1. satura: here, for the first time in literature,
this word seems to be used in the sense to which it has later been confined.
videor: the mood of the verb seems to imply that he has definite persons
in mind, but it is always the privilege of a poet to speak as if he had, whether he has or
not. (cf. Od. I.1.3). acer: i.e. in
his criticism or invective.
2. legem, i.e. the proper limits of the style of composition (cf. A. P. 135). tendere, force, a figure taken from the bow. sine nervis, just the opposite fault to the first, without force, being mere inartistic prose.
4. deduci, spun off; keeping the same figure. Trebati, C. Trebatius Testa, a jurisconsult, or consulting lawyer, in his youth a friend of Cicero; cf. Cic. ad Fam. VII.6. and 22. The shortness and authoritative manner of his answers (cf. quiescas, v. 5, and aio, v. 6) indicate an old and experience lawyer, though at that time he could not have been much above fifty, while Horace was about thirty.
5. praescribe: probably the technical term for giving directions which must be followed, as being in accordance with the law.
6. aio, that's what I say. peream male, confound me; cf. I.9.47.
7. erat, would be; instead of the subjunctive, on account of the meaning of the phrase ("necessity, propriety," etc.). The expression is the apodosis contrary to fact of an omitted protasis, si ita facerem, or the like; but the whole conditional sentence, including both protasis and apodosis, is the protasis of peream male is in the form where no opinion is expressed (cf. I.9.38 and 47). dormire: this word at once indicates that it is Horace's nature to write so long as he is awake, thus making it an imperative necessity, and it also gives Horace a chance to allude to two of the foibles of Terbatius, swimming and wine. ter, etc.: Trebatius, taking note of only the final expression, as if he did not know what it really meant, gives a prescription in the brief professional manner, for insomnia. There is an old superstition about this number. uncti: the ancients in all their athletic exercises anointed themselves with oil, partly to render the skin soft, and partly to prevent the effect of cold.
8. transnanto: this form of the imperative is in the formal archaic style of laws and prescriptions.
9. irriguum: i.e. drink freely before going to bed.
10. rapit: i.e. with such force as to be irresistible. aude: the daring would consist in trying so lofty a theme.
11. Caesaris, i.e. Augustus, though he did not receive this appellation till B.C. 27, a few years later. res, i.e. his warlike exploits, in an epic.
12. laturus: we must break this into another sentence in English, as we are often obliged to do with this favorite construction of Horace. cupidum: this also should be made a separate clause. pater, venerable sir, a common form of address in Latin to older persons.
13. deficiunt: i.e. his powers are inadequate to the demands of epic poetry, a deficiency to which he often alludes (Od. I.6.9, etc.), but at the same time he contrives to give an indirect hint at what he would say if he tried such themes. horrentia, etc.: descriptions which one must attempt who essays this form. pilis: i.e. the Roman army.
14. fracta cuspide: sometimes taken as referring to the device by which the point of a spear was so arranged as to break or bend and become useless after being thrown. As this seems rather far-fetched, we may take it as representing the helpless condition of the enemy with their spears broken in the contest. Gallos: Augustus conducted and sent several expeditions against the Gauls.
15. equo: the strength of the Parthians was in the cavalry. Parthi: these were at that time the most formidable enemies of the Romans, but what particular expedition is referred to is uncertain.
16. iustum, etc.: i.e. you might at least celebrate the civic virtues of Augustus. poteras: a conclusion of a suppressed condition contrary to fact; something like "if you chose"; cf. optimum erat, v. 7. fortem, energetic, as a ruler.
17. Scipiadam, the younger Africanus; cf. v. 72 et seq. The patronymic is chosen because Scipionem (with metre l-s-l-l) could not be used in this verse. The form of the accusative is the more strictly Latin form, and agrees with the doric dialect. sapiens: i.e. he was wise enough to choose civil subjects for his praise of Scipio, and avoid warlike themes.
18. res ipsa feret: i.e. when the proper case shall arise. Flacci: i.e. a humble man like me, as compared with the great Caesar.
19. ibunt per, find access to.
20. palpere: the figure is of a horse; but, as often happens, the person and the figure are identified. In English the expression must be softened by saying "who is like a horse, if you stroke him the wrong way," etc. tutus, himself safe from attack.
21. quanto, etc.: the reply of Trebatius. tristi, sever or abusive.
22. Pantolabum, etc.: cf. I.8.11. Nomentanum: mentioned in I.1.102, and elsewhere.
23. cum sibi, etc.: i.e. in this case the poet makes enemies of everybody, which is worse than running the risk of offending Caesar.
24. quid faciam: the poet's answer: "Every man has his special weakness or hobby, and mine is like Lucilius', to write satire." saltat Milonius: this unknown person had the habit of dancing at banquets, which among the Romans was considered disreputable (cf. Cic. pro Mur. VI.13). icto, etc., the heat has flown to his head filled with the fumes of the wine.
25. numerus accessit: the well-known phenomenon of seeing double in intoxication.
26. Castor, etc.: even two twin brothers have different tastes, as in the case of the Dioscuri.
27. pugnis: i.e. as a boxer. capitum: often used for persons. totidem, etc., cf. quot homines tot sententiae. Ter. Phorm. II.4.14.
28. pedibus, etc.: a kind of light, depreciating way of speaking of his poetry.
29. nostrum, etc.: and so a safe example to follow.
30. arcana, his secrets (acts and thoughts), implying that he had no care to suppress anything from fear.
31. si male cesserat (impers.), if he had fared ill: i.e. he trusted to his books alike his good and evil fortune.
33. votiva: the ancients were accustomed to show their gratitude for escapes from peril by painting the scene on a tablet, usually in the most realistic manner, and hanging up the tablet in the temple of some divinity. Cf. Od. I.5.13. The same thank-offering is now paid to the saints.
34. senis, the old poet (not of age, but of antiquity). Lucanus an Apulus: the mention of the nation seems to indicate that Horace comes of a warlike race, and so may be expected to be a fighting character, at least in poetry. anceps: probably nom. masc., agreeing with the subject of sequor.
35. Venusinus, Venusia, the poet's birthplace, was on the boundary-line of the two races.
36. missus, etc.: this description indicates the warlike character of the two races. Sabellis, i.e. the Samnites. The colony was planted B.C. 291, in the Third Samnite War.
37. quo ne: equivalent to ut ne. vacuum, an undefended point in the line of defences.
39. incuteret: the subjunctive indicates, as usual, that it was the notion of someone else, here of the Romans. sed: i.e. though I come of this warlike race, my weapon shall never be drawn except in defence. ultro, unprovoked, properly beyond what is called for by the occasion.
40. animantem, living soul.
41. quem cur, and why. . .it?
43. ut: used like utinam. positum, laid away.
45. commorit, stirs me up, or rouses me. melius non tangere: a common expression, better let me be. Inserted as a parenthesis, it gives a more popular form to the description.
46. flebit, shall smart for it. cantabitur, shall become a byword.
47. Cervius, etc.: Horace illustrates his use of satire as a weapon of defence, by a list of apparent examples, each of which, however, is a stinging characterization of some notable rascal. leges: i.e. he is an informer, and uses this function as his weapon against his enemies.
48. Albuci, probably a seller of drugs.
49. Turius, a corrupt juror who will punish his enemy by deciding a case against him.
50. ut: interrogative. quo, etc., with the most powerful weapon which he has.
51. natura, a natural instinct. sic, i.e. by the following reasoning.
52. intus monstratum, by an inward monition, strictly nisi hoc intus monstratum est.
53. vivacem: i.e. too long-lived for him.
54. nil. . .dextera: i.e. no act of violence, as that would be contrary to his filial (pia) nature (of course ironical).
57. longum, too long a story.
59. exul: opposed to Romae, from which he might be banished on account of his satire.
60. color: i.e. as bright or dark with good or bad fortune.
61. vitalis, long-lived (on account of the danger in such a course). maiorum, partitive genitive with amicus.
62. frigore, with a chill (by neglect).
64. pellem: probably a remote allusion to the fable of the ass in the lion's skin. Cf. Ep. I.16.45. nitidus, decked, with a fair outside.
65. turpis, foul, not precisely in the full figurative use, but with a close application of the figure than in English. Laelius, etc.: in allusion to amicus, v. 61. qui, etc., Scipio.
67. Metello, Q. Caecilius Metellus Macedonicus, consul B.C. 143, a violent political opponent of Scipio, and hence the object of the satire of Lucilius.
68. Lupo, L. Cornelius Lentulus Lupus, consul B.C. 156, another prominent person satirized by Lucilius. The whole idea is, "if Lucilius' powerful friends were not alienated by his attacks on the vicious, why should Horace's be?" famosis, abusive, that produce ill fame. atqui, and yet; i.e. though they were not offended, yet they had as much reason to be, as Horace could give his friends.
69. tributim, indiscriminately, lit. a whole tribe at a time.
70. scilicet, evidently; i.e. his conduct shows that he spared only virtue.
71. quin, why! i.e. instead of being offended, the friends were only more intimate with him. scaena, the stage, i.e. public life, where they were set up to the public gaze. in secreta, into retirement.
72. virtus, etc.: an old Homeric usage (cf. Bíe 'Arakleíe) for the brave Scipio.
73. discincti: cf. "in dressing-gown and slippers." donec, etc.: i.e. before dinner, while waiting for their simple country repast.
74. quicquid, etc., such as I am; i.e. though of humble station and abilities.
75. censum, station, as indicated by the census, according to which Lucilius was of Equestrian rank.
77. fragili, etc.: probably alluding to the fable of the Viper and the File.
78. nisi quid, etc.: i.e. "all this I submit with due deference to your learned opinion."
79. equidem, I, I'm sure. nihil hinc diffindere, take no exception to this, lit. make no distinction, as the arguments in law consist in distinguishing the particular case from a general principle laid down.
80. ut, etc.: after a moneo, or the like, implied in the preceding. negoti, trouble, as by a prosecution.
81. incutiat, spring upon you, or catch you in, with an idea of unexpectedness or surprise. sactarum, sacred, as sanctioned by antiquity and the divine character of the state.
82. si mala, etc.: a continuation of the same idea, quoting the law more exactly. mala: a technical expression in the law, meaning abusive, which Horace, however, takes in the ordinary sense of bad artistically. ius, law, i.e. a right of action.
83. iudicium, a remedy, the process for enforcing the rights of the person aggrieved. esto, oh, yes, that's true.
84. Caesare (abl. abs. with iudice): i.e. approved even by the supreme source of justice.
85. latraverit, assail, as the figure is too strong for English ears.
86. solventur tabulae, the indictment will be quashed. missus, free (discharged).