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Ode IX

Scorn not the lyre! The Greek lyrists have their place after Homer. The heroes of Troy were not the first who loved and fought. Brave men were living before Agamemnon, but their fame is lost in the dark backward and abysm of time because they lacked the sacred bard. But my song shall guard thee, friend Lollius, from the iniquity of oblivion. Thine is a statesman's soul,--sagacious, steadfast, upright. Thou art the Stoic sage, consul not for one year only, but whenever the right prevails. Happy lie who uses wisely the gifts of heaven, and fears not poverty, or death for friends and fatherland.

M. Lollius, a trusted minister of Augustus, was consul in B.C 21, and governor of Gaul, where he was defeated by the Sygambri, B.C. 16. He died in the East, B.C. 1, while acting as tutor and adviser of the Emperor's grandson, Gaius Caesar. Velleius (2.97; 2.102) accuses him of cupidity and hypocrisy. There seems a note of loyal defiance in Horace's defense of his friend. But a man is not on oath in an ode any more than, according to Dr. Johnson, in a lapidary inscription. Velleius was possibly prejudiced by the dislike of his patron Tiberius for Lollius (Tac. Ann. 3.48; Sueton. Tib. 12.13).

The ode is partly translated by Pope. There is a deliciously naive imitation by Ronsard. Lines 35 to end are freely rendered by Swift, 'To Archbishop King.'

Cf. also Stepney, Johnson's Poets, 8.361; Somerville, ibid. 11. 192.

ne . . . credas: the purpose of the statements, non . . . latent, etc. Cf. on 1.33.1; 2.4.1.

longe sonantem: cf. 3.30.10; 4.14.25; Catull. 34.12, amniumque sonantum; Hes. Theog. 367; Aristoph. Clouds, 283; Lucret. 5.946; Il.18.576.

Cf. on 3.30. 13. There is a suggestion also of 3. 1.1-4.

socianda chordis: lyric, as distinguished from the ψιλά of epic poetry. Cf. Ronsard, A Sa Lyre, 'de marier aux cordes les victoires'; Epp. 2.2.86, verba lyrae motura sonum; ibid. 143, verba sequi fidibus modulanda Latinis.

non, si: cf. 3.15.7; 2.10. 17.--Maeonius: 1.6.2.

Ceae: 2.1. 38.--Alcaei: cf. on 1.32.5; 2.13.30. --minaces: 'what new Alcaeus fancy-blest |Shall sing the sword in myrtles drest?' (Collins, Ode to Liberty) ; 'Nor such the spirit-stirring note |When the live chords Alcaeus smote,| Inflamed by sense of wrong' (Wordsworth) ; 'L'audacieuse encre d'Alcée' (Ronsard).

Stesichori: a Greek poet of Himera in Sicily; a contemporary of Alcaeus; cf. on 1.16.- graves: epici carminis onera lyra sustinentem (Quintil. 10. 1.62). He treated long myths in lyric form, and is an important link, in the develop- ment of Greek legends, between Homer and Pindar.--Camenae: 2.16.38.

lusit: cf. on 1.32.2.--Anacreon: a Greek lyric poet, born at Teos, one of the lonian cities of Asia Minor; cf. 1.17. 18; Epode 14.10. Horace may be thinking of the Anacreontea, --pretty trifles bearing Anacreon's name but belonging to the Alexandrian period. They are known to English readers in Moore's version.

spirat adhuc amor: cf. her words in Swinburne's Anactoria, 'I, Sappho, shall be one with all these things, |With all high things forever . . . and . . . my songs once heard . . . cieave to men's lives.'

vivunt: cf. spiritus et vita (4.8.14).--commissi: i.e. 'with this key' Sappho unlocked her heart. Cf. Sat. 2.1.31, credebat libris.

Aeoliae puellae: Sappho; cf. on 2.13.24. Construe with fidibus.

Cf. on 3.3.25 and 1.15.20.

arsit probably governs crines directly; but we forget this flash of passion in the long admiring gaze that follows, and feel mirata with crines as well as with the other three accusations.

crinis: cf. 1.15.20.--illitum: cf. oblitus (Epp. 2.1. 204); Verg. Aen. 3.483, picturatos auri subtemine vestis; Milton, 'grooms besmear'd with gold.'

cultus: 1.8.16.

Helene Lacaena: i.e. the 'Heaven-born Helen, Sparta's Queen,' of song and story. Cf. Verg. Aen. 2.601; Ronsard, Au Sieur Bertrand, 'Hèléne Grecque estant gaignée,|D'une perruque bien peignée'; and, for the sentiment, Landor, 'Past ruined Ilion Helen lives, | Alcestis rises from the shades: |Verse calls them forth; 'tis verse that gives |Immortal youth to mortal maids.'

Teucer: cf. 1.7.21. The best archer of the Achaeans (Il. 13.313). Cydonio: Cydonian, Cretan. Cydonia was a city of Crete. The Cretans were famous for their archery; cf. 1. 15.17.

non semel Ilios vexata (est): to be interpreted generically: not once only has a Troy been harassed. The reference is not to the various legendary sieges of Troy, but to the infinite possibilities of the unknown past. Many cities have been besieged and destroyed, but their stories are unknown to us because no poet has celebrated them. Cf. Plato, Laws, 676 B, 'and have not thousands upon thousands of cities come into being in this (boundless) time, and as many been destroyed?' Shelley, Queen Mab, II.; the final Chorus in Hellas; and Verg. Ecl. 4. 36.

ingens: 1. 7. 32. n.

pugnavit . . . proelia: cf. pugnata bella (3. 19. 4).

