Obrazy na stronie

and Minos shall have made his awful decisions concerning you; not your family, not your eloquence, not your piety shall restore you. For neither can Diana free the chaste Hippolytus 28 from infernal darkness; nor is Theseus 29 able to break off the Lethæan fetters from his dear Pirithous.30

[blocks in formation]

O CENSORINUS, liberally would I present my acquaintance with goblets and beautiful vases of brass; I would present them with tripods, the rewards of the brave Grecians: nor would you bear off the meanest of my donations, if I were rich in those pieces of art, which either Parrhasius 32 or Sco

28 Hippolytum. What the poet says of Hippolytus contradicts the fable; and what he adds of Theseus and Pirithous destroys his reasoning; since, although Theseus could not bring Pirithous from hell, yet Hercules delivered Theseus. Horace, through this whole ode, speaks like an Epicurean; and, according to Epicurus, all the popular opinions concerning Hippolytus, Theseus, Pirithous, and many others, were all pure chimæras and fables. SAN.

29 Theseus, the son of Ægeus, king of Athens, and Ethera. He was related to Hercules, whose actions he imitated. He slew the Minotaur in Crete, and conquered the Amazons, and took their queen, Hippolyte to wife, by whom he had Hippolytus. He subdued Thebes, worsted the Centaurs, and did other famous actions. He and Pirithous were a noble pair of friends. He died in the island of Paros. WATSON.

30 Pirithous, the son of Ixion, who assisted Theseus against the Centaurs. They descended both together into hell, to carry off Proserpine; but were detained prisoners. Hercules descending some time after, and resolving to deliver these two princes, took Theseus by the hand, who did the same to Pirithous; but an earthquake happening, by which they were separated, Theseus only escaped, and Pirithous was left. WATSON. 31 Censorinus. This was Caius Marcius Censorinus, who was consul with Asinius Gallus, in the year of the city 746. He was greatly esteemed at Rome, and accompanied Caius Cæsar, the grandson of Augustus, into Syria, where he died, eight years after the death of Horace. WATSON. 32 Parrhasius was an Ephesian; he flourished about 400 B. c. He is celebrated for his admirable representation of a curtain, before the vine and grapes of Zeuxis, which deceived even the artistical eyes of the latter. Scopas was a native of Paros, born Olymp. 97. A Venus, Phaeton, and Apollo, are mentioned among his chief productions; but he is chiefly






pas produced; the latter in statuary, the former in liquid colours, eminent to portray at one time a man, at another a god. But I have no store of this sort, nor do your circumstances or inclination require any such curiosities as these. You delight in verses: verses I can give, and set a value on the donation. Not marbles engraved with public inscriptions,33 by means of which breath and life returns to illustrious generals after their decease; not the precipitate flight of Annibal, and his menaces retorted upon his own head: 34 not the flames of impious Carthage * * * *35 more eminently set forth his praises, who returned, having gained a name from conquered Africa,36 than the Calabrian muses; neither, should writings be silent, would you have any reward for having done well. What would the son of Mars and Ilia be, if invidious silence had stifled the merits of Romulus? The force, and favour, and voice of powerful poets consecrate Æacus, snatched from the Stygian floods, to the Fortunate Islands. The muse forbids a praiseworthy man to die: the muse confers the happiness of heaven. Thus laborious Hercules has a place at the longed-for banquets of Jove: [thus] the sons of Tyndarus, that bright constellation, rescue shattered vessels from the bosom of the deep: [and thus] Bacchus, his temples adorned with the verdant vine-branch, brings the prayers of his votaries to successful issues.

celebrated for his exuberant fancy, and rich invention in depicting Bacchic subjects, whence the use of protulit, i. e. "ut inventor finxit," not spectandas exposuit." ANTHON.


83 Notæ. These are properly abbreviations, but are used here for inscriptions; such as S. P. Q. R. for Senatus Populusque Romanus. Torr. Rejectæque retrorsum minæ. The threats of Hannibal, driven back from Italy, when he was obliged to fly to the defence of Carthage. BOND. 35 On this lacuna see the commentators.

36 Nomen ab Africâ lucratus. Scipio was the first of the Romans who the was honoured with the name of a conquered country. Sempronius Gracchus must be an unsuspected witness to his character, when he says, that he subdued Africa; defeated in Spain four of the most famous Carthaginian generals; took Syphax prisoner in Numidia; vanquished Hannibal; rendered Carthage tributary to Rome, and obliged Antiochus to retire on the other side of Mount Taurus. TORR.

