Of the mean and sure estate: A string of sententiae in praise of the golden mean and philosophic acceptance of the vicissitudes of fortune, frequently imitated. Cf. Sellar, p. 175; Surrey, Praise of Meane and Constante estate, Tottel's Miscellany. Arber, p.27; ibid. p.157; Cowper, Johnson's Poets, 18.659; Cotton, ibid. 18.17; Beattie, ibid. 18.558. L. Licinius Murena, probably the son of the Murena of Cicero's Pro Murena, was adopted into the Terentian gens by Terentius Varro, and so became the adopted brother of Proculeius (2.2.2) and of Terentia, the wife of Maecenas; 3. 19 is apparently written to celebrate his coöptation into the college of augurs. He appears in the Consular fasti for the year 23. In the same year he was put to death for conspiring against Augustus. Cf. Vell. Patere. 2.91; Dion. Cass. 54.3; Suet. Tib. 8. It seems unlikely that Horace would have published the first three books of the Odes with these poems after that date. Cf. on 1.3 and 2.9. But see Verrall, Studies in Horace, 25 sqq. l-4, 22-24. Life a Voyage. Cf. 1.34.3; 3.29.57; Epist. 2. 2. 201; Plato, Laws, 803 B, διὰ τοῦ πλοῦ τούτου τῆς ζωῆς; Swinb. Prelude to Songs Before Sunrise, 16; T'enn. Crossing the Bar, etc.; Anth. Pal. 10.65; Marc. Aurel. 3.3; Plato, Phaedo, 85 D. l. rectius: i.e. more wisely, sagely.
urgendo: ever making for.
dum . . . horrescis: would be rendered in Greek by pres. part. Cf. Epist. 2.3.465; A. and G. 492.
premendo: hugging. Cf. radere, legere, amare, litus. Cf. Epist. 2.3.28, tutus nimium timidusque procellae.
iniquum: cf. on 1.10.15; 1. 2. 47; 2. 4. 16; 2. 6. 9; 3.1.32.
mediocritatem: cf. Cic. de Off. 1.25, mediocritatem illam . . . quae est inter nimium et parum--the μέσον or μέτριον of the Greek gnomic poets and tragedians, which Plato and Aristotle developed into the formal ethical doctrine that virtue 'is seated in the mean.' Cf. παντὶ μέσῳ τὸ κράτος θεὸς ὤπασεν, Aeschyl. Eumen. 529; Arist. Pol. 4.11, τ́ον μέσον . . . βίον . . . βέλτιστον; Otto, p.216.
tutus caret: is safe and avoids.
sordibus: the squalor of a mean hovel. invidenda: cf. 3.1.45. It suggests the φθόνος of the Greeks (9-12).
ingens, celsae, summos are emphatic. For the sentiment, cf. Herod. 7.10; Lucretius, 5.1126, invidia quoniam ceu fulmine summa vaporant; Ov. Trist. 3.4.6; Otto, 148.352; Dümmler, Academica, p.3 sqq.; Lucillius in Anth. Pal. 10.122, οὐ θρύον οὐ μαλάχην ἄνεμός ποτε τὰς δὲ μεγίστας| ἢ δρύας ἢ πλατάνους οἶδε χαμαὶ κατάγειν; Maecenas apud Sen. Epist. 19.9, ipsa enim altitudo attonat, summa; Wordsworth, The Oak and the Broom; Lord Vaux, of the Mean Estate, 'The higher that the cedar tree| Into the heavens doth grow| The more in danger is the top,| When stormy winds gan blow'; Campion, ed. Bullen, p.32, 'The higher trees the more storms they endure'; Dante, Paradiso, 18, 'come vento| che le più alte cime piu percote'; Shaks. M. for M. 2.2; Herrick, Hesp. 484.3; Spenser, Shep. Cal., July; Victor Hugo, Feuilles d'Automne, 4. The commonplace is often amplified in Seneca's Tragedies (Ag. 93 sqq., etc.); Seneca was imitated by Boethius, and hence, perhaps, rather than from Aristotle's Poetics, arose the notion in mediaeval and renaissance literature that the one theme of tragedy is the sudden fall of the great. Cf. Chaucer, Monke's Tale, 'I will bewail in manner of Tragedie| The harm of them that fell from high degree.' And see the choruses of Gamier, and Ferrex and Porrex passim.
turres: cf. 1.4.14; Juv. 10.105. 13-20: cf. Herrick, Hesp. 726,' In all thy need, be thou possest| Still with a well-prepared brest:| . . . And this for comfort thou must know, |Times that are ill wo'nt still be so.| Clouds will not ever poure down raine (cf. 2.9.1);| A sullen day will deere again.'
infestis . . . secundis: neut. plur. used substantively; dat. rather than the abl. abs.
alteram sortem: a change of lot, i.e. the other of two. Cf. l. 15.29. n.
informis: hideous; beauty was 'form' to the ancients. Cf. Dobson, 'A dream of form in days of thought'; Mimnermus, and Theog. 1021, ἄμορφον γῆρας; Verg. G. 3.354, aggeribus niveis informis terra; Juv. 4. 56, Stridebat deformis hiems; Wither, 'Walks and ways which winter marred'; Shaks. Son. 5, 'For never-resting time leads summer on| To hideous winter and confounds him there'; Lucian, κρόνος 9, οἱ λειμῶνες ἄμορφοι. reducit: for re-, cf. 1.3.7; 3.1.21; 3.8.9.
Iuppiter: cf. on 1.1.25 and Theoc. 4.43; Theog. 25. idem: idiomatic, and likewise; cf. 22; 2.19.27; 3.4.67.
non denies the inference from nunc to olim. male: cf. 3.16.43, bene est; Catull. 38.1, male est, Cornifici, tuo Catullo. et: cf. Munro on Lucret. 3.412. olim: yon time, past or future. Cf. on 4.4.5.
quondam: sometimes; cf. Verg. Aen. 2.367.
suscitat: cf. Gray, Progress of Poesy, 'Awake, Aeolian lyre, awake'; Pind. O .9.51; Nem. 10.21; Lucret. 2.413, expergefacta.
A familiar quotation generally employed in the sense, 'All work and no play,' etc. Here it points the moral of compensations--Apollo who sends the shafts of pestilence (arcum tendit) is also the god of music (cithara suscitat musam). Cf C. S. 33. For a hint of the proverbial use, cf. Cic. de Senect. 11, intentum enim animum tam quam arcum habebat; Plut. de Ed. Puer. 13, καὶ γὰρ τὰ τόξα καὶ τὰς λύρας ἀνίεμεν ἵνα ἐπιτεῖναι δυνηθῶμεν; nec sem per Gnosius arcum Destinat, Laus Pisonis, 142. Cf. the habitual misapplication of Shakspeare's 'One touch of nature.'
rebus angustis: in straitened circumstances; cf. on 3.2. l.
appare: show thyself. sapienter: cf. thou art wise. idem: cf. on 16.
contrahes: a frequent image in Greek drama. Cf. Ar. Ran. 1220, ὑφέσθαι μοι δοκεῖς; Soph. El. 335; Cic. ad Att. 1.16. 2, contraxi vela. Propert. 3.19.30; Ovid. Trist. 3.4.32, pro positique, precor; contrahe vela tui. secundo: from sequi, 'A wind that follows fast'; Homer's ἴκμενος οὖρος. nimium secundo: too favorable.
turgida: cf. Epist. 2. 2. 201, tumidis velis aquilone secundo; Verg. Aen. 3.357, tumido austro; Pind. Pyth. 1.92, ἱστίον ἀνεμόεν; Midsummer Night's Dream3 2. l.