Augustus, first in peace and first in the hearts of his country men. When I would sing of wars, Phoebus rebuked me (But I may tell how) thy age, O Caesar, has brought back the harvests to our fields, recovered our standards from the Parthians, curbed licentious wickedness, and renewed the old Roman virtue that built up the empire. No fear of civic strife or external foe disturbs us now. But lingering over the wine with wife and child, after due prayer to the gods we will sing in old time fashion the great captains of the past and the scion of Venus and Anchises. The poem has been read as a continuation of the preceding. It is, in any case, its complementary antithesis. It is 'l'envoi' to Augustus, and affirms the fulfillment of the hopes expressed in 1.2 and elsewhere, as 3.24, 3.1-6.
Cf. Verg. Eclog. 6.3; Propert. 3.3.25. Lyra is probably to be construed with increpuit, rebuked me with his lyre. The god is represented as sounding his lyre in warning. The position of the word is in favor of this interpretation, which is supported also by Ovid, A. A. 2.493, Haec ego cum canerem subito manifestus Apollo |movit inauratae pollice fila lyrae. Some editors, however, following the scholiasts, construe loqui lyra. For thought, cf. on 1.6.5; 3.3.70; Epp. 2.1. 251 sqq.
For the metaphor, cf. Propert. 4.2.22; 4.8.4, quid me scribendi tam vastum mittis in aequor? |Non sunt apta meae grandia vela rati; Verg. Georg. 2.41; Ovid, Trist. 2.329; Shaks. Sonnet, 86, 'Was it the proud full sail of his great verse?' Dante's 'la navicella del mio ingegno '; and Cowley's quaint Pindarique Ode to Mr. Hobbes, 'The Baltic, Euxine, and the Caspian, |And slender-limbed Mediterranean |Seemed narrow creeks to thee and only fit | For the poor wretched fisher-boats of wit. |Thy nobler vessel the vast ocean tried'; Boileau, Épitre I., Au Roi, 'Cette mer où tu cours est célèbre en naufrages,' etc. --Tyrrhenum: cf. on 1.16.4.
Cf. on 4.5.17-18. Observe polysyndeton of et, corresponding to anaphora of non in lines 19-24.
The recovery, by Augustus' diplomacy in B.C. 20, of the standards lost to the Parthians by Crassus at Carrhae (cf. 3.5. 5; 3.6.9) was regarded as a triumph by the court poets. Cf. August. in Mon. Ancyr. 40; Epp. 1.18.56, 1.12.27; Verg. Aen. 7.606, Parthosque reposcere signa; Propert. 4.4.48; Ferrero, Greatness and Decline of Rome, 5.34.--nostro . . . Iovi: i.e. Jupiter Capitolinus, in whose temple on the Capitol the standards seem to have been first deposited. They were afterwards placed in the temple of Mars Ultor, dedicated B.C. 2. Cf. Mon. Ancyr. 5.40, and supra on 1.2.44.
vacuum: proleptic.--duellis: cf. on 3.5.38.
Ianum Quirini: the Gateway of Quirinus, the Sabine war-god identified with Mars. The usual phrase seems to have been lanum Quirinum. Cf. Mon. Ancyr. II.42, where the probable reading is (Ianum) Quirin(um), and where the Greek translation has πύλη Ἐνυάλιος; and Suet. Oct.22, Ianum Quirinum semel atque iterum a condita urbe clausum. The gates of the covered arcade passage in the Forum, commonly called the temple of Janus, were closed only in time of peace by the institution of Numa. Cf. Livy, 1.19.2. They were shut once in the reign of Numa, once at the end of the first Punic war, and thrice by Augustus, in 725, 729, 746. Verg. Aen. 7.607, 1.294; Ovid, Epist. Ex Ponto, 1.2.126, clausit et aeterna civica bella sera.--ordinem rectum evaganti: swerving from the straight course.
frena: cf. on 3.24.29, and Sat. 2.7.74, Iam vaga prosiliet frenis natura remotis.
artis: cf. on 3.3.9; and, for thought, Verg. Georg. 2. 532-535, and Gratian, Cyneget. 320 sqq.
Note the three stages of the growth of the empire.
nomen: cf. on 3.3.45.
imperi: cf. on 1.2.26.
maiestas: sovereign power. ortus: some read ortum. Cf. 3.27.12.
Cf. Sall. Cat. 36; Dion, Chrysost. orat. 1, p.13, ἀπ᾽ ἀνισχοντος ἡλιου μέχρι δυομένου πάσης ἦρχε γῆς.
Cf. on 3.14,15,
custode: cf. 4.5.2.
exiget: used normally of persons (cf. 2.13.31), slightly personifies. Some read eximet. For personification in procudit, cf. Aeschyl. Choeph. 647; Soph. Ajax, 1034.
ira: cf. 1.16.
miseras: proleptic, to their sorrow.--inimicat: new coinage of Horace, as apprecati, 28.
qul . . . bibunt: cf. on 2.20.20; Crinagoras, Anth. Pal. 16. 61. 5, οἶδεν Ἀράξης|καὶ Ῥῆνος, δούλοις ἔθνεσι πινόμενοι.
Cf. C. S. 51-56.
edicta . . . Iulia: the ordinances of Augustus; not to be taken technically, though it suggests the leges Iuliae. --Getae: cf, 3.24.11,
Seres: cf. 1.12. 56.--Persae: cf. 1.2. 22.--infidi: cf. perfide Albion, Graecia mendax, Punica fides, Parthis mendacior (Epp. 2.1.112), perfidus Hannibal (4.4.49), and similar international amenities.
nosque: emphatic.--profestis: cf. Sat. 2.2.116, profesta luce; working days plus holidays are all days.
Cf. on 4.5.31-32. --munera Liberi: cf. 1. 18.7. --iocosi: cf. 3.21.15.
It was the policy of Augustus to foster the sentiment of historic patriotism. Cf. Suet. Aug.31, and supra on 3. 1-6.
virtute functos: whose valorous deeds are over, a variation on vita functus, laboribus functus (2.18.38). Cf. aevo functus (2.9.13).--more patrum: with canemus, cf. Cic. Tusc. 1.3, est in Originibus (Cato's Origins) solitos esse in epulis canere convivas ad tibicinem de clarorum hominum virtutibus.
Lydis: perhaps 'soft Lydian airs' suited the wine (cf. Plato, Rep. 398 E), perhaps the epithet is used merely for poetic specification.--remixto: a rare word. Cf. A. P.151, veris falsa remiscet.
almae: cf. 4.5.18; Lucretius, 1.2, alma Venus.
progeniem: sc. Augustus. Cf. 4.5.1, and C. S. 50.