Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

15. monumenta regis] This signifies the palace of Numa adjoining the temple of Vesta, hence called 'atrium regium' (Liv. xxvi. 27), as forming a kind of atrium' to the temple. Ovid (Fasti, vi. 263) thus alludes to this building:

"Hic locus exiguus, qui sustinet atria Vestae,

Tune erat intonsi regia magna Numae."

17. Iliae―ultorem,] Tiber is represented as taking upon himself, without the sanction of Jove, and in consequence of Ilia's complaints, to avenge the death of Julius Cæsar, the descendant of Iulus, her ancestor. Ilia, or Rea Silvia, the mother of Romulus and Remus, is variously reported to have been married to the Tiber and the Anio, because into one of those streams she was thrown by order of Amulius. Jove may be supposed to have disapproved the presumption of the river-god, because he had reserved the task of expiation for other hands and happier means. One of the chief purposes professed by Augustus was the avenging of his adoptive father's death, and his enemies made this a handle against him. 21. cives acuisse ferrum] 'Inter se or in semetipsos' m may be understood. 'Audiet acuisse' does not mean 'shall hear them sharpen,' but shall hear of their having sharpened.' Horace is not predicting what is to be, but lamenting what has been.

[ocr errors]

22. Quo-perirent,] By which it were better that the hostile Parthians should die.'

Persians, Medes, and Parthians are names freely interchanged by Horace. The Parthian empire, at the time Horace wrote, extended nearly from the Indus to the Roman province of Syria; and the Parthians were in the habit of making incursions into that province, which fact is referred to in the last stanza of this Ode. Although the name of Augustus, assisted by their own disputes, did something towards keeping them in check, they were held by the Romans to be their most formidable enemies. Augustus meditated, but never carried out, war with the Parthians; and the Romans never till the reign of Trajan gained any successes against them. Their empire was broken up, and succeeded by the Persian kingdom of the Sassanidæ, during the reign of Alexander Severus, A.D. 226.- Perirent' would in prose be

'perituri forent.'

24. Rara juventus.] Our children thinned by the crimes of their fathers.' It took years of peace and the enactment of stringent marriage-laws to restore the population of Rome, which was thinned not only by bloodshed, but by indifference to marriage and laxity of morals.

25. Quem vocet divum] Vesta was the tutelary goddess of Rome. See Virg. Georg. i. 499, sqq.

"Dii patrii Indigetes, et Romule, Vestaque mater, Quac Tuscum Tiberim et Romana palatia servas." She is represented as turning a deaf ear to the prayers of her virgins, because Cæsar as Pontifex Maximus had particular charge of her temple and rites. On vocet, see Z.

29. scelus] The guilt of the civil wars and of Cæsar's death, which, as Horace implies in what follows, was to be expiated by Augustus in the character of Mercury, the messenger of peace.-'Partes' means 'office,' 'duty.'

Eneas was said to have preserved the fire of Vesta and brought her to Rome. 'Carmina' ('hymns') is opposed to 'prece'as a set formula to other prayers. Carmen' has that meaning in respect to legal or any other formal documents. Liv. i. 26: "Lex horrendi carminis." Epp. ii. 1. 138: "Carmine Di superi placantur carmine Manes."

31. Nube candentes humeros amictus] So Homer describes him, eiμévos wμoïïv veþéλnv (Il. xv. 308). Virg. (Aen. viii. 720): "candentis lumine

Phoebi."

in a cloud'

Humeros' is the Greek accusative: 'your bright shoulders veiled

32. Augur] Applied to Apollo as the deliverer of oracles and god of

divination.

33. Sive] See i. 3. 12, n. Erycina ridens' corresponds to piλouμcidns 'Appodirn. Venus is called Erycina, from Mount Eryx in Sicily, where she had a temple. "Iμepos and "Epws (two forms of Love) were the sons of Venus. Jocus' is an invention of Horace's. Apollo is appealed to as the steadfast friend of Troy, and, according to his flatterers, the father of Augustus; Venus, as the mother of Æneas and of the Julian family; and Mars, as the father of Romulus. Mercury (the son of Jove and Maia), as above stated (v. 29), is selected as the representative of Augustus, because he is the messenger of peace.

36. Respicis] You regard.' Cic. (de Legg. ii. 11) proposes the title 'Fortuna respiciens,' which he explains by ad opem ferendam,' for a temple of Fortune.

37. ludo,] See C. i. 28. 17: "Dant alios Furiae torvo spectacula Marti.” 38. leves,] Polished' or 'burnished.'

39. Mauri peditis] Translate in the following order: 'et Vultus Mauri peditis Acer in cruentum hostem.' The force of peditis' here appears to be that the rider has had his horse killed under him, or has dismounted to attack his enemy hand to hand, or in consequence of a wound. See S. ii. 1. 13: "Aut labentis equo describit vulnera Parthi." The troops of Mauritania were chiefly cavalry. There is a particular meaning in the reference to them rather than to any other troops.

41. juvenem] So Augustus is called, though he was forty years old at this time. So Virg. (Georg. i. 500) : ·

"Hunc saltem everso juvenen succurrere saeclo

Ne prohibete."

See C. iii. 14. 9; Epp. i. 8. 14; and S. ii. 5. 62, where the word is again applied to Augustus.

Juvenis' and 'adolescens' were used for any age between 'pueritia' and 'senectus.' Cicero speaks of himself as 'adolescens' at the time he put down Catiline's conspiracy, when he was forty-four years old, and as 'senex when he delivered his 2d Philippic, at which time he was sixty-two. 42. Ales] Agreeing with 'Filius.'

[ocr errors]

"Cum

43. Filius] Is the nominative used for the vocative. 'Patiens vocari,' a Grecism. Patiarque vel inconsultus haberi" (Epp. i. 5. 15). pateris sapiens emendatusque vocari" (Epp. i. 16. 30). 45. Serus in caelum redeas] Ovid, Met. xv. 868, sqq.:· "Tarda sit illa dies et nostro serior aevo

Qua caput Augustum, quem temperat orbe relicto,
Accedat caelo."

See also Trist. v. 2. 47. The adjective for the adverb is common in respect of time. The instances in Horace are very numerous.

49. triumphos,] Augustus had just celebrated, or was just about to cele brate, three triumphs on three successive days, for his victories, (1.) over the Gauls, Pannonians, and Dalmatians, (2.) at Actium, and (3.) at Alexandria, Triumphos' is governed by 'ames,' as 'pocula' is governed by spernit' (i. 1. 19); in both which cases we have an accusative case and an infinitive mood governed by the same verb.

50. pater] The title of 'pater patriae' was not assumed by Augustus till A.U.C. 752. It was the highest title of honor that could be conferred on a citizen, and was first given by the Senate to Cicero (the army had formerly bestowed it on Camillus), on the occasion of his suppressing Catiline's conspiracy. Juv. viii. 243 :—

"Roma parentem,

Roma patrem patriae Ciceronem libera dixit," where 'libera' seems to mean that the Senate were no longer free agents when Augustus took the name. See C. iii. 24. 27, n.

princeps,] Tac. Ann. i 1: “Cuneta discordiis civilibus fessa principis sub Imperium accepit." In the Senate there was always one person who was called 'princeps senatus,' chosen at their own discretion by the censors. It was nominally as such that Augustus took the title of princeps' rather than 'rex,' which was odious to the Romans. He and his successors are more often styled princeps' than imperator' by the historians. The latter title, from which emperor' is derived, they had in virtue of the imperium,' for an explanation of which term see Smith's Dict. Ant.

51. Medos equitare inultos,] That is, the Parthians. See above, v. 21, n. 52. Te duce, Caesar.] The name of Cæsar is introduced abruptly where that of Mercury might be expected. This abruptness increases the effect.

ODE III.

THIS Ode is addressed to the ship that was carrying Virgil the poet on some occasion to Greece. His constitution was weak, and he probably made several voyages for the sake of his health. He went, and only returned to die in B. C. 19, but this ode was written before then. It is taken up with reproaches against him who first invented navigation, and a lament for the presumption of mankind.

