Obrázky na stránke

Te, boves olim nisi reddidisses
Per dolum amotas, puerum minaci
Voce dum terret, viduus pharetra
Risit Apollo.

Quin et Atridas duce te superbos
Ilio dives Priamus relicto
Thessalosque ignes et iniqua Trojae
Castra fefellit.

Tu pias laetis animas reponis
Sedibus virgaque levem coerces
Aurea turbam, superis deorum
Gratus et imis.


[blocks in formation]

callidum condendi. Placuit is to be taken in its proper sense, whatever has pleased him, taken his fancy' quidquid adamavit. -9. Two instances of Mercury's cunning are cited. The tradition in reference to the former of these is, that on the very day on which he was born he stole fifty oxen from Apollo; and, at the moment when the god was uttering dire threats against him, contrived to take away his quiver from his shoulder. Upon discovering this second theft, Apollo was forced to laugh at the dexterity of the little fellow. The construction is as follows:- Olim Apollo, dum te puerum terret minaci voce, nisi reddidisses boves per dolum amotas, risit viduus (=spoliatus, or cum privatus esset) pharetra.-13. The second instance of Mercury's craft. By the command of Jupiter he conducted Priam, king of Troy, who wished to redeem from Achilles the body of his son Hector, safely through the midst of the Grecian camp, unobserved by the two Atridae Agamemnon and Menelaus.-15. Thessalos ignes, the watch-fires of the Thessalians;' to which nation belonged especially the Myrmidones, the companions of Achilles. Iniqua Trojae inimica Trojanis.-17. Mercury's last duty. With his golden roda present from Apollo - he guides the souls of the dead to the lower world. Laetis sedibus, the place of the blessed,' Elysium.-18. Levem; that is, bodiless the shades.-20. Imis inferis; namely, Pluto and Proserpine.




THIS poem is addressed to a female, whom Horace calls by the fictitious name of Leuconoë. She was addicted to the study of astrology, by means of which she endeavoured to ascertain the duration of her own life, and of the lives of her friends and enemies. The author in this poem attempts to dissuade her from the practice of the art; an art which in his time was in great repute, but was afterwards prohibited under severe penalties.

Tu ne quaesieris (scire nefas), quem mihi, quem tibi
Finem di dederint, Leuconoë, nec Babylonios
Tentaris numeros. Ut melius, quidquid erit, pati!
Seu plures hiemes seu tribuit Jupiter ultimam,

Quae nunc oppositis debilitat pumicibus mare
Tyrrhenum, sapias, vina liques et spatio brevi
Spem longam reseces. Dum loquimur, fugerit invida
Aetas: carpe diem, quam minimum credula postero.



1. Ne quaesieris, noli quaerere, a negative command. Gram. $369. Scire nefas, scil. est, to know it is a crime against heaven ;' the gods having thought it right to keep the knowledge from man. This is implied in nefas. -2. Babylonios -numeros, the calculations of the Babylonians; that is, of the Chaldeans, who came from Babylon, and practised astrology.-3. Ut melius, quanto melius est. -4. Ultimam, supply hanc.-5. Pumicibus, the cliffs on which the waves beat, and which they are said debilitare. The word properly means the same as its English derivative, 'pumicestone;' and the name is here applied to rocks cracked and crumbling from the action of the water, and thus resembling pumice. -6. Vina liques. The Romans, before drinking wine, used to filter it through a linen cloth, and thus free it from impurities. The poet's meaning here is simply, that Leuconoë should give herself up to pleasure and wine. Spatio brevi spem longam reseces, Cut off (take away) the long hope from the short space of life.' Spatio brevi is, therefore, the dative.-7. Dum loquimur, whilst we are talking,' whilst I am giving you this admonition. Invida aetas; time is called envious, because it curtails our pleasures.-8. Carpe diem. Carpere here expresses activity in enjoying, 'seize, grasp, make the most of this day;' enjoy thyself so long as life and opportunity permit.

[ocr errors]



A SUBLIME eulogium on Augustus, written about the year 24 B. C., when Augustus was in undisputed possession of the government, and had just added another prop to his power by uniting in marriage his daughter Julia to his nephew M. Marcellus. The poet flatters him after a truly sublime fashion; mentioning first the gods, then the heroes of Roman history, concluding with a prayer to Jupiter for prosperity and a happy reign to the emperor.

[ocr errors]

QUEM virum aut heroa lyra vel acri
Tibia sumis celebrare, Clio?
Quem deum? Cujus recinet jocosa
Nomen imago

Aut in umbrosis Heliconis oris,
Aut super Pindo gelidove in Haemo
Unde vocalem temere insecutae
Orphea silvae

Arte materna rapidos morantem
Fluminum lapsus celeresque ventos,
Blandum et auritas fidibus canoris
Ducere quercus.

