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Haerere ingenuus puer,
Venarique timet; ludere doctior Seu Graeco jubeas trocho,
Seu malis vetita legibus alea : Cum perjura patris fides
Consortem socium fallat et hospitem : Indignoque pecuniam
Heredi properet. Scilicet improbae Crescunt divitiae; tamen
Curtae nescio quid semper abest rei.
XXV. AD BACCHUM.
Quo me, Bacche, rapis tui
Plenum quae nemora aut quos agor in specus,
Velox mente nova! quibus
Antris egregii Caesaris audiar
Aeternum meditans decus
Stellis inserere et consilio Jovis !
Dicam insigne, recens, adhuc
Indictum ore alio. Non secus in jugis
Exsomnis stupet Evias,
Hebrum prospiciens, et nive candidam
Thracen, ac pede barbaro
Lustratam Rhodopen. Ut mihi devio
By river bank, through lonely wood.
To rove admiring! Oh, o'er Naiads absolute
And Bacchant priestesses, endued
With hands of force enow tall ash-trees to uproot,
Naught petty, naught in lowly mode,
Naught mortal, will I utter.
Peril 'tis, yet sweet,
Lenaeus to pursue the god
Around whose cinctured brows verdurous vine-leaves meet.
Whether this was written when the poet was becoming painfully conscious of getting on in years, or whether it is an ordinarily successful suitor's exclamation of disgust at his first rebuff, is a fair specimen of 'Quaestiones Horatianae.' Fortunately the words of the Ode will warrant either interpretation: so the reader can choose for himself between the two.
A PROPER ladies' man of late was I,
Now, with my arms discharged from fight,
Torch, crowbar, bow, which heretofore
Goddess, who happy Cyprus own'st, and whose
Ah queen! let by thy scourge upraised
Ripas et vacuum nemus
Mirari libet! O Naïadum potens, Baccharumque valentium
Proceras manibus vertere fraxinos,
Nil parvum aut humili modo,
Nil mortale loquar. Dulce periculum est, O Lenaee, sequi deum
Cingentem viridi tempora pampino.
VIXI puellis nuper idoneus,
Oppositis foribus minaces.
O quae beatum diva tenes Cyprum, et
Regina, sublimi flagello
Tange Chloën semel arrogantem.
Galatea, a lady of Horace's acquaintance, was meditating a voyage to Greece, when Horace, having the story of Europa to tell, ingeniously turned that into an occasion for telling it. Under stress of rhyme I have been compelled, if not to coin a new
word, at least to employ an old word in a new sense. By 'iron stile,' in the twelfth stanza, the critical reader is entreated to understand, not the stilus used by the ancients in writing, but the weapon which would be indicated by the augmentative of the Italian stiletto-that is to say, a short pointed sword like that which formed part of the equipment of a Roman foot-soldier.
LET to the impious, the chattering jay
And pregnant bitch, as omens lead the way,
Let serpent interrupt their destined course
Her whom I fear for, from the east invoke
Be happy, Galatea, wheresoe'er
You please of me live mindful: nor forbear
IMPIOS parrae recinentis omen
Ducat, et praegnans canis, aut ab agro
Rumpat et serpens iter institutum,
Ego cui timebo
Antequam stantes repetat paludes
Oscinem corvum prece suscitabo
Sis licet felix ubicunque mavis,