Pollio, forsaking the tragic stage and the triumphs of the Forum, undertakes the history of our civil wars--setting his feet 'on the thin crust of ashes beneath which the lava is still glowing.' (Macaulay, Hist. Eng. c. 6.) Methinks even now I hear the trumpet's blare. Again 'our Italy shines o'er with civil swords.' Again the tale is told of great captains soiled with noble dust, and all the world subdued save Cato's indomitable soul. Now, Jugurtha, thou art avenged. Our blood has fertilized every field, crimsoned every pool, and the crash of ruin in Italy rejoiced the ears of our enemy the Mede. But hush! my light muse. So high a strain is not for thee. C. Asinius Pollio had been a friend of Cicero and member of the circle of Calvus and Catullus in his youth (Catull. 12.8), had studied at Athens a few years before Horace's sojourn there, and fought under Caesar at Pharsalus. After his consulate B.C. 40 (cf. Verg. Ecl. 4) he was sent against the Parthini, a Dalmatian tribe, by Antony, and celebrated a triumph over them B.C. 39 (cf. l. 15; Verg. Ecl. 8; Dio, 48.41). From the spoils he established the first public library at Rome (Pliny, N. H. 7. 115, 35. 10). Octavian allowed his plea that self-respect required him to be neutral in the conflict with Antony (Vell. 2.86), and the remainder of his life was devoted to letters and oratory. (Verg. Ecl. 8.10; Hor. Sat. 1.10, 43, 85; Quintil. 12.11.28.) As literary critic he detected faults in Cicero (Sen. Suas. 6.15), Livy, and Sallust. His history of the civil wars in seventeen books is mentioned by Tacitus (Ann. 4. 14), Suetonius (Caes. 30), and others. He first introduced at Rome the custom of authors' readings from advance sheets of their own works (recitatio, cf. Sen; Contr. 4 praef.), which became such a nuisance under the empire. (Cf. Mayor on Juv. l. 1-4, 3.9.) The present Ode may well have been suggested by such a reading. It also testifies to Horace's independence, for Pollio had not presented himself at court. Cf. Sellar, p.152.
motum . . . civicum:the turmoil in the State.
motum ex Metello: the war began with Caesar's passage of the Rubicon B.C. 49, but the disturbances date from the consulship of Q. Caecilius Metellus Celer, B.C. 60, when Caesar, Pompey, and Crassus formed the private league known as the first triumvirate: inita potentiae societas, quae urbi orbique terrarum nec minus . . . ipsis exitiabilis fuit (Vell. 2.44). Cf. Suet. Caes. 19, Florus 4.2. civicum: archaic and poetic for civile, cf. civica corona; hosticus, 3.2.6; 3.24.26; Sat. 1.9.31; civica iura (Epp. 1.3.23); civica bella (Ov. Pont. 1.2. 124). But Lucan 1.1, bella per Emathios plus quam civilia campos.
causas: enumerated by Lucan 1.67 sqq., e.g. among the proximate causes the death of Crassus at Carrhae B.C. 53, nam sola futuri| Crassus erat belli medius mora (Lucan 1.99); and the death of Julia, the wife of Pompey and daughter of Caesar (ibid. 112). vitia: blunders, mistakes, vitia ducum, Nep. Att. 16.4, but suggesting more. modos: phases, turns.
ludum: 3.29.50; 1.2.37; 1.34.16; Plato Laws, 709 A; Juv. 3.40, quotiens voluit Fortuna iocari. Lucan moralizing on the death of Pompey invokes Fortuna six times (Phars. 8.686, 701, 708, 730, 767, 793). Cf. also 1.84. Crassus and Caesar were in the end equally conspicuous examples of the sport of fortune.
gravis . . . amicitias: fateful alliances. Cf. Lucan, l. 84--the first triumvirate.
nondum expiatis: cf. 1.2.29; Epode 7.3, 20.-uncta: stained, smeared; a stronger tincta (Epode 5.19). Cf. Silius, 9. 13, unguere . . . tela cruore.-cruoribus: pl. mainly metri causa. Cf. 3.27.76. But cf. Aesch. Suppl. 265, αἱμάτων μιάσμασιν
opus: app. with sentence. Cf. 3.20.7.-aleae: hazard. Alea is frequently used proverbially of war. Cf. Aesch. Sept. 414; Eurip. (?) Rhesus, 183; F. Q. 1.2.36, 'In which his harder fortune was to fall| Under my spear; such is the die of war'; Swinb. Erechth., 'Now the stakes of war are set,| For land or sea to win by throw and wear'; Lucan, 6.7, placet alea fati | alterutrum mersura caput; Petron. 122, 1.174. Caesar's famous iacta alea est, Suet. 32. Cf. Otto, p.12. But Horace is thinking rather of the risks of the historian, ll.7, 8.
