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Its mother's dugs, and teazes the oaks with its budding horn.
14. A great minister. Some interpret this, as referring to the quality of the person giving the blow, as if it were to be the chief pontiff, or sacrificer, and not one of his popæ, or inferior officers. Others think, that it refers to the size and strength of the person officiating, able to perform his office at one blow.
· 15. Yet trembling friend, &c.] This is a very natural circum. stance, that a man, for some time after a narrow escape from an hor. rible danger, should shudder at the very thoughts of it, and stand amazed at his deliverance.
17. The hazard of the sea.] id e. The danger of the waves.
17–18. Lightning escaped.] By which he might have been killed in an instant, but happily escaped the blow.
18. Thick darkness, &c.] So that they could take no observation, nor know where they were, or which way to steer. Such a cire cumstance is awfully related, Acts xxvii. 20.
19. A sudden fire, &c.] A fash of lightning struck the sail-yards, and set the sails on fire.
20. Might believe, &c.] Each person on board might think it levelled at him, it was so near him.
21. Astonish'd, might think, &c.] For in case of a shipwreck, some might escape on parts of the broken ship (comp. Acts xxvii. ult.); but if the ship were burnt, all must be consumed together : there. fore, horrible as a shipwreck might be in the expectation, there could be no comparison, in point of horror, between this and a ship on fire.
22. All things become, &c.] The above circumstances of the dan. ger from the waves, and of the greater horror of the ship's being struck with lightning, and the rigging set on fire, are ingredients in a poetical description of a tempest ; even the imagination of the poet could not invent any thing more dreadful and grievous. 24. Another kind of danger.] i. e. Which Catullus was in.
Et miserere iterum, quanquam sint cætera fortis
This, as afterwards appears, was from the ship's being half full of water, (1. 30.) and he forced to lose his property to save his life.
25. The rest, &c.] Of my friend's disasters, which I shall relate, are of the same unfortunate nature.
26. Known to many.] Who have been in a like situation.
27. Many temples, &c.] Persons that escaped shipwreck used to have a painting made of the same scene which they had gone through, drawn upon a tablet, which they vowed to Neptune during their dis. tress, and hung up in some temple near the sea-coast.
This was called votiva tabella. To this Horace alludes, lib. i. ode v. ad fin, which see, and the note, Delph. edit.
28. Fed by Isis.] The Romans made so many vows to the Æ. gyptian goddess Isis, whom the merchants and seamen looked on as their patroness, that many painters got their bread by drawing the votivæ tabulæ, which were hung up in her temples, so great was the number of them.
30. Middle hold, &c.] i. e. The hold was half full, or full up to the middle.
31. Alternate side, &c.] Heeling her from side to side, by dashing against them alternately."
32. Uncertain wood.] It being now doubtful, whether the tim. bers could much longer stand the force of the beating waves upon her sides, or whether she would not go to pieces.
The prudence, &C.] All the skill and care of the old expe. rienced master of the ship could afford no help. 33. He.] i. e. Catullus.
Began to compound, &c.]. To bargain (as it were) for his life at the expense of his goods, by throwing them overboard. See Ainsw. Decido, No. 4.
And again pity, tho' the rest be of the same.
40 The generous herbage dyed, but also a remarkable fount With hidden powers, and Bætic air helps,
34. Imitating the beaver, &c.] This notion of the beaver is very ancient, and rell introduced by our poet ; but it is to be reckoned among those vulgar errors which have no foundation in truth.
In the first place, the liquid matter, which is called in medicine cas. toreum, is not found in the testicles, but enclosed in bags, or purses, Dear the anus of the animale
In the next place, such an instance of violence upon itself was never known to be committed by the beaver.
See CHAMBERS—And Brown's Vulg. Err. book III. c. iv. . 38. To throw over. ] Into the sea.
The most beautiful things.] His finest and most valuable merchandize. See Job ii. 4.
39. Tender Mecenases.] Mæcenas, the favourite of Augustus, was a very delicate and effeminate person, from whom people of such character were denominated Mæcenates. See sat. i. l. 66, note. Such persons were very finical and expensive in their dress, and therefore poor Catullus lost a good market for his purple dress, by throwing it overboard in the storm.
40. The very sheep, &c.] In this place the poet means, that the wool, of which these other garments were made, had a native tinge of a beautiful colour, owing to the particular nature of the soil, and water, and air, where the sheep were bred, so that the garments were made up without receiving any artificial dye.
