Lesson 9.1 Horace


The bad news is that we will only look at two sentences today. The good news is that they are both by Horace, and are therefore full of interest. Each of them constitutes eight lines of poetry too, so you will be using all your powers.

Horace was a contemporary of Virgil and the Emperor Augustus. By any measure he must be considered one of the greatest poets who ever lived. He wrote lyrical odes, satires, a famous verse essay on the art of poetry, and a book of epodes.

What is an epode? Etymologically it suggests an aftersong, from the Greek epi (after) and odos (an ode). Technically it is a kind of lyrical poem with alternating long and short lines in a Greek metre which Horace inaccurately claimed to have introduced to Roman verse. He has seventeen of them, mainly satirical, on a range of topics from romance to politics. Download the vocabulary if you like, and we’ll have a look at the opening of the second epode.