Robin G. M. Nisbet and Margaret Hubbard (eds), A Commentary on Horace: Odes, Book II
9. NON SEMPER IMBRES
[W. S. Anderson, CSCA 1, 1968, 35 ff.; F. Bücheler, RhM 37, 1882, 230 f. = Kl. Schr. 2. 436; Esteve-Forriol 32 ff.; P. Murgatroyd, Mnemosyne 28, 1975, 69 ff.; Pasquali 257 ff.; Quinn 158 ff.; Williams 671 ff.]
1–8. Bad weather does not last for ever, Valgius, either in Italy or on the Eastern frontier. 9–17. But you pester Mystes with your tears night and morning, though Antilochus and Troilus were not always wept for by their aged parents. 17–24. Cease your laments and let us celebrate together Augustus's victories on the Eastern frontier.
C. Valgius Rufus had been a close friend of Horace's for a good many years. Already in the Satires he appears in the inner circle of critics who are distinguished from more remote grandees like Pollio and Messalla (1. 10. 81 ff.):
- Plotius et Varius, Maecenas Vergiliusque,
- Valgius et probet haec Octavius optimus atque
- Fuscus, et haec utinam Viscorum laudet uterque.
He was a man of varied aptitudes who translated the rhetorical handbook of his teacher Apollodorus (Quint, inst. 3. 1. 18) and also wrote on grammatical and philological questions (G. Funaioli, Grammaticae Romanae Fragmenta, 1907, pp. 482 ff.). The elder Pliny mentions an unfinished monograph on herbal medicine and drily pg 135cites its fulsome dedication to Augustus (nat. 25. 4 'post eum unus inlustrium temptavit C. Valgius eruditione spectatus imperfecto volumine ad divum Augustum, inchoata etiam praefatione religiosa ut omnibus malis humanis illius potissimum principis semper mederetur maiestas'). Valgius attained a suffect consulship in 12 b.c. (hence Porphyrio's imprecise comment 'Valgium consularem amicum suum solatur'); its relatively belated date suggests that he was a distinguished member of the cultural establishment rather than a leading man of affairs.
In particular, Valgius was a poet, and here again his versatility was remarkable. The anonymous panegyrist on Messalla thought him capable of political eulogy (179 f. 'est tibi qui possit magnis se accingere rebus / Valgius; aeterno propior non alter Homero'); though such suggestions were conventional in recusatio (1. 6. 1 Vario n.), the comparison with Homer would be pointless if he had not sometimes attempted the grander manner. One of the fragments strikes a rustic note (5 Morel 'sed nos ante casam tepidi mulgaria lactis / et sinum bimi cessamus ponere Bacchi?'); two others seem to come from an elegiac iter (3 and 4); we have part of an epigram of a satirical cast (1 'situ rugosa, rutunda / margarita'); Seneca mentions a work on Etna, which may have been a didactic poem (epist. 51. 1). It is more significant for our ode that Valgius spoke admiringly of the neoteric Cinna: cf. fr. 2. 1 ff. 'Codrusque ille canit quali tu voce canebas / atque solet numeros dicere, Cinna, tuos, / dulcior ut numquam Pylio profluxerit ore / Nestoris aut docto pectore Demodoci'. In our poem Horace makes it plain that he wrote sentimental elegy (9 'flebilibus modis'), some of it apparently on the dead Mystes (see below). For further details on Valgius see Schanz–Hosius 2. 172 ff., RE 8 A. 1. 272 ff., H. Bardon, La Littérature latine inconnue 2, 1956, pp. 19 ff., A. Rostagni, Studi in onore di Luigi Castiglioni 2. 809 f.
In the first two stanzas Horace declares that the fury of the elements does not last for ever; he is making the common analogy with the vicissitudes of human happiness (1 n.). He cleverly uses a number of words that hint at grief as well as the weather (the more obvious metaphors support the others as at 2. 14. 1 ff.); see notes on 1 imbres, nubibus, hispidos, 2 manant, 3 vexant, inaequales, 5 stat glacies iners, 7 laborant, 8 viduantur. Such ambiguities seem to be derived from sympotic poetry; cf. epod. 13. 1 'horrida tempestas caelum contraxit' (with its hint of contrahere frontem), 5 'obducta solvatur fronte senectus' (a clear reference to clouded skies), 18 'deformis aegrimoniae' (the adjective evokes the bleakness of winter), carm. 1. 7. 15 f. 'albus ut obscuro deterget nubila caelo / saepe Notus' (with a suggestion of wiping away tears), Wilkinson 126 ff., G. Nussbaum, pg 136Latomus 24, 1965, 133 ff. So in a more general way the storms outside Alcaeus's symposium are associated with human cares, the rivulets on Sipylus suggest Niobe's grief, the frost on the doorstep suits the lover's reception; similarly Orpheus mourns Eurydice in a cold climate (Virg. georg. 4. 517 ff., cf. below, 8 n.). For a modern elaboration of Horace's symbolism cf. Housman, A Shropshire Lad 31. 1 ff.:
- On Wenlock Edge the wood's in trouble;
- His forest fleece the Wrekin heaves;
- The gale, it plies the saplings double,
- And thick on Severn snow the leaves …
- The gale, it plies the saplings double,
- It blows so hard, 'twill soon be gone;
- Today the Roman and his trouble
- Are ashes under Uricon.
In the central section of the poem (9–17) Horace complains that unlike bad weather Valgius's laments for Mystes are never-ending. Roman gentlemen of the highest probity showed a humane sorrow on the deaths of slave-boys (Cic. Att. 1. 12. 4, Plin. epist. 8. 16. 1 ff., 8. 19); Statius provides two tasteless specimens of solacia for such occasions (silv. 2. 1, 2. 6, cf. vol. i, pp. 280 f.). Sometimes these lamentations must have passed the boundary between the sentimental and the erotic (see Gell. 19. 12 for the grief of Herodes Atticus); Valgius's elegies, Horace implies, were of the latter kind, as was natural in the genre. Mystes is unlikely to have been a real person, as that would make the ode far too heartless (cf. Quinn and Anderson, opp. citt.); he was presumably a fiction of Valgius's own, or even a type-figure ascribed to him by Horace (cf. 1. 33. 2 n. for the Glycera imputed to Tibullus). Quinn and especially Anderson argue that Mystes is not dead but has left Valgius for a rival; this interpretation cannot be finally disproved, but it blunts the wit of the fourth stanza (cf. 10 ademptum n.). It should also be noted that Horace's lines on Hesperus closely resemble a fragment of Cinna (10 nec tibi n.); as Valgius declared himself an admirer of Cinna (above, p. 135), his elegies are likely to have been Horace's immediate source (the emotionalism suits). Cinna seems to have been describing Zmyrna's myrrh-like tears at the time of her metamorphosis (cf. Ov. met. 10. 500 ff.); if Valgius took over this tragic motif he was surely talking of death rather than mere desertion (Virgil made a similar use of Cinna's theme in describing the lament of Orpheus, cf. 10 n.).
Horace on the other hand is parodying Valgius's sentimentality; for his rejection of the conventions of love-elegy cf. vol. i, p. 370, Quinn 154 ff., B. Otis, TAPhA 76, 1945, 177 ff. His ode imitates the pg 137form of a consolatio (vol. i, p. 280, Esteve-Forriol, loc. cit.), not the whole of an epicedion in all its rhetorical amplitude (Esteve-Forriol 126 ff.), but the final suasio to the bereaved (1. 24. 1 n.); it should be seen as such even by those who think that Mystes is still alive. For comparison with the weather in similar writings cf. ps.-Plut. cons. Apoll. 103 b ὥσπερ … ἐν θαλάττῃ εὐδίαι τε καὶ χειμῶνες, οὕτω καὶ ἐν τῷ βίῳ πολλαὶ καὶ ποικίλαι περιστάσεις; Horace's elaborate imagery is particularly suited to a neoteric who may have found pathetic fallacies congenial. Valgius's continuous lamentation is presented as something contrary to nature (cf. ps.-Plut. ibid. 114 f τὸ γὰρ δὴ ἀτελεύτητον νομίζειν τὸ πένθος ἀνοίας ἐστίν ἐσχάτης); in particular the verb urges (9 n.) suits the idea that the dead do not like excessive grief (Menander rhet. 3. 414. 21 Sp. μέμϕεται τοῖς θρηνοῦσι, Esteve-Forriol 150). Then follow the traditional mythological exempla (Hom. Il. 24. 602 καὶ γάρ τʼ ἠύκομος Νιόβη, Esteve-Forriol 154 ff., Kassel 70 ff.), but a mischievous ambiguity becomes apparent (see notes on 13–16): Antilochus and Troilus were not just brave warriors but καλοί παῖδες (just like Mystes), Nestor and Priam were paradigms not just for suffering but for debility (unlike Valgius). Finally at 17 ff. comes the climax of a consolation, the adjuration to weep no more (for similar injunctions cf. 2. 20. 23 n.). In the spirit of the genre Horace suggests alternative occupations (cf. Stat. silv. 2. 6. 95 'ubi nota reis facundia raptis?'); he maliciously proposes that Valgius should join him in writing about the settlement of the Eastern frontier.
Eastern geography in fact plays a dominating part in the poem: the first stanza contains exempla from Armenia and the Caspian, the last two refer to Augustus's nova tropaea from Mount Niphates (19 n., 20 n.), and the humiliations of the Euphrates and the Geloni. The poets had already exaggerated Octavian's military achievement in the settlement of the East in 30 b.c.: cf. serm. 2. 5. 62 'iuvenis Parthis horrendus', Virg. georg. 1. 509 'hinc movet Euphrates, illinc Germania bellum', 2. 171 f., 4. 560 f. 'Caesar dum magnus ad altum / fulminat Euphraten bello', Syme 300 f. In particular Virgil's two accounts of the triumphs of 29 show a considerable resemblance to our poem:
- addam urbes Asiae domitas pulsumque Niphaten
- fidentemque fuga Parthum versisque sagittis
- et duo rapta manu diverso ex hoste tropaea.
- (georg. 3. 30 ff.)
- hic Lelegas Carasque sagittiferosque Gelonos
- finxerat: Euphrates ibat iam mollior undis …
- indomitique Dahae, et pontem indignatus Araxes.
- (Aen. 8. 725 ff.)
But though Horace's language is similar to Virgil's, he may have a slightly different historical perspective: in view of the use of the name Augustus (assumed in January 27) it seems awkward to understand the nova tropaea as simply those of 29. It may be argued that Valgius had actually embarked on a commemoration of the Eastern settlement, and that in this sense it was still topical; a point in favour of this suggestion is the association of Valgius's name with Armenia (4 f.) at the beginning of the poem (i.e. before any explicit military reference). About 31 b.c., the time of the Panegyricus in Messallam, he was being mentioned as a promising writer of political epic (above, p. 135); as he seems to have belonged to Messalla's own circle, he might have been particularly interested in Eastern frontier policy. Yet at a time when political events were moving so rapidly, Valgius's supposed poem seems an insufficient justification for nova (particularly as the word is combined with Augusti); and one's doubts are increased by the parallel passage at Prop. 2. 10. 13 f. (written about the time of the Arabian expedition in 26 b.c.) 'iam negat Euphrates equitem post terga tueri / Parthorum et Crassos se tenuisse dolet'. Perhaps Horace is conflating the triumph of 29 with the rebellion of Tiridates (2. 2. 17 n.), which may already have begun in 27 b.c.; Augustus characteristically seems to have been behind this indirect aggression (2. 2. 17 n.), and early successes could have been represented as Roman victories. If Horace wrote the ode soon after the beginning of the Parthian rebellion, his words would readily be associated with it; on the other hand if he wrote it after Augustus's Spanish campaign of 26, it might seem tactless to concentrate on the Eastern front.
But whatever the date of the poem, Horace's real concern is not with the Niphates and the Geloni, but with literature and with friendship. He underlines an amusing inconsistency in Valgius's poetic style, teases him for the preciosity of his elegies, and professes an unconvincing enthusiasm for more invigorating themes. He thus pays a compliment to the regime, without committing himself to more extended eulogies and without any loss of intimacy and charm; Valgius was a practised courtier, but here he has been outmanœuvred in the most amiable possible way. With its delicate irony and subtle allusiveness the ode is one of Horace's most harmonious and amusing poems; it marks a high point of Augustan urbanity, and makes us think with affection both of the author and of the recipient.
Metre: Alcaic (the free use of enjambement between stanzas is noteworthy).
pg 139 Link 1. non semper … : the vicissitudes of human happiness are often compared with the weather; this may bring the consolation that sunny days are round the corner. Cf. 1. 7. 15 ff., 2. 10. 15 f., Pind. P. 5. 10 f. εὐδίαν ὃς (Κάστωρ) μετὰ χειμέριον ὄμβρον τεὰν / καταιθύσσει μάκαιραν ἑστίαν, Eur. HF 101 f. κάμνουσι γάρ τοι καὶ βροτῶν αἱ συμϕοραί, / καὶ πνεύματʼ ἀνέμων οὐκ ἀεὶ ῥώμην ἔχει, fr. 330. 6 f. N. οὕτω δὲ θνητῶν σπέρμα τῶν μὲν εὐτυχεῖ / λαμπρᾷ γαλήνῃ, τῶν δὲ συννέϕει πάλιν, com. fr. adesp. 118. 4 K., Theoc. 4. 41 ff. θαρσεῖν χρή, ϕίλε Βάττε· τάχʼ αὔριον ἔσσετʼ ἄμεινον. / ἐλπίδες ἐν ζῳοῖσιν, ἀνέλπιστοι δὲ θανόντες, / χὠ Ζεὺς ἄλλοκα μὲν πὲλει αἴθριος, ἄλλοκα δʼ ὕει, Acc. trag. 260 'splendet saepe, ast idem nimbis interdum nigret' (with the opposite emphasis), Ov. fast. 1. 495 f. 'nec fera tempestas toto tamen horret in anno, / et tibi, crede mihi, tempora veris erunt' (with Bömer's note), trist. 2. 142, 5. 8. 31 f., Pont. 4. 4. 1 f. 'nulla dies adeo est australibus umida nimbis / non intermissis ut fluat imber aquis', Sen. epist. 107. 8 f. 'nubilo serena succedunt; turbantur maria cum quieverunt; flant in vicem venti … ad hanc legem animus noster aptandus est', ps.-Plut. cons. Apoll. 103 b (above, p. 137), Ronsard, Amours, 1552, p. 74, 1553, p. 247, Herrick, Hesperides, Good precepts, or counsell 7 f., Housman, Last Poems 18. 16 f., Otto 113, Nachträge, pp. 154 f.
nubibus : for the rare ablative of separation with manare cf. 1. 17. 16 n., Stat. Theb. 6. 423 'nec Oleniis manant tot cornibus imbres' (he perhaps misunderstands the contruction at carm. 1. 17. 16). The word suits the idea of the 'clouded brow' (see epod. 13. 5, cited above, p. 135); cf. epist. 1. 18. 94 'deme supercilio nubem', Hom. Il. 17. 591 τὸν δʼ ἄχεος νεϕέλη ἐκάλυψε μέλαινα, Cic. Pis. 20 'frontis tuae nubeculam' (with Nisbet's note), Stat. silv. 1. 3. 109 'detertus pectora nube' (with Vollmer's note and Housman 2. 637 f. = CR 20, 1906, 37 f.), Pease on Virg. Aen. 4. 477. There is therefore no attraction in Campbell's stirpibus (cf. Prud. perist. 11. 120 'stirpibus hirtus ager').
hispidos … agros : 'the unkempt countryside' (hispidos is the reading of the manuscripts, the scholiasts, and Diom. gramm. 1. 524). The adjective primarily means 'bristling' (like hirtus and horridus) or 'rough' (Plin. nat. 9. 9 'squamis … hispido corpore'), and hence is applied to uncultivated wastes; cf. Sil. 12. 395 f. 'hispida tellus … Calabri', Stat. Theb. 6. 256 f. 'hispida circum / stant iuga', Macr. sat. 5. 1. 19 'silvis et rupibus hispida', Cassiod. in psalm. 131. 6, p. 949 b Migne '(campi) facti sunt … ex hispidis nitidi' (this antithesis is important). If the text is sound Horace is presumably describing the scruffiness of a wintry landscape, whose rough and jagged outlines are unclothed by greenery (cf. Plin. nat. 22. 17 'aspectu hispidas' of pg 140plants, Thes.l.L. 6. 3. 2833. 19 ff.); one must forget the attractions that weeds and wilderness have for later poets and painters (see note on 2. 10. 15 'informis hiemes'). Williams, loc. cit., refers hispidos to weather-beaten cornfields, but the adjective hardly suggests so specific a picture: agros when followed by mare and oris naturally means 'countryside' in general, and in Mediterranean lands winter rather than harvest-time is the typical rainy season. The adjective may seem a little vague for Horace's purpose (winter is not mentioned), but it seems to have been chosen for its ambiguity (see below on manant): as Bücheler pointed out (loc. cit.), it suggests the untrimmed appearance of a dishevelled human being, and therefore of a mourner. The point could of course have been more obviously conveyed by horridos, but that would lack the onomatopoeia of hispidos. For the use of the word in watery contexts cf. Apul. met. 4. 31. 6 'Portunus caerulis barbis hispidus', Claud. rapt. Pros. 1. 70 f. 'glacieque nivali / hispidus' (of Boreas's icicles).
It is an obvious objection to hispidos that one looks for a proper name to correspond to Caspium, Armeniis, Gargani. Yet Horace often begins an ode with a general maxim (Williams, loc. cit.), which might even have translated a familiar quotation from a lost Greek poem; such a sententia could well be followed by particular exempla from the Caspian, Armenia, and Gargano. Williams seems wrong however to give the opening maxim a particular reference to Italy (balancing Gargano below); Horace does not say 'yonder fields' as if he were looking out from a symposium, but couches his remark in a completely general form.
The most interesting conjecture that has been proposed is Histricos (mentioned by Orelli). The name usually described Istria, the hinterland of Trieste, not a particularly wet part of the world; but the ancients connected this area with the Danube (Ister) more closely than fact allows (Hipparchus ap. Str. 1. 3. 15, Nepos ap. Plin. nat. 3. 127 f., Mela 2. 16, 2. 63, J. O. Thomson, History of Ancient Geography, 1948, pp. 48, 141, 197). The Danube basin has much of its rainfall in the summer, which seems strange to Mediterranean peoples; cf. Hdt. 4. 50. 3 ὄμβροι πολλοί τε καὶ λάβροι. Indeed the very name Danubius (a corruption of Danuvius) may be due to an association with clouds; cf. Joh. Lyd. magist. 3. 32, οὕτω δὲ αὐτὸν οἱ Θρᾷκες ἐκάλεσαν διότι ἐπὶ τὰ πρὸς ἄρκτον ὄρη καὶ θρασκίαν ἄνεμον συννεϕὴς ὁ ἀὴρ ἐκ τῆς ὑποκειμένης τῶν ὑγρῶν ἀμετρίας σχεδὸν διὰ παντὸς ἀποτελούμενος αἴτιος αὐτοῖς συνεχοῦς ἐπομβρίας ἀποτελεῖσθαι νομίζεται, Δανούβιον δὲ τὸν νεϕελοϕόρον ἐκεῖνοι καλοῦσι πατρίως, O. Keller, Lateinische Volksetymologie und Verwandtes, 1891, pp. 8 f. It could be argued in favour of this conjecture that the Danube had been the scene of important military operations by Crassus in 29 (CAH 10. pg 141117 f.). Yet when all is said and done hispidos remains the most attractive reading because it supports the ambiguity of the passage.
2. manant : 'ooze' is not a natural word for rain; at Stat. Theb. 6. 423 (cited above on 1 nubibus) it conveys a learned allusion to the horn of plenty (carm. 1. 17. 15 'manabit'). Horace must have used it here because it is a vox propria for tears; cf. 4. 1. 34, epist. 1. 17. 59, Thes.l.L. 8. 320. 29 ff. For the use in a poetic image of terms more appropriate to the literal subject cf. D. West, The Imagery and Poetry of Lucretius, 1969, pp. 43 ff. ('transfusion of terms'), Silk, passim.
Caspium : the storms of the Caspian are known to the geographers; cf. Mela 3. 38 'omne atrox saevum sine portibus, procellis undique expositum', Dionys. perieg. 706, 721, Avien, orb. terr. 84 f. 'hic prolapsus aquae, boreali fusus ab alto / terga procelloso turgescit Caspia fluctu', 891, Prisc. perieg. 683, RE 10. 2286. See further Encyclopaedia Britannica11 5. 454 'The prevalent winds of the Caspian blow from the south-east, usually between October and March, and from the north and north-west, commonly between July and September. They sometimes continue for days together with great violence, rendering navigation dangerous, and driving the sea-water up over the shores' (cf. Curt. 6. 4. 19). However the Caspian does not provide a conventional literary exemplum, and in extant classical poetry is not mentioned till the Augustan age; cf. Prop. 2. 30. 20, Virg. Aen. 6. 798 f. 'huius (Augusti) in adventum iam nunc et Caspia regna / responsis horrent divum et Maeotia tellus'. The Romans were taking an interest in Armenia at the time (4 n.), and the poets naturally exaggerated the geographical extent of their involvement. Perhaps they were assimilating Augustus's exploits to those of Alexander (cf. Norden, RhM 54, 1899, 468 ff. = Kl. Schr., pp. 424 f., on Virg. Aen. 6. 791 ff.); graphic accounts of Caspian storms seem to derive from romantic Hellenistic biographers rather than intelligence work by contemporary strategists (cf. Str. 11. 7. 4 προσεδοξάσθη δὲ καὶ περὶ τῆς θαλάττης ταύτης πολλὰ ψευδῆ διὰ τὴν Ἀλεξάνδρου ϕιλοτιμίαν, W. W. Tarn, Alexander the Great, 1948, 2. 5 ff., J. R. Hamilton, CQ n.s. 21, 1971, 106 ff.).
3. vexant : the verb is used of the action of the winds on ships, clouds, or the sea; cf. Lucr. 1. 274 f. 'montis … supremos / silvifragis vexat flabris', 1. 279. It originally described a violent movement (the word is a stronger cognate of vehere), though later it was applied to milder forms of harassment; cf. Gell. 2. 6. 5 'nam qui fertur et rapsatur atque huc atque illuc distrahitur is vexari proprie dicitur' (defending Virg. ecl. 6. 76 'Dulichias vexasse rates'). It suits Horace's analogy that the word is also used of mental upheavals.
pg 142inaequales : 'irregular'; the squalls are all the more dangerous because they suddenly change their pace and direction (1. 3. 13 n.). The combination with usque may be a little pointed; cf. Arist. poet. 1454a27 f. ὁμαλῶς ἀνώμαλον. The adjective also suits gusts of emotion; cf. Aesch. Ag. 219 ϕρενὸς πνέων δυσσεβῆ τροπαίαν (with Fraenkel's note), Sen. dial. 3. 17. 5 'affectus cito cadit, aequalis est ratio', Péron 170 ff. Some interpret 'roughening the water's surface'; this is less obvious, less specific (being true of the mildest breeze), and admits no clear metaphorical application.
4. Armeniis in oris : the snows of the country had harassed Xenophon (anab. 4. 4. 8 ff., 4. 5. 1 ff.), Lucullus (Plut. Lucull. 32), and most recently Antony (Dio 49. 31. 1); see further Str. 11. 5. 6 (tobogganing on Mount Masius), 11. 14. 4. But though Claudian has a passing reference to Armenian snows (5. 29), the poets in general concentrate on the frosty Caucasus, which is further to the north, and which they anyway often identify with the mythical Rhipaean mountains. Horace's choice of exemplum is presumably influenced by a Roman preoccupation with the area (cf. 20 Niphaten), which looked forward to the settlement of 20 b.c. (CAH 10. 254 ff.).
Link 5. amice : the word is appropriate in affectionate expostulation; cf. 2. 14. 6 n., Pind. P. 1. 92, Soph. El. 916 f. ἀλλʼ, ὦ ϕίλη, θάρσυνε. τοῖς αὐτοῖσί τοι / οὐχ αὑτὸς αἰεὶ δαιμόνων παραστατεῖ, Theoc. 4. 41 ϕίλε Βάττε. In particular the declaration of friendship suits the sympathy desirable in a consolatio (cf. vol. i, pp. 280 f.).
stat glacies iners : cf. Lucan 5. 436 'sic stat iners Scythicas astringens Bosporus undas', Asclepiadius, anth. Lat. 541. 2, Pope, Temple of Fame 56 'impassive ice'; so more generally of the inactivity of winter 4. 7. 12 'bruma … iners' (cf. 1. 22. 17 n.). There is a contrast between the torpid ice and the gusts of the Caspian; cf. 3. 4. 45 f. 'qui terram inertem, qui mare temperat / ventosum'. Horace seems to be hinting at the numbness and listlessness of bereavement; cf. κρυερός, παχνοῦσθαι, Ov. epist. 10. 44 'torpuerant molles ante dolore genae'.
6. mensis per omnis : Horace rings the changes on expressions for 'always'; here he suggests that the bad weather continues through all seasons. Ever since Homer phrases like ἤματα πάντα were common; cf. West on Hes. th. 305, Landgraf on Cic. S. Rosc. 154 'omnibus horis'. In our passage the phrase is to be taken also with the next clause, which would otherwise lack a temporal expression.
Aquilonibus : cf. Ap. Rhod. 2. 1100 αὐτὰρ ὅγʼ ἠμάτιος μὲν ἐν οὔρεσι ϕύλλʼ ἐτίνασσεν, Varro At. 6 'frigidus et silvis Aquilo decussit honorem', Virg. georg. 2. 404, Boeth. cons. 1 poet. 5. 19 f. For metaphorical pg 143parallels cf. Sappho 47 Ἔρος δʼ ἐτίναξέ μοι / ϕρένας, ὠς ἄνεμος κὰτ ὄρος δρύσιν ἐμπέτων, Ibycus 286. 9 ff. Θρηίκιος Βορέας / ἀίσσων παρὰ Κύπριδος ἀζαλέ/αις μανίαισιν ἐρεμνὸς ἀθαμβὴς / ἐγκρατέως πεδόθεν λαϕύσσει (West: ϕυλάσσει cod.) / ἡμετέρας ϕρένας, Hor. epod. 11. 5 f. 'hic tertius December ex quo destiti / Inachia furere silvis honorem decutit' (where the bleak image reflects the speaker's desolation), carm. 3. 17. 9 ff. 'cras foliis nemus …' (where as usual in sympotic verse the storm symbolizes the troubles of the world), Virg. Aen. 4. 441 ff.
7. querqueta Gargani : an onomatopoeic effect seems to be intended. Gargano is the mountain spur that projects into the Adriatic north of Foggia (RE 7. 755 f.), perhaps mentioned by Horace for reasons of Apulian patriotism, though Venusia is nowhere near; for the characteristic addition of an Italian place-name cf. 1. 21. 6 n. In antiquity the area was remote and little-mentioned, but in the Norman and Swabian periods the shrine of St. Michael became a famous curative centre of pilgrimage; he displaced Calchas and the physician Podalirius (Lycophron 1047 ff., Str. 6. 3. 9), but his own fortune is now diminished by the more up-to-date cult of the neighbouring Padre Pio. For the woods cf. epist. 2. 1. 202 'Garganum mugire putes nemus aut mare Tuscum', Sil. 4. 560 f., 8. 628 f.; nowadays the national Foresta Umbra once more covers a substantial part of Gargano (cf. Enciclopedia Italiana 16. 388).
laborant : the trees strain in the wind, a different picture from the snow-covered branches of 1. 9. 3. The verb also suggests human suffering; so more explicitly Housman's 'the wood's in trouble' (above, p. 136).
8. viduantur orni : for the manna ash in a similar context cf. 1. 9. 12 n. Once again there is a suggestion of human bereavement; cf. Virg. georg. 4. 518 'arvaque Rhipaeis numquam viduata pruinis' (where there is a contrast with the bereaved Orpheus).
Link 9. tu : the emphatic pronoun points a reproach (2. 18. 17, 3. 29. 25). Valgius is compared to his disadvantage with the weather of the first stanza, as is underlined by the repetition of semper.
urges : the lamentations of the bereaved were thought to disturb the peace of the dead; cf. Prop. 4. 11. 1 'desine, Paulle, meum lacrimis urgere sepulchrum', Tib. 1. 1. 67, carm. epig. 963. 12, 965. 7 f. 'quid lacrimis opus est, Rusticelli carissime coniunx, / extinctos cineres sollicitare meos?', 995. 19 f., 1198. 11 f., Stat. silv. 2. 6. 96 'quid caram crucias tam saevis luctibus umbram?', Rohde, Psyche, ch. 5, n. 49. The word may maliciously suggest the solicitations of a lover (1. 5. 2 n.); Valgius gives Mystes no peace even after he has lost him.
pg 144flebilibus modis : the adjective must primarily mean 'tearful' to sustain the contrast with the rain; cf. Cic. Tusc. 1. 106 'pressis et flebilibus modis', Sen. Herc. O. 1090 f., epist. 88. 9, Auson. 184. 2, E. Löfstedt, Vermischte Studien, 1936, pp. 84 ff. But there also seems to be an underlying hint (not of course serious) that Valgius wrote pitiable poetry; for similar ambiguities about literary sentimentality cf. 1. 33. 2 f. 'neu miserabiles / decantes elegos', Pers. 1. 34 'Phyllidas, Hypsipylas, vatum et plorabile siquid'.
10. Mysten : the name is found in real life, borne by people with religious parents (Pape–Benseler 2. 967). Though not attested in the fragments of Valgius, it suits the view of love as an initiation (common in sentimental as well as satirical writers); cf. Ar. Lys. 832, Meleager, anth. P. 5. 191. 7 f. Κύπρι, σοὶ Μελέαγρος, ὁ μύστης / σῶν κώμων, Cic. Att. 1. 18. 3 'M. Luculli uxorem Memmius suis sacris initiavit', Prop. 2. 6. 31 f. 'a gemat … qui protulit … / orgia (Ruhnken: iurgia codd.) sub tacita condita laetitia', Petron. 140. 5, K. Kost on Musaios, Hero and Leander 145, H. H. O. Chalk, JHS 80, 1960, 43 f.
ademptum : this is naturally taken as a euphemism for death, as is shown by the lamentations of 10–12 and the exempla of 13–17. The wit of the next stanza consists precisely in the fact that though the assumed grief of Valgius outdoes that of Nestor and Priam, his relation to Mystes is far other than theirs to Antilochus and Troilus. This is blurred if the cause of Valgius's grief is simply that Mystes has deserted him. See also above, p. 136.
nec tibi … : the germ of this theme can already be found in Hom. Il. 23. 109 μυρομένοισι δὲ τοῖσι ϕάνη ῥοδοδάκτυλος Ἠώς (cf. the conflation of two Homeric lines in ps.-Plut. cons. Apoll. 114 e μυρομένοισι δὲ τοῖσι μέλας ἐπὶ ἕσπερος ἦλθε). But the mention of both sunset and dawn is an affectation of neoteric and elegiac lament; cf. Cinna, fr. 6 'te matutinus flentem conspexit Eous, / te [Hollis: et codd.] flentem paulo post vidit Hesperus idem' (for Valgius's admiration for Cinna see above, p. 135), Virg. georg. 4. 466 'te veniente die, te decedente canebat'. Horace goes further than his models by mentioning the evening before the morning; he thus suggests that Valgius lamented all night (so too Tasso, Ger. lib. 12. 90 'Lei nel partir, lei nel tornar del sole, Chiama con voce stanca, e prega e plora', Tennyson, Mariana, Alexiou 93).
Vespero : Horace knew that the Evening and Morning Stars are one and the same (the planet Venus), as he shows below by the paradoxical fugiente solem. The identification was made early in the East; among the Greeks it was assigned by some to Pythagoras, and Ibycus (who also lived in Samos) is said to have mentioned it (331). It pg 145was popularized in an influential erotic epigram attributed to Plato (anth. P. 7. 670 ἀστὴρ πρὶν μὲν ἔλαμπες ἐνὶ ζωοῖσιν ἑῷος, / νῦν δὲ θανὼν λάμπεις ἕσπερος ἐν ϕθιμένοις); for later developments cf. Call. fr. 291. 3 ἑσπέριον ϕιλέουσιν, ἀτὰρ στυγέουσιν ἑῷον, Meleager, anth. P. 5. 172. 1 ff., 12. 114, Catull. 62. 34 f. 'nocte latent fures, quos idem saepe revertens, / Hespere, mutato comprendis nomine Eous', Cinna (above, nec tibi n.), ciris 352, Sen. Phaedr. 750 ff., ros. nasc. 45 f. The topic was given added currency in romantic writing by the importance of Hesperus in the epithalamium and by its identification with Phaethon, the beloved of Aphrodite (Eratosthenes, cataster., pp. 196 f. Robert, Wilamowitz, Hermes 18, 1883, 417 ff. = Kl. Schr. 1. 131 ff., Hellenistische Dichtung 2. 279, J. Diggle, Euripides: Phaethon, 1970, pp. 10 ff.); it is called the star of Aphrodite from the Hellenistic age (RE 20. 1. 653, 8 A. 1. 888). For Hesper-Phosphor see further Pfeiffer on Call. loc. cit,, Pease on Cic. nat. deor. 2. 53, Roscher 1. 2. 2603 f., 3. 2. 2519 ff., RE 8. 1251 ff.
11. surgente : the evening star does not rise over the horizon, but becomes visible as the sunlight fades; for similar expressions cf. Catull. 62. 1 f. 'Vesper Olympo / exspectata diu iam tandem lumina tollit', Virg. ecl. 6. 86, 8. 30 'tibi deserit Hesperus Oetam' with Heyne's note, 10. 77, culex 203, Sen. apocol. 4. 26 'aut qualis surgit redeuntibus Hesperus astris', Serv. Aen. 2. 801 'secundum persuasionem eorum qui circa montes habitant; illinc enim oriri vel occidere putantur sidera unde videri vel incipiunt vel desinunt', A. Le Bœuffle, REL 40, 1962, 120 ff., D. A. Kidd, Latomus 33, 1974, 24 f.
decedunt amores : for a similar movement of thought cf. Ibycus 286. 6 f. ἐμοὶ δʼ ἔρος / οὐδεμίαν κατάκοιτος ὥραν (cf. 6 Aquilonibus n. for another parallel from the same poem). The verb suits astronomical settings, especially when juxtaposed with surgente; cf. epist. 1. 6. 3 f. 'solem et stellas et decedentia certis / tempora momentis', ecl. 2. 67 f. 'sol crescentes decedens duplicat umbras. / me tamen urit amor. quis enim modus adsit amori?', georg. 4. 466 'te decedente canebat' (the passage must have been in Horace's mind), Thes.l.L. 5. 1. 122. 30 ff. Plural amores is more sentimental than amor; it may even have been the title of a book of Valgius's poems.
12. rapidum … solem : the adjective by origin means qui rapit; it it is applicable to tearing rivers or the scorching sun (Shackleton Bailey, Propertiana, p. 317). In juxtaposition with fugiente the emphasis must primarily be on speed (Mediterranean sunrises are sudden); cf. Virg. georg. 1. 424 'solem ad rapidum lunasque sequentis', 2. 321 f. But the two meanings of the word cannot be too sharply divided, as the sun in its career tears up everything in its path (cf. the use of rapere, corripere with viam).
pg 146fugiente : cf. 3. 21. 24 'dum rediens fugat astra Phoebus', Thes.l.L. 6. 1. 1493. 14 ff., 1501. 15 ff., Bömer on Ov. met. 2. 114. There is a similar astronomical use of ϕεύγειν (Hes. op. 620, Eur. Ion 84) and διώκειν (ibid. 1158).
13. ter aevo functus : the Homeric Nestor is said to have seen three generations; cf. Hom. Il. 1. 250 ff. with van Leeuwen's note, 9. 57 f. (Diomede might be his youngest son), Od. 3. 245, Cic. senec. 31 'tertiam iam aetatem hominum videbat', Plut. Cato mai. 15. 5 Σερουίου Γάλβα κατηγόρησεν ἐνενήκοντα γεγονὼς ἔτη· κινδυνεύει γάρ, ὡς ὁ Νέστωρ, εἰς τριγονίαν τῷ βίῳ καὶ ταῖς πράξεσι κατελθεῖν. Latin writers sometimes seem to extend his age to three human lives or three centuries (perhaps because of the ambiguity of saeculum); cf. Laev. carm. fr. 9 'trisaeclisenex', Prop. 2. 13. 46, paneg. in Mess. 50 f., Ov. met. 12. 187 f., Manil. 1. 764 f., Juv. 10. 248 f., RE 17. 1. 119. Horace somewhat satirically follows this tradition; he seems to be combining expressions like (de) functus aevo (cf. 2. 18. 38 f. 'functum … laboribus') and ter functus consulatu. The epic allusion may seem a compliment to a Homerizing poet like Valgius, but Nestor was an exemplum not only of extreme old age but of sexual decrepitude (cf. Juv. 6. 326, below, 15 n.).
amabilem : the word is found five times in the Odes and twice elsewhere in Horace; it is seldom used by other poets (Axelson 102 f.). On the surface it suggests the amiable qualities of the dead Antilochus, but it is amusingly chosen because it is capable of erotic implications. Lambinus suggested that it represents the Greek ἀγαπητός (or 'late-born'); his idea would be worth considering as a secondary meaning if it could be shown that this adjective was applied to Antilochus.
Antilochum : in the Iliad Antilochus is a brave young hero, the slayer of a large number of Trojans and the victor in the chariot race in Book 23. The Aethiopis also told how he sacrificed his life to save his father from Memnon (Proclus, chrest. p. 106 Allen, cf. also pp. 126 f., Pind. P. 6. 36 βόασε παῖδα ὅν). He is used as an exemplum in consolation by Dio Chrys. 29. 20 (a funeral oration for the young boxer Melancomas) ἔτι δὲ τῶν παλαιῶν τοὺς ἐξοχωτάτους ἀκούομεν οὐδένα αὐτῶν ἐπὶ πολὺ ἐλθόντα τοῦ βίου, Πάτροκλόν τε καὶ Ἀντίλοχον …
But legend gave Antilochus a less heroic role, which is here pg 147maliciously hinted at by Horace: already in Homer he was closely associated with Achilles (Il. 17. 652 ff., 18. 1 ff., Od. 11. 467 f., 24. 15 f., 24. 76 ff.), and later writers developed the erotic possibilities of the situation. Cf. Philostr. imag. 2. 7. 1 τὸν Ἀχιλλέα ἐρᾶν τοῦ Ἀντιλόχου πεϕώρακας οἷμαι παρʼ Ὁμήρῳ; below he gives Antilochus the attributes of a παῖς καλός (2. 7. 5 ἡβάσκει μὲν ὑπήνης πρόσω …). Such a sentimentalized Antilochus provides an excellent counterpart both to Mystes and to Troilus (see below).
15. impubem parentes : for laments on early death cf. Pease on Cic. nat. deor. 2. 72, 3. 80, Virg. Aen. 4. 68, Esteve-Forriol 138, E. Griessmair, Das Motiv der Mors immatura in den griechischen metrischen Grabinschriften, 1966, Lattimore 184 ff. For impubem cf. Q. Smyrn. 4. 431 ἔτʼ ἄχνοον εἰσέτι νύμϕης / νηίδα; in view of Troilus's reputation as a καλὸς παῖς (see below), there may be a malicious irony in the suggestion that he had not yet reached the age of sexual experience. Similarly Horace underlines that the mourners were parents and sisters; Priam like Nestor might have been too decrepit an exemplum for Valgius's comfort (cf. Mart. 11. 60. 3 f. 'ulcus habet Priami quod tendere possit alutam, / quodque senem Pelian [Pylium?] non sinat esse senem', Juv. 6. 325 f. 'quibus incendi iam frigidus aevo / Laomedontiades et Nestoris hirnea possit').
Link 16. Troilon : Troilus was the youngest son of Priam and Hecuba, and was killed by Achilles; he was regarded by Aristarchus as a full-grown warrior (schol. on Il. 24. 257 ἱππιοχάρμης), but normally appears both in art and literature as a boy or youth (Roscher 5. 1215 f., 1223 ff.). See especially Ibycus 282. 41 ff. τῷ δʼ ἄρα Τρωίλον / ὡσεὶ χρυσὸν ὀρει / χάλκῳ τρὶς ἄπεϕθον ἤδη / Τρῶες Δαναοί τʼ ἐρόεσσαν / μορϕὰν μάλʼ ἐίσκον ὅμοιον, Phrynichus, fr. 13 N. λάμπει δʼ ἐπὶ πορϕυρέαις παρῇσι ϕῶς ἔρωτος (cf. Soph. fr. 619 P. = 562 N., with Pearson's discussion, pp. 253 ff.), Lycophron 307 ff., Q. Smyrn. 4. 425 ff. (comparison to a flower), Serv. Aen. 1. 474 'et Veritas quidem hoc habet: Troili amore Achillem ductum palumbes ei quibus ille delectabatur obiecisse; quas cum vellet tenere, captus ab Achille in eius amplexibus periit. sed hoc quasi indignum heroo carmine mutavit poeta'. In the same area of ideas we may also note Strato, anth. P. 12. 191. 4 (on a boy with a new beard) ἐχθὲς Τρωίλος ὤν, πῶς ἐγένου Πρίαμος;
Troilus appears as an exemplum in consolation for mors immatura in Callimachus (fr. 491 μεῖον ἐδάκρυσεν Τρωίλος ἢ Πρίαμος, a line cited in Cic. Tusc. 1. 93 and ps.-Plut. cons. Apoll. 113 e). Pasquali (259 f.) conjectures that Callimachus's fragment comes from an epicedion for a beautiful youth, but the hypothesis is rejected by Pfeiffer (CQ 37, 1943, 32 n. 51 = Ausgewählte Schriften, 1960, p. 146 pg 148n. 51). It is more relevant to our passage that Statius compares to Troilus the lost delicatus of Flavius Ursus (silv. 2. 6. 30 ff.).
Link 17. flevere semper : semper rounds off the series of temporal expressions. It balances 9 semper at the beginning of the middle section of the poem; in the same way flevere picks up 9 flebilibus.
desine … : for this motif in consolatio cf. p. 137. tandem sounds a note of impatience; for the same movement as in our poem cf. 1. 23. 1 'vitas' (corresponding to urges), 9 'atqui' (corresponding to at), 11 f. 'tandem desine matrem / tempestiva sequi viro'. The genitive querellarum is a grandiose Graecism, appropriate to a mannered writer like Valgius; cf. Virg. Aen. 10. 441 'desistere pugnae', Sil. 10. 84 'desinit irae', Löfstedt, Syntactica 2. 417, H.–Sz. 83.
mollium . . . querellarum : the adjective suggests both the effeminacy of continual lamentation (epod. 16. 39, Archilochus 13. 10 W. γυναικεῖον πένθος) and sentimentality of style (cf. Hermesianax 7. 36 Powell μαλακοῦ πνεῦμα τὸ πενταμέτρου of Mimnermus, serm. 1. 10. 44 'molle atque facetum' of the Eclogues); it may even hint indirectly at the mollities of Valgius's purported relationship with Mystes. querellae, whether expostulations or laments, are usually shrill; so there may be an oxymoron here in calling them 'soft'.
18. potius … cantemus : for the suggestion of alternative outlets in consolatio cf. above, p. 137. potius nova makes a contrast with desine, and the vigorous cantemus with the whining querellarum. The first person verb indicates the speaker's pretended sympathy (cf. 2. 16. 17 n.); this too is appropriate to the type of writing.
19. Augusti … Caesaris : a topical compliment to Octavian's new name (for the date cf. above, p. 138). Though the cognomen is sometimes placed before the nomen (2. 2. 3 n.), the effect here is to bring out the adjectival force of Augusti (cf. Virg. Aen. 6. 792, 8. 678, Liv. 4. 20. 7, 28. 12. 12, R. Syme, Historia 7, 1958, 183); otherwise Horace would be taking up a lot of space to say very little.
tropaea : the word properly describes arches and similar monuments, but is used here as often less concretely of victories. nova tropaea and rigidum Niphaten must belong to a single colon; it offends both rhythm and common-sense to join the latter phrase to volvere vertices below (whether the Niphates was a mountain or a frozen river, it could not roll eddies). It is therefore natural to assume that the tropaea were won at Niphates; otherwise there is not enough to indicate that Niphates was conquered no less than the Euphrates and Geloni in the next stanza. In these circumstances it is difficult to see a reference either to Augustus's Cantabrian campaign of 26/5 or to Terentius Varro's Alpine victories of 25 (thus vol. i, p. xxxii); pg 149in any event it would have been tactless to treat the former as less important than Eastern questions (worth only half a colon against two and a half), and unintelligible to hint at the latter in the context of greater achievements.
20. rigidum : the adjective suits the stark outline of a mountain, especially when covered in snow; cf. Ov. met. 4. 527, 8. 797 'rigidique cacumine montis', 11. 150. It also suggests the obduracy of an enemy (cf. Virgil's pulsum, cited above, p. 137); there is a contrast with 17 mollium. Those who think that Niphates is a river refer rigidum to ice (Ov. trist. 3. 10. 48, Claud. rapt. Pros. 2. 65 f. 'rigentem … Tanain'), and can thus see a contrast with the eddies of the Euphrates; but then the adjective gives no suggestion of obduracy, and the contrast with mollium becomes purely formal.