Quid prius dicam solitis parentis



1. Acri tibia, the shrill-sounding flute,' a standing epithet for this instrument.-2. Sumis celebrare, Clio, a poetical mode of expression, taken from the Greek. In prose it would be sumis celebrandum, 'dost thou take up or choose to celebrate.' Clio was the muse of history, and is purposely named here. The poet intends to write a panegyric on a historical personage.-3. Jocoso-imago; namely, the echo, for which the Romans had no particular name, and which they therefore frequently called imago vocis. It is called jocosa, because it mocks the traveller, and plays with him.-5, 6. These three mountains, Helicon in Boeotia, Pindus in Thessaly, and Haemus in Thrace, were the chief seats of the muses. Thrace was also the native country of the most ancient Greek poets, particularly, Orpheus; hence, in line 7, unde, &c.-7. Vocalem, used in a parti cipial sense, canentem. Temere, involuntarily, without knowing why. To insecutae supply sunt.-9. Materna, of his mother;" namely, the muse Calliope.-11. Blandum-ducere, able by coax. ing and delighting to draw after him.' Auritas, said properly of one who has long or large ears, here simply 'attentive, listening.' -13. Solitis parentis laudibus; that is, quam solitas laudes parentis deorum et hominum; namely, Jupiter, with whose praises the ancient

[ocr errors]

Laudibus, qui res hominum ac deorum,
Qui mare ac terras variisque mundum
Temperat horis ;

Unde nil majus generatur ipso,

Nec viget quidquam simile aut secundum:
Proximos illi tamen occupavit

[blocks in formation]
[blocks in formation]

poets used to begin their productions.-15. Variis-horis. Hora is here, in accordance with its original signification in Greek, a season:' mundum is therefore coelum. 17. Unde; that is, ex quo; namely, Jove. This god, according to the ideas of the ancients, was the creator of all, and was himself optimus maximus, the great. est and best being in the universe; none of his creatures equalling or resembling him.-18. Secundum. The Latins have a well-marked distinction between secundus and proximus. Secundus is one who stands next to another, and but little below him; whereas proximus is one who is next indeed, but, it may be, at a very great distance, longo intervallo.-21. Proeliis audax.-A descriptive epithet of Pallas or Minerva, the goddess of war.-22. Virgo; namely, Diana, the goddess of the chase.-23. Certa-sagitta, 'for thy sure (surely-aimed) arrow.' Apollo invented and used the bow.-25. Alciden, Hercules, grandson of Alcaeus. Pueros Ledae, Castor and Pollux, the former of whom was distinguished as a horseman, both for the management of his steed and the style in which he fought, and the latter as a pugilist. Pugnis, therefore, in line 26, is from pugnus, not pugna. 26. Superare-nobilem, a poetical construction, illustrious because he conquers,' or 'from his victories.' -27. Simul=simul atque, or ac. Alba, partly from its colour, bright,' partly because its appearance is a sign that the violence of the tempest is past. See i. 7, 15: albus Notus. As to the constellation of the Dioscuri, compare i. 3, 2.-29. Defluit-humor, 'the storm-driven water flows down from the rocks;' that is, the water which, in spray, has been thrown far up the cliffs, flows down again into the sea.- -31. Quod sic voluere, because they (the sons of Leda) have so willed;' the waves obey their behest. Ponto, the dative, poetically, for in pontum.— 33. The poet comes now to the heroes of Roman history, among

Pompili regnum memorem, an superbos
Tarquini fasces, dubito, an Catonis
Nobile letum,

Regulum et Scauros animaeque magnae
Prodigum Paullum superante Poeno
Gratus insigni referam Camoena


Hunc et incomptis Curium capillis
Utilem bello tulit et Camillum



whom he mentions first three of the kings-Romulus, Numa, and Tarquinius Superbus (for of him, not of Tarquinius Priscus, every Roman would think who read of the proud rule,' superbos fasces) - then the most distinguished men in the republican times, without keeping to chronological order, however, in the enumeration. The construction is, dubito utrum Romulum, an Pompilii regnum, an Tarquinii fasces memorem, an Catonis letum et Regulum et Scauros, &c. referam.-35. Catonis nobile letum; namely, of Cato Uticensis, who, in the year 46 B. C., when Julius Caesar had conquered the Pompeian party in Africa, put an end to his own life at Utica, because he was resolved not to live under the dominion of a single man.-37. Regulum. M. Atilius Regulus, who was defeated and taken prisoner by the Carthaginians in the year 250 B. C., is celebrated for the faithfulness with which he kept a promise made to his enemies, and for his devotion to his country's good. Compare iii. 5. Modern critics have cast doubt upon the truth of some passages in his history. Scauros.-There was only one distinguished man of this name, M. Aemilius Scaurus, consul in 115 B. c. After holding in succession all the great offices of state, he was finally made princeps senatus. He was highly esteemed for his talents and skill as a politician.-38. Paullum; namely, L. Aemilius Paullus, who was consul for the second time in 216 B. C., and one of the Roman commanders in the disastrous battle of Cannae. When he saw that the battle was lost, he refused to flee, but remained and died upon the field where so many others of the noblest Romans had breathed their last. He is here, therefore, called prodigus animae magnae (Gram. § 277, 5, note); Poeno superante, Paullus, who lavished forth, gave up, threw away his great soul, when the Carthaginians were conquering.'—39. Insigni—Camoena, 'with a praise-giving muse.'-40. Fabricium; namely, C. Fabricius Luscinus, who fought with Pyrrhus, king of Epirus, and was equally distinguished by his valour and his integrity.-41. Curium, M.' Curius Dentatus, who subdued the Samnites in 290 B. C. Though he was so poor that he wrought with his hands for his daily bread, yet when the Samnites offered him presents, he, in the true spirit of the primitive Romans, rejected them. The epithet incomptis capillis, with his uncombed or shaggy hair,' is intended to be laudatory, as indicating that Curius was unacquainted with the arts of the toilet, and heedless of the customs of refined society. -42. Camillum. M. Furius Camillus, the conqueror of the Gauls, who had destroyed Rome. After their defeat he rebuilt the city.

[ocr errors]
« PredošláPokračovať »