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Only a week 4 was I to stay in the country—such was my promise—but, false to my word, I am missed the whole of August. And yet, if you would have me live sound and in good health, the indulgence which you grant me when ill you will grant me when I fear to become ill, while the first figs and the heat adorn the undertaker with his black attendants, while every father and fond mother turns pale with fear for the children, and while diligence in courtesies b and the Forum's petty business bring on fevers and unseal wills. But if winter shall strew the Alban fields with snow, your poet will go
down to the sea, will be careful of himself and, huddled up, will take to his reading: you, dear friend, he will—if you permit-revisit along with the zephyrs and the first swallow.
14 'Twas not in the way a Calabrian host invites you to eat his pears that you have made me rich. * Eat some, pray.” “I've had enough.” “Well,
you please.' “No, thanks." Your tiny tots will love the little gifts you take them.” “ I'm as much obliged for your offer as if you sent me away loaded down.”
As you please ; you'll be leaving them for the swine to gobble up to-day.”
• The phrase refers to social duties, such as attendance upon the great.
prodigus et stultus donat quae spernit et odit ; haec seges ingratos? tulit et feret omnibus annis. vir bonus et sapiens dignis ait esse paratus, nec tamen ignorat quid distent aera lupinis. dignum praestabo me etiam pro laude merentis. quod si me noles usquam discedere, reddes 25 forte latus, nigros angusta fronte capillos, reddes dulce loqui, reddes ridere decorum et inter vina fugam Cinarae maerere protervae.
Forte per angustam tenuis volpeculaa rimam repserat in cumeramo frumenti, pastaque rursus 30 ire foras pleno tendebat corpore frustra ; cui mustela procul, “ si vis,” ait, “ effugere istinc, macra cavum repetes artum, quem macra subisti.” hac ego si compellor imagine, cuncta resigno; nec somnum plebis laudo satur altilium nec 35 otia divitiis Arabum liberrima muto. saepe verecundum laudasti, rexque paterque audisti coram nec verbo parcius absens : inspice si possum donata reponere laetus. haud4 male Telemachus, proles patientis5 Ulixei : 40
non est aptus equis Ithace locus, ut neque planis
1 ingrato E282: ingratis own.
2 nitedula Bentley : accepted by Lachmann, Kiessling, Holder and others.
cameram T. 4 at oyoll: aut Rr.
a i.e. real money and the imitation lupine seeds, used for counters in playing games.
• For the beauty of a narrow brow cf. Od. i. 33. 5, “insignem tenui fronte Lycorida.” Horace is becoming bald, and is praecanus (Epist. i. 20. 24).
· Bentley's conjecture nitedula, “ shrew-mouse,” has been hard by :
The foolish prodigal gives away what he despises and dislikes : the field thus sown has always yielded, and always will yield, a crop of ingratitude. Your good and wise man claims to be ready to help the worthy,and yet he knows well how coins and counters a differ. Worthy I, too, will show myself, as the glory of your good deed demands. But if you will never suffer me to leave you, you must give me back strength of lung, and black locks on a narrow browb; you must give back a pleasant prattle, give back graceful laughter and laments amid our cups o'er saucy Cinara's flight.
29 Once it chanced that a pinched little foxo had crept through a narrow chink into a bin of corn, and when well fed was trying with stuffed stomach to get out again, but in vain. To him quoth a weasel
you wish to escape from there, you must go back lean to the narrow gap which you entered when lean.” If challenged by this fable, I give up all. I neither praise the poor man's sleep, when I am fed full on capons, nor would I barter my ease and my freedom for all the wealth of Araby. Often have you praised my modesty, and have been
»d and “father” to your face, nor do I stint my words behind
back. Try me, whether I can restore your gifts, and cheerfully too. 'Twas no poor answer of Telemachus, son of enduring Ulysses e : Ithaca is no land meet for steeds, for widely accepted, because in real life the fox does not eat grain. But the traditional text must be retained.
a The term rex was used of a patron; cf“ coram rege suo,” Epist. i. 17. 43.
e In the Odyssey (iv. 601ff.). Telemachus, son of Odysseus, declines the horses and chariot offered him in friendship by Menelaus.
porrectus spatiis nec multae prodigus herbae : Atride, magis apta tibi tua dona relinquam." parvum parva decent : mihi iam non regia Roma, sed vacuum Tibur placet aut imbelle Tarentum. 45
Strenuus et fortis causisque Philippus agendis clarus, ab officiis octavam circiter horam dum redit atque Foro nimium distare Carinas iam grandis natu queritur, conspexit, ut aiunt, adrasum quendam vacua tonsoris in umbra 50 cultello proprios? purgantema leniter unguis.
Demetri,” (puer hic non laeve iussa Philippi accipiebat) “abi, quaere et refer, unde domo, quis, cuius fortunae, quo sit patre quove patrono.” it, redit et narrat, Volteium nomine Menam, 55 praeconem, tenui censu, sine crimine, notum et properare loco4 et cessare et quaerere et uti, gaudentem parvisque sodalibus et lare certo5 et ludis et post decisa negotia Campo.
scitari libet ex ipso quodcumque refers : dic 60 ad cenam veniat. non sane credere Mena, mirari secum tacitus. quid multa ? “benigne," respondet. "neget? ille mihi ? " " negat improbus
et te neglegit aut horret."
Volteium mane Philippus vilia vendentem tunicato scruta popello
65 occupat et salvere iubet prior. ille Philippo excusare laborem et mercennaria vincla, i proprio;
2 resecantem E Goth. 3 et, II.
4 locum, II. respondit 8 Goth negat a Goth.
a i.e. such games as those of the Circus and the athletic contests in the Campus Martius.
it has no level courses outspread, nor is it lavish of much herbage. Son of Atreus, I will leave you your gifts, as being more meet for you.” Small things befit small folk; my own delight to-day is not queenly Rome, but quiet Tibur or peaceful Tarentum.
46 Philippus, the famous pleader, a man of vigour and courage, was returning home from work about two o'clock. Being now somewhat on in years, he was grumbling at the Carinae being too far from the Forum, when (so the story goes) he caught sight of
man close-shaven, sitting in a barber's empty booth, and with pocket-knife quietly cleaning his nails for himself. “ Demetrius (this lad was not slow to catch his master's orders), "go, ask, and bring me word, where that man's from, who he is, and what's his standing, who is his father, or who his patron.” He goes, and comes back with the tale that his name is Volteius Mena, a crier at auctions, of modest fortune and blameless record, known to work hard and idle in season, to make money and spend it, taking pleasure in his humble friends and a home of his own and, when business is over, in the games and in the field of Mars.a I'd like to hear from his own lips all you
Bid him come to supper.” Mena cannot really believe it; he marvels in thoughtful silence. To be brief,“ No, thank you, he answers.
Would he refuse me ? He does, the rascal, and either slights or dreads you." 65 Next morning Philippus comes
on Volteius selling cheap odds and ends to the common folk in tunics b and is first to give a greeting. The other makes work and the ties of his trade an 'excuse to
• The common people did not wear the toga in daily life.