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Vix bene desierat : currus rogat ille paternos, Inque diem alipedum jus et moderamen equorum. Pænituit jurâsse patrem, qui terque quaterque Concutiens illustre caput, Temeraria, dixit, 50 Vox mea facta tuâ est. Utinam promissa liceret Non dare ! confiteor, solum hoc tibi, nate, negarem. Dissuadere licet : non est tua tuta voluntas. Magna petis, Phaëthon, et quæ nec viribus istis Munera conveniunt, nec tam puerilibus annis. 55 Sors tua mortalis : non est mortale* quod optas. Plus etiam, quàm quod Superis contingere fas est, Nescius affectas. Placeat sibi quisque licebit : Non tamen ignifero quisquam consistere in axe Me valet excepto. Vasti quòque rector Olympi, Qui fera terribili jaculatur fulmina dextrâ, Non agat hos currus : et quid Jove majus habemus ! Ardua prima via’ est, et quâ vix mane recentes Enitantur equi; medio est altissima cælo, Unde mare et terras ipsi mihi sæpe videre
65 Fit timor, et pavida trepidat formidine pectus. Ultima prona via est, et eget moderamine certo. Tunc etiam, quæ me subjectis excipit undis, Ne ferar in præceps, Tethys solet ipsa vereri.
There is here a peculiarity of construction, the common form of expression being jurare per paludem, though the same construction, without the preposition, is also found. See 101. See Styx.
1 Jus et moderamen, the management and control-in diem, for one day.
2 Mea vox facta est temeraria tuá (voce), my promise has become rash by your
request. 3 Conveniunt nec istis viribus, suits neither that feeble strength of yours. 4 Non est mortale, is not possible for mortals; is beyond the power of mortals.
5 Fas est contingere, is allowed to fall to the lot of—is allowed by those eternal laws by which the power of each god is limited and defined.
6 Licebit (ut) quisque placeat sibi, it will be allowed to every one to be pleased with himself-let every one think of himself as he chooses.
7 Prima via, the first part of the road-qua, along which. This descrip tion of the course of the sun is founded upon the erroneous opinion that the sun revolves round the earth as the centre of the planetary system.
8 Quæ excipit me subjectis undis, who receives me in her waters lying belou. The sun was supposed to lose himself in the sea in the west at night, and to rise from it in the east in the morning.
9 Ne ferar in præceps, lest I should be hurried headlong.,
Adde, quòd assiduâ rapitur vertiginet cælum, 70
80 Hæmoniosque arcus, violentique ora Leonis, Sævaque circuitu curvantem brachia longo Scorpion, atque aliter curvantem brachia Cancrum. Nec tibi quadrupedes animosos ignibus illis, Quos in pectore habent, quos ore et naribus efflant, 85 In promptu regere est : vix me patiuntur, ut acres Incaluêre animi, cervixque repugnat habenis. At tu, funesti ne sim tibi muneris auctor, Nate, cave; dum resque sinit, tua corrige vota. Scilicet, ut nostro genitum te sanguine credas, 90 Pignora certa petis : do pignora certa timendo, Et patrio pater esse metu probor. Adspice vultus Ecce meos, utinamque oculos in pectora posses Inserere, et patrias intus deprendere curas ! Denique quicquid habet dives, circumspice, mundus, 95 Eque tot ac tantis cæli terræque marisque
1 Rapitur assidua vertigine, is carried forward in a ceaseless revolution. According to the opinions of some of the ancient philosophers, the heaven moved round in a rapid and incessant revolution, and carried along with
2 Nitor in adversum, I advance with difficulty in the opposite direction, i e. from east to rest; while the planets moved from west to east.
3 Ne citus axis auferat te, and the rapid axis, i.e. the rapid revolution of the heavens, not carry you away. See 1, 7, 12.
4 Formas ferarum, the forms o wild beasts—those by which the signs of the zodiac were represented, as Leo, Scorpio, &c. See 1, 2, 42.
