A Tactful Cue (and Non-Q) in Horace (Ep. 1.13.17)

    The last four lines of the epistle to Vinnius, on his way to deliver a copy of Horace’s Carmina to Augustus, are clear enough, but one of the conjunctions seems dubious (16-19):

neu uolgo narres te sudauisse ferendo
carmina quae possint oculos auresque morari
Caesaris; oratus multa prece, nitere porro.
uade, uale, caue ne titubes mandataque frangas.

In line 17, oculos auresque would naturally imply that the emperor will read Horace’s works aloud to himself, experiencing them with eyes and ears (not to mention tongue) at the same time, in the usual ancient way. Could Horace presume that? A disjunctive conjunction, oculos auresue, might better suit the tact of the poem, which otherwise carefully avoids any hint of presumption. Horace can hope that Augustus will actually sit down and read the Carmina to himself, but knows that he is likely to be too busy for that, in which case the poet can still hope that the emperor will at least listen as they are read to him by an anagnostes while he dines or bathes or takes care of some other necessary and not-too-engrossing business.

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