This ode, although in Book IV, is thought to be a continuation of the ode in the last posting, where the poet suffers the cruelty of Lyce. Now the poet is happy to tell all who will hear how Lyce has succumbed to another cruelty—the cruelty of time. She now has to contend with a beauty named Chia. (Lyce must look ghastly in her jewels and purple-dyed clothes from the island of Cos.) Besides everyone knows how old she is: it's all in the official registers, the fasti. She must have hated the gorgeous Cinara, but when the fates cut short her thread of life, Lyce must have rejoiced.
This poem is a good place to pause and take note of an oddity of grammar: audivere "they have heard" instead of the usual "audierunt." Audivere is just a footnote in the primers, nothing to worry about, except the form does pop up now and then, as it does in this ode. That's the thing about learning a language: everything is important. There are no footnotes, really. Being competent means knowing it all. I am always surprised at people who say, for example, that Spanish is easy while French is hard. It's all hard. Sure, Spanish might be more welcoming than say, Chinese, but after a while, the playing field evens out; the goal of competency is just as difficult to reach in one language as it is in another. People always ask me how many languages I know. The best, most honest way I can answer is to say: I've studied x languages and leave it at that.
the gods have heard my prayers, Lyce—
you've turned old—yet you want to play around
and look pretty, but you drink shamelessly,
and drunk, do harass with quavering songs,
cold Cupid, watching from the lovely eyes
of the blossoming, the lyre-skilled Chia.
cruelly, he flies over the arid oaks,
fleeing you, for foul are your lurid teeth,
your wrinkles and your hoary head. neither
purple from Cos nor precious stones will return
the years that winged time once locked in the fasti.
where's her love or color, or elegance
what do you have of her who once breathed love,
and swept me away. glad you were to be
a star, after Cinara, whom the fates
gave little time, but Lyce, the old crow,
they've kept so long that the ardent young men
can see, laughing, a torch reduced to
[copyright 2009 James Rumford]
Accents & Symbols Used
(Standard accents for Latin have been modified to
accommodate the internet)
italics = short vowels—flava
ˆ long vowels—tacitâ
ı poetic long e—habentıs for habentês
[ ] words added for clarity—[ego] princeps
‹ › sense groups—‹ex humili potens›
[O] Lyce, di mea vota audivere, [o] Lyce, di audivere! Anus fis et tamen vis formosa videri, [tu]que ludis et impudens bibis et, [o] pota, Cupidinem lentum cantu tremulo sollicitas.
Ille [Cupido] in genis pulchris Chiae ‹virentis et doctae psallere› excubat. Importunus enim quercus aridas transvolat et te refugit quia dentes luridi, quia rugae et nives capitis te turpant.
Nec iam tibi purpurae Coae nec lapides cari referunt tempora, quae, semel [in] fastis notis condita, dies volucrıs inclusit. Quo Venus fugit, heu, quove color, quo motus decens?
Quid illius, illius habes, quae amores spirabat, quae me surpuerat mihi, [quae erat] felix post Cinaram, notaque facies et artium gratarum?
Sed fata annos brevıs Cinarae dederunt, servatura diu Lycen ‹cornicis vetulae temporibus parem›, ut iuvenes fervidi—non sine risu multo—facem in cineres dilapsam visere possent. [revised August 11, 2013]
En français: http://agoraclass.fltr.ucl.ac.be/concordances/Horace_odesIV/ligne05.cfm?numligne=102&mot=te#debut
Audivere, Lyce, di mea vota, di
audivere, Lyce: fis anus, et tamen
vis formosa videri
ludisque et bibis impudens
et cantu tremulo pota Cupidinem
lentum sollicitas. Ille virentis et
doctae psallere Chiae
pulchris excubat in genis.
Importunus enim transvolat aridas
quercus et refugit te quia luridi
dentes, te quia rugae
turpant et capitis nives.
Nec Coae referunt iam tibi purpurae
nec cari lapides tempora, quae semel
notis condita fastis
inclusit volucrıs dies.
Quo fugit Venus, heu, quove color, decens
quo motus? Quid habes illius, illius,
quae spirabat amores,
quae me surpuerat mihi,
felix post Cinaram notaque et artium
gratarum facies? Sed Cinarae brevıs
annos fata dederunt,
servatura diu parem
cornicis vetulae temporibus Lycen,
possent ut iuvenes visere fervidi
multo non sine risu
dilapsam in cineres facem.
For the other 102 odes, annotated and rendered into prose, get a copy of Carpe Diem, Horace De-Poetized.
To find out more, click on the blog archive for October 2013.
To purchase a copy for just under $12, click here: