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Pennis non homini datis.
Perrupit Acheronta Herculeus labor.
Nil mortalibus arduum est:
Coelum ipsum petimus stultitia, neque
Iracunda Jovem ponere fulmina.
and with his son Icarus flew over the sea, is well known.-36. Herculeus labor. One of the twelve tasks imposed on Hercules by Eurystheus, was to bring up Cerberus from the lower world. Here, therefore, Herculeus labor is a labour of Hercules.' The last_syllable of perrupit in this line is made long by the ictus.-38. Stultitia, an ablative of cause, in or from our folly.'-40. An allusion to the belief that Jupiter killed several individuals, at whose conduct he was indignant (hence iracunda fulmina), by lightning.
AD L. SESTIUM CONSULAREM.
An exhortation to enjoy life merrily, since death is speedily and surely impending. L. Sestius, consul suffectus in the year 23 B. C., was an intimate friend of Horace from the time when they served together against the triumvirs, in the republican army of Brutus and Cassius.
SOLVITUR acris hiems grata vice veris et Favoni,
Ac neque jam stabulis gaudet pecus aut arator igni,
Jam Cytherea choros ducit Venus imminente Luna,
Alterno terram quatiunt pede, dum graves Cyclopum
2. Machinae trahunt siccas carinas; that is, naves: a part being poetically put for the whole. The ships of the ancients were in the beginning of winter drawn up on the beach, high and dry, and had of course to be taken down to the sea in spring by means of machines; that is, levers and rollers.-4. Canus, not gray,' but 'white.'-5. Cytherea, an epithet given to Venus, from the island of Cythera, south of Laconia, which was one of the places where she was chiefly worshipped: imminente Luna, whilst the moon ap. pears over them, and looks smilingly down upon their sports. 6. Decentes pulchrae; alterno terram quatiunt pede; that is, they keep time in their dancing.-8. In the spring the Cyclopes, under the superintendence of Vulcan, forge in Aetna the thunderbolts which Jupiter darts upon the earth during the summer. Vulcan, the god of fire, is here treated as fire itself, being called ardens,
Nunc decet aut viridi nitidum caput impedire myrto,
Nunc et in umbrosis Fauno decet immolare lucis,
Pallida mors aequo pulsat pede pauperum tabernas
Vitae summa brevis spem nos vetat inchoare longam.
Et domus exilis Plutonia. Quo simul mearis,
Nec regna vini sortiere talis,
Nec tenerum Lycidan mirabere, quo calet juventus
and said urere.- 9. Nitidum, 'shining,' from the ointment which was used for the head. As to solutae, in line 10, compare line 1.
11. Faunus, the god of shepherds and peasants. These in the beginning of spring celebrated a festival in his honour, at which much mirth and jollity were always exhibited.-12. Agna-haedo, ablatives dependent on the infinitive sibi immolari understood; for we may say either immolare hostiam or hostia, with a victim.'-13. Aequo pede in prose it would have been simply aeque, equally.' 14. Palaces are called turres, on account of their height. Beate, happy; that is, rich, and therefore happy.-16. Fabulae manes: the manes, spirits of the dead, are considered by Horace, because they have no bodies, to be a mere sound or name, and nothing real. He therefore gives them fabulae (shadowy beings') as an apposi tion.-17. Quo in quam domum, to which.-18. Talis, ablative of talus; originally, the ankle;' here and frequently a die' for gaming. The Romans, at their drinking-bouts, had a president, who was called king (hence regna vini.) He who made the highest throw with dice obtained the honour, the matter being thus left to a kind of lot (hence sortiere.)
AD M. AGRIPPAM.
THE poet alleges inability as his excuse for not celebrating the deeds of Augustus and M. Agrippa in heroic verse: he can only write songs. This ode was written about the year 27 B. c.
SCRIBERIS Vario fortis et hostium
Victor, Maeonii carminis aliti,
Quam rem cunque ferox navibus aut equis
Nos, Agrippa, neque haec dicere, nec gravem
Nec cursus duplicis per mare Ulixei,
Nec saevam Pelopis domum
Conamur, tenues grandia, dum pudor
Culpa deterere ingeni.
Quis Martem tunica tectum adamantina
1. Scribēris must, on account of the verse, be taken as the future, 'thou shalt be celebrated by Varius.' L. Varius was an epic and dramatic poet, and a friend and patron of Horace. Of his poems, among which was a panegyric (Panegyricus) on Augustus, only a few lines have come down to us.-2. Maeonii carminis aliti, a bird of Maeonian song.' Maeonian' is equivalent to Homeric,' Maeonia being the ancient name of Lydia, in which is situated Smyrna, the alleged birth-place of Homer. A Maeonian bird or Maeonian swan is therefore an epic poet.-3. Quam rem cunque quamcunque rem: such a separation is not unusual, even in prose. Navibus aut equis, 'by sea or by land.'-4. Miles, collectively for milites, the Roman soldiers.'-6. Pelidae stomachum, the wrath (μviv) of Achilles, the son of Peleus, who did not know how to yield' (cedere nescii, cedere being here used poetically for cedendi, see Gram. § 396, note 3.) Achilles did not know how to yield to Agamemnon. The anger of Achilles is the subject of Homer's Iliad.-7. Duplicis, crafty: Ulixei, genitive of the form Ulixeus. The wanderings of Ulysses form the subject of Homer's Odyssey.-8. Saevam Pelopis domum, the horrible deeds of the sons of Pelops :' namely, Atreus and Thyestes. The murder of Agamemnon, grandson of Peleus, by his wife Clytaemnestra, and that of Clytaemnestra by her son Orestes, were favourite subjects with the tragic poets. -9. Tenues grandia, the reason why he can write neither epic poems nor tragedies: his powers are too weak for such lofty subjects.-10. Musa potens imbellis lyrae, 'my muse, my poetical talent, which has power only over the unwarlike lyre." 12. Deterere, to rub off;' that is, to rob great Caesar and thee of your merited praise, by the meagre, weak, unpoetical manner in which I should describe your deeds.-13. Tunica tectum adamantina, Homer's xaλkoxirwv, 'brass
Digne scripserit, aut pulvere Troico
Nos convivia, nos proelia virginum
clad,' for adamas is anything impenetrable.-15. Meriones was one of the heroes of the Trojan war. He was the charioteer of Idomeneus of Crete.-16. Tydiden, 'the son of Tydeus;' namely, Diomedes, who also, like Meriones, fought against Troy, and, by the help of Athena, wounded Ares and Aphrodite in battle.-18. Sect is unguibus: neatly-cut nails were a sign of breeding and elegance, for the Romans devoted particular attention to this department of personal adornment.-19. Vacui sive quid urimur; that is, sive nor amamus sive amamus. The import of the sentence is this: my poetry is indeed of a light, but yet not of a licentious nature.
AD L. MUNATIUM PLANCUM CONSULAREM.
L. MUNATIUS PLANCUS, consul in 42 B. C., was one of the most distinguished statesmen of his time, but unstable in his political opinions; for he was in succession a follower of the dictator Caesar, an adherent of the senatorial party, and a partisan of Antony, whom he deserted shortly before the battle of Actium to join Octavianus. His political talents, however, and his activity, rendered his services necessary even to those who did not and could trust him. Horace exhorts him to seek recreation from the cares and annoyances of political life in the study and enjoyment of nature, and in conviviality. This ode was written shortly after the battle of Actium, when Plancus already belong. ed to the party of Octavianus.
LAUDABUNT alii claram Rhodon, aut Mitylenen,
1. Alii corresponds to sunt quibus in line 5, and to plurimus =plu. rim in line 8. Rhodes, a city on the island of that name, celebrated for its commerce and for the cultivation of the arts and sciences: Mitylene, a town on the island of Lesbos, much praised for the beauty of its situation and the tasteful architecture of its houses: the other places mentioned - Ephesus, Corinth, Thebes, Delphi, and the Vale of Tempe-were also admired for their natural beauties; for the Roman poets looked for fine scenes as subjects of description in their works, in Greece and Greek Asia Minor, just as we do in Italy; and naturally, too, their refinement and poetry being of Greek origin, as ours are of classical, particularly Roman.-2. Bimarisve Corinthi moenia. Corinth is called 'two
Moenia, vel Baccho Thebas vel Apolline Delphos
Sunt quibus unum opus est intactae Palladis urbem 5
Undique decerptam fronti praeponere olivam;
Aptum dicet equis Argos ditesque Mycenas.
Nec tam Larissae percussit campus opimae,
Et praeceps Anic ac Tiburni lucus et uda
Albus ut obscuro deterget nubila coelo
Perpetuos, sic tu sapiens finire memento
sea'd,' because, being situated on the isthmus, it is near both the Corinthian and Saronic gulfs. The citadel, called Acrocorinthus, was particularly admired for its strength (hence moenia.) The city had been rebuilt very shortly before this time, according to a plan of Caesar.-5. Intactae, virgin,' the ordinary epithet of Athena, the protecting divinity of Athens.-6. Carmine perpetuo, in one continuous poem;' that is, a poem which celebrates the heroic deeds of the Athenians from the origin of the city in the mythical times downwards.-7. Olivam, properly, the olive-tree and its fruit; afterwards, a crown made of olive-twigs; and here, metaphorically, poems which relate the traditions and history of Athens, and which bring their authors crowns of honour. Consequently, to place a crown of olive-twigs, plucked from all quarters, upon their brow,' means to gain glory and fame by poems relating the history of Athens, and adorned with illustrative imagery drawn from all sources.'-9. Argos, situated in a plain of Peloponnesus: its breed of horses, and the temple of Juno ('Hpatov) in its neighbourhood, are celebrated by Homer. Mycenae, the royal seat of the Pelopidae, a very ancient town, which did not exist in historic times, is also praised by him for its riches.-10. Patiens Lacedaemon: the principal virtue of the Spartans was patientia, the patient endurance of bodily pains.-11. Larissae opimae: Larissa, a town in Thessaly, famed for the fertility of the country around it. Percussit, has filled with love.'-12. Domus Albuneae, the grotto of Albunea,' the nymph of a small stream near Tibur (the modern Tivoli), a town on the Anio (now Teverone.) The Anio, which was far-famed for its falls, and is hence called in the next line praeceps, winds round the greater part of Tibur, and numerous canals go off from it into the orchards of the inhabitants (hence, in line 14, pomaria uda rivis mobilibus.) Tiburnus, the son or grandson of Amphiaraus, was one of the heroes whom tradition made the founders of Tibur. A grove near the city was sacred to him. 15. Transition to the proper subject of the ode. The connection of the thoughts is as follows:- I, as a poet, find my chief gratification in contemplating the beautiful scenery in the neighbourhood of Tibur, and in occasionally composing light, easy poems, refraining from great efforts, which would