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Ode XX

Horace prophesies in a somewhat artificial poetic frenzy his own immortality. He is to be translated into a 'tempest-cleaving swan of' italy, and will be known to all the peoples of the earth. Let no one weep for him or celebrate vain obsequies.

For motif, cf. 3.30; 4.3; Alcman, fr. 118. For transformation of poet to swan, cf. Plato's Repub. 620 a; Eurip. fr. 911. For bard = bird, cf. 1.6.2; Pind. Ol.2.96; Theoc. 7.47; Verg. Ecl. 9.35, and 4.2.25. n. Ben Jonson's 'Sweet swan of Avon.'

non usitata: on no common, with reference to his claim of having introduced Greek lyric measures into Rome. Cf. Epode 5. 73. Cf. Milton's 'adventurous song,| That with no middle flight intends to soar.' For the boast of originality, cf.3. 1.2; 3.30.10 sqq. tenui: weak.

biformis: swan and poet is the obvious meaning, but Porphyrio says quod et lyrica scribat et hexametros, and some moderns follow him on the ground that Horace would be wholly transformed into the bird. But this is to consider it too curiously. liquidum: cf. Verg. G. 1.404. Clear as contrasted with udam . . . humum, 3. 2. 23, or yielding as Milton's 'buxom air'; Pind. Nem. 8. 41, πρὸς ὑγρὸν|αἰθέρα.

vates: cf. 1.31.2.

invidia maior: cf. Tac. Agr. 8.3, extra invidiam; Callim. Ep. 23, δρείσσονα βασκανίης. Cf. on 4.3.16 and 3.24.32.

urbis: concretely picturesque. Cf. 1.35. 10; 3.4.46.

pauperum . . . sanguis: Horace never disavows his humble birth. Cf. 2.18.10; 3.30.12; Sat. 1.6.46, quem rodunt omnes libertino patre natum.

vocas: invitest (to thy board, or simply companionship). Cf. Catull. 44.21, qui tum vocat me. If any dignity is lost, it is recovered by dilecte. Cf. Gildersleeve on Pindar's φίλος addressed to Hieron (Pyth. 1.92). In 2.18.11, he says dives me petit. The interpretation of 'dilecte' as direct quotation of Maecenas' words is generally abandoned.

unda: cf. 2.14.9.

Tyrrell, Latin Poetry, p.198, comments on the bad taste of these details.

iam iam: Epode 17.1. He begins to feel the 'feathery change' come over him like Arnold's Philomela. cruribus: usually taken as abl. of place; conceivably dat. Cf. residunt in partem (Verg. Aen. 9.539). asperae: the skin wrinkles and roughens as it shrinks and settles into place.

supern<*>ĕ</*>: so Lucret. 2.1153, 6.544, 597; A. P.4. lēves: antithesis with asperae.

Daedaleo: cf. 1.17.22. n. notior: many Mss. read ocior with harsh hiatus. Cf. Ov. Amor. 1.9.40, notior in caelo fabula nulla fuit. Bentley proposed tutior, which H. doubtless meant, but perhaps did not need to say. Cf. on 4.2.2; cf. Martial, 1.1.2, Toto notus in orbe Martialis.

Cf. Sargeant's lines, 'But on strong wing, through upper air, |Two worlds beneath, the old and new,| The Roman swan is wafted where| The Roman eagles never flew.'

visam: cf. 2.14. 7. gementis: cf. Iliad, 16.391,23. 330; Odyss. 12.97, ἀγάστονος; Aeschyl. Prom. 712; Soph. Ajax, 674, στένοντα πόντον; Tennyson, 'the moanings of the homeless sea' (In Mem.) ; 'The deep| Moans round with many voices' (Ulysses) ; Christina Rossetti, 'Why does the sea moan evermore?' Bospori: 3.4.30.

Syrtis: 1. 22. 5; 2. 6. 3. Gaetulas: African. canorus: of Swan Song, Verg. Aen. 7.700; cf. 4.3.20. n.

Hyperboreos: lit., beyond Boreas, i.e. in the far north; cf. Swinb., 'Beyond the north wind lay the land of old,| Where men dwelt blithe and flawless clothed and fed| With joy's bright raiment and with love's sweet bread,| The happiest flock of earth's maternal fold.' Cf. Pind. Ol.3.16; Pyth. 10. 30-44; Aeschyl. Choeph. 373; Pliny, N. H. 4.89; Bacchyl. 3. 59.

Colchus: the Colchians lived east of the Black Sea. dissimulat: masks his fear.

Marsae: the Marsi were one of the bravest of the Latin peoples.Dacus: cf. on 1.35.9.

Geloni: 2. 9. 23. peritus: the learned Spaniard. Spain had some literary culture even in Horace's time, and the next generation gave the Senecas and Quintilian to Rome. A distinction seems to be drawn between the culture of the provinces (Spain and Gaul) that shall learn the poet, and the outer barbarians (Colchians, Dacians, and Gelonians) that shall come to know of him. Cf. Statius, Theb. 12.814, Iam te (sc. his poem) magnanimus dignatur noscere Caesar,| Itala iam studio discit memoratque iuventus.

potor: vivid for accola, i.e. the Gaul. Cf. 3.10.1; 4. 15.21; Hom. Il.2.825; Pind. Ol.6.85; Verg. Eclog. 1.63.

Cf. Epitaph of Ennius, Cic. Tusc. 1.34, nemo me lacrumis decoret nec funera fletu | faxit ! cur? Volito vivus per ora virum.

inani: a cenotaph--sine corpore funus. neniae: properly the lured mourner's wailing dirge.

turpes: disfiguring: the gashing of cheeks and beating of breast. querimoniae: of friends and kin.

clamorem: the conclamatio or clamor supremus (Lucan, 2.20; Verg. Aen. 4.665, 674).

mitte: 3.8.17. supervacuos: the Ciceronian supervacaneus would be unmanageable in Horace's verse. Maecenas had written cynically, nec tumulum curo, sepelit natura relictos. But Horace means that his monument is his poetry.

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