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Dulce lenimen, mihi cunque salve
entertainment.-15. Connect cunque with vocantiquandocunque te voco, as often as I call upon thee rite, in due form,' as poets use to do.
A SOMEWHAT remarkable poem, in which Horace shows the insufficiency of philosophy to supply in man the place of a religious faith. Horace was a follower of Epicurus, who held that the gods exercised no superintendence over human affairs, but that chance regulated all things. A prodigy-namely, thunder in a clear sky-had astonished and frightened the poet: he makes his observations on this, and comes to the conclusion that the gods do rule the world.
PARCUS deorum cultor et infrequens
Quo bruta tellus et vaga flumina,
1. A sparing and infrequent worshipper of the gods.' He calls himself sparing or niggardly (parcus), because he did not make rich offerings to the gods; not merely from the smallness of his fortune, but from his belief that careful and zealous worship was unnecessary. -2. Sapientiae consultus. A very common Latin phrase is juris consultus; properly, one who is consulted about law matters;' hence learned in the law.' So here sapientiae consultus is philosophiae peritus. The philosophy is called insaniens, because it forsakes nature, and forms artificial and baseless systems.-3. Erro, 'I wander about, range on the mountains of vanity, can come to no firm belief.'-4. Iterare cursus relictos; properly said of ships, 'to enter anew upon a course which has been forsaken.' Horace had at first been a believer in the government of the gods; then he had forsaken this, and philosophy had made him an unbeliever: now he comes back to his first faith.-5. Diespiter, an older form for Jupiter. Its composition is dies (for diei) pater, the father of the day'-a fine expression.-6. Igni corusco fulmine, with his lightning.'-7. Per purum, scil. coelum, through the clear sky,' whereas commonly thunderstorms occur only when the heaven is covered with clouds.
Tonantes egit equos intonuit. Comp. Carm. i. 12, 58.-10. Taenari. Taenaron (now Cape Matapan), a promontory of Laconia. There was a temple of Poseidon upon it, near which there was believed to be an entrance into the lower world. Hence Taenaron is used for the lower world' itself. 11. Atlanteusque finis, and Atlas, which lies at the end of the world.' According to the belief of the ancients, the heavens rested on the mountain-range of Atlas, in the north-west of Africa, which was the extremity of the world. 13. Insignem, the lofty one,' singular used for the class. The sense is this: God overthrows the lofty, and raises the humble. But the poet changes a little, using afterwards the neuter obscura.—14. Apicem, herediadema, the sign of kingly dignity, or of high authority generally.-15. Cum stridore acuto. The goddess Fortune is represented with wings, to indicate her inconstancy; and as she hastily (rapax) snatches off the diadem, the noise of her pinions is heard: hence with a shrill whizzing.'-16. Sustulit contains the notion of 'has taken, can take, and often takes.' In Greek the aorist, and in Latin poetry the perfect, is frequently used to express what commonly happens. Gram. § 333, 2, note 3.
A PRAYER to the goddess Fortune, that she may protect Octavianus and the Roman army, who, in the year 27 B. C., meditated an expedition to Britain. Julius Caesar, during his Gallic wars, had been twice in the island, and had subdued the tribes residing on and near the coast. But after his departure these had not paid the tribute imposed upon them, and Octavianus meant to punish them for this neglect. The Britons, however, averted the stroke by submitting, in form at least, to the Romans, and acknowledging their supremacy.
O DIVA, gratum quae regis Antium,
1. Antium, the old capital of the Volsci, and situated on the seacoast to the south of Rome, was celebrated for its temple of For une.-2. Praesens = potens, tanta vi praedita, ut, so powerful as
Mortale corpus vel superbos
Te pauper ambit sollicita prece
Te Dacus asper, te profugi Scythae,
Injurioso ne pede proruas
Stantem columnam, neu populus frequens
Ad arma cessantes, ad arma
Concitet imperiumque frangat.
