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multa Cicirrus ad haec: donasset iamne catenam
Tendimus hinc recta2 Beneventum; ubi sedulus hospes
paene macros arsit dum turdos versat in igni ; nam vaga per veterem dilapso3 flamma culinam Volcano summum properabat lambere tectum. convivas avidos cenam servosque timentis tum rapere atque omnis restinguere velle videres. Incipit ex illo montis Apulia notos ostentare mihi, quos torret1 Atabulus et quos numquam erepsemus, nisi nos vicina Trivici villa recepisset, lacrimoso non sine fumo, udos cum foliis ramos urente camino. hic ego mendacem stultissimus, usque puellam ad mediam noctem exspecto: (somnus tamen aufert intentum veneri ;) tum immundo somnia visu
nocturnam vestem maculant ventremque supinum. 85 Quattuor hinc rapimur viginti et milia raedis, mansuri oppidulo, quod versu dicere non est, signis perfacile est venit vilissima rerum hic aqua; sed panis longe pulcherrimus, ultra callidus ut soleat umeris portare viator.
3 delapso CK, II.
2 recte D, II. 4 terret CE.
1 domini C.
a Altino is to-day the local Apulian term for the hot scirocco, which Horace calls the "Atabulus."
The name is not recorded, at least correctly, but Horace has in mind a passage in Lucilius, viz. :
tragic buskin. Much had Cicirrus to say to this. Had he yet, he inquired, made a votive offering of his chain to the Lares? Clerk though he was, yet his mistress's claim was not less strong. At the last he asked why he had ever run away, since a pound of meal was enough for one so lean and so so puny. Right merrily did we prolong that supper.
71 Thence we travel straight to Beneventum, where our bustling host was nearly burned out while turning lean thrushes over the fire. For as Vulcan slipped out through the old kitchen the vagrant flame hastened to lick the roof. Then you might have seen the hungry guests and frightened slaves snatching up the dinner, and all trying to quench the blaze.
77 From this point Apulia begins to show to my eyes her familiar hills, which the Altino a scorches, and over which we had never crawled had not a villa near Trivicum taken us in, but not without smoke that brought tears, as green wood, leaves and all, was burning in the stove. Here I, utter fool that I am, await a faithless girl right up to midnight. Then, after all, sleep carries me off still thinking upon love, and evil dreams assail me.
86 From here we are whirled in carriages four and twenty miles, to spend the night in a little town I cannot name in verse, though 'tis quite easy to define it by tokens. Here water, nature's cheapest product, is sold, but the bread is far the best to be had, so that the knowing traveller is wont to shoulder
servorum est festus dies hic
quem plane hexametro versu non dicere possis
(vi. 228, ed. Marx), This is the slaves' festal day, which one cannot freely name in hexameter verse."
nam Canusi lapidosus (aquae non ditior urna), qui locus a forti Diomede est conditus olim.1 flentibus hinc Varius discedit maestus amicis.
Inde Rubos fessi pervenimus, utpote longum carpentes iter et factum corruptius imbri. postera tempestas melior, via peior ad usque Bari moenia piscosi. dein2 Gnatia lymphis iratis exstructa dedit risusque iocosque, dum flamma sine tura liquescere limine sacro persuadere cupit. credat3 Iudaeus Apella,
non ego namque deos didici securum agere aevum, nec, si quid miri faciat natura, deos id tristis ex alto caeli demittere1 tecto.
Brundisium longae finis chartaeque viaeque est.
1 Line 92 was deleted by Bentley. 3 credet CK Goth.
2 dehinc, II. 4 dimittere DE.
This implies that Gnatia had no springs. Pliny (N.H. ii. 111) mentions the miracle of wood, placed on a sacred stone, taking fire spontaneously. The stone would seem to have been at the entrance of a temple.
The Jews, who were very numerous in Rome under
a load for stages beyond; for at Canusium, a place founded long ago by brave Diomede, it is gritty, and as to water, the town is no better off by a jugful. Here Varius leaves us, to the grief of his weeping friends.
94 Thence we come to Rubi, very weary after covering a long stage much marred by the rain. Next day's weather was better, but the road worse, right up to the walls of Barium, a fishing town. Then Gnatia, built under the wrath of the waternymphs, brought us laughter and mirth in its effort to convince us that frankincense melts without fire at the temple's threshold. Apella, the Jew, may believe it, not I; for I "have learned that the gods lead a care-free life," and if Nature works any marvel, the gods do not send it down from their heavenly home aloft when in surly mood! Brundisium is the end of a long story and of a long journey.
Augustus, were regarded by the Romans as peculiarly superstitious.
Horace is quoting from Lucretius, De rerum nat. v. 82. Horace uses tristis of the gods as Virgil speaks of Charon as tristis, Aen. vi. 315.