Hope Not for Immortality

Quintus Horätius Flaccus (65-8 b.c.), known in English as Horace, was a contemporary of Vergil. In his lyric poetry, he looked to early Greek poets such as Alcaeus (fl. 600 b.c.) rather than the tradition of contemporary Greek poetry as the generation of Catullus had done. The following poem illustrates the meticulous aptness of expression, the cüriösa felicitäs that Petronius, a later Roman author, ascribes to Horace.

Difiugere nives, redeunt iam gramina campis arboribusque comae; mutat terra vices et decrescentia ripas flumina praetereunt. Gratia cum Nymphis geminisque sororibus audet 5

ducere nuda choros. immortalia ne speres, monet annus et almum quae rapit hora diem.

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

(Bibliotheca Teubneriana, 2001) meter First Archilochian [§m6]

diffii|gere ni|ves || rede|ünt iäm | gräminä | campis ärböri|büsque cö|mäe if. Diffugere (= Diffiigerunt) 3 pi. perf. ind. act. diffugiö -ere scatter, disperse; nix nivis f. snow; grämen gräminis n.grass; campis and arboribus dat. of motion toward [§g35]; coma -ae f. here leaf. 3f. mütat terra vices (pi. of — vicis f.; the word does not occur in the nom. sg.) lit., the earth changes [its] successive changes, i.e., the earth undergoes its regular changes (vices a type of cognate acc. [§GI7] after mütat); take decrescentia (pres. pple. of decrescö -ere) with flumina shrinking rivers; ripäs ... praetereunt (prae-tereö -Ire) flow within (lit., past) [their] banks—in Italy, the melting snows of winter raise the level of rivers and cause them to overflow their banks, but this is corrected in spring when the water level falls. ${. Gratia cum ... geminis sororibus lit., the Grace with ... [her] twin sisters, i.e., the three Graces—they were, in fact, triplets; both the Nymphs (Nympha -ae f.), of whom there were many, and the Graces, were minor female divinities; audet ventures; take nüda (naked) with Gratia (1.5), the Grace... ventures to lead the dances (chorus -I m.) naked—any such displays had been impossible in chilly winter. 7f. immortalia ne speres (indirect command after monet [§e91]) lit., that you should not hope for immortal (immortälis) things, i.e., not hope that everything, including yourself, will last forever; the subjects of monet are annus and höra, but the verb agrees with the nearer one only [§058]; the normal prose word order after et would be höra quae diem almum rapit (the hour that snatches away the life-giving (almus) day)—the year symbolizes the changes of the seasons, the hour the more immediate change from a sunny day in spring.

frigora mitescunt Zephyris, ver proterit aestas interitura, simul 10

pomifer autumnus fruges effuderit; et mox bruma recurrit iners. damna tamen celeres reparant caelestia lunae:

nos ubi decidimus quo pius Aeneas, quo dives Tullus et Ancus, 15

pulvis et umbra sumus. quis scit an adiciant hodiernae crastina summae tempora di superi?

9ff. The next four lines describe the passage of the four seasons; frigora (pi. for sg. [§g53]; frigus frlgoris n.) the cold (of early spring); mitesco -ere become mild-, Zephyris instrumental abl. [§g47] with the west winds (Zephyrus -I m.)—the west winds blow in spring; ver (veris n. spring) is the object of proterit (protero -ere trample on), and its subject is aestas (aestatis f. summer), which is qualified by interitura (fut. pple. of intereo -Ire die); simul (= simulac) as soon as; pomifer fruit-bearing (pomum + fer); autumnus -I m. autumn; fruges (frux frugis f.) crops; effuderit (3 sg. fut. perf. act. effundo -ere) trans, by perfect [§g66], has poured forth; bruma -ae f. winter; recurrd -ere come back; take iners ((inertis) sluggish) with bruma. 13f. Horace now contrasts the return of the seasons with human life, which knows no second spring; celeres ... lunae is the subject of reparant (repard -are), and its object is damna (damnum -I n. loss) ... caelestia (caelestis celestial); trans, swift moons make good [their] celestial losses, i.e., the moon, like the seasons, quickly repairs the loss of its waning phase and is restored as a new entity, hence the pi. lunae; its successive losses are described as caelestia to emphasize the contrast with mortal affairs; nos is put before ubi (when) for emphasis; decidimus (perf. ind. act.) we have gone down (decido -ere). 1 if. quo to where; pius good (an epithet often used of Aeneas (-ae m.) in Vergil); supply decidit after the first quo and deciderunt after the second; Tullus was the third king of Rome, Ancus the fourth; Tullus was supposed to have been wealthy (dives (dlvitis)); after death, all that remains of us is pulvis (pulveris m. dust) on earth and umbra (-ae f. a Shade) in the Underworld. i7f. quis scit (who knows) is followed by an indirect question introduced by an (whether); the subject of adiciant (adicid -ere add) is di superl, and its direct object is crastina (adj. from eras tomorrow) ... tempora (pi. for sg. [§g53]); there is also an indirect object in the dative, hodiernae (adj. from hodie today) ... summae (summa -ae f. total); trans, whether the gods are adding tomorrow's time to today's total, i.e., whether we are going to live any longer; on di superl, see note to Vergil Aeneid 1.4, page 66. I9f. cuncta (all things) is the subject of fiugient (here escape); take avidas (greedy) with manus; heres heredis m./f. heir; take amico (here an adj.) with animo (dat.), lit., to [your] dear soul—the expression is a translation of a Greek phrase and is to be translated to your own soul, but animus here is conceived as equivalent cuncta manus avidas fugient heredis, amico quae dederis animo. 20

cum semel occideris et de te splendida Minos fecerit arbitria, non, Torquate, genus, non te facundia, non te restituet pietas. infernis ñeque enim tenebris Diana pudicum 25

liberat Hippolytum, nec Lethaea valet Theseus abrumpere caro vincula Pirithoo.

to genius, the attendant spirit whose function was to see that a person had a good time (cf. indulge genio indulge your genius, i.e., have a good time); the relative quae (antecedent cuncta) is placed second in its clause [§g4]; dederis (2 sg. fut. perf. act. do dare) lit., you will have given, but trans, you have given [§g66].

2if. cum when; semel once; occideris (occido -ere die) and fecerit are future perfect, but trans, by perfect [§g66]; de te lit., about you; Minos Mindis m. one of three judges of the Underworld—the pronouncements of such an eminent legal figure were naturally splendida (august); splendida ... arbitria pi. for sg. [§G53] august judgment,

2$f. non and te are repeated for emphasis; Torquate voc.—the ode is addressed to Torquatus, a friend of Horace; genus (here [high] birth), facundia (-ae f. e/o-quence), and pietas (pietatis f. piety) are the subjects of restituet (restituo -ere bring back), which, however, agrees with the nearest and is singular [§g 58]—once dead, a person cannot be restored to life by virtue of any desirable attributes or good qualities.

25f. infernis ... tenebris (tenebrae -arum f.pl. with sg. meaning) abl. of separation [§g 40] from the infernal darkness, i.e., from the Underworld; neque enim (for neither) joins the final four lines of the ode to the preceding lines, although placed after infernis; Diana (-ae f.), although a goddess, was unable to restore a favored mortal, Hippolytus (-i m.), to life, despite the fact that he had died unjustly as the result of the false accusations of his stepmother, Phaedra, who had tried to seduce him; take pudicum (chaste) with Hippolytum (who had resisted his stepmothers advances); libera -are set free.

27f. Theseus, the great Athenian hero, and his friend Pirithous, while still living, tried to abduct Persephone, the queen of the Underworld; their attempt was unsuccessful, and although Theseus was able to return to the upper world, his friend was made to stay in the Underworld; nec... valet (lit., be strong} Theseus abrumpere nor is Theseus able to break (abrumpo -ere); Lethaea ... vincula the Lethean chains—Lethe was one of the five rivers of the Underworld, but Lethaea is used here by synecdoche [§g98] for the Underworld itself; card ... Pirithoo dat. of advantage [§g 31], lit., for [the advantage of his] dear Pirithous, but trans .from [his] dear Pirithous, horace

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