[blocks in formation]



LEST you for a moment imagine that those words will be lost, which I, born on the far-resounding Aufidus, utter to be accompanied with the lyre, by arts hitherto undivulged-If Mæonian Homer possesses the first rank, the Pindaric and Cean muses, and the menacing strains of Alcæus, and the majestic ones of Stesichorus,38 are by no means obscure: neither, if Anacreon long ago sportfully sung any thing, has time destroyed it: even now breathes the love and live the ardours of the Æolian maid, committed to her lyre. The Lacedæmonian Helen is not the only fair, who has been inflamed by admiring the delicate ringlets of a gallant, and garments embroidered with gold, and courtly accomplishments, and retinue: nor was Teucer the first that levelled arrows from the Cydonian bow: Troy was more than once harassed the great Idomeneus and Sthenelus were not the only heroes that fought battles worthy to be recorded by the muses the fierce Hector or the strenuous Deïphobus were not the first that received heavy blows in defence of virtuous wives and children. Many brave men lived before Agamemnon but all of them, unlamented and unknown, are overwhelmed with endless obscurity, because they were destitute of a sacred bard. Valour, uncelebrated, differs but little from cowardice when in the grave. I will not [therefore], 0 Lollius, pass you over in silence, uncelebrated in my writings, or suffer envious forgetfulness with impunity to seize so many toils of thine.39 You have a mind ever prudent in the con

37 Lollius. This Lollius is the same with him to whom he addresses the 2nd and 18th Epistles of the First Book. He was consul with Q. Æmilius Lepidus in the 732nd year of the city. WATSON.

38 Stesichorus was of Himera in Sicily, and flourished about 610 years before Christ. WATSON.

39 Totve tuos patiar labores. Lollius commanded the Roman legions in Germany, Thrace, and Galatia. In the German war he lost the eagle of the fifth legion, and his defeat was called the Lollian slaughter, Lolliana clades; but he soon revenged the affront, and obliged the Germans to repass the Rhine, to demand a peace, and deliver hostages. FRAN.


duct of affairs, and steady alike amidst success and trouble: you are an avenger of avaricious fraud, and proof against money, that attracts every thing; and a consul not of one year only, but as often as the good and upright magistrate has preferred the honourable to the profitable, and has rejected with a disdainful brow the bribes of wicked men," 40 and tri umphant through opposing bands has displayed his arms. You cannot with propriety call him happy, that possesses much; he more justly claims the title of happy, who understands how to make a wise use of the gifts of the gods, and how to bear severe poverty; and dreads a reproachful deed worse than death; such a man as this is not afraid to perish in the defence of his dear friends, or of his country.



O CRUEL still, and potent in the endowments of beauty, when an unexpected plume shall come upon your vanity, and those locks, which now wanton on your shoulders, shall fall off, and that colour, which is now preferable to the blossom of the damask rose, changed, O Ligurinus, shall turn into a wrinkled face; [then] will you say, (as often as you see yourself, [quite] another person in the looking-glass,) Alas! why was not my present inclination the same, when I was young? Or why do not my cheeks return, unimpaired, to these my present sentiments?

40 66

are the

M 'Rejects with disdainful brow the bribes of the guilty; and, victorious, makes for himself a way by his own arms amid opposing crowds." Explicuit sua arma may be rendered more literally, though less intelligibly, "displays his arms." The "opposing crowds difficulties that beset the path of the upright man, as well from the inherent weakness of his own nature, as from the arts of the flatterer, and the machinations of secret foes. Calling, however, virtue and firmness to his aid, he employs these arms of purest temper against the host that surrounds him, and comes off victorious from the conflict. ED. DUBL.



PHYLLIS, I have a cask full of Albanian wine, upwards of nine years old; I have parsley in my garden, for the weaving of chaplets; I have a store of ivy, with which, when you have bound your hair, you look so gay: the house shines cheerfully with plate: the altar, bound with chaste vervain, longs to be sprinkled [with the blood] of a sacrificed lamb: all hands are busy girls mingled with boys fly about from place to place: the flames quiver, rolling on their summit the sooty smoke.41 But yet, that you may know to what joys you are invited, the Ides are to be celebrated by you, the day which divides April,42 the month of sea-born Venus; [a day,] with reason to be solemnized by me, and almost more sacred to me than that of my own birth; since from this day my dear Mæcenas reckons his flowing years. A rich and buxom girl hath possessed herself of Telephus, a youth above your rank; and she holds him fast by an agreeable fetter. Consumed Phaëton strikes terror into ambitious hopes, and the winged Pegasus, not stomaching the earth-born rider Bellerophon, affords a terrible example, that you ought always to pursue things that are suitable to you; and that you should avoid a disproportioned match, by thinking it a crime to entertain a hope beyond what is allowable. Come then, thou last of my loves, (for hereafter I shall burn for no other woman,) learn with me such measures, as thou mayest recite with thy lovely voice our gloomy cares shall be mitigated with an ode.

41 The Greeks and Romans appear to have been unacquainted with the use of chimneys. The more common dwellings had merely an opening in the roof, which allowed the smoke to escape; the better class of edifices were warmed by means of pipes enclosed in the walls, and which communicated with a large stove, or several smaller ones, constructed in the earth under the building. Anthon interprets vortice, "from the house-top;" but the explanation of Orellius is preferable, "fumum celerrime torquentes ac glomerantes, ita ut ejus verticem efficiant." M'CAUL.

42 Mensem Veneris. April was called the month of Venus, because her grand festival began on the first day of that month. SAN.

« PoprzedniaDalej »