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In commemoration of his victory at Actium, Augustus dedicated to Apollo a temple, with a library attached, built by him on the Palatine Hill. After the ceremonies of dedication were over, we may suppose Horace putting in his own claim to the god's favour in this Ode, in which he represents himself as offering a libation, and asking for mens sana in corpore sano.'
WHAT asks the bard in consecrated shrine
Of Phoebus? What, outpouring the new wine,
Not goodly herds from parched Calabria's fold;
Not meads through which, with quiet play,
With pruning-hook be vines Calenian pressed
Choice wines, in trade's exchanges ta'en
The Atlantic main uninjured. Me
To enjoy with mind still vigorous and in health;
Not lacking the lute's company.
XXXI. AD APOLLINEM.
QUID dedicatum poscit Apollinem
Armenta; non aurum, aut ebur Indicum;
Mordet aqua, taciturnus amnis. Premant Calenam falce, quibus dedit Fortuna vitem: dives et aureis
Mercator exsiccet culullis
Vina Syra reparata merce,
Dis carus ipsis, quippe ter et quater
Me cichorea, levesque malvae.
Frui paratis et valido mihi,
In spite of all the scholiasts have written there is no clue whatever to the occasion of this Ode.' It is doubtful whether the first word should be Poscimur' or ' Poscimus.' If the first, it may mean that he had been requested to write on some subject of the day, though nobody knows what; but it may also mean that he felt the poetic afflatus upon him, and was bound accordingly.
I AM required. If with thee idling ever
In the cool shade, aught have I uttered, destined
Sing now, my rebeck.
Thou who first tuned wert by a Lesbic townsman,
To the dank seabeach,
Would of wine sing, music, and lovely Venus,
Shell, who art welcomed at high Jove's carousals,
XXXII. AD TESTUDINEM.
POSCIMUR. Si quid vacui sub umbra Lusimus tecum, quod et hunc in annum Vivat et plures, age, dic Latinum, Barbite, carmen.
Lesbio primum modulate civi,
Liberum et Musas, Veneremque et illi
O decus Phoebi, et dapibus supremi
Horace was much attached to his brother poet Tibullus, who was indeed a favourite with his contemporaries generally. That he wrote elegies, was not rarely crossed in love, and that he was on some occasion in a desponding humour, are facts sufficient to form a probable foundation for this good-humoured little poem.'
CEASE, Albius, cease this too lengthened repining
Lycoris, renowned for low forehead, is burning
Ere Pholoë sin with adulterer base.
Such is Venus's will, who no better sport has
Me, to whom her affections a worthier gave,
Did Myrtale's ravishing fetters enslave,
A freedwoman, rougher than Adrian wave