Quintus Horatius Flaccus, known in the English-speaking world as Horace, was the leading Roman lyric poet during the time of Augustus. The rhetorician Quintillian regarded his Odes as almost the only Latin lyrics worth reading, justifying his estimate with the words: "He can be lofty sometimes, yet he is also full of charm and grace, versatile in his figures, and felicitously daring in his choice of words."
Horace also crafted elegant hexameter verses (Sermones and Epistles) and scurrilous iambic poetry (Epodes). The hexameters are playful and yet serious works, leading the ancient satirist Persius to comment: "as his friend laughs, Horace slyly puts his finger on ... more »
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BkI:XI Carpe Diem
Leuconoë, don’t ask, we never know, what fate the gods grant us, whether your fate or mine, don’t waste your time on Babylonian, futile, calculations. How much better to suffer what happens, whether Jupiter gives us more winters or this is the last one,
BkI:II To Augustus
The Father’s sent enough dread hail and snow to earth already, striking sacred hills with fiery hand, to scare the city,
BkI:V Treacherous Girl
What slender boy, Pyrrha, drowned in liquid perfume, urges you on, there, among showers of roses, deep down in some pleasant cave? For whom did you tie up your hair,
See how Soracte stands glistening with snowfall, and the labouring woods bend under the weight: see how the mountain streams are frozen, cased in the ice by the shuddering cold?
Fierce winter slackens its grip: it’s spring and the west wind’s sweet change: the ropes are hauling dry hulls towards the shore, The flock no longer enjoys the fold, or the ploughman the fire, no more are the meadows white with hoary frost.
BkI:I The Dedication: To Maecenas
Maecenas, descendant of royal ancestors, O my protector, and my sweet glory, some are delighted by showers of dust, Olympic dust, over their chariots, they
BkI:XIX Glycera’s Beauty
Cruel Venus, Cupid’s mother, Bacchus, too, commands me, Theban Semele’s son, and you, lustful Licentiousness, to recall to mind that love I thought long-finished.
Cultivate no plant, my Varus, before the rows of sacred vines, set in Tibur’s gentle soil, and by the walls Catilus founded: because the god decreed all things are hard for those who never drink, and he gave us no better way to lessen our anxieties.
BkI:XVII The Delights of the Country
Swift Faunus, the god, will quite often exchange Arcady for my sweet Mount Lucretilis, and while he stays he protects my goats from the midday heat and the driving rain.
BkI:XXX Ode To Venus
O Venus, the queen of Cnidos and Paphos, spurn your beloved Cyprus, and summoned by copious incense, come to the lovely shrine of my Glycera.
BkI:VI A Tribute to Agrippa
You should be penned as brave, and a conqueror by Varius, winged with his Homeric poetry, whatever fierce soldiers, with vessels or horses, have carried out, at your command.
BkI:XIII His Jealousy
When you, Lydia, start to praise Telephus’ rosy neck, Telephus’ waxen arms, alas, my burning passion starts to mount deep inside me, with troubling anger.
BkI:XXIII Chloë, Don’t Run.
You run away from me as a fawn does, Chloë, searching the trackless hills for its frightened mother, not without aimless terror of the pathless winds, and the woods.
BkI:XIV The Ship of State
O ship the fresh tide carries back to sea again. Where are you going! Quickly, run for harbour. Can’t you see how your sides have been stripped bare of oars,
Comments about Horace
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BkI:XI Carpe Diem
Leuconoë, don’t ask, we never know, what fate the gods grant us,
whether your fate or mine, don’t waste your time on Babylonian,
futile, calculations. How much better to suffer what happens,
whether Jupiter gives us more winters or this is the last one,
one debilitating the Tyrrhenian Sea on opposing cliffs.
Be wise, and mix the wine, since time is short: limit that far-reaching hope.
The envious moment is flying now, now, while we’re speaking:
Seize the day, place in the hours that come as little faith as you can.