Page images
PDF
EPUB

10

Tum spissa ramis laurea fervidos
Excludet ictus. Non ita Romuli
Praescriptum et intonsi Catonis
Auspiciis veterumque norma.

Privatus illis census erat brevis,
Commune magnum : nulla decempedis
Metata privatis opacam
Porticus excipiebat Arcton,

Nec fortuitum spernere cespitem
Leges sinebant, oppida publico
Sumptu jubentes et deorum
Templa novo decorare saxo.

15

20

which brought fruit to the former owner.'— 9. Laurea, used poetically for laurus. 10. Ictus = radios. - 11. Praescriptum, scil. est. Cato is called intonsus, because the Romans of his time did not shave the beard. This custom was not introduced at Rome till 300 B. C., when barbers came from Sicily. It found at first little favour, but in the time of Horace was universally practised. - 13. Census, fortune.'- 14. Nulla Arcton refers to ihe fact that the wealthy Romans built particular rooms for the summer season, which faced the north, and consequently were shady, and received the cooling northern breezes. The winter rooms looked to the south. Con. strue thus : nulla porticus metata decempedis excipiebat opacam Arcton privatis. - 17. In the good old times of Rome, the private houses were poor, constructed of the fortuitus cespes ; the materials which the earth happened to afford at the place where they were to be erected. On the other hand, the public buildings, even at this early period, were built novo saxo ; not with the stones of Italy, but with new, far-fetched stone ; that is, marble.

CARMEN XVI.

[ocr errors]

AD GROSPHUM.
ODE to Pompeius Grosphus, a Roman eques of Sicily, whom Horace

mentions also in his epistles (i. 12, 22.) The poet sings the
praises of a peaceful life, accompanied with temperate enjoy.
ment.

Otium divos rogat in patenti
Prensus Aegaeo, simul atra nubes
Condidit lunam, neque certa fulgent
Sidera nautis :

2. Prensus = deprehensus, 'caught, taken by surprise ;' namely, by a storm. Simul = simul atque. — 3. Certa sidera. The stars served to the ancient mariners instead of a compass: they are called

5

Otium bello furiosa Thrace,
Otium Medi pharetra decori,
Grosphe, non gemmis neque purpura ve-
nale neque auro.

Non enim gazae neque consularis
Summovet lictor miseros tumultus
Mentis et curas laqueata circum
Tecta volantes.

10

15

Vivitur parvo bene, cui paternum
Splendet in mensa tenui salinum,
Nec leves somnos timor aut cupido
Sordiduslaufert.

Quid brevi fortes jaculamur aevo
Multa ? Quid terras alio calentes
Sole mutamus? Patriae quis exul
Se quoque fugit ?

Scandit aeratas vitiosa naves
Cura nec turmas equitum relinquit,
Ocior cervis et agente nimbos
Ocior Euro.

Laetus in praesens animus, quod ultra est,
Oderit curare et amara lento

20

25

therefore certa, "safely-guiding.' When they are concealed, then the sailor trembles, and prays to the gods for a clear sky and a calm. -5. Thrace. The Thracians were famed for their addiction to warfare. Besides their own wars, they also engaged in those of other nations, as mercenaries. – 9. Consularis lictor. The poet, alluding to honours generally, adduces the consular dignity as an instance. 10. Summovere is the proper expression for the duty of the lictors, who, going before the consul, 'keep off' the crowd.-11. Laqueata tecta, wainscoted ceilings. The roofs, when not vaulted, were divided by the beams of the next story, which lay across one an. other, into small sunken square spaces (lacunar.) These, in the houses of the rich, were adorned with gold, or painted. Such ceilings were called laqueata.13. Parvo, for little, with little, at little expense.' Before cui, supply ab eo.-15. Timor, the fear felt by the man who possesses wealth, and dreads its loss. Sordidus cupido, of the avaricious and greedy man. As to the gender of cupido, see Gram. 62, 17. 17. Jaculamur, a stronger expression for petimus,

we strive after, aim at.' - 18. Quid mutamus terras calentes alio sole? Why do we take lands warmed by another sun in exchange?' namely, for our own country? that is, why do we travel to foreign lands ?-19. Patriae--fugit (perfect.) The sense is this : we gain nothing by travelling, since we cannot escape from our. selves. Exul patriae; properly, one who has been banished from his country, here one who has voluntarily 'left it. - 21. Aeratas, • brass-tipped ;' for the prow or beak of ships, especially of ships of war, had to be made strong. - 25. Quod ultra est; namely, ultra praesens, the future.'-26. Oderit curare, poetical for nolit curare,

30

Temperet risu: nihil est ab omni
Parte beatum.

Abstulit clarum cita mors Achillem,
Longa Tithonum minuit senectus,
Et mihi forsan, tibi quod negarit,
Porriget hora.

Te greges centum Siculaeque circum
Mugiunt viccae, tibi tollit hinnitum
Apta quadrigis equa, te bis Afro
Murice tinctae

Vestiunt lanae; mihi parva rura et
Spiritum Graiae tenuem Camenae
Parca non mendax dedit et malignum
Spernere vulgus.

35

40

the negative imperative, 'must not care.' -27. Temperet, 'temper, make bearable.'—29. An instance of the perversity of fortune. The gallant Achilles was doomed to die young; whereas Tithonus, son of Laomedon, and the favourite of Aurora, a man who had performed no exploit, attained a great age, because Aurora had obtained from Jupiter immortality for him. - 33. Connect circum with mugiunt. — 35. Apta quadrigis equa, “the mare yoked to the fourhorse chariot :' the proper signification of aptus is joined, connected.' Bis Afro murice tinctae lanae,' wool twice died with the African murex. The murex (a shell-fish from which a fine purple dye was procured) was found on the coasts of Africa, Phoenicia, and Peloponnesus. Dyeing twice produced a finer shade of colour. -39. Parca non mendax, the truth-telling Parca,' the goddess of Fate, who never makes mistakes. -- 40. Spernere is dependent on dedit, and stands for the prose ut spernam.

