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57. Non huc Argoo] He means to say, that no venturous sail has reached these islands; not the Argo, in which Jason sailed for the golden fleece, nor Medea, who returned with him to Greece, nor the Phoenicians, who went everywhere with their merchandise, nor the crew of Ulysses, who wandered about the seas for ten years. 62. aestuosa
impotentia] the burning excess'; that is, 'the excessive
65. quorum] This depends on 'fuga.' 'Safe flight from which is offered to the pious, if I be prophet.'
THIS poem is written with the ironical purpose of making peace between the poet and Canidia. The recantation is not less severe than the libels (see Epodes iii. and v., and S. i. 8). The poet humbly retracts his charges of base birth, sterility, witchcraft, &c., but in such language as to make them worse and in the latter part of the Epode Canidia makes a reply refusing forgiveness, and vowing vengeance on her traducer.
ARGUMENT. — I yield, I yield; I pray thee by Proserpine, by Diana, by thine own mighty spells, Canidia, cease thy charms; stay, stay thy wheel. Achilles had compassion upon Telephus, and healed him. He was entreated, and gave back the body of Hector, and the matrons of Troy anointed him for burial. Circe restored the companions of Ulysses. Surely I have been punished enough, O thou that art loved of sailors and of hucksters! The complexion of youth is gone from me; my hair is white; I rest not day or night, and sighs give me no relief. I now believe what I once denied. What wouldst thou more? O sea and earth, I am on fire, like Hercules with the blood of Nessus, and tna's everlasting flame. As a crucible filled with Colchian drugs, thou wilt burn till I shall be consumed, and my ashes scattered to the winds. What death or what penalty awaits me? Speak, and I will offer a hundred oxen, or praise thy chastity in lying song. brothers of Helen were entreated, and gave the poet back his eyes; and do thou, for thou canst, loose me from my madness. Indeed thou art not debased by thy parents' sins; thou dost not scatter the new-buried ashes of the poor; thy heart is kind, thy hands are pure, thy son is thine own, and thy births are no pretence. Why waste thy prayers upon ears that are deaf as the rock lashed by the waves? To think thou shouldst publish and laugh with impunity at our mystic rites, and fill the town with my name! profit, then, have I of the skill I have learnt? Thus shalt thou live with What strength ever renewed for fresh endurance, as Tantalus vainly seeks to be at rest, Prometheus to be delivered from his vulture, and Sisyphus to plant his stone on the top of his mountain. Thou wilt seck death in every form, and it shall not come. I will bestride thee, and spurn the earth in my pride. What! must I, who can move images, bring down the moon or raise the dead, I, the mingler of love-charms, - must I see my spells of no avail for
such as thee?
1. Jam jam] The repetition denotes haste and eagerness, 'See, see I yield.' They are said 'dare manus,' who give their hands to the chains of a conqueror. The phrase is common enough. See Virgil (Aen. xi. 568): ipse manus feritate dedisset." Cæsar (B. G. v. 31): "tandem dat Cotta permotus manus; superat sententia Sabini." Cicero uses it repeatedly.
The speaker invokes Proserpina and Hecate, as the divinities with whom the witch has most communication.
4. Per atque libros] This position of 'atque' is peculiar to the poets. 5. Refixa] Virgil says (Aen. v. 527): “Caelo ceu saepe refixa Transcurrunt crinemque volantia sidera ducunt."
7. solve, solve turbinem.] Turbo' is a wheel of some sort used by sorceresses, often alluded to by the poets: póμßos is the Greek name for it. Threads of various colors arranged artificially were spun round the wheel, and formed a magical web, supposed to involve somehow or other the affections or fortunes of him who was the object of the spell. Retro solvere' means to relax the onward motion of the wheel, which will then of itself roll back.
