Patrick Kurp on Rudyard Kipling.
Patrick Kurp on Rudyard Kipling.
New in Translations. As far as I can ascertain, these are not available elsewhere online:
IWP Books at The Horatian Society News Page.
New in Translations: John Conington, 1870, The Satires, Epistles, and Art of Poetry of Horace
It is strange to reflect that the thread of the life we have been considering was so closely interwoven with those which played so memorable a part in the mighty pattern. In earlier days at Rome Horace may have actually seen Herod passing in pomp through the streets when he made his famous visits to that city. In later life Horace actually knew Tiberius who, in turn, became acquainted with a certain Pontius Pilate. The Roman poet may have touched the hand that, a little later, touched the hands of the most disastrous judge in the world’s history, the hands that, with the most modern of all gestures, waved the truth away and then vainly tried to wash themselves clean of the guilt. At only one remove the Roman poet had touched them, not knowing; and not knowing that on the cross of the slaves, of whom his father had been one, there was soon to die the supreme and perfect exemplar of his own poor, groping pagan words:
virtus recludens immeritis mori
New in Translations: Alfred Noyes, 1947, Portrait of Horace
Collections of English Translations of the Odes. Update: One new collection, 75 new translations added to the others.
From T. R. Glover, 1932, Horace: A Return to Allegiance:
When Cervantes discusses Don Quixote with his friend in his sore need of introductory sonnets and marginal glosses, the friend suggests that he should write the sonnets himself; he could “father them on Prester John of the Indies”; and then he should gather phrases and scraps of Latin which he knows by heart or can easily find; the first specimen is from “Horace or whoever said it,” and the next is still more authentic, if anonymous —
Pallida mors aequo pulsat pede pauperum tabernas
Erasmus learnt all Horace (and Terence) by heart as a schoolboy. Luther himself has a strange Horatian echo in a serious passage; forgiveness is indeed a problem, nodus Deo vindice dignus (cf. A.P. 191). Ben Jonson translated the Art of Poetry and some of the Odes; Drummond of Hawthornden records how he repeated his version of Beatus ille, “and admired it” — the added clause suggests that Drummond felt as we all feel about other people’s translations of Horace, which in itself suggests fresh thought as to our poet’s appeal. Robert Burton in the Anatomy of Melancholy steadily quotes Horace; Sir Thomas Browne in his most serious moments turns to him, and Herrick in his lighter moments. Milton writes sonnets on Petrarch’s model, in which Cyriack Skinner may read his Horace again and find himself almost Maecenas.
But, as the Times reviewer of Miss Goad’s book said, Horace seems in Queen Anne’s reign to have burst upon the English world as a new and popular author. The urbanity, the quiet satire, the common-sense view of life, all appealed. Addison, Pope and Johnson are steeped in him. Fielding gave to The History of Tom Jones the Horatian motto, Mores hominum multorum vidit — cut away in the modern reprints. He inspires the light verse of Prior — “Horace is always in his mind”; William Cowper with his Classical scholarship, his humour, his grace, comes even nearer him; Burke quotes him to the House of Commons in arguing for conciliation with America, and Pitt for the abolition of the slave trade. Praed’s verse, all English light verse where touch and wit have play, goes back to Horace. William Makepeace Thackeray is a born Horatian, more Horatian perhaps than he guessed, anima naturaliter Horatiana. I opened the Roundabout Papers at random the other day for another purpose and I found three Horatian echoes in one opening, two or three words being enough to remind you. It was No. viii. Thackeray’s speech is full of Horace, and his heart; — no slight testimony to the worth of Horace. You might say that Horace never lost his seat in Parliament till Gladstone retired and solaced his retirement by translating him. Well, Thackeray is not the fashion of the moment with our modern novelists, nor is Horace. A clerical headmaster has, indeed, lamented that “the philosophy of the average public school product is still fundamentally Horatian.” To which The Times rejoins that one passage of his doctrine remains steadily ours; aequam memento, even if we didn’t quote it, was an integral part of out lives in the years of the war. A great old English characteristic — but is it also waning today? If the Horatian echo has dropped out of our talk and writing and out of our thought, perhaps we need not at once congratulate ourselves; let us remember that, when Jack Wilkes censured it as pedantry, Dr. Johnson at once rejoined: “No, Sir, it is a good thing; there is a community of mind in it. Classical quotation is the parole of literary men all over the world.” It is hard to feel sure that Parliament and the press, literature or reviewing, are any the saner for the decline of his influence; extravagance never had a friend in him. Horace belonged to the Augustan age, and perhaps he needs an Augustan age, or something like it, to appreciate him and that is the last description that will be given of this Twentieth Century. Mark Antony, so fat, is much more than Octavian our model, brilliant, disorderly, unstable; and, if Horace hated anything, it was the kind of life, public and private, that Antony affected. The triumphal ode for the battle of Actium is not the only evidence for this.
New in Translations:
New in Articles:
Alan Jacobs (@ayjay) on Reading Horace.
