Balde notes 2

Lyrica 4.26 To Johannes Albula. The genius of Virtue.
Meter Alcaic. The poem I think is indebted to, but far surpasses, a passage in Horace: c. 3.2.16-24. 5
peto is cognate with Gk. πέτοµαι and originally meant ‘fly’. 6 Iovis satelles: Juppiter’s ‘attendant’,
the eagle. 15 lustrali sulphure: the ancients used sulphur in their lustrations; e.g. Od. 22.481 ff. 22
abl., sc. aqua; cf. e.g. Pliny Ep. 6.16 init. ‘usus ille sole, mox frigida’: ‘he enjoyed the sun, then a
cold (bath)’. 27 arcus tota etc.: this beautiful image is more explicit in Lyr. 4.48.26-30; there God is altior
axe scopus
, a target higher than the sky, and: Huc desiderium iaculetur pectoris arcus, / Quanta pharetra
patet. / Certior huc pleno, quo Meta remotior, ictu / Nostra sagitta volat.
29 gloriae: perhaps dat. with
either noun (a wound, or a death, for glory) or perhaps objective genitive (death given by glory).

Lyrica 3.6. To Rudolf Vogt, Alsatian nobleman. That he should bear his Country’s calamity
Meter: Alcaic. A poem on the Thirty Years war: see my notes on odes 1.8 and 3.34; also Thill JB 90-93. 1
: goddess of the crops but especially of wheat (so that often in verse ‘Ceres’ means wheat). 4
indomito fremuere musto
: perhaps better if more lit.: ‘roared with the untamed must’, as if it were a wild
animal, not yet tamed to gentle wine. Wine presses in Balde are full of sound; cf. ode 3.34.8-9 ‘ducere
purpureum liquorem / ad rubra labris vina crepantibus’
. Compare Prop. 3.17.17-18 ‘dum modo purpureo
spument mihi dolia musto, / et nova pressantis inquinet uva pedes
.’ 5 tibi candidos fulsisse soles:
Catullus 8.3 ‘fulsere quondam candidi tibi soles’. 8 praetereuntis modifies ‘auri’ but refers to ‘saecula’:
with the transferred epithet cf. Horace c. 4.2.39 ‘quamvis redeant in aurum Tempora priscum’. 9 ‘Gothic’
= barbaric, referring to the Swedes (whom he elsewhere calls ‘Vandals’). 13 f. flebileis rimaris umbras: a
very bold expression; lit. ‘with sad eyes rummage amid (dig up, root out) the Shades that bring tears’: i.e.
the Manes. As Thill says (JB p. 90) he already longs for the realm of the dead. 17 corrigere est nefas etc.:
Horace c. 2.24.19-20 ‘sed levius fit patientia / quidquid corrigere est nefas’. 21 ‘two-faced the Swede’:
Gustavus Adolfus; see on ode 3.34.26. 22-4 caetera. secutus: here Alsace = Troy; the ‘Danaans’ = the
destroying Greeks, i.e. the Swedes; and the false ‘friend & neighbor’ = Richelieu (or the French in
general: cf. 3.34.10-11). The exact const. is uncertain; it makes equally good sense if 24 Danaum is (a)
acc. sing., object of ‘secutus’, or (b) an archaic genitive pl. with ‘relliquias’ (subjective gen.: ‘the leavings
of the D.’ = what the D. left). 25 dicere diem: “h.e. accusare” -- Müller. 38 ‘perorate’: i.e. deliver the
closing, clinching arguments in a lawcourt speech. 41 ‘holds every vote’: i.e. as if the scabbard were a
voting urn. For ‘punctum’ see Lewis & Short s.v. ‘Pungo’ II.I.B: ‘a point or dot as the sign of a vote,
made in a waxen tablet, before the introduction of separate ballots; hence, transf., a vote, suffrage, ballot:
Cic. Planc. 22, 53; id. Mur. 34, 72; id. Tusc. 2, 26, 62’. 50 caduci: ‘the fleeting’: but the word is
brilliantly apt and untranslatable, since it also has an exact legal meaning (I quote Lewis & Short):
caduca bona were those possessions which did not fall to the heir mentioned in a will, because he was
childless, but passed to other heirs (in default of such, to the exchequer); vacant, having no heir (.) —As
subst. : cădūcum, i, n., property without an heir, an unowned estate.” 50-2 mean more lit. ‘For one who
has coveted nothing fleeting, to have diminished his fervid prayers is a huge inheritance’; but that falsifies
by obliterating the word order.

