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As I instructed you often and at length, when you set out, Vinius, you will deliver these close-sealed rolls to Augustus, if he's well, if he's in good spirits, ifin fine-he asks for them ; lest you blunder in your eagerness for me, and by officious service and excessive zeal bring resentment on my poor works. If haply my book's burden gall you with its weight, fling it from you, rather than savagely dash down your pack a where you are bidden to deliver it, and
father's name of Asina into a jest, and you become the talk of the town.
Put forth your strength over hills, streams, and fens; when once you have achieved your purpose and reached your journey's end, you are to keep your burden so placed as not, for instance, to carry the little packet of books under your armpit, even as a bumpkin carries a lamb, as tipsy Pyrria a ball of stolen wool, as a poor tribesman his slippers and felt cap,
when asked out to dinner. And mind you don't tell all the world that you have sweated in carrying verses that
and ears of Caesar. Though besought by many a plea, press on.
Be off; fare well ; take care you do not stumble and smash your precious charge. no slave to take his cap and sandals, which he would need coming and going, though not in the dining-room. d i.e. by inquisitive people.
TO THE BAILIFF OF HIS FARM
This epistle is professedly addressed to the slave, whom the poet had promoted from low rank in his town establishment to the position of bailiff or superintendent of his small country estate. The slave now hankers after city life, while the master, detained in Rome by a friend's bereavement, longs for the country, which he has always preferred. The difference between the two is due to their tastes. The slave still clings to his follies ; the master has learned wisdom with advancing years.
The theme is essentially the same as in Epistles viii
. and x. of this book, while the setting of the letter is in marked contrast with Sat. ii. 7, where it is the slave who lectures the master.
Vilice silvarum et mihi me reddentis agelli, quem tu fastidis, habitatum quinque focis et quinque bonos solitum Variam dimittere patres, certemus, spinas animone ego fortius an tu evellas agro, et melior sit Horatius an res.
Me quamvis Lamiae pietas et cura moratur, fratrem maerentis, rapto de fratre dolentis insolabiliter, tamen istuc mens animusque fert et amat spatiis obstantia rumpere
claustra. rure ego viventem, tu dicis in urbe beatum. cui placet alterius, sua nimirum est odio sors.1 stultus uterque locum immeritum causatur inique : in culpa est animus, qui se non effugit umquam.
Tu mediastinus tacita prece rura petebas, nunc urbem et ludos et balnea vilicus optas : 15 me constare mihi scis et discedere tristem quandocumque trahunt invisa negotia Romam. non eadem miramur ; eo disconvenit inter meque et te. nam quae deserta et inhospita tesqua credis, amoena vocat mecum qui sentit, et odit 20
quae E, II : qua Va.
a These were probably coloni, who held their land in lease under Horace. They would go to Varia (now Vicovaro) to market and for local elections.
Cf. Epist. i. ii. 27 and Odes ii. 16. 19.
Bailiff of my woods and of the little farm which makes me myself again — while you disdain it, though the home of five households and wont to send to Varia their five honest heads a_let us have a match to see whether I more stoutly root out thorns from the mind or you from the land, and whether Horace or his farm is in a better state.
6 For me, though kept here by the love and grief of Lamia, who is sighing for his brother, grieving for his lost brother inconsolably, yet thither thought and feeling bear me longing to burst the barriers that block the track. I call him happy who lives in the country; you him who dwells in the city. One who likes another's lot, of course dislikes his own. Each is foolish and unfairly blames the undeserving place ; what is at fault is the mind, which never escapes from itself.:
14 You, as a common drudge, used to sigh in secret for the country; now as a bailiff you long for the town, its games and baths : as for me, you know that I'm consistent with myself, and depart in gloom, whenever hateful business drags me to Rome. Our tastes are not the same : therein lies the difference between you and me. What
hold to be desert and inhospitable wilds, he who shares my views calls