Page images
PDF
EPUB

-

speak, as they had not been However, he incidentally (line triumph, and his abilities as a

activity he could not venture to
exerted on behalf of Augustus.
13, and following) mentions his
senator and an advocate. The ode was written probably not
long after the battle of Actium.

MOTUM EX Metello consule civicum
Bellique causas et vitia et modos
Ludumque fortunae gravesque
Principum amicitias et arma,
Nondum expiatis uncta cruoribus,
Periculosae plenum opus aleae,
Tractas, et incedis per ignes,
Suppositos cineri doloso.

Paulum severae Musa tragoediae
Desit theatris: mox ubi publicas
Res ordinaris, grande munus
Cecropio repetes cothurno,

Insigne maestis praesidium reis
Et consulenti, Pollio, curiae,
Cui laurus aeternos honores
Dalmatico peperit triumpho.

Jam nunc minaci murmure cornuum
Perstringis aures, jam litui strepunt,

6

=

5

10

15

1. Motum civicum; that is, bellum civile. Metellus was consul in the year 60 B. C.-2. Vitia, the political and military blunders.' The poet is thinking, for instance, of the unfortunate campaign of Crassus against the Parthians, or of the overthrow of Pompey and his party.-4. Amicitias et arma. Caesar and Pompey were at first friends, and allied by marriage; Pompey being the husband of Caesar's daughter: afterwards they fought against each other. Thus the friendship' turned to arms.' In the same way, Antony was connected with Octavianus, being married to his sister Octavia. 5. Uncta, dripping, or wet with maculata, tincta.-6. Opus plenum periculosae aleae, a work full of hazardous throws;' that is, a work containing the history of many a bold and venturous undertaking.-8. Suppositos cineri doloso. The sense is this: you relate the history of the civil wars, which, though externally finished, are still slumbering under the ashes. The last sparks, however, of the animosities and ill-feeling generated by the civil wars, were extinguished by the mildness of the reign of Augustus.9. The meaning is: do not hurry away to the tragedies which you purpose to write; let the theatres want thy tragedies for a little.' 10. Publicas res, the history of the Roman state.'11. Grande munus, &c. then thou wilt turn again to thy great present (the present to Roman literature of tragedies) with the Cecropian buskin.' 'Cecropian' is equivalent to Athenian;' from Cecrops, the founder of Athens. Tragedy was invented by the Athenians, and by them alone of the Greeks brought to perfection.-17. The sense is this: the vivid descriptions of battles in

Jam fulgor armorum fugaces
Terret equos equitumque vultus.
Audire magnos jam videor duces,
Non indecoro pulvere sordidos,
Et cuncta terrarum subacta
Praeter atrocem animum Catonis.
Juno et deorum quisquis amicior
Afris inulta cesserat impotens
Tellure, victorum nepotes
Rettulit inferias Jugurthae.

Quis non Latino sanguine pinguior
Campus sepulchris impia proelia
Testatur auditumque Medis
Hesperiae sonitum ruinae ?

Qui gurges aut quae flumina lugubris
Ignara belli? Quod mare Dauniae
Non decoloravere caedes?

Quae caret ora cruore nostro ?

[blocks in formation]

