Come, Maecenas, to the wine and roses that await you at the Sabine farm. Linger no more amid the smoke and din of Rome, gazing longingly from the cloud-capt towers of your gorgeous palace towards Tusculum and Tibur. Luxury pails at times. Come, 'give thy soul a loose, and taste the pleasures of the poor.' The dog-star rages; the midsummer midday quiet holds the hill. 'Tis better up in a villa than down in the city. A truce to cares of state. God veils the future from us. The course of our life is a rushing stream. To-day only is ours. The well-filled hour is a gift which, once granted, God himself cannot withdraw. Cruel Fortune loves to sport with the life of man ; but I will be no stop for her finger to play what tune it will. If she smile, 'we smile the lords of many lands'; and if she frown, 'we smile the lords of our own hands.' When the Southwester descends on the Aegean and the wealthy merchant grovels in prayer lest he be driven to 'enrobe the roaring waters with his silks,' my little life-boat and the great Twin Brethren shall bear me safely through the storm. Lines 25-28 point to the date of Augustus' absence in the West, B.C. 25 and 26. There is a translation by Sir John Beaumont (Johnson's Poets, 6.19). Dryden's Pindaric Paraphrase is a classic. See also the Sargent prize translation, Scribner's Magazine, vol.8, p.683.
Tyrrhena regum progenies: offspring of Tuscan kings ; cf. 1.1.1. n. For the hypallage, cf. Epode 10.12. n.; Munro on Lucret. 1.474; 4.734.
verso: tipped, decanted, broached. The cadus held about five gallons. lene: mellow. Cf. 3.21.8; Epp. 1.15.18.
flore . . . rosarum: 2.3.14; 3.15.15; 4.10.4; Simon. fr. 148, ῥόδων ἀώτοις; Browning, Fra Lippo Lippi, 'Flower o' the rose, |If I've been merry what matter who knows?'
tuis: cf. 2. 7. 20, tibi destinatis. pressa balanus : oil of 'ben nut,' lit., pressed 'ben nut.' The balanus grew in Arabia ; it is sometimes called 'Arabian Dew.' Cf. Herrick, 201, 'Now raignes the Rose, and now | Th' Arabian Dow besmears| My uncontrolled brow, |And my retorted haires.'
iamdudum: he has been waiting. So Epp. 1.5.73 iamdudum splendet focus et tibi munda supellex.
ne semper contempleris: and do not always (merely) gaze at; lit., lest, a clause of purpose. The places mentioned in this strophe could be seen from the tower of Maecenas' palace on the Esquiline. Horace thinks that Maecenas should sometimes visit them instead of being contented with a distant view. Some Mss. read nec. udum: 1.7.13; 4.2.30; Ov. Fast. 4. 71, et iam Telegoni ia'n moenia Tiburis udi |Stabant. Aefulae: Aefula was a town in the hills between Praeneste and Tibur. Formerly misspelled Aesula (Liv. 26.9.9). Cf. Clough, Amours de Voyage, 'Seen from Montono's height Tibur and Aesula's hills.'
Telegoni iuga: Tusculum, founded by Telegonus, son of Circe and Ulysses, who traveled in search of his father and unwittingly slew him in Ithaca. Arist. Poet. 14; Hygin. Fab. 127; Epode 1.29.
fastidiosam: 3. 1. 37, that palls, cloys; Propert. 1.2.32, taedia dum miserae sint tibi divitiae. For this Roman ennui, cf. Lucret. 3.1060 sqq.; Victor Hugo, Odes et Ballades, 4.8.
molem: pile (2.15.2), his palace on the Esquiline. See Sat. 1.8.14; Lanciani, Ancient Rome, p.67; Platner, Topography of Ancient Rome, 443. Merivale, 4. 119; Epode 9.3. From its tower, the turris Maecenatiana, Nero was said to have watched Rome burn (Suet. Nero, 38).
<*>&obreve;</*>mitte: 1.16.19, st<*>&ebreve;</*>tere; Epp. 1.18.79, omitte tueri. beatae: 1.4.14; 3.26.9.
A famous line. Cf. Tenn. In Mem. 89, 'The dust and din and steam of town.' To Rev. F. D. Maurice, 'far from noise and smoke of town' ; Stat. Silv. 1.1.65, Septem per culmina caelo | it fragor et magnae vincit vaga murmuraRomae; Arnold, Resigna- tion, 'Here, whence the eye first sees, far down | Capp'd with faint smoke the noisy town.'
gratae: sc. sunt. vices: change (Quint. 1.12.5).
mundae: 1.5.5; Sat. 2.2.65; Epp. 2.2. 199. sub lare: i.e. beneath the humble roof. Cf. 1.5.3; 1.12.44.
aulaeis: tapestries. ostro: the purple of tapestries and upholstery (Lucret. 2.35-36).
explicuere: gnomic. Sat. 2.2.125, explicuit vino contractae seria frontis.
clarus occultum: 1.6.9. n.; Epist. 1.12.18, obscurum. Cepheus, King of Aethiopia, the father of Andromeda, was said to have become a constellation near the Little Bear. It begins early in July to show bright the light hidden before.
ostendit: Catull. 62.7, nimirum Oetaeos ostendit noctifer ignes. Procyon: (lit. antecanis) the minor dog-star rises in the morning, July 15, about eleven days before Sirius the 'dog of Orion.' furit: Pope, 'the dog-star rages'; Dryden, 'The Syrian (sic) star| Barks from afar.'
stella . . . Leonis: Regulus, α Leonis, rises July 30. -vesani: the word, A. P.455; the thing, Epp. 1.10.16, et rabiem Canis et momenta Leonis: Mart. 9.90.12, et fervens iuba saeviet leonis. Cf. insana, 3.7.6.
siccos: also in sense of 4.12.13.
A summer picture. Cf. Tenn. Œnone, 'For now the noonday quiet holds the hill'; Theoc. 7.22; Tibull. 1.1.27; Sellar, p.180; Odes, 2.5.6; 3.13.9-12; and the idyl of spring, 4.12.9-12.
horridi: shagged, the god of the bush is bushy. Cf. 4.5.26. n. Silvani: Epode 2.22. n.
caret . . . ventis: 'No stir of air was there,| Not so much life as on a summer's day| Robs not one light seed from the feathered grass' (Keats, Hyperion).
tu: 2.9.9. n. status: policy, constitution. As vague a word as ratio, res, causa. Maecenas had been chief counselor in the establishment of the new constitution of the Empire. Dio, 52.16. He would feel the burden of responsibility in Augustus' absence. For the tone of the strophe, see 2.11. 1-4; 3.8. 16-20.
urbi: with times preferably--Urbi et Orbi, of course.
Seres: 1.12.56; 4.15.23, ironical hyperbole. --regnata: 2.6.11.--Cyro: 2.2.17.n.
Bactra: Xen. Cyr. 1.1.4, ἤρξε δὲ δαὶ Βακτρίων. A Greek Bactrian kingdom existed circa 250-125 B.C. The remotest Parthian province is put for the Parthian Empire. Propert. 4. 1.16, qui finem imperii Bactra futura canent.--Tanais: i.e. Tanain propeflumen orti (4.15.24), the Scythians. Cf. 2.9.21; 2.20.20.--discors: and so less dangerous to us. 3.8.19.
prudens: 1.3.22. n.--futuri temporis exitum: the issue of the future. For the commonplace, cf. Pind. O.12.7-9; Solon, fr. 17; Isoc. 13.2; Eurip. Alcest. 785; Thucyd. passim; Benn, Greek Philosophers, 1.46; 2.126; Peele, 'But things to come exceed our human reach |And are not painted yet in angel's eyes'; Pope, Essay on Maii,' Heaven from all creatures hides the book of fate| All but the page prescribed the present state'; Emerson, Experience, 'God delights to isolate us every day, and hide from us the past and the future. . . . He draws down before us an impenetrable screen,' etc. Cf. Bacchyl. 16. 32, 10.45.
caliginosa: Juv. 6.556, et genus humanum damnat caligo futuri; Theog. 1077, ὄρφνη γὰρ τέταται--premit: 1.4.16.
ridet: 'The gods laugh in their sleeve |To watch man doubt and fear' (Arnold, Emped.); 'But God laughs at a man who says to his soul, "Take thy ease" '(Cowley, Of Myself); 'And how God laughs in heaven when any man| Says "Here I'm learned, this I understand" '(Mrs. Browning). Cf. also, Psalms, 2.4; Aesch. Eumen. 560; Milt. P. L. 8, 'perhaps to move | His laughter.'--mortalis: emphasizing the θνητὰ φρονεῖν of the Greeks. Cf. 2.16.17; 1.4.15; 1.11.6; 4.7.7.
ultra fas: 1. 11. 1.
trepidat: is solicitous; 2.11.4; 2.3.12. We need not take it definitely of unlawful pryings into futurity, but merely of man's vain agitations--l'homme s'agite.
quod adest . . . componere: adjust the matter in hand; τὸ παρὸν θέσθαι καλῶς, 'Improve the present hour, for all beside (cetera)| Is a mere feather on the torrent's tide' (Cowper, On Bill of Mortality, 1788).
memento: 1.7.17; 2.3.1.
aequus: with tranquil mind; 2.3.1. n.--cetera: the future; 1. 9. 9.
fluminis ritu: 3.14.1; A. P.62; Sat. 2.3.268, tempestatis prope ritu. For comparison of life to personified river, cf. Words. River Duddon, 9, 32, 33; Arnold, Sohrab and Rustum, in fine; Shelley, Alastor, etc.
medio: cf.4.7.3-4; 1.2.18.--alveo: 3.7.28.
cum pace: A. G. 248; B. 220; G. L. 399; H. 419.III. The line too flows peaceably.--Etruscum: for elision, cf. 2.3.27.
adesos: for wave-worn pebbles, cf. Theoc. 22.49.
For river in flood, cf. 4. 14.28; Ov. Met. 1.285; Lucret. 1.281; Verg. G. 1.481; Aen. 2.496, 12.523; F. Q. 2.11.18.
clamore: Il.17.165; Verg. Aen. 3.566.
diluvies: flood; 4. 14.28; Lucret. 5.255, 6.292, ad diluviem revocari. Diluvium normal.--quletos: sc. before. Cf. occultum, 17. Cf. 1.31.7, quieta.
inritat: cf. Milton's 'vexed the Red Sea coast'; Tenn., 'vext the dim sea.'--amnis: its waters, or possibly the minor tributary streams. See Pliny, Epp. 8.17. --potens sui: ἐγκρατὴς ἑαυτοῦ, αὐτάρκης. 'This man is freed from servile bands| Of hope to rise, or fear to fall; | Lord of himself, though not of lands;| And having nothing, yet hath all' (Sir H. Wotton). Cf. Epp. 1.16.65.
in diem: Sat. 2.6.47-- with dixisse; in diem vivere is to live from hand to mouth.
vixi: see Seneca's sermon on this text, Epist. 12; Cowley, Of Myself, 'But boldly say each night,| To-morrow let my sun his beams display| Or in clouds hide them--I have lived today'; Emerson, Works and Days, 'so that I shall not say . . . "Behold, also an hour of my life has gone"--but rather, "I have lived an hour." '-- cras: cf. Martial, 2.90.3; 1.15.11, non est, crede mihi, sapientis dicere 'vivam'; | Sera nimis vita est crastina; vive hodie; Herrick, 656, 'Drink wine, and live here blithefull, while ye may: The morrow's life too late is, Live to-day.' But that is rather the lighter vein of 1.11.8. Stoic and Epicurean unite in the faith that respect for the present hour is the only wisdom.
polum: 1.28.6.--pater: 1.2.2.
puro: 3.10.8. n.--inritum: void; diffinget, 1.35.39, recast, reshape ; infectum, undone, are cumulative expressions of the old thought: 'But past who can recall, or done undo? | Not God omnipotent, nor Fate' (Milt. P. L. 9). Cf. Pind. O.2. 18-20; Theog. 583; Simon. fr. 69; Agathon in Aristot. Eth. 6.2; Tenn. In Mem. 85, 'The all-assuming months and years | Can take no part away from this'; Pliny, N. H. 2.27; Plato, Protag. 324 B.
fugiens: 1. 11.7.n.--hora vexit: some insist thatvexil = avexit into the past because of semel (1.24.16). But semel can mean what is once (for all) mine as well as what is once past; and the hours (seasons) as bringers of gifts are a tradition of poetry; translate, has once brought. Homer, Il.21.450; Theoc. 15.104; Spenser, Epithal. 'But first come ye fair Hours,' etc.; Mrs. Browning, Son. fr. Port. I., 'I thought once how Theocritus had sung |Of the sweet years, the dear and wished-for years,| Who each one in a gracious hand appears |To bear a gift for mortals, old or young'; Congreve, Mourning Bride, 1.1.7; Tenn. Love and Duty, 'The slow, sweet hours that bring us all things good, |The slow, sad hours that bring us all things ill.' See also 3.8.27, dona--horae, and for vexit, Verg. G. 1.461, quid vesper serus vehat; Lucret. 3.1085, posteraque in dubiost fortunam quam vehat aetas.
Fortuna, etc.: see Dryden in Lyra Elegantiarum, 87.
saevo laeta: 1.6.9. n.; Boeth. Cons. Phil. 2.1, genitus dura quos fecit ridet; sic illa ludit, sic suas probat vires.
ludum: 2.1.3. n.; Sat. 2.8.62; 1.34.15-16; 1.35; Tenn. Enid's Song in Geraint and Enid; Anth. Pal. 10.64, 10. 80; Juv. 6.608; F. Q. 3.7.4, 'That fortune all in equal lance (scales) doth sway | And mortal miseries doth make her play.'
laudo manentem, etc.: 'I can enjoy her while she's kind; | But when she dances in the wind,| And shakes her wings and will not stay,| I puff the prostitute away:| The little or the much she gave, is quietly resigned:| Content with poverty my soul I arm;| And virtue, tho' in rags, will keep me warm' (Dryden).--manentem: a rare coin of Commodus is inscribed FORTUNAE MANENTI. Plutarch (de Fort. Rom. c. 4) said that Fortune laid aside her wings when she came to the Romans. So the Greeks worshiped a Wingless Victory.
pennas: cf. 1.34.15. Cf. Fronto,Orat. p.157, ed. Naber. Fortunas omnes cum pennis, cum rotis, cum gubernaculo reperias. --resigno: so Epp. 1.7.34. Apparently a commercial term = rescribo (Festus), I make an entry on the opposite side, and so cancel the debt, repay, resign.
virtute . . . involvo: in the cloak of my virtue. So the women in Plato, Rep. 457 A; are clothed in virtue, as Tennyson's Godiva is 'clothed on with chastity.'
sine dote: choosing Poverty for a bride, like St. Francis in Dante.
non est meum is sermo familiaris, 'tis not my way. Cf. Plaut. As. 190.--mugiat: etc. 3.10.6. n.; 1.14.5-6.
miseras: craven, abject, groveling.
decurrere: Verg. Aen. 5.782, preces descendere in omnes; Herod. 1.116 καταβαίνειν.--votis pacisci: with vows to bargain, contemptuously of the mercantile conception of prayer. 1.31.1; Plato, Euthyphro, 14 E.
merces addant: M. of V. 1. 1, 'dangerous rocks| Which, touching but my gentle vessel's side, |Would scatter all her spices on the stream,| Enrobe the roaring waters with my silks.'
avaro . . . mari: 1.28.18, avidum; Shaks. Hen. V.1.2. 'And make your chronicles as rich with praise | As is the ooze and bottom of the sea |With sunken wreck and sumless (sunless?) treasuries' ; Rich. III.1.4, 'unvalued jewels| All scattered in the bottom of the sea.'
biremis: two-oared, not bireme with two banks of oars. The scapha is a light skiff, or life-boat, attached to a larger vessel. If we press the image, Horace escapes in this from the wreck of the merchantman without lamenting the wealth he abandons. But that is perhaps an over-curious interpretation, and the figure may be merely the voyage of life.
Aegaeos: 2.16.2.--tumultus: 3.1. 26.
geminusque Pollux: cf. Catull. 4.27, gemelle Castor et gemelle Castoris; Epode 17.42. See also, 1.3.2. n.