Page:Horse shoes and horse shoeing.djvu/69

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45
ROMAN POETS.

who, with brazen car, and the prancing of his horn-hoofed steeds, would needs counterfeit the storms and inimitable thunder.’[1] And again: ‘Their acclamations rise; and, a squadron formed, the hoof beats with trampling din the mouldering plain.’[2] In another place he also alludes to the favourite epithet by which this animal was popularly known to the Roman—that of Sonipes. ‘On its sounding hoofs the horse stands, and impatient champs the foaming bit.’[3]

In the Georgics, when he wishes to point out in a particular manner, one of the most cherished qualities in the noble animal he so beautifully describes in that poem — the density and shape of the external covering of the foot,— he eloquently says of the war-horse: ‘With his hoof of solid and deeply-resounding horn, he hollows out the earth.’[4] Or as Sotheby more poetically expresses it,

 ‘earth around
Rings to the solid hoof that wear the ground.’

Virgil mentions the wheels shod with iron as ferati orbes, but makes not the most distant allusion to a like garniture on hoofs.

And M. A. Lucan (a.d. 60) in his poem ‘Pharsalia,’ frequently mentions the nature of the horse's feet. For instance, when speaking of the horses belonging to Curio's

  1. Book v. 592-4
  2. Book viii. 596-8
  3. Book iv. 135. ‘Stat sonipes, ac frena ferox spumantia mandit.’ Another example is found in the same poem: ‘Quo sonipes ictu furit arduus altaque jactat,’
  4. Book iii. 88,—

     ‘Cavatque
    Tellurem, et solidus graviter sonat ungula cornu.’