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In the Notes the following abbreviations are used :
R. =Roby's Latin Grammar for Schools.
to Suetonius. (These two grammars are referred to by the
This poem, and El. xi., were written after the greater part of Book I. was completed, the one as an introduction, the other as an epilogue, to Book I. From 1.42, part, at any rate, of the poem would seem to have been written at sea; and from 1. 128 (see on 126), the poet would seem to have put the finishing stroke to it, and despatched it on his arrival at Tomi (Graeber Q. O. i. vi).. Hence it is reasonable to infer that the greater part of it was written during his voyage from Samothrace to Thrace, and the conclusion added on his arrival at Tomi; whence the book was probably sent to Rome by the ship which brought him to Samothrace, and carried his effects thence to Tomi (see Intr. to El. x).
SUMMARY.-Go, little book, with my message of salutation to Rome, but go
in sorry binding, as befits the volume of a poor exile (1-16). Say that, though sick at heart, I am still alive; but attempt not the hopeless task of my defence (17–26). Perhaps one may be found who is sad with sympathy for me; if so, I wish him well. And if any find fault with thee as being of inferior workmanship, let him not criticise too severely, for my sufferings and anxiety are such as to impede the free flow of inspiration. Even Homer himself, were he in such an evil plight as mine, would lose the power of song (27-48). Yet heed not popularity, I loved it once, but now it is enough that I do not hate the power of verse that has proved my ruin (49–56). Go thóu to Rome in my stead; since that is not forbidden : all will at once recognise thy master's hand (57-68). I hardly dare bid thee seek to gain entrance to the Emperor's
self; I'who by my fault have provoked him am afraid lest once again I may draw down his wrath upon myself. Perhaps thou hadst best be content with a public of low degree (69-88). But in so difficult a matter I will not counsel thee; circumstances alone can direct thee aright (89-92). Perhaps some kind friend may introduce thee to the august presence; and then I wish thee all success, and pray that the imperial anger may be pacified (93–104). When thou art arrived at thy master's home, avoid those brothers of thine, the Art of Love, the murderers of their sire; say, too, that the story of my altered fortune may now be added to the changes of shape of which I have sung (105–122). This is my message ; more were too great a burden for thee, for the road is long (123–128).
1. 1. nec. invideo, 'I bear you no grudge for it.' Cic. Tusc. iv. 8. § 17, “invidentiam esse dicunt aegritudinem susceptam propter alterius res secundas, quae nihil noceant invidenti.'
1. 2. quod licet. Indic., because the writer's opinion is directly stated : R. 741. The form of expression is common with Ov.; cp. infr. 112; 6. 29.
1 3. exulis, sc. librum. 1.4. temporis huius, ' wear in thy woe the attire that befits this hour.'
11. 5–8. ! Be not thy wrapper of the bilberry's purple bue, that colour assorts not well with sorrow : let no vermeil stain thy letter-piece, thy page no cedar oil; bear thou no white bosses on thy sable edge.'
For a full account of the structure of the ancient book, and of the terms used in the present passage, see Appendix.
1. 5. vaccinium is probably the bilberry, the purple juice of whose berries was smeared upon the parchment. Vergil, Ecl. ii. 18, speaks of vaccinia nigra' with reference to the dark external appearance of the berry; Ovid adds purpureo fuco because it is with the colouring matter that he is concerned.
1. 9. 'Let such equipments as these furnish forth the volumes of the fortunate.'
1. 12. sparsis, applied to hair, means • disordered,'dishevelled,' and is a stronger word than passis (pt. of pando), wrongly read here by Güthling, which means simply unloosened, and is applied to women only (see Forcell.); whereas in Ovid's imagery books are always males.
l. 14. Perhaps a reminiscence of Prop. iv. (v.) 3. 4, Haec erit e lacrimis facta litura meis.'
1. 16. “At least I'll touch them with what foot I may. There is a play on the double meaning of pos : though I may not touch Roman soil with the foot of my body, I may yet do so with the foot of my
Pes means the metre, not the foot in our sense ; so in Ibis 45 he says of the elegiac metre:
*Prima quidem coepto committam proelia versu,
non soleant quamvis hoc pede bella geri.' For another play upon words see infr. 11. 16, and cp. iv. 5. 7, .cuius eram censu non me sensurus egentem.'
1. 17. in populo, 'as may well be in the crowd,' a brachylogy common with Ovid: cp. ii. 158, cuius, ut in populo, pars ego nuper eram ;' P. i. 7. 16, in quibus, ut populo, pars ego parva fui;' iv. 5. pa 11,ʻsiquis, ut in populo, qui sitis et unde, requiret.' See Verg. Aen. i. 148.
illi is the primitive form of illic (cp. ista), found again in ii. 373, 'quid prius est illi flamma Briseidos ?' F. vi.. 424, ‘hoc superest illi, Pallaeda Roma tenet ;' frequent in Plaut. and Ter., and occurring also in Cic. Fam. viii. 15. 2 (Neue Formenlehre, ii. 629).
With illi sapply est : the omission of the substantive verb is common with Ovid ; see inf. 21. 56; 2. 102 ; 5. 53; 8. 38; iv. 4. 45, 53; v. 7.52 14. 31.
1. 18. requiret. The subj. would be more usual, cp. inf. 66, but the indic. is not uncommon in poets after such expressions as est (sunt) qui, used to define existing persons or classes. R. 703, 707.
1. 19. salvum, 'well.' Cp. the ordinary salutation, 'satin salvus ?'
1. 20. quod is the causal conjunction, which naturally takes an indic. in a subordinate clause like the present, denoting a fact in apposition to the object of the verb habere. (Professor Nettleship quotes Hor. c. iv. 3. 24,
quod spiro ac placeo, si placeo, tuum est'); here the subj. is used because these words are to be reported by the Book as the words of its master.
1. 21. “And these injunctions given, then silent-he that asks more must read-beware lest thou chance to speak what thou shouldst not.' Ita is restrictive, qualifying tacitus : see L. and S. s. v. ita, II. D. Ita tacitus=his dictis tacitus : silent, but only after having uttered the instructions I have just given. So inf. 56, sic hoc studio. legendum, sc. est.
1. 32. Quae is acc., object to loqui, understood.
1. 23. rèpetet, sc. cogitando, 'will go back to’ in his thoughts, i. e. will recall. Inf. 3. 3.
mea crimina,'' my offences.' The plural is either used loosely or may refer to the two offences he had committed against Augustus, (1) the writing of the Ars Amatoria, (a) the unknown offence. Cp. inf. 2. 96.
1. 24. Peragere reum is the legal phrase for to continue a prosecution till the defendant is condemned. Translate: 'I shall be bitterly arraigned as a state-offender in the people's mouth:' cp. P. 6. iv. 30, posse tuo peragi vix putet ore reos.' [Cael. ap. Cic. Fam. viii. 8. 1.
H. J.R.] The sense is, However much you hear me criticised you must not defend me. Agere reum, on the other hand (inf. 8. 46, P, iv. 14. 38), is simply to accuse a man. For publicus, cp. Cic. ad Fam. vi. 6. 7, where augur publicus ='a political prophet.'
1. 25. cavě. This word and vidě are the only such imperatives whose final e is shortened in classical writers; though the scansion is common in Plaut. and Ter., and the licence is greatly enlarged by Christian writers (Lucian Müller, De re Metr. p. 340).
defendas, jussive subj. in quasi-dependence on cave.
quamvis mordebere. Quamvis with indic., common in Ovid, is post-Ciceronian: R. 677d. Wilkins on Hor. Epp. i. 14. 6.
1. 26. patrocinio, instrum. abl., 'through advocacy.'
1. 27. ademptum, a word specially used of those taken away by death; to which Ovid is fond of likening his banishment (inf. 113 n.). Cp. iv. 10. 79, 'non aliter flevi (sc. his dead brother] quam me fleturus ademptum Ille fuit.'
1. 28. ista, these verses on your pages. Contrast ille (31), 'that far friend of mine unknown.' Note the elegance with which the burden of v. 30 is amplified and enforced in vv. 32–34.
1. 32. miseris, quite general, 'the wretched,' with his own case specially in view.
1. 33. Princeps, not to be confounded with princeps senatus, was the informal appellation which the acute moderation of Augustus led him to choose as his distinctive citizen-title. He was the foremost citizen of Rome, and so describes himself in the Mon. Anc. ii. 45; vi. 6. Thus Tacitus (A. 1. 1.) says of him, 'cuncta discordiis civilibus fessa nomine principis sub imperium accepit.'
1. 34. The ancients, like the modern Chinese, regarded it as ill-omened to die in a foreign land. See the touching prayer of Tibullus (i. 3) when sick at Corcyra, that he may not die away from home.
det, with infin. as object, R. 534. 1. 35. ut, concessive, as inf. 61. ii. 43.
1. 36. ingenii, possessive gen., “And you will be said to fall short of the fame won by my genius.' Ferere, sc. omnium sermonibus (L. and S. s.v. II. A. 7.), cp. v. 14. 3. ' Detrahat auctori multum fortuna, licebit : Tu tamen ingenio clara ferere meo. He then proceeds to show cause why he may well fall short of his former excellence.
1. 37. iudicis, the judge, and so the critic. [With tempora rerum Prof. Nettleship compares Verg. Aen. vii. 36, ' quae tempora rerum.']
1. 39. deducta, metaphor from drawing out the threads from the distaff. Hor. Epp. ii. 1. 225 ; Prop. i. 16. 41. For tempora cp. inf. 9. 6. Serenus - dry, and so cloudless, is contrasted with nubila.