Commentary Cons. Phil. Book 1 Metrum 4
B.'s goal is indicated by a portrait of the truly wise man, serenely above all the hopes and fears of worldly life.
Meter: Phalaecean hendecasyllable (which is composed of glyconic - - - u u - x - + bacchiac u - -). Word end often occurs after the sixth syllable, but there are exceptions. - - - u u - x - u - -
- line 1
composito: composito . . . aeuo: "of a settled age" (ablative of description).
serenus: cf. 3M9.26, where God is called serenity itself.
aeuo: composito . . . aevo: "of a settled age" (ablative of description).
- line 2
fatum: fatum sub pedibus egit: cf. 3M12.1-2; compare Vergil's famous lines:
(Georgics 2.490-492) ["Happy the man who can understand the causes of things and trample under foot all his fears, and fate deaf to prayer as well."]
- felix qui potuit rerum cognoscere causas
- atque metus omnis et inexorabile fatum
- subiecit pedibus . . .
pedibus: final syllable closed (hence long) before word end.
- line 3
fortunam: fortunam . . . utramque: both good fortune and bad.
utramque: fortunam . . . utramque: both good fortune and bad.
rectus: "upright, erect," unlike B., whose head is bowed to gaze upon the ground.
- line 6
6: The line contains twelve syllables, with two short syllables in the seventh position.
uersum: "turned over" (< verto), with the adverb funditus ("from the bottom, completely").
exagitantis: modifies ponti.
- line 7
- line 8
Vesaeuus: i.e., Mt. Vesuvius.
- line 9
soliti: modifies fulminis (line 10) and takes a complementary infinitive (ferire).
- line 10
uia: subject of mouebit; via fulminis, "path of the lightning," i.e., "lightning bolt."
fulminis: via fulminis, "path of the lightning," i.e., "lightning bolt."
- line 11
tantum: adverbial, "so much."
- line 13
13: Stronger punctuation (a colon) would be possible at the end of this line.
Nec speres: Nec speres . . . nec extimescas: subjunctive of the negative command.
nec extimescas: Nec speres . . . nec extimescas: subjunctive of the negative command.
- line 14
exarmaueris: future perfect, "you will have disarmed."
impotentis: genitive, "not master of himself."
- line 16
sui: sui . . . iuris: predicative genitive, "[subject to] his own law," i.e., "his own master."
iuris: sui . . . iuris: predicative genitive, "[subject to] his own law," i.e., "his own master."
- line 18
ualeat: valeo in late Latin is almost interchangeable in meaning and syntax with possum.