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When this Ode was written, Parthian politics would seem to have been occupying much attention at Rome, since Horace speaks of himself as the only person who gave no heed to them.
A FAVOURITE of the Muses, grief and fear
Heedless beneath what monarch groan
A garland for my Lamia knit
Of sunny flowers; for, without thee, my words
Supposed to be imitated from Anacreon; but if so, only the outlines can have been copied : the lifelike details are surely original.
WHAT! fight over cups meant as helps to hilarity!
That of heady Falernian I too take my share? Do you wish me? Well then let the brother declare
MUSIS amicus, tristitiam et metus
Portare ventis: quis sub arcto
Rex gelidae metuatur orae,
Quid Tiridaten terreat, unice
Necte meo Lamiae coronam,
Pimplea dulcis: nil sine te mei
Hunc Lesbio sacrare plectro,
NATIS in usum laetitiae scyphis
Vino et lucernis Medus acinaces
Et cubito remanete presso.
Of Opuntian Megill, with what wound he is thrilling,
Nay, is't so? Ah, 'gainst what a Charybdis you're pitted,
Most commentators consider this to be a dialogue between the spirit of a shipwrecked and unburied sailor cast on shore near Tarentum, and that of the Tarentine philosopher Archytas; but the extreme difficulty of duly apportioning their respective parts to the interlocutors, induces me to follow Mr. Macleane and others in assigning the whole to a single speaker-to wit, the spirit of a shipwrecked sailor, moralizing upon death and asking for burial. No one, however, of the numerous explanations that have been suggested is altogether satisfactory.
BESTOWAL of a little dust near the Matinian shore
Frater Megillae, quo beatus
Volnere, qua pereat sagitta.
Cessat voluntas? Non alia bibam
Mercede. Quae te cunque domat Venus,
Ignibus, ingenuoque semper
Amore peccas: quidquid habes, age,
Quanta laborabas in Charybdi !
Digne puer meliore flamma
Quae saga, quis te solvere Thessalis
Pegasus expediet Chimaera.
TE maris et terrae numeroque carentis arenae
Pulveris exigui prope litus parva Matinum
Aught for that thou in spirit hast aerial mansions tried, And of the arched expanse of heaven hast made the circuit wide.
The sire of Pelops likewise died, he who was guest of
Tithonus also, borne away along ethereal roads,
And Minos, confidant of Jove. Nor less Panthoides, To Orcus once again consigned, does Tartarus possess: Though with his shield in evidence, of Trojan times he
When to black death, save nerves and skin, he had surrendered naught:
And, in your estimation, he, of truth and nature, rates As no mean judge. But one same night all human kind awaits:
All must once tread the fatal path. Some, to be sport to Mars,
The Furies give: the greedy sea yawns for the lives
Of old and young together massed, the mingled corpses lie:
No head is there that Proserpine, the ruthless, passes by. Me, also, did the stormy south, which in his downward track
Accompanies Orion, 'mid Illyrian billows wrack.
Then do not you, O mariner, refuse, in churlish wise, To these my bones and this my head that here unburied lies,
Some particles of shifting sand. So the east wind, howe'er It menace the Hesperian sea, and woods Venusine tear,