8. Movit nepotem] Telephus was king of Mysia, during the Trojan war, and his country being invaded by the Greeks, he was wounded by Achilles. It having been declared by an oracle that Troy could not be taken without the help of Telephus, and Telephus having learnt that his wound could only be cured by Achilles, he gave his services to the Greeks, and was cured. Achilles is called 'nepos Nereius' because he was the son of Thetis, the daughter of Nereus. Propertius refers to the story (ii. 1.63). See also Ovid (Trist. i. 1. 99, sqq.).
11. Unxere] Achilles, moved by the entreaties of Priam (II. xxiv. 510), gave back Hector's body, which he had threatened the dogs should devour (II. xxiii. 182). Homer does not mention the fact that the Trojan women anointed Hector's body; but Horace only makes them do what the Greeks did for Patroclus (Il. xviii. 350), καὶ τότε δὴ λουσάν τε καὶ ἤλειψαν λίπ ̓ Mal. Homicidam' is a literal version of avôpopóvov, Homer's epithet for Hector. The rhythm of the line in which it occurs is without a precedent in Horace.
16. Laboriosi] This epithet is repeated from the last Epode (v. 60). 17. Circa] In the Epodes, Satires, and Epistles, Horace uses the Latin terminations, and in the Odes only the Greek.
20. Amata nautis] While he professes to flatter and pacify her, he provokes her by saying she was the admiration of vulgar shipmasters and shopmen. See C. i. 28. 23, n., and C. iii. 6. 30, n., as to 'nauta' and 'institor."
21. Fugit juventas] From this description of himself, it has been supposed that Horace was advanced in years when he wrote this. But the whole is ironical. He says the bloom of youth has left him, he is nothing but skin and bone, has lost his color, and is gray, all through her poisonous drugs or
23. odoribus;] This is equivalent to 'unguentis' or 'venenis.'
24. ab labore] This preposition is used like añó, 'after,' and 'est' in the next verse like ἔστι for ἔξεστι.
27. Ergo negatum] Therefore I am compelled, poor wretch, to believe what I once denied, that Sabine charms are lashing my heart, and that my head is splitting with Marsic spell.' 'Increpare' is used in a singular way. It is used elsewhere for the dashing of waves against the shore, and in almost every sense connected with loud noises. It is difficult to give it its exact meaning here. The Sabine, Pelignian, and Marsican women had credit above others for witchcraft. See S. i. 9. 29, and below, v. 60, and Epod. v. 76. Nenia' is used for a charm, as in Ovid (A. A. ii. 102): "Mixtaque cum magicis nenia Marsa sonis." For its other meanings, see C. ii. 1. 38, n. 31. Quantum neque atro] See Epod. iii. 17.
33. Virens] This probably means 'undying,' 'ever fresh.'
tu donec cinis] Thou dost burn as a crucible filled with Colchian drugs ("venena Medeae," Epod. v. 62), till, reduced to dry cinders, I shall be carried away by the insolent winds."
36. stipendium?] It is military sense; or it may be finis' means 'what death?' death. See C. iv. 2. 35, n.
possible this may mean 'service,' which is its
40. sonari:] 'Sono' is used as an active verb only by the poets, after the manner of xev. The satire of what follows is very amusing. In his plea for forgiveness he repeats his offence, implying that to call her chaste he must lie, which, however, he is willing to do. The following words are the substance of what he promises to say in her praise, placing her, like Ariadne and other virtuous women, among the constellations.
42. Infamis Helenae] The story is, that Stesichorus (C. iv. 9. 8, n.) was struck with blindness for writing a libel on Helen, and that on writing a recantation (madivodia) he was restored to sight by Helen, or, as Horace here says, by her brothers, Castor and Pollux. Vicem , means ' on behalf of.' In this independent form the word often occurs in Livy. The Greek poets used χάριν and μοῖραν in the same way.
45. potes nam,] This is a common formula in entreaties both in Greek (δύνα γάρ) and Latin.
46. O nec paternis] 'O thou who art not debased by the sins of thy parents, who art not an old witch skilled in sprinkling on the ninth day the ashes on the tombs of the poor.' In this way, while he pretends to recant, he makes his language more libellous than ever.
obsoleta] This is applied in an unusual sense. It usually signifies that which is gone to decay (out of use), as clothes, houses, faded pictures, &c. (see Forcell.), and so it comes to mean generally that which is spoilt and worthless, as here. See C. ii. 10. 6.
