Of this poem Landor (Pentameron) says, 'in competition with which ode, the finest in the Greek language itself has to my ear too many low notes and somewhat of a wooden sound.' See, also, Lang, Letters to Dead Authors, p.209: 'We talk of the Greeks as your teachers. Your teachers they were, but that poem could only have been written by a Roman! The strength, the tenderness, the noble and monumental resolution and resignation,--these are the gifts of the lords of human things, the masters of the world.'
caelo: with regnare. Cf. 1.12.57-58. tonantem: both epithet (Lex. s. v.II. B), and cause of credidimus; Lucret. 5. 1187-93.
praesens divus: a god on earth; cf. 1.35.2; 4.14.43; Epp. 2.1.15; Ov. Trist. 2.54, per te praesentem conspicuumque deum; Veget. R. M. 2.5, imperator . . . tamquam praesenti et corporali deo.
adiectis: i.e. cum adiecerit. Britannis: 1. 35. 30. n.
imperio: 1. 2. 26. n. gravibus . . . Persis: i.e. the Parthians; cf. 1.2.22. The mention of their name affords a transition to the indignant lines that follow.
Crassi: Thousands of Romans had been taken prisoners after the defeat of Crassus' army by the Parthians at Carrhae in Mesopotamia in 53 B.C. Some of them had married Parthian women and served in the Parthian armies. coniuge barbara: abl. abs. motivating turpis maritus. But 'husband by a wife' 'husband of a wife' is a possible construction . For the shame, cf. Vergil's nefas, Aegyptia coniux (Aen. 8.688).
vixit: closely with maritus, endured to live as.
pro: interjection. curia, that Senate (house) which the envoy of Pyrrhus pronounced an assembly of kings, whose elders, refusing to abandon Rome, had awaited, each on his curule chair, the approach of the victorious Gauls (Liv. 5.41). Cf. Cic. pro Plancio, 71, stante urbe et curia. inversi: with both curia and mores.
consenuit: more than twenty-five years had passed since the defeat of the Roman army at Carrhae. socerorum: cf. 3.11.39. n. For pl., cf. Il.3.49. in armis: Bentley would read in arvis, on the ground that Roman soldiers would never have served in an enemy's army.
The good old Italian names in invidious juxtaposition with the hateful name of king and Mede. Cf. 1.37.7. n.
Cf. Macaulay, Regillus, 38, 'Hail to the great Asylum! Hail to the hill-tops seven! Hail to the fire that burns for aye,| And the shield that fell from heaven.' anciliorum: instead of ancilium. The sacred shields (ancilia), upon the preservation of which the safety of the state was supposed to depend, were in the charge of the Salii, priests of Mars. nominis: civis Romanus sum ! togae: the national dress; cf. Verg. . Aen. 1.282, Romanos, rerum dominos gentemque togatam.
Vestae: Macaulay, Capys, 15, 'And there, unquenched through ages,| Like Vesta's sacred fire,| Shall live the spirit of thy nurse,| The spirit of thy sire.' Virginesque Vestales in urbe custodiunto ignem foci publici sempiternum (Cic. de. leg. 2.20).
incolumi Iove: i.e. salvo Capitolio. Cf. 3.30.8. n.
hoc: note effective Latin order, ''twas just this . . . he guarded against . . in his forethought . . did Regulus when he,' etc. "Twas this that Regulus foresaw, |What time he spurn'd' (Conington). Reguli: Consul, 256, captured in Africa by Carthaginians, 255 (Polyb. 1.34). Sent by them to Roman Senate, 250, to treat for peace, or, failing that, for an exchange of prisoners, he advised the Senate (auctor . . . fuit) to reject both propositions (Livy, Epit. XVIII). A favorite text; cf. Cic. de Or. 3.109; de Off. 1.39; 3.99.
condicionibus: the terms of peace; dative.
exemplo: the precedent of ransoming soldiers that had not known how to die. Cf. Liv. 22.60.--trahentis: so Mss.; with Reguli: drawing from such precedent (a presage of) ruin for future time. The precedent is defined by si non periret. Ovid has traxit in exemplum, Met. 8.245. Eds. generally read trahenti with exemplo, which they construe with dissentientis.
veniens: Lucan, 7. 390, populos aevi venientis. Cf. l'avenir, and the 'To-come' in Tenn. and Shelley.
perirēt: cf. 1.3.36. n. But the ictus does not fall on the lengthened syllable here, and some read perires or perirent. Or we may say that Horace permits himself the Greek form <*>-[[breve]]-[[breve]]</*>
signa: Horace wishes the reader to think of the standards of Crassus in Parthia. Cf. 4.15.6. ego: his own eyes have seen the shame during his five years' captivity.
militibus sine caede . . . derepta: with cumulative irony. Cf. Arnold, Culture and Anarchy, chap. 2, 'If he had allowed his soldiers to interfere--their rifles (might have been) taken from them . . . with bloodshed'; Verg. Aen 11.193, spolia occisis derepta Latinis.
civium: yes, civium Romanorum.
retorta (in) tergo: cf. Epp. 2. 1, mox trahitur manibus regum fortuna retortis. An ingenious commentator has recently taken it not of the Roman captives but of the Carthaginians strolling peacefully with hands clasped behind their backs! libero: a liberty they had not known how to guard like the freeman. Cf. 4.14.18. For the transfer, cf. 3.2.16, timido tergo.
portas: of Carthage no longer fearing the Romans, of. A P.199, apertis otia portis. Cf. Lang, Helen of Troy, 6.9.
arva . . . coli: for syntax, cf. 2.9.19-22. n.
