Obrázky na stránke
PDF
ePub

V.

2

Si potes Archiacis conviva recumbere lectis nec modica cenare times holus omne patella, supremo te sole domi, Torquate, manebo. vina bibes iterum Tauro diffusa palustris inter Minturnas Sinuessanumque Petrinum. 5 si melius quid habes, arcesse, vel imperium fer. iamdudum splendet focus et tibi munda supellex. mitte levis spes et certamina divitiarum et Moschi causam : cras nato Caesare festus dat veniam somnumque dies ; impune licebit 10 aestivamsermone benigno tendere noctem.

Quo mihi fortunam, si non conceditur uti ? parcus ob heredis curam nimiumque severus adsidet insano. potare et spargere flores incipiam, patiarque vel inconsultus haberi. 15 quid non ebrietas dissignat3? operta recludit, 1 festivam. 2 fortuna R: fortunas. 3 designat av Goth.

a Archias a maker of unpretentious furniture. According to Porphyrio his couches were small ones. See note on l. 29.

At that time the wine had been poured from the large dolium into the smaller amphorae.

According to the Scholiasts, Moschus, a rhetorician from Pergamum, was accused of poisoning, and defended by Torquatus as well as by Asinius Pollio.

a_September 23. September is one of the warmest months in Rome.

e In dissignare the original idea of sealing seems to be

[ocr errors]

was

26 B.C.

с

EPISTLE V

If you can recline at my table on couches made by Archias,” and are not afraid of “a dinner of herbs ” only, from a modest dish, I shall expect you, Torquatus, at my house at sunset. You will drink wine that was bottled in Taurus's second consulate b between marshy Minturnae and Petrinum near Sinuessa. If you have aught better, bid it be sent, or submit to orders. Long has my hearth been bright, and the furniture made neat for you.

Dismiss airy hopes and the struggle for wealth, and Moschus's cause. To-morrow, the festal day of Caesar's birth, gives excuse for sleeping late; without penalty shall we be free to prolong the summer night in genial

converse,

12 Why is fortune mine, if I may not use it ? He who, from regard to his heir, pinches and spares overmuch is next door to a madman. I shall begin the drinking and the scattering of flowers, and shall suffer you, if you will, to think me reckless. What a miracle cannot the wine-cup work ! e It unlocks negatived by the prefix dis-, and to “unseal” (a verb appropriately used in the present connexion) signifies (according to Porphyrio) to “open," i.e. reveal something. Hence it is used of any strange effect. Cf. Terence, Adelphi, 87, “modo quid dissignavit ?” “What out-ofthe-way thing has he now done?" For the general thought cf. Od. iii. 21. 13 ff.

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]

25

[merged small][ocr errors]

spes iubet esse ratas, ad proelia trudit inertem,
sollicitis animis onus eximit, addocet2 artes.
fecundi3 calices quem non fecere disertum ?
contracta quem non in paupertate solutum ? 20

Haec ego procurare et idoneus imperor et non
invitus, ne turpe toral, ne sordida mappa
corruget naris, ne non et cantharus et lanx
ostendat tibi te, ne fidos inter amicos
sit qui dicta foras eliminet, ut* coeat par
iungaturque pari.

Butram tibi Septiciumque, et nisi cena prior potiorque puella Sabinum detinet, adsumam. locus est et pluribus umbris : sed nimis arta premunt olidae convivia caprae. tu quotus esse velis rescribe et rebus omissis 30 atria servantem postico falle clientem.

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

1 inermem aM. 2 et docet E.

3 facundi EST Vollmer.

5 ad summam a, II. a See note on Sat. ii. 8. 22. • This unsavoury detail is meant to be jocular, but as it

4 et dynl.

secrets, bids hopes be fulfilled, thrusts the coward into the field, takes the load from anxious hearts, teaches new arts. The flowing bowl—whom has it not made eloquent? Whom has it not made free even amid pinching poverty ?

21 Here is what I charge myself to provide-and able and willing I am : that no untidy coverlet, no soiled napkin wrinkle up your nose ; that tankard and plate become for you a mirror ; that there be none to carry abroad what is said among faithful friends ; that like may meet and mate with like.

: 26 Butra and Septicius I shall have to meet you, and Sabinus, unless a better supper and a goodlier girl detain him. There is room, too, for several

shades ”a; but the reek of goats makes too crowded feasts unpleasant. Write back, pray, how many you would like us to be; then drop your business, and by the back-door give the slip to the client waiting in your hall. was the warm season Horace does not want his small couches to be too crowded.

VI

TO NUMICIUS

Nothing is known about the person to whom this letter is addressed, but the ideas expressed in it have made it one of the most famous of Horace's epistles.

The key-note is struck in the opening phrase, nil admirari, a rendering of the το μηδέν θαυμάζειν of Pythagoras, or of ådavuaotia of philosophers in general (Strabo, i. 3. 21). This ubavuaotia, identical with the adaußía of Democritus (Cic. De fin. v. 29. 87), the drapucia of the Epicureans, and the imábela of the Stoics, is a philosophic calm, a composure of mind and feeling, a freedom from exciting emotions, which ancient philosophy often regarded as the summum bonum and which Tennyson defines so well in his Lucretius :

O thou,
Passionless bride, divine Tranquillity,
Yearn’d after by the wisest of the wise,
Who fail to find thee, being as thou art

Without one pleasure and without one pain. This "wise indifference," says Horace, is perhaps the only clue to happiness. If men can gaze unmoved on the wonders of the firmament, they can surely look calmly upon things of less moment, such

« PredošláPokračovať »