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Ode XVIII


Rape, congere, aufer, posside: relinquendum est.--Martial, 8.44.9. I have no marble halls and train of prosperous clients. I am content with my kindly poetic vein and my dear little Sabine estate. You, with one foot in the grave, continue to rear your seaside villas and evict your pauper tenants. But there is one 'who builds stronger than a mason, a shipwright, or a carpenter,' --the builder of the house of death. The impartial earth opens for pauper and prince alike.

For the sentiments, cf. 1.31. 2-6; 2.16. 33-40; 3. 1. 40-7; 3.16.17-43; 3.29.9-16; Bacchylides, fr. 28; Verg. Georg. 2.461 sqq.; Tibull. 3.3.12 sqq.; Propert. 4.1.49 sqq., etc. For free imitation of lines 1-8, see Crashaw, Description of a Religious House, Ward's Poets, 2.208.

l. ebur: of the eburnum lacunar (cf. 2.16.11), panels (of the ceiling) adorned with ivory, rather than of ivory tables. Cf. Propert. 4. 1.50, nec camera auratas inter eburna trabes; Bacchylides, fr. 27. 8, χρυσῷ δ᾽ ἐλέφαντι τε μαρμαίροισιν οἶκοι; Lucret. 2.27, nec domus argento fulget auroque renidet.


No architraves of bluish-white marble of Mt. Hymettus rest on columns of Numidian giallo antico in my atrium. Cf. Martial, 5. 13.5; 9.75.7-9.


Hymettiae: from Mt. Hymettus in Attica; cf. 'Where with bright marbles big and future pomp,| Hymettus spread, amid the scented sky,| His thymy treasures to the labouring bee' (Thomson, Liberty).


Attali: of an Attalus, i.e. some rich man. Cf. 1.1.12.


ignotus expresses the surprise of the windfall, occupavi the greedy haste of the heir.


Laconicas purpuras: i.e. wool dyed with Laconian purple; cf. 3.1.42. 'Vast heaps of the shells of the murex brandaris in Cythera and on the neighboring Laconian coast . . . demonstrate to this day the importance of the sea to Phoenician industry' (Holm, Hist. of Greece). Cf. on 2.16.36; Aeschyl. Ag. 958; Juv. 8.101, Spartana chlamys.


trahunt: spin, lanam trahere. Trahunt has also been understood of trailing robes (ἱματίων ἕλξεις, σύρειν, traxitque per pulpita vestem, A. P.215). The meaning is, 'I am not so high that my very clients are rich.' honestae: well-born.


at: the other side of the medal. Cf. 3.7.22.


vena: the figure is probably taken from a vein of ore. φλέψ, Xen. Vect. 2. 5. Cf. sine divite vena, Epist. 2.3.409. But the Roman poets also thought of vena aquae. Cf. Ovid, Trist. 3.14.33; Auson. Mosella, 448, ast ego quanta mei dederit se vena liquoris. For benigna, cf. Tenn. Edwin Morris, 'But you can talk, yours is a kindly vein.' Cf.''Ercles' vein,' etc. pauperemque dives: cf. on 1.6. 9; Sellar, p. 176. The Greeks rang the changes on the saying about the wise man going to the doors of the rich. For me petit, cf. on 2.20.6.


amicum: Maecenas. Cf. nil amplius oro; Sat. 2.6.4.


flagito: importune.


satis beatus: cf. Catull. 23.27; Epode 1.31; Odes, 3.7.3. unicis: cf. 3.14. 5. Sabinis: sc. praediis. Cf. 3.4.22. Cf. Martial, 4.77, numquam divitias deos rogavi.


truditur: cf. on proterit, 4.7. 9; urget, Epode 17.25; sic vita truditur, Petron. Sat. 45; Otto, p.112.


And still (pergunt) the new moons only wax to wane. Cf. 4.7.7.


tu: cf. on 2.9.9.


secanda . . . locas: allot to be cut--let the contract for cutting (sc. to the redemptor, 3.1.35). The Romans affected to regard as a reprehensible luxury the use of cut marble slabs for paneling and wainscoting . Cf. Pliny, N. H. 36.50. sub funus: on the verge of death; cf. on 1.8.14.


Bais: a famous Campanian watering-place near Naples. Cf. 3.4.24; Epist. 1.1.83. For villas built out into the water, cf. 3.1.33-38; Martial, 10.30; Hare's Days near Rome. obstrepentis: cf. 3.30.10. 20-21. submovere litora: to push out the shore line.


parum . . . ripa: not rich enough with the shore of the mainland. Cf. Livy, 44.28, continenti litori.


quid quod: nay more, a prosaic transition. Cf. on adde quod, 2.8. 17; 3. 1.41; 3.11. 21. usque: still, with reference to the persistence of the encroachment. Cf. 1.17.4.


revellis: a picturesquely strong moves. The sanctity of landmarks in primitive times is well known. Cf. Proverbs, 22. 10, 11, 'Remove not the old landmarks, and enter not into the field of the fatherless' . Plato, Laws, 843 A. In Roman inscriptions curses are invoked on those who disturb the landmark. Terminus was a god. et ultra: so 4.11.29.


clientium: fraus innexa clienti was the most heinous of crimes in Roman eyes. Patronus si clienti fraudem fecerit, sacer esto (Twelve Tables).'


salis: cf. on revellis, supra.


A picture of an eviction.


in sinu: cf. Tac. Ann. 1.40, incedebat . . . perfuga ducis uxor parvulum sinu filium gerens.


But no hall awaits the rich lord more surely than the appointed bourne of greedy Orcus. Fine (fem. Epode 17.36) is a virtual synonym of aula which could not well be repeated, with the further implication that 'the vasty hall of death' (cf. 3.11.16; Eurip. Alcest. 259) is our final home, mors ultima linea rerum est, Epist. 1. 16.79; θαϝάτοιο τελευτή. It is quite unnecessary to construe destinata with aulă, or with aulā understood, and to interpret fine 'by the limit set by' or 'in the confines of.' For the thought, cf. Butler, 'Our noblest piles and stateliest rooms| Are but outhouses to our tombs'; Longfellow, 'For thee was a house built| Ere thou wast born.'


rapacis: Tibull. 1.3.4; Catull. 3.13, malae tenebrae | Orci quae omnia bella devoratis; Callim. Ep. 2, ἁρπακτήρ.


ultra: cf. 3.29.31, 'beyond the finis Orci'; beyond the little that life requires; more generally, why strive to 'pass beyond the goal or ordinance'? aequa: cf. on 1.4.13.


recluditur: opens; 1.24.17. n.


pueris: the resolution qu<*>ĕ</*> p<*>ŭĕ</*> in lyric iambics has been questioned. Dogmatism is out of place. satelles: 3.16.9, Charon. The force of nec is felt with auro captus as well as with revexit. Cf. Epist. 2.2.178, si metit Orcus|grandia cum parvis non exorabilis auro; Theog. 727-728.


Promethea: cf. on 1. 16. 13; 2.13. 37. callidum: ποικιλομήτην.


revexit: sc. across 'the unpermitted ferry's flow.' hic: Orcus.


Tantali genus: Pelops, Atreus, Agamemnon, etc. Cf. 1.28.7; 1.6.8; 2.14.18, Danai genus.


coercet: cf. 2.14.9; Verg. Aen. 6.439, noviens Styx interfusa coercet. levare: with both vocatus and audit. functum: cf. 2.9.13; 4.15.29; Epist. 2.1.22, suisque temporibus defuncta; abs. Tac. Agric. 1, narraturo vitam defuncti hominis.


For sentiment, cf. Aeschyl. fr. 255; Soph. O. C. 1220; Burns, 'Man was made to mourn': 'O Death, the poor man's dearest friend'; Praed, The Chant of the Brazen Head: 'I think poor beggars court St. Giles| Rich beggars court St. Stephen;| And Death looks down with nods and smiles,| And makes the odds all even'; F. Q. 2.1.59, "'Palmer," quoth he, "death is an equal doom | To good and bad, the common inn of rest."' laboribus: life's labors, with functum.


audit: consents. Cf. Shaks., 'hearkens my brother's suit.'


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