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Sub Jove durabant, et corpora nuda gerebant,
Ovid dedicates his poem, called "Fasti," to Germanicus.
Et quo sit 2 merito quaeque notata dies.
Deque meo pavidos excute corde metus. De mihi te placidum; dederis in carmina vires: 15 Ingenium vultu statque caditque tuo.
1 Caesar Germanice. The son of Drusus, and adopted son of Tiberius. To him Ovid dedicates his Fasti or Roman Calendar (opus).
2 Et quo sit, etc. "And with what value each day is marked in the Calendar," whether lucky or unlucky, whether bringing with it the celebration of some festival, or the anniversary of some former event.
3 Vobis. "Belonging to your family;" for "vobis " cannot be used of one person alone. Below, "pater" is Tiberius, and "avus "
Augustus, whose adopted son
+ Signantia. This refers to the marks or red letters with which festive days were distinguished in the calendar. Germanicus and his brother Drusus (son of Tiberius, and so brother of Germanicus, adopted son of Tiberius) are to obtain the honours in the Fasti which their ancestors had already obtained. Below, "aras," is probably the temples, restored by Augustus, or built by him.
Pagina judicium docti subitura movetur1
Si licet, et fas est, vates rege vatis habenas;
The love of money.
Tempore crevit amor, qui nunc est summus habendi: 3
Vix ultra, quo jam progrediatur, habet.
Pluris opes nunc sunt, quam prisci temporis annis,
Nec pudor, in stipula placidam cepisse quietem,
1 Movetur. "Is set in motion:" begun to be written. So Fasti iii. 11: "Quid enim vetat inde moveri." Below, "Clario Deo" is Apollo, Claros being a town of Ionia, where Apollo had an oracle.
2 Nostras . . . artes. Poetry, the pursuit followed by Ovid. He seems to have written some Greek comedies, and translated the Phaenomena of Aratus.
3 Ilabendi. "Of having;" i.e.
of amassing wealth. Below, 'pluris" is the genitive of price, "of more value."
4 Prisci. "Primitive." " Priscus" conveys the notion of oldfashioned. Below, 'Martigenam" is "Mars-born."
5 Vix totus. There was hardly room in the small temple for a full length statue. Below, "cum possideant" is "although they possess vast wealth."
Jura dabat populis, posito modo Consul aratro ;
At postquam Fortuna loci caput extulit hujus, 15
Et, cum possideant plurima, plura volunt. Quaerere ut absumant, absumpta requirere certant; Atque ipsae vitiis1 sunt alimenta vices: Sic, quibus intumuit suffusa venter ab unda, Quo plus sunt potae, plus sitiuntur aquae. In pretio pretium nunc est; dat census honores; Census amicitias: pauper ubique jacet.
The punishment of falsehood.
Forte Jovi Phoebus festum solenne parabat:
1 Vitiis. That is, prodigality and avarice: each vice feeds the other. They are avaricious and then prodigal in spending: their prodigality again begets avarice. This interplay is explained in the line "Quaerere ut absumant," etc. He illustrates it by the symptoms of dropsy.
2 In pretio pretium. "Money is valued." Below, "jacet" is
3 Tenuem aquam. little water." Below, fierent" expresses the expectation in the mind of the crow, while sitting: it waited for them to become ripe, expressly to see them ripen. The sense is not it waited, until, as a matter of historical fact, they became ripe,
Immemor imperii sedisse sub arbore fertur,
Jamque satur nigris longum rapit unguibus hydrum;
Ad dominumque redit; fictaque verba refert : "Hic mihi causa morae, vivarum obsessor aquarum : Hic tenuit1 fontes officiumque meum." "Addis," ait, "culpae mendacia," Phoebus, audes
Fatidicum verbis fallere velle deum?
The New Year.
Jane biceps, anni tacite labentis origo,
Dexter ades Patribusque tuis, populoque Quirini; 5
1 Tenuit. "Detained the fountain (i.e. kept me from obtaining the water) and (the performance of) my duty." Below, "lactens" is "pulpy," and so unripe. Mr. Paley points out, from Pliny (Nat. Hist. x. 12, 13), that there was a belief that rooks never drank water before the figs began to ripen in autumn.
2 Ducibus. Tiberius and Ger
manicus, the latter of whom had gained a victory over the Germans (Tacitus, Annal. ii. 41). Below, "patribus" is " senators."
3 Resera. On the 1st of January the temples were thrown open at Rome. Janus was represented as carrying a key. "Candida" probably means "glittering white," as being more or less of marble. Another
Prospera lux oritur: linguisque1 animisque favete;
Et populus festo concolor ipse suo est. Jamque novi praeëunt fasces; nova purpura fulget;
Et nova conspicuum pondera sentit ebur.
Colla rudes operum praebent ferienda juvenci,
interpretation is, "bright," with the people dressed in their white togas.
mark appears"), and the dress of the people was equally white, to match the festival. Below, Linguisque, etc. The people "nova purpura " is the "trabea,' were to avoid words of ill omen or striped dress, the state robe on their tongue or ill-omened of the consuls; and the "ebur thoughts in their hearts. Below, is the "Sella Curulis," of ivory. spica Cilissa" means the dried pistils of crocus, or saffron, which crackle when burnt; this being considered a good omen.
2 Intactis. "Unsullied robes:" new, or newly scoured by the fullers, in which people went with the new consuls in procession to the Temple of Jupiter Capitolinus (on the top of the Tarpeian rock), to inaugurate them.
3 Concolor. Lucky days were marked with white (compare Hood's "Less and less white the
4 Praebent. The victims readily submitted to the blow of the sacrificing priest. Any restiveness was looked on as a bad omen. In this verse "rudes operum," is "unused to labour:" they had never been used for any agricultural work. Falerii, near the river Clitumnus, was famous for its breed of white cattle. So Macaulay (Horatius vii) :—
"Unwatched along Clitumnus,