Tuesday, 20 March 2012



For background information about Horace and the "Odes" the reader is directed to the introductory sections in Sabidius' previous items on Horace: 1) Odes Book III, dated 28 September 2010; and 2) Horace on Himself, dated 3 February 2012. In this item Sabidius now offers a translation of the thirty-eight carmina in "Odes" Book I.

As with Book III, the poems in this book can basically be divided into two very different types: one type consists of poems addressed to eminent personages or are written 'by command' to celebrate some public event or policy; the other type deals with personal themes of love, wine and friendship. The former type aim at stateliness and sonorous dignity, the latter exhibit elegance and polish. Despite the difference between the two kinds of ode, the order of poems indicates careful arrangement by Horace. The first three odes in Book I are addressed to Maecanas, Augustus and Virgil respectively, while the first nine odes are all composed in a different metre, so as to demonstrate his skill in adapting the various Greek poetic models to the Latin language, and thus to "bump against the stars with his exalted head" (see the end of carmen 1). At the end of Book I, the passion of the Cleopatra ode (number XXXVII) is followed by the very brief drinking song ode XXXVIII, in accordance with Horace's characteristic reluctance to end on a high note. With regard to metre, Horace does indeed demonstrate to the full his metrical virtuosity in Book I. 10 odes (60 stanzas in all) are written in the Alcaic metre; and 9 (54 stanzas in all) in the Sapphic metre, with another ode, number VIII, being a variant of this metre. Of the other 18 odes, 15 are in the different variants of the Asclepiad metre, and 3 follow an Archilochean pattern.

The text for this translation comes from the version of Horace's Odes Book I, edited by T.E.Page, M.A., Litt. D., in the Elementary Classics series, Macmillan, 1879. Attention has also been given to "Commentary on Horace, Odes, Epodes, and Carmen Saeculare," by Paul Shorey and Gordon J.Laing, Sanborn & Co.,  New York, 1910, and "Horace: The Odes," edited by Kenneth Quinn, Bristol Classical Press, 1996.

At the bottom of this translation is a list of some of the best known quotations which come from this book; in this list the Latin words in italics are followed by an English rendering which follows exactly the above translation.

Carmen I.  To Maecenas  (First Asclepiad metre.)  This poem, addressed to his patron Maecenas, introduces the collected edition of Horace's odes. In it Horace compares his own desire to be ranked among the great lyric poets with the obsessive ambitions of ordinary men.

Maecenas, sprung from royal ancestors, O both my protection and my dear honour, there are (those) whom it delights to have collected Olympic dust in the racing chariot, and the turning post just cleared and the ennobling palm exalts (them) to the gods (as) lords of the earth; (it delights) one man, if a fickle crowd of citizens (lit. Quirites) strives to raise (him) to the triple magistracies; (it delights) another man, if he has stored in his own granary whatever is swept from the Libyan threshing-floor. (The man) who rejoices (lit. rejoicing) to cut with his hoe his patrimonial fields, you could never induce, (even) with the promises of an Attalid, to cleave, (as) a timorous sailor, the Myrtonian sea in a Cyprian bark. The merchant, dreading the South-West Wind contending with the Icarian waves, commends ease and the countryside around (lit. of) his town; (but) soon, not acclimatised to bearing humble circumstances, he refits his shattered vessels. There is (another) who despises neither cups of old Massic (wine) nor taking away a part of the working (lit. genuine) day, his limbs stretched (lit. stretched in respect of his limbs) at one moment under an (ever)green arbutus, at another near the head of a sacred stream. Camps, and the sound of the trumpet, mingled with (that of) the clarion, and wars detested by mothers, delight many. The hunter, unmindful of his tender wife, passes the night (lit. remains) beneath the cold sky (lit. Jupiter), whether a deer has been seen by his faithful hounds or a Marsian boar has broken (through) the finely-wrought nets. The ivy (garlands), the reward of learned brows, associate me with the gods above, the cool grove and the light dances of the nymphs and (lit. with) satyrs distinguish me from the crowd, if neither Euterpe (i.e. the Muse of Lyric Poetry) withholds her pipes, nor Polyhymnia (i.e. the Muse of Sacred Music) disdains to tune her Lesbian lyre. But if you rank me among the lyric poets, I shall bump against the stars with my exalted head.

Carmen II.  To Augustus Caesar.  (Sapphic metre.)  This ode is addressed, in true poet laureate style, to Augustus as the almost divine protector and guardian of the Rome, and concludes with a prayer that he may long live to guide the state.

Enough of snow and dreadful hail has the Father now sent upon the earth, and, having hurled (his thunderbolts) with his red right-hand, against the sacred citadels, he has terrified the City, he has terrified the nations lest the grievous age of Pyrrha, complaining of  strange prodigies, should return, when Proteus drove all his herd to visit the lofty mountains, and the race of fishes were stuck in the top of the lofty elm, which had been known (as) the seat of doves, and the timorous deer swam in the overwhelming flood. We have seen the yellow Tiber, with his waves hurled back violently from the Etruscan shore, proceed to demolish the monuments of the king (i.e. Numa Pompilius) and the temples of Vesta; while he vaunts himself the avenger of the over-complaining Ilia, and the uxorious river, wandering (from its course), flows over its left bank, despite Jupiter's disapproval (lit. with Jupiter not approving).

Our youth, thinned by the vice of their fathers, shall hear of citizens having whetted their sword (against themselves), by which the formidable Persians would better have perished, (and) they shall hear of (actual) battles. Which of the gods shall the people invoke to the aid of (lit. for) the fortunes of our falling empire? With what prayer shall the holy virgins importune Vesta, (now) listening to their hymns less (than before)?  To whom shall Jupiter assign the task of expiating our wickedness? May you at last come, we pray (you), prophet Apollo, your radiant shoulders clad in a cloud (lit. clad in a cloud in respect of your radiant shoulders); or (may you come) if you will, smiling Erycina (i.e.Venus), around whom hover Jocus and Cupid; or, if you have regard for your neglected race and descendants, (you) our founder (i.e. Mars), whom clamour and polished helmets and the fierce aspect of the Moorish infantry against their bloody enemy delight, alas, satiated too much with your lengthy sport; or, if you, the winged son of gentle Maia (i.e. Mercury), your form having been changed, should impersonate a young man upon the earth, submitting to be called the avenger of  Caesar: late may you return to the heavens, and may you dwell joyously among the people of Quirinus (i.e. Romulus), nor may a premature (lit. too swift) blast take you (from us); here may you rather delight at magnificent triumphs, here (may you delight) to be called father (of your country) and first (citizen), nor may you suffer the Medes (i.e.the Parthians) to make incursions (lit. to ride up and down) unpunished, with you, Caesar (i.e. Augustus), (being) our general.

Carmen III.  To the ship, in which Virgil was about to sail to Athens.  (Second Asclepiad metre.)  This ode is a 'propemptikon', a 'bon voyage' poem, written on the occasion of Virgil's journey to Greece.  Such poems commonly strike a note of caution about the potential dangers ahead. Here Horace expresses some thoughts on foreign travel and misplaced human ingenuity in general.    

So may the goddess ruling over Cyprus (i..e. Venus), so (may) the bright stars, the brothers of Helen (i.e. the Gemini), and the father of the winds (i.e. Aeolus), (all) others except Iapys, having been confined, direct you, (O) ship that owes Virgil, (who has been) entrusted to you, may you deliver (him) safely, I pray, to the borders of Attica, and may you (thus) preserve the (other) half of my soul. There was oak and triple brass around the heart of him who first committed a fragile vessel to the merciless ocean, nor feared the precipitous South-West Wind contending with the North Winds, nor the gloomy Hyades nor the frenzy of the South Wind, than whom (there is) no greater controller of the Adriatic, (whether) he wishes to rouse or to calm the waves. What approach of Death did he fear, who (beheld) with dry eyes the swimming monsters (of the deep), who  beheld the tumultuous sea and Aceraunia (and) its ill-famed rocks?

In vain has god, in his wisdom, divided the lands (of the earth) by the separating Ocean, if, nevertheless, impious ships bound across waters not suitable to be violated. The human race, presumptuous (enough) to endure everything,  rushes (on) through forbidden wickedness.

The audacious son of Iapetus (i.e. Prometheus), by wicked deceit, brought fire to the nations. After the theft of fire (lit. fire having been stolen), consumption and a new band of fevers settled upon the earth, and the slow necessity of death, previously remote, quickened its pace. Daedalus made trial of the empty air with wings not given to man; the labour of Hercules burst through Acheron. Nothing is (too) arduous for mortals (to attempt). In our folly, we aim at heaven itself, nor through our wickedness do we allow Jupiter to lay aside his angry thunderbolts.

Carmen IV.  To Sextius.  (First Archilochean metre.)  The coming of spring, the subject of this poem, is a common theme in Horace's verse. It is a time for joy, and, with death never far away, we should enjoy life while we can. This ode is addressed to Lucius Sestius, consul suffectus in 23 B.C.

Keen winter is melted by the welcome change of spring and the Westerly breeze, and the windlasses draw (down) the dry ships; and neither do the cattle delight any longer in their stalls or the ploughman in his fire, nor are the meadows whitened by hoary frosts. Now Cytherean Venus leads the dances, with the Moon looking down, and the comely Graces, joined to the Nymphs, shake the ground with alternate feet, while the glowing Vulcan rekindles the toilsome forges of the Cyclopes. Now it is fitting to encircle one's gleaming head with green myrtle or with the flowers which the relaxed earth produces. Now also it is fitting to sacrifice to Faunus in the shady groves, whether he demands (to be appeased) by a lamb, or whether he prefers (to be appeased) by a kid. Pale Death kicks at the cottages of the poor and the towers of kings with an impartial foot. O happy Sestius, the short sum total of our life forbids us to form long expectations. Presently shall night and the fabled ghosts (lit. Manes) and the cheerless mansion of Pluto overwhelm you: where, as soon as you shall have arrived, you shall determine neither the sovereignty of the wine by dice (lit. knuckle-bones), nor shall you admire the tender Lycidas, for whom all the youth is now inflamed, and (for whom) maidens will soon glow (with love).

Carmen V.  To Pyrrha.  (Fourth Asclepiad metre.)  This beautifully expressed ode is Horace's first love poem. Its theme is the battle of the sexes as waged between two unequal partners, an inexperienced young man attempting the conquest of a girl fully accustomed to such affairs.  

What slender youth, steeped in liquid perfume, woos you, Pyrrha, amid many a rose deep inside this pleasing grotto? For whom do you, simple in your elegance, bind back your golden hair? Alas, how often shall he bewail your faithlessness and the altered gods, and, in his innocence, he will be amazed by the seas (made) rough by the blackening winds, (he) who, (too) trustingly, now possesses you (shining) like gold; )he) who, unaware of the shifting (lit. treacherous) breeze, hopes (you will) always (be) available (lit. disengaged), always lovable. Wretched (are those) to whom you shine untried! This sacred wall declares, by means of a votive tablet, that I have hung up my dripping garments to the god having power over the sea.

Carmen VI.  To Agrippa.  (Third Asclepiad metre.)  In this poem Horace offers a dexterous apology to Agrippa, Augustus' principal military associate, for his failure to do justice to his achievements.

You will be described (lit. written of) by Varius, on the wing of Maeonian (i.e. epic) song, (as) brave and a conqueror of your enemies, whatever exploit your fierce soldiery shall have accomplished, (whether) in ships or on horseback, with you (as) their general. We, (O) Agrippa, in our feebleness (lit. with our slender [verses]), do not attempt to speak of these grand (themes), nor (of) the relentless bile of the son of Peleus (i.e. Achilles), not knowing how to yield, nor of the journeys of the cunning Ulysses, nor of the cruel house of Pelops, while modesty and the Muse, presiding over the peaceable lyre (i.e. Euterpe), forbids (me) to tarnish through the defect of my ability the praises of illustrious Caesar (i.e. Augustus) and of you. Who will worthily write of  Mars covered with an adamantine coat of mail (lit. tunic)? Or (of) Meriones, black with Trojan dust, (or) of the son of Tydeus (i.e. Diomedes), with the assistance of Pallas (i.e. Minerva) a match for (lit. equal to) the gods? We sing of banquets, we (sing of) the battles of virgins, fierce against young men, (but) with pared nails, (whether) we are fancy free (lit. unattached), or, if we are fired by any (spark), a little in love (lit. easy), not beyond our wont.

Carmen VII.  To Munatius Plancus.  (Second Archilochean metre.)  This is composed in the form of  an after-dinner conversation, elegantly reconstructed as a lyric, with the theme, or moral, that we should use wine to give us some occasional relief from the cares of life. It is addressed to Plancus, consul in 42 B.C., and very much an elder statesman at the time Horace wrote this poem. 

Other (poets) shall praise the famous Rhodes, or Mytilene, or Ephesus, or the walls of Corinth between two seas, or Thebes, illustrious due to Bacchus, or Delphi (illustrious) due to Apollo, or Thessalian Tempe. There are (some) whose sole task it is to celebrate in endless song the city of spotless Pallas (i.e. Athens), and to place upon their brow an olive (wreath) plucked from every side. Many a one, in honour of Juno, will tell of Argos fit for horses, and (of) rich Mycenae. Neither enduring Lacedaemon (i.e. Sparta) nor the plain of fertile Larissa has impressed (lit. struck) me so much as the grotto (lit. house) of re-echoing Albunea, and the headlong Anio, and the groves of Tibur, and its orchards watered by restless rivulets. As a fine South-West Wind clears the clouds from an overcast sky and does not bring forth from its womb rains unceasingly, so (if) you (are) wise, Plancus, remember, to set limits to anxiety and the toils of life by mellow wine, whether the camp, glittering with ensigns, possesses you, or the dense shade of your own Tibur shall detain (you). When Teucer fled from Salamis and his father, yet he is reputed to have bound his temples, moist with wine, with a garland of poplar, addressing his anxious friends thus: "O comrades and companions, whithersoever fortune, kinder (to me) than my father, may guide (lit. bear) us, we shall go. Nothing is to be despaired of, with Teucer (as) your leader, and with Teucer (as) taker of the auspices; for infallible Apollo has promised that there shall be a second Salamis in a new land. O gallant heroes and (those) often suffering with me greater hardships (lit. worse things), now drive away your cares with wine: tomorrow we will again traverse the vast ocean.

