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a description of his residence, falls into some moral reflections which may have a bearing on the character of Quinctius, and be an offset to what he had before written to Horace.
1. Ne perconteris...ulmo: that you may not have the trouble of inquiring, most excellent Quinctius, whether my farm supplies its owner with grain, or enriches him with olives, fruits, pasturage, or vines covering the elms.’
4. Loquaciter: 'at full length.'
14. Infirmo... alvo: 'and excellent for disorders of the head and the stomach.'
17. Quod audis: 'what you have the reputation of being.'
19. Sed vereor... beatum: 'but I fear that you rely more on the judgment of others about yourself, than you do on your own; and that you think a man may be happy without being wise and good.'
23. Manibus unctis: as the Romans used no forks in eating, their fingers would of course be liable to become greasy. The idea is, I fear you will conceal your disease till trembling shall seize you when eating.
25. Si quis...possis: 'should any one speak of battles fought by you by land and sea, and soothe your willing ears with words like these, "May Jupiter, who consults both your good and the city's, keep it doubtful whether the people be more anxious for your welfare, or you for theirs," you would perceive that these are praises which belong to Augustus.' The apparently accidental manner of introducing the praises of Augustus is not the least beautiful feature in this passage.
31. Respondesne tuo nomine: 'do you answer to this character as your own?"
36. Idem si, &c: the construction is, si idem clamet me esse furem, neget me esse pudicum, &c.
41. Consulta patrum: 'the decrees of the senate.'
49. Renuit negat atque Sabellus: 'I object to and deny that.' Horace pleasantly styles himself Sabellus: inasmuch as country people allow their slaves to take greater liberty than they have in the city. The situation of atque after negat is unusual and forced; and it has given occasion to various conjectures.
60. Labra movet : i. e. after addressing Janus or Apollo, with a loud voice, he whispers his prayer to Laverna, fearing some one else will hear him. Laverna was the protectress of thieves and impostors.
Horace gives his young friend Scæva some instructions respecting his conduct at court; that he may preserve his integrity, and pass with honor and happiness through that scene of danger and temptation. He shows that an active life, the life of a man determined to deserve and secure the favor and esteem of
the great by his own merit, is infinitely more honorable than a life spent in indolence, without emulation or ambition. He cautions him against asking favors.
10. Fefellit: sc. lucem publicam ; i. e. latuit in obscuro; 'has escaped public notice.'
12. Accedes siccus ad unctum: i. e. you will make your court to the great.
14. Si sciret... notat: if he (Diogenes), who censures me, knew how to ingratiate himself with kings, he would despise his plate of pot-herbs.' This is the reply of Aristippus, to the remark of Diogenes, that "if Aristippus could dine contentedly on pot-herbs, he would not seek the society of kings."
19. Scurror... mihi: 'I play the buffoon for my own interest,' i. e. to the great.
21. Officium fucio: 'I but do my duty,' that I may ride on horseback and live at the expense of a king; i. e. I pay my court to sovereignty, which we were born to obey; while you are a slave to the people.-Tu... egentem: 'you beg the meanest of things, and are inferior to the giver, however low; while at the same time you boast of wanting nothing.'
25. Quem... velat: whom obstinacy clothes with a coarse garment as thick as two.'
36. Non cuivis ... Corinthum: this is an old proverb; meaning that the rich only could bear the expense of visiting Corinth. 44. Plus poscente ferent: 'shall obtain more than one who demands.'
48. Succinit... quadra: another subjoins, "and the bounty shall be divided, and a quarter given to me."' Quadra literally means a quadrant, or a quarter of a round cake, cut from the centre to the circumference.
59. Planum: a vagrant,' that had before practised imposition, though his leg be at last actually broken.
62. Quære peregrinum: 'ask one who does not know you.'
This epistle contains the advice of Horace to Lollius, a young gentleman in whose happiness our poet took much interest; and who was yet inexperienced in the wiles and temptations of a courtier's life. He had already written one letter to him to guard him against some mistakes that might be fatal to his virtue. 9. Virtus... reductum: 'virtue holds a middle place between these vices, and is distinct from each.'
10. Imi derisor lecti: the jesters and buffoons usually took the lowest of the three couches at table.
11. Horret: 'regards ;' 'observes.'
15. Rixatur... caprina: this is an old proverb, meaning 'to wrangle about trifles."
16. Scilicet... sordet: i. e. forsooth, may I not be believed first? and may I not speak my mind without restraint? I would disdain life on other conditions.
24. Dives... horret : his rich friend, though ten times more deep in vice, hates and despises him.'
27. Plus... vult: wishes him to be more wise and more virtuous than he is himself.'
35. Nummos alienos pascet: 'he will live on money hired of others.'
36. Thrax i. e. he will at last turn gladiator, or he will be hired to drive some gardener's horse to market loaded with herbs. 40. Ille: i. e. dives amicus.
42. Donec... lyra: 'until the lyre of Amphion, hated by his austere brother, was abandoned.' See Class. Dict. 56. Sub duce: sc. Augusto.
58. Ac, ne...
abstes: i. e. that you may not seem to withdraw yourself, and stand aloof unjustifiably.
63. Lacus, Hadria: 'a pond served for the Hadriatic.' 78. Theonino: Theon was a slanderous fellow.
82. Dulcis... amici: 'the possession of a powerful friend seems desirable to those who have never made the trial.'
92. Inter cuncta leges: 'above all things you will read.'
100. Gelidus Digentia... bibit: the cool stream Digentia, which flows through Mandela."
107. Sed satis. aufet: 'but it is enough to ask of Jove the things which he alone gives and takes away.'
This epistle is a satire on the poets of our author's time, who, under pretence that Bacchus was the god of poetry, and that the best ancient bards loved wine, imagined they might equal their merit by drinking as freely. Horace laughs at such ridiculous imitation, and rallies the methodical dullness of their compositions. Dacier.
1. Cratino Cratinus was excessively fond of wine; so much so, that Aristophănes says, he died of grief at seeing a hogshead broken and the wine running out.
5. Ferè: i. e. plerumque.
8. Forum... severis: let the forum and the prætor's court, established by Libo, be the lot of the sober; but I forbid them to attempt poetry;' i. e. let serious business be performed by the temperate. The prætor's court was near the puteal. This we understand to be the decree of Bacchus.
15. Rupit Iarbitam: the poet means to say that Iarbīta burst with envy and vexation in attempting to rival the wit and eloquence of Timagenes the rhetorician.
18. Cuminum: Dioscorides says that cumin will make persons pale who wash in, or drink, a decoction of it.
23. Parios: called Parian from Paros, the country of Archilochus, the inventor of iambic verse.
28. Temperat...dispar: 'the masculine and vigorous Sappho tempers her verses by the measures of Archilochus, and Alcaus tempers his; but, differing in subjects and arrangement, he neither seeks a father-in-law, &c.
30. Socerum: sc. ut Archilochus Lycamben oblevit.
31. Sponse: see Epode VI. 13. note.
36. Premat extra limen: 'abuses them abroad.'
40. Pulpita: this refers to the stages on which teachers (grammaticæ tribus) caused their pupils to recite the poems of such writers as they were pleased with, or wished to bring into notice. Horace says he did not court their favor, and they resented it by slighting his writings.
42. Pudet recitare: I am ashamed to recite:' it was customary in the time of Horace for literary men who aspired to the reputation of critics, and desired to give a tone to the literature of the day, to open a kind of auditory, where authors read or rehearsed their productions. These gentlemen, whom our poet styles "Grammarians," then criticised them, and passed sentence upon them.
43. Rides... pulcher: "you are laughing at us," says one of these grammarians,' " and reserve these writings for the ears of majesty: for, fine in your own eyes, you imagine that you alone distil poetic sweets.”—Jovis : i. e. of Augutus. Manare is used actively.
44. Fidis enim: 'for you suppose.
47. Displicet... posco: 'I do not like the place of contest; I ask for a truce.' Horace pretends very modestly to ask for time to correct his verses, before they were brought before the critics on the stage.
When about to publish a volume of his poetry, Horace prefixes this little address to his book, in which he warns it of the ill treatment it must expect on going out into the world. He pleasantly adds some peculiarities of his own character.
1. Vertumnum: the booksellers' shops were situated around the statues of Vertumnus and Janus; hence he says, 'you seem to have your eye on Vertumnus and Janus.'
2. Sosiorum: the Sosii were two brothers, the most celebrated bookbinders and booksellers of their time.-Pumice: the parchment was smoothed with pumice-stone.'
5. Non ita nutritus: not so educated;' i. e. not accustomed to seek publicity.
7. Et scis
amator: ' and you perceive yourself compressed into a small compass, when your partial reader shall be
9. Quòd si... atas: 'but if I am not blinded by my indignation at your folly, you will please at Rome while you are a novelty.'
13. Uticam: when a work had run out at Rome, the booksellers sent it off into the provinces.-Ilerdam: this was in Spain; Utica was in Africa.
14. Ridebit monitor: i. e. then shall I, who have in vain warned you of your fate, laugh at you.
23. Primis Urbis: the first men of Rome;' referring to Augustus and Mæcenas.
24. Solibus aptum: 'fond of basking in the sun.'
AUGUSTUS had complained that Horace had not addressed any of his satires or epistles to him. In this beautiful and finished epistle the poet makes ample amends for his former remissness. In the first part of it he examines the comparison between the ancients and the moderns, which has been matter of dispute in all ages. He next shows the folly of that excessive love of antiquity, which regarded the time of any performance rather than its merits. In the third place he treats of the theatre, and of the difficulty of succeeding there. And finally he would remind princes how important it is for them to encourage a spirit of emulation for epic poetry, by which their own achievements may be celebrated.
10. Qui: Hercules slew the hydra of Lerna.
13. Artes for artifices: one eminent in any department depresses, by his fame, those who are inferior to him.
23. Sic fautor veterum: the idea is, So extravagantly do the people admire the works of antiquity, that they would say, the Muses themselves uttered, on Mount Alba, the laws of the Twelve Tables, the treaty with the Gabii, &c. These were among the first productions of the Romans, and certainly not to be considered as models in composition.
28. Si, quia loquamur: 'if, because the most ancient works of the Greeks are the best, we are to weigh Roman writers in the same balance, it is in vain to say any thing farther: