etc.: i.e. utrum scamnum an Priapum (See
Grammar § 211.a). Priapum:
a not very highly esteemed divinity of the fertility of the earth,
originally brought from Lampsacus, whose image was set up in gardens
as half god and half scarecrow. It was customary for poets to put
into his mouth any poetry too indecent for other sponsors, and here
the abuse of the women is heightened by making him the spokesman.
a terror, as in English. fures
dextra: a sickle or club was usually held in his right
hand. (cf. Virg. Georg. IV.110).
the god was regularly painted red.
i.e. a reed waving in the wind and serving as a scarecrow.
. .hortis: Maecenas had laid out a magnificent garden
on the Esquiline, on a spot occupied from very ancient times as a
burial place. Tombs of very great antiquity and also common burial
places have lately been excavated in that region. This particular
spot seems to have been only a part of the burial place, devoted to
the poorer classes.
hustled out: simply heightening the picture of the misery
of the slaves, and not probably referring to any special usage. The
body of a respectable person would be elatum.
the slaves were often united into societies for the purposes of burial;
and when they were not, doubtless they took care of the burial of
their fellows. Many tombstones are found erected by fellow-slaves
and fellow-freedmen. locabat:
i.e. the fellow-slaves paid the expenses of the burial, and
contracted with the regular undertakers.
i.e. the public lot described in v. 12, but agreeing with
sepulchrum: the word stabat would seem
to imply a real tomb, but as sepulchrum is used of
any burial place, stabat goes with it naturally in
the sense of was.
etc. (Get-what-you-can): one of Horace's favorite side thrusts
at two poor creatures whom he despises. scurrae:
many persons in antiquity literally lived by their wits, getting invitations
to dinner in return for the amusement they afforded, acting somewhat
like the court fools of later times. Naturally, being without visible
means of support, they were despised by their more fortunate patrons.
12. in fronte,
i.e. on the street. cippus,
a small square pillar with the inscription to mark the place and size
of the lot. Such inscriptions are numerous. E.g.
D.M. FORTVNATO IVLI FRONTONIS ACTORI
PATRATA CONIVE BENEMERENTI ET
FILI FECERVNT IN F P XX IN AGR P XXV HMHNS
(Hoc Monumentum Heredes Ne Sequatur.)
agrum, in depth.
assigned for a burial place for the people.
i.e. separating the lot from the property of the person
who gave it. monumentum:
referring loosely to the place, but quoting the most common form
of the provision, as above given. locus, which
is often used, would be more exact. ne
sequeretur, i.e. with the provision that,
etc., quoted indirectly from the language of the inscription. Horace's
form implies a direct sequatur, which does not
occur in full in inscriptions. The word, however, is very rarely
written out in full, and the sense of non sequitur,
which does occur, is really the same.
etc.: later, apparently, the burial place had been discontinued
in part, though tombs farther out, perhaps beyond the agger
of Servius, were still remaining (see v. 36).
i.e. and find it wholesome; in a predicate use.
the great earth-wall built on the east side of the city by Servius
Tullius, part of which still exists. Probably the ground was appropriated
to ordinary uses as far as this, still leaving tombs beyond.
quo, equal to
ubi: referring to the Esquiline in general, not
to the agger. tristes,
while: the construction seems to be that of cum
inversum (Grammar § 325, b).
fures: to steal
the fruit, cf. v. 4. ferae:
possibly birds and beasts of prey prowling for the bones, etc.,
but more probably in search of the fruit, as in v. 4, aves.
Cf. also curae atque labori, v. 18.
atque venenis, spells and charms, referring
to the whole magical paraphernalia. quae,
the women who, i.e. who came to this old cemetery for magic.
Everything connected with death has been an instrument of witchcraft
in all ages.
confound; used loosely as the active of pereant,
which would be his wish for them.
i.e. among the stars.
i.e. probably at the rising of the full moon, which was
a favorite time for magic. ossa
herbasque: these were particularly efficacious. Cf.
Epode V.17 and note to
here begins the special incident, and in a kind of epic style, to
produce a pseudo-pathetic effect. nigra:
as the funereal color. Cf. the "black art."
palla: we can
not be sure exactly what sort of a dress she wore, but it was no
doubt different from the ordinary wear. The palla seems to have
been a plain piece of cloth for drapery, but capable of adjustment
to the body by a girdle and by clasps on the shoulders. Probably
it was also girded up shorter than usual, as is indicated by succinctam
(see Rich, Dictionary of Antiquities).
maiore: there seems no reason why the natural meaning
of "the elder of two Saganas," both sorceresses, should
not be taken. The person is mentioned again in Epode V.25.
repeating the incantations in a tone suitable to the occasion; used
regularly of women's cries. pallor:
naturally the officiating persons are frightened also (Epode
terram, etc.: the regular rite in necromancy seems
to have been to dig a ditch and sacrifice a black sheep into it.
This process was to make the shades give prophetic answers, which
are also referred to in v. 41,
the nature of which, however, does not appear. Still we need not
expect the story to be exact about such a matter. Cf. next note
for a similar loose statement.
to give the picture of furies, as it were.
the process here is often referred to. The two puppets represent
the person seeking the enchantment and the one to be affected, one
being subject to the action of heat, and the other not. In Virgil
(Ecl. VIII.80) they are of clay and wax respectively. The
waxen one is to be melted in the fire of love, while the other remains
as indicating superior power and mastery. The whole implies that
whatever the puppet suffers will be transferred by the magic art
to the person represented. So the symbolism is carried as far as
possible, even to peritura (suppliciter
i.e. die in torment. Probably in all this two or three
rites are confounded (cf. Virgil, Ecl. VIII.80), as also
in the following. serpentis
atque canes, attendants upon Hecate.
the moon is comically represented as blushing, and hiding behind
the great tombs in the neighborhood.
etc.: the adjuration gives a comic effect to the story, just as
if one said, "You may not believe it, but it's a fact,"
at the end of a Munchausen tale. Of course his oath is suited to
etc.: another side thrust. The first person is unknown, but he must
be the same sort of person as the others who are described.
weakling; of effeminacy. Pediatia:
really a man, but spoken of thus on account of his effeminacy.
i.e. of questions and answers.
the imperfect cannot be explained. Either the reading of resonarint
ought to be adopted, or we must suppose it a lapse on Horace's part.
et acutum: the feeble and piping voice regularly attributed
to the shades. Cf. Aen. VI. 493.
barbam: these seem to have been charms against opposing
magic on the part of others.
dissyllabic by synizesis.
i.e. the wax melted and ran into the fire. This has not
been mentioned before, but is understood as one of the regular accompaniments.
Cf. note to v. 30. ut
non, etc., how it was not as an unavenged spectator
cf. note to v. 27.
a kind of cogn. acc. with sonat.
false teeth, which were not uncommon among the ancients.
some sort of a headdress, the form of which is unknown. It was evidently,
however, tall, and perhaps some Eastern cap, like the Persian tiara,
vincula: the machinery of their magic that they held
in their arms. incantata,
equal to enchanted, i.e. arranged with spells,
solemn formulae to give magic power. The vincula would be love-knots
to bind fast the person to be affected. The whole is probably not
you might have seen (Grammar § 311, a).