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Ode XXVI


Horace is no longer fit to trail a pike under love's colours' (Chapman), and he dedicates to Venus his useless arms, the lover's lute, the torch that lights him to his lady's door, the 'portal-bursting bar' (Dobson) that wins him admission. His one prayer is that the goddess may - give that disdainful Chloe one touch of her uplifted lash.

The sixth book of the Anthology is full of serious or playful dedications of arms or implements by superannuated warriors, craftsmen, or coquettes. See Reitzenstcin, Horaz und die hellenistische Lyrik, Neue Jahrbücher 21 (1908). 91. Cf. Epp. 1.1.4; Sat.1.5.65.

Paraphrased by Austin Dobson, Rondeau of Villon.


1. vixi: 'tis over. Cf. 3.29.43, and Dido, Verg. Aen.4.653. idoneus: 4.1.12; 2.19. 26.


2. militavi: cf. 4. 1. 2; Ov. Am. 1. 9. 1, militat omnis amans et habet sua castra Cupido; A. A. 2. 233; Propert. 1. 6. 29, non ego sum laudi non natus idoneus armis. |Hanc me militiam fata subire volunt; 'Love calls to war, |Sighs his alarms, | Lips his swords are, | The field his arms' (Chapman); Herrick, 873; Tibull. 1.1.75. non sine: cf. 1.23.3.n.


3. defunctum bello: finished its service.


4. barbiton: the barbiton of Anacreon. Cf. on 1.6.10.


5. laevum: why the left side does not appear. Possibly as of good omen; perhaps a particular temple is meant. marinae: goddess of the sea; 4. 11.15; 1.3.1; Eurip. Hippoly. 415, δέσποινα ποντία κύπρι; Anth. Pal. 5.11; ibid. 5.17. 6. Ovid's explanation will do, Her. 15. 24, in mare nimirum ius habet orta mari. 'It is through Cyprus that the religion of Aphrodite comes from Phoenicia to Greece. . . . First of all, on the prows of Phoencian ships, the tutelary image of Aphrodite Euploea, the protectress of sailors, comes to Cyprus - to Cythera; it is in this simplest sense that she is primarily Anadyomene' (Pater, Greek Studies, p. 229). The 'Science of Mythology,' of course, has many other explanations.


6. ponite: 1.19.14.


7. funalia: torches, of rope or tow dipped in wax or resin. Cf. Verg. Aen. 1.727. And for their use here, Theoc. 2.128. They are by nature lucid, though not burning, as soiled garments in Homer are resplendent, and the midday heavens starry. arcus: if genuine, is best understood of Cupidinis arcus, transferred, by loose association of ideas, to the lover. The bow would hardly help to burst in a door. Bentley read securesque.


9. beatam: blest, by its wealth, prosperity, and the favor of the goddess. tenes: 3.4.62.n.


10. Memphin: Herod. 2.112, speaks of a worship of ξείνη Ἀφροδίτητηερε. Bacchylides, fr. 39, calls it ἀχείμαντος. carentem . . . nive: these periphrases with careo show the poverty of the lyric vocabulary at Horace's service. Cf. 1.28.1, numero carentis, ἀνήριθμος; 1.31.20, cithara carentem, ἀκίθαρις, ἄλυρον, ἀφόρμικτος; 2.8.12, morte carentes, ἀθάνατος; 3.24.17, matre carentibus, ἀμήτωρ, ὄρφανος; 3.27.39, vitiis carentem. Sithonia: 1.18.9; Verg. Ecl. 10. 66, Sithoniasque nives; Ov. Am. 3.7.8. For the use of the epithet here, cf. on 4.2.27.


11. regina: 1.30.1. sublimi: 1.1.36. We see the lash in air. flagello: for the image, cf. Pind. Pyth. 4.219; Nonnus, 4.177; Tibull. 1.8.6; Martial, 6.21.9.


12. For the surprise, cf. 4.1.33.


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