Marte populata nostro: which had been laid waste by our soldiery.
Cf. Liv. 22.60, speech of T. Manlius Torquatus against ransoming the captives of Cannae, pretio redituri estis eo unde ignavia ac nequitia abiistis? scilicet:doubtless, ironical.
flagitio: the disgrace of their cowardice.
damnum: the injury to the morale of the Roman army hinted at in scilicet acrior, and explained in 26-36. Others take it naively of the 'damnation of the expense,' a satiric (Sat. 2.2.96) but hardly an heroic thought. Cf. The Tempest, 4.1, 'There is not only disgrace and dishonor in that, monster, but an infinite loss' . Eurip. (?)Rhes. 102.
neque . . . nec . . . si . . . erit: two allegorical parallels illustrating the thought that valor, like chastity, is irrecoverably forfeited by a single lapse. For this scheme of expression by paratactic simile, cf. Aesch. Sept. 584; Suppl. 226 443 sqq.; Ag. 322; Eumen. 694; Choeph. 258; Pind. O.10. 13, etc.
colores: i.e. its native hues, the simplex ille candor of Quintil. 1. 1.5.
refert: recovers. medicata: dyed with false hues. So φαρμάσσειν
curat: with inf. 2.13.39. deterioribus: dat., the loss (excidit) makes them so. Homer could never have so complicated his simple, 'Whatever day| Makes man a slave, takes half his worth away'; Od. 17.392 (Pope).
perfidis: cf. 4.4.49. n.; with credidit, cf. 3.7.13; 3.27.25.
Marte: as in 24, war; cf. 1.7.22. n. altero: a second= another = some future.
iners: helpless, submissively, tamely. Cf. inertiae, 4.9. 29; Epp. 1.5.17, ad proelia trudit inertem.
unde . . . sumeret: represents dubitative unde sumam. Forgetting that the soldier must keep his life with the sword, he confounds war with peace (and tries to buy it?)
ruinis: by the, instr. abl., but virtually above the, towering over.
fertur: 'still is the story told' how, etc. Note the modulation from the passion of Regulus' peroration to the quiet, awestruck description of his heroic self-sacrifice. Lines 41-56 are translated by Thomson, Liberty, 3, 'Hence Regulus the wavering fathers firmed| By dreadful counsel never given before ; (45, 46) . . . On earth his manly look| Relentless fix'd, he from a last embrace,| By chains polluted, put his wife aside,' etc. pudicae: 4. 9.23.
capitis minor: caput is status; capitis deminutio is total or partial loss of civic rights. Cf. Liv. 22.60, sero nunc desideratis, deminuti capite, abalienati iure civium, servi Carthaginiensium facti. With heroic Roman pedantry Regulus, applying this technicality to himself, declined to speak from his place in the Senate (Cic. de Off. 3.27) or to claim the rights of a paterfamilias. The genitive capitis with minor is on the analogy of such genitives as integer vitae, etc. Cf. 1.22.1. n
donec . . . firmaret: may be taken as determined by the dependence on fertur; but 'while he was' blends with 'until he could' (get through with the hard duty). Cf. Verg. Aen. 1.5.
auctor: by the weight of his authority; but cf. Livy, cited on 1.13. alias: before or after.
egregius . . . exsul: cf. 3.3.38. n.; 3.11.35. n. properaret and dimovit may express the alacrity of duty done, or his impatience of distressing importunity, and desire to 'have it over.'
atqul: and yet, καίτοι. Cf. 3.7.9; 1.23.9; Cic. Off. 3. 27, neque vero tum ignorabat--he knew all the while.
tortor: completes the legend (Cic. Off. 3.27; Gell. 7.4), but has no historical authority. The whole story is unknown to Polybius.
non aliter . . . quam si: with like unconcern--as though, Con.
dimovit: pushed aside.
reditus: -um -um -em would have been cacophonous. Cf. Epode 16.35.
longa:tedious. For this burdensome duty of a great Roman towards his clients, cf. Epp. 2.1.104; 1.5.31.
diiudicata: it does not appear whether he is conceived as counsel or judge (arbitrator). relinqueret: were leaving ; rura suburbana indictis . . . ire Latinis, Epp. 1.7.76, is an anachronism for the age of Regulus; but the picture is timeless. Cf. Homer, Odyss. 12.439.
Venafranos: Venafrum and Tarentum are mentioned as typical holiday resorts; 2. 6. 16.
Lacedaemonium: 2.6.12-13. n. Note the quiet, idyllic close. Cf. Sellar, p. 184.