48. Novendiales] It appears, if we are to believe the old commentators, to have been the practice to bury the ashes nine days after death. Therefore, Horace means to say that the witch dug up the ashes of the dead immediately after their burial, while they were fresh, and better suited on that account for magical ceremonies. The ashes of the poor are fixed upon, perhaps, because they were not watched as the rich man's were. 'Novendiales' usually signifies of nine days' continuance,' but it cannot have that meaning here. Hector was buried after nine days (Il. xxiv. 784).
50. Tuusque venter Pactumeius,] In Epod. v. 5 it is insinuated that Canidia is childless, that the children she pretends to have are not hers, and her childbirths are a fiction, perhaps to extract money from her lovers, on whom her pretended children were affiliated. Here the libel is withdrawn, but in such a way as to leave it untouched, for in the last line he insinuates that her travail is at least not very difficult. Venter' is used by the law-writers to signify the child in the womb, or a woman with child. 'Pactumeius' is a Roman name; why Horace uses it, no one can tell. There is some allusion that would have been intelligible at the time.
53. Quid obseratis] From this point Canidia is supposed to reply. 56. ut tu riseris]Ut' is an exclamation of scorn. To think that you should.' It occurs again (S. ii. 5. 18): "Utne tegam spurco Damae latus!" The festival in honor of Cotys or Cotytto was of Thracian origin, and transferred to Corinth and other Greek states. It found its way into Sicily, but was never introduced into the Italian states, and was unknown at Rome except to the learned. The rites of this goddess were very impure, and, like other works of darkness, professed secrecy, as Juvenal says (ii. 91):
"Talia secreta coluerunt orgia taeda
Cecropiam soliti Baptae lassare Cotytto."
Canidia is made to call her witch's orgies Cotyttia, by which the libel that runs through the poem is maintained.
58. Et Esquilini pontifex venefici] She charges him with thrusting himself
upon the orgies as if he were the priest, who alone of men might attend them. As to the Campus Esquilinus, where the witches were supposed to hold their midnight meetings, see Epod. v. 100, and S. i. 8, Introduction.
60. Quid proderat ditasse] What good, then, did I get by spending money upon the old Pelignian witches (i. c. to teach me my craft), and mingling for thee a more quick and potent draught? But though it be quick and potent, yet the death that awaits thee shall be slower than thou wouldst have it.' The country of the Peligni lay to the north of the Marsi, who bordered on the Sabini. See note on v. 27.
63. in hoc] For this purpose.'
65. Pelopis infidi] See C. i. 6. 8, n.
66. Egens benignae] The poets of the Augustan age, in relating the punishment of Tantalus, refer only to that legend according to which, standing in the midst of water with fruit-trees over his head (benigna dapes '), he is not able to reach either (Hom. Odyss. xi. 582). The other story, followed by Pindar and other Greek poets, of a great stone suspended over his head, and ever threatening to fall on him, the Roman poets do not allude to. But Cicero does, and only to that (De Fin. i. 18; Tusc. Disp. iv. 16). See S. i.
67. Prometheus] Horace is not inconsistent in respect to Prometheus, whom in C. ii. 13. 37, 18. 85, he places in Tartarus. The story, as related prophetically by Hermes in the play of Eschylus (P. V. 1016, sqq.), is, that the Scythian rock on which Prometheus was first bound by Hephæstus was struck down, with him upon it, by Zeus into Hades, and that he was brought thence after a long time (μακρὸν μῆκος ἐκτελευτήσας χρόνου) to undergo upon earth the punishment awarded to Tityos in hell, of having his liver devoured by an eagle.
68. Sisyphus] See C. ii. 14. 20, n., where his punishment is called very aptly longus labor.'
71. Norico] The steel of Noricum (Carynthia and Styria) is mentioned elsewhere (C. i. 16. 9).
74. Vectabor humeris]
She threatens to bestride his hated shoulders in
triumph, and to spurn the earth in the pride of her revenge.
