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1 “Numquid vis.” Donatus tells us in a remark upon a passage in Terence, that it was a polite customary manner of speaking among the Romans, that they might not seem to take their leave too abruptly, to say at parting, "numquid vis?" as in modern phrase, "have you any commands?" “"Abituri, ne id dure facerent, ‘numquid vis’ dicebant his, quibuscum constitissent."”
2 Bolanus was a very irritable person. Horace then pronounces him “cerebri felicem” ; for were he but in this fellow's company, he would break out into a storm of passion that would drive him away. It appears more humorous to suppose him a heavy, stupid person, so apathetic that not even this fellow would annoy him. Similarly Demea in Terent. Adelph. v. 5, exclaims, “fortunatus, qui istoc animo sies; | Ego sentio.” Bolanus was a surname of the Vettii derived from Bola, a town of the AEqui.“Celebri felicem.” Thus μακαρίζω σε τῆς παρρησίας, and Virg. Geor. i 277, “felices operum dies.”
3 The divination was performed in this manner. A number of letters and entire words were thrown into an urn and shaken together. When they were well mixed, they were poured out, and if any thing intelligible appeared in them, from thence the witch formed her divination and answers.
4 The first hour of the day among the Romans answered to our sixth. Martial says the courts were open at nine o'clock, “"exercet raucos tertia causidicos;"” it was, therefore, more than an hour after their opening, that Horace passed by the temple of Vesta.
5 “Aut valeo stare.” Horace uses the law terms, respondere, adesse, stare, rem relinquere. The first signifies to appear before a judge upon a summons; the second was properly to attend on the person who appeared, and to support his cause; the third marks the posture in which he stood, and relinquere causam to suffer himself to be non-suited for not appearing.
6 “Paucorum hominum.” "A man of discernment, who does not converse with the multitude," as in Terence, “"hic homo est perpaucorum hominum."” Scipio having engaged three or four friends to sup with him, and intending to make some others, who came to see him, stay with him, Pontius whispered him, "Consider, Scipio, what you are doing; this is a delicate fish, paucorum hominum, and does not love a great deal of company."
7 Adiutor was a person who assisted a player either with his voice or action, but in what manner is to us inconceivable, as we have nothing like it in our stage. “Ferre secundas” may be somewhat better explained by a passage in Cicero: "He will not exert his utmost eloquence, but consult your honor and reputation, by lowering his own abilities and raising yours. Thus we see among the Grecian actors, that he who plays the second or third part, conceals his own power, that the principal player may appear to the best advantage."Our impertinent therefore promises Horace, that far from any design of supplanting him in the favor of Maecenas, he will be contented to play the second part, and use his utmost abilities to raise our poet's character, as a principal actor. The reader may turn to the note on the twelfth line in the eighteenth epistle.
8 The poet says Maecenas was naturally easy to be gained, but that a sense of his own weakness obligred him to guard himself against the first addresses of a stranger. Eo for ideo difficiles aditus primos habet, quia est qui vinci possit as in Terence, “eo tibi videtur foedus, quia vestem illam non habet.”
9 The Jews began their year the first of September, and celebrated their paschal festival the fifteenth of April, in the thirtieth week, from whence Horace calls it “tricesima sabbata.” It continued eight days, of which the two first and two last were observed with so much solemnity, that it was not permitted even to talk of business. Augustus, in imitation of Julius Caesar, allowed the Jews uncommon privileges.
10 When a man had given bail in a court of justice, if he neglected the time of appearance, he might be taken by force before the praetor. But the person who would arrest him was obliged, before he used him with violence, to have a witness of his capture, antestari. This, however, could not be done without the consent of the witnesses; he, therefore, willingly offered the captor his ear to touch, who was liable, if these forms were not observed, to an action, iniuriarum actionem. But thieves and people of infamous characters were not treated with so much formality. When a fellow in Plautus cries out, "Will you not call a witness before you seize me?" “nonne antestaris?” (Persa 747-748) he is answered, "What, shall I touch an honest man's ear for such a scoundrel as you are?" Pliny tells us, the lowest part of the ear is the seat of memory, from whence came this form of their laws.
11 “Oppono auriculam.” Such was the law term, which our poet very willingly pronounced, to signify the consent of the witness.
12 Horace ascribes his rescue from the intruder to Apollo, as the patron of poets. Perhaps he alludes to the statue of that god, which was in the forum, where the courts were held, and as it was a law proceeding that saved him from the garrulus, he ascribes his preservation to the god, that from his vicinity to the courts, was called “iuris peritus.” Juven. i. 113. Orellius considers reference to be made to Apollo, ἀλεξικάκος or ἀποτροπαῖος, and that the passage is founded on Il. 20. 443 “τὸν δ᾽ ἐξήρπαξεν Ἀπόλλω”
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