Odes by Horace

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Home > Latin Authors and Literature > Horace

THE ODES AND CARMEN SAECULARE OF HORACE

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BOOK IV, ODE 9.

'Twixt worth and baseness, lapp'd in death,

What difference?

I believe I have expressed Horace's meaning, though he has chosen to express himself as if the two things compared were dead worthlessness and uncelebrated worth. By fixing the epithet sepultae to inertiae he doubtless meant to express that the natural and appropriate fate of worthlessness was to be dead, buried, and forgotten. But the context shows that he was thinking of the effect of death and its consequent oblivion on worth and worthlessness alike, and contending that the poet alone could remedy the undiscriminating and unjust award of destiny. Throughout the first half of the Ode, however, Horace has rather failed to mark the transitions of thought. He begins by assuring himself and, by implication, those whom he celebrates, of immortality, on the ground that the greatest poets are not the only poets; he then exchanges this thought for another, doubtless suggested by it, that the heroes of poetry are not the only heroes, though the very fact that there have been uncelebrated heroes is used to show that celebration by a poet is everything.

Or bear your banners through the fight,

Scattering the Joemari's firm array.

It seems, on the whole, simpler to understand this of actual victories obtained by Lollius as a commander, than of moral victories obtained by him as a judge. There is harshness in passing abruptly from the judgment-seat to the battle-field; but to speak of the judgment-seat as itself the battle-field would, I think, be harsher still.


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Anno Urbis - The Roman Empire Online

Facts and Information About The Roman Empire


Roman Empire at its Greatest Extent

This site is dedicated to bringing you information about the wonder that was the Roman Empire and how its legacy still shapes our history, our language, and the foundations of our society and its institutions. The Roman Empire endures!

The City of Rome was traditionally founded in 753 B.C. by our calendar. The Romans measured their calendar from the foundation of the City, or "Anno urbis conditae". By their calendar, today is Anno Urbis ("The Year of the City") 2768.

Roman Coliseum

The Roman Empire at its greatest extent comprised most of western Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa. Larger than even most modern nations, the empire was held together by a network of roads, a common language, and most of all a culture which still today exerts a powerful influence on our society and institutions, over 1600 years after the fall of Rome. No other empire or civilization has had such a lasting and significant impact on the modern world.

Roman Empire - Texts and Resources



        More Texts About the Roman Empire ....








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