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A LAUDATORY ode, addressed to the Emperor Octavianus Caesar, who, when he returned to Rome (29 B. c.) after his victory over Antony and Cleopatra, began to regulate the internal affairs of the state, and particularly to improve the moral character of the people by enacting strict laws. This poem was written in the year 28 B. C., when Caesar received the title of Princeps Senatus (line 50.)
JAM satis terris nivis atque dirae
Terruit gentes, grave ne rediret
Saeculum Pyrrhae nova monstra questae,
Piscium et summa genus haesit ulmo,
Nota quae sedes fuerat columbi
Et superjecto pavidae natarunt
Vidimus flavum Tiberim retortis
1. The poet describes the prodigies which were seen after the murder of Julius Caesar, and were supposed to have been sent by the gods as a punishment for that crime. These prodigies were chiefly great tempests, during which various places were struck by lightning, and inundations of the Tiber, which are here represented as the commencement of a second Deucalionic flood. 2. Pater; namely, deorum et hominum, Jupiter: rubens dextera, 'his red right hand; that is, his hand armed with lightning.-3. Sacras arces, the Capitol, where the temples of the three presiding divinities of the state, Jupiter, Juno, and Minerva, were. 4. Terruit, both generally has terrified,' and especially has alarmed them, lest (ne)' &c.-6. Saeculum Pyrrhae, the time of the deluge, when Deucalion and his wife Pyrrha alone were saved: nova monstra questae, who saw with grief wonders unknown before;' namely, a change in the face of the whole world.-7. Proteus, a sea-god, who acted as Neptune's cow-herd: egit visere, a Greek construction for egit ut viserent. 9. Construe thus: et genus piscium haesit summa ulmo, in the top of the elm.'-11. Superjecto, 'poured over the earth.' -13. Flavus, because it carries much sand along with it, and for that reason has a yellowish appearance. - 14. Litus Etruscum, the north
ern bank of the Tiber, on which the Etruscans dwelt. The waves, driven back with violence from it, inundated the city, most of which lay on the south side.-15 Dejectum, the supine ut dejiceret: monumenta regis, the so-called Regia, said to have been built by Numa, close to which stood the temple of Vesta, where the Palladium of Rome was kept.-17. Ilia, or Rea Silvia, the wife of Tiber. She complains too much (for nimium querenti go together) of Caesar's murder, and wishes for the utter destruction of the wicked city, whereas Jupiter wants merely to punish it: therefore afterwards Jove non probante.-18. Jactat se ultorem, acts as the avenger of Ilia;' for which reason, in line 19, he is called uxorius, 'governed by the will of his wife.'-23. Vitio parentum are to be connected with rara: the youths are not numerous, because their fathers fought with each other.-25. Vocet, can the people call to for help.' -26. Prece, the ablative singular, confined almost entirely to poetry. Gram. 80, 4.-27. Virgines sanctae, the Vestal virgins. Vesta does not listen to their songs (carmina minus audit), because she is angry with the Romans —29. Partes, office, duty.'—31. Candentes humeros, a Greek accusative; comp. Gram. § 259. -32. Augur, be cause he is the god of oracles and prophecy.-33. Erycina; that is, Venus: so called from the celebrated temple which she had on Mount Eryx, near Lilybaeum in Sicily. The companions of Venus were Jocus and Amor, or Cupido, who were usually represented as boys with wings.-36. Auctor; that is, Mars, the father of Romulus and Remus, and the god who delighted in the game (ludus) of war.
Quem juvat clamor galeaeque leves,
Sive mutata juvenem figura
Serus in coelum redeas, diuque
Laetus intersis populo Quirini,
Tollat. Hic magnos potius triumphos,
Te duce, Caesar.
-38. Leves, 'smooth, polished, burnished.'-39. Construe thus: et vultus Mauri peditis acer in cruentum hostem. The look of the Mauritanian soldier is fierce at all times, but particularly when he is glancing at an enemy whom he has wounded or slain.-41. The author now comes to the main point of his poem; namely, the statement that Octavianus Caesar had been sent by the gods to save the Romans. He ventures on the fancy that Mercury, the son of the goddess Maia, had assumed the form of Octavian, and had condescended (therefore, in line 43, patiens) to become the avenger of Caesar's murder. Sive-juvenem in terris imitaris, 'or if thou hast assumed, and art bearing on earth the form of young Octavian,' who was then in his thirty-fifth year.-43. Filius, nominative for vocative. See Gram. $311, note.-45. Serus, a poetical construction for sero. -47. Nostris vitiis iniquum, hostile, opposed to our faults.'-49. Hic potius, here on earth rather than in heaven, where, as Mercury, thou usually dwellest.' The accusative triumphos depends upon ames.-50. Pater, scil. patriae, a title which was afterwards formally conferred on Octavianus by a decree of the senate. -51. Medos; that is, the Parthians. Octavianus, like his grand-uncle Julius, intended to commence a war against this people, after settling the internal affairs of the state. His motive was a desire to avenge on the Parthians the defeats which M. Crassus and Antony the triumvir had sustained at their hands, and particularly to deliver the Roman captives, of whom they had still a very great number, and to recover the standards.
AD NAVEM, QUA VEHEBATUR VIRGILIUS ATHENAS PROFICISCENS.
An ode to the ship in which Virgil sailed to Athens in the 19 The poet wishes his friend a good passage over the stormy His wish was gratified; but Virgil died at Brundusium on his return from Greece, the same year.
B. C. sea.
Sic te diva potens Cypri,
Sic fratres Helenae, lucida sidera,
Et serves animae dimidium meae.
Circa pectus erat, qui fragilem truci
Commisit pelago ratem
Primus, nec timuit praecipitem Africum
1. Sic is often used at the beginning of prayers and wishes, and need not be translated. Diva potens Cypri, the goddess who rules over Cyprus; that is, Venus, of whose worship that island was a principal seat. She had sprung, according to mythology, from the foam of the sea, and was believed to have the power of granting a favourable passage over her native element.-2. Fratres Helenae, Castor and Pollux, the Atóokovpot. To their benevolent care deli verance in storms was ascribed, and the ancients recognised their protecting presence in those electric flashes which are frequently seen about the tops of masts after a storm. This phenomenon is sometimes called St. Elm's fire; properly, St. Helena's fire. On account of their guardian care of sailors, the Dioscuri were placed among the stars; the constellation of the Twins being frequently called Castor and Pollux. Compare Carm. i. 12, 27.-3. Ventorum pater, Aeolus, god of the winds. He resided on one of the Lipari islands (which from him were called Aeolian), and kept the winds shut up in a cave (hence in the next line obstrictis), letting out only those whom he pleased.-4. Iapyx, the north-west by west wind, favourable for ships sailing to Greece. Aliis ceteris, scil. ventis. --5. Tibi creditum, who has been intrusted to thee.'-8. Animae dimidium meae, the half of my soul,' a beautiful expression for a friend.-9. Robur, oak-wood,' for this is the original signification of the word. Horace is thinking of a shield made of the hardest .wood, and covered with triple brass. 12. Praecipitem Africum,
Nec tristes Hyadas, nec rabiem Noti,
Major, tollere seu ponere vult freta.
Nequicquam deus abscidit.
Non tangenda rates transiliunt vada.
Gens humana ruit per vetitum nefas.
Ignem fraude mala gentibus intulit:
Subductum macies et nova febrium
Semotique prius tarda necessitas
Expertus vacuum Daedalus aëra
'Africus (the south-west by west wind), who rushes fiercely and suddenly across the deep.' Compare Carm. i. 1, 15.-13. Aquilonibus, the dative used poetically for cum Aquilonibus.-14. Hyadas, stars in the forehead of Taurus. The rising and setting of the Hyades were believed by the ancients to be always accompanied by much rain: hence the name, from the Greek dav, pluere, and the epithet here given to them, tristes.-15. Quo, than which,' or better perhaps, employing the personification, than whom,' is to be connected with major (est.) Hadria, the Adriatic Sea.'-16. In prose it would be sive tollere sive ponere (= componere, 'to calm') vult. -17. Gradum, step, approach.' Death is in poetry treated as a god.-18. Siccis oculis; that is, without tears: monstra, the sea-monsters, of which the mythologists spoke.-20. Acroceraunia, a promontory of Epirus, dangerous and sadly celebrated (infamis) on account of its cliffs.24. Non tangenda vada, the waters, which, according to the ap. pointment of the gods, were not to be touched.'-25. Audax perpeti; the infinitive depends upon audax, a Greek construction. 27. Iapeti genus = lapeti filius; namely, Prometheus, who secretly stole fire from the gods, and brought it down to men (gentibus.) -29. Aetheria domo subductum, stolen from the ethereal house;' namely, heaven.-31. Cohors, troop,' incubuit, encamped.' 32. Semoti, distant, far removed;' because, in the earliest ages of the world, all men were believed to have lived to a great age: corripuit gradum, quickened its pace.'-34. Expertus, scil. est. The story of Daedalus, a Cretan artist who made wings,