Abbildungen der Seite

and imus. The case was different with the lectus medius, on which the locus imus was the most valued, and, therefore, the proper place of honour, on the whole triclinium. It was always assigned to the most distinguished person in the company, and was therefore also called locus consularis. In the company described in this satire, the seat of honour is duly occupied by Maecenas. Next to this place of honour, on the lectus imus, the host was generally seated. (Here sat Nomentanus, pointing with his fore-finger at anything which was left unnoticed by his guests.) The order of the places was, therefore, as follows:—1. locus imus; 2. medius; 3. summus in medio lecto; 4. summu8; 5. medius; 6. imus in summo; 7. summus; 8. medius; 9. ?//?? ts ? ra, arro. In the middle space, between the lecti, was the table on which the dishes were served (ponêre; tollére, to take away). As early as the time of Martial (in the latter half of the first century), it became the fashion for slaves to hand round the dishes, instead of merely placing them on the table. The bread was at all times passed round. The lecti were very low, and provided with girths at the bottom. Cushions were laid on the tops; and, above these, magnificent covers, generally purple, and embroidered with gold, were spread.

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]

Dated A.U.C. 734. This first epistle, like the first epode, ode, and satire, is dedicated to Maecenas, and contains a vindication of the poet's conduct in renouncing the composition of poetry for the study of philosophy. The order and connexion of the ideas may be thus exhibited: Horace, who had, for some time, laid aside his lyre, is urged by Maecenas to resume the practice of poetic composition, but is warned to desist from the attempt by advancing age and declining vigour. Moreover, he has been gradually weamed from poetical pursuits by an anxious desire to ascertain the nature and relations of moral truth, duty, propriety, and practical utility; while, in conducting such inquiries, he restricts himself to no particular system, but is animated by a spirit of catholic eclecticism. His aim, in short, is merely to frame a moral creed, which may serve to guide his daily conduct at every stage, and in every condition of life. Now although, in such a pursuit, the perfection of wisdom be unattainable, yet a degree of proficiency may be reached, which fully repays the labour of acquiring it. For that true wisdom, which consists in seeking the highest ends by the best means, frees the mind from all disquietude and sorrow; because it alone teaches the method of escape from vice, and the secret of exemption from folly. And whereas the common herd of mankind are constantly straining every nerve to avert the much-dreaded evils of poverty and lowliness of condition, it becomes the duty of true philosophers to master those principles and truths which teach men to look upon the ordinary misfortunes or reverses of life as in reality no evils at all, but rather as a course of moral discipline, calculated to form a self-denied and virtuous character. Accordingly he extols that elevation of spirit which stands aloof both from avarice and ambitiom, and despises the vulgar estimate of wealth and honour; and concludes by illustrating and recommending that stability of principle which enables a man to defy the caprice of fortune, and preserve the equipoise of disposition in which the essence of happiness consists. III one word, the entire epistle is, by anticipation, a commentary on the words of the English poet, who said—

** My mind to me a kingdom is.”

PRIMA dicte mihi, summâ dicende Camenâ,
Spectatum satis et donatum jam rude quaeris,
Maecenas, iterum antiquo me includere ludo.

Non eadem est aetas, non mens.

Vejanius armis

Herculis ad postem fixis latet abditus agro, 5 Ne populum extremâ toties exoret arenâ. Est mihi purgatam crebro qui personet aurem: * Solve semescentem mature sanus equum, ne * Peccet ad extremum ridendus, et ilia ducat.”

Nunc itaque et versus et cetera ludicra pono;
Quid verum atque decens curo et rogo, et omnis in


10 hoc

Condo et compono quae mox depromere possim.
Ac ne forte roges, quo me duce, quo Lare tuter:
Nullius addictus jurare in verba magistri,

[ocr errors]

Ep.-1.—1. sq. construe : Maecenas, dicte mihi (= a me) primâ (Camenâ), (et) dicende summâ (= ultimâ) Canmenâ, quaeris me, spectatum satis et iam donatum rude, iterum includere antiquo ludo, i. e. you wish that I may in my advanced age (45 or 46 years old) begin anew poetical performances, while Ithought myself, like an old gladiator, freed from this service— dicte and dicende, vocatives—rude, ' with the rod,' or * stick,' or ' wooden sword' (which was given to old gladiators as a mark of their discharge from the service). 2. quaeris, with the infin. includere, * you seek to engage me ' (comp. S. 1, 9, 8: discedere quaerens). 3. ludo, prop. gladiatorio, *the school of gladiators,' here figuratively of the practice of poetry. 4. mens, i. e. voluntas, studium, * mind, disposition, mode of thinking'— Vejanius, &c., example of am old gladiator who retired, at the right time, from his professiom (such men degicated their arms to their tutelary god Hercules). 5. ad postem, sc. templi Herculis— fatet abditus, expressively said of the utmost retirement. 6. eacoretextremâ arenâ, thathemight

