HomeCollections/TextsPerseus CatalogResearchGrantsOpen SourceAboutHelp
Hide browse barYour current position in the text is marked in blue. Click anywhere in the line to jump to another position.
This text is part of:
Greek and Roman Materials
View text chunked by:
text : book : poem : line
Table of Contents:
> Ode I
> Ode III
> Ode IV
> Ode V
> Ode VI
> Ode VII
> Ode VIII
> Ode IX
> Ode X
> Ode XI
> Ode XII
> Ode XIII
> Ode XIV
> Ode XV
> Ode XVI
> Ode XVII
> Ode XVIII
> Ode XIX
> Ode XX
> Ode XXI
> Ode XXII
> Ode XXIII
> Ode XXIV
> Ode XXV
> Ode XXVI
> Ode XXVII
> Ode XXVIII
> Ode XXIX
> Ode XXX
> Book 4
view as XML
9% of the text is displayed below. If you wish to view the entire text, please click here
The first six odes of the third book were read by Porphyrio as an ᾠδὴ multiplex per varios deducta sensus--an ode sequence whose unity, like that of the sonnet sequences of modern poetry, depends on identity of meter and general similarity of moral purpose and aesthetic effect subsisting amid much diversity of detail.
Like 2.15, 2.18, and 3.24, these odes are addressed not to any individual, but to all patriotic citizens. The first, beginning with an unusually solemn proclamation of the poet's mission, proceeds to preach the familiar doctrine that power, wealth, and the curious inventions of modern luxury cannot restore lost sleep or free us from the black care that sits behind the horseman. The Sabine farm is better than burdensome riches.
In the second the Roman youth are admonished to preserve their vigor in the stern schools of poverty and war. Death for the fatherland is sweet. Virtue opens the very heavens to those who have merited such immortality. Fidelity, discretion, silence, also have their sure reward.
The third opens with the famous picture of the upright and dauntless man, firm of purpose--type of the old Roman virtues that won apotheosis for Romulus and Augustus, and world-wide empire for Rome. The glories of that empire are prophesied by Juno urging upon the gods in council assembled the final destruction of Troy. Troy shall become a lair of wild beasts--it shall never be restored. But in the West a greater than Troy shall rise.
The first half of the fourth ode is an address to the Muses who watched over Horace's infancy when he strayed a poetic babe in the woods of Mt. Voltur, who rescued him from the rout at Philippi, from the fall of the accursed tree, and from shipwreck in Sicilian seas. They will keep him safe though he visit the fierce tribes of Britain, or those of Spain that yet engage Caesar's arms. When Caesar himself dismisses his war-worn legions and seeks refreshment from cares of state, 'tis to them he turns. They give him counsels of gentleness, and delight in his magnanimity. Then, with seemingly abrupt transition, the poet passes to a covert warning against the folly and wickedness of rebellion against Caesar's gentle rule. The second half of the ode depicts in flattering allegory the warfare of the giants against Jupiter, Apollo, and the bright Olympian deities, their defeat and final overthrow.
The parallel, Jove in heaven, Augustus on earth, is made explicit in the fifth ode. Augustus will be a very present god when he shall have added the Britons and the Persians (Parthians) to our empire. Ah, the shame of it! The defeat of Crassus is still unavenged, and his soldiers have taken barbarian brides and serve in the ranks of our foes, forgetful of the name of Rome and the eternal fire that burns on Vesta's hearth. Not such the temper of the men who made Rome great--of Regulus, for example, whose story occupies the remainder of the ode.
It is the decay of religion, the sixth ode continues, that has brought this disgrace upon us and almost delivered us as a spoil to the Dacian and the Aethiopian amid our dissensions, The sanctity of the family has been polluted too. 'The maiden fancies wallow in the trough' of Ionian licentiousness. Not from such mothers as these sprang the youths who struck down Pyrrhus, and Antiochus, and Hannibal. They were a hardy yeoman soldiery inured to toil by the severe discipline of stern Sabine matrons.