5 Nec in promptu est tibi regere, nor is it easy for you to manage. Sol here speaks as if the sun would pass through all the signs of the zodiac in a single day, whereas the time necessary to accomplish this is a year. 6 Certa pignora, undoubted pledges ; timendo, by being afraid for yout.
it the stars.
Posce bonis aliquid : nullam patiere repulsam.
1 Deprecor hoc unum, quod vero nomine (est) pæna, I interpose against this one thing, which, by its true name, is a punishment.
2 Finierat, i.e. Phæbus-ille, i.e. Phaëthon.
4 Curvatura summæ rotæ, the outermost rim, or felloe of the wheel ; ordo radiorum, the row of spokes.
5 Chrysolithus, gold-stone, was a precious stone of a bright yellow colour, supposed to be a topaz.
6 Cogit agmina, brings up the rear-a form of expression borrowed from an army on march. The stars are represented as an army marching off the field at the approach of the morning star, with Lucifer as the commander of the last company.
7 Cornuaque extremæ Lunæ velut evanescere, and the horns of the fading moon to vanish as it were.
8 Saturos succo ambrosiæ, full-fed with the juice of ambrosia. Ambrosia, which properly signifies the food of the gods, is represented by the poets as being the food of their horses also ; quadrupedes, horses ; addunt, put on.
Quadrupedes ducunt, adduntque sonantia frena.
1 Contigit sacro medicamine, rubbed with a celestial ointment ; patientia, capable of enduring.
2 Præsaga luctus, which foreboded his future sorrow; stimulis, the goads. A. R. A. 481.
3 Nec via per quinque directos arcus placeat tibi, and let not the road through the five parallel circles please you, i. e. go not through the equator, the tropics, and the polar circles. See 1, 2, 14, &c.
4 Limes, the path, i.e. the ecliptic, which cuts the equator obliquely; contentus fine trium zonarum, confined within the limits of three cones. The ecliptic lies within the torrid zone, having one of the temperate zones on each side. The torrid and two temperate zones are therefore the three here referred to.
5 Egressus altiùs, by going too high ; (egressus) inferiùs, by going too low.
6 Neu-neve, neither-nor; tene (cursum), keep the way; anguem, aram. See Anguis, Ara. 7 Opto, quæ (for ut ea) juvet, I pray that she may assist you.
8 Metas positas in Hesperio litore, the goals placed on the western shore, i.e. the shore of the Atlantic. The Goddess of Night is represented as passing in a chariot across the sky, and reaching the western horizon at the same time that the sun rises in the east. A.R.A. 275.
Poscimur; effulget tenebris Aurora fugatis.":
Interea volucres Pyroëis, Eöus et Æthon,
160 Sed leve pondus erat, nec quod cognoscere possent Solis equi,- solitâque jugum gravitate carebat. Utque labant curvæ justo sine pondere naves, Perque mare instabiles nimiâ levitate feruntur ; Sic onere assueto vacuos dat in aëra saltus, 165 Succutiturque altè, similisque est currus inani. Quod simulac sensêre, ruunt tritumque relinquunt Quadrijugi spatium, nec, quo priùs, ordine currunt. Ipse pavet, nec quà commissas flectat habenas, Nec scit, quà sit iter; nec, si sciat, imperet illis. 170 Tum primùm radiis gelidi caluêre Triones,
I Levem juvenili corpore, light on account of his youthful body; inde, from it, from the chariot.
2 Pulsant repagula, strike the barriers. The repagula were beams of wood placed across the openings in the
race-course from which the horses started, to prevent them from setting off before the time. A. R. A. 275.
3 Et copia immensi mundi facta est, and full scope over the boundless universe was given them.
4 Nec (for et) quod equi solis (non) possent cognoscere, and such as the horses of the sun could not feel.
5 Dat saltus in aëra vacuos assueto onere, makes leaps into the air indicating the want of its usual weight. Vacuos strictly refers to currusinani (currui).