“Ecquis erit modus” E. 10. 28. For ‘certamine tanto’ almost all subsequent editors have adopted ‘certamina tanta,’ the conj. of Heins., which would introduce a more usual construction, and might be supported by 9. 143, where the MSS. are divided between “discrimina parva” and “discrimine parvo.” But I believe the ablative to be as admissible as the accusative in this construction, though it is apparently very rare. The only undoubted instance of it I have met with is in the Pseudo-Donatus' Life of Virg. § 61, where a parody on the first line of E. 1 is quoted, “Tityre, si toga calda tibi est, quo tegmine fagi” (“tegmina” conj. Heins.: but the parodist would naturally keep as close as he could to Virg.'s word). In Hor. 1 Ep. 5. 12, the best and most numerous MSS. give “Quo mihi fortuna si non conceditur uti?” and in Ov. 3 Am. 4. 41 one MS. has “Quo tibi formosa?” In expressions of this sort the MSS. are apt to vary considerably, as will be seen by consulting the various readings on the two passages just quoted: “quid” is substituted for “quo,” and the nominative for the acc. or abl.; e.g. “quo fortuna mihi?” “quo formosa tibi?” Thus when in Sen. N. Q. 1. 16 the MSS. are found to vary between “Quo nequitiam meam” and “quo nequitia mea,” or in Mart. 5. 53. 2 between “Quo tibi vel Nioben, Basse, vel Andromachen,” and “Niobe . . . Andromache,” it is not clear whether we are to understand “nequitia,” “Niobe,” “Andromache” as intended for nom. or abl. I think then there is no reason for departing here from a reading which is found in all MSS., especially when we consider the infinitely few instances in which the combined testimony of those MSS. has been generally admitted to be in error. How the abl. is to be explained is another and a difficult question: but I suppose ‘quo’ to be = “quid opus,” which is itself, it should be remembered, used in other constructions than that with the abl. Wakef. explains “quo tenditis cum tanto certamine?” Gossrau makes an aposiopesis “ne mali ominis vocabula proferrentur,” the suppressed words being “exercemus inimicitias.” I am glad to see that Mr. Munro in the introduction to his recent recension of the text of Horace seems to consider the construction with the abl. satisfactorily established.
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