Silvae 5.13. To his friend Matthias Ulmius he responds, concerning the use of stories.
Meter: Alcaic. An epigraph could be, “Proper names are poetry in the raw. Like all poetry they are untranslatable.” (W.H. Auden, A Certain World, 1970, 22). The poem is a wanton garland of Greek proper names, which Balde plainly loves. Briefly I gloss all of them, even those most famous (though often only by quoting Lewis & Short). For help in two hard places I am much indebted to Tyler Travillian (vv. 5-8) and Mary Pawlowski (65 f.). The list of names is not the mere miscellany that it might at first seem; it gets its swiftness and its music partly from a kind of patterning (e.g. to name the largest, in 9-15, are names of god-haunted mountains or mountainous islands; in 26-40 are mighty, but terribly punished, heroes and Titans; in 41-52 are adventures of famous women) and partly from the way in which each thing or person is evoked, by verbs or verbal nouns, as in swift movement; e.g. in 10 Dindyma full of cries, 11 Naxos danced upon, 12 Nysa full of orgiasts, 13 Cyclades ‘wandering’, 14-15 Delos ‘just now stopped’, giving birth; etc. Nothing is merely named; everything is fully remembered. The poem’s ‘ARGUMENT’ seems to me this: 1-56: I know all the Greek stories, more intimately than I know my own country. From my earliest youth the dear Muses and Apollo taught me every tiny detail. 57-68: Even a public orator, a profane person [i.e. a non-poet], would be eloquent if he used them; e.g. if on the occasion of a lover who hanged himself (etc.) he told of the cruel prayer of Midas. 59-62: For even the profane love the old stories, and hungrily seek out even those that we, the skilled poets, forbid because we find them trite or tasteless. 63-92: But to them nothing in that world is trite! They are like the Fauns who, at a Council of the gods, stare astounded at things that the bigger gods take for granted. 1 Atreidae: Agamemnon and Menelaos: Ag. killed a deer in a sacred grove and boasted that he was a
better hunter than Artemis; to punish him she stopped the wind so he could not sail to Troy; then an
oracle revealed that he must sacrifice his daughter Iphigenia. 5 Abesto livor: Phaedrus prol. 60 ‘Ergo hinc
abesto livor, ne frustra gemas, / quoniam sollemnis mihi debetur gloria.’
5 ff. quam. tam: more lit.: ‘As
well known to me as my own country, so well is the house’ etc. 7 receptum: sc. me (cf. on 72 iuvat). 9-12
sc. montem, i.e. Cynthus, mt. on Delos where Apollo was born. Pindus: mt.
in Thessaly, seat of the Muses. Ida: mt. near Troy. Dindyma: mt. in Mysia sacred to Cybele. Naxos =
Dia, island sacred to Bacchus, where Ariadne was abandoned. Ismara: mt. in S. Thrace, sacred to Semele
and Bacchus. Nysa: city in India on Mt. Meros where Bacchus was born. 13-14 Cyclades. Delos: Delos
‘wandered’ over the sea, until Apollo’s birth there put an end to her travels (Callim. Hymn to Delos 28-
54; 273; Vergil Aen. 3.75 ff.). Balde’s idea that all the Cyclades wandered might reflect Seneca Ag. 368-
70 ‘tu maternam sistere Delon, / Lucina, iubes, / huc atque illuc prius errantem / Cyclada uentis.15
Abydos, Sestos
: two cities facing each other across the narrowest part of the Hellespont. 17 Pleiades: 7
daughters of Atlas and Pleione (Electra, Halcyone, Celaeno, Maia, Sterope, Taygete, Merope). 21 Mater
Cybele, who was moved from Asia to Rome by ship in 210 B.C. She is patroness of lions and
had lions to ride and a lion-drawn chariot. Pelops: son of Tantalus, king of Phrygia, father of Atreus and
Thyestes, grandfather of Agamemnon and Menelaus. Battus: a herdsman of Neleus in Triphylia near
Elis, who because he betrayed a theft of Mercury, was transformed into the stone Index (Ovid Met. 2.688
ff.). 22 Erysicthon: son of Triopas king of Thessaly; he cut down the grove of Ceres, and was punished
with such a hunger, that he devoured his own flesh. 25 Colchis: Medea, a sorceress, daughter of Æetes,
king of Colchis. She helped her lover Jason to obtain the golden fleece, then went with him to Greece.
When Jason afterwards repudiated her, in order to marry Creusa, she killed the children she had had by
him, and burned the bride to death in her palace. 26 damnosa: like many Latin adjj. could be either
passive (‘injured; wronged’) or active (‘injurious’ etc.). 27 Sicilian tumulus (or ‘burial mound’: bustus):
Mt. Aetna, under which the Titans defeated by Zeus were imprisoned. 28 Inarimé: island near Naples =
Pithecousa = mod. Ischia. Balde seems to recall Vergil Aen. 9.715 f. ‘tremit durumque cubile / Inarime
Iouis imperiis imposta Typhoëo’.
30 Oileus: king of Locris, father of the Ajax who violated Cassandra;
: son of Sisyphus, devoured by his own horses (Verg. G. 3.267); Cadmus: son of the Phœnician
king Agenor, brother of Europa, husband of Harmonia, founder of the Cadmea, the citadel of Thebes;
: king of Lemnos, father of Hypsipyle: when the Lemnian women killed all their men, she saved
him by conveying him to Chios. By Jason she had twin sons Euenus and Nebrophonos (or Deiphilus). 31
: mother of the twins, Iphicles (younger by one night, fathered by Amphitryon) and Heracles
(fathered by Zeus). 33 Troilus: son of Priam killed by Achilles; lover of Cressida. 34 Rhesus: son of a
Muse, a king in Thrace; robbed of his horses and killed by Diomede and Ulysses before Troy (Verg. Aen.
1.469; Ov. Met. 13.249 ff.); Pyrrhus: = Neoptolemus, son of Achilles; Didymaon: a famous craftsman
(Verg. Aen. 5.359), also a city near Miletus with a temple of Apollo; 35 Cycnus: king of Ligurians, son
of Sthenelus; he was changed to a swan and placed among the stars (Ov. Met. 2.367; Verg. Aen. 10.189).
36 Antilochus: a son of Nestor killed at Troy. Son of Telamon: Ajax. 37 Megareius: adj. ‘of Megareus’,
son of Neptune, and father of Hippomenes: who won a race with Atalanta and thus obtained her as his
wife. 39-40 After fighting the Amazons in Scythia, Theseus, at home in Athens, defended Oedipus
against Creon. 41 Medusa: daughter of Phorcus; loved for her golden hair by Neptune, she gave birth to
Pegasus. Minerva in punishment turned her hair into serpents, and gave her eyes the power of changing to
stone all that she saw; she was killed by Perseus. 42 Harmonia: daughter of Mars and Venus, wife of
Cadmus. The ‘fatal gift’ was a necklace she received as a bridal gift, which brought misfortune to all who
wore it. 44 Geryon: a mythic king in Spain having three bodies, whose oxen were carried off by
Hercules. Merope: daughter of Atlas and Pleione, one of the Pleiades, whose star is more obscure than
the rest, because she wedded Sisyphus, a mortal. 45 Iphis: a Cretan girl, daughter of Ligdus; because she
loved another girl, Ianthe, she and her mother prayed to Isis to change her to a boy, and the wish was
granted (Ovid, Met. 9.666-797). Pelopeidas: (-eis, -idis) lit. ‘women of Pelops’, i.e. of the Peloponnese;
but because he calls them ‘tumultuanteis’ Balde probably means Argive women (as at Statius, Th. 10.50,
12.540 & ff.) Herse: a daughter of Cecrops, beloved by Mercury (Ovid Met. 2.559; 724 ff.) 46
: a river nymph, daughter of the Sicilian R. Simaethus; wife of Faunus, mother of Acis (Ovid,
Met. 13.750, 879). 47 Procne: Daughter of Pandion, king of Athens, sister of Philomela, and wife of
Tereus; she was changed into a swallow. Syrinx: a nymph changed into a reed (Ov. Met. 1.691 ff.) 48
Pholoe: I. forest-clad mountain in Arcadia, on the borders of Elis (Plin. 4, 6, 10, § 21; Ov. Fasti 2.273) II.