Carmen VIII.  To Lydia.  (Greater Sapphic metre.)  The theme of this poem is how the martial prowess of  a young Roman aristocrat on the verge of manhood is corrupted by the enervating effects of a love affair with an older woman. 

Lydia, tell (me), I beg you in the name of all the gods, why do you hasten to ruin Sybaris by love; why should he hate the sunny Campus (Martius), (though previously) able to endure the the dust and heat (lit, sun)? Why does he neither ride a horse (like) a soldier among his equals, nor control the mouth of a Gallic (steed) by jagged bits? Why does he fear to touch the yellow Tiber? Why does he shun olive-oil more cautiously than viper's blood, and no longer display (lit. wear) his arms black-and-blue (lit. livid) from (the use of) weapons, often renowned for the discus having been hurled, often (renowned) for the javelin (having been hurled) beyond (lit. across) the (recorded) limit. Why is he concealed, as they say the son of the sea(-nymph) Thetis (i.e. Achilles) (was) just before the mournful fall (lit. funerals) of Troy, lest manly attire should drag (him) forth to slaughter of (lit. and) the Lycian contingents?

Carmen IX.  To Thaliarchus.  (Alcaic metre.)  This ode comprises a dramatic monologue with Horace in his role of the middle-aged commentator on the comedy of human life. The refrain comes through once again that the young should enjoy life while they can.

You see how (Mount) Soracte stands (out) gleaming with deep snow, nor can the labouring woods sustain their burden any longer, and the rivers have been frozen on account of the piercing cold. Dissolve the cold, liberally piling up logs on the hearth, and bring down, O Thaliarchus (i.e. Lord of the banquets), the more generous four-year old wine jar. Leave the rest to the gods, for, as soon as they have stilled (lit. have spread) the winds fighting it out on the boiling plain of the sea, neither the cypresses nor the aged ash-trees are tossed about. Avoid asking what may happen tomorrow, and what Fortune may bestow (upon you) put down to profit, nor (as) a youth (should) you scorn sweet loves or dances, so long as crabbed old age (lit. grey-hair) keeps away from your youth (lit. [you] being green). Now let both the Campus (Martius) and public open spaces and gentle whispers at nightfall be repeated at the trysting (lit appointed) hour, now also  (let there be repeated) the welcome laugh of a hidden damsel from an innermost corner, and the token snatched from her arms or a scarcely resisting finger.

Carmen X.  To Mercury.  (Sapphic metre.)  The first of several exercises in traditional hymn form, the subject of this ode is Mercury and his benefactions to mankind. 

(O) Mercury, eloquent grandson of Atlas, who, shrewd (fellow that you are), civilised (lit. shaped) the brutish manner of newly-created men by (the gift of) language and the institution of the graceful wrestling-ground, I shall sing of you, messenger of great Jupiter and the gods, and father of the curved lyre, skilled in hiding whatever pleased (you) by a witty stratagem (lit. theft). While Apollo with his threatening voice was trying to frighten you (as) a boy, unless you were to restore the oxen once taken away by your trickery, he had to laugh (when he found himself) deprived of his quiver. Moreover, the wealthy Priam too, Ilium having been left behind, with you (as) his guide, eluded the proud sons of Atreus (i.e. Agamemnon and Menelaus), and the watch-fires and the camp hostile to Troy. You duly place dutiful souls in the blissful regions and keep together the insubstantial crowd with your golden rod (i.e. your caducaeus), welcome to (those) of the gods, (both) above and below.

Carmen XI.  To Leuconoe.  (Fifth Asclepiad metre.)  Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die!

Do you not enquire, it is wrong to know, what limit (to life), the gods have given to me, what to you, Leuconoe, neither try the Babylonian calculations (i.e. astrology). How (much) better (it is) to endure whatever will be! Whether Jupiter has assigned (us yet) more winters or whether (this will be) our last, which now wears out the Tyrrhenian sea upon the opposing rocks (lit. pumice-rocks), be wise, strain your wines, and, in accordance with the short span (of your life), cut down your distant expectations. While we speak, jealous age will have fled: seize (lit. pluck) the day, trusting to the morrow as little as possible.

Carmen XII.  To Augustus.  (Sapphic metre.)  A long poem written in praise of Octavian (i.e. the future Augustus) probably around 36 B.C.: the language is somewhat stilted, and the host of examples from both Greek mythology and Roman history rather forced. 

What man or hero (i.e. demi-god) do you undertake to celebrate, Clio (i.e. the Muse of History), on the lyre or shrill pipe? What god? Whose name shall the sportive echo resound, either in the shady borders of (Mount) Helicon or on the top of (Mount) Pindus or on the cold Haemus (range)? From here the woods blindly (lit. rashly) followed the tuneful Orpheus, delaying the the rapid courses of rivers and the swift winds, likewise persuasive to draw along the long-eared oaks with his harmonious strings. What can I say prior to the usual praises of the father who (governs) the affairs of men and gods, who regulates the sea and the earth and the sky by the changing seasons? From him nothing is produced greater than himself, nor does anything flourish like (him) or (closely) following (him): yet Pallas (i.e. Athena) has assumed honours next to him.

Neither shall I be silent about you, Liber (i.e. Baachus), daring in battle, and (you O) Virgin, an enemy to the savage beasts (i.e. Diana), nor you, Phoebus (i.e. Apollo), to be dreaded for your unerring arrow.

Likewise I shall speak of the grandson of Alcaeus (i.e. Hercules) and the sons of Leda (i.e. Castor and Pollux), the one (famous for conquering) on horseback, the other famous for conquering in battles (on foot);  as soon as their bright constellation (i.e. the Gemini) has shone for the sailors, the wind-blown spray pours down from the rocks, the winds collapse and the clouds flee, and the threatening wave subsides in the open sea  - because they have willed (it) thus. After these things, I am in doubt (whether) I should first commemorate Romulus, or the peaceful reign of (Numa) Pompilius, or the proud fasces of Tarquin, or the noble death of Cato. I shall gratefully record in decorative poetry (lit. Camena) Regulus and Scaurus, and Paullus, prodigal of his mighty soul with the conquering Carthaginian (i.e. Hannibal), and Fabricius.

Stern poverty and an hereditary farmstead, with a modest dwelling, produced such (heroic stock), useful in war, as well as Curius with his unkempt locks, and Camillus. The fame of Marcellus (i.e. Octavian's nephew) is growing like a tree with the unmarked (lapse of) time; the Julian star shines amidst (them) all like the Moon amidst lesser lights (lit. fires). (O) son of (lit. [thou] sprung from) Saturn, father and guardian of the human race, to you the protection (lit. care) of great Caesar (i.e. Octavian) is assigned by the Fates: you shall reign (supreme) with Caesar following (you). Whether he will have led (before him), subdued in a just triumph, the Parthians threatening Italy (lit. Latium), or the Chinese and Indians dwelling close to the Eastern edge of (the earth), he shall rule the wide world with equity, (though) subordinate to you (lit. less than you); you will shake Olympus with your tremendous chariot, (and) you will despatch hostile thunderbolts against the polluted (lit. insufficiently pure) groves.

