I have translated this Ode as it stands, without attempting to decide whether it is dialogue or monologue. Perhaps the opinion which supposes it to be spoken by Horace in his own person, as if he had actually perished in the shipwreck alluded to in Book III, Ode 4, v. 27, “Me... non exstinxit... Sicula Palinurus unda,” deserves more attention than it has received.
Methinks I hear of leaders proud.
Horace supposes himself to hear not the leaders themselves, but Pollio’s recitation of their exploits. There is nothing weak in this, as Orelli thinks. Horace has not seen Pollio’s work, but compliments him by saying that he can imagine what its finest passages will be like—“I can fancy how you will glow in your description of the great generals, and of Cato.” Possibly “Non indecoro pulvere sordidos” may refer to the deaths of the republican generals, whom old recollections would lead Horace to admire. We may then compare Ode 7 of this Book, v. 11—
“Cum fracta virtus,
Turpe solum tetigere mento,”
where, as will be seen, I agree with Ritter, against Orelli, in supposing death in battle rather than submission to be meant, though Horace, writing from a somewhat different point of view, has chosen there to speak of the vanquished as dying ingloriously.
Where poplar pale and pine-tree high.
I have translated according to the common reading “Qua pinus ... et obliquo,” without stopping to inquire whether it is sufficiently supported by MSS. Those who with Orelli prefer “Quo pinus ... quid obliquo,” may substitute—
Know you why pine and
Their hospitable shadows spread
Entwined? why panting waters try
To hurry down their zigzag bed?
A man of peace.
Quiritem is generally understood of a citizen with rights undiminished. I have interpreted it of a civilian opposed to a soldier, as in the well-known story in Suetonius (Caes. c. 70), where Julius Caesar takes the tenth legion at their word, and intimates that they are disbanded by the simple substitution of Quirites for milites in his speech to them. But it may very well include both.
In sacred awe the silent
Attend on each.
digna silentio:’ digna eo silentio quod
Not though three hundred bullocks
I have at last followed Ritter in taking trecenos as loosely put for 365, a steer for each day in the year. The hyperbole, as he says, would otherwise be too extravagant. And richer spilth the pavement stain.