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67 To continue my advice, if you
need advice in aught—think often of what you say, and of whom, and to whom you say it. Avoid a questioner, for he is also a tattler, Open ears will not keep secrets loyally, and the word once let slip flies beyond recall. Let no maid or boy within your worshipful friend's marble threshold inflame your heart, lest the owner of the pretty boy or dear girl make you happy with a present so trifling or torment you if disobliging. What sort of a person you introduce, consider again and again, lest by and by the other's failings strike you with shame. At times we err and present some-. one unworthy : therefore, if taken in, forbear to defend him whose own fault drags him down, in order that, if charges assail one you know thoroughly, you may watch over and protect the man who relies on your championship. For when he is nibbled at with Theon's tooth a of slander, don't you feel that a little later the peril will pass to yourself? 'Tis your own safety that's at stake, when your neighbour's wall is in flames, and fires neglected are wont to gather strength.
86 Those who have never tried think it pleasant to court a friend in power; one who has tried dreads it. While your barque is on the deep, see to it lest the breeze shift and bear
back. dislike the
grave, the quick the staid, the lazy the stirring man of action : drinkers (who quaff Falernian in midnight hours) hate the man who declines the proffered cups, however much you swear that
you dread fevers at night. Take the • The words bracketed in the Latin were probably introduced as a gloss from Epist. i. 14. 34.
deme supercilio nubem : plerumque modestus occupat obscuri speciem, taciturnus acerbi.
Inter cuncta leges et percontabere doctos, qua ratione queas traducere leniter aevum, num te semper inops agitet vexetque cupido, num? pavor et rerum mediocriter utilium spes, virtutem doctrina paret Naturane donet,
100 quid minuat curas, quid te tibi reddat amicum, quid pure tranquillet, honos an dulce lucellum, an secretum iter et fallentis semita vitae.
Me quotiens reficit gelidus Digentia rivus, quem Mandela bibit, rugosus frigore pagus,
105 quid sentire putas ? quid credis, amice, precari ? sit mihi quod nunc est, etiam minus, et? mihi vivam quod superest aevi, si quid superesse volunt di ; sit bona librorum et provisae frugis in annum copia, neu fluitem dubiae spe pendulus horae.4 110
Sed satis est orare Iovem, quis ponit6 et aufert, det vitam, det opes ;
aequum mi animum ipse parabo."
num all good mss., V: ne or non.
2 et V, II : ut aEM Porph. spes bona É.
6 ponit V, II : donat, 1.
quae a, II.
a i.e. philosophers.
These are things which may be contrasted with virtue, the summum bonum, e.g. our possessions, classed by the Stoics as ådıápopa, indifferent things.
• Whether virtue can be taught (didaktń, cf. doctrina) is discussed in Plato's Meno.
cloud from your brow; shyness oft gets the look of secrecy,
silence of sour temper. 96 Amid all this you must read and question the wise,a how you may be able to pass your days in tranquillity. Is greed, ever penniless, to drive and harass you, or fears and hopes about things that profit little po Does wisdom beget virtue, or Nature bring her as a gift ? What will lessen care ? What will make you a friend to yourself? What gives you unruffled calm-honour, or the sweets of dear gain, or a secluded journey along the pathway of a life unnoticed d?
104 For me, oft as Digentiae refreshes me, the icy brook of which Mandela drinks, that village wrinkled with cold, what deem you to be my feelings ? What, think you, my friend, are my prayers ? May I have my present store, or even less ; may I live to myself for what remains of life, if the gods will that aught remain. May I have a goodly supply of books and of food to last the year ; nor may I waver to and fro with the hopes of each uncertain hour.
111 But 'tis enough to pray Jove, who gives and takes away, that he grant me life, and grant me means : a mind well balanced I will myself provide. d Cf. Epist. i. 17. 10.
Cf. Epist. i. 16. 5, with its note b. Mandela, now Cantalupo Bardella, is a lofty village, whose people came down to the Digentia for their water.
fi.e. the gods may give me life, and the means of existence, but, as Henley says, “ I am the captain of my soul."
WRITING shortly before the publication of this book, in 20 B.C., Horace replies to the adverse criticism which had been levelled against his Epodes and Odes (Books i.-iii.). These, it was claimed, lacked originality and were mere imitations of Greek exemplars. Horace therefore contrasts the rude and servile imitation, to which he has himself been subjected, with his own generous use of noble models, according to rules followed by the great Greek poets themselves (1-34).
But the real reason why Horace has been assailed lies in the fact that the poet has not tried to please the general public or his offended critics. He refuses to resort to the usual methods of winning approval, and is therefore supposed to be arrogant. This is a charge which he declines to face (35-49).