Carmen XIII.  To Lydia.  (Second Asclepiad metre.)  A poem on the theme of unrequited love and the jealousy of a man, to whom a younger man is preferred. Whether the Lydia, to whom this ode is addressed, is identical to the Lydia of Carmen VIII is unclear. 

Lydia, when you praise Telephus' rosy neck and Telephus' waxy arms, alas, my boiling liver swells with angry bile. Then, neither my mind nor the colour of my (complexion) stays in a settled state, and a teardrop glides secretly down my cheeks, proving how I am wasting away from within by slowly(-consuming) fires. I am on fire, whether quarrels, (rendered) immoderate by wine, have scarred your snow-white shoulders, or whether the youth, in his frenzy, has impressed with his teeth a souvenir mark on your lips. If you would (only) listen to me, you would not hope (that he will be) constant who barbarously bruises (lit. barbarously bruising) your sweet lips, which Venus has imbued with a  fifth part of her nectar. Thrice and more (than thrice) happy (are those) whom an unbroken bond holds (together), and (whom) no love, torn asunder by ill-natured recriminations, will release sooner than their dying (lit. very last) day.

Carmen XIV.  To the Roman ship of state.  (Fourth Asclepiad metre.)  The sense of this ode probably operates at two levels. On the one hand, the ship of state shattered by civil wars is depicted as in danger of drifting back into such rough waters. On the other hand, the poem may also be referring to the real storms which, according to Suetonius, afflicted Octavian's fleet while it was seeking to return to Italy after the Battle of Actium in 31 B.C. 

O ship, fresh waves will carry you back to sea! O what are you doing? Boldly hasten to reach harbour! Do you not see how your side (is) stripped of oars, and your mast (is) damaged by the swift South Wind, and (how) your yard-arms groan, and your hull can scarcely withstand the too tyrannous surface of the sea without ropes? You do not have (lit. There are not to you) unimpaired sails, nor are the gods, whom you call, overwhelmed once more by disaster, however much you, (as) the daughter of a noble wood, may boast of your Pontic pine and an unavailing race and name; the timorous sailor in no way relies upon painted sterns. Do you, unless (you are) due to be sport for the winds, beware. (O you) who (were) lately (a cause of) disquieting weariness to me, (but are) now (a cause of) yearning and no slight sollicitude, may you avoid the seas flowing among the shining Cyclades.

Carmen XV.  To Paris.  (Third Asclepiad metre.)  In a poem, more Homeric in tone and content than is usual with Horace, Paris is stopped on his journey back to Troy with Helen by the sea-god Nereus, who accurately prophesies the war between Trojans and Greeks which will be the outcome of Paris' seduction. 

When the perfidious shepherd (i.e. Paris) was carrying off his hostess Helen across the sea in ships of Ida (i.e Trojan ships), Nereus suppressed the winds in an unwelcome calm, so that he might recite in prophecy the stern (decrees of) fate: " With an unlucky omen (lit. bird) are you leading home (her) whom Greece with a numerous army shall seek to bring back, sworn to break up your nuptials and the ancient kingdom of Priam. Alas, alas, how great a sweat for horses, how great (a sweat) for men is at hand! How great a ruin are you setting in motion for the Dardan (i..e. Trojan) race! Already Pallas (i.e. Athena) is making ready her helmet and her shield and her chariot and her wrath. Vainly confident in the protection of Venus, will you comb your hair, and set to music songs pleasing to women on the unwarlike lyre, in vain will you, in your bridal-chamber, avoid the grievous spears and the points of the Cnosian (i.e. Cretan) arrow, and the din (of battle), and Ajax, swift in pursuit (lit. to pursue): nevertheless, alas, (though) late, you will defile your adulterous locks in the dust. Do you not see the son of Laertes (i.e. Ulysses), (do you) not (see) Pylian Nestor, (as) the ruin of your race? Salaminian Teucer, and Sthenelus, skilful in battle, or, if there is a need to manage horses, no mean charioteer, are pressing upon you fearlessly: you will also learn of Meriones. Behold, the fierce son of Tydeus (i.e. Diomedes), a better (man) than his father, is burning to find you, (a man) from whom you shall flee, as a stag, unmindful of the grass, timid with panting (head) uplifted, (shall flee from) the wolf (he has) seen on the other side of the valley, not such (as) you promised to your (mistress). The enraged fleet of Achilles will put off the (fatal) day for Ilium (i.e. Troy) and the matrons of the Phrygians (i.e. the Trojans); after a fixed (number of) winters, Achaean (i.e. Greek) fire will burn the palaces of Ilium (i.e. Troy)."

Carmen XVI.  To a young lady, whom Horace had previously offended.  (Alcaic metre.)  This ode is a 'palinode' or 'recantation', that is, a poem apologising for, or disowning, a previous attack.

O daughter, more beautiful than your beautiful mother, put whatever limit you wish to my slanderous iambics,  whether in the flames or, if it pleases you, in the Adriatic sea. Neither Dindymene (i.e. Cybele), nor the Pythian inhabitant (i.e. Apollo) in his innermost sanctuaries, nor Liber (i.e. Bacchus), shakes the mind of their  priests so much, nor do the Corybantes dash their sharp(-sounding) cymbals with such effect, as (do) the bitter (outbursts of) passion, which neither a Noric sword, nor the ship-wrecking sea, nor the cruel conflagration, nor Jupiter, hurtling (down) himself with a tremendous crash, can deter. Prometheus is said to (have been) compelled to add to our primordial clay a particle cut out from every (animal), and to have attached the force of the raging lion to our breast (lit. stomach), (outbursts of) rage laid low Thyestes in terrible ruin, and for towering cities have stood (as) the primary (lit. farthest back) reasons why they have utterly perished, and an arrogant army impressed a hostile ploughshare within its walls. Curb your temper: ardour of breast assailed me also in my sweet youth and drove (lit. sent) (me) in my rage into headstrong (lit. swift) iambics; now I am seeking to change bitter (words) to sweet (ones), provided that, my abusive (words) having been recanted, you become friendly to me, and restore your affection (lit. heart) (to me).

Carmen XVII.  To Tyndaris.  (Alcaic metre.)  Horace invites Tyndaris to visit his Sabine farm, presented to him as a gift by Maecenas in about 34 B.C. Tyndaris is an imaginary woman, and may mean Helen, who was the daughter of Tyndareus. 

The nimble (lit. swift) Faunus often exchanges the pleasant Lucretilis (i.e. a mountain above Horace's Sabine farm, now Monte Gennaro) for the Lycaean (mountain) (i..e. in Arcadia), and continually wards off the fiery summer and the rainy winds from my she-goats. The wandering wives of an unsavoury husband seek the hidden strawberry-trees and thymes unharmed, through the secure grove, neither do the little kids fear the green snakes nor the wolves sacred to Mars, whenever, my Tyndaris, the valleys and the smooth rocks of low-lying Ustica have resounded with his melodious pipe. The gods protect me, (and) my piety and my Muse are dear to the gods. Here, abundance, rich in the glories of the countryside, shall flow for you with her generous horn filled to the brim (lit. to the full). Here, in a secluded vale, you shall avoid the heat of the Dog-star, and on your Teian string (i.e. the lyre of Anacreon) you shall celebrate (lit. speak of) Penelope and glassy-green Circe, striving for (the love of) one (and the same man); here, under the shade, you will quaff cups of harmless Lesbian (wine), nor will the Semelian son of Thyone (i.e. Bacchus) join in battle with Mars, nor, having come under suspicion, will you fear the headstrong Cyrus, lest he should lay his intemperate hands (upon you who are) badly matched (with him), and (lest) he should rend the garland, entwined in your hair, and your unoffending garment.