your work bring the whole scene before my mind. Cornua and litui, horns and clarions, were the two kinds of musical instruments used in the Roman army; the former being crooked, the latter straight.-20. Equos equitumque vultus seems to refer to the battle of Pharsalus, where Pompey's cavalry fled first; because, it is said, they could not endure the sight of the spears of Caesar's cohorts, which, by his orders, were directed at their faces.-21. Audire. The Roman leaders, before battles, were in the habit of delivering speeches to their armies; and the historians were fond of giving the substance of these, adorned with all the charms of polished rhetoric.-23. Cuncta terrarum subacta=cunctas terras subactas. Caesar, before he went to Africa-the time to which the poet alludes had subdued Greece, Asia, and Egypt. Cato is the well-known Uticensis, who, after the battle of Thapsus, which determined the fate of Africa, killed himself at Utica, to escape the necessity of yielding to the conqueror.-25. The poet comes now to a theme which he often touches upon; namely, the sad misfortunes of the civil wars. Many citizens belonging to the Pompeian party had fallen in Africa, particularly after the battle of Thapsus. Horace so represents the matter, as if Juno, the ancient tutelary goddess of Carthage, and the other guardian divinities of Africa, had presented the blood of these citizens (the descendants of the victors, victorum nepotes) as an expiatory sacrifice for the destruction of Carthage, and the conquest of Jugurtha-26. Impotens cesserat inulta tellure, had, in anger and grief, left the land whose sufferings they could not avenge.' It was an ancient belief, that the gods left a city, the destruction of which they could not avert.-30. Sepulchris. In the lands which the Romans had fertilised with their blood, there were everywhere tombs of the slain, witnesses to the impia bella; that is, the civil wars.-32. Hesperiae ruinae, 'the fall of the western (that is, Roman) republic.' The crash was heard even by the distant Parthians or Medes. Hesperius is 'western' generally.—34.

Sed ne relictis, Musa procax, jocis
Ceae retractes munera naeniae:
Mecum Dionaeo sub antro

Quaere modos leviore plectro.

=

Dauniae, properly Apulae (Carm. i. 22, 14); here:

40

Romanae.-37. The poet, when about to go on at some length with this lament over the civil wars, recollects that his general purpose is to write only jocular poems (joci) of a lighter class (leviore plectro), not elegies (naeniae) such as, erewhile, the renowned poet, Simonides of Čos, composed: hence, now, Horace restrains the gush of his sorrow. 39. Dionaeo sub antro. Dione, properly the mother of Venus, is sometimes, as here, Venus herself.

CARMEN II.

AD C. SALLUSTIUM CRISPUM.

SALLUSTIUS CRISPUS, grandson of the sister of the historian, was a friend and imitator of Maecenas. He might, like him, being rich and a favourite of Augustus, have attained to the highest offices in the state; but preferred a quiet life as a simple Roman eques, and the tranquil enjoyment of his wealth. Horace praises him in this poem for the wise use which he makes of his fortune. The ode was written about the year 25 B. C.

NULLUS argento color est avaris

Abdito terris, inimice lamnae
Crispe Sallusti, nisi temperato

Vivet extento Proculeius aevo

Splendeat usu.

Notus in fratres animi paterni;

[ocr errors]

5

1. Nullus color est. Silver has no glitter so long as it lies concealed in the bowels of the earth: in the same way money is useless, if kept shut up in a chest, and not expended. 2. Lamnae, shortened form of laminae; properly, a plate of metal,' here used contemptuously of stamped or coined money. Connect the clauses thus: inimice lamnae, nisi — splendeat, who hatest money, unless it shines,' &c.-5. Proculeius was, in rank, merely a Roman eques, but a man of such distinction and consequence that Augustus thought of giving him his daughter Julia to wife. He was praised as a pattern of brotherly love; for when his brothers Scipio and Murena lost their property in the civil wars, he shared with them his own fortune. Extento -aevo: his life will be lengthened, for nis fame will be immortal.-6. Animi paterni, 'for his fatherly feel

F

:

Illum aget penna metuente solvi
Fama superstes.

Latius regnes avidum domando
Spiritum, quam si Libyam remotis
Gadibus jungas et uterque Poenus
Serviat uni.

Crescit indulgens sibi dirus hydrops,
Nec sitim pellit, nisi causa morbi
Fugerit venis et aquosus albo
Corpore languor.

