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Flevere semper. Desine mollium
Lucius Licinius Murena, to whom this Ode is inscribed, was som of Murena, the client of Cicero, and, being adopted by Aulus Terentius Varro, assumed the name of Aulus Terentius Varro Murena. He is supposed by some to have been the brother, and by others the cousin, ofthat Gaius Proculeius whose generosity to his brothers is so honourably commemorated in the second Ode of this Book. Licinius appears to have been of a restless and aspiring disposition, which perpetually involved him in political conspiracy and intrigue, till at last he was convicted by Tiberius of participation in a plot formed by him, along with Fannius Caepio, against the life of Augustus; and, notwithstandimg the intercession of Proculeius, and ofTerentia, his own sister by adoptiom, and the wife of Maecenas, he was put to death, A.U.c. 734. Horace, as if prescient of his fate, here warns him of the dangers attending those enterprises into which he was apt to be hurried by his fiery and adventurous spirit, and advises him to choose the golden mean as the most effectual method of attaiming a secure and happy iife.
RECTIUS vives, Licini, neque altum
Cautus horrescis, nimium premendo
17. desine, poetic. accord. to the Greek παύeuv and λήyevv with the genit. querelarum.
21. sq. construe: et (cantemus) Medum flumen, adJitum victis gentibus volvere minores vertices, * and how the (Parthiam) river Medus, added to the list of conquered nations, rolls smaller waves,' i. e. fows onward with hum- ! bler wave. ;
23. intra praescriptum, i. e. withim the ,
limits prescribedtothem bythe Romans.
Auream quisquis mediocritatem 5
quum (sc. propter vada et scopulos) i. e. ' by keeping too near, to hug the perilous shore.'
5. mediocritas, like the Greek μeorórms, the right middle state between two extremes, *the meam' (comp. Cic. Off. 1, 25: mediocritatem illam tenere quae est inter nimium et parum); Horace speaks here of the right meam in the care for fortune.
6. sq. tutus * safe,' and sobrius * sober,' express beautifully the state of mind in either condition (of oppressive poverty or maddening wealth and luxury) remark the expressive repetition of the verb caret, and the opposition of obsoletum tectum and invidenda aula (with the latter comp. C. 3, 1, 45: invidendis postibus).
9. note saepius amd ingens, put em- !
Contrahes vento nimium secundo
IN ARBOREM, CUJUS CASU PAENE OPPRESSUS FUERAT.
Variously dated from A.U.c. 724 to 738. The poet begims with a serio-comic imprecation of curses upom a tree, by the unexpected fall of which he had beem nearly crushed to death on his Sabine farm. He afterwards proceeds tomoralize om the uncertainty of human life, the blessedness of the pious in Elysium, and the enjoyment felt even by the wicked in Tartarus, who are allowed to listem to the strains of Sappho and Alcaeus. See also Odes II. 17, 27; III. 4. 27; III.
ILLE et nefasto te posuit die,
Illum et parentis crediderim sui 5
Quid quisque vitet, numquam homini satis
Quam paene furvae regna Proserpinae
Sappho puellis de popularibus,
Et te sonantem plenius aureo,
17. reducem (inst. of celerem), Bentl conj.—23. descriptas, some Codd.
14. cautum in horas (sc. singulas), * is on his guard every moment'— navita Poenus, i. e. Phoeniciam (Sidonian or Tyrian)—Bosporum, sc. Thracium, * the Thraciam Bosporus.' 16. caeca = obscura, occulta, * hidden'—timét, thelast syllable lengthened py the arsis. 17. miles, i. e. Romanus—sagittas et celerem fugam, i. e. the arrows which the Parthians shot in their (feigned) flight, (comp. Virg. G. 3, 31: Fidentemque fugâ Parthum versisque sagittis). 8. Italum, belongs to catenas as well as to robur. 19. robur, here = carcer, the prison at Rome, called also Tullianum (comp. Sall. Catil. 55). 20. rapuit rapietque, a frequent rhetorical turn (namely, to express the continuance of an action by the perf. or pres. and future tense of the same verb), as below C. 4, 2, 38: quo nihil majus...fata donavere...nec dabunt; Ep.
1, 2, 43; labitur et labetur, and ib. 1, 7, 21 tulit et feret; comp. also Virg. A. 6, 617: sedet aeternumque sedebit. 21. quam paene, belong together, * how near' (was I to behold, &c.) 22. vidimus, i. e. Horace. 23. discretas (sc. a. Tartaro), “ the abodes of the pious, separate from those of the wicked,' the Elysian fields, (comp. Virg. A. 8, 670: secretos pios). 24. Aeoliis fidibus, * on the Lesbian lyre' (comp. the Excurs. II. to C. 1, 1.) 25. puellis de popularibus, of the maidens of her native country (who were less inclined to her friendship and love). On Sappho and Alcaeus see the Excurs. to this Ode. 26. plenius, * in strains' loftier (as treating matters of higher interest). 27 and 28. note the beautiful repetition of dura.
Utrumque sacro digna silentio
Mirantur umbrae dicere; sed magis
Pugnas et exactos tyrannos
Quid mirum, ubi illis carminibus stupens
Quin et Prometheus et Pelopis parens
Aut timidos agitare lyncas.
32. avida (inst. of humeris), Bentl. comj.—38. laborem, some Codd.—40. timidas, some Codd.