Epode XV: Aggie Speaks Out
(Nox erat et caelo)
It was Night and in the Cloudless Sky]
‘Twas night: The lofty tone draws attention to her impiety. Her perjury was committed on a moonlit night when nothing could be hidden.
Man..Flaccus… virtue. Horace often plays with the etymology of proper names. His own full name is Quintus Horatius Flaccus and flaccus is Lating for ‘slack’. Virtus, Latin ‘virtue’ is cognate with vir, ‘man’
Pythagoras: sixth-century Greek philosopher who believed in reincarnation.
Nireus: after Achilles, the fairest of the Greeks, who came to Troy.’ (1)
In my version I change the male speaker to a female one; Aggie, Billy’s long-suffering wife. I think this works, especially as she is a ‘little lamb’ (a name-pun; agnus means lamb) ‘I’m pretty sure Agnes derives from agnus/agna) meaning vulnerable/weak, just like the Horace of the Epodes.’ (2)
I transfer the storm-imagery from the eternal professions of love to the jealousy of female rivals.
I echo the opening night-scenario : because not only does this key into the beginning of the original and invite comparison and contrast, ‘…it also introduces a romantic cliche which was a cliche even in the 1st C B.C. (moonlit meeting of lovers).’ (3)
(1) West, D. The Complete Odes and Epodes (1997) Oxford University Press: Oxford. (p.138)
(2) Harrison, S.J. (in personal correspondence)
(3) Harrison, S.J. (in personal correspondence)