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Ode XXX


Epilogue to the three books of the Odes, circ. B.C. 24-23.

'There are but two strong conquerors of the forgetfulness of men, Poetry and Architecture' (Ruskin, Lamp of Memory). Horace boasts that he has built 'A forted residence 'gainst the tooth of time and razure of Oblivion.'

For similar utterances of ancient poets, cf. Sappho, fr. 32; Propert. 4.1.55; Ov. Am. 1.15.41; Met. 15.871 sqq.; Phaedr. Epil. bk. 4; Martial, 7.84.7. Cf. also Spenser's Epilogue to Shepherd's Calendar; Cowley on the Praise of Poetry; and F. T. Palgrave, Ancient and Modern Muse, 'The monument outlasting bronze| Was promised well by bards of old ; |The lucid outline of their lay| Its sweet precision keeps for aye,| Fix'd in the ductile language gold.' 'Wonderful it seems to me . . . that an infirm and helpless creature, such as I am, should be capable of laying thoughts up in their cabinets of words which time as he moves by, with the revolutions of stormy and eventful years, can never move from their places' (Boccaccio, in Landor's Pentameron).


exegi: have completed; Ov. Met. 15.871, iamque opus exegi. Cf. Ruskin's phrase, 'I think the Dunciad is the most absolutely chiseled and monumental work 'exacted' in our country.'--aere: statues and brazen tablets.


regali: cf. regiae, 2.15.1.--situ: loosely for structure, pile. Others, less probably, crumbling magnificence, citing Martial, 8.3.5.--pyramidum: cf. Spenser, Ruins of Time, 'In vain do earthly Princes then, in vain,| Seek with Pyramidë, to heaven aspired| . . . To make their memories for ever live,' etc. ; cf. Herrick, 201, 'Trust to good verses then ; they onely will aspire, When Pyramids as men, Are lost, i' th' funerali fire'; cf. 211, 'His Poetrie His Pillar.' The last poem of the Hesperides is quaintly printed as a pillar of fame. Cf. Milton's Epitaph on Shakspere, 'Under a star-y-pointing Pyramid.'


edax: corroding; cf. Ov. Met. 15.234, tempus edax rerum; nec edax abolere Vetustas (Met. 15.872). Cf. Burns, On Pastoral Poetry, 'The teeth o' Time may gnaw Tantallan,| But thou's forever.' For tooth of time, cf. further Shaks. Son. 19, 'Devouring Time'; Otto, p.113; Simon, fr. 176. For imber, cf. Pindar, Pyth. 6.10. --impotens: cf. on 1.37.10. --fuga: cf. 2.14.1; 3.29.48.


non omnis: Herrick, 367, 'Thou shalt not All die.' -pars: cf. Ovid's parsque mei multa superstes erit (Am. 1.15.41). and his parte tamen meliore mei super alta perennis |astra ferar (Met. 15.875; Sen. Tro. 382).


Libitinam: deaths were registered in the temple of Libitina; here her name is used by metonymy for death, or rather to avoid tautology with moriar, the rites of death.--usque: still, with crescam.--postera: of afterdays, i.e. posterorum, 'It grows to guerdon after-days,' says Tennyson of 'praise.'


crescam: i.e. his fame. Cf. Propert, 4.1.34, posteritate suum crescere sensit opus.--recens: cf. Epist. 2.1.53, Naevius in manibus non est et mentibus haeret |paene recens?


Capitolium: the symbol of the eternity of Rome. Cf. 3. 3.42; 1.2. 3. n.; Verg. Aen. 9.448; Ov. Trist. 3.7.51. Cf. Sergeant; cited on 2.20.14.


scandet, etc.: there is a doubtful tradition (Lydus, de mens. 4.36) that the Pontifex Maximus and the chief Vestal (virgo maxima) went up to the Capitol on the Ides of March to pray for the welfare of the State. But Horace's impressive picture is symbolical.


dicar . . . princeps . . . deduxisse: it will be told how I was the first to compose, lit., I shall be said to have first composed.--qua: with dicar rather than with princeps . . . deduxisse; but it is virtually the same to be remembered as one who from a humble birthplace attained the poet's fame, and to be remembered as a poet in that humble place.--obstrepit: brawls. Cf. 2.18.20; 4.14.48; Aufidus: 4.9.2; 4.14.25. It was subject to freshets.


pauper aquae: parched; cf. Epode 3. 16, siticulosae Apuliae.--Daunus: a mythical king of Apulia; 4.14.26; 1.22.14.--agrestium: cf. 3.16.26; 4.14.26-27.


regnavit populorum: Pind. O.6.34, ἀνδρῶν Ἀρκάδων ἄνασσε. Greek gen.; cf. G. L. 383. 1.3; H. 458. 3.--ex humili potens: cf. Soph. O. T. 454, τυφλὸς ἐκ δεδορκότος, and Milton's 'speakable of mute.' Horace always anticipates the sneers at his humble origin. Cf. 2.20.5; Epist. 1.20.20. --potens: with the subject of dicar, i.e. Horace himself; cf. 4.8.26, potentium vatum.


Horace's claim to originality is that he first introduced Greek lyric meters into Latin literature. He ignores the few experiments of Catullus. Cf. Sellar, p.118, and Epist. 1.19. 19-32.--Aeolium: cf. 1.1.34; 2.13.24; 4.3.12; 4.9.12.


deduxisse: the figure is derived from spinning. Cf. such phrases as tenui deducta poëmata filo, Epp. 2.1.225 and mille die versus deduci posse, S.2. 1.4.--sume superbiam: opposite of pone superbiam, 3. 10. 9.--modos: loosely, the measures, the strains, the sounds and special laws of the Latin tongue.


Delphica: Apollinari, 4.2.9; Phoebi Delphica laurus (Lucret. 6.154).


volens: so θέλων, θέλουσα (Pind. and Aeschyl.), graciously. Serv. ad Aen. 1.731, Sic enim dicunt: Volens propitiusque sis. Cf. Liv. 7.26; 1.16. --Melpomene: 1.24.3; 4.3.1; 1.12. 2. n.


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