When you're in love, nothing can hurt you. No need of weapons for defense. To prove this, Horace, pining over his sweet Lalagé (from the Greek Λαλαγη, babbler) tells how he sent a monstrous wolf packing and how, armored with love, he could live in the deserts to the south or in the foggy, smazy regions of the north. This is the 'wisdom' Horace gives Aristius Fuscus, a writer of comedies and a friend.
The scholars tell me this is a satire on love poems, and so it seems, but satires take a lot of understanding to see the humor, especially humor that must cross cultural boundaries as well as thousands of years. Be that as it may, Integer Vitae was much cherished by love-sick students . . . .and this fact leads me to why I chose this ode in the first place.
The other day, in getting rid of some old books, I came across College Song Book, by C. Wistar Stevens, published in 1860 in Boston. In it was today's ode set to music, which I give you below.
Apparently this song came from German schools, although I do not know who originally wrote it. Mr. Stevens merely mentions that R. Starr Willis held the copyright.
The College Song Book, has a number of "charming" songs in it, including a cacophonous song to the Class of '59. All in all, a wistful book, when you realize that some of these men would be at each other's throats in a little more than a year.
Ah! But I suppose all would have returned from the Civil War unscathed, had they been in love.
Now just a few notes on place names—Libya is only a part of North Africa called Syrtes by Horace. It may be the large bay that stretches from Tunisa to Tripoli or it may be the desert behind. The Jhelum River in the Punjab was known as the Hydaspes to the Greeks and the Romans. Its name came from the Sanskrit वितसता Vitastá. Horace was born in oak-forested Apulia, which he calls Daunias in the poem, after a mythical king who ruled there. Finally Juba's Land is modern Morocco (then Mauritania), which the Romans had subdued. Apparently they had captured the king's infant son named Juba and raised him as a Roman. When Juba was old enough, the Romans put him back on the Mauritanian throne. Once this happened, Mauritania was no longer the dry nursemaid of lions.
Innocent in life, pure of misdeeds, he needs
no Moorish spear, no bow, Fuscus, no quiver
heavy with poison arrows, whether he is
about to travel
across summer-hot Libya or across
the hostile Caucasus or the places where
laps the storied Jhelum, for from me, unarmed,
skedaddled a wolf
in the Sabine woods, me crooning over my own
Lalagé, and roaming carefree past the fence,
no such beast does warlike Apulia rear
in the wide oak woods
nor does Juba's land, dry nurse of lions, spawn.
Put me in the wastelands where no tree quickens
in the summer winds, that smazy part of the
world where Jupiter,
storming, rules, in a land devoid of dwellings,
beneath the chariot of the sun hardby.
Sweet-laughing, sweet talking Lalagé's the one
I'll forever love.
translation © 2010 by James Rumford
the ode in prose:
[Vir] vitae integer, scelerisque purus, non eget iaculis Mauris neque arcu nec pharetra sagittis venenatis gravida, [o] Fusce, sive iter facturus per Syrtes aestuosas sive per Caucasum inhospitalem, vel loca quae Hydaspes fabulosus lambit.
Namque lupus in silva Sabina me inermem fugit, dum meam Lalagen canto, et ultra terminum, curis expeditis, vagor.
Neque Daunias militaris quale portentum [in suis] aesculetis latis alit nec tellus Iubae, nutrix arida leonum, [quale portentum] generat.
Me [in]campis pigris pone ubi nulla arbor aura aestiva recreatur, latus mundi quod Iuppiter nebulae malusque urget. Pone sub curru solis nimium propinqui, in terra domibus negata—amabo [tamen] Lalagen dulce ridentem, dulce loquentem.
[Revised March 27, 2015]
Integer vītae scelerisque pūrus
nōn eget Maurīs iaculīs neque arcū
nec venēnātīs gravidā sagittīs,
sīve per Syrtıs iter aestuōsās
sīve factūrus per inhospitālem
Caucasum vel quae loca fābulōsus
namque mē silvā lupus in Sabīnā,
dum meam cantō Lalagēn et ultrā
terminum cūrīs vagor expedītīs,
quāle portentum neque mīlitāris
Dauniās lātīs alit aesculētīs
nec Iubae tellūs generat, leōnum
pōne mē pigrīs ubi nūlla campīs
arbor aestīvā recreātur aurā,
quod latus mundī nebulae malusque
pōne sub currū nimium propinquī
sōlis in terrā domibus negātā:
dulce rīdentem Lalagēn amābō,
:: Latin books by James Rumford ::
:: Latin books by James Rumford ::
For all 102 odes purchase Carpe Diem, Horace De-Poetized, for $11.50 at
For a Latin translation of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer at $12, click here:
To find out more about Carpe Diem go to the blog of March 26, 2015;
for more about Pericla Thomae Sawyer, go to the blog of November 22, 2016.
Index of Poems
5 Quis Multa Gracilis Sep 14 09
8 Dic Lydia Sep 18 09
11 Tu Ne Quaesieris Aug 18 09
14 O Navis Nov 8 09
18 Nullam Vare Sacra Aug 31 09
19 Mater Saeva Cupidinum Sep 20 09
20 Vile Potabis Modicis Sep 1 09
22 Integer Vitae Jan 31 10
23 Vitas Inuleo Me Sep 2 09
24 Quis Desiderio Sep 27 09
26 Musis Amicus Sep 3 09
31 Quid Dedicatum Sep 29 09
36 Et Ture et Fidibus Jan 27 10
38 Persicos Odi Sep 9 09
9 Non Semper Imbres Oct 27 09
10 Rectius Vives Sep 15 09
19 Bacchum in Remotis Nov 2 09
20 Non Usitata Oct 23 09
2 Puer Robustus Dec 3 09
8 Martiis Caelebs Oct 11 09
9 Donec Gratus Tibi Oct 8 09
10 Extremum Tanaïn Dec 18 09
12 Miserarum Est Dec 15 09
13 O Fons Bandusiae Sep 12 09
15 Uxor Pauperis Ibyci Sep 24 09
17 Aeli Vetusto Oct 5 09
19 Quantum Distet Dec 12 09
20 Non Vides Quanto Sep 23 09
21 O Nata Mecum Oct 3 09
22 Montium Custos Oct 1 09
23 Caelo Supinas Oct 21 09
26 Vixi Puellis Nuper Sep 10 09
30 Exegi Monumentum Aug 27 09
1 Intermissa Diu Jan 17 10
3 Quem Tu Melpomene Dec 6 09
7 Diffugere Nives Nov 6 09
8 Donarem Pateras Jan 11 10
10 O Crudelis Adhuc Aug 29 09
11 Est Mihi Nonum Jan 22 10
12 Iam Veris Comites Jan 3 10
13 Audivere Lyce Dec 23 09