Idomeneus: leader of the Cretans in Homer. -- Sthene- lus: 1. 15. 24.

vel: = ve. Mainly metri gratia.

Cf. Andromache's lament for Hector (Il. 24. 729). Deiphobus was brother of Hector. Cf., Verg. Aen. 6. 494; Ronsard, naively, `Hector le premier des gendarmes.'

excepit: sustained. -- pudicis: 3. 5. 41; αἰδοίῃς (Il. 6. 250).

25. A familiar quotation. Cf. Byron, Don Juan, 1. 5, `Brave men were living before Agamemnon. . . . But then they shone not on the poets' page.' Cf. also, Ben Jonson's elaborate imitation, The Forest, 12; Boilean, Épître, 1; and, for the general idea, Sat. 1. 3. 107; Pind. Nem. 7. 12. For immortality of poetry, cf. further on 3. 30; 4. 8; Theognis, 237; Tibull. 1. 4. 65; Propert. 4. 1. 23; Theocr. 16. 48; Sappho, fr. 68, `Thou shalt die and be laid low in the grave, hidden from mortal ken | Unremembered, and no song of the muse waken thy name again. | No Pierian rose brightens thy brow, lost in the nameless throng, | Thy dark spirit shall flit forth like a dream, bodiless ghosts among.'

inlacrimabiles: passive here; active, 2. 14. 6. Cf. Wordsworth's `incommunicable sleep.'

urgentur: cf.on 1.24. 6; 1.4. 16.--longa: cf.3. 11.38; Propert. 3. 7. 24, nox tibi longa venit nec reditura dies.

sacro: cf. on 3. 1. 3; Lucan, 9. 980, O sacer et magnus vatum labor, omnia fato | Eripis, et populis donas mortalibus aevum.

Cf. Herrick, 460, `Vertue conceal'd (with Horace you'l confesse,) Differs not much from drowzie slothfulnesse.' Cf. also iners (3. 5. 36). Sepultae and celata are felt with both nouns.

non ego te: cf. on 1. 18. 11.

chartis: 4.8.21; Sat. 1.4. 36; 1.4. 139.--inornatum: proleptic.

labores is taken by some editors as a hint that his efforts were not achievements.

carpere suggests tooth of envy. Cf. 4. 3. 16.-- lividas: cf. 4. 8. 24; Shaks. `envious and calumniating time'; Temporum iniuria; `Soon | Oblivion will steal silently the remnant of its fame,' Shelley, Queen Mab; `The iniquity of oblivion blindly scattereth her poppy,' Sir Thomas Browne, Urn Burial.

est animus: for the turn of phrase, cf. Verg. Aen. 9. 205, est hic, est animus lucis contemptor, etc.

rerum prudens: cf. rerum inscitia (Epp. 1. 3. 33); rerum . . . prudentia (Verg. G. 1. 416).

dubiis: virtually adversis. -- rectus connotes both firm and upright. Cf. mentes rectae quae stare solebant (Ennius, Ann. 208).

He punishes cupidity in others and is abstinent himself. abstinens . . . pecuniae: cf. on 3. 27. 69 n.

ducentis ad se: the irresistible attraction of money. Cf. on 3. 16. 9; Epist. 1. 1. 52; and Vergil's auri sacra fames. --cuncta: 2. 1. 23; 3. 1. 8.

The Stoic sage was pedantically affirmed to be the only true consul or king. His judgment is supreme, not for one year only but always. Cf. on 2. 2. 21; 3. 2. 17. Popular etymology may help here, qui recte consulat, consul cluat. Cf. Martial, 4. 40. 4, pauper eras et eques sed mihi consul eras. `John Brad- shaw,' says Milton, `appears like a consul from whom the fasces are not to depart with the year; so that not on the tribunal only, but throughout his life, you would regard him as sitting in judgment upon kings.'

Confused lines, variously interpreted. Horace is shifting from animus to Lollius and from Lollius to the ideal sage, whose authority is displayed whenever he prefers the right and triumphs over wrong. Rendering iudex as a judge, we refer it explicitly to Lollius, who may have been a iudex selectus or may have exercised judicial functions in the senate. It seems best to make explicuit . . . victor the apodosis of quotiens praetulit (et) reiecit.

honestum . . . utili: honor . . . to expediency; the καλόν and συμφέρον of Greek ethics.--dona nocentium: i.e. bribes of the guilty.

The language is metaphorical. The upright man is represented as fighting his way like a soldier through bands of evil-doers. Cf. 3.5.51.--explicuit: cf. expediunt (4.4.76).

non . . . vocaveris: you would not rightly call blessed. The thought of 2.2.17-20. Cf. SeIlar, p.167; Epist. 1.16.20.

occupat: cf. on 1.14.2; 4.11.21.

callet: cf. on 1.10.7. --pauperiem pati: 1.1.18.

peiusque leto: cf. on 1.8.9; Epp. 1.17.30, cane peius et angui.

non ille: cf. 3.21.9; Verg. Aen. 5.334, 6.593; ille non (4.6.13).

Cf. 3.19.2; 3.2.13.

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