Quiet Drink

In keeping with his preference for a simple life, Horace tells his slave that he requires no frills or elaborate preparations when he is enjoying a drink alfresco.

Persicos odi, puer, apparatus, displicent nexae philyra coronae, mitte sectari, rosa quo locorum sera moretur, simplici myrto nihil adlabores 5

sedulus euro: neque te ministrum dedecet myrtus neque me sub arta vite bibentem.

text Q. Horati Flacci Opera, ed. D. R. Shackleton Bailey

(Bibliotheca Teubneriana, 2001) meter Sapphic stanza [§m5]

Persi|cos o|di || puer | apparatus displi|cent ne|xae || phlly|ra co|ronae mitte | secta|ri || rosa | quo lo|corum sera mo|retur if. Persicos ... apparatus trans, by sg,, Persian luxury (apparatus -us m.)—the Persians had long been notorious for elaborate feasts; puer voc. boy—male slaves, regardless of age, were referred to as puerl; displicent [mihi] displease (displiceo -ere) [me]; nexae ... coronae wreaths (corona -ae f.) bound (necto -ere); philyra instrumental abl. [§g 47] with bast (philyra -ae f.)—Horace is thinking of wreaths made from flowers held together by thin strips of bark from a lime tree. 3f. mitte 2 sg. imp. refrain from; trans, sectari by a participle, hunting for (sector -ari)—the word implies considerable effort; the indirect question is introduced by quo (postponed [§G4]) locorum (lit., where of places, trans, a place where); rosa ... sera a late rose (rosa -ae f.); moror -ari stay behind, linger—since roses flower in spring, the expression late rose probably indicates that it is midsummer, when a person would be most in need of refreshment. 5ff. The clause of 1. 5, which would normally be introduced by ut, is subordinate to sedulus euro in 1. 6, lit., [that] you take the trouble to add nothing to plain (simplex (simplicis)) myrtle (myrtus -1 f.)—the verb adlaboro -are (take the trouble to add) is followed by an accusative and a dative; trans, sedulus by an adverb [§g 55], earnestly; neque ... neque ... (11. 7f.) neither ... nor ...; ministrum in apposition [§g 52] to te, [as] servant (minister ministri m.); dedecet -ere + acc. be unsuitable for (normally impers., but can be used with a 3 sg. subject, here myrtus); take me with bibentem; sub arta vite under a dense vine (vitis vltis f.)—Horace thinks of himself as drinking under a pergola covered by a grapevine, and both he and the slave serving the wine are to wear garlands of myrtle.

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