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Ode XXI


To a wine-jar born with Horace in the year 65, and now to be opened in honor of (M. Valerius Messala) Corvinus.

Messala was a student at Athens, B.C. 42, with Horace and Marcus Cicero. After Philippi, he declined the leadership of the remnant of the republican party and joined the triumvirs. At the time of the peace of Brundisium, he left the service of Antony for that of Octavian, on whose side he was found at Actium. He was consul B.C. 31, and was granted a triumph for victories over the Aquitanians B.C. 27. Henceforth he devoted himself to his law practice and lettered ease. His eloquence is praised and compared with that of Asinius Pollio by Quintil., 10.1.113. He was the Maecenas of the circle of Tibullus. Servius (on Verg. Aen. 8.310) reports a symposium graced by the presence of Maecenas, Horace, and Vergil, cum ex persona Messallae de vi vini loqueretur--the theme of this ode.

Paraphrase by Rowe, Johnson's Poets 9.472.


L. Manlius Torquatus was consul B.C. 65. Cf. Epode 13.6.


querellas . . . geris: some men ont le vin triste; others, gai. For the fancy that the bottle contains its effects, cf. Heine, Buch Le Grand, V., 'Gestern bei Tische hörte ich jemand eine Thorheit sprechen die anno 1811 in einer Weintraube gesessen, welche ich damals selbst auf dem Johannisberge wachsen sah.' So Emerson, 'there is much eloquence in a cup of tea.'


1.13.10-11; 1.17.25. Or cf 1.27.4. 1.18.8


facilem . . . somnum: cf. 2.11.8; 3.1.20-21. n. pia: faithful to its charge (servas, 7, cf. Anth. Pal. IX., 232, φρουροῦμεν πιστῶς). Or it may be felt merely as a half-humorous fondling epithet of the 'dive bouteille.' testa: 1.20.2; 3. 14.20; Epp. 1.2. 70.


quocumque . . . nomine: strictly a figure from bookkeeping, on whatever account. lectum . . . Massicum: gathered (grapes of) Massic, i.e. Massic vintage. Or, choice Massic.


moveri: cf. Epode 13.6, tu vina . . . move. For inf. pass. with dignus, cf. Sat. 1.3.24. It is common in silver prose.


descende: from the apotheca, which was in the upper part of the house. Cf. 3.8.11. n.; 3.28.7.


promere: cf. 1.36.11; 1.37. 5. languidiora: cf. 3.16. 35.


non ille: cf. 4.9.51; non ego, 1.18. 11. madet: he is steeped in Socratic discourse, but has no churlish (horridus) aversion to other steepings. Cf. madidus homo, uvidi, 4.5.39, 'a wet night,' and the like. For the metaphor, cf. Martial, 7. 51.5, iure madens; 1.39.3, si quis Cecropiae madidus Latiaeque Minervae.


prisci: stern old, good old. Cf. 2. 3.21; 4.2.40; Epode 2.2; Catull. 64.159, saeva quod horrebas prisci praecepta parentis; Epp. 2.2. 117, priscis . . . Catonibus at que Cethegis. Catonis: cf. 2.15.11. n., and for the periphrasis with virtus, cf. 1.3.36. n.; Sat. 2.1.72, virtus Scipiadae et mitis sapientia Laeli.


For similar praises of wine, cf. 1.18.3-6. n.; 4.12. 19-20; Epp. 1.5.19; Bacchylides, fr. 27; Ovid, A. A. 1.237-242, an imitation of this passage; Cotton, Ode upon Winter; Herrick, 197, 'The Welcome to Sack'; 773, A Hymn to Bacchus; Burns, 'Scotch drink,' John Barleycorn, sub fin., The Holy Fair, 'Leeze me on drink! it gies us mair |Than either school or college; |it kindles wit, it waukens lair, |It pangs us fu' ' knowledge' ; Agnes Repplier, Atlantic Monthly, Oct., 1896.


tormentum: rack, spur, pressure. Bacchyl. fr. 27, γλμκεῖ᾽ ἀνάγκα; Epp. 2. 3.435, torquere mero; with lene an oxymoron .


plerumque: cf. 1.34.7.


Cf. Odyss. 14. 463-66, 'Wildering wine that sets even a wise man on to sing aloud, and to laugh merrily, and uttereth a word that were better left unsaid.' iocoso: cf. 4.15.26. Lyaeo: Deliverer, i.e. from care; cf. 1.7.22. n. The Romans associated Liber (λείβω?) with liber, free. Cf. Sen. Dial 9.17.8, Liberque non ob licentiam linguae dictus est inventor vini, sed quia liberat servitio curarum animum, etc.


spem, etc.: cf. 4.12.19; Epp. 1.5.17; 1.15.19.


virisque: que connects reducis and addis. cornua: courage; cf. 2.19.30. n., Lex. s.v. II.; Coleridge, Biographia Literaria, p.208; 1 Sam. 2.1.


'Inspiring, bold John Barleycorn! |What dangers thou can'st mak' us scorn' (Burns, Tam o'Shanter).


post te: cf. 1. 18. 5, post vina. iratos: transferred epithet or hypallage. Cf. 3.1.42-43. trementi: transitive.


apices: tiaras; cf. 1. 34. 14.


segnes . . . solvere: loath to loose. nodum: of twining arms. Cf. 1.4.6. n.; 3.19.17.


vivae: cf. 3.8.14. producent: prolong, keep up. So cenam producimus (Sat. 1.5.70); noctem producere vino (Martial, 2.89.1); Tibull. 1.4.5. lucernae: the lamps are personified with the rest.


dum . . . fugat: For image, cf. 'And Phoebus in his chair| Ensaffroning sea and air |Makes vanish every star' (Drummond of Hawthornden); 'Wake! For the Sun who scatter'd into flight |The Stars before him from the Field of Night,' etc. (Omar Khayyám, I.).


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