Friday, January 20th, 2012...12:44 pmChris Francese

Horace’s lyric meters: Asclepiadeans (Odes 1.1)

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Herewith a re-do of a poem I have done on an earlier podcast, this time with special attention to the meter. It is part of a series on Horace’s lyric meters. This installment focuses on a meter that scholars call variously Asclepiads, asclepiadeans, the First Asclepiad, and the Lesser Asclepiad. The name is given by ancient grammarians, and evidently derives from a certain Greek poet named Asclepiades, though which one and why are unclear. I generally hate the cryptic way textbooks and scholarly publications deal with Latin meters, but there is one article I found helpful in thinking about this one, Leon Richardson, “On the Form of Horace’s Lesser Asclepiads, ” America Journal of Philology 22 (1901) 283-296 (look past the outdated terminology and check out the stats on sense pauses, ictus and accent, word length, and ‘compactness’) . There is a reasonably literal  translation of the poem here. Hope you enjoy, and do leave a comment if you would like to.

Horace, Odes 1.1new

Maecenas atavis edite regibus,
o et praesidium et dulce decus meum:
sunt quos curriculo pulverem Olympicum
collegisse iuvat metaque fervidis
evitata rotis palmaque nobilis 5
terrarum dominos evehit ad deos;
hunc, si mobilium turba Quiritium
certat tergeminis tollere honoribus;
illum, si proprio condidit horreo
quidquid de Libycis verritur areis. 10
gaudentem patrios findere sarculo
agros Attalicis condicionibus
numquam demoveas, ut trabe Cypria
Myrtoum pavidus nauta secet mare;
luctantem Icariis fluctibus Africum 15
mercator metuens otium et oppidi
laudat rura sui: mox reficit rates
quassas indocilis pauperiem pati.
est qui nec veteris pocula Massici
nec partem solido demere de die 20
spernit, nunc viridi membra sub arbuto
stratus, nunc ad aquae lene caput sacrae;
multos castra iuvant et lituo tubae
permixtus sonitus bellaque matribus
detestata; manet sub Iove frigido 25
venator tenerae coniugis inmemor,
seu visa est catulis cerva fidelibus,
seu rupit teretes Marsus aper plagas.
me doctarum hederae praemia frontium
dis miscent superis, me gelidum nemus 30
Nympharumque leves cum Satyris chori
secernunt populo, si neque tibias
Euterpe cohibet nec Polyhymnia
Lesboum refugit tendere barbiton.
quodsi me lyricis vatibus inseres, 35
sublimi feriam sidera vertice.



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