Lesson 9.2 Horace


The first four lines are easy to get, once you know what the individual words mean.

Beatus ille qui procul negotiis,
ut prisca gens mortalium,
paterna rura bubus exercet suis
solutus omni faenore

Otium is an important concept in Latin. It means idleness, or leisure, not usually in the pejorative sense of our otiose. The negation of otium is negotium: non-leisure, or business. Beatus, like beatific, means blessed. You may be familiar with the pronoun ille by now. Here it means he, or the man.

Procul means far from. It takes the ablative case, which is why negotia (business matters) has become negotiis here. A gens is a tribe or people, like la gente in Spanish. Mortalium is the genitive plural of mortalis, a mortal being, or simply a human. Paterna rura are the paternal fields: one’s ancestral lands, or family farm.

Solutus means free from, a meaning carried over clearly into the English word absolution. Faenus is the interest from usury or moneylending. It is in the ablative here because that’s what ille is solutus from.

Let’s look at what we have so far.