mountain in Thessaly, abode of the Centaurs (Luc. 3.198; Stat. Achill. 1.138). 49 Semele: daughter of
Cadmus & mother of Bacchus by Jupiter. 50 Pasiphae: daughter of Helios, sister of Circe, wife of Minos,
& mother of Androgeus, Phœdra, Ariadne, & also of the Minotaur by a beautiful bull, which Venus, out
of hatred, had inspired her with a passion for. 52 Aglauros: daughter of Cecrops, and sister of Herse,
changed by Mercury into a stone, when she opposed his abduction of Herse and wanted a bribe (Ovid
Met. 2.819 ff.) 54 Oenomaus: king of Elis and Pisa, father of Hippodamia, grandfather of Atreus and
Thyestes, & father-in-law of Pelops. Pelops won Hippodamia by beating Oen. in a chariot race; the
Olympic games commemorate this. 60 Clarius: Clarian, of Claros, a small Ionian town near Colophon; it
had a famous temple and oracle of Apollo. So Vergil Aen. 3.359-61 “O interpreter of the gods, who feel
the will of Clarian Phoebus / and the tripod and the laurel, the stars / and the languages of birds and their
omens” etc. 61 lauri serta momorderit: laurel was chewed for inspiration by the Pythian priestess of
Apollo. 62though he might be remoter’ (etc.) i.e. ‘even though unlike me he is not a poet, taught by
the Muses, yet these old stories would still make him eloquent.’ 64 folio: i.e. laurel. 65 Midas (-ae, m.): a
king of Phrygia who endeared himself to Bacchus by his kindness to Silenus. Bacchus granted him any
wish; but he foolishly wished for the power to turn to gold all that he touched. He soon saw that this was
really a curse when his food and drink, and his daughter, all turned to gold. 68 Anaxarete: a rich
beautiful maiden of Cyprus. The shepherd Iphis courted her with tears, with garlands placed at her door,
etc.; but she disdained his love, and after he hanged himself on her doorsill, she was changed to stone by
Aphrodite: Ovid Met. 14.699 ff. 69 f. non novus incola etc.: Balde I think made this passage deliberately
cryptic. By bicornis. clivi is meant Parnassus, between the two horns of which lie Delphi and the
Castalian spring; cf. Balde, Silv. 8.4.19 biverticem pone rupem; Statius Thebaid 1.62-3 (Oedipus speaking
of the spring): si stagna peti Cirrhaea bicorni / interfusa iugo; Ovid, Met. 2.221 Parnasusque biceps;
ibid. 1.316 f. mons ibi verticibus petit arduus astra duobus, nomine Parnasus; Lucan 5, 72 cardine
Parnasos gemino petit aethera colle
; Pers. prol. 2 bicipiti Parnaso. But who is its ‘not new inhabitant’
etc.? Probably not so much Apollo, or the priestess, or a Muse, as Balde himself: the one instructed in
poetry from childhood (1-56), distinct from the ‘profane’ orator who is new to poetry, and ‘remoter from
that spring’ (62). Closely similar is Silvae 8.4 passim; he there explains that he keeps ‘certain things’
hidden (22 Sint quaedam, cupidi quae bene nesciant), though he is glad to let the profane try to find them
(23 ff.) 72 iuvat: sc. illum (i.e. the orator), or nos (i.e. people in general)? Balde often skips a personal
pronoun, where it would have been very helpful. Cf. 7 ‘(me) receptum’; or e.g. Lyr. 3.19.13 f. ‘Olim et
[sc. te] canentem callida Patriae / Agnovit Echo
’; or worse, Lyr. 4.8.10 ff. ‘Nam nec beatum nec miserum
facit / Sed esse, congressu repertum / Detegit
’ = ‘For she (Fortuna) makes (a man) neither happy nor
wretched, but only reveals that (he) is what she found (him to be) in the struggle’! 72 Fauni: these Fauns
seem attractive little creatures; they possess at least the gift of wonder! But probably Balde has mixed
feelings about the little savages! – for they are elsewhere his image for people to whom lyric poetry is
alien, and would even gladly see the Muses ‘sent back to their Greek grave’: see Lyr. 2.50.74 ff.


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