The translation on Perseus for this poem by Horace, gives the following for the third verse:

namque me silva lupus in Sabina,

dum meam canto Lalagen et ultra

terminum curis vagor expeditis,

fugit inermem;

A wolf, while roaming trouble-free

In Sabine wood, as fancy led me,

Unarm'd I sang my Lalage,

Beheld, and fled me.

I'm confused by what happened to ultra terminum. I would see this as meaning something like beyond the boundaries in a literal sense, but I'm not clear where that ended up in the English translation. It seems like it might have been omitted to make the English verse work. Am I missing something?

1 Answer 1


The notes on Perseus hint at the answer. For Horace to be ultra terminum (probably) means he is beyond the boundary of his farm, i.e. he is wandering in the Sabine forest. It's essentially the same image as silva...in Sabina.

What the translator seems to have done is that he forewent that particular reduplicated image and instead added another one of is own. The phrase "as fancy led me" kind of acts as a doublet for "trouble-free" (curis...expeditis). The reason is likely to be purely poetical, as we do not really lose much information cutting out ultra terminum completely.

  • Ahh, that makes sense. I haven't delved far into Latin poetry or translations of it, but I didn't think it would be too surprising that a lot of license might be taken with the English.
    – Adam
    Commented Jul 22, 2021 at 20:53
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    @Adam Especially the translations that try to be poetic themselves. You'll find plenty of glosses and skipped phrases along the way.
    – cmw
    Commented Jul 22, 2021 at 21:07
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    I suspect that “as fancy led me” is nothing else but this translator's attempt to translate ultra terminum in a way that rhymes with “fled me.” I note that other translations reproduce the clause quite plainly (like this one or this one). Commented Jul 22, 2021 at 22:56

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