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THE object of this small edition of the first book of the Odes of Horace, is to provide such notes as may enable a boy of fair intelligence to obtain a distinct and accurate conception of the meaning of each Ode (1) as regards the exact force and construction of individual words and sentences, (2) as regards the general idea and purpose of the Ode as a complete and connected whole.
(1) With reference to words, phrases, and constructions, only such notes are given as seemed necessary to supplement, but not to supplant, the careful use of Dictionaries and Grammars: they are intended to assist the industrious in their difficulties, not to afford facilities to the indolent. For this reason no explanation is given of ordinary grammatical terms or constructions, of ordinary words, or of proper names of whi even the Classical Dictionaries con
tain an adequate account. On the other hand, even with these omissions, there is so much that is peculiar in the words which Horace employs, so much individuality in his phrases, there are so many subtle allusions and half-expressed references to literature, to history, and to national customs, that it has been difficult to compress into a moderate compass all that is
even absolutely needed for a complete understanding of the text. For although the exceptional felicity and simple terseness of Horace's style render him especially adapted for the fate he would most have deprecated1, and although his general meaning is almost transparently clear, yet this apparent simplicity and ease of style is in reality the result of consummate elaboration; a single epithet often recalls a whole chapter of history, a single phrase is often a résumé of a whole philosophical system: his language is so simple that a child may follow it, but so subtle that perhaps no Latin poetry requires more wide and accurate scholarship for its full appreciation than the Odes. Two facts may serve to illustrate this statement: one, that no author can be more widely illustrated than Horace from the whole range of classical literature, or can be himself more frequently quoted in illustration; the second, that to set an Ode of Horace even in high University Examinations is to set a sure trap for slovenly and inaccurate scholarship.
(2) With regard to the general meaning of each Ode as a connected whole, in almost every case a summary has been prefixed to the notes, with the object of making clear the line of thought running through it; and throughout attention has been carefully drawn to the connection of ideas, where that connection was not obvious, but rather hinted at or suggested than definitely expressed. It is indeed an essential of lyric
1 Hor. Sat. 1. 10. 74:
an tua demens vilibus in ludis dictari carmina malis?
Epist. 1. 20. 17:
hoc quoque te manet ut pueros elementa docentem
poetry that it should be suggestive rather than descriptive, fragmentary rather than continuous', but no true lyric poetry, certainly not the Odes of Horace, can be fully understood without an endeavour to discern the central thought which links together into a living unity what are often apparently disunited and disjointed sentences. It is hardly necessary however to point out that this effort to obtain a general conception of a passage or poem as a whole is of primary importance in the development of the intellectual faculties, and the shortness of the Odes renders them especially adapted for boys' reading in this respect. At the same time it is a curious fact that no lyric poet has suffered more than Horace, from a want of effort to thus estimate his Odes as each an individual whole: a hundred persons can quote separate sentences to one who has a thorough conception of an entire Ode. The fact is that Horace's felicity in expressing a single thought is so unrivalled, he so abounds in those epigrammatic phrases,
'jewels five words long, That on the stretched fore-finger of all time Sparkle for ever,'
that those who appreciate his high poetic power to this extent think that they have fathomed the secret of his reputation because even when thus taken piecemeal,
invenies etiam disjecti membra poetae.
But indeed it is impossible to form an adequate conception of Horace without adding to the appreciation and understanding of single words and phrases
1 Any one who will consider the gaps which the reader has to fill up in passing from one canto to another of In Memoriam will find how much this is the case.
the appreciation and understanding of their reference to and bearing on the whole Ode in which they are contained. In these Notes an attempt has been made to afford materials for this complete and full understanding.
On the other hand, as this is a school book, no pains have been taken to accumulate references or illustrations in large numbers, nor have varieties of readings or points of technical scholarship and rival interpretation been discussed, except in some few instances (e.g. in the notes on 2. 14 and the whole of Ode 28) where the points were of general interest and dependent for their solution rather on the possession of common sense than of exceptional learning. Two editions I have had principally before me, and not unfrequently referred to; the large edition of Orelli because it is without a rival as an edition of Horace, and that of Mr Wickham because the tact and discrimination with which the notes are selected and arranged and the exceptional merit of the Introductions will always make it a favourite even with others than those who fear to face Orelli. The bulk of my notes however are the result of a long admiration for Horace, and have been written down without reference to any books whatever: my hope is that they are such notes as a good teacher taking a lesson viva voce would wish to lay before his pupils so that they might obtain an intelligent and thorough understanding of the author.
T. E. PAGE.
Q. HORATII FLACCI
MAECENAS atavis edite regibus, o et praesidium' et dulce decus meum, sunt quos curriculo pulverem Olympicum collegisse iuvat metaque fervidis
evitata rotis palmaque nobilis terrarum dominos evehit ad deos; hunc, si mobilium turba Quiritium certat tergeminis tollere honoribus;
illum, si proprio condidit horreo, quidquid de Libycis verritur areis. gaudentem patrios findere sarculo agros Attalicis condicionibus
nunquam dimoveas, ut trabe Cypria Myrtoum pavidus nauta secet mare. luctantem Icariis fluctibus Africum mercator metuens otium et oppidi laudat rura sui; mox reficit rates