On The Sofa (9)

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    syzygy @thane16


    Thank you, yes: ” “lofty” stars will move my way”  is in another translation I read.

    I heard some years ago that Horace’s odes could have him transported to high status: “if deeds of gods are being praised, do I absent myself – I, a second Pindar.”  —-and he is being modest, deliberately, I believe.

    With the lines and the so-called victory odes, there is a sense that Horace is messing with us a bit? And with the emphasis on metre would it be the Alcaic-rhythm or one applied to the Sapphics?

    This is probably a slightly nutty deviation from what I asked about before but I had a vague recollection of studying this a long time ago!



    I preferred it in the original Klingon.

    Mudlark @mudlark

    This site seems to have taken a dislike to me 🙁   That’s the third time in a row that it has messed up my post with code and then cast into oblivion when I tried to edit it.

    @thane 16

    lofty stars will move my way”  is either a translation so free as to significantly alter the sense – which is that Maecenas approval of him as a lyric poet will carry him to the utmost heights, or more probably a mistranslation.

    I suspect that the translator confused ferio (knock, strike against) with fero  (bear, carry, bring); took sublimi sidera (the lofty stars)to be the subject of the clause and either ignored vertice (with the crown of [my] head) or somehow took it to mean ‘my way’.  <i>Feriam</i> (I will/would knock) the verb, is in the first person singular and conjuctive, since it is dependent on the first clause ‘Quod si …. inseres‘ .  Sublimi sidera, adjective and noun are in the accusative case, therefore the objects that are being struck, and vertice (noun, ablative), is what they are being struck with.

    I twisted the clause round to make the stars the subject because the literal translation seemed somewhat clunky and unpoetic in English.

    As I said, I’m no authority on Horace or on Greek and Latin poetic metre, but I gather that he did deliberately adopt the metre of Alacaeus and Sappho in the Odes, and if I have understood the matter correctly, this poem is indeed an example of this.

    Now the garden is calling insistently, so even if this post emerges covered in code, it will have to stay that way

    Mudlark @mudlark

    @thane16  Syzygy

    The above post is addressed to you, but I’m not risking an edit to rectify my having messed up the @

    syzygy @thane16


    Sublimi vertice are in the ablative singular masculine but it’s vertex, as you identified, that points to “the crown or the top of the head”

    But allow the larks to call! I can imagine the birds tweeting and the Narcissi blooming (OK, I’m no poet). Here, it’s about 10 overnight now and 22 to 24 during sunny days -so much like your spring and summer.   Enjoy the happier parts of gardening. I’m currently talking sternly to my gardenia which without blossom, hasn’t entirely given up the ghost.

    Also, I’ve had the same problem with code & edits dropping away -in this one too. Grrgh.

    And thank you very much for your extremely helpful clarification.

    @pedant I think Yoda would claim it’s Galactic Basic, after all.



    • This reply was modified 2 months, 2 weeks ago by  syzygy. Reason: more code. The nestines are here!
    Mudlark @mudlark


    Sublimi vertice are in the ablative singular masculine

    You are, of course, correct; very sloppy of me. I think that initially it did register subliminally that sublimi couldn’t relate to sidera,  but I must have been thinking more about the sense and not paying full attention to the grammar. Anyway, I told you my Latin was very rusty.

    Since sublimis also means exalted, I suppose a more accurate rendering would be: the crown of my head, exalted, touches the stars.

    The birds were certainly tweeting – mainly robins as far as I could tell. The blackbirds are often vocal, as are the blue tits and great tits and the occasional garden warbler, but I imagine by this time most of them are knackered keeping their growing families fed.  The narcissi are long over and all that is left of them is some limp and tatty foliage dying back. The bluebells are just about over, too, as are the peonies and forget-me-nots, weigela, camelia and choisya. Currently in flower are roses, iris, clematis, geraniums (by which I don’t mean pelargoniums), salvias, aquilegias and foxgloves plus, in the shrubbery, a rhododendron, an azalea and a viburnum.

    I managed two hours in the garden and got most of what I intended to do done before my back insisted I stop, but I’m forever behind and still attending to jobs which should have been done weeks ago. I yearn for the days when I could manage a whole day of heavy duty gardening without breaking a sweat, but the march of time is relentless and the years spent crouching in damp holes in all weathers have taken their toll.  Now I am resting with a refreshing gin and tonic before I have to rouse myself to prepare dinner.

    syzygy @thane16


    Since sublimis also means exalted, I suppose a more accurate rendering would be: the crown of my head, exalted, touches the stars.

    Oh yes, that’s the closest  -I checked Liddell and Scott -for some Greek while I was at it and didn’t get too far except for yet more variations of “puro” “”incendiary” and “burn” as well as “not dusty thus without effort.”

    Dead languages. Hard to carry on in secret than people thought.

    Oh you are just showing off now with everything that WAS in bloom and others NOW in bloom – my one camellia was and is in bloom. Other than some pretty annuals and some star …..somethings… 🙂

    G & T -sounds good but as it’s actually cold-ish (not to you lot -you’d raise a complete sweat and say “this is Winter?”) I will have tea. I fainted at the docs the other day. How embarrassing. So, honest to god, I thought, I’ll do some gardening, wander down, get a few necessary scripts and hang on it’s cold, so: T- shirt, nice cardigan, scarf and no bra. Why? no-one is going to need to see that, right?


    After I flopped to floor, paramedics arrive and drag me into the nurses room where the Doc insists on checking my breathing. FFS I was fine. I  hadn’t had breakfast. He said “no, you, you don’t have to apologise about undergarments to me.”

    Actually why was I apologetic? Not sure. Maybe because ‘the bag lady look” isn’t elegant.

    Also, the principal who discussed the school’s motto was not prepared to say “oh, wow, there were two typos and one is quite funny” instead I got a short disquisition about English being “imperfect.”

    But it was never about the perfection of English -it was about a) typos -hilarious and b) is Horace really copying Pindar (I think yes and no) and c) is he really being a bit snarky about how his poetics are adored by his patron Maecenas which then puts into perspective his latter double couplets.

    These are Thane’s educators. Actually no, I imagine the teachers would be no-where near this and look either miserable or arrogant in the face of such a small but interesting piece of history -including their ancient history teacher who I met 9 years ago and is a lovely lady but latinising away wouldn’t happen and I suppose that’s fine. They have many other skills.

    syzygy @thane16

    @mudlark (also I did not pick up on your “analgesia” statement & I apologise for that: I hope your back isn’t the problem again? I understand you can’t work in the garden for hours on end -at 52 I don’t because a) Crohns and b) it’s waaay too hot as per my anecdote above. But I can imagine, still, how beautiful yours must be by now) @janetteb  (cos you be Australian) and @blenkinsopthebrave (cos you be one too)

    I get Buffy, for some, aint be your ‘thang’, but the “rank, arrogant, amateur” sums up my feeling, at times, about education…the conservative party’s attitude (singular apostrophe for the recent ‘winners’ -the Liberal and National Party) to low taxes, high toll road costs, health and climate change. Thus, rank, arrogant etc…..

    The other day Thane performed at a State Carnival, his team won & he achieved ‘shadow’ position which is nice. But, in order to drive to the school where the ovals were (this is Brisbane Boys College with over 8 perfect fields and where costs are approximately $55K p/a, per child not including uniforms, overseas excursions, music costs & their ……soccer academy. Less said about that the better) & as we hadn’t purchased a toll tag (because we rarely drive that way) it cost a lot to drop him there at 7 am, go thru the toll again to work, then do it ALL again.

    The cost you’d think, OK, might be $8 per one way? Maybe even $25 per day. The 4 day carnival, including weekdays, where we didn’t stay,  drove to work & then back again, many hours later, cost……

    $420. Hahahahaha. Oh…shi*!

    So, I want, occasionally, to be like Willow here: but not really because she’s very, very bad. And whilst I knew fellow-watchers said “this is so beautifully foreshadowed even in Season 3 and  4, I didn’t pick that up fully until my 3rd re-watch.”

    JimTheFish @jimthefish
    Time Lord

    Just a bit of drive-by bad news. Paul Darrow, best known as the mighty Avon in Blake’s 7, has passed away. He’ll also be remembered as Captain Hawkins in the Silurians and (more notoriously) as Tekker in Timelash. The man was a legend and will be sorely missed.

    Mudlark @mudlark


    Very sad news. I remember him chiefly in Blake’s 7 in which the sardonic and amoral Avon was my favourite character by far. Anti-heroes for me, every time, and he played the part so well.

    Mudlark @mudlark


    Oh you are just showing off now

    And the list wasn’t even complete 🙂

    Sorry to hear about the fainting episode, and commiserations. It’s a horrible feeling just before you black out and, as you say, very embarrassing when it happens in public. At one time I had quite a history of that kind of thing (low blood pressure) but not so much now, although it can be a near thing if I neglect meals and become hypoglycaemic. Breakfast is Important!

    As for my back, I’m afraid that is a constant, not something that comes and goes. An MRI scan several years ago revealed that my lumbar spine is a wreck and osteoarthritis doesn’t get any better; one just has to hope that it doesn’t get any worse. On a good day and wearing a back brace I can sometimes manage up to three hours in the garden, but I’m grateful that I seem to have a fairly high pain threshold.  As for working in the heat, I like it on the whole. In the summer of 1995 I double dug what was to become a large herbaceous border in temperatures of around 35C and was barely even aware of sweating until I came in to change my clothes and discovered that the waistband of my jeans was encrusted with salt from my evaporated perspiration!

    Reverting to Horace

    is he really being a bit snarky about how his poetics are adored by his patron Maecenas

    More than a bit, I should say. The whole thing appears knowingly (wink, wink) OTT.  Consider the opening couplet of the Ode in question:

    Maecenas atavis edite regibus                                                                                                                                                           O et praesidium et dulce decus meum

    As Disraeli observed in connection with his dealings with Queen Victoria: ‘Everyone likes flattery; and when you come to Royalty you should lay it on with a trowel’, and the same applied, no doubt, to wealthy patrons in the Roman world.  It certainly worked for Disraeli.

    Furthermore, if you consider the precise wording of the last line of the Ode without trying, as I did, to translate it into something which sounds vaguely poetic in English, there is a suspicion that Horace’s tongue may have been firmly in his cheek. The verb he chose was ferio which, in the literal English translation conjures the bathetic image of someone knocking their head on a low beam or door lintel, and who is to say that this is not what was intended for the contemporary readers and audience.  Presumably Maecenas was amused, even if not fooled.

    As for the shortcomings of modern schools and teachers, I’m not really qualified to comment, except that anecdotal evidence, including yours, suggests a contrast with what used to be. My contemporaries and I in England – at least those of us fortunate to qualify for a grammar school secondary education – had the benefit of teachers who for the most part were well qualified in the subjects they taught, even if they were not always particularly good at teaching, and the emphasis, at least in the final two years at my school, was on prodding us into think for ourselves, even if – especially if – it was counter to what our teachers had said in class. I can understand why Latin, as a language, is no longer taught in most schools, although it has merits as a discipline and I certainly learned a lot from it about the structure of languages in general, but I think a very basic grounding in Latin grammar and vocabulary might still be useful even now, if only to point out the Latin and Greek origin of many words in the English vocabulary – and incidentally prevent the ubiquitous misspelling of such words. Says the pedant  👿

    A third re-watch of Buffy? You converted me to Buffy and I binge watched it all, once, but I can’t even find time to keep up with all I want to on contemporary TV. Maybe it’s because I spend too much time reading novels – SF and other genres. And Willow is *not* a good example to follow – no benefit in being ‘professional’ if you are on the wrong path.

    syzygy @thane16


    Goodness! I apologise, I thought Buffy wasn’t to your liking (clearly I misunderstood & mixed that conversation -in my mind- with someone else. Hopefully not a conversation with myself because then we’re diving into deep waters of confusion and neural problems or merely ‘personal’ schizophrenia).

    The back does sound awful and clearly you don’t give up -many people with osteo here, particularly when the humidity is over 80% for several consecutive months, feel like they have no choice. A family member has it and she feels because she’s 6′ 1″ that her height made it worse. Not a clinical opinion, however.

    To work with a back brace or harness for 3 hours is frankly commendable. I really ‘got’ into soils since you showed me ‘double digging’ to the extent I used a number of soils, potting mixes included, as well as soil improvers, different fertilisers and labelled these areas with different coloured plastic straws.  I kept one area free from change &  found it most certainly would’ve benefited from my other efforts.

    So the Camellia is looking very good for the first time & the gardenia isn’t dead yet. That’s all one can say! A neighbour had one -paid for and planted by an arborist – but it died. I’m sure the arborist would’ve supplied the neighbour with many instructions for fertilising etc but gardenias here, with possibly clay or muddy soil, are troublesome. What annoys me is that good potting mixes have wetting agents. But I find that this hinders the plants. I had to remove an annual from a small pot only to discover the soil was very muddy, soggy and quite black.

    When I replanted I made sure to use more agro grit and plenty of perlite to bring in as much fresh air for circulation. But you’re dead right about something you mentioned earlier this year: rain water in barrels is brilliant and so much better than our tap water which smells a little, like the chlorine, that’s added to all water in the Brisbane City Council.

    The verb he chose was ferio which, in the literal English translation conjures the bathetic image of someone knocking their head on a low beam or door lintel

    You owe me a keyboard -or, specifically, the QWERT portion from spitting out my coffee! 🙂 Very good indeed. Could he use ‘ferivi’ if  going ‘all out’ unsubtle?

    I’ve had a look, now, at more than one translation and the most recent ones are rendered poorly, imo. For example, the “glowing” or “bright on” is transl by some as “lightly” which doesn’t work at all.

    blenkinsopthebrave @blenkinsopthebrave


    Saw the news this morning. Very sad indeed. Not only was he brilliant as Avon (indeed, his Avon was both magnetic and seductive–in a way perhaps not a million miles away from River Song) but there were other shows I remember him from. In particular, he he was great as Mr. Tallboy in the Lord Peter Wimsey Story–“Murder Must Advertise” from the early 70s. He will, indeed, be missed.


    blenkinsopthebrave @blenkinsopthebrave


    I should also add that, as a Time Lord, you have been gone for more than five minutes…


    JimTheFish @jimthefish
    Time Lord


    Yep, sorry about that. The etheric beam locators must be on the blink….

    Whisht @whisht

    ahh @jimthefish – thanks for leting us know about Paul Darrow.

    I was a bit young for Blakes 7 (or maybe not – maybe just not got chance to watch due to one telly and me being the youngest with little ability to choose what to watch!)

    I actually loved his character – it always seemed much more nuanced/ multi-dimensional than the others (not their or the other actors’ faults, he was the ‘bad guy’ in the ‘good guy’ team).

    Glad to see you back on the boards…

    doctor-levina @doctor-levina

    Good evening everyone!

    I am new to this site and figured I’d start over here by introducing myself 🙂 Obviously I am obsessed with Doctor Who, that’s why I am here and also maybe to make some friends who I can talk to about my addiction (because none of my study colleagues have seen it and they are quite frankly going nuts with my references; for instance:

    Friend A is trying to think of a way to talk to a guy she thinks is hot, but he doesn’t know her. What if she just said hi?

    My dumbass not knowing how to flirt: “Well worst case scenario, he’s gonna pull out a sonic screwdriver and make a hole into the ground under your feet and you go falling down. Anyway that’s not very likely, you’ll be fine!”)

    Aaanyway… Where was I? Yeah, about me – I live a pretty ordinary life, study a wonderfully interesting subject at university and work in a cinema (a cool cinema though, not a commercial one). The other day I built a sonic screwdriver with arduino. I also like writing stories, poems and songs. My username is actually inspired by one of the characters in a story I am working on right now, she is a robot-rabbit-person called Levina on a journey between crazy technology and crazy humans (currently) set in the 1910s.

    So that’s me, I hope I will be accepted in your midst and I can contribute something to the topics on here 🙂


    winston @winston

    @doctor-levina   Hi and welcome to the site. If you are obsessed with the Doctor than you came to the right place. There are days worth of reading here on almost every episode and topic ,with some really good conversations and theories on everything Who-ish.