CARMEN X VII.

AD MAECENATEM.

MAECENAS, to whom this ode is addressed, suffered, particularly in

the last years of his life, from constant illness, fever, and want of sleep. With this there was connected a fear of death, so strong as to approach the ridiculous. It was natural, therefore, that he should distress those about him, among whom was Horace, by his complaints. The present poem is an answer to a complaint of this kind.

Cur me querelis exanimas tuis ?
Nec dis amicum est nec mihi, te prius

2. Amicum est, according to a Greek usage = placet, 'is agreeable

Obire, Maecenas, mearum
Grande decus columenque rerum.
Ah, te meae si partem animae rapit

5
Maturior vis, quid moror altera,
Nec carus aeque nec superstes

Integer ? De dies utramque
of the Ducet ruinam. ! Non ego perfidum

Dixi sacramentum; ibimus, ibimus,
Utcurique praecedes, supremum
Carpere iter comites parati.

Me nec Chimaerae spiritus igneae,
Nec si resurgat centimanus Gyges,
Divellet unquam: sic potenti

15 Justitiae placitumque Parcis.

Seu Libra seu me Scorpios adspicit
Formidolosus pars violentior
Natalis horae, seu tyrannus
Hesperiae Capricornus undae,

20
Utrumque nostrum incredibili modo
Consentit astrum. Te Jovis impio

Tutela Saturno refulgens to them, decreed by them.'—3. Nearum rerum, nearly equivalent to 'my, of me.'-5. Partem animae, scil. alteram, the half of my soul.' -6. Maturior vis ; that is, if thou diest sooner than I.-7. Nec carus aeque, 'who am neither so dear, so valuable to myself, as thou art to me.' - 9. Ducet ruinam. The verb ducere is used, because when part of a building falls, it commonly 'draws' along with it the part which would otherwise stand. Horace's prediction was almost literally fulfilled. He survived his noble patron only a few months : both died in the year 8 B.C. Non-sacramentum, -the oath which I took when I entered thy service was not a false one: I will keep it.' — 11. Supremum iter carpere, 'to go the last journey, to die.' Iter carpere is a common expression with the Latin poets, and is taken from the gradual progress along the road, gathering it up, as it were, bit by bit. - 13. Chimaerae. See i. 27, 24. – 14. Gyges, a hundred-armed giant, son of Uranus and Gaea.--17. The poet goes to the notions of the astrologers, and makes use of them to express figuratively that he will die at the same time with Maecenas. He says, whether the Balance, or the Scorpion, or the Capricorn looks upon me, as the most powerful part of my natal hour.'. For although there are always more constellations than one looking down upon the birth of a child, yet one of them, according to the dogmas of astrologers, has the preponderance, is in the ascendant, and has most influence upon the fate of the man. Adspicit was the technical expression in astrology. — 19. Tyrannus Hesperiae undae, the lord of the Hesperian wave, or sea,' because its setting excites storms in the Mediterranean. As to Hesperius, see ii. 1, 32.-23. Jupiter, according to the astrologers, was a favourable, Saturn an unfavourable planet to be born under. Hence the protection (tu tela, also a technical term in the so-called science) of Jupiter, who

25

Eripuit volucrisque Fati

Tardavit alas, cum populus frequens
Laetum theatris ter crepuit sonum:
Meltruncus illapsus cerebro
Sustulerat, nisi Faunus ictum

Dextra levasset, Mercurialium
Custos virorum. Reddere victimas
Aedemque votivam memento;
Nos humilem feriemus agnam.

30

shone forth in opposition to wicked Saturn, has saved thee, when thy sickness seemed unto death.' - 24. Volucris Fati. Fate as a deity, is represented with wings, like Fortune in i. 34, extr. — 25. Three times had the people, when Maecenas appeared in the thea. tre after his recovery, applauded him. See i. 20, 7.-27. This refers to the same mischance, which forms the subject of the 13th ode of this book. - 28. Sustulerat, for sustulisset, . would have removed from the earth, killed.' Gram. D 336, 1.

.-29. Mercurialium. See ii. 7, 13. — 30. The rich, when they escaped any great danger, brought great offerings to the gods, and built them altars or temples. Poorer people were content with a little lamb for a sacrifice.

CARMEN XVIII.

A LIGHT and pleasing ode, in which the poet expresses his content

ment with his humble lot: he has in truth as much as the rich man, since death will not spare the one any more than the other.

Non ebur neque aureum
Mea renidet in domo lacunar,
Non trabes Hymettiae
Premunt columnas última recisas

Africa, neque Attali

1. Aureum-lacunar, 'a golden (gilded) roof.' See ii. 16, 11.3. Non trabes Hymettiae premunt Africa, Hymettian architraves (for these are what are here, from their similarity, called trabes) do not press (surmount) pillars hewn in the remotest part of Africa.' • Hymettian' is here of white marble, procured from Mount Hy: meitus, in Attica.' The African or Numidian marble, of which the pillars themselves consisted, was variegated. — 5. Attali-occupavi. Attalus, the last king of Pergamus, who in 133 B. c. bequeathed his kingdom to the Romans, was celebrated for his wealth. Hence • I have not as an unknown heir takon possession

« PreviousContinue »