Carmen XVIII.  To Varus.  (Greater Asclepiad metre.)  Horace extols the pleasures, but also warns of the dangers, of drinking wine. The addressee is probably the patrician Quinctilius Varus, a friend of both Horace and Virgil, and a respected literary critic. 

(O) Varus, you can plant no tree preferable to (lit. earlier than) the sacred vine about the fruitful soil of Tibur and the walls of Catilus (i.e. the legendary founder of Tibur). For god has declared everything to be hard for the sober, nor do gnawing anxieties disperse otherwise. Who, after wine, harps on about hard campaigning or poverty? Who (does) not rather (celebrate) you, father Bacchus, and you, comely Venus? But, lest anyone transgresses the gifts of moderate Liber (i.e. Bacchus), the combat of the Centaurs with the Lapiths, fought over the wine, is a warning (to us), and Euhius, not gentle (i.e. very severe) to the Sithonians (i.e. the people of Thrace), when, in their appetite for lechery, they (only) distinguish between right and wrong by a narrow margin, is a warning (to us). I shall not arouse you, O open-hearted (lit. fair) Bassareus (i.e. Bacchus, the wearer of the fox-skin) against your will. Check your dire cymbals (together) with your Berecynthian (i.e. Phrygian) horn, in whose train follow blind Love of self, and Vainglory, holding up her empty head far to much, and empty Faith, prodigal of secrets, more transparent than glass.

Carmen XIX.  To Glycera. (Second Asclepiad metre.)  To his surprise, Horace has fallen in love again, not a frivolous flirtation but the real thing, and he appeals to the Goddess of Love for help.

The cruel mother of the Cupids (i.e. Venus), and the son of Theban Semele (i.e. Bacchus), and wanton Licence, command me to restore my attention to ended love-affairs. The radiance of Glycera, shining more brightly than Parian marble, inflames me; her charming petulance and her countenance, too dazzling (lit. slippery) to be beheld, inflames (me). Venus, hurtling (down) upon me with her full force, has quitted Cyprus, and does not suffer (me) to celebrate (lit. tell of) the Scythians, or the Parthian, courageous on  his retreating horses (lit. his horses having been turned around), or (things) which are of no importance at all. Here, slaves, place freshly-cut (lit. live) turf for me, here (place) vervain and frankincense, with a flagon of two-year old wine: she (i.e. Venus) will come more propitiously, a victim having been sacrificed.

Carmen XX.  To Maecenas  (Sapphic metre.)  Horace invites his patron Maecenas to visit him at his Sabine farm, but warns him not to expect wine of the very highest quality. 

My dear knight Maecenas, (in my house) you shall drink cheap Sabine (wine) in simple goblets, which, bottled (lit. stored) in a Grecian cask, I myself sealed (with pitch), (on the day) when (such) applause was given to you in the theatre (i.e. the theatre of Pompey on the Campus Martius) that the banks of your ancestral river (i.e. the Tiber), together also with the joyous echo of the Vatican hill, returned your praises. Then, you may drink the Caecuban (wine) and the grape (which is) crushed in the Calenian wine-press; (but) neither Falernian vines nor the Formian hills season my cups.

Carmen XXI.  To a chorus of boys and girls, on Diana and Apollo.  (Fourth Asclepiad metre.)  Instructions to a mixed choir of boys and girls for a hymn in honour of Diana and Apollo as averting deities.

(You) tender virgins, sing of Diana, (you) boys, sing of unshorn Apollo, and (of) Latona, deeply beloved by supreme Jupiter. You (virgins praise her) as she rejoices (lit. rejoicing) in the rivers and in the foliage of the groves, whatever projects either from the cold Algidus, or from the gloomy Erymanthus, or from the green woods of Cragus; you (boys) extol with the same number of praises (the vale of) Tempe, and Apollo's native Delos, and (the god) adorned in respect of his shoulder by a quiver and his brother's (i.e. Mercury's) lyre. Moved by your prayer, he shall drive (away) lamentable war, he (shall drive away) wretched famine and pestilence  from the (Roman) people and their leader, Caesar (i.e. Octavian), towards the Persians and the Britons.

Carmen XXII.  To Aristius Fuscus.  (Sapphic metre.)  The theme of this ode is the immunity which lovers enjoy from the dangers which threaten the lives of ordinary men. 

(The man) upright of life, and pure of wickedness, (O) Fuscus, is not in need of Moorish javelins, or a bow, or a quiver heavy with poisoned darts, whether he is about to make his journey through the sweltering Syrtes, or through the inhospitable Caucasus, or those places which the fabled Hydaspes washes. For indeed, while I was singing of my Lalage, and I was wandering beyond my boundary, devoid of cares (lit. the [bonds of] care having been loosened), a wolf fled from me, (though I was) unarmed. Such a monster as neither the warlike Daunias (i.e. Apulia) nourishes in its spacious oak-woods, nor the land of Juba (i.e. Numidia), the dry nurse of lions, produces. Place me in those barren plains where no tree is refreshed by the summer breeze, that part of the world which clouds and an inclement sky (lit. unkind Jupiter) oppress; place (me) under the chariot of the too close sun in a land deprived of (human) habitations: (there) I shall love my sweet-laughing, sweet-talking Lalage.

Carmen XXIII.  To Chloe.  (Fourth Asclepiad metre.)  A girl of marriageable age is encouraged not to cling to her mother's apron-strings. 

You shun me, Chloe, like a fawn seeking its timorous mother in the trackless mountains, not without a vain dread of the breezes and the thickets. For she trembles both in her heart and in her knees, whether the arrival of spring has made the rustling leaves shiver, or the green lizards have parted the brake asunder. And yet, I do not pursue you like an enraged tigress or a Gaetulian (i.e. North-West African) lion to tear (you to pieces): at last, cease to follow your mother, (now that you are) ready for a husband.

Carmen XXIV.  To Virgil, in memory of Quinctilius Varus.  (Third Asclepiad metre.)  Horace addresses this ode to his fellow-poet Virgil on the death of their common friend Quinctilius Varus, who died in 24 B.C. and who was probably the same man to whom Horace addressed Ode XVIII above.  

What shame or limit can there be to my yearning for so dear a life? (O) Melopomene (i.e. the Muse of Tragic Poetry), on whom your father (i.e. Jupiter) has bestowed a clear voice and (lit. with) a lyre, teach (me) the mournful strains. So, eternal sleep lies heavy on Quinctilius! When will Shame and incorruptible Faith, the sister of Justice, and naked Truth find any equal to him? He died, lamented by many good (men), (but) more lamented by no one than by you, Virgil. Alas, you, pious in vain, demand Quinctilius from the gods, (though he was) not entrusted to them on such terms. But (even) if you were to strike the lyre-string, heard by the trees, more sweetly than the Thracian Orpheus, (yet) the blood cannot return to the empty shade, which Mercury, not easily (persuaded) by prayers to open the (gates of the) Fates, has once (and for all) driven with his dreadful staff (i.e. his caducaeus) to the gloomy flock. (It is) hard: but whatever is forbidden (to us) to amend becomes more bearable (lit. easier) with patience.

