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virorum. At the courts of the Asiatic kings, and also at that of the sovereigns of Egypt, there were great numbers of eunuchs, who were an abomination to the Romans. They were regarded by them as a disgrace to the human race (for morbo depends upon turpium.) -10. Impotens is one who cannot command himself, who is not master of his own mind; hence one who hopes for that which he cannot obtain, 'hold' audax, and construed, after the Greek fashion, with an infinitive. 13. The greater part of Antony's fleet was burned by Octavianus; the admiral's ship alone, in which Antony had fled near the beginning of the engagement, being preserved. Thus sospes ab ignibus, being construed together, are equivalent to servata ab ignibus.-14. Mareotico, scil. vino, a sweet wine, grown at Marea, a town of Lower Egypt, near Alexandria. By this wine the mind of Cleopatra was lymphata, maddened, heated to madness:' her mind was filled with vain fears, so that she sailed away at the very commencement of the engagement, thus occasioning defeat to her party.-17. Remis adurgens ab Italia volantem, pursuing her closely with oars, oared ships, as she was hastening from Italy.' The description is not historically accurate; for Octavianus, after the battle of Actium, went first to Asia, then for a short time to Italy, and then sailed for Egypt, where Cleopatra killed herself in the year after the battle.-20. Haemonia, the poetical name for Thessaly, so called from Haemon, the father of Thessalus. Daret catenis caperet, 'take prisoner.'-21. Fatale monstrum. Cleopatra is so called, because it sometimes seemed as if she were destined by fate to overthrow the Roman state.-22. Muliebriter, as women commonly do, with womanly timidity.' Cleopatra attempted to stab herself, but was prevented by the guards.-23. Latentes oras ignotas oras, and reparavit = paravit pro iis, quas amiserat. It is related that Cleopatra had for a time purposed to sail away in a fleet, which she caused to be brought into the Red Sea, and to seek a new abode in unknown regions.-25. Ausa-sereno, even daring, or being bold enough to look upon her palace, in all its desolation,
Tractare serpentes, ut atrum
Non humilis mulier, triumpho.
with a calm countenance, without a tear.'-27. Serpentes. She is said, as is well known, to have killed herself by the bite of an asp, which she had secretly applied to her breast.-29. Deliberata morte ferocior, prouder, bolder, because she had resolved upon death.' Deliberata for the more common decreta.-30. Saevis Liburnis; that is, inimicis. The Romans had, particularly in comparison with the Egyptians, small and light ships, which are here, as in Epode i. 1, called Liburnian.-31. Privata, as a private person, deprived of her royalty.' The nominative with the infinitive, privata deduci, is a construction after the Greek, and is dependent on invidens; the sense being, 'she was envious of the Roman fleet, and would not,' &c.
THIS poem is addressed to the poet's slave, and charges him not to make costly preparations for a banquet which Horace is about to celebrate in the open air.
PERSICOS odi, puer, apparatus;
Displicent nexae philyra coronae;
Şimplici myrto nihil allabores
Sedulus, curo: neque te ministrum
1. Persicos, such as the Persians, who were notorious among the Greeks and Romans for their luxuriousness and debauchery, used to make.-2. Philyra, the thin skin between the bark and the wood of the lime-tree, which was used for tying garlands.-3. Mitte sectari noli sectari, noli quaerere. Quo locorum quo loco. Rosa sera, a late rose ;' one which blooms after the regular time is past. The servant is not to seek costly garlands, made of rare flowers.→ 5. Construe: curo (that is, volo) nihil allabores ne quid adjungas magno labore.-7. The vine, or rather the tree up which the vine is trained (a custom still retained in Italy), is called arta, because it is thick, and consequently throws a cooling shade.
AD C. ASINIUM POLLIONEM.
C. ASINIUS POLLIO, in whose praise this ode was written, was, both from his high birth, and from his distinction in the political as well as literary world, one of the leading men of his time, When but a youth he came prominently forward as an orator; for we find him in 75 B. C., in his twenty-third year, accusing C. Cato. After this he served under Caesar; and during the civil wars after Caesar's death, he held an independent command. In the year 43 B. C. he decided the fall of the republican party by siding with Mark Antony, when defeated and a fugitive, and bringing about the triumvirate of Octavianus, Antony, and Lepidus. In the year 40 B. c. he was consul, and received in the following year the province of Illyricum. Whilst in this command, he conquered the barbarous tribes of the Parthini and Dalmatians, and took the town of Salonae. For these victories he, on the 25th October 39 B. C., celebrated a triumph, which was called the Dalmatian. In the quarrels between Octavianus and Antony he attempted, so long as it was possible, to act as mediator, inclining, however, more to the party of the latter; and he could not be prevailed upon, even before the campaign of Actium, when the ruin of Antony seemed certain, and all his former friends were leaving him, to take the field against him. He was too proud, and too much imbued with the old republican spirit, to serve under Octavianus. During the time when these disputes and quarrels were going on, and when he could not be politically active, he turned his attention to literature, and wrote tragedies and historical works; among the latter, especially, a history of the last civil wars, from the year 60 B. C. (the consulship of L. Afranius and Q. Caecilius Metellus), when what is called the first triumvirate was formed by Pompey, Caesar, and Crassus It is to be lamented, that of all Pollio's writings nothing except the very smallest fragments has come down to us.