Redditum Cyri solio Phraaten

Dissidens plebi numero beatorum
Eximit virtus populumque falsis
Dedocet uti

Vocibus; regnum et diadema tutum
Deferens uni propriamque laurum,

[ocr errors]
[blocks in formation]

ing.' Gram. $277, 2, note 1. Compare Zumpt, § 437.-7. Penna metuente solvi; that is, penna quae non solveter or dissolvetur. The goddess Fame is, as is well known, represented with wings. In the word solvi, Horace seems to allude to the story of Icarus, who fled from Crete along with his father Daedalus, by means of wings which the latter had constructed of wax. Icarus perished in the sea called after him Icarian-his wings having been melted by the heat of the sun.— 10. Remotis Gadibus, to Gades (used for Spain) far distant from us.' Uterque Poenus also refers to this; for there was a Carthage in Spain as well as in Africa. The sense, consequently, is this one who can rule his desires has a wider dominion than if he were lord of Spain and Africa. - 13. Comparison of avarice with the disease of dropsy. As this disease grows, if it indulges itself (sibi indulgens)—that is, strives to quench with water the morbid thirst (this should, properly, be said of the sufferer, not of the disease) so also avarice, the more it has, the more it would have. Nothing but the conviction that virtue alone is able to make a man happy can eradicate this vice. — 17. Phraaten. Phraates IV. king of the Parthians, whom his subjects had expelled for his cruelty, had recently (26 B. C.) been reinstated in his power by the help of the Scythians. He was thus Cyri solio redditus, restored to the throne of Cyrus ;' for the Parthian monarchs considered themselves to be the successors of the old kings of Persia.-18. Dissidens plebi virtus, virtue, dissenting from the common people; that is, the wise and virtuous man, being of a different opinion from the mass of the people, who regard Phraates as happy because he has been restored to his kingdom, numero beatorum eximit, excepts him from the number of the happy,' does not consider him as really happy. Observe, in the scanning of this line, that the um of beatorum is cut off before the first word of the next line, which begins with a vowel.-22. Deferens uni, yielding, ascribing to him alone.' The doctrine of the Stoics, of whom Horace is here chiefly thinking, was that the wise man only was happy; and was a king, having a crown secure and indestructible, and the laurel peculiar to him

Quisquis ingentes oculo irretorto
Spectat acervos.

self, belonging to him alone (propriam laurum.)-23. Oculo irretorto. A person is said to throw back his looks or glances (oculos retorquere), who, on going away from anything which he is anxious but unable to possess, casts his eyes wistfully towards it. Hence oculo irretorto is here said of him who can pass by great heaps of gold without even looking at them.

CARMEN III.

AD Q. DELLIUM.

Q. DELLIUS, to whom this poem is addressed, was one of that numerous class of Romans, who, not possessing any spirit of political independence, and being heedless of, if indeed they had, any inward conviction, were content, during the civil wars, to follow the majority, and the tide of success. He had been connected in succession with all the great parties, and was now in favour with Augustus. This ode, however, has no reference to his character or political relations, but is simply an exhortation to enjoy life temperately, never going to excesses either of joy

or sorrow.

AEQUAM memento rebus in arduis
Servare mentem, non secus in bonis
Ab insolenti temperatam
Laetitia, moriture, Delli,

Seu maestus omni tempore vixeris,
Seu te in remoto gramine per dies
Festos reclinatum bearis

Interiore nota Falerni.

5

1. Aequam mentem should refer properly to equanimity in prosperity (in bonis, scil. rebus) as well as in adversity (in arduis rebus); but the regular use of the expression in Latin is in regard only to calmness under affliction and calamity: so here. Equanimity in prosperity is expressed by mens temperata ab insolenti laetitia, a mind kept free from immoderate joy.'-4. Moriture is to be connected with the following seu — seu ; 'who art doomed to die, whether....or... .'-6. Remoto; namely, from the world, and the harassing pursuits of men.-7. Bearis = beatum reddideris, hast blessed.'-8. Interiore nota. To the amphorae, in which the wine was kept, short notices (notae) were affixed, stating the year by the names of the consuls. Hence nota here is equiva

« PreviousContinue »