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It was usual to sacrifice to Faunus, the Latin representative of the
Greek Pan, in spring, though his great festival did not take place until the nones of December.
FAUNUS, who lovest nymphs that flee,
Since on the year's last day is killed
The whole flock sports on grassy mead
The wolf 'mid fearless lambkins plays,
XVIII. AD FAUNUM.
FAUNE, Nympharum fugientum amator,
Si tener pleno cadit haedus anno,
Ludit herboso pecus omne campo, Cum tibi Nonae redeunt Decembres; Festus in pratis vacat otioso
Cum bove pagus.
Inter audaces lupus errat agnos :
Ter pede terram.
To enter into the spirit of this lively effusion we may suppose Horace
to have been invited to an entertainment given in honour of Murena's installation in the college of augurs, and the host to have kept the party waiting for supper while he treated them to long prosy stories out of Greek mythology, which Horace suddenly interrupted by bursting forth with the following strain. The cyathus referred to in lines 11-15 was a ladle with which the drink was passed from the bowl to the cups. I imagine that cups of various sizes were on the table, some large enough for nine, others for only three cyaths, and that Horace, when calling for bumpers, bade the servant give to each guest a goblet, of three or nine cyaths according to his taste.
By how much later lived than Inachus
Bumpers, boy, bumpers; look alive!
QUANTUM distet ab Inacho
Codrus, pro patria non timidus mori, Narras, et genus Aeaci,
Et pugnata sacro bella sub Ilio : Quo Chium pretio cadum
Mercemur; quis aquam temperet ignibus ; Quo praebente domum, et quota
Pelignis caream frigoribus, taces. Da lunae propere novae,
Da noctis mediae, da, puer, auguris Murenae; tribus aut novem
Miscentur cyathis pocula commodis. Qui Musas amat impares,
Ternos ter cyathos attonitus petet Vates. Tres prohibet supra
Rixarum metuens tangere Gratia
Each of the naked sister Graces,
Good judges pronounce the picture here represented to be very
happily painted. The subject, however, is not a pleasant one to contemplate.
See you not, Pyrrhus, at what risk you ravish
Slink from the struggle,
More of the booty.