The praise which Horace bestows upon Pollio in this ode refers merely to his distinction as a historian: of his political skill and
speak, as they had not been However, he incidentally (line triumph, and his abilities as a
activity he could not venture to
MOTUM EX Metello consule civicum
Paulum severae Musa tragoediae
Insigne maestis praesidium reis
Jam nunc minaci murmure cornuum
1. Motum - civicum; that is, bellum civile. Metellus was consul in the year 60 B. C.-2. Vitia, the political and military blunders.' The poet is thinking, for instance, of the unfortunate campaign of Crassus against the Parthians, or of the overthrow of Pompey and his party.-4. Amicitias et arma. Caesar and Pompey were at first friends, and allied by marriage; Pompey being the husband of Caesar's daughter: afterwards they fought against each other. Thus the friendship' turned to arms.' In the same way, Antony was connected with Octavianus, being married to his sister Octavia. -5. Uncta, dripping, or wet with maculata, tincta.-6. Opus plenum periculosae aleae, a work full of hazardous throws;' that is, a work containing the history of many a bold and venturous undertaking.-8. Suppositos cineri doloso. The sense is this: you relate the history of the civil wars, which, though externally finished, are still slumbering under the ashes. The last sparks, however, of the animosities and ill-feeling generated by the civil wars, were extinguished by the mildness of the reign of Augustus.9. The meaning is: do not hurry away to the tragedies which you purpose to write; let the theatres want thy tragedies for a little.' 10. Publicas res, 'the history of the Roman state. 11. Grande munus, &c. then thou wilt turn again to thy great present (the present to Roman literature of tragedies) with the Cecropian buskin.' 'Cecropian' is equivalent to Athenian;' from Cecrops, the founder of Athens. Tragedy was invented by the Athenians, and by them alone of the Greeks brought to perfection.-17. The sense is this: the vivid descriptions of battles in
Jam fulgor armorum fugaces
Juno et deorum quisquis amicior
Quis non Latino sanguine pinguior
Campus sepulchris impia proelia
Qui gurges aut quae flumina lugubris
Quae caret ora cruore nostro ?
your work bring the whole scene before my mind. Cornua and litui, horns and clarions, were the two kinds of musical instruments used in the Roman army; the former being crooked, the latter straight.-20. Equos equitumque vultus seems to refer to the battle of Pharsalus, where Pompey's cavalry fled first; because, it is said, they could not endure the sight of the spears of Caesar's cohorts, which, by his orders, were directed at their faces.-21. Audire. The Roman leaders, before battles, were in the habit of delivering speeches to their armies; and the historians were fond of giving the substance of these, adorned with all the charms of polished rhetoric.-23. Cuncta terrarum subacta=cunctas terras subCaesar, before he went to Africa- the time to which the poet alludes-had subdued Greece, Asia, and Egypt. Cato is the well-known Uticensis, who, after the battle of Thapsus, which determined the fate of Africa, killed himself at Utica, to escape the necessity of yielding to the conqueror.-25. The poet comes now to a theme which he often touches upon; namely, the sad misfortunes of the civil wars. Many citizens belonging to the Pompeian party had fallen in Africa, particularly after the battle of Thapsus. Horace so represents the matter, as if Juno, the ancient tutelary goddess of Carthage, and the other guardian divinities of Africa, had presented the blood of these citizens (the descendants of the victors, victorum nepotes) as an expiatory sacrifice for the destruction of Carthage, and the conquest of Jugurtha -26. Impotens cesserat inulta tellure, had, in anger and grief, left the land whose sufferings they could not avenge.' It was an ancient belief, that the gods left a city, the destruction of which they could not avert.-30. Sepulchris. In the lands which the Romans had fertilised with their blood, there were everywhere tombs of the slain, witnesses to the impia bella; that is, the civil wars.-32. Hesperiae ruinae, 'the fall of the western (that is, Roman) republic.' The crash was heard even by the distant Parthians or Medes. Hesperius is 'western' generally.-34.