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Ode IX

Horace (?) and Lydia, or the lovers' quarrel. Amantium irae amoris integratio est (Ter. Andr. 555; cf. Plaut. Amphitr. 940-944). 'And little quarrels often prove |To be but new recruits of love' (Butler). 'Blessings on the falling out, which all the more endears' (Tenn.).

This is one of the odes which Reitzenstein refers to in his discussion of the relation of Horace to Hellenistic lyric poetry. With the words multi Lydia nominis Romana vigui clarior Ilia he compares an Epigram of Asklepiades (IX. 63): Λυδὴ καὶ ηένος εἰμὶ καὶ οὔνομα, τῶν δ᾽ ἀπὸ Κόδρου σεμνοτέρη πασῶν εἰμι δἰ᾽ Ἀντίμαχον. See Neue Jahrbücher 21 (1908), 83-84.

A general favorite. Translations or imitations, by Ben Jonson, Herrick (181), Austin Dobson, Edwin Arnold, Alfred de Musset, Ponsard (who expands it into a charming little drama), etc.

Cf. also Rowe, Johnson's Poets, 9.472; Somervile, ibid. 11. 206; Boyse, ibid. 14.542; Jenyns, ibid. 17.616; Cambridge, ibid. 18.294; Dodsley's Poems, 2.49; Davidson's Poetical Rhapsody (ed. Bullen), Vol.1, p.87; ibid. Vol.2, p.181.

potior: preferred. Cf. Tibull. 1.5.69, At tu, qui potior nunc es, mea fata timeto.

dabat: i.e. circumdabat.

Persarum rege: proverbial for happiness (2.2.17; 2.12. 21); in Elizabethan version, 'King of Spain.'

alia . . . arsisti: burn with love for another. Cf. 2. 4.7.

Lydia: cf.1.8.1; 1.13.1; 1.25.8. Chloe: cf.1.23, 1; 3.7.10; 3.26.12.

multi nominis: lit. of much name; gen. of quality; πολυώνυμος, μεγαλώνυμος; his verses spread her name and fame abroad. Cf. 1.36.13; 'πιβόητος (Anth. Pal. 5.150; 7.345).

Ilia: 1.2.17; 3.3.32.

docta . . . modos: cf. docte sermones (3.8.5). Cf. 4. 6.43; 3.11.7; 4.11. 34. citharae sciens: 1.15.24.

animae: animast amica amanti (Plaut. Bacch. 191); 'Soul of my soul,' Ant. to Cleopatra (Tenn.); Ἡλιοδώραν|ψηχὴν τῆς ψυχῆς(Anth. Pal. 5.155). superstiti: proleptic, to survive me.

mutua: 4.1.30.

Thurini, etc.: the details lend verisimilitude. Cf. 1.27. 10-11; 3.12.6. There may be a hint of the luxury of Thurii, a city in Lucania on the site of old Sybaris.

bis: so in Vergil's eclogues the respondent stnves to outbid the expression of the first singer; δὶς θανεῖν(Eurip. Orest.1116).

redit Venus: cf. Dobson, 'Love comes back to his vacant dwelling,| The old old love that we knew of yore.'

diductos: (now) parted. cogit: 2.3.25; 3.3.51. iugo . . . aeneo: 1.33.11; 1.13.18. Merchant of V.3.4., 'whose souls do bear an equal yoke of love.'

flava: 1.5.4; 2.4.14. excutitur: faintly suggests excutere collo iugum; 'Admit I Chloe put away| And love again lov-cast-off Lydia' (Herrick).

ianua: metaphorical; Lydiae is dative. To cite 3.15. 9 is to insult Lydia. But cf. Anth. Pal. 5.164. For metaphor, cf. Much Ado, 4.1, 'For thee I'll lock up all the gates of love.'

sidere pulchrior: cf. 3.19.26; Il.6.401; 'And like a star upon her bosom lay |His beautiful and shining golden head' (Hobbes); 'Fair as a star when only one |Is shining in the sky' (Wordsworth); 'Whereon the lily maid of Astolat| Lay smiling like a star in blackest night' (Tenn. Lan. and Elaine).

levior: lighter, i.e. unstable, fickle. improbo:

iracundior: Horace says of himself, irasci celerem, tamen ut placabilis essem. Hadria: 1.33.15.

tecum, etc.: Tibull. 1.1.59, Te spectem, suprema miht cum venerit hora, |Te teneam moriens deficiente manu; 'Then finish, dear Chloe, this pastoral war; |And let us, like Horace and Lydia, agree: | For thou art a girl as much brighter than her,| As he was a poet sublimer than me' (Prior, A Better Answer).

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  • Commentary references from this page (2):
    • Plautus, Amphitruo, 3.2
    • Plautus, Bacchides, 2.2
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