Carmen XXV.  To Lydia.  (Sapphic metre.)  A somewhat coarsely-phrased ode, warning a woman who now displays haughty contempt to her would-be lovers that, when she is older, and yet retains the passions of her youth, she will meet a similar response from them.

The wanton youths shake your closed windows with frequent handfuls (lit. throwings) (of stones) more sparingly, nor take away your sleep, and your door, which formerly moved its hinges very easily, (now) hugs (lit. loves) its threshold; now do you hear less and less: "Lydia, do you sleep (all) night long, with me, your (lover) dying?" In your turn, you will bewail these arrogant rakes, an old baggage in a deserted alleyway, with the wind from Thrace raging more towards the time of the new moon, when that hot desire and lust, which is wont to madden the dams of horses, shall rage about your diseased heart (lit. ulcerous liver), not without complaint, because joyous youth revels rather in green ivy and dusky myrtle, (and) dedicates withered leaves to winter's companion, the Hebrus.

Carmen XXVI.  To the Muse of Pimplea, in honour of Aelius Lamia.  (Alcaic metre.) In this elegant poem, Horace advises once more that the cares of the world should be left behind, while he writes poetry of a new and exciting kind to honour his friend.    

A friend to the Muses, I shall deliver up grief and fears to the wanton winds to carry into the Cretan sea, (I who am) singularly indifferent (as to) who is feared (as) king of the frosty region beneath the Bear (i.e. the remote North), or what frightens Tiridates. O sweet (Muse) of Pimplea (i.e. the site of the Pierian spring near Mount Olympus), who rejoices in untouched springs, weave (together) sunny flowers, (and) weave a garland for my Lamia! Without you, the honours of my (bestowing) avail (me) nothing: to immortalise him with strings not heard before (lit. new), (to immortalise) him with a Lesbian plectrum, becomes both you and your sisters.

Carmen XXVII.  To his companions.  (Alcaic metre.) A playful sketch of an imaginary scene at a wine-drinking party; after the poet has reproached his guests for their rowdy behaviour, he attempts to defuse the situation by teasing one of them about his latest love-affair.  

To fight with cups, meant (lit. born) as an aid to pleasure, is (a characteristic of) the Thracians: away with this barbaric custom, and protect moderate Bacchus from bloody brawling! How utterly the scimitar of the Medes is at variance with wine and candles: (O) my companions, still your impious clamour, and stay in your place with your elbow pressed (into your couch)! Do you wish me also to take my share of the stout Falernian? (Then) let the brother of Opuntian Megilla declare by what wound, (and) with what arrow he is dying, a happy (victim). Does your will falter? I will not drink upon any other condition. Whatever mistress (lit. Venus) rules you, she scorches (you) with flames (which you do) not need to be ashamed of, and you always err with a straightforward  (lit. free-born) love. Come, confide whatever (case) you have to safe ears. Ah, unhappy youth, with what a (terrible) Charybdis were you struggling, (though) worthy of a better flame! What witch, what magician with a Thessalian potion, what deity, will be able to set you free? Pegasus will scarcely deliver you from the triple-shaped Chimera, (once you have been) entangled (by it).

Carmen XXVIII.  To Archytas, and then to a sailor who happens to be travelling past.  (Second Archilochean metre.)  This ode, cast in the form of a monologue,  is particularly difficult to interpret, and is unusual, because for once the speaker is not Horace himself, but the ghost of an unknown sailor, drowned and washed up on the Apulian coast near to the tomb of Archytas, a famous Fifth Century B.C. philosopher and mathematician from Tarentum, to whom the speaker's thoughts are initially addressed.  The initial theme is that we are all equal in death, no matter how eminent we are. Then the poem shifts to an entreaty to any passing traveller, who comes across a corpse on the seashore, that he should make the time to bury it and thus free its soul from having to range the earth.

The petty gifts of a little dust near the Matine shore (i.e. the site of Archytas' tomb, near Venusia in Apulia) confines you, (O) Archytas, mindful of sea and earth and sand lacking number, nor does it profit you in any way to have essayed the celestial regions and to have traversed the round world in your mind, (since you were) doomed to die. The father of Pelops (i.e. Tantalus), the guest of the gods, also died, and Tithonus (was) removed to the skies (lit. the breezes), and Minos (was) admitted to the secrets of Jupiter, and the Tartarean (regions) possess the son of Panthous (i.e. the Trojan Euphorbus whose soul Pythagoras believed he had received through transmigration) having been sent down to Orcus again, however much, having borne witness to Trojan times, his shield having been taken down, he had yielded nothing to gloomy death beyond his sinews and skin, in your opinion (lit. with you [as] judge) no mean expounder of nature and truth. But the same (lit. one) night awaits (us) all, and the road of death must be trod once (and for all). The Furies give some (as) a spectacle to gloomy Mars; the greedy sea is (the cause of) ruin to sailors; the mingled funerals of old men and youths are crowded together, (and) the cruel Proserpina has never passed by any head. The South Wind, the impetuous companion of the setting (lit. downrushing) Orion has sunk me also in the Illyrian waves. But do you not spare, (O) sailor, to give grudgingly a small portion of shifting sand to my bones and my unburied head: on this condition (lit. thus), whatever the East Wind will threaten with regard to the Hesperian (i.e. Western) seas, may the woods of Venusia be lashed, with you (being) safe, and may a large profit, from whatever (quarter) it can (come), flow down to you from a favourably disposed Jupiter and from Neptune, the founder of sacred Tarentum. Do you consider it a light thing to take upon yourself the (guilt of a) crime (that) will be harmful to your innocent offspring in the future? By chance too, may the debt to justice (lit. laws withheld) and haughty retribution (lit. a return of arrogance) await you yourself: I will not be left in the lurch (lit. deserted) by useless prayers, and no expiations will absolve you. Although you are in haste, there is no long delay; the dust having been cast three times, it will be permitted that you may proceed (lit. run).

Carmen XXIX.  To Iccius.  (Alcaic.)  Horace expresses surprise that Iccius, a man with a reputation for an interest in philosophy, should have volunteered for a campaign in Arabia.

(O) Iccius, do you now envy the rich treasures of the Arabians, and are you preparing for a fierce campaign against the Sabaean kings, not previously conquered, and forging (lit. weaving) fetters for the dreaded Mede? What barbarian maiden will be a slave to you, her betrothed having been slain? What boy from the court, with his perfumed locks, having been taught to shoot Chinese arrows from his father's bow, shall be appointed as your cup-bearer (lit. to your ladle)? Who will deny that descending rivers can flow backwards up high mountains, and that the Tiber can reverse its flow, since you are intending to exchange the noble books of Panaetius, collected from all parts, and the Socratic school (lit. house), for Iberian (i.e. Spanish) breastplates, having promised better (things)?

Carmen XXX.  To Venus.  (Sapphic metre.)  An elegantly worded address to Venus in which the goddess's help is sought on behalf of Glycera, who may perhaps have been one of Horace's lovers.

O Venus, queen of Cnidos (i.e. a town in Caria with a temple to Venus) and  Paphos (i.e. a town in Cyprus, sacred to Venus), scorn your beloved Cyprus and take up residence in (lit. betake [yourself] to) the beautiful temple of Glycera, (who is) invoking you with much frankincense. Let your glowing son (i.e. Cupid) hasten (along) with you, as well as the Graces, with their girdles loosened, and the Nymphs, and Youth, with too little charm without you, and Mercury (i..e. as the God of Speech and Persuasion).

Carmen  XXXI.  To Apollo.  (Alcaic metre.)  The occasion of this prayer to Apollo was the formal dedication of Augustus' splendid new temple to the god on the Palatine in 28 B.C. built in commemoration of his victory at Actium in 31 B.C. In this ode, the only one in which Horace claims the status of  "vates", i.e. seer or bard, he prays nor for rich estates, as an ordinary man might do, but for the simple capacity to enjoy what he has in good health, both physical and mental.  

What does the bard ask of Apollo, (just) enshrined? What does he pray for, as he pours (lit. pouring) a fresh libation? Not the fruitful harvest fields of fertile Sardinia, not the pleasing herds of sultry Calabria, not gold or Indian ivory, not those rural estates which the silent river Liris eats into with its slow-flowing current (lit. gentle water). Let (those) to whom fortune has granted a vine, prune (it) with a Calenian sickle, and let the wealthy merchant drain from the golden goblets the wines acquired in exchange for Syrian merchandise, (being) dear to the gods themselves, since he revisits the Atlantic sea three or (lit. and) four times a year with impunity. Olives nourish me, chicory and soft mallows (nourish) me. (O) son of Latona, grant to me, both in good health and, I pray, with my mind unimpaired, to enjoy (what I) have at hand (lit. ready), and that I do not pass a shameful old age, nor (one) bereft of a lyre.

Carmen XXXII.  To his lyre.  (Sapphic metre.)  Here Horace prays to Apollo for the inspiration to write poems, in the tradition of Alcaeus, that will last. 

We are called upon (to perform). If (ever), in an idle moment (lit. devoid [of duties]) in the shade with you, we have played anything, which may last (lit. live) both for this (present) year and more, come, utter a Latin ode, (O) my lyre, first tuned by a Lesbian citizen (i.e. Alcaeus), who fierce in war (though he was), yet, (whether) amid the (clash of) arms, or if he had moored his tossed ship to the sea-washed shore, sang of Liber (i.e. Bacchus), and the Muses, and Venus, and her son (i.e. Cupid), ever clinging to her (side), and Lycus, handsome (as he was) with his dark eyes and his black hair. O glory of Phoebus (i.e. Apollo) and  tortoise-shell (lyre), welcome even at the banquets of supreme Jupiter, O sweet alleviator of toils, hearken to (lit. hail) me whenever (I am) duly invoking (you).  

Carmen XXXIII.  To Albius Tibullus.  (Third Asclepiad metre.)  Horace seeks to console his friend and fellow-poet Tibullus, who has been jilted for a younger man. 

Do not grieve too much more, Albius, mindful of cruel Glycera, nor sing through to the end your mournful elegies, (asking) why, her faith having been broken,  a younger (man) outshines you. Love of Cyrus inflames Lycoris, distinguished for her low (lit. narrow) forehead, Cyrus inclines towards the rough Pholoe; but she-goats shall sooner be united with Apulian wolves than Pholoe shall sin with a base paramour. Such is the will of (lit. it has seemed good to) Venus, whom it pleases, as (lit. with) a cruel joke, to despatch ill-matched shapes and temperaments under the brazen yoke (i.e. matrimony). (As) for me myself, when a more suitable (lit. better) mistress (lit. Venus) was wooing (lit. seeking) (me), the freedwoman Myrtale, (who is)  fiercer than the waves of the Adriatic indenting the Calabrian bays, has detained (me) in welcome fetters.

Carmen XXXIV.  Against the Epicureans.  (Alcaic metre.)  Horace seems generally to have adopted a sceptical attitude towards the gods, but in the following ode he indicates that he has been given food for thought by the phenomenon of thunder coming from a cloudless sky. 

A sparing and infrequent worshipper of the gods, while I strayed, adept in a foolish philosophy, I am now obliged to set sail (lit. to give my sails [to the wind]) back again and renew my abandoned course: for Jupiter, usually cleaving the clouds with flashing fire, (lately) drove his thundering horses and swift chariot through a clear (sky), by which the sluggish earth and the wandering rivers, by which the Styx, and the dread seat of hateful Taenarus (i.e. the cave at Cape Matapan reputed to be the entrance to the Underworld), and the boundary of Atlas (i.e. the Atlas Mountains in North West Africa and the Pillars of Hercules),e shaken. The deity is able to exchange the lowest with the highest, and to diminish the exalted (man), bringing the obscure to light; rapacious Fortune, with a shrill whistling, has (ever) lifted the crown from one head and rejoices to have placed (it) on another.

Carmen XXXV.  To Fortune.  (Alcaic metre.)  A formal hymn of praise of the goddess Fortuna, invoking her protection for Augustus' planned expedition to Britain, which was being considered in 27 B.C. but never happened, and the Arabian campaign, led by Aelius Gallus, which did take place in 26  B.C. but ended disastrously. Curiously the goddess is not named at the beginning of the poem or even later on, but we can identify Fortuna as the addressee of the hymn because of the reference in the opening line to Antium, where there was a temple dedicated to her.  

O goddess, who rules Antium (i.e. a town in Latium), agreeable (to you), being ready (and able) to exalt a mortal man (lit. body) from the lowest rank, or to convert proud triumphs to funerals, the poor husbandman from the countryside courts you with anxious prayer, (and) whoever braves (lit. challenges) the Carpathian sea (i.e. the part of the Aegean between Crete and Rhodes) with a Bithynian vessel (courts) you (as) mistress of the sea. You the rough Dacian, you the roving Scythians, and cities, and nations, and warlike Latium (too), and the mothers of barbarian kings (e.g. Atossa, the mother of Xerxes), and tyrants clad in purple, fear, lest with insulting foot you should overthrow the standing pillar (of the state), and lest the thronging populace should rouse (even) the hesitating to arms, to arms, and break their sceptre (lit. power). Cruel Necessity always precedes you, carrying in her brazen hand house-beam spikes and wedges, nor is the unyielding clamp and molten (lit. liquid) lead absent. Hope and uncommon Fidelity, clad in a white cloth, attend upon you, nor refuse (to act as) your companion, whenever, your robe having been changed, in your hostility you abandon the mansions of the powerful. But the faithless crowd (of your companions) and the perjured harlot draw back, and, the casks (together) with the dregs having been drained, your friends disperse, (too) treacherous to bear equally the yoke (of adversity). May you preserve Caesar (i.e. Augustus), intending to go (on an expedition) against the Britons, the furthest (people) in the world, and (also) the freshly (levied) troop of young men, worthy to be dreaded in Eastern regions and in the Red Sea. Alas, I am ashamed of (lit. it shames [me] in respect of) the scars and the wickedness of brothers. What (acts) did we, a hardened generation (lit. age), shrink from? What unutterable (act) did we leave untouched? From what (acts) did our youth restrain its hand, through fear of the gods? What altars did it spare? O would that you could reforge our blunted swords on a new anvil (for use) against the Massagetae and the Arabians!

Carmen XXXVI.  In honour of the returning Numida.  (Second Asclepiad metre.)  A poem commemorating a welcome-home party for Horace's friend Plotius Numida, who had been campaigning in Spain with Augustus, and probably returned to Rome with him in 25 B.C. 

It is pleasing to sacrifice with incense and with lyre-strings, and with the due blood of a heifer, to the gods, (who are) the guardians of Numida, who now safely (returning) from remotest Hesperia (i.e. North-West Spain) gives (lit. distributes) many a kiss to his dear companions, but to no one more than to sweet Lamia, mindful of his boyhood spent with none other (as) a leader, and of the toga changed together. Let not this splendid day be without a Cretan mark (of distinction) (i.e. one of white chalk), nor (let there be) a limit to the wine-jar brought forth (from the loft) nor, in accordance with Salic custom let there be rest for the feet, nor let Damalis, that heavy drinker (lit. of much wine), surpass Bassus in the Thracian sconce, nor let roses or the evergreen celery or the short(-lived) lily be wanting to the banquet. Everyone will fix their melting (lit. crumbling) eyes on Damalis, but Damalis, clinging more closely than the wanton ivy, will not be separated from her new paramour (i.e. Numida).

Carmen XXXVII.  To his companions.  (Alcaic metre.)  A poem written in some excitement in 30 B.C. when the news arrived in Rome of Octavian's great victory at Actium over the combined forces of Antony and Cleopatra in the previous year. Horace rejoices in the downfall of the Egyptian queen, but makes no mention of Antony, and thus ignores the reality that this had been a civil war.  

Now it is right (for wine) to be drunk, now the ground (is) due to be pounded with a light (lit. free) foot, now, (O my) companions, would be the time to adorn the couch of the gods with Salian feasts. Before this, (it would have been) impious to bring forth the Caecuban (wine) from one's ancestral storerooms, so long as the queen (i.e. Cleopatra), with her filthy gang of men, (rendered) hideous through disease (i.e. her eunuchs), was planning mad ruin for the Capitol and destruction for our empire, (being) mad (lit. uncontrolled) (enough) to hope for anything, and intoxicated with good fortune. But the escape of scarcely one ship (lit. one ship [being] scarcely safe) from the flames diminished her frenzy, and Caesar (i.e. Octavian) brought her mind, crazed with Mareotic (i.e. Egyptian) (wine), back to real fears, as he pursued (lit.  pursuing) (her) fleeing from Italy with his galleys (lit. oars), as a hawk (pursues) tender doves or a swift hunter (pursues) a hare in the plains of snowy Haemonia (i.e. Thessaly), that he might throw (lit. give) into chains that fatal monster (of a woman): she, seeking to die more nobly, neither shuddered at the sword in womanly fashion, nor did she, with her swift fleet, take in exchange secluded shores. She also ventured, with a calm countenance, to visit her palace lying (in ruins), and, brave (woman as she was), to handle the aroused (lit. fierce) snake, so that she might imbibe in her body its deadly (lit. black) poison, more fiercely (defiant), her death having been determined (by her), and, (being) no humble woman, doubtless grudging the ruthless Liburnian (vessels) that she be conducted, (as) a private (person), in an overbearing triumph.

Carmen XXXVIII.  To his servant.  (Sapphic metre.)  Simplicity of life-style, related closely to his love of the countryside, was a matter of personal preference for Horace.

Boy, I detest Persian splendour, (and) garlands woven with (the inner bark of) the linden-tree displease (me): cease seeking in what place the late rose lingers. I care not that you diligently add with toil anything to plain myrtle: myrtle is unbecoming neither to you (as) a servant, nor to me drinking under this close-leaved vine.


Quodsi me lyricis vatibus inseres / sublimi feriam sidera vertice:  But if you rank me among the lyric poets, I shall bump against the stars with my exalted head. (I. 35-36)

Illi robur et ses triplex / circa pectus erat, qui fragilem truci / commisit pelago ratem / primus:  There was oak and triple brass around the heart of him who first committed a fragile craft to the merciless ocean. (I. 9-12)

Audax omnia perpeti / gens humana ruit per vetitum nefas:  The human race, presumptuous (enough)  to endure everything, rushes on through forbidden wickedness. (III. 25-26)

Nil mortalibus ardui est:  Nothing is (too) arduous for mortal men (to attempt). (III. 37)

Pallida Mors aequo pulsat pede pauperum tabernas / regumque turres:  Pale Death kicks at the cottages of the poor and the the towers of kings with an impartial foot. (IV. 13-14)

Vitae summa brevis spem nos vetat inchoare longam:  The short sum total of our life forbids us to form long expectations. (IV. 15)

Quis multa gracilis te puer in rosa / perfusus liquidis urget odoribus / grata, Pyrrha, sub antro? /  cui flavam religas comam, amplex munditiis?:  What slender youth, steeped in liquid perfume, woos you, Pyrrha, amid many a rose deep inside this pleasant grotto? For whom do you, simple in your elegance, bind back your golden hair? (V. 1-5)

Nil desperandum Teucro duce et auspice Teucro:  Nothing is to be despaired of, with Teucer (as) your leader, and with Teucer (as) taker of the auspices.  (VII. 27)

Cras ingens iterabimus aequor:  Tomorrow we will again traverse the vast ocean. (VII. 32)

Permittte divis cetera:  Leave the rest to the gods.  (IX. 9)

Quid sit futurum cras, fuge querere et, / quem Fors dierum cunque dabit, lucro / appone:  Avoid asking what may happen tomorrow, and what Fortune may bestow (upon you) put down to profit. (IX. 13-15)

Tu ne quaesiris, scire nefas:  Do you not enquire, it is wrong to know. (XI. 1)

Dum loquimur, fugerit invida / aetas: carpe diem quam minimum credula postero:  While we speak, jealous age will have fled : seize (lit. pluck) the day, trusting as little as possible to the morrow. (XI. 8)

Felices ter et amplius, / quos irrupta tenet copula nec malis / divolsus querimoniis / suprema citius solvet amor die:  Happy and more (than thrice) happy (are those) whom an unbroken bond holds (together), and (whom) no love torn asunder by ill-natured recriminations, will release no sooner than their dying (lit. very last) day.

O matre pulchra filia pulchrior:  O daughter more beautiful than your beautiful mother. (XVI. 1)

Integer vitae sceleris purus:  (The man) upright of life and pure of wickedness. (XXII. 1)

Dulce ridentem Lalagen amabo / dulce loquentem:  (There) I shall love my sweet-laughing, sweet-talking Lalage. (XXII. 23-24)

Quis desiderio sit pudor at modus / tam cari capitis?:  What shame or limit can there be to my yearning for so dear a life? (XXIV. 1-2)

Valet imis summis / mutare et insignem attenuat deus:  The deity is able to exchange the lowest with the highest, and to diminish the exalted (man). (XXXIV. 12-13)

Nunc est bibendum, nunc pede libero / pulsanda tellus:  Now it is right (for wine) to be drunk, now the ground (is) due to be pounded with a light (lit. free) foot. (XXXVII. 1-2)

Persicos odi, puer, apparatus:  Boy, I detest Persian splendour. (XXXVIII. 1)

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