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I'm currently reading Horace's Odes 1.5, and on lines 10–11 there's an odd construction:

...Miseri, quibus
intemptata nites...

Now, as far as I can tell, this literally means "Wretched people, to whom you shine untried." That doesn't make sense — "shine untried" is a thing that just doesn't work in English, or if it does, I'm too tired to tell.

What's a good colloquial translation of that phrase?

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    ...to whom you seem brilliant while they have not tried you. = ...to whom you seem extremely attractive as long as they have not been intimate with you (because afterwards they will have realised how fickle and difficult you are).
    – Cerberus
    Feb 24, 2016 at 5:29

3 Answers 3

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Horace's poem here is about a pretty young girl, Pyrrha, and I understand the phrase to describe how unfortunate (miseri) the men are who have not been able to touch (tempto/tento) her.

I might translate it as follows: "Poor guys, for whom you [Pyrrha] shine, you who are untouched [by them]" -- I've expanded the participle into a relative clause.

tempto (the same verb as tento, see Lewis and Short) can have the meaning "to try" or "to test," and such a meaning might even work here, but it can also just mean "to handle, touch, feel a thing" (L&S, I). As for the shining, Pyrrha does have light hair (flavam...comam, 4), or perhaps she's just a radiant young lady....

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Miseri es pobre o miserable. quibus es un dativo, que significa para quienes/ a quién/ para quien. intemptata declina de intentatus que es adj de 1ra clase y verbo pasivo. Por lo cuál se puede llegar a traducir como no aprobado. nites es un ind. pres. 2da pers. Sing. Verbo activo, brillas. “Miserables para quienes brillan sin ser probados”.

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It means, "unfortunate are those to whom you appear resplendently innocent (or virginal) (or "all shiny and pure")."

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    That's a nice translation, but I'm not sure I understand the dog comment. Anyway, welcome to the site!
    – Joonas Ilmavirta
    Jun 12, 2017 at 22:22
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    Could you explain how you arrived that this translation? Jun 15, 2017 at 15:04

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