not be obliged to sue for grace from the extremity of the arena. 7. est qui personet, &c., “ there seems to be some one (some inward voice) whispering into my cleansed ear;' purgata auris, was a proverbial expression for * great attentiom.' 8. sanus, i. e. si sanus es, si sapis (comp. S. 1, 5, 44; 1, 6, 89). 9. peccet, * stumble '—ad eaetremum, * at last '—ilia ducat = aegre spiritum ducat, frequenter anhelet (comp. Virg. G. 3, 506 sq.: Imaque longo Ilia singultu tendumt). 10. itaque put after the first word in the phrase, like igitur—versus, i. e. lyric poetry — ludicra, i. e. jocos, amores, convivia, &c. 11. quid verum atque decens, sc. sit— omnis in hoc sum, * I am wholly engaged in this' (comp. S. 1, 9, 2: totus in illis). 12. condo et compono. an image taken from the store-rooms: quasi in horreo vel cella penaria repono et ordino quae collegi, ut iis, ubi tempus requisierit, facile utar. 13. duce, Lare, i. e. auctore et familiâ (philosophorum), * sect.' 14. nullius, poetic. with short i (comp. S. 1, 3, 74 and 2, 3, 27: illius)—addictus jurare = obnoxius et velut vi co

Qao me cumque rapit tempestas, deferor hospes.

Nunc agilis fio et mersor civilibus undis,
Virtutis verae custos rigidusque satelles;
Nunc in Aristippi furtim praecepta relabor,
Et mihi res, non me rebus subjungere conor.

[merged small][ocr errors]

Longa videtur opus debentibus, ut piger annus
Pupillis, quos dura premit custodia matrum:
Sic mihi tarda fluunt ingrataque tempora, quae spem
Consiliumque morantur agendi gnaviter id, quod

Aeque pauperibus prodest, locupletibus aeque,


Aeque neglectum pueris senibusque nocebit.
Restat, ut his ego me ipse regam solerque elementis.
Non possis oculo quantum contendere Lynceus,
Non tamen idcirco contemnas lippus inungi;

Nec, quia desperes invicti membra Glyconis,


Nodosâ corpus nolis prohibere cheragrà.
Est quadam prodire tenus, si non datur ultra.
Fervet avaritiâ miseroque cupidine pectus:
Sunt verba et voces, quibus hunc lenire dolorem

[ocr errors][merged small]

actus certam quandam doctrinam amplecti; jurare in verba, a gladiatorial term, * to swear obedience to the master of the gladiatorial school ;' here figuratively : * addicted, bound to swear to the rules of no (particular) master.' 15. quo...cumque, Tmesis (comp. v. 32 amâ above S. 1, 9, 33; 2, 6, 95)— tempestas, the image taken from the storm that carries away the ship in different directions. 16. agilis, * active ' (in public matters, like a Stoic). 18. Aristippi praecepta, sc. voluptatem summum bonum, dolorem summum malum esse furtim, i. e. sensim, ut vix ipse animadvertam, * insensibly.' 21. debentibus opus, 1 e. mercenariis, servis, * to daily workmem ' piger, * slowly moving, slow.' 24. id quod, &c., sc. the study of wfsdom. u.

[ocr errors]

Possis, et magnam morbi deponere partem.

Laudis amore tumes: sunt certa piacula, quae te
Ter pure lecto poterunt recreare libello.
Invidus, iracundus, iners, vinosus, amator,
Nemo adeo ferus est, ut non mitescere possit,

Si modo culturae patientem commodet aurem.

Virtus est vitium fugere, et sapientia prima

Stultitiâ caruisse.

Quanto devites animi capitisque labore;

Impiger extremos curris mercator ad Indos,

Per mare pauperiem fugiens, per saxa, per ignes:
Ne cures ea, quae stulte miraris et optas,
Discere et audire et meliori credere non vis?
Quis circum pagos et circum compita pugnax

Magna coronari contemnat Olympia, cui spes,

Cui sit condicio dulcis sine pulvere palmae?
Vilius argentum est auro, virtutibus aurum.
* O cives, cives, quaerenda pecunia primum est;

35 40 Vides, quae maxima credis

Esse mala, exiguum censum turpemque repulsam,


50 * Virtus post nummos!' haec Janus summus ab imo


Prodocet, haec recinunt juvenes dictata senesque,

Ilaevo suspensi loculos tabulamque lacerto.
JEst animus tibi, sunt mores et lingua fidesque,
Sed quadringentis sex septem milia desunt:

57. est lingua, some Codd., Bentl.—58. si (inst. of sed), some Codd.

37. ter, belongs only to lecto (mot to pure)—pure, i. e. postquam te lustravisti, ' purified ' (as for the celebration of sacred rites) 43. turpemque repulsam, * a shameful rejection, repulse' (comp. C. 3, 2, 17: Virtus repulsae nescia sordidae). 46 per saaca, per ignes, a proverbial expressiom = per gravissima quaeque pericula (comp. S. 1, 1, 38 sq.: Quum te neque fervidus aestus Demoveat lucro neque hiems, ignis, mare, ferrum, amd S. 2, 3, 54 sq.: ut ignes, Ut rupes fluviosque in campo obstare queratur). 49. sq. sense: As nobody would undergo great conflicts at common village festivals, while he might gain the ]'rize at the Olympic games without risk or difficulty, so every reasonable

[ocr errors]
« ZurückWeiter »