On these odes, cf. further, Sellar, p.153 sqq. ; Plüss, Horaz Studien, p.185 sqq. ; Mommsen, Reden und Aufsätze, 168 sqq. ; Corssen, Zur Erklärung der Römeroden des Horaz, Neue Jahrbücher 19 (1907). 582 sqq.
They seem to have been written in the years 28-26. The title Augustus in 3.11 probably dates that ode after Jan., B.C. 27. Cf. on 1.2. Ode 6 appears to have been written under the still fresh impression of the war of Actium, and while the restoration of the temples and the moral reforms undertaken in the year 28 were still in contemplation or progress.
l-4. 'Hence, ye profane ; I hate you all;| Both the great vulgar and the small. |To virgin minds, which yet their native whiteness hold . . . these truths I tell' (Cowley's Paraphrase (Of Greatness)) .
Cf. Verg. Aen. 6.258; Aristoph. Frogs 353 sqq. ; Callim. Hymn. Apoll. 2.2.
profanum: profanus is applied to anything that is outside the temple; here uninitiated, of the multitude who were not in a position to profit by the poet's teaching. The metaphor of the sacred mysteries of poetry begun by profanum is kept up in favete linguis and Musarum sacerdos.
favete linguis: lit., be propitious with your tongues, i.e. speak only words of good omen, but as ill-omened words could be surely avoided only by silence, keep sacred silence; Verg. Aen. 5.71, ore favete; Ov. Am. 3.13.29; Propert. 5.6.1; Tibull. 2.2.1; εὐφημεῖτε, Aristoph. Frogs, 354, Thesm. 39; Acharn. 237. Cf. Pater, Marius, Cap. 1. 'There was a devout effort to complete this impressive outward silence by that inward tacitness of mind, esteemed so important by religious Romans in the performance of their sacred functions.' Quintil. Decl., Templum in quo verbis parcimus, in quo animos componimus, in quo tacitam etiam mentem custodimus; Sen. Dial. 7, hoc verbum non, ut plerique existimant, a favore trahitur, sed imperatur silentium, ut rite peragi possit sacrum nulla voce mala obstrepente. non prius audita: the claim to originality is based primarily on the content and tone of these odes rather than upon the employment of the Alcaic meter. But cf. 2.20.1. n.; 3.30.13. n.; Epp. 1.19.23, 32.
sacerdos: cf. Vergil's pii vates and Musae quarum sacra fero (G. 2.475); Milt., 'Smit with the love of Sacred Song'; Ov. Am. 3.8.23, ille ego Musarum purus Phoebique sacerdos; Theoc. 16.29. Ancient critics thought of the poet as a teacher; Epp. 2.1.126 sqq.; Aristoph. Frogs 1054; Jebb, Gk. Poetry, p.226.
virginibus puerisque: a formula and familiar quotation; Ov. Trist. 2.369, Fabula iucundi nulla est sine amore Menandri,| Et solet hic pueris virginibusque legi; Martial, 9.68.2, calls a schoolmaster, invisum pueris virginibusque caput. Cf. 3.69.7; Horace sings to the unspoiled 'jeunesse des écoles'; it is in the rising generation that he places his hopes.
regum, etc. : "Twixt kings and subjects ther's this mighty odds,| Subjects are taught by men; kings by the Gods' (Herrick, 25); 'But hear ye this, ye sons of men!| They that bear rule and are obey'd,| Unto a rule more strong than theirs |Are in their turn obedient made' (Arnold, The Sick King in Bokhara); δοῦλοι βασιλέων εἰσιν ὁ βασιλεὺς θεῶν, Philemon; Suet. Caes. 6; Sen. Thyest. 607 sqq. timendorum: dread. With regum timendorum supply imperium est from the next line. in: the authority and awe go out to; translate over. Cf. 4.4.2, regnum in avis; Plaut. Men. 1030, “siquid imperist in te mihi”; Propert. 4.10.18, inque meum semper stent tua regna caput; Ov. Fast. 3.316. greges: in the tone rather of Seneca's ignoti servorum domino greges (Contr. 2.1.26) than of Homer's kindly ποιμένες λαῶν, shepherds of the people.