Niphaten : a mountain range in central Armenia, according to the geographers and some of the poets; cf. Str. 11. 12. 4, RE 17. 1. 706 f., C. Müller on Ptol. geog. 5. 12. 1. The word must have conveyed associations of νιϕάς, 'snow'; cf. Steph. Byz. 477, who also quotes from Pisander the epithet εὐσκόπελος (not in Kinkel). The name had recently been given currency by Virgil (above, p. 137); presumably the mountain was portrayed in the triumph of 29 as a symbol of Armenia (for such representations cf. Ov. Pont. 2. 1. 39, epiced. Drusi 313, Tac. ann. 2. 41. 2 'simulacra montium fluminum proeliorum', RE 7 A. 1. 503). It may have been chosen for that purpose because of associations with Alexander the Great (see below); similarly the claim to have bridged the Araxes (Virg. Aen. 8. 728) seems to have been a conscious imitation of Alexander (Serv. auct. ad loc.; cf. Curt. 5. 5. 3 f.).
Later poets usually regard Niphates as a river (possibly because of a misunderstanding of our own passage and of Virgil, loc. cit.); cf. Lucan 3. 245 'volventem saxa Niphaten', Sil. 13. 765 f. (of Alexander) 'qui … Pellaeo ponte Niphaten / astrinxit', Juv. 6. 409 ff., Claud. 7. 72 (but cf. rapt. Pros. 3. 263 'arduus … Niphates'). Plutarch seems to use the name of the upper Tigris; see Alex. 31. 5 (a romancing account of the site of Gaugamela) τὸ … πεδίον τὸ μεταξὺ τοῦ Νιϕάτου καὶ τῶν ὀρῶν τῶν Γορδυαίων (cf. Arrian, anab. 3. 7. 7 ἐν ἀριστερᾷ μὲν ἔχων τὰ Γορδυαίων ὄρη, ἐν δεξιᾷ δὲ αὐτὸν τὸν Τίγρητα, Curt. 4. 10. 8); it should be noted that by some definitions the Tigris rose in the area of Mount Niphates (Str. loc. cit.), and the name could have been extended to the river. Some argue that Virgil's pulsum … Niphaten suggests a river flowing backwards; but the participle is equally applicable to the dislodgement of an immovable mountain (cf. Horace's rigidum). The rhetorical conventions of χωρογραϕία in encomium favour the conjunction of a mountain pg 150with a river and a plain; cf. epist. 2. 1. 252 f. 'terrarumque situs et flumina dicere et arces / montibus impositas', Menander rhet. 3. 373. 17 ff. Sp. διαγράψεις καὶ φύδεις καὶ θέσεις χωρίων ἐν οἷς οἱ πόλεμοι, καὶ ποταμῶν δὲ καὶ λιμένων καὶ ὀρῶν καὶ πεδίων, Doblhofer 69 ff., 98 f.
21. Medumque flumen : the Euphrates (Call. h. Ap. 108 Ἀσσυρίου ποταμοῖο); at one time it was called the Medos (ps.-Plut. fluv. 20. 1 = geogr. Graec. min. 2. 659). Rivers were centres of a country's communications, and if boats could be denied to the other side made powerful defensive lines; hence they were sometimes portrayed in triumphal processions (20 n.).
additum : Porphyrio explains 'id est, ad numerum gentium victarum accessisse'; cf. 3. 5. 3 f. 'adiectis Britannis / imperio' (adiungere is often so used). There is something unusual and pointed in combining the word not with imperio Romano but with victis gentibus; cf. Ov. ars 1. 177 f. 'parat Caesar domito quod defuit orbi / addere' (an important parallel). E. Ensor objects that the Euphrates was not annexed, and interprets 'set over to guard' (Hermathena 12, 1903, 106); cf. 3. 4. 78 f. 'nequitiae additus / custos', Plaut. aul. 556 'quem quondam Ioni Iuno custodem addidit', Lucil. 469, Stat. Theb. 4. 426. But it is awkward to think of the river as acting on the Roman side and simultaneously humbled in defeat.
22. minores volvere vertices : for similar humiliations cf. Virg. Aen. 8. 726 ff. (above, p. 137), Prop. 2. 1. 31 f. 'attractus in urbem / septem captivis debilis ibat aquis', 3. 4. 4, 4. 3. 35, Ov. ars 1. 223 f., fast. 1. 286, trist. 4. 2. 41 f., Lucan 5. 268, Petron. 123. 241 f., carm. epig. 895. 4, Tac. ann. 1. 79. 4 'quin ipsum Tiberim nolle prorsus accolis fluviis orbatum minore gloria fluere', Flor. epit. 3. 10. 9 'nec Rhenus ergo inmunis; nec enim fas erat ut liber esset receptator hostium atque defensor', F. Christ, Die römische Weltherrschaft in der antiken Dichtung (Tüb. Beitr. 31), 1938, pp. 47 ff. The noun refers literally to the river's eddies (the Homeric δῖναι), but there also seems to be a pun on 'diminished heads' (cf. Quinn 161); contrast 3. 16. 19 'late conspicuum tollere verticem'. The alliteration of v and r suits swirling water; for the former cf. 2. 3. 18. minores makes a formal contrast with additum above.
23. intraque praescriptum : there is a hint of the discipline of the ring where horses and their riders were trained; cf. Cic. de orat. 3. 70 'ex ingenti quodam oratorem inmensoque campo in exiguum sane gyrum compellitis', off. 1. 90 ( = Panaetius, fr. 12 van Straaten) 'ut equos propter crebras contentiones proeliorum ferocitate exultantes domitoribus tradere soleant ut iis facilioribus possint uti, pg 151sic homines secundis rebus ecfrenatos sibique praefidentis tamquam in gyrum rationis et doctrinae duci oportere', Prop. 3. 3. 21 'cur tua praescriptos evecta est pagina gyros?'
Gelonos : this Scythian tribe appears from Hdt. 4. 108 f. (perhaps derived from Aristeas) to Amm. 31. 2. 14 (RE 7. 1014 ff.). They are mentioned on several other occasions in Augustan poetry without any precision (2. 20. 19, 3. 4. 35, Virg. georg. 2. 115, 3. 461, Aen. 8. 725); Horace is here in harmony with Virgil's account of the triumphs of 29 (above, p. 137). The Geloni suit this ode not just as a remote north-eastern tribe (cf. 2 Caspium, 4 Armeniis) but because their very name must have suggested gelu to a Roman reader (cf. 5 glacies, 20 Niphaten).