76. movere cereas imagines, To give life to waxen images made to represent an absent youth, and inspired with the tenderness or the pains he should feel. In S. i. 8. 30 such an image is introduced (see note), and the witch in Theocritus (ii. 28) melts a waxen image, and says:
ὡς τοῦτον τὸν καρὸν ἐγὼ σὺν δαίμονι τάκω,
ὡς τάκοιθ ̓ ὑπ ̓ ἔρωτος ὁ Μύνδιος αὐτίκα Δέλφις, which Virgil has imitated in his eighth Eclogue (v. 80):— "Limus ut hic durescit, et haec ut cera liquescit
Uno eodemque igni, sie nostro Daphnis amore." And Hypsipyle says of Medea (Ovid, Heroid. vi. 91):"Devovet absentes simulacraque cerea figit,
Et miserum tenues in jecur urget acus.'
80. Desideri- pocula] Love-potions.
81. in te nil agentis]
Of no avail against thee.'
THE professed purpose of this Satire, or that with which Horace seems to have begun, may be gathered from the first two lines. Discontent with the condition that Providence had assigned them; disappointment with the position many years' labor, and perhaps dishonesty, have gained them; envy of their neighbors' circumstances, even if they be worse than their own; dissatisfaction, in short, with what they have and are, and craving for something they have not and are not, these are features common to the great majority of men. For this vice of discontent the Greeks had a comprehensive name, μeμpopía. It will be seen that, after propounding the whole subject in the shape of a question to Mæcenas, Horace confines himself to one solution of it, and that not the most comprehensive (see notes on vv. 28. 108). Avarice is the only reason he assigns for the universal disease, and any one will see that hereby he leaves many untouched who are as culpably restless as the avaricious, but not in their sordid way.
The Satire is put first in the order of this book, not as an introduction (of which it bears no signs), but because it is addressed to Mæcenas.
1. quam sibi sortem] See note on C. i. 9. 14, as to 'sors' and 'fors.' These two are opposed, as effect and cause, the condition and that which produces it. 'Fors' and 'ratio' are opposed as that which a man cannot help, and that which he carves out for himself. 'Fors' is 'accident,' ' ratio' is choice.'
3. laudet] This sense of laudare,' 'felicem praedicare,' pakapičew, is repeated below, v. 9, and in v. 109, where it occurs in combination with, and as equivalent to, probare.' So Cicero (De Am. c. 7) says: "Ex quo illorum beata mors videtur, horum vita laudabilis."
laudet diversa sequentes?] This is briefly expressed, for 'sed quisque laudet.' In the transition from negative to positive statements, the positive element which is contained in the former is often carried on in the mind, so as to affect the latter, as in those sentences which are coupled by 'nee' and et, οὔτε and τε. 'Nemo vivit' is 'quisque non vivit.' 'Diversa' indicates, not merely different, but 'opposite' careers.
4. gravis unnis] Virgil says (Aen. ix. 246): "Hic annis gravis atque animi maturus Aletes." And gravis' is one of the commonest words applied to old age, as may be gathered from Cicero's treatise De Senect.; and Bapus is equally common in the same connection. Horace, in his own campaigning, had undoubtedly heard many a veteran grumbling at his con
7. Quid enim, concurritur:] See C. ii. 18. 23, n.
horae Momento] 'Horae momento' is a common phrase in Livy and other writers. Horace has below, 'puncto mobilis horae.' Punctum' is perhaps a little more precise than momentum,' which signifies the progress of time, though conventionally its smallest division. Pliny draws a distinction between them (Panegyr. iv. c. 56): " Quod momentum, quod immo temporis punctum aut beneficio sterile aut vacuum laude?"
9. juris legumque peritus] Jurisperiti,' 'jurisconsulti,' were persons who expounded the law. Their expositions were called 'responsa,' and they gave