In today’s Ode, Horace exclaims at the futility and presumption of the rich, who go in for grand building works, even encroaching on the sea in places like the luxurious seaside resort of Baiae. He prefers the simple life on his Sabine farm.

Horace uses Hipponactean metre, an unusual one found only here among his works. Hear his Latin performed in the original and follow in English here.

A E Housman was a professor of Latin as well as a famous poet of the life of the English countryside. Because of these twin talents, his translation of Horace’s “Diffugere nives” (Ode 4.7) captures its sentiment and mood perfectly although he uses English poetic techniques and convention which could hardly be more different than those of Latin poetry. All the more reason to encounter Latin poetry in the original, with a reading and a translation, at Pantheon Poets.

In the illustration, Theseus and Pirithous, whose legendary friendship is referred to at the end of the poem, rid the land of robbers and liberate abducted women.

See and hear Horace’s original alongside Housman’s translation here.

Horace makes a sweet, epigrammatic poem on a theme from the Greek models he so admires. Chloe wants to continue to stick close to her mother, but needs to realise that the time for love and adulthood is upon her.

Hear Horace’s Latin performed in the original and follow in English translation here.

Odi profanum volgus et arceo, omne capax movet urna nomen, post equitem sedet atra cura – “I despise the profane crowd, I banish them”; “(Destiny’s) capacious urn shakes every name together”; “behind the rider sits black Care”. These, among