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ODE III.

TO MECENAS.

He expresses his aversion to garlic.

IF any person at any time, with an impious hand has broken his aged father's neck, let him, by way of punishment, eat garlic, more baneful than hemlock. Oh the hardy bowels of the mowers! what poison is this that rages in my entrails? Has viper's blood, infused in these herbs, deceived me? or has Canidia meddled with this vile food? When Medea, beyond all the other Argonauts, admired their handsome leader, she anointed Jason with this, as he was going to tie the unexperienced yoke on the fiery bulls and having revenged herself on Jason's mistress, by making her presents besmeared with this, she flew away on her winged dragon. Never did the steaming influence of any constellation so raging as this rest upon the thirsty Apulia; nor did the gift of Dejanera burn hotter upon the shoulders. of the laborious Hercules. But if ever, facetious Mæcenas, you should have a desire for any such stuff again, I wish that your girl may oppose her hand to your kiss, and lie at the farthest part of the bed.

* Creusa.

*

ODE IV.

On a certain person, who, from a slave being made a military tribune, was to have the command of one part of the fleet of the Triumviri.

As great an enmity as is allotted by nature to wolves and lambs, so great a one have I to thee, thou that art galled at thy side with Spanish cords, and on thy legs with the pinching fetter. Though, purse-proud with your riches, you strut along, yet fortune does not alter your low birth. Do you not observe, while you are measuring the sacred way* with a robe twice three ells long, how a most open indignation distorts the faces of those that pass and repass? Mind this fellow (say they) cut with the triumvir's whips, even till the beadle was sick of his office; he cultivates a thousand acres of Falernian land, and wears out the Appian road with his prancing nags; and, in despite of Otho,t sits in the first rows of the Circus as a knight of distinction. To what purpose is it that so many brazen-beaked ships, of immense bulk, should be had out against pirates, and a band of slaves, while this, this fellow is a military tribune?

Via sacra, the grand street that led to the Capitol. † Roscius Otho made a law by which the seats of the Roman knights in the Circus were regulated.

ODE V.

The Imprecations of a boy against the witch Canidia.

BUT, oh whatever power of the Gods rules the earth and human race, what means this tumult? and what the hideous looks of all these old hags, fixed upon me alone? I conjure thee by thy children (if invoked Lucina was ever present at any real birth of yours,) I conjure thee by this empty honour of my purple,* and by Jupiter, who must disapprove these proceedings, why do you look at me like a step-mother or as a wild beast stricken with a dart? While the boy made these complaints with a faltering voice, he stood, with his badgest of distinction taken from him, a delicate body, such as might soften the impious breasts of the savage Thracians: Canidia, having her hair, and uncombed head interwoven with little vipers, orders wild fig-trees torn up from graves, orders funeral cypresses, and eggs besmeared with the gore of a loathsome toad, and feathers of the nocturnal screech-owl, and those herbs, which ‡ Iolchos, and Spain, fruitful in poisons, transmits, and bones, snatched from the mouth of a hungry bitch, to be burned in Colchian § flames. But Sagana, tucked up for expedition, sprinkling the waters of Avernus | all over the house, bristles up with her

*The toga prætexta, which the children of the nobility wore, was bordered with purple.

The toga prætexta, and the bulla, which latter was a piece of gold or silver, made in the shape of a heart. A town in Thessaly.

Colchian, such as Medea of Colchos made use of, that is, according to art.

Avernus was a lake in Campania, whose waters were held sacred to the infernal deities.

rough hair, like a sea-urchin, or a boar pursued. Veia, deterred by no remorse of conscience, groaning with the toil, dug up the ground with the sharp spade; where the boy, fixed in, might long be tormented to death, at the sight of food varied two or three times in a day; while he stood out with his face, just as much as bodies suspended by the chin, in swimming, project from the water, that his parched marrow and dried liver might be a charm for love; when once the pupils of his eyes had wasted away by being fixed on the forbidden food. Both the idle Naples, and every neighbouring town, believed that Folia of Arminium, a witch of masculine lust, was not absent from these rites: she who, with her Thessalian incantations, forces the charmed constellations, and the moon, from heaven. Here the fell Canidia, gnawing her unpared thumb with her livid teeth, what said she, or what did she not say? O ye faithful witnesses to my proceedings, Night, and thou Diana, who presidest over silence, when the secret mysteries are celebrated; now, now be present, and turn your anger and power against the houses of our enemies: While the wild beasts lie hid in the gloomy woods, dissolved in sweet repose, let the dogs of the Suburra* (which may be a matter of ridicule for everybody) bark at the old fornicator, bedaubed with essence, such as my hands never made any more exquisite. What is the matter? why are these compositions less efficacious than those that barbarian Medea; by the means of which she made her escape, after having re

*Suburra, a street in Rome, inhabited by the lower class of people, and a notorious nest for harlots.

venged herself on Jason's haughty mistress, the daughter of the mighty Creon; when the garment, a gift that was infected with poison, took off his new bride by its inflammatory power? And yet no herb, nor root latent in inaccessible places, ever escaped my notice. Nevertheless, he sleeps in the essenced bed of every harlot, from his forgetfulness of me. Ah! ah! he walks in security, set free from my power by the charms of some more powerful witch. Varus, (oh you are a person that will shortly have much to lament!) thou shalt come back to me by the means of unusual spells; nor shall you return to yourself by all the power of Marsian* enchantments. I will prepare a stronger philtre: I will pour in that stronger philtre to you, disdainful as you are: and the heaven shall subside below the sea, with the earth extended over it, sooner than that you shall not burn with a love for me, in the same manner as this pitch burns in the sooty flames. At these words, the boy no longer attempted, as before, to move impious hags by soothing expressions, but, doubtful in what manner he should break silence, uttered Thyesteant imprecations. Potions (says he) have a great efficacy in confounding right and wrong, but are not able to invert the condition and lot of human nature: I will persecute you with curses: and that execrating detestation is not to be expiated by any victim. Moreover, when, doomed by you to death, I shall have expired, I will attend you as a nocturnal fury: and, a ghost, I will attack your faces with my hooked talons; (for such is the

* Marsus was the son of the sorceress Circe.

+ Thyestean, such execrations as Thyestes made use of to his brother Atreus. Vid. Sen. Trag.

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