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the statues of Vertumnus and Janus; hence he says, 'you seem to have your eye on Vertumnus and Janus.'
2. Sosiorum: the Sosii were two brothers, the most celebrated bookbinders and booksellers of their time.-Pumice: the parchment was smoothed with pumice-stone.'
8. Plenos... amator: when weary of reading you, though so partial an admirer.'
9. Quòd si... atas: 'but if I am not blinded by my indignation at your folly, you will please at Rome while you are a novelty.'
13. Uticam: when a work had run out at Rome, the booksellers sent it off into the provinces.-llerdam: this was in Spain; Utica was in Africa.
23. Urbis: of Rome.
24. Solibus aptum: fond of basking in the sun.'
AUGUSTUS had complained that Horace had not addressed any of his satires or epistles to him. In this beautiful and finished epistle the poet makes ample amends for his former remissness. In the first part of it he examines the comparison between the ancients and the moderns, which has been matter of dispute in all ages. He next shows the folly of that excessive love of antiquity, which regarded the time of any performance rather than its merits. In the third place he treats of the theatre, and of the difficulty of succeeding there. And finally he would remind princes how important it is for them to encourage a spirit of emulation for epic poetry, by which their own achievements may be celebrated.
10. Qui Hercules slew the hydra of Lerna.
13. Artes for artifices; one eminent in any department depresses, by his fame, those who are inferiour to him.
23. Sic fautor veterum: the idea is, so extravagantly do the people admire the works of antiquity, that they would say, the Muses themselves uttered, on mount Alba, the laws of the Twelve Tables, the treaty with the Gabii, &c. These were among the first productions of the Romans, and certainly not to be considered as models in composition.
28. Si, quia... loquamur: 'if, because the most ancient
works of the Greeks are the best, we are to weigh Roman writers in the same balance, it is in vain to say any thing farther.'
31. Nil: i. e. we might as well say that there is nothing hard within an olive, or on the outside of a nut.
35. Scire.... annus: 'I desire to know what number of years may establish a value to writings.'
38. Excludat...finis: the established number of years (to constitute antiquity) removes all doubt.' This is the answer to Horace's question, and the beginning of a dialogue full of pleasantry.
45. Utor permisso: 'I avail myself of your concession.’ 48. Quifastos: who has recourse to the calendar.' 56. Actius alti: Actius has the reputation of a sublime poet.'
72. Et exactis... distantia : 'and little removed from perfection.'
86. Saliare Numa carmen: Numa's hymn for the Salii.' When Numa instituted the order of Salii, he composed a form of prayer or praise for them.
103. Reclusá manè... nummos: 'the house being open at daybreak, to wait and explain the laws to clients, and to enquire out the best securities for money.'
115. Didicit: sc. medicina artem.
123. Pane secundo: brown bread,' of a secondary quality. 125. Si das hoc: if you allow this.'
132. Puella: referring to the virgins, who sung the Carmen Sæculare with a choir of boys.
178. Exanimat lentus spectator :
C a listless spectator de
185. Si discordet eques: if the knights disagree with them'; i. e. if they oppose their freaks at the theatre.
187. Verum...jam: 'but even for the knights now.'
189. Quatuor... horas: the curtain falls for four hours or more.' At the commencement of the play the Romans let fall the curtain to expose the stage, instead of raising it up, as we do. The play was interrupted in this case, and the stage kept open to view for the exhibition of some show, for several hours. Horace complains of this abuse.
193. Ebur: i. e. cut out in figures of ivory.
199. Scriptores... surdo: 'he would think the writers of the comedy employed in telling a story to a deaf ass.'
209. Laudare malignè condemn by faint praise.'
210. Ille... poeta: that poet appears to me able to walk upon a tight rope'; i. e. able to do any thing.
230. Edituos: heralds,' to proclaim or record.
269. In vicum vendentem: 'into the street where they sell.'
Julius Florus, to whom this epistle is addressed, was, at the time it was written, absent with Tiberius Nero. Horace gives his reasons for not having complied with the request of Florus that he would send him some lyric poems. He tells him that he wished to devote himself to the study of philosophy. And throughout the epistle he intersperses many excellent precepts for the regulation of the conduct, and for securing a good and happy life. He commences with a lively and amusing account of a slave-dealer, as an example of the verbosity and knavery of that class of men.
14. Semel hic cessavit: he was once in fault; and hid himself behind the stairs for fear of the whip, as was natural enough.' Doering prefers this construction to pendentis in scalis, the usual one. The seller uses the word cessavit for aufugit; to soften the crime of running away, which was considered so important a defect in the character of a slave, that the sale was made void by law, if this was not mentioned to the purchaser.
17. Pana securus: fearless of any punishment,' for the fraud he committed; as the law could not reach him, after he had mentioned the fact that the slave had run away.
23. Quid... attentas: what then have I gained by my concession, if nevertheless, you impeach the laws protecting me.'Mecum facientia: i. e. me adjuvantia. Jaeck.
28. Vehemens lupus: sc. ut; 'like a raging wolf.'
48. Non responsura lacertis: 'unable to cope with the arms,” or forces, of Augustus Cæsar.
52. Sed quod... versus: i. e. but now possessing every thing that I wish, what doses of hellebore could cure my madness, if I did not think it better to sleep quietly than to attempt writing poetry again?
60. Bioneis sermonibus: i. e. with such keen satire as Bion of Borysthènes is said to have written.
81. Ingenium: a man of genius.'
87. Frater... ille: the poet passes suddenly to another topic; that of the mutual commendation and praise of certain poets. He says there were at Rome two friends, the one a rhetorician, and the other a lawyer, who agreed to extol each other. The lawyer made the rhetorician a second Gracchus ; and he in turn called him another Mucius. Mucius was a celebrated writer upon the civil law. Frater seems to be used for friend.
98. Lento... duello: 'like gladiators in a slow, harmless contest till evening twilight.' Samnites is the name of a class of gladiators.
119. Adsciscet...usus: 'he will introduce such words as use, the father of language, has produced.'
128. Quàm sapere, et ringi: 'than to be wise, and always on
134. Et signo... lagenæ: 'and did not fly into a passion at finding the bottle unsealed.'
166. Quid refert. . . olim: for where is the difference, whether you live on money recently spent, or spent some time ago?' 192. Quòd... invenerit: 'because he shall find nothing more than was originally given to me'; i. e. because I have not increased my estate.'
204. Extremi... priores: 'if behind the first, yet before the last.'
THE ART OF POETRY.
THESE remarks upon the art of poetry were probably designed as the third epistle of the second book, and addressed to Lucius Piso and his two sons. Horace did not pretend to give a complete treatise upon the art of poetry; but to throw out such hints upon the leading topics of the subject, as the nature of an epistle would allow. He has therefore observed no particular method or order in discussing the subject; nor been at the trouble of making any preamble. He begins at once with the most essential, necessary, and important precept, which is unity and simplicity of design.
1. Humano... membris: 'should a painter undertake to join a mare's neck to a human head, and, uniting limbs from various animals, to cover the whole with partycoloured feathers.'
5. Spectatum: 'to view it'; a supine.
15. Purpureus... pannus: here and there a purple patch is sewed on, which makes a great show.'
18. Flumen Rhenum: the poets often decline substantives as if they were adjectives; as Rhenus, -a, -um; so Ovid has Caput Augustum, Quirinam urbem, and Horace Metaurum flumen, Romulam gentem.
20. Quid hoc... pingitur: i. e. how will this satisfy the man who hires you to paint him shipwrecked, and floating hopeless on the broken planks of the vessel?
21. Amphora... exit: i. e. a bad poet opens his poem with something great and magnificent, but amuses himself with trifles; as a bad potter begins a large and beautiful vase, but produces only a worthless pit her. San.
32. Emelium... imus: 'the meanest artist in the Emilian square.' This place was called after Æmilius Lepidus, who formerly had a school for gladiators there. In later times Polyclétus, the statuary, had his rooms there.
34. Infelix... nesciet: 'but he will be unsuccessful in completing the statue, because he cannot give just proportions to the whole.'
35. Hunc ego... capillo: 'if I were about to attempt a work of art, I should no more wish to imitate such a one, than to appear in public, remarkable for fine black hair and eyes, but disfigured by a defective nose.'
42. Venus: 'beauty.'
45. In verbis... auctor: these two verses have very properly exchanged places, of late years. According to the judgment of Dr. Bentley they should stand as they do here. The construction is, Auctor promissi carminis, etiam in serendis verbis tenuis (subtilis) cautusque, amet hoc, et spernat hoc; i. e. delicate and careful in selecting words, must adopt this, and reject that.
47. Dixeris egregiè ... novum: 'you will gain great praise, if by a skilful union you render new, what was known before'; i. e. make a new word out of two old ones.
50. Fingere... continget: it will be allowable to coin words: not known to the ancient Cethegi.'-Cinctutis: this means, 'girded ready for action,' as the ancient Romans were. Cethegi are used for people of their time.
59. Signatum præsente notâ: 'impressed with the current stamp'; comparing words to coin, which bore the stamp of the reigning prince.
65. Regis opus: 'the work of a king'; i. e. the making of a harbour to protect the fleets.
66. Urbes alit: being drained, 'it supplies the neighbouring cities.'
69. Vivar lasting,' 'permanent.'
91. Cana Thyesta i. e. a tragedy. See Class. Dict.
120. Reponis: 'represent,' or describe.
136. Ut scriptor cyclicus: like that trifling, vain poet of old. 178. Semper... aptis: we must always have regard to what is connected with, and suited to the age, of the parties.'
189. Neve minor: i. e. neither less than five acts.
196. Ille i. e. chorus; the chorus is to supply all the places mentioned in this and the five following verses.
220. Hircum: this was the prize.
237. Et audax... talentum and the impudent Pythias, who spunged old Simo out of his money.'-Pythias was a maid servant in a play of Lucilius.-Emuncto: cunningly overreached.'
254. Non ita pridem: nor is it long ago.' Spondees were admitted in the odd places; but an iambus was retained in the
294. Præsectum... unguem: i. e. and which its author has not corrected ten times. This is a figure borrowed from the polishers of marble, who tried its smoothness by passing their nails over it.
295. Ingenium... Democritus:
because Democritus con