The Favor of the Muse

Horaces early attempts at establishing himself as a lyric poet did not meet with universal approval, but in the latter part of his life, he came to be recognized as the leading exponent of the genre in Rome, as he testifies in the following ode.

Quem tu, Melpomene, semel nascentem placido lumine videris, ilium non labor Isthmius clarabit pugilem, non equus impiger curru ducet Achaico 5

victorem, neque res bellica Deliis ornatum foliis ducem, quod regum tumidas contuderit minas, text Q. Horati Flacci Opera, ed. D. R. Shackleton Bailey

(Bibliotheca Teubneriana, 2001) meter fourth Asclepiad [§m 13]

quem tu | Melpomene | semel nascen|tem placido || lumine vl|deris if. With Quem (antecedent ilium in 1. 3) take nascentem (being born); Melpomene Greek voc. <jf Melpomene Melpomenes f. one of the nine Muses; placido lumine instrumental abl. [§047] with a kindly eye; videris 2 sg. fiit. perf. act., but trans, jo« have looked upon [§g66]. 3f. ilium object of clarabit (claro -are make famous), ducet (1. 5), ostendet (1. 9), and fingent (1.12); pugilem (1.4), victorem (1. 6), and ducem (1, 7) are in apposition [§g 52] to ilium; labor Isthmius toil in the Isthmian games (a Greek festival similar to the Olympic games); pugilem [as] a boxer (pugil pugilis m.); non (1.4) trans, neither; impiger swift. 5 curru ... Achaico instrumental abl. [§g 47] with a Greek (Achaicus = Graecus) chariot (currus -us m.)—Horace does not specify where the contest might take place.

6f. res bellica lit., the military thing, i.e., the business of war; Delius adj. of Delos, a Greek island sacred to Apollo—his special tree was the laurel, and a victorious Roman general was adorned (orno -are) with a chaplet of its leaves (folium -(i)l n.) when parading in triumph through Rome. 8 quod because; tumidas ... minas haughty (tumidus lit., swollen) threats (minae -arum; contuderit 3 sg, fut. perf. act. contundo -ere, but trans, has crushed [§g66].

ostendet Capitolio: sed quae Tibur aquae fertile praefluunt 10

et spissae nemorum comae fingent Aeolio carmine nobilem.

Romae, principis urbium, dignatur suboles inter amabilis vatum ponere me choros, 15

et iam dente minus mordeor invido.

o testudinis aureae dulcem quae strepitum, Pieri, temperas, o mutis quoque piscibus donatura cycni, si libeat, sonum, 20

9 Capitolio (dat. with ostendet) to the Capitol (Capitolium -(i)i n.)—a triumphal procession culminated with the victorious general offering a sacrifice at the temple of Iuppiter optimus maximus on the Capitoline Hill (see the map of Rome on page xxiv).

10 Horaces fame is due not to athletic or military success but to poetry describing country scenes in the tradition of the Greek lyric poets Sappho and Alcaeus; quae ... aquae the normal prose order would be aquae quae the waters that; Tibur Tiburis n. a country retreat near Rome, famous for its picturesque scenery; the waters are those of the Anio, a tributary of the Tiber; fertilis fertile; praefluo -ere flow past.

11 spissae ... comae dense leaves (coma -ae f.); nemus nemoris n. forest—11.10 and n give features of a rural setting suitable for Horaces poetry.

12 fingent... nobilem will make (fingo -ere) [him] famous; Aeolio carmine abl. of respect [§G46] in Aeolian song, i.e., in poetry like that of Sappho and Alcaeus, who wrote in the Aeolic dialect of Greek.

I3ff. Romae,,... suboles (subolis f.) the offspring of Rome, i.e., the Roman youth; principis (gen! of princeps m. chief, foremost) in apposition [§G52] to Romae; dignor -ari think fit; inter amabilis vatum ... choros among the pleasing choirs (chorus -i m.) of poets (vates vatis m.). 16 dente ... invido instrumental abl. [§G47] by envious tooth (dens dentis m.), i.e., by envious people; minus adv. less; mordeo -ere bite. 17E Horace again addresses Melpomene (hence o in 11. 17 and 19) but calls her Pieri (Greek voc. sg. of Pieris Pieridos f.), an adjective of Pieria, an area in northern Greece associated with the Muses; Pieri is the antecedent of quae (here postponed [§G4]); testudo testudinis f. tortoise, here (by synecdoche [§Gg8]) lyre (cf. Vergil Georgics 4.464, page 60); aureus golden—the lyre is so called because of the music it produces; dulcem ... strepitum sweet sound (strepitus -us m.); tempero -are modulate, igf. mutis ... piscibus dat. to dumb fish (piscis piscis m.); donatura (fut. pple. of dono -are) agrees with Pieri, lit., going to give; cycni... sonum the sound (sonus -i m.) of a swan (cycnus -i m.)—swans were (mistakenly) thought to produce beautiful sounds; si libeat (potential subj. [§g 68]) lit,, if it were pleasing [to you].

totum muneris hoc tui est, quod monstror digito praetereuntium Romanae fidicen lyrae;

quod spiro et placeo, si placeo, tuum est.

21 tôtum ... hoc (all this) is defined by the quod clause of 11.22f.; muneris ... tuï possessive gen. used predicatively [§gi8], lit., of (i.e., belongs to) your gift, but trans, simply your gift.

22 quod [namely, the fact] that; monstror 1 sg. pres. ind. pass. I am pointed out; digitô instrumental abl. [§G47] by the finger (digitus -1M.); praetereuntium (gen, pi. pres. pple. of praetereô -ïre pass by) of passers-by.

23 fidicen (fidicinis m.) [as] the player of the Roman (Rômànus) lyre (lyra -ae f.), i.e., as the foremost Roman lyric poet.

24 quod [the fact] that; spïrô -are breathe; placed -ere give pleasure; tuum est is yours, i.e., is due to you.

A Classics Revival

The scholar/printer Aldus Manutius (latinized from Aldo Manuzio) (1450 -1515) printed à great number of Greek and Latin classical texts at his press in Venice, beginning in 1494. Having assembled a group of scholars, he produced editions in a compact format—we would call them "pocketbooks" today—using italic type in small sizes.

Aldus' motto, Festina lente (Hasten slowly), was a favorite saying of Augustus Caesar in its Greek form, Stievôs fipaôécûç. The motto was represented visually by his printers device of a - dolphin coiled around an anchor, a symbol used on coins of the ¿mperor Titus struck in a.d. 80. The humanist scholar Erasmus, who collaborated with Aldus, explained the symbolism as follows: Ad con-sultan di moram pertineat ancora, ad conficiendi celeritatem delphinus ('Ihe anchor, signifies slowness of deliberation, the dolphin speed of production).

Prior to Aldus' work, Nicolas Jenson (1420-1480) had been pub-Hshing Latin and Greek classics in Venice. Jenson was a pioneer in the development of the roman typeface as we know it today; recognized as a model of beauty and legibility, it has been an inspiration for later type designers. The typeface used for the text of this book is Adobe Jenson Pro, designed by Robert Slimbach; the roman is based on

Jenson's roman, the italic on Ludovico degli Arrighi's italic.


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