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Hoc erat in votis: modus agri non ita magnus, hortus ubi et tecto vicinus iugis aquae fons
et paulum silvae super his foret. auctius atque
nec sum facturus vitio culpave1 minorem,
si veneror stultus nihil horum: "o si angulus ille
illum ipsum mercatus aravit, dives amico
Hercule!" si quod adest gratum iuvat, hac prece te
pingue pecus domino facias et cetera praeter.
1-ve] -que a Goth.
"In the opening words Horace gives utterance to a feeling of deep satisfaction as he contemplates the scene before him in the morning sunshine. His former prayer has been realized. Hence the past tense of erat.
Mercury was god of luck and gain; Hercules the god of treasure-trove (see ll. 12, 13 below).
This is what I prayed for! a -a piece of land not so very large, where there would be a garden, and near the house a spring of ever-flowing water, and up above these a bit of woodland. More and better than this have the gods done for me. I am content, Nothing more do I ask, O son of Maia, save that thou make these blessings last my life long. If I have neither made my substance larger by evil ways, nor mean to make it smaller by excesses or neglect ; if I offer up no such foolish prayers as these: O if there could be added that near corner, which now spoils the shape of my little farm! O that some lucky strike would disclose to me a pot of money, like the man who, having found a treasure-trove, bought and ploughed the self-same ground he used to work on hire, enriched by favour of Hercules " !—if what I have gives me comfort and content, then thus I pray to thee make fat the flocks I own, and all else save my wit, and, as thou art wont, still be my chief guardian!
16 So, now that from the city I have taken myself off to my castle in the hills, to what should I sooner give renown in the Satires of my prosaic Muse? Here no wretched place-hunting worries me to death, nor the leaden scirocco, nor sickly autumn, that brings gain to hateful Libitina.c
The old Italian goddess Libitina, sometimes identified with Persephone, presided over funerals.
Matutine pater, seu "Iane" libentius audis, unde homines operum primos vitaeque labores instituunt (sic dis placitum), tu carminis esto principium. Romae sponsorem me rapis: "heia, ne prior officio quisquam respondeat, urge." sive Aquilo radit terras seu bruma nivalem interiore diem gyro trahit, ire necesse est. postmodo, quod mi obsit, clare certumque locuto luctandum in turba et facienda iniuria tardis.
“quid tibi vis, insane, et quam rem1 agis?" improbus urget
iratis precibus: "tu pulses omne quod obstat, 30 ad Maecenatem memori si mente recurras.
Hoc iuvat et melli2 est, non mentiar. at simul atras ventum est Esquilias, aliena negotia centum per caput et circa saliunt latus. ante secundam Roscius orabat sibi adesses ad Puteal cras."
de re communi scribae magna atque nova te orabant hodie meminisses, Quinte, reverti.” imprimat his, cura, Maecenas signa tabellis." dixeris, " experiar": "si vis, potes," addit et instat Septimus octavo propior3 iam fugerit annus,
1 quam rem Bentley: Mss. show quas res, which can be kept if tibi or agis is deleted. Thus Orelli, Wickham, Lejay. 2 mel, II. propior E: proprior a.
a Cf. Milton's "Or hear'st thou rather pure ethereal stream" (Par. Lost, iii. 6). The language is mock heroic, and the apostrophe of the god of the morn, or of beginnings, indicates the time of day when Horace was writing.
Horace gives an illustration of early morning duties in Rome.
The circles apparently traced by the sun get smaller up to the winter solstice.
a Probably the sponsor was directed by the court to speak thus.
ei.e. this recognition of his intimacy with Maecenas.
20 O Father of the dawn, or Janus, if so thou hearest rather," from whom men take the beginnings of the work and toil of life-such is Heaven's will— be thou the prelude of my song! At Rome thou hurriest me off to be surety b : Come! bestir yourself, lest someone answer duty's call before you.' Whether the North-wind sweeps the earth, or winter drags on the snowy day in narrower circle, go I must. Later, when I have said in clear and certain tones d what may work me harm, I must battle in the crowd and do damage to the slow of pace. What do you mean, madman? What are you driving at? So some ruffian assails me with angry curses: 'You would jostle everything in your way, should you be posting back to Maecenas, thinking only of him."
32 That gives pleasure and is like honey, I'll not deny. But as soon as one comes to the gloomy Esquiline, a hundred concerns of others dance through my head and all about me: Roscius begs you to meet him to-morrow at Libo's Wall before seven o'clock." The clerks beg you, Quintus, to be sure to return to-day on some fresh and important business of common interest. Have Maecenas
put his seal to these papers." If you say, "I'll try,' * You can, if you will," he adds insistently.
40 The seventh year-nay, nearer the eighth-will f "Gloomy," because of the old associations of the place. See Satire i. 8. 14, note c.
The praetor's tribunal was near the Puteal Libonis, a place in the Forum, which, having been struck by lightning, was enclosed by a wall, and regarded as sacred.
Horace, being himself a member of the guild of scribae, is addressed on familiar terms. He had been a member of the quaestor's staff.
Maecenas me coepit habere suorum in numero, dumtaxat ad hoc, quem tollere raeda vellet iter faciens, et cui concredere nugas
hoc genus: "hora quota est ? " Gallina Syro par?
matutina parum cautos iam frigora mordent;" 45 et quae rimosa bene deponuntur1 in aure.
per totum hoc tempus subiectior in diem et horam invidiae noster. ludos spectaverat2 una, luserat3 in Campo : fortunae filius ! omnes. frigidus a rostris manat per compita rumor : quicumque obvius est me consulit : o bone, nam te scire, deos quoniam propius contingis, oportet, numquid de Dacis audisti? semper eris derisor ! " at5 omnes di exagitent me, si quicquam. quid? militibus promissa Triquetra praedia Caesar an est Itala tellure daturus? iurantem me scire nihil mirantur ut unum
scilicet egregii mortalem altique silenti.
Perditur haec inter misero lux non sine votis :
o rus, quando ego te aspiciam! quandoque licebit 60 nunc veterum libris, nunc somno et inertibus horis,7 ducere sollicitae iucunda oblivia vitae !
o quando faba Pythagorae cognata simulque
1 disponuntur E. spectaverit. 3 luserit. 4 proprius oλ. 5 at Goth. ad мss. 6 miratur 4. 7 hortis py.
a The reference is to some sporting event of the day. The men mentioned were gladiators, one being armed like a Thracian.
This colloquial use of noster "I", for which we have examples in Plautus, enables the writer to avoid a tone of egoism. Cf. ἀνὴρ ὅδε.
Sicily. After the battle of Actium the soldiers who had served with Octavius had lands allotted to them. The expression used for Sicily is probably an echo of Lucretius (i.`717) “insula . . . triquetris terrarum . . . in oris.”