41. A remarkable fount, &c.] The water' of which, as well as the pasture where the sheep fed, was supposed to contribute to the fineness and colour of their wool,
42. Bætic air.] The air of Bætica, now Andalusia, in Spain, through which ran the river Bætis, is here assigned its share in the improvement of the wool
Ille nec argentum dubitabat mittere ; lances
43. Dishes.] Lanx signifies a great broad plate, or deep dish, to serve up meat in, which the Romans had carved and embossed at a great expense.
44. Parthenius.] Some curious artist, whose works were in high estimation.
- In urn.) A measure of liquids containing four gallons.
45. Pholus.] "A drunken Centaur, who, when he entertained Here cules, produced a tun of wine at once. .
Wife of Fuscus.] Fuscus was a judge, noted by Martial for drunkenness, as his wife is here, in the good company of Pholus the drunken Centaur.
46. Baskets. The bascaudze were a kind of baskets which the Romans had from the ancient Britons. Vox Britannica. Ainsw.
Barbara de pictis veni basçauda Britannis. Mart. xiv. 99.
A thousand dishes.] Escaria, from esca, seems to denote vessels of all shapes and sizes, in which meat was served up to table ; also plates on which it was eaten.
47. Wrought-work.] Cælati, from cælo, to chase, emboss, or engrave.- This wrought:work here mentioned is thought, from what follows, to have been the large wrought, i. e. chased or embossed, gold cup, that Philip, king of Macedon, used to drink out of, and to put under his pillow every night when he went to sleep. This must have been a very great, as well as valuable curiosity.
But as it is said multum cælati, one should rather think, that the poet means a great quantity of wrought plate, which had once been the property of Philip; a set of plate, as we should say. Philip was killed by Pausanias three hundred and thirty-six years before Christ.
me Juvenal flourished about the latter end of the first century : so that this plate was very old.
----- Buyer of Olynthus.] This cup, and other pieces of valuable plate, he gave to Lasthenes, governor of Olynthus, a city of Thrace, to betray it into his hands. It was, from this, said of Philip, that
Nor did he hesitate to throw away his plate ; dishes
50 But, blind with vice, live for the sake of fortunes. The greatest part of useful goods is thrown over, but Neither do the losses lighten. Then, the contrary (winds) urging, It came to that pass, that he should lower the mast with an axe, And free himself distressed : the last state of danger is, When we apply helps to make the ship less. Go now and commit your life to the winds, trusting to
what he could not conquer by iron (i. e. his arms) he gained by gold.
48. But who now, &c.] This implied commendation of Catullus scems here to be introduced by the poet, in order to lash the prevail. ing vice of covetousness, which was so great, as to make men love money beyond even life itself. It is said of Aristippus the philosopher, that, being on board a ship with pirates, he threw all his mo. ney overboard secretly, lest, finding it, they should throw him into the sea, in order to possess what he had.
50. On account of life, &c.] i. e. That they may spend them in the necessaries and comforts of life.
51. Blind, &c.] With the vice of avarice. " Live for the sake, &c.] Thy do not get money that they may live, (see note, l. 50.) but only live for the sake of money.
52. Useful goods, &c.] Not only articles of superfluity, such as fine embossed plate, and the like, but even useful necessaries, such as clothes, provisions, and, perlaps, a great part of the tackling of the ship, were thrown overboard on this occasion.
53. Losses lighten.] Alleviate their danger; or, what they had lost by throwing overboard did not seem to lighten the ship, as she kept filling with water. See l. 30.
54. It came to that pass.] Illuc recidit.-Some read decidit, which has the same meaning here. Il en vint lá. Fr.
He.] Catullus, who was probably the owner of the ship.
Should lower, &c. i. e. Should cut away the mast, as we term it. Augustum, l. 55, has the sense of angustatum.
56. Apply helps, &c.] It is a sign of the utmost distress, when we are obliged to use helps to make the ship lighter, and less exposed to the wind, as by cutting away her masts, which is supposed to be the meaning of minorem in this place. Afferimus præsidia seems to have the same sense as Bond sides exceweto, Acts xxvii. 17.
57. Go now, &c.] In this apostrophe the poet severely reproves those, who, for the sake of gain, are continually risking such dan,