindar) and tragedies. Horace here hopes that he will soon publish them, and thus become known to the Romans, venturus in ora Romana.-11. Figurative: he

Ut valet? Ut meminit nostri? Fidibusne Latinis
Thebanos aptare modos studet auspice Musa,

An tragica desaevit et ampullatur in arte?

Quid mihi Celsus agit? Monitus multumque monendus, 15
Privatas ut quaerat opes et tangere vitet

Scripta. Palatinus quaecunque recepit Apollo;
Ne, si forte suas repetitum venerit olim
Grex avium plumas, moveat cornicula risum
Furtivis nudata coloribus. Ipse quid audes?

Quae circumvolitas agilis thyma? Non tibi parvum
Ingenium, non incultum est et turpiter hirtum;
Seu linguam causis acuis seu civica jura
Respondere paras seu condis amabile carmen,
Prima feres hederae victricis praemia. Quodsi
Frigida curarum fomenta relinquere posses,
Quo te coelestis sapientia duceret ires.

Hoc opus, hoc studium parvi properemus et ampli,
Si patriae volumus, si nobis vivere cari.
Debes hoc etiam rescribere, si tibi curae,
Quantae conveniat, Munatius: an male sarta
Gratia nequicquam coit et rescinditur? At vos
Seu calidus sanguis seu rerum inscitia vexat

ture

20

20

25

30

dared to despise the open lakes and streams—that is, the kinds of poetry open to and used by others and to taste of the Pindaric spring.-13. Connect Studetne aptare Thebanos modos Latinis fidibus; that is, to introduce the Pindaric kind of poetry into Roman literaPindar having been a Theban.-15. Celsus, probably the Celsus Albinovanus to whom the 8th epistle of this book is addressed. It appears that Celsus belonged to that class of versewriters who, having no original ideas, confine themselves to the imitation and copying of others. Hence Horace jocularly recommends him to seek resources in himself (privatas opes), and no longer transcribe the books in the public libraries. The first of these libraries was established by Augustus in the temple of Apollo on the Palatine Hill. Unless Celsus takes this advice he runs the risk of sharing the same fate as the daw with the borrowed plumes in Aesop's well-known fable.-18. Repetitum, the supine.-21. Figure taken from a bee. See Carm. iv. 2, 27.-23. Civica jura respondere, poetical for de jure civili respondere; namely, to those who come for advice (consulentibus); hence to act as an attorney or solicitor.-26. Frigida fomenta curarum; that is, striving after honour and wealth. The figure is taken from the medical art. Cold fomentations are of no use; hence frigida = inutilia.-28. Hoc opus, hoc studium; namely, the coelestis sapientia of the preceding verse.-30. Sinum. Zumpt, $354, extr. Sit is omitted.-31. Conveniat oporteat.-32. The figure is taken from a wound, the lips of which, when sewed, do not rightly meet, and which is therefore cut open, to be better closed.-33. Rerum inscitia, 'ignorance of affairs; that is, both ignorance of your own affairs, positions, and relations, which has

« PreviousContinue »