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Ode XII


Monologue of love-lorn Neobule (the name is from Archilochus), who cannot spin for thinking of the bright beauty of young Hebrus, horseman, athlete, hunter.

The pure Ionic meter, one of Horace's 'metrical experiments,' is identical with that of a line of Alcaeus preserved by Hephaestion: ἔμε δείλαν ἔμε πασᾶν κακοτάτων πεδέχοισαν(fr. 59).

For the theme, cf. Sappho (fr. 90) γλύκεια μᾶτερ οὔτοι δύναμαι κρέκην τὸν ἵστον πόθῳ δάμεισα παιδος βραδίναν δι᾽ ?᾿αφρόδιταν; also Landor's pretty imitation, 'Mother, I cannot mind my wheel,| My fingers ache, my lips are dry.' Seneca, Hippol. 104.


miserarum: not that she herself desires the solace of the wine cup. She merely contrasts the narrow lot of woman with the distractions open to men. Cf. the soliloquy of a girl in Agathias, Anth. Pal. 5.297. dare ludum: faintly suggests dare operam. But dare ludum is used by Plautus in sense of humor, give free play to, Bacch. 1082. Cf. ludere, 3.15.12.


lavere: cf. on 2.3.18, and eluere, 4.12. 20. aut: or else, i.e. if we do them. Cf. 3.24.24. So , Plat. Theaetet. 205 A and often. exanimari: 2. 17. 1. metuentis: the shift from the gen. to the acc. with inf. is natural.


patruae: the proverbial cruel paternal uncle of the ancients. Cf. Sat. 2.3.88, ne sis patruus mihi. verbera: cf. 3.1.29; 3.27.24. Verba and verbera were easily associated. Cf. Ter. Heaut. 2.3.115, tibi erunt parata verba huic homini verbera. But the metaphor is a commonplace. Cf. verberari convicio. Shaks. King John, 2.2, 'He gives the bastinado with his tongue;| Our ears are cudgelled.' Tam. Shrew, 1.2, 'And do you tell me of a woman's tongue,| That gives not half so great a blow to the ear?'


tibi: she addresses herself, as often in monologue. Cf Catull. 8.1, and examples in Orelli. Some less aptly make the poet the speaker throughout. qualum: work-basket. ales: i.e. alatus; Love is so represented in the oldest works of art. Cf. 'The first born love out of his cradle leapt| And clove dun chaos with his wings of gold' '(Shelley, Witch of Atlas, 32, after Aristoph. Birds, 697).


operosae Minervae studium: interest in works of Minerva, i.e. spinning, weaving, etc. Athena ἐργάνη.'But farther: Athena presides over industry as well as battle; typically over women's industry, that brings comfort with pleasantness.' Ruskin, Queen of the Air. Cf. Moore, 'Thus, girls, would you keep quiet hearts,| Your snowy fingers must be nimble: The safest shield against the darts| Of Cupid is Minerva's thimble.'


Liparaei: of Lipara. The specific local epithet merely individualizes. Cf. on 1.27.10. Lipara was a small volcanic island on the north coast of Sicily. Cf. Arnold, 'To Aetna's Liparaean sister fires.' There is a possible suggestion of λιπαρός sleek, shining. nitor Hebri: with puer the subject of aufert. Love, the lover, and the lover's bright beauty are 'all one reckoning.' nitor: 1.19.5; Anth. Pal. 16.77, μαρμαρυγήν --Hebrus' name is derived from the river in Thrace.


simul (ac) . . . lavit: after he, etc. ; closely with nitor Hebri rather than with eques, which is better taken in opposition with nitor Hebri= Hebrus. unctos: they rubbed themselves with oil before their exercise and bathed afterwards; cf. 1.8.8. Sat. 2.1.7, ter uncti|transnanto Tiberim somno quibus est opus alto. Cf. the στήθεα στίλβοντα which took the maiden's eyes in Theoc. 2.79; note lāvit. Tiberinis: Roman details with Greek names, as often.


eques: cf. on 3.5.25. Bellerophontē: from n. Bellerophontes. Cf. 3.7.15. Bellerophon rode the winged horse Pegasus.


segni pede: i.e. because of sloth of foot. Cf. nulla . . . fuga segnis equorum; Verg. Aen. 10.592. Some equivalent of segni is implied with pugno.


catus: 1.10.3. idem: also; 2.10.22; 2.19.27. per apertum: across the open. agitato . . . grege: with fugientis. celer: with inf. 1. 15. 18.


arto . . . fruticeto: dense covert. Homer's ἐν λ́χημͅ πυκινῇ Odyss. 19. 439.


excipere: intercept. Cf. Epp. 1.1.79; Verg. Ecl. 3.18.


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    • Plautus, Bacchides, 4.10
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