Horace  
The Odes
In a day in which poetry is mostly relegated to creative writing
programs on college campuses, it is refreshing to recall Horace, who
immersed himself in the full range of life experiences available to him.
The son of a peasant freedman, Horace studied philosophy
in Athens as a youth, then served in the army of Brutus during the
Civil Wars, and worked his way up the ladder in Rome, starting as a
humble clerk in a public office.  He knew both poverty and prosperity,
and viewed both with the philosopher's dispassionate eye.   But he
ultimately found favor, with the Emperor Augustus no less -- who
commissioned him to write the fourth book of
Odes.   In his Odes we
find a sense of control, balance and poise that few poets have ever
matched, and none have surpassed.

WEB RESOURCES

Read the life of Horace by Suetonius

Here you can watch video clips and learn about the excavation of
Horace's villa near Licenza, Itlay.  

This
web site presents Horace's Odes in Latin and English facing
text, and links to other resources.  
TIPS FOR READERS

If you remember any
of your high school
Latin, you might find
the
Loeb edition with
facing text as a good
supplement to your
study of the Odes.  I
enjoyed
David Ferry's
version (also with
facing Latin text.),
and one might also
consider
J.D.
McClatchy's edition.  
McClatchy has put
together a version
drawing on the
collective strength of
some thirty-five
contemporary poets.


A MODERN TWIST . . .

Gilbert Highet brings
the great Roman
poets to life in his

Poets in a Landscape
,
which is a unique
mixture of travelogue
and literary criticism.   
This would be a
inspiring book to
bring with you on a
Roman holiday.