Title, Sermones. Though
this work of Horace is now universally called Satires, yet
the ancient title seems to have been Sermones (conversations).
Verse 1. Maecenas:
this satire by being addressed to Maecenas, serves as a sort of prologue
to the work, and dedicates it to him. This address, as well as the
interrogative form of the beginning, gives the conversational tone,
of which Horace is fond. quam
sortem: notice that the Latin constantly puts the antecedent
noun in the relative clause, and puts that clause first in order.
This is, no doubt, the earlier and more natural construction, according
with the original interrogative character of the Latin relative. Translate
by changing the order of the clauses: "with that lot which,"
the use of the reflexive is due to a feeling of indirect discourse,
whereby the thought is put into the mind of the indefinite person
spoken of, whose mental state contentus represents,
and so implies a verb of saying.
choice, as deliberate or calculated (ratus).
has assigned. obiecerit,
has thrown in his way. The preposition ob
is especially used of things happening by chance; cf. obvenio,
obtingo. The subjunctives are occasioned by the dependence
of the relative clauses on the ut clause.
praises the lot of, i.e. calls happy, or envies.
The subject is an implied quisque, suggested by nemo.
different pursuits (from his own).
4. O fortunati,
etc.: in accordance with the dramatic form which satire takes (perhaps
on account of its origin, see Introduction),
Horace gives the direct words of the persons referred to. fortunati:
as getting wealth without the toils to which the soldier is exposed.
i.e. he is getting old, but is not rich yet, while the toils
are more grievous to him. Another reading, armis,
is possible, but not so good.
the battles of the Romans were won by the spade even more than by
the sword, and in full marching order the soldier carried a weight
of form forty to sixty pounds.
it must be remembered that the mercator is a trader who
sails with his wares in his own ship; hence iactantibus
the south wind is an especially squally and rainy wind in the Mediterranean.
Cf. Il II.145; Hor. Od.
I.7.16. The word may be translated souwesters, or southerly
it is the long and tedioius suffering that affects the trader, and
he contrasts it with the short and sudden danger of battle.
quid enim, of
course (lit. why? in fact). Cf. II.3.132,
and quid est as an expression of assent. enim
does not here have its explanatory force, but the earlier one of in
fact, as in quia enim, quippe enim,
immo enim. Cf. quisnam, etc.
short space. laeta:
as enriching the soldier by booty. These occupations are all here
looked upon as means of gain (cf. verse
9. iuris legumque
peritus, the learned man of law and statute,
though of course iuris, etc., belong to peritus.
The jurisconsult, or consulting lawyer, is referred to, who was not
an advocate, but gave opinions for fees.
becuase he does not have to get up at so early an hour.
10. sub galli
cantum: as the proceedings of the Roman courts began
at an early hour, the client must get advice at a still earlier one,
but of course the statement here is hyperbolical.
the other. datis
vadibus: the defendant, on answering to the first summons
in a court of law, gave bail for his appearance at a subsequent day
for the hearing. Cf. I.9.36.
all the legal and other official business was transacted in the city
itself, though many of the tribes lived many miles away.
from his farm.
12. in urbe:
naturally the countryman thinks those who live in the city would not
have to get up so early.
genere hoc, the other cases of this kind. An
old formula, borrowed by the poet from Lucretius.
so, to the degree indicated by the fact stated (not as a
result, but directly) in valent. The same idea might
be expressed as a result by ut valeant, but it would
be more formal. This reference of demonstrative words to something
not expressed but implied in the context is very common in Latin,
and, indeed, in all languages, for that matter.
i.e. if he should undertake to enumerate them.
enough to. Fabium:
an old scholiast says the reference is to Q. Fabius Maximus of Narbo,
who wrote on the Stoic philosophy in the wordy style of that sect.
And, as this also agrees with the allusions in Sat.
I.2.134, the two may well be the same person.
15. quo rem
deducam, the point I am coming to (lit. whither
I am bringing the matter), i.e. the insincerity of men
in these wishes to change their lot. This insincerity he shows dramatically
by introducing an imaginary scene of a god appearing and offering
to grant their wishes. In such a case they would refuse. The reason
why, which is their love of money, he begins to state in verse 28,
which brings him to his main theme.
look you. ego:
the expression of ego by its emphasis gives a force
something like "You want to have your lots changed; well, then,
I'll do it for you."
to that side; lit. from this side, like a
parte dextra. mutatis,
changing. The perf. part. is often best rendered by out present,
which the English lacks.
roles, the regular theatrical word. heia,
halloo, as if he said, "What does this mean? I thought
you wanted to change?"
statis? why do you stand there? i.e. instead
of starting, as they are bidden in discedite.
wouldn't care to, would refuse, the apodosis to dicat,
verse 15. licet,
they might. One expects the subjunctive, but verbs of this
kind take the indicative, in cases where there is a protasis expressed
inflet: to show the extreme inconsistency of the behavior
of these persons, the poet gives a comic picture of Jove's wrath,
probably borrowed from the stage.
furthermore, or to continue.
qui: supply the
verb from percurram.
with laughter. quamquam,
though, corrective to the preceding, not strictly opposed
vetat? what law forbids?
the word being used often for both sexes. olim,
now and then. crustula,
cookies, tarts, gingerbread, evidently much like our own
in modern times, though perhaps more elaborate. The name is from their
being baked hard. blandi,
prima, their A-B-C's.
27. sed tamen,
but still (though we might propriety go on in this vein).
let us turn to.
28. Here begins the real subject, but even here
Horace attacks it carefully, beginning with the excuse of the money-getter.
gravem duro: these
words are intended to heighten the color of the picture by indicating
the hard labor which the farmer undergoes to gain wealth.
caupo: these words seem out of place, as the context
would naturally have some word referring to the jurisconsult. But
we may suppose that Horace abandons the lawyer because, though a good
opposite to the farmer, yet he seeks honor more than money; and so
in this place Horace substitutes the huckster. Certainly the epithet
perfidus is more appropriate for the latter than
the former. The rest of the satire does not follow the same line of
thought, but presents another phase of the dissatisfaction of men,
not with what they do, but with what they have; but this is only the
other side of the same thing, and is the real reason why they would
not change if they could.
in their old age. tuta,
untroubled, i.e. by the toils and dangers they have
32. cum sibi,
etc., when they have heaped up a sufficient store.
rations or subsistence; which Horace makes them say in allusion
to the gathered store of the ant, referred to below.
inserted to set off the force of magni; not a merely ornamental epithet,
for such are rare in this work, and are not to be presumed.
exemplo est, she
is their pattern, i.e. they justify themselves by her example,
but, as Horace shows, their conduct is different from hers. See verse
a qualitative genitive. That construction is unusual without a general
word like animal, but this may be a conversational
changing, closing: lit. turned back to begin again.
sun is in this constellation about the middle of January, at which
time really begins the short Italian winter.
i.e. she know enough to gather provision in summer and stay
at home in winter; another reading, patiens, which
is very old, would mean contented, not greedy for more. Cf.
cum te, etc.,
i.e. though the searcher for gain makes the ant his pattern,
yet he does not follow her in her use of what she gets but still accumulates,
undeterred by any peril. aestus,
etc.: proverbial expressions for obstacles, just as we say "go
through fire and water."
ne, so long as. . .not, i.e. provided you
can outstrip your neighbor in getting gain (cf. Cic.
de Off. 3.21). alter,
your neighbor. Alter is used for any one
of a class opposed to some particular person mentioned.
iuvat? i.e. what good does this acquisition
of wealth do, which you don't use? immensum,
etc. stealthily. The picture is of a miser hiding his gold
in the earth (the usual place in ancient times) while anxiously watching
that no one shall see where.
si, etc.: the miser's reply. The moment you begin to
take from the heap it all goes. "Change a ten-dollar bill, and
it is all gone." assem:
the copper coin of account of the Romans, worth at this time about
44. at ni:
Horace's reply. quid
pulchri: a colloquial form of expression for the abstract.
notice that, as the main idea is that of amassing wealth generally,
the figure under which the wealth is represented constantly changes.
suppose it yields: the hortatory subj. used in a concession.
threshing floor. The ancients threshed their grain by making
a hard clay floor in the open air, and threading out the grain with
cattle,--a method which is still used in Greece and Italy.
modium, pecks; but we may translate
than, an archaic use preserved in poetry and conversation.
just as, if, i.e. though you have the trouble of taking care
of your great crop, you can't enjoy any more than the rest; just as
the slave who happens to be carrying the rations in a train gets no
more than his share, for all that.
a gang of slaves.
notice the re, from refert, not
the limits which nature sets to our wants. viventi,
the usual construction is genitive, but it may be that the colloquial
or popular construction was dative.
51. at suave
est, but it is no sweet, etc.; the miser's reply.
nobis, let me draw. Cf. Eng. leave
in "leave me be."
baskets; opposed to the greater store implied in granaria.
a measure of three gallons, a jar. cyatho,
also a measure, of about a twelfth of a pint, a spoonful.
this reading is perhaps preferable to malim, inasmuch
as hoc seems to indicate that the person supposed
has the spring to draw from but not the river; hence the construction
might naturally be contrary to fact.
in that way, i.e. on account of this desire to take from
a great quantity.
57. si quos
delectet, whoever takes pleasure in, etc. The
statement is a kind of parable continuing the case supposed in verse
Horace as usual takes a particular river, the one near his birthplace,
to represent any rapid stream.
turbid; but also of life, unquiet.
that riches are likely to be one's ruin.
the Ms. authority is perhaps in favor of ut, which
would introduce another comparison like ut in verse
54. The sense, however, seems better with at, as
if Horace said, "All this is true, yet men won't act accordingly,
but justify their seeking of gain, by verse 62, which shows them to
be incurable."; hence quid facias, etc.
bona pars, the
best part, i.e. the greatest. falso,
vain, i.e. for which there is no real good as its object.
sis, you are rated at, etc. The subjunctive
is the regular one of the second person with indefinite subject.
facias illi? what can you do for a man like that?
i.e. one who is determined to go on in this way, as is indicated
by nil satis est. miserum
esse, enjoy his misery; but the expression has
the idea of an imprecation, like "go and be hanged."
with his eyes open, knowing the true state of the case.
here inasmuch as (which is an expression of the same origin
in English). ut
quidam, etc.: implying that he must get his consolation
for his misery out of the wretched pleasure of avarice, as was the
case with the Athenian.
scorn, saying to himself. voces,
cries, of the populace as they hooted after him.
66. at mihi
plaudo: i.e. I take my satisfaction for the
hisses of the people in my approval of myself.
etc.: Horace begins as though he were going to warn the miser by the
story of Tantalus in the world below, in the manner of a preacher
of virtue, a class of men not held in much respect. See Sat.
II.3 and I.1.120.
rides: the miser, who has no longer any belief in the
stories of Hades, or any care for this sort of preaching, laughs at
Horace's attempt to convert him with the fables of the world below.
But Horace turns upon him, and shows that Tantalus' fate is not a
future terror, but his condition now. He then proceeds
to prove the similarity of his condition with that of Tantalus, in
sight of good things which he cannot enjoy.
gloating, i.e. with his mouth open, staring at them in admiration,
as if he would like to eat them, and continuing his enjoyment of them
till he falls asleep. tanquam,
quo, etc: i.e. "Don't you know what can
be done with all this money you have, that you keep it in this way
untouched?" He begins as if he were going to state some grand
object, but suddenly turning, he gives merely the absolute wants of
humanity. He thereby implies that this, after all, is the only thing
money can do. The turn is not strictly logical, but all the more effective
. .negatis, suffers from the want of.
etc.: here used, as often, in a kind of reductio ad absurdum.
Prosaically expressed, "Isn't money to be used to be a blessing,
or do you enjoy, etc.," the other alternative, which is obviously
i.e. if the case were mine; hence imperfect. The reading
optarim has a more general sense.
80. at si,
etc., but of course, etc., an argument in favor of the miser,
but with obvious irony. temptatum,
attacked, a regular word. frigore,
a chill, referring to the fevers so common in Italy.
nurse, an almost technical word. roget,
call in, also technical.
no, not even, etc., the word getting emphasis from its position.
This is Horace's answer to his ironical defence of the miser's position.
atque puellae, boys and girls and all, an almost
proverbial expression for without distinction of age or sex.
merearis, which you do nothing to deserve.
subjunctive on account of its connection with miraris,
in a kind of indirect discourse.
88. at si,
etc.: i.e. by devoting yourself to the pursuit of gain, you
make it impossible to keep even the love of your kindred which nature
gives you at the start without your taking any trouble. The reading
an si could mean "Do you think it would be useless
labor to attempt to win friends?" The first seems better. Notice
Horace does not say get, but keep.
etc.: evidently proverbial. "By your conduct you have made yourself
as incapable of friendship as an ass is of speed."
begin to fear. finire,
set a limit. Notice that Horace does not advise him to stop
suddenly, but begin, as it were, to think of an end.
in early prose the antecedent of quod would be expressed
in agreement with parto, but conversation and poetry
allow the omission, which is common later.
the story is not otherwise known, though the name occurs elsewhere.
tempus, the last days of his life.
change the voice in translating. Tyndaridum,
of Tyndareus' line. The allusion is to Clytemnestra, who
killed her lord in the same manner, as if it were "the most undaunted
of husband-slayers." It is of course implied that the woman was
a concubine, so that the case is an illustration of the idea in non
uxor, etc., and the following.
mi suades, etc.: the miser thinks that the poet in condemning
avarice approves extravagance, and asks him if he wants him to be
a maenius (a spendthrift). A reading Naevius
refers to a person said to have been a miser. This gives a passable
sense, though not approved by the commentators; as if he said, "What
do you advise me, then, to be a miser, or do you want me to be a spendthrift?"
as if these were the only alternatives, and there could be no doubt
which was the better. The reading retained gives two examples of spendthrifts.
a noted spendthrift. pergis,
do you persist, do you always? i.e. "Do as you always
with (to) each other, a very common use
of the reflexive. pugnantia,
opposed, at variance. frontibus
adversis, utterly, squarely, diametrically.
the figure is drawn from bulls and rams, but is hardly admissible
the technical sense of the word is match, pair off.
If this is taken, the meaning is "why do you always match (in
argument) things squarely opposed to each other, as if there were
nothing between, setting only the two extremes against each other,
and not, as you should, one extreme against the mean." It may
also be taken in the sense of put together, i.e.
identifying things utterly inconsistent and unlike, as not being
a miser with being a spendthrift, and not being
a spendthrift with being a miser, whereas Horace shows
that there is a middle ground, and consequently these things supposed
by the miser to be the same are really utterly opposed to each other.
said to be a eunuch of whom, as of Visellius, nothing else is known.
a point, that is, a mean, so that one isn't obliged to be
either one or the other. socerum,
etc.: a man we are told who had the swelling of a hernia.
in rebus, a just measure in everything.
Horace's favorite ethical principle.
citraque, on either side of.
ut avarus: a troublesome passage of which nobody can
find the key. The meaning is obvious, being the same as the point
in verse 1, the discontent of mankind. the difficulty is in the
construction. No authenticated reading omits the ne
(n'), not would the hiatus seem very tolerable,
though perhaps paralleled by Od.
I.28.24. But the ne is apparently superfluous.
If the ut clause is taken as the ordinary one denoting
a state of things, the ne might be a colloquial
usage like clauses of examination, ergone ut interpellam
(the idea that, etc.), or it is barely possible to treat
ut as interrogative, how, in which case
a pleonastic ne might be justified; cf. utrum
ne. avarus, in his greed,
added as the true reason why no man is contented with his lot.
etc.: a different phase of discontent is here represented. At the
outset, men appear as praising the lot of another on account of its
supposed ease, but here, for its greater gain. Cf. note
to verse 29. distentius,
etc.: simply to express greater prosperity.
atque hunc, this man and this (in succession,
opposed to the crowd).
stands in his path, i.e. is before him in the race.
the flying hoof, to make the figure endurable in Eng.
barriers, special stalls in which the horses stood until the
rope at the entrance was dropped, and they rushed forth (emissos)
to the track (Spatium).
as running, i.e. as soon as he is passed, he belongs
with all the rest in the rear, and is no better than the hindmost
i.e. from this rivalry.
tempore, when the term of his life is complete.
satis est: notice that the end as well as the beginning
is informal. Horace breaks off abruptly for fear of being too verbose
and tedious, which fear he jocularly expressed by his allusion to
Crispinus. This person was a Stoic philosopher who preached the cant
of that school, to the disgust of full-blooded, fastidious, and sincere
natures like Horace. The high morality and rigid logic and precepts
of the Stoics made it easy for them to fall into cant, and one could
profess and teach the tenets of the school without much mental or
moral effort, using the high-sounding sermons and glittering paradoxes
of previous sermonizers. Horace, whose doctrine of the mean approaches
the Peripatetic school, never loses a chance to gibe the Stoics. This
does not prevent him however from often urging Stoic precepts. Cf.