    You will find young and old here and all are very welcoming and we all love Doctor Who! So come in put on your fez and enjoy all things Whovian.


    doctor-levina @doctor-levina

    @winston Thank you!

    One more thing, does anyone else have the doctors voice in their head commenting everything you do? XD Cause I think I am going nuts.

    Curtosius @curtosius

    Hi so I’m new here but I just had an idea on a theory if anyone else has had please let me know but could the name The Doctor be like a sworn oath the the high council or personal oath to a deity like a paladin? It came to me when the time of the doctor when the eleventh Siad that it wasn’t in the name of the doctor and previously said to Clara that isn’t me he’s a secret about John hurts war doctor and it struck me to keep the Doctors true name a secret to all he must do everything in the name of the doctor like an oath. This stops him from remembering his name unless circumstances show up like marring River song it was a quick theory probs wrong but you never know


    Is it just me, or would this dude, scaled up, make an awesome Who monster?

    White Plume Moth (Pterophorus pentadactyla)

    sophiaedward64 @sophiaedward64

    Great link.

    doctor-levina @doctor-levina

    @curtosius Welcome 🙂

    Him not being actually able to remember his name could be a cool twist but to be honest I think before it is reveiled no theory is more likely or less likely in my opinion because previously, so many crazy twists have happened regardless of how much sense they made with established rules. So I think it’s quite possible.

    Little anecdote about me reaching season 8 as of today: So I was really upset about all regenerations so far and it took me at least two episodes to start liking each doctor and also looking at the doctors in advance often made me wonder, just why? However Capaldi is just great. I was most irritated by the change in looks when I looked at the pictures, but the first episode had me right away. He plays great. And I love how Clara gets to shine in these episodes. I just watched Episode 4 and I am pretty sure I will cry when she leaves.

    winston @winston

    @pedant  That is a cool creature and would make a very excellent Who monster. Is it a moth because if it is I am already scared.Also nice picture.

    @doctor-levina   So you have reached the crusty ,sarcastic and cheeky 12th Doctor and isn’t he great. Have fun.



    It is, indeed, a White Plumed Moth. First time I have ever seen one. Zoom it and it is like it has a face.

    winston @winston

    @pedant  It does have a face and long fuzzy legs too. We have been getting a hummingbird moth to our lilac and it is also strange and wonderful. It has clear wings which beat so fast you can barely see them and it flies in and out of the flowers like a hummingbird and she comes out when the sun is shining. A very good mimic. Also the monarch and swallowtail butterflies love the lilac so it makes for great pics. Have a great day enjoying the little things that nature has to offer.

    winston @winston

    Hi all Whovians!  They  say that complaining about the weather is the great Canadian past time and not hockey at all and so complain I shall. This past winter I was complaining about  -40C temps as my toes were freezing. Today it was +35C with the humidity making it feel like +46C or so. I have lived within the same 100 miles all my life (lets just say a long time) and as an avid nature lover and camper and gardener and reasonable human being I know climate change when I feel it. I know the people in parts of Europe are also burning up while others flood and all over the world people and animals are suffering from climate changes.Complaining about weather has become a matter of life or death. I don’t know why I rant here to all you people it must be the heat……I am Canadian and I like the cold.

    janetteB @janetteb

    @winston It’s mid winter here, according to the calendar at least, but the sun is glowing, the air mild, birds are beginning work on nests and the husky has started malting. Sure this is South Australia and it is normal for trees to start to blossom in late July but this is early July, not normal at all.

    Meanwhile Australians have just voted back in our coal loving, anti environment, anti people, government. Even our not so political, swing voting neighbours are furious and I think the country-born Liberal voting next door neighbour is deeply disillusioned. (“Liberal” in Aus not “liberal” as in the dictionary definition about about the near opposite) Rural Australia tends to be very conservative but there is growing awareness finally that climate change is real but sadly not sufficient to effect voting trends.

    But the sun is shining and I have photos to take and so am taking advantage of this fine weather to head out with the camera and “hopefully” capture a good sunset over the plains.




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