The conquering hero returns. Go forth to greet him Livia, Octavia, and ye mothers and brides of our young soldiers. I too will celebrate the glad day, fearing nought while Caesar rules the world. Go, page. Fetch chaplets and old wine and bid Neacra join me. If the surly porter will not admit you--give it up. Yet I had not been so patient in my hot youth when Plancus was consul. In honor of the return of Augustus, B.C. 24, from an absence of three years in the West, where he had been engaged in subduing the Cantabrians and settling the affairs of the Provinces. For some months before his return he had been ill at Tarraco, and much anxiety had been felt at Rome (Dio, 53.25). He declined a formal triumph (Justin. 2.53). For the theme, cf. 4.2 and 4.5.
Herculis ritu: after the manner of Hercules; cf. 3.3.9. n. For the comparison with Augustus, cf. 3.3.9; 4.5.36; Verg. Aen. 6.802. Hercules too had returned victor from Spain. modo dictus petiisse:who recently was said to have sought. plebs: the people generally; not in its special political sense.
morte venalem: cf. emit morte immortalitatem, Quintil. 9. 3.71; Aesch. in Ctes. 160; Isoc. 6.109; Verg. Aen. 5.230; 9. 206; Pind. Pyth. 6.39; 'He came and bought with price of purest breath |A grave among the eternal' (Shelley, Adonais, 7); Hen. VI. 2.3. 1,' Or sell my title for a glorious grave.' venalem: 2.16.7.
Hispana . . . ora: the west coast of Spain. Cf. 3. 8.21.
unico: cf. 1.26.5; 2.18.14. It suggests unice amare, etc. He is her all in all. Others take it peerless, comparing Catull. 29. 11, unice imperator. mulier: the empress Livia. See Merivale, 3.218; 4. 124.
operata: the present and the past force of this participle need hardly be distinguished. She has been and is engaged in the religious offices of the day. Translate, making sacrifice.
soror: Octavia. et decorae: cf. 1.10.3; 2.16.6.
supplice vitta: there was probably a supplicatio in place of the declined triumph. This special vitta may have been something more elaborate than that ordinarily worn by freeborn women.
Virginum and puellae both refer to the wives of the young soldiers (cf. 3.22.2; 2.8.23). The matrons are to take part in the ceremonies; while the young soldiers and their wives will be merely among the spectators and so are urged not to disturb the rites by words of ill omen. Bentley reads non virum expertae which gives three classes: the matrons, the young soldiers and their wives, and the boys and girls.
sospitum: 1.36.4. It is felt with virginum also.
iam virum expertae: cf. 2.8.22 nuper virgines nuptae. male ominatis: to cure the hiatus nominatis, a supposed equivalent of δυσωνύμοις is read in some Mss. Bentley conjectured inominatis (Epode 16.38), male being intensive (1.9. 24). parcite: refrain from; cf. Ep. 17.6. The meaning is favete linguis (3.1.2). 13 sqq. The poet shares the public rejoicing. Cf. 1.37; 4. 2.45; Epode 9.1. vere: with festus, which is taken predicatively. Cf. 3.8. 9. atras: 3.1.40; 4.11.35.
tumultum: insurrection; cf. on 4.4.47.
mori per vim: a violent death. metuam: with inf. 2. 2.7; 4.5.20. tenente: 3.17.8. For the thought, cf.4. 15.17, and Nux Elegeia, 143, sed neque tolluntur nec dum regit omnia Caesar,| incolumis tanto praeside raptor erit. 17 sqq. Cf. the sudden orders for the carouse in 2. 3. 13; 2.11.17; 3.19. 9.--puer: cf. 1.19.14.
cadum: 3.29.2; 4.11.2. Marsi: the Marsic or Social War, B.C. 90-89. Spartacus and his gladiators (Epode 16.5) plundered Italy in 73-71. Cf. Juv. 5.31, calcatamque tenet bellis socialibus uvam (dives). Sir Thomas Browne, Urne Burial, 'The draughts of consulary date were but crude unto these' ; Tenn. 'Whether the vintage, yet unkept,| Had relish fiery-new,| Or, elbow-deep in sawdust, slept,| As old as Waterloo.' Cf. also Martial, 3.62.2; 7.79.1.
si quā: if haply. Cf. Verg. Aen. 1.18, si quafata sinunt. vagantem: roving.
dic . . . properet: cf. Epp. 1. 7. 60, dic | ad cenam veniat. argutae: sweet-voiced; λιγεῖα, 4.6.25. n. Neaerae: borrowed perhaps from Parthenius. Cf. Gildersleeve, A. J. P.18.1, p.122. Cf. Milton, Lycidas, 'Or with the tangles of Neacra's hair.' For the motif, cf. 2.11.21.
murreum: as fragrant as myrrh, rather than chestnut. nodo cohibere: i.e. to dress it simply and so quickly.
lenit: cf. Epp. 2. 2. 211, lenior et melior fis accedente senecta? The line was quoted by Fox on a famous occasion. albescens: Horace was forty-one, but prematurely gray, praecanus; Epp. 1.20.24. Cf. Anth. Pal. 11.25, ἡσυνετὴ κροτάφων ἅπτεται ἡμετέρων
protervae: 2.5. 15.
non ego: 2.7.26; 2.17.9; 2.20.5. hoc: theporters refused to admit the messenger. ferrem: for tense, cf. on 1. 2.22; Ennius, Medea, nam numquam era errans mea domo ecferret pedem.
L. Munatius Plancus was consul in B.C. 42, the year of the cauipaign of Philippi. The fever in Horace's blood has cooled with that in the body politic.