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You think little of having seen him, lucky fellow, because you have had that good fortune, but I have no slight longing to be able to draw near to the sequestered fountains, and to drink in the rules for living happily.
THE ART OF LEGACY-HUNTING
The practice of seeking legacies, especially from those who had no family connexions, seems to have been common in Rome at the beginning of the Imperial period. Horace, therefore, in true satiric fashion, undertakes to lay down rules for the guidance of those who may need advice in playing the game.
The Satire takes the form of a dialogue, and is a burlesque continuation of a famous scene in the Eleventh Odyssey (90-149), where Odysseus (Ulysses), in the lower world, learns from the Theban seer Tiresias that he will return to his home in Ithaca, but only when reduced to poverty. The hero, therefore, desires to ascertain how he may again enrich himself, and the seer instructs him in the lucrative ways of fortune-hunting.
From the obvious reference to Actium in tellure marique magnus (1. 63) we infer that the Satire was not composed before 30 B.C. The skilful parody of epic style shows Horace's satiric power at its best, and it is well to recall the fact that the travestying of heroic themes is traditional in both satire and comedy. The Amphitryo of Plautus, based on some play of the New Attic Comedy, is a good example. Both Lucilius and Varro made use of parody, and it is a prominent feature of the prose satire of Lucian, upon which
many modern satires have been modelled, such as Disraeli's Ixion in Heaven and The Infernal Marriage, and Bangs's Houseboat on the Styx. Lucian's resemblances to Horace, which, according to Lejay, are due to a direct knowledge of the Roman poet on the part of Lucian, may really be the result of their common indebtedness to Menippus of Gadara (cf. Fiske, Lucilius and Horace, p. 401). Sellar describes the
poem before us as “the most trenchant of all the Satires” of Horace, who doubtless conceived the utmost contempt for the fortune-hunters of his day. No analysis is necessary.
Hoc quoque, Teresia, praeter narrata petenti responde, quibus amissas reparare queam res artibus atque modis. quid rides ?
“ Iamne doloso non satis est Ithacam revehi patriosque Penates adspicere?”
O nulli quicquam mentite, vides ut 5 nudus inopsque domum redeama te vate, neque illic aut apotheca procis intacta est aut pecus ; atqui3 et genus et virtus, nisi cum re, vilior alga est.
Quando pauperiem missis ambagibus horres, accipe qua ratione queas ditescere.
- Turdus 10 sive aliud privum dabitur tibi, devolet illuc, res ubi magna nitet domino sene ; dulcia
poma et quoscumque
feret cultus tibi fundus honores, ante Larem gustet venerabilior Lare dives ; qui quamvis periurus erit, sine gente, cruentus 15 sanguine fraterno, fugitivus, ne tamen illi tu comes exterior, si postulet, ire recuses.'
Utne4 tegam spurco Damae latus ? haud ita Troiae 1 Tiresia M. 2 redeat. 3 aut qui, II. 4 visne.
By doloso Horace translates tolÚT POTOS, or one of the several Homeric epithets such as πολύμητες, πολυμήχανος, TOLKIMóuntis, applied to Odysseus.
ULYSSES. One more question pray answer me, Tiresias, besides what you have told me. By what ways and means can I recover
lost fortune ? Why laugh ?
TIRESIAS. What! not enough for the man of wiles a to sail back to Ithaca and gaze upon his household gods ? ULY. O
who have never spoken falsely to any man, you see how I am returning home, naked and in need, as you foretold ; and there neither cellar nor herd is unrifled by the suitors. And yet birth and worth, without substance, are more paltry than seaweed.
TIR. Since, in plain terms, 'tis poverty you dread, hear by what means you can grow
rich. Suppose a thrush or other dainty be given you for your own, let it wing its way to where grandeur reigns and the owner is old. Your choice apples or whatever glories your trim farm bears you, let the rich man taste before your Lar; more to be reverenced than the Lar is he.b However perjured he may be, though low of birth, stained with a brother's blood, a runaway slave, yet, if he ask you to walk with him, do not decline to take the outer side.
ULY. What! give the wall to some dirty Dama?
• First-fruits were offered to the Lares.