Giganteo: 2. 12. 7; 2. 19. 22; 3. 4.50; Γιγαντολέτωρ (Lucian, Tim. 4).
supercilio moventis: the phrase is a development from the Olympus-shaking nod of Zeus in Homer, Il.1. 528-30; Verg. Aen. 9.106; Catull. 64.204; Ov. Met. 1.180; 'His black eye-brow whose doomful dreaded beck| Is wont to wield the world unto his will' (Spencer, Mutability, 6.22); Dion. Orat. 12.383 R.,τοῦ δινήσαντος ὀλίγῳ νεύματι τ̂ν ὀφρύων τὸν σύμπαντα Ὄλυμπον ; Mart. 1. 4.2, terrarum dominum pone supercilium; Tenn Princess, 'The lifting of whose eyelash is my lord.'
Men differ in wealth, birth, and honor, but the necessity of death makes the odds all even.
est ut: (it) is (true) that; A. G. 569.3; G. L. 553.3.4; H. 571; Ter. Phor. 925, sive est ut velis manere illam apud te; Epp. 1.12.2, non est ut; Epp. 1.1.81, esto aliis alios rebiis studiisque teneri. viro vir: one man . . . than another; frequent juxtaposition. latius: i.e. has a larger estate; 2.2.9; 2.15.2. ordinet: cf. Quintilian's directi in quincuncem ordines, and Pope's 'rank my vines.'
arbusta: the trees to which the vines were wedded; Verg. Ecl. 3.10; G. 2.416; 2.289, ausim vel tenui vitem committere sulco. generosior: of more noble birth.
descendat: literally from the hills on which the palaces of the nobility stood ; metaphorically as competitor into the political arena. Campum: the voting booths, saepta, were in the Campus Martius. The forms of popular election were preserved by the policy of Augustus, Tac. Ann. 1.15, Tum primum (at accession of Tiberius) e Campo comitia ad patres translata sunt.
turba: in his anteroom at the morning reception (Salutatio, Epode 2.7, 8. n.) or in his train at the Forum,--a point of honor with ambitious Romans. Cf. Martial, 11.24.11, ut tibi tuorum|Sit maior numerus togatulorum, and passim; Cic. Muren. 34 (70).
aequa: impartial. 1.4.13; 2.18.32. n., 'Sceptre and crown| Must tumble down,| And in the dust be equal made| With the poor crooked scythe and spade' (Shirley). Necessitas: 1.3.32; 1.35.17; 3.24.6.
sortitur: decides by lot the fate of; Verg. Aen. 3.375, sic fata deum rex |Sortitur. insignis: 1.34.13.
urna: 2.3.26. n.
destrictus ensis: for the story of the proverbial hair-suspended sword of Damocles, see Cic. Tusc. 5.61; Pers. 3.40. Here it symbolizes the terrors of conscience. Cf. Ronsard, Au Sieur Bertrand, 'Celuy qui sur la teste sienne| Voit l'espée sicilienne, | Des douces tables l'appareil| N'irrite sa faim, ny la noise| Du rossignol qui se desgoise| Ne luy rameine le sommeil'; Shelley, Prom. 1, 'Like the Sicilian's hair-suspended sword| Which trembles o'er his crown.' cui: (ei) cui = cuius. impia: transferred, 1.37.7. n.
cervice: Cic. uses plural. Siculae: proverbially luxurious (Otto, s.v.; Athenae. 12.3; Plat. Rep. 404 D); has also a special reference to the fact that Damocles was a Sicilian.
dulcem elaborabunt saporem: acquire (for him) sweetness of taste, the verb implying the pains bestowed upon their preparation. Perseus comm.