Like a new-fledged eagle swooping down on its quarry, like a fresh-weaned lion rending its first victim, -insuch guise have the Vindelici beheld young Drusus waging war beneath theRaetian Alps. Subdued at last, those fierce tribes have been taught what the sons of the Neros, bred at the hearth of Augustus, can achieve. What Rome owes to the house of Nero let the battle of the river Metaurus bear witness, the overthrow of Hasdrubal, and the first day of hope that dawned on Italy after all the years in which Hannibal rode like a storm wind or forest fire over her fields. That was the beginning of the end. Hannibal knew it, and said: 'We are like deer that madly turn upon their natural pursuers. The indomitable race that issued from burning Troy grows stron- ger through hardship and defeat, and renews itself like the hydra of Hercules. Never again shall I send proud heralds of victory to Carthage. All is lost with the fall of Hasdrubal.' Such were the deeds of the Claudians. And what may they not do, guarded by Jupiter and guided by sagacious counsels? The campaign celebrated in this ode was undertaken in order to give Rome control of the eastern passes of the Alps and put a stop to the incursions of the unruly Alpine tribes. "P. Silius engaged these tribes in 738, and worsted them. The year following . . . Drusus, the emperor's younger stepson, now in his twenty-third year, took the command of the legions from Silius, overthrew the Rhaetians in the Tridentine Alps, traversed the Brenner pass, and defeated the Breuni and Genauni in the valley of the Inn. It is . . . probable that he turned westward to effect a junction with his brother Tiberius, who had been dispatched at the same time to attack the Vindelicians in the rear. . . . Tiberius penetrated the gorges of the Upper Rhine and Inn in every direction; and at the conclusion of a brilliant and rapid campaign, the two brothers had effected the complete subjugation of the country of the Grisons and the Tyrol," which with adjacent territory were constituted the province of Rhaetia. "The free tribes of the Eastern Alps appear then for the first time in history, only to disappear again for a thousand years." (Abridged from Merivale, 4. 160. Cf. Dio, 54.22; Strabo, 4, p.206; Ferrero, 5.117.) Tiberius (afterwards emperor), born 713, and Drusus, born 716, sons of the empress Livia by her divorced husband Tiberius Claudius Nero, were adopted by Augustus. Drusus was the emperor's favorite (Suet. Claud. 1), and is, with some partiality, celebrated not only in this ode, but in the fourteenth, which treats of the exploits of Tiberius. Horace often professes that he is unapt to sing of war. Cf. 1. 6.5, 4.2.30 sqq.; Sat. 2.1.12 sqq. This ode, and indeed the fourth book generally, was written, Suetonius tells us, at the express command of the emperor. Scripta quidem eius usque adeo probavit mansuraque perpetua opinatus est, ut non modo Seculare carmen componendum iniunxerit sed et Vindelicam victoriam Tiberii Drusique, privignorum suorum, eumque coegerit propter hoc tribus carminum libris ex longo intervallo quartum addere. Horace evades the difficulty by a Pindaric treatment, the long historical digression 37-73 representing the myth. Translation by Lyttleton, Johnson's Poets, 14.182. Prior's Ode to the Queen (1706) is a feeble imitation.
The construction is qualem . . . propulit (6). . . vernique . . . docuere (8)... mox . . . demisit (10)... nunc . . . egit (12) . . . qualemve . . . vidit (13. 16) . . . (talem) videre (17). In translating follow the Latin order: like the, etc. --ministrum: flammigerum, Iovis armiger (Verg. Aen. 5.255); in apposition with alitem, which is the object of propulit, but we translate winged minister. The eagle clasping the thunderbolt is found on coins.
regnum: οἰωνῶν βασιλέα (Pind. Ol.13.21). Cf. Pyth. 1.7; Isth. 5.50. Bacchyl. 5.17 sqq. 'Sailing with supreme dominion through the azure deep of air.' --in. cf. on 3.1.5.--vagas: ἠεροφοίτους Cf. 3.27.16, vaga cornix,
permisit: Lex. s.v. II. B. 2.--expertus: etc., having found him faithful in (the case of).
4. Ganymede: cf. 3.20.16; Verg. Aen. 5.255; Tenn Pal. of Art, 'Or else flushed Ganymede, his rosy thigh| Half-buried in the eagle's down, | Sole as a flying star shot thro' the sky | Above the pillar'd town.' The eagle is post-Homeric. Cf. Il.20.233-235.--flavo: cf. on 1.5.4.
olim: once. Olim, mox, nunc (11), mark the stages in the growth of the young eagle, which is, of course, no longer the particular bird that carried off Ganymede. First it essays its wings, then swoops down on the folds, then does battle with serpents.
propulit: 'gnomic' aorist of simile.
vernique: the fact that eagles are hatched in late spring and are not full-fledged till autumn need trouble us no more than Pindar's golden-horned doe, Keats' 'Stout Cortez' on Darien or his 'warm gules' in the moonlight, or the singing of Tennyson's female nightingale. Cf. Aristotle, Poetics, 1460. b. 31-33.--nimbis: storm-clouds (of winter).
nisus: sc. pennarum= labores, efforts. Cf. 4.2.3, nititur pennis, and Lucretius, 5.911, pedum nisus.
mox: 1.1.17; 2.1.10; 4.14.14.
vividus impetus: vigorous swoop.
dracones: snakes; serpentes would not fit the meter, and the poetical Greek word suggests the combat of eagle and snake in Homer (Il.12.200 sqq.). Cf. Verg. Aen. 11.751; Shelley, Revolt of Islam, 1.8.
laetis: luxuriant; 'laetas segetes' etiam rustici dicunt (Cic. de Or. 3.38). But there is a suggestion of the joy of the new-born flocks, as in Lucretius' pabula laeta (1.257).
fulvae matris ab ubere: from his tawny mother's udder, referring to the lion. For eagle and lamb, cf. Macaulay, Regillus, 15.
iam lacte depulsum: just weaned; the technical term. Cf. Verg. Ed. 7, 15; ἄθηλος.
peritura: it looks up . . . into the jaws of death. Cf. on 2.3.4.--Raetis: i.e. Raeticis. So Heinsius for Raeti of Mss. 'The Vindelici saw . . . at foot of Raetian Alps' is equivalent to 'the Vindelici and Raeti saw.'
quibus . . . omnia: I have deferred inquiring from what source （is) derived the immemorial (per omne tempus) custom (which) arms their right hands with Amazonian axe, lit., whence derived the custom . . . arms, deductus being a participle and unde mos obarmet a dependent question. This inopportune archaeological digression has been much discussed. It may be a mere failure of Horace's art, an attempted Pindarism, or, as has been conjectured, a sly allusion to some contemporaneous pedantry, e.g. in the Amazonis of Domitius Marsus. The scholiast is ready with a theory to accolint for the Amazonian battle ax in the hands of the Vindelici. Ovid calls Amazons securigeras puellas (Her. 4.117). Cf. Class. Dict. s,v. securis, and Xen. Anab. 4.4.16.
obarmet: coined by Horace.--sed: ~' o~", re sumptive.
consilus: Cicero renders στρατήγημα by consilium imperatorium,--revictae: long victrices, now defeated in their turn But cf. refringit, 3.3.28.
sensere: 2.7.10; 4.6.3.
rite . . . nutrita: go with both mens and indoles, mind and heart.
sub: cf. sub lare, 3.29.14.--penetralibus: cf. Velleius 2.94, innutritus (se. Tiberius) caelestium praeceptorum disciplinis.'
in: cf. 2.2.6. -Nerones: Neron's . . . quo sigrnficatur lingua Sabina fortis ac strenuus (Suet. Tib. 1).
Brave are the offspring of the brave and good. Not the brave are born of sires brave and good. Cf. Shaks. Cymbeline, 4.2, 'Cowards father cowards, and base things sire base'; Pindar, Pyth. 8.44; Plato, Menex. 237 A; Theog. 537. Fortis et bonus is a formula, cf. Epp. 1.9.13.
'Even the homely farm can teach us there is some-thing in descent' (Tenn. Locksley Hall Sixty Years After).
imbellem feroces: cf. on 1.6.9.
sed: concede what we will to nature, nurture too plays its part. Cf. Pind. 01.10.20; Eurip. Iph. Aul. 557; Cic. Tusc. 2. 5.13; Poet Archias, 15; Quintil. 2.19.2.
cultus: cf. Bacon's Georgics of the Mind; and Cic. Tusc. 2.5.13. -roborant: we say 'hearts of oak' but 'steel the breast.'
utcumque: when once. Cf. 1.17.10; 1.35.23; 2.17. 11.--mores: i.e. recta morum disciplina.
indecorant: Some editors read dedecorant; so Epist. 2. 1.245.--bene nata: what is good by nature; the neuter generalizes (ef. 1.34.12), but metrical conveulence may determine its use.
quid debeas: From this point on Horace celebrates the praises of the Claudian princes by recalling the famous achievement of their ancestor, C. Claudius Nero, to whose audacity the defeat of Hasdrubal at the river Metaurus B.C. 207 was mainly due. He, leaving half his army in camp before Hannibal in southern Italy, marched with the remainder the whole length of the peninsula to reinforce his colleague, M. Livius Salinator (ancestor of Drusus on the mother's side) to whom the northern province had been assigned, and returned victorious with the head of Hasdrubal before Hannibal had discovered his absence. See the spirited account in Livy, 27.43 sqq. ; Polyb. 11.1.
testis: cf. Catull. 64.357.--Metaurum flumen: somewhat differently, 2.9.21, Medum flumen.
Hasdrubal devictus: cf. on 2.4.10.
pulcher: cf. 4.2.47.
Latio: abl. with fugatis rather than dat. with risit.
risit: cf. 4. 11. 6. n.--adorea: victory; an archaic, metrically convenient, and sonorous synonym of victoria.
dirus: cf. 2. 12.2; 3.6.36.--ut: since. Cf. Epode, 7, 19. Ov. Trist. 4. 6. 19, ut patria careo bis frugibus area trita est.
ceu: only here in Horace.
equitavit: cf. 1.2.51. Afer is the grammatical, flamma or, rather, Eurus, the felt, subject. Cf. Eurip. Phoen. 211, Σικελίας Ζεφύρου πνοαῖς ἱππεύσαντος.
post hoc: Cicero (Brutus, 3) dates the turn of fortune from the battle of Nola, posteaquepros perae res deinceps multae consecutae sunt.--usque: cf. on. 1.17.4; 3.30.7.--secundis . . . laboribus: prosperous enterprises. For labor, cf. 4.3.3; and the Greek πόνος = battle; Il.6.77; Theog. 987.
pubes: 3.5.18.--crevit: waxed strong. Cf. 3.30.8. --impio: they pillaged the temples.
tumultu: of the distress and confusion of a home or border war. Horace slightly extends the technical force of the word as seen in tumultus Italicus, tumultus Gallicus. Cf. Cic. Phil. 8.1.
rectos: upright, and righted. Cf. deiecta simulacra; 1 Sam. 5.3, 'Dagon was fallen upon his face to the earth . . . And they took Dagon, and set him in his place again.'
perfidus: perfidia plus quam Punica, Livy, 21.4.9. Cf. on 3.5.33; Livy, 9.3, Romano in perfidum Samnitem pugnanti; Martial, 4.14.4. 50 sqq. Cf. Livy, 27.51, Hannibal . . . agnoscere se fortunam Karthaginis fertur dixisse.--cervi: cf. Il.13.101 sqq.--lupo- rum: Macaulay, Horatius, 43, 'Quoth he, "The she-wolf's litter |Stands savagely at bay."'
ultro: beyond what is reasonable or natural, actually. Cf. Verg. Ecl. 8.52, nunc et ovis ultro fugiat lupus.--opimus suggests the technical spolia opima.
Slight oxymoron, as also is 53.--fallere: 1.10.16; 3. 11.40.
53 sqq. The central idea of the Aeneid, which everybody had been reading. Cf. Juno's complaint, 7.295, Num capti potuere capi, num incensa cremavit Troia viros? medias acies mediosque per ignes,| invenere viam. Cf. 3. 3. 40.--cremato fortis ab Ilio: bravely from the ashes of Ilium.
iactata: preferably with sacra. Gens is sufficiently described. Cf. iactatus, Aen. 1.3; Victosque Penatis, ibid. 1.67.
Cf. Thomson, Liberty, 'This firm Republic, that against the blast| Of opposition rose; that (like an oak,| Nursed on feracious Algidum, whose boughs| Still stronger shoot beneath the rigid axe) | By loss, by slaughter, from the steel itself |Even force and spirit drew.' He uses the same image in Rule Britannia, 'Still more majestic shalt thou rise,| More dreadful from each foreign stroke; |As the loud blast that tears the skies |Serves but to root thy native oak.'
nigrae: cf. on 1.21.7; Verg. Eclog. 6.54, ilice sub nigra. --Algido: 1.21.6; 3.23.9.
caedis is equally applicable to lopping a tree and cutting up an army.
This image applied to Rome is attributed to Cineas, the counselor of Pyrrhus, in Plutarch, Pyrrh. 19. Cf. also Flor. Epit. 1.18; Ov. Met. 9.74, crescentemque malo domui; Verg. Aen. 8. 300; Eurip. Here. Fur. 1274. The first symbolic literary use of the image is Plato, Repub. 426. E.
submisere: put forth; the Roman soldiers spring up like the fabled brood of the dragon's teeth sown by Jason at Colchi or Cadmus at Thebes. Cf. Lucret. 1.7, daedala tellus submittit flores.
Echioniae: (city) of Echion. Echion was one of the survivors of the Theban Dragon brood, and, by marriage with the daughter of Cadmus, ancestor of the Theban kings. Any person associated with a place in Greek mythology may supply tho Latin poet with a sonorous epithet for the place. Cf. 1.17.22, 23. n.
merses: hortatory (imperative) subj. as virtual protasis to evenit. For the word, cf. 3.16.13; Verg. Aen. 6.512; Lucan, 1.159, quae populos sem per mersere potentes.--profundo: abl. --evenit: used here in its primary etymological, not in its secondary sense. Cf. on 1.5.8; 3.11.27, pereuntis; 1.36.20, ambitiosior; 2. 1.26, impotens; 3.24. 18, innocens; Epode 17.67, obligatus; 3.3.51, cogere; 3.7.30, despice; 4.2.7, immensus? Epode 2.14, feliciores.
luctere: so Aristophanes boasts of the Athenians, that if they ever chanced to take a fall they wiped off the dust and denied it. Eq. 571-572.
multa . . . cum laude: amid loud acclaim. But cf. Catull. 64.112.
integrum: the victor would be unscathed, ἀκραιφνής,. --proruet: the shift to the fut. need trouble nobody.
coniugibus: either those Roman wives of the enemy, cf. Catull. 64.349, illius . . . claraque facta| Saepe fatebuntur gnatorum in funere matres; Il.8.157), or in fireside talks. Cf. Macaulay, Horatius, 70. For Roman constancy in defeat, cf. Livy, 9.3, ea est Romana gens quae victa quiescere nesciat; Livy, 27.14; Justin, 31.6.
Cf. the story in Livy, 23.12, of the three bushels of gold rings, taken from Roman knights, poured out on the floor of the Carthaginian senate.
Cf. Isaiah, 20.9, 'and he answered and said: "Babylon is fallen, is fallen" '; Dryden, Alexander's Feast, 'He sang Darius great and good | By too severe a fate| Fallen, fallen fallen, fallen, |Fallen from his high estate'; Tenn. Princess, 'Our enemies have fallen, have fallen.'
Closing reflections after the myth in Pindaric manner.
numine Iuppiter: 3.10.8.
curae: possibly, their own sagacity; more probably, that of Augustus balancing Jupiter, as often in the Augustan poets. Cf. also 4.14.33, te consilium.
expediunt: bring safely through; disengage. Cf. Verg. Aen. 2.633.--acuta belli: possibly metaphorically of dangerous rocks. But cf. subita belli, Livy, 6.32 ; 33.11, aspera belli; Tac. Hist. 2.77, 4.23, proeliorum incerta, fortuita belli; Homer, Il.4.352, ὀξὺν Ἄρηα. Also, Lucan, 7.684, prospera bellorum; Catull. 63.16, truculentaque pelagi.