Liber Secundus


Motum ex Metello consule civicum bellique causas et vitia et modos ludumque Fortunae gravisque principum amicitias et arma 5nondum expiatis uncta cruoribus, periculosae plenum opus aleae, tractas, et incedis per ignis suppositos cineri doloso. paulum severae Musa tragoediae 10desit theatris: mox ubi publicas res ordinaris, grande munus Cecropio repetes cothurno, insigne maestis praesidium reis et consulenti, Pollio, curiae, 15cui laurus aeternos honores Delmatico peperit triumpho. iam nunc minaci murmure cornuum perstringis auris, iam litui strepunt, iam fulgor armorum fugacis 20terret equos equitumque vultus.


Odes II

Book II

1On Pollio’s History of the Civil Wars

The civil strife that began with Metellus’ consulship,1 the causes, and blunders, and phases of war, Fortune’s sport, the protagonists’ deadly friendships, weapons smeared with still unexpiated blood—that is your theme, a dangerous gamble at every point; you walk over fires still burning beneath the treacherous ash. Let it not be long before your stern tragic Muse returns to the theatre; soon, when you have set the nation’s affairs in order, you will resume your lofty role on the Attic buskin.2 You are already the famous bastion of piteous defendants and of the senate in its deliberations, Pollio; and in your Dalmatian triumph the laurel brought you honours that are ever green.

Even now you rasp our ears with the horns’ threatening bray, already bugles blare, already the flash of weapons strikes fear into the nervous horses and the horsemen’s

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.horace-odes.2004