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To enter into the spirit of this lively effusion we may suppose Horace to have been invited to an entertainment given in honour of Murena's installation in the college of augurs, and the host to have kept the party waiting for supper while he treated them to long prosy stories out of Greek mythology, which Horace suddenly interrupted by bursting forth with the following strain. The cyathus referred to in lines 11-15 was a ladle with which the drink was passed from the bowl to the cups. I imagine that cups of various sizes were on the table, some large enough for nine, others for only three cyaths, and that Horace, when calling for bumpers, bade the servant give to each guest a goblet, of three or nine cyaths according to his taste.

By how much later lived than Inachus
Codrus, for fatherland not fearing death,
You prate, and of the house of Aeacus,
And wars waged sacred Ilium beneath:
But at what price per cask is Chian sold,
Who shall unchill the water, who afford
Us house-room; at what hour, from cold
Relieved, we shall have supper, not a word.
Bumpers, boy, bumpers; look alive!
One for new moon, for midnight one,
One for Murena, augur, give:
Into the goblets, thereupon,
Ladles-full pouring, nine or three,
As may with several taste agree.

The bard who the uneven Muses

Enamoured courts, three tripled chooses.


QUANTUM distet ab Inacho

Codruš, pro patria non timidus mori, Narras, et genus Aeaci,

Et pugnata sacro bella sub Ilio : Quo Chium pretio cadum

Mercemur; quis aquam temperet ignibus;

Quo praebente domum, et quota

Pelignis caream frigoribus, taces.

Da lunae propere novae,

Da noctis mediae, da, puer, auguris Murenae; tribus aut novem

Miscentur cyathis pocula commodis. Qui Musas amat impares,

Ternos ter cyathos attonitus petet

Vates. Tres prohibet supra

Rixarum metuens tangere Gratia

Each of the naked sister Graces,

Fearful of broils that leave their traces,
Consent to more than three refuses.
Madness be mine! Why, Phrygian flute,
Why cease its breathings? Wherefore mute
Hang up together pipe and lute?

I hate your niggard handfuls. Round
Shower roses. Let the jovial sound
Of revel, envious Lycus hear,

And her, the old fellow's ill-matched dear.
Thou, Teleph, rich in glossy hair,
Thou, as the star of evening fair,
Thou art well-ripened Rhode's aim;
While I of Glycera's love despair
Consuming with a lingering flame.

Good judges pronounce the picture here represented to be very happily painted. The subject, however, is not a pleasant one to contemplate.

SEE you not, Pyrrhus, at what risk you ravish
From the Gaetulic lioness her young ones?
Presently will you, spiritless despoiler,

Slink from the struggle,

When the opposing bands of youthful hunters
She shall break through, seeking her fair Nearchus.
Fierce the dispute, whether to you or her fall

More of the booty.

Nudis juncta sororibus.

Insanire juvat. Cur Berecyntiae Cessant flamina tibiae?

Cur pendet tacita fistula cum lyra? Parcentes ego dexteras

Odi. Sparge rosas.

Audiat invidus

Dementem strepitum Lycus,

Et vicina seni non habilis Lyco.

Spissa te nitidum coma

Puro te similem, Telephe, Vespero, Tempestiva petit Rhode:

Me lentus Glycerae torret amor meae.


NON vides quanto moveas periclo
Pyrrhe, Gaetulae catulos leaenae?
Dura post paullo fugies inaudax
Proelia raptor :

Cum per obstantes juvenum catervas
Ibit insignem repetens Nearchum :
Grande certamen tibi praeda cedat
Major, an illi.

In the meantime, while you your nimble arrows
Handle, her formidable teeth she sharpens,
While the fight's umpire, underneath his naked
Foot, is depicted

Holding the prize, and fanned by gentle breezes
Breathed on his neck sprinkled with scented tresses.
Such was Nireus, or he who from the wat'ry
Ida was ravished.

Addressed to the jar containing the wine intended for Corvinus, at a supper to which he had invited himself at Horace's house.

O HONEST jar! whose birth takes date,
Like mine, from Manlius' consulate,
Whether complaints or jokes they be,
Wrangling, or love's insanity,

Or quiet sleep that dwell with thee;
Beneath whatever brand 'tis thine
To bottle up choice Massic wine,
For happy day like this thou'rt fit:
Come down; Corvinus orders it,
And thy more mellow juice emit.
Though steeped in all Socratic learning,

From thee, he will not, shocked, be turning.

The elder Cato, oft' 'tis said,

His virtue's fire with liquor fed.

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