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Ode VIII


You are puzzled, learned friend Maecenas, by a bachelor's sacrificing on the ladies' Kalends. 'Tis the day of my escape from the falling tree. Come, quaff a hundred cups to the preservation of your friend. Dismiss your cares of state, 'and what the Mede intends and what the Dacian.' Our foes have yielded to Roman prowess or are wrangling among thernselves. Forget for once that you are a public personage, cease to borrow trouble, and enjoy the gifts of the passing hour.

The date is fixed by 17-23. Maecenas is in fact, if not in title, urbis custodiis praepositus (Vell. 2.88.2; cf. Tac. Ann. 6.11), in the absence of Octavian, who returned to Rome in the summer of B.C. 29. There was fighting against the Dacians, who had helped Antony, in B.C. 30-28. Rome perhaps heard of the contest between Phraates and Tiridates for the throne of Parthia in January, B.C. 29. Cf. on 1.26. The dramatic date, then, is March 1st, 29, and the fall of the tree occurred March 1st, B.C. 30. Cf. on 2.13. But Friedrich, Horatius, p.74, argues for date of March, B.C. 26.


Martiis . . . Kalendis: the femineae Kalendae of Juvenal (9.53), on which the Matronalia were celebrated near Maecenas' house on the Esquiline in honor of Juno Lucina. Cf. Ov. Fast. 3.245 sqq.; Martial, 5.84.10.


velint: mean. flores: Ov. 1.1.253, ferte deae flores.


caespite: 1. 19. 13. n.


docte: Epp. 1.19.1, Maecenas docte. sermones: in the lore, the literature. utriusque: only Greek and Latin count. Cf. utriusque linguae auctoribus, Suet. Aug.89; Plut. Lucull. 1; Cic. Off. 1.1; Plin. N. H. 12.11; Stat. Silv. 5.3.90, gemina . . . lingua. Friedrich, op. cit., p.75, thinks Latin and Etruscan are the two tongues.


voveram: sc. prior to these preparations and your wonder. dulcis: dainty. album: victims offered to the di superi, of whom Bacchus was one, were white; those offered to the di inferi were black.


Libero: the poet's protector, though Faunus warded off the blow, 2.17.28. caprum : the enemy of the vine was ap propriately sacrificed to the vine god. Verg. G. 2.380; Ov. Fast. 1.357 = Anth. Pal. 9.75; 9.99.5-6; Mart. 3.24.2.


anno redeunte: with the returning season. Cf. Sat. 2. 2.83, Sive diem festum rediens advexerit annus; 3.18.10; 3. 22.6. festus: 3. 14. 13.


In order to mellow the wine, the storeroom (apotheca) was placed so as to receive the smoke of the furnaces. This necessitated careful sealing (with pitch). Cf. Columell. 1.6. 20; Ov. Fast. 5. 518, promit fumoso condita vina cado.


bibere: to smoke is πίνειν καπνόν in modern Greek. institutae: set or placed (so as) to ; others, taught.


consule Tullo: a Tullus was consul in B.C. 66 and in 33. Horace probably served something better than Sabine Ordinaire on this occasion. Cf. 3.21.1. n.; Tibull. 2.1.27.


amici sospitis: (in honor) of your friend's escape. As n 3.19.9 the toast is given in the genitive.


centum: used loosely for a large number. vigiles: cf. Anth. Pal. 5. 197, πιλάγρυπνον λύχνον. Cf. 3.21.23-24.


perfer: endure. Vigiles is a transferred epithet: 'wake with the lamps till dawn.' procul, etc.: it is to be verecundus Bacchus, 1.27.3, not a noisy revel. Cf. Ody. 1. 369, μηδὲ βοητὺς|ἔστω.


mitte, etc. Cf. the defense of Maecenas' Epicureanism in El. in Maec. 93, sic est, victor amet, victor potiatur in umbra, victor odorata dormiat inque rosa. The victors of Actium had earned the right to take their ease. But Horace does not mention Actium. civilis: political. super: 1. 9.5; 1. 12.6.


occidit: 1.28.7; 4.4.70. Cotisonis: Cotiso, king of the Dacians, was defeated by Augustus' lieutenant Lentulus. Cf. Introd. and Suet. Aug.63.


infestus: sc. Romanis, our enemy the Mede. sibi: best taken primarily with luctuosis, but felt with infestus and perhaps with dissidet, which, however, may be used absolutely.


Cantaber: 2.6.2. n. Spain was the first province elitered by the Romans, but the last to be finally subdued (Livy, 28. 12). domitus: referring to the successes of Statilius Taurus and Calvisius Sabinus, B.C. 29-28.


Scythae: 2.9.23; 4.14.42.


neglegens ne: as if nec . . . legens, not taking anxious thought lest.


parce: i.e. noli.


27. dona . . . horae: cf. 2.16.32; 3.29.48. n. Cf. Milton to Cyriac Skinner, 'For other things mild Heav'n a time ordains,| And disapproves that care, though wise in show,| That with superfluous burden loads the day,| And, when God sends a cheerful hour, refrains.'


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