Te semper anteit saeva Necessitas,
to,' &c. Praesentia is often used of the power of the gods, be. cause their mere presence, their appearance, brings assistance.4. Superbos triumphos vertere funeribus; that is, evertere triumphos, 'to overthrow, bring to an end, triumphs, by putting funerals, death, in their place:' translate thus: to turn the highest honour and greatest exultation into the deepest sorrow.'-5. Supplicates thy favour with anxious prayer,' entreating, namely, that thou wilt vouchsafe to him a bountiful harvest.-7. Bithyna, because in Bithynia, as in Pontus (Ode, 14, 11), there were extensive forests, from which the Romans obtained much wood for shipbuilding. Lacessit, because the sea was struck by the oars, and cut by the keel. The Carpathian Sea is that round the island of Carpathus (now Scarpanto) between Rhodes and Cyprus.-9. Horace, in going over a number of those who fear Fortune, mentions first the barbarians, the Dacians, whom, because they lived in the wild north, he calls 'rough' (asper), and the Scythians, who led a nomadic life, unsettled, wandering' (profugi); then the civilised nations, which have cities, especially 'bold' (ferox) Latium (alluding particularly to Rome); and lastly, kings.-11. Regum matres barbarorum. Among the barbarians-that is, the Orientals-a king's mother has in all ages been, and still is, a person of great estima. tion, and exercises no little influence on the government.— 13. Ne depends on metuunt. The foot of Fortune is called injuriosus, because its spurn inflicts injury. 14. Columnam; namely, felicitatis. We may use the same figure, the pillar of prosperity or good fortune.' Populus frequens, a throng of people, who summon the quiet and ease-loving persons (cessantes) to arms. Ad arma is repeated twice, in imitation of the cry, To arms, to arms !'-17. Anteit, here used as a dissyllable, the vowels ei being contracted. Necessitas, the goddess of necessity, is represented as bearing in her hands large nails (clavos trabales), wedges (cuneos), hooks, and molten lead, wherewith, at her pleasure, she strengthens, severs, or unites what has been severed; for by the ancients, as well as by us, molten lead was used for this last purpose. The appearance of the goddess is intentionally made fearful, in order that it may be seen what power
Fortune possesses, and hence what virtue may be in a prayer to her. Comp. Carm. iii. 24, 6.-21. Spes and Fides are always given as companions to Fortune, the latter albo panno velata, clad in a white garment,' to indicate the purity of her character. - 22. Abnegat, scil. se, does not refuse herself as a companion,' 'does not refuse to accompany her,' even when she leaves the houses, or by the spurn of her foot overthrows the prosperity of their friends. · Utcunque quandocunque, 'as often as.' Mutata veste: the Romans, when they fell into misfortune, especially when they were accused, used to lay aside the shining robe which they commonly wore, and assume in its stead one of a dingy colour. This was called vestem mutare, and the expression is here applied to the goddess when she overthrows mighty houses,' making their members mutare vestem.- - 25. At, but then;' namely, when a great house falls into misfortune. Retro-cedit, 'retire, draw back.-26. Cadis cum faece siccatis, after draining the casks to the very dregs;' that is, after enjoying the hospitality of the house to the fullest extent.- 28. Dolosi ferre jugum pariter; namely, pariter cum domibus potentibus. Jugum is humiliation, calamity in general. The friends are called dolosi, because in former times they had promised to share adversity as well as prosperity; a promise not now fulfilled.-30. Recens examen, the fresh troop,' recent levy, young recruits.32. Oceano rubro, the Red Sea,' on whose coast Arabia lies. It was called by the ancients also mare Erythraeum or rubrum.-33. The idea is this: the Romans have to atone for the civil wars, and the demoralisation consequent thereon, by foreign wars and the extension of the empire over the barbarians Cicatricum et sceleris fratrumque : the copulative conjunctions are used, although the sense is simply 'of the scars we have inflicted upon, and the crimes we have committed against, our brethren' (fellow-citizens.)-35. Quid nefasti liquimus (= reliquimus) intactum? what wicked deed have we left
Metu deorum continuit? Quibus
Pepercit aris? O utinam nova
Incude diffingas retusum in
uncommitted?'-38. The construction is this: O utinam diffingas ('re-forge; that is, sharpen and polish) incude nova ferrum retusum ('blunted; namely, by the civil wars) in Massagetas, &c. The Massagetae were a Scythian tribe: we must, however, understand the name here as including and referring chiefly to their neighbours, the Parthians.
TRIUMPHAL Song upon the battle of Actium, by which Rome was delivered from all fear of the power of Antony and Cleopatra. The poet, with fine tact, avoids the name of Antony, the mention of which would have reminded the Romans that the war had been in truth one between citizens.
NUNC est bibendum, nunc pede libero
Ornare pulvinar deorum,
Tempus erat dapibus, sodales.
Antehac nefas depromere Caecubum
Cellis avitis, dum Capitolio
Regina dementes ruinas,
Funus et imperio parabat
Contaminato cum grege turpium
1. Pede libero pulsanda tellus; that is, we must dance, to show our joy.-2. Saliaribus-dapibus. The priests, and among them the Salii, the priests of Mars, were accustomed on festival days to give great entertainments, the luxurious character of which was famed. Hence Saliares dapes or epulae opulentae, opiparae. -3. Pulvinar deorum. Before the statues of the gods there were placed tables with cushions. On these, at lectisternia (thanksgiving feasts for victories or other fortunate events), food was placed, as if for the god himself. The erat, for which we might have expected est, points out what ought to have been done by the state, and could not be done by private individuals.-5. Antehac, here to be read as a dissyllable, the e before hac being elided. Nefas, scil. erat. to the Caecuban wine, compare i. 20, 9.-7. Regina; namely, Cleopatra, queen of Egypt, whom Antony wished to make empress of Rome. 8. Funus exitium, destruction.'-9. Contaminato