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Saturday: January 3, 2009

Horace Kippled

Filed under: — site admin @ 11:54 PM GMT-0500

D. A. West, in Horace Odes I: Carpe Diem, Oxford 1995, 6-7:

In Horace the tone is often elusive. Perhaps the nearest thing in English is the parody [of Odes 1.1] by Kipling in ‘A Diversity of Creatures’:

There are whose study is of smells,
    Who to attentive schools rehearse
How something mixed with something else
    Makes something worse.

Some cultivate in broths impure
    The clients of our body; these,
Increasing without Venus, cure
    Or cause disease.

Others the heated wheel extol,
    And all its offspring, whose concern
Is how to make it farthest roll
    And fastest turn.

Me, much incurious if the hour
    Present, or to be paid for, brings
Me to Brundisium by the power
    Of wheels or wings,

Me, in whose breast no flame has burned
    Life long, save that by Pindar lit,
Such lore leaves cold; nor have I turned
    Aside for it,

More than when, sunk in thought profound
    of what the unaltered Gods require,
My steward (friend but slave) brings round
    Logs for my fire.