In paying a compliment to one of his patron, Maecenas’s, friends, Horace is describing a party. Live it with him, from the original idea to the finale in the small hours, in just 125 words. The party about to go with a swing in the illustration, by Anselm Feuerbach, is Greek; but then, so is almost everything about Horace’s little gem of a poem except for the language.

Hear Horace’s Latin and follow in English here.

After travelling with Aeneas through Hades, following Virgil at his most epic, it is time for a change. Horace Ode 3.21 sees Horace at his most gential, celebrating wine, friendship and other good things in life.

The illustration is a fresco from Herculaneum, destroyed like Pompeii by the eruption of Vesuvius in 79CE.

Listen in Latin and follow in English here.

This ode is a lively and heartfelt tribute to the God of wine – if you want a potted biography in the form of mythological reference, here it is! Like Virgil’s Aeneas, Bacchus is one of the select band to make the journey to Hades and return to the upper world: in the most charming description of Cerberus in Latin, Horace shows the watchdog of the underworld in unusually gentle mood. The illustration of Cerberus is by William Blake.

Hear the poem in Latin and follow in English here.