New in Translations:
New in Articles:
From Walter Bagehot’s “Béranger,” 1857:
The point in which Béranger most resembles Horace is that which is the most essential in the characters of them both – their geniality. This is the very essence of the poems of society; it springs in the verses of amusement, it harmonises with acquiescing sympathy the poems of indifference. And yet few qualities in writing are so rare. A certain malevolence enters into literary ink; the point of the pen pricks. Pope is the very best example of this. With every desire to imitate Horace, he cannot touch any of his subjects, or any kindred subjects, without infusing a bitter ingredient. It is not given to the children of men to be philosophers without envy. Lookers-on can hardly bear the spectacle of the great world. If you watch the carriages rolling down to the House of Lords, you will try to depreciate the House of Lords. Idleness is cynical. Both Béranger and Horace are exceptions to this. Both enjoy the roll of the wheels; both love the glitter of the carriages; neither is angry at the sun. Each knows that he is as happy as he can be – that he is all that he can be in his contemplative philosophy. In his means of expression for the purpose in hand, the Frenchman has the advantage. The Latin language is clumsy. Light pleasure was an exotic in the Roman world; the terms in which you strive to describe it suit rather the shrill camp and droning law-court. In English, as we hinted just now, we have this too. Business is in our words; a too heavy sense clogs our literature; even in a writer so apt as Pope at the finesse of words, you feel that the solid Gothic roots impede him. It is difficult not to be cumbrous. The horse may be fleet and light, but the wheels are ponderous and the road goes heavily. Béranger certainly has not this difficulty; nobody ever denied that a Frenchman could be light, that the French language was adapted for levity.
Walter Bagehot on Horace (From “Béranger,” 1857):
…the spirit of Horace is alive, and as potent as that of any man. His tone is that of prime ministers; his easy philosophy is that of courts and parliaments; you may hear his words where no other foreign words are ever heard. He is but the extreme and perfect type of a whole class of writers, some of whom exist in every literary age, and who give an expression to what we may call the poetry of equanimity, that is, the world’s view of itself; its self-satisfaction, its conviction that you must bear what comes, not hope for much, think some evil, never be excited, admire little, and then you will be at peace. This creed does not sound attractive in description. Nothing, it has been said, is so easy as to be “religious on paper”: on the other hand, it is rather difficult to be worldly in speculation; the mind of man, when its daily maxims are put before it, revolts from anything so stupid, so mean, so poor. It requires a consummate art to reconcile men in print to that moderate and insidious philosophy which creeps into all hearts, colours all speech, influences all action. We may not stiffen commonsense into a creed; our very ambition forbids: —
It hears a voice within us tell:
“Calm’s not life’s crown, though calm is well,“
’Tis all perhaps which man acquires;
But ’tis not what our youth desires”.
Still a great artist may succeed in making “calm” interesting. Equanimity has its place in literature; the poetry of equipoise is possible.
By the time of his death in 1955, Sir Ronald Storrs had collected about 350 translations of the Ode to Pyrrha, including 150 to English, 54 to French, 35 to Italian, 24 to German, 14 to Spanish — and the others to some 25 different languages. By 1959, Sir Charles Tennyson had found 100 additional translations to several languages (about 30 to English), bringing the total to 451. Then, following instructions left by Storrs, he published Ad Pyrrham: A Polyglot Collection of Translations of Horace’s Ode to Pyrrha, with an introduction by Storrs and a selection of the translations. The selection aimed at covering “as wide a range as possible in country, period and style,” but Tennyson worried about monotony, and chose to include only 63 translations to English, 20 to French, 12 to Italian, 13 to German, 15 to Spanish, two to Welsh, and one to each of 19 other languages. Thinking that the whole set of English translations might not be monotonous, I decided to put together a collection of as many as I could find. Yet, after having found 417 translations, I was reminded of what W. H. Auden once wrote (paraphrasing Paul Valéry): “A poem is never finished, only abandoned.”
The collection can be found in Collections of Translations.
Remembering Nicholas Rescher, A Gentle Giant by John Haldane
“This little collection is dedicated above all to those persons who have no system and belong to no party and are therefore still free to doubt whatever is doubtful and to maintain what is not.” (Paul Valéry, Foreword to Outlook for Intelligence)
Hod Hasharon, Israel, 2024
The Humanity of Horace by Llewelyn Morgan.
All the President’s Mien by Theodore Dalrymple.
Theodore Dalrymple on The Food Police.
Jacques Barzun on Administering and the Law:
Administering as opposed to administration may be defined by this example. Some years ago a distinguished physician in Boston was doing research on several related afflictions characterized by anemia. He developed a new treatment, which included a strictly controlled diet. One day, entering a patient’s room, he met the nurse coming out with the lunch tray, where he saw each of the prescribed dishes eaten only in part or not at all. He had a sudden revelation of his oversight. The carefully measured gluten, proteins, calories, and vitamins were going into his research paper, not into his patients. He had been making policy; he had not been administering it.
Patrick Kurp on Joseph Epstein
Collections of English Translations of the Odes. Update: 53 Translations Added!
Another year! – another deadly blow!
Another mighty Empire overthrown!
And We are left, or shall be left, alone;
The last that dare to struggle with the Foe.
‘Tis well! from this day forward we shall know.
That in ourselves our safety must be sought;
That by our own right hands it must be wrought;
That we must stand unpropped, or be laid low.
O dastard whom such foretaste doth not cheer!
We shall exult, if they who rule the land.
Be men who hold its many blessings dear,
Wise, upright, valiant; not a servile band,
Who are to judge of danger which they fear,
And honour which they do not understand.
(William Wordsworth, November, 1806)
Broken Codes of Conduct by Theodore Dalrymple.