per ignis: etc., per, over. Cf. 1.6.7; Propert. 1.5.5, et miser ignotos vestigia ferre per ignis. Cf. Prov. πῦρ ὑπὸ τῇ σποδιᾶ; Callim. Ep. 45.2; Macaulay, supra (Page); Tyrrell, Latin Poetry, p. 203, censures the image.
severae: solemn, stately; Milton's 'gorgeous tragedy in sceptred pall'; Plato's ἡ σεμνὴ αὕτη καὶ θαυμαστή; Gorg. 502 B; Ov. Amor. 3. 1 . 11, ingenti violenta tragoedia passu. But possibly of some new severity of method in Pollio's closet tragedies. Cf. Verg. Ecl. 3. 86, nova carmina, ibid. 8. 10; fidibus . . . severis, A. P. 216.
desit: complimentary--they will be missed. theatris: cf. 2. 17.26. There was but one (permanent), and Pollio's plays may never have been acted, but only read. mox ubi: 3. 27.69, i.e. simul ac.
ordinaris: set forth in order; Luke 1.1 . Cf. componere, συντάττειν, and the usage by which the poet is said to do what he describes. munus: function, task.
repetes: resume, return to, 'And the Cecropian buskin don anew,' Martin. Cecropio . . . cothurno: with the Cecropian buskin, Cecropio = Attico, Cecrops having been the founder of Athens. Cf. 4.12.6; and A. P.275 sqq. for Athens as home of tragedy. cothurno: the cothurnus was the boot worn by the tragic actor. It had a high sole in order to give the tragedian a more imposing appearance. Cf. A. P. 280, nitique cothurno; Milton's 'buskin'd stage' as distinguished from the low sock (soccus) of comedy; Mrs. Browning, Wine of Cyprus: 'How the cothurns trod majestic| Down the deep iambic lines'; Sat. 1.5.64; Mart. 5.30.1; Propert. 3.32.41.
praesidium: eight of the nine titles of his speeches known to us are for the defense. For the turn of the compliment, cf. 4.1.14; Ov. Fast. 1.22, civica pro trepidis cum tulit arma reis; Laus Pisonis, 39, cum tua maestos| defensura reos vocem facundia misit; Cornel. Severus on Cicero, 12: unica sollicitis quondam tutela salusque.
consulenti: i.e. consilianti, 3.3.17, in its counsels, with a complimentary suggestion that it consults him. Curiae: the Senate, the House. Cf. 3.5.7.
Delmatico . . . triumpho: see introduction to ode.
jam nunc, etc., complimentary anticipation of the vividness of Pollio's descriptions of which the poet has perhaps heard a specimen. Cf. Petron. Sat. 120. minaci murmure: 'With harsh-resounding trumpets' dreaded bray'; Shaks. Rich. II.1.3.
perstringis: deafen. Used of anything that dazzles, deafens, or confounds the sense. Cf. acies praestringitur; and gelidai stringor aquai (Lucret. 3.687); Quintil. 10.1.30, qualis est ferri fulgor quo mens simul visusque praestringitur. litui: 1.1.23, like the cornu it was used by cavalry.
The scene is the defeat of Pompey's cavalry by Caesar's foot-soldiers at Pharsalia.
fulgor armorum: cf. on 1.7.19; Homer's χαλκοῦ στεροπή; Shaks. Ant. and C. 1.3, 'shines o'er with civil swords'; Othello, 1.2, 'keep up your bright swords'; Job 29.33, 'the glittering spear and the shield.' fugacis: proleptic.
equos equitumque: 'The horse and rider reel,' Tenn. Sir Gal.; 'While horse and hero fell,' Charge of the Light Brigade.-voltus: we see the fright of battle on their faces as in a picture of Delacroix. But there may be an allusion to Caesar's command, 'miles, faciem feri' (Florus, 4.2.50), or to the principle stated by Tacitus, Ger. 43, primi in omnibus proeliis oculi vincuntur, rendered by Herrick, 291, "Tis a known principle in war, That eies be first, that conquered are'; Plut. Caes. 45, οὐδ᾽ ἐτόλμων ἐν ὀφθαλμοῖς τ̀ον σίδηρον ὁρῶντες.
audire: he hears the clamor (1.2.38) and the strepitus (1.15.18), and sees, hears of, or feels as a living reality the rest. Cf. on 1.14.3; 3.10.5. There is a possible reference in audire to the recitations. videor: 3.4.6.
non indecoro: cf. Tenn. Two Voices, 'When, soil'd with noble dust, he hears| His country's war song thrill his ears.' Cf. nigrum, 1.6.15; Verg. Aen. 2.272. Contrast 1.15.20.
cuncta terrarum: cf. VeIl. 2.56, Caesar omnium victor regressus in urbem. For the idiom, cf. on 4.12.19, 4.4.76.
atrocem: here stubborn. So in good sense, Juv. 2.12, Hispida membra . . . promittunt atrocem animum. Ca- tonis: Cato Uticensis. Cf. on 1.12.36. He was the idol of Stoics and declaimers. Cf. Sen. Suas. 6.2, M. Cato solus maximum vivendi moriendique exemplum mon maluit quam rogare. Florus, 4.2.70, and Plut. Cat. 59-70, describe his suicide at Utica on hearing of the defeat of the Pompeians at Thapsus. Cf. Sir Thos. Browne, Urne Burial, 'And Cato, before he durst give the fatal stroke, spent part of the night in reading the Immortality of Plato, thereby confirming his wavering hand unto the animosity of that attempt'; Lucan, l. 128, victrix causa deis placuit sed victa Catoni; Id. 2.315-320, 380 sqq.; Manil. 4.87, et invicta devictum mente Catonem. 25 sqq. Cato suggests Thapsus. Sallust's Jugurtha had recently been published. Juno, in the legend, was the opponent of Aeneas and the patron of Carthage, and so of Africa against Italy. So Horace says in his complicated way that the gods who had withdrawn from the Africa they were helpless to save or avenge have now (by the terrible slaughter of Thapsus, B.C. 46) offered up the grandsons of the former victors to the shades of Jugurtha. Metellus Scipio, commander of the Pompeians, was the grandson of the Metellus Numidicus who subdued Jugurtha. deorum . . . tellure: all the gods who, although more friendly to the Africans, had withdrawn from the land unavenged, powerless to aid it; literally, whoever of the gods. -amicior: than to the Romans.
cesserat: for the belief that its gods abandoned a doomed city, cf. Verg. Aen. 2.351; Aesch. Sept. 218; Herod. 8.41; Eurip. Tro. 25; Tac. Hist. 5.13. The Romans had rites to draw away the enemies' gods (Macrob. Sat. 3.9, evocatio; Serv. on Verg. Aen. 12.841). The Aztecs shut up in one great temple the gods of conquered tribes to prevent their returning (Réville, Hibb. Lectures, 1884, p.31). impotens: etymologically (cf. on 4.4.65), not in the usual secondary sense of 1.37.10.
rettulit: in turn have offered. Re- in rettulit implies retaliation.
Latino sanguine: Epode 7. 4. pinguior: Shaks. Rich. 11.4.1, 'The blood of English shall manure the ground'; Aesch. Sept. 587. In Persae, 806, cited by editors, πίασμα refers to the river Asopus, and not to the corpses. Verg. G. 1 . 491, bis sanguine nostro |Emathiam et latos Haemi pinguescere campos.
impia: cf. on 1.35.34; Epode 16.9.
Medis: cf.on l.2.22,51. For case, cf. 1.21.4; 3.25.3. So a Frenchman, in 1871, might have spoken of the Germans listening to Versailles bombarding the Commune of Paris.
Hesperiae: western, here Italian. Cf. 3.6.8; 4.5.38; Verg. Aen. 2.781. In 1.36.4, Spain. ruinae: crash, down-fall (of a building, Juv. 3.196). Cf. 1.2.25; 3.3.8. n. See in Florus, 4.2.6, the list of lands over which the civil war raged.
Cf. 3.6.34; 2.12.3; Macaulay, Regillus, 'And how the Lake Regillus| Bubbled with crimson foam,| What time the thirty cities| Came forth to war with Rome'; Tenn. Princ. 'Or by denial flush her babbling wells| With her own people's life.'
Dauniae = Apulian = Italian. Cf. on 1.22.14. Specific, metrically convenient, helps alliteration .
decoloravere: de intensive. Cf. 1.3.13; 1.9.11.
caret: 2.10.7; 3.29.23; 4.9.28.
ne: cf. on 1.6. 10; l. 33. l. The sudden check is Pindaric. Cf. Ol.9.38, 3.3.72. n., 1.6.10; Sellar, p.134.
Ceae: Simonides of Ceos, who wrote the epitaphs on the heroes of Thermopylae and Salamis, was noted for his pathos (Quintil. 10. 1.64). Cf. Catull. 38.8, maestius lacrimis Simonideis; Swinb. 'High from his throne in heaven Simonides| Crowned with mild aureole of perpetual tears'; Words. 'or unroll| One precious tender-hearted scroll| Of pure Simonides.' -neniae: dirge, θρῆνος, possibly with a disparaging suggestion of the droning monotony of the last three strophes. Cf. 3.28.16; Epode 17.29; Epp. 1.1.63.
Dionaeo: Dione was mother of Venus (Hom. Il.5.370; Theoc. 15. 106, κύπρι διωναία). But Dione is used for Venus (Ov. Fast. 2.461, Pervigil. Ven.). Dionaean is a sonorous Greek adj. for Latin poetry. Cf. on 1.17.22-23; Verg. Ecl. 9.47.-sub antro: 1.5.3; 3.4.40.
leviore plectro: cf. on l.26.11; 2.13.27; 4.2.33; Ov. Met. 10. 150. Cecini plectro graviore gigantas, nunc opus est leviore lyra.