[ocr errors]

ARGUMENT. - We commit to thee Virgil, O thou ship! deliver him safe on the shores of Attica, and preserve him whom I love as my life; and may the skies and winds prosper thee. Hard and rash was the man who first tempted the sea and defied the winds. In what shape should he fear the approach of death, who unmoved could look on the monsters of the deep, and the swelling waves, and dangerous rocks? In vain did God separate lands, if man is to leap over the forbidden waters. So doth he ever rush into sin. Prometheus brought fire into the world, and with that theft came all manner of diseases; Daedalus soared on wings, and Hercules burst into hell. Deterred by nothing, we would climb heaven itself; and our guilt suffers not Jove to lay aside his bolts.

1. Sic] Sie' in this place amounts to no more than utinam' in a strong form, as is does in Greek. There are other passages where 'sic' follows the prayer on which it depends, as C. i. 28. 25:

"Ne parce malignus arenac - particulam dare: Sie quodcunque minabitur Eurus,"

where the condition and its consequence are clearly marked, and an opposite wish is implied if the condition be not fulfilled. But such is not the case here; first Horace says, May the stars and winds prosper thee,' and then goes on, 'O ship, deliver thy trust in safety.'

·

Potens,' like its kindred word Tóτvia, is used with a genitive after it. Venus (a Latin divinity) is confounded by the poets with the Greek Aphrodite, who, from her supposed origin, was imagined to have power over the sea; hence Horace calls her marina' (C. iii. 26. 5; iv. 11. 15). She had the titles evπλoía, diμévias, had temples built for her in harbors, and is represented on coins with a rudder, shell, and dolphin. Her principal temples were at Idalium and Paphos in Cyprus, in the island of Cythera off the Peloponnesus, Eryx (C. 2. 33) and Cnidus in Caria.

2. Sic fratres Helenae] Castor and Pollux had among other titles that of apwyóvavrat, sailor-helpers.' The appellation 'lucida sidera' is supposed to be derived from certain meteoric appearances after storms, which the ancients supposed to indicate the presence of Castor and Pollux. Similar phenomena are still called by the Italian sailors the fire of St. Elmo, a corruption (it is believed) from Helena, sister of Castor and Pollux. Compare Eurip. Helen. 1495, sqq., and C. iv. 8. 31.

3. pater, Eolus is steward of the winds in Homer (Odyss. x. 21), king in Virgil, and father here.

4. praeter lapyga:] The Iapygian or northwest wind, so called from Iapygia in Apulia, whence it blows down the Adriatic, was favorable for a voyage from Brundisium, where Virgil would embark for Greece.

6. finibus Atticis] Deliver him safe on the shores of Attica'; 'finibus' being the ablative case. Reddere' is the word for delivering a letter.

[ocr errors]

8. animae dimidium meae.] See C. ii. 17. 5. The definition of a friend ἥμισυ τῆς ψυχῆς is attributed to Pythagoras.

9. Illi robur et aes triplex] This too is an imitation of the Greek, as Aesch. Prom. 242 : σιδηρόφρων τε κἀκ πέτρας εἰργασμένος. We are to understand a man whose heart is hard, as if cased in oak and a triple coat of bronze.

13. Aquilonibus] The dative, depending on 'decertantem.'

14. tristes Hyadas,] These were three stars in the head of Taurus, whose name (derived from vew, to rain) explains the epithet tristes,' 'dull,' 'unhappy.'

15. arbiter] This may be rendered 'tyrant.' 'Notus' is called 'dux turbidus Hadriae' (C. iii. 3. 5). 'Ponere freta' is like Virg. (Aen. i. 66), "placide straverunt aequora venti"; and Soph. Aj. 674: dewvwv d' anua TVενμáтov éκоíμσe σтévovтa TÓVтOV. Sive' is omitted before 'tollere,' as the Greeks frequently omitted ere in the first clause. This is common in Horace.

17. gradum] This is not 'degree,' but 'step.' It must be rendered in some such way as this: 'in what shape should he fear the approach of death.'

18. siccis oculis Enpois ȧkλavorois ouμaoi (Aesch. S. c. Theb. 696). The ancients were less exact in ascribing the proper signs to emotion, or they wept less sparingly than men do now. Cæsar, describing the effect of fear on his men, says, "Hi neque vultum fingere neque interdum lacrimas tenere potuerunt" (B. G. i. 39); and Ovid (Met. xi. 539), describing sailors in a storm, says:

"Non tenet hic lacrimas: stupet hic: vocat ille beatos

Funera quos maneant":

It was enough to make them weep, to think that their bodies could not meet with burial. Sicci occuli' are fitting accompaniments of a heart so hard as this venturous discoverer is said to have had.

20. Acroceraunia?] 'Ceraunii montes was the ancient name for the range of mountains that runs down the coast of Epirus, the northern extremity of which was the promontory called Acroceraunia.' The navigation in the neighborhood of this promontory appears to have been dangerous. Vessels going from Italy to Greece were liable to be driven upon it, which accounts for its mention here.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

22. dissociabili] Used actively, as 'penetrabile telum (Aen. x. 48), genitabilis aura Favoni" (Lucret. i. 11), and in Horace amabilem' (C. i. 5. 10), illacrimabilem' (ii. 14. 6), which is used passively C. iv. 9. 26. Tacitus uses 'dissociabilis passively (Agr 3), "res olim dissociabiles miscuerit principatum et libertatem." Prudens' is 'providens,' foreseeing the vil to come.

25. Audax omnia perpeti] Presumptuous (enough) to endure all suffer. ings.' Compare with this Soph. Antig. 332, sqq. :·

:

πολλὰ τὰ δεινὰ, κοὐδὲν ἀν
θρώπου δεινότερον πέλει.

τοῦτο καὶ πολιοῦ πέραν
πόντου χειμερίῳ νότῳ
χωρεῖ, περιβρυχίοισιν
περῶν ὑπ ̓ οἴδμασιν.

'Perpeti' means to endure to the end. 'Vetitum' with 'nefas' is not altogether redundant. It expresses crimes which are obviously forbidden, as shown by the obstructions thrown in the way of their commission.

27. Tapeti genus] Son of Iapetus' (Prometheus). This is after the use of yévos, which occurs not rarely in the Tragedians. Eurip. (Cyclops 104) has Spiù iσúpov yévos, for Ulysses; and Virg. (Aen. iv. 12) “ genus esse Deorum." Compare S. ii. 5. 63. - Prometheus also claimed to be the inventor of ships (Aesch. P. V. 467).

28. fraude mala] 'Mala' means mischievous or fatal theft, referring to its consequences. Technically 'dolus malus' means a fraud with bad intent, and dolus bonus' with good intent, a pious fraud.

30. Subductum 'stolen.' Sub' in composition has sometintes that force of úró which signifies suppression,' and so 'deception' in every form. But it does not always convey a bad meaning.

31. incubuit] This word does not always take a dative case after it. Lucret. vi. 1141: —

"Mortifer aestus

Incubuit tanden populum Pandionis omnem."

In what follows' prius' belongs to 'semoti,' and tarda necessitas leti' are one subject. Translate, tardaque necessitas leti, prius semoti, corripuit gradum,' the power, once slow, of death remote before, hastened its step.' So that 'prius' also affects tarda.' The story of the diseases and ills which issued from Pandora's box, and which were a punishment for the theft of Prometheus, will be found in any classical dictionary.

36. Herculeus lab.] So Odyss. xi. 600, Biŋ 'Hpakλnein for Hercules. "Catonis virtus" (Ċ. iii. 21. 11), "virtus Scipiadac et mitis sapientia Laeli (S. ii. 1. 72), may be taken in the same way. The descent of Hercules to Hades, for the purpose of bringing up Cerberus, was the twelfth labor imposed on him by Eurystheus.

ODE IV.

L. SESTIUS, whose name is used in this Ode, was one of those who served with Horace under Brutus, and they were no doubt on terms of intimacy. The Ode professes to be written at the beginning of spring, and its subject is the uncertainty of life and the duty of enjoying it.

ARGUMENT. - The winter is thawing; the spring is returning; the ships are being launched; the herds quit their stalls and the ploughman his fireside; and the meadows are no longer white with frost. Venus and the Graces are leading the dance, and the Cyclops' forge is burning. Let us bind the head with myrtle or the earth's first flowers, and sacrifice a lamb or kid to Pan. Death calls on rich and poor alike. Life is short, O Sestius! and our hopes we must contract. The grave awaits thee; and when there, no more shalt thou preside at the feast, or sigh for the fair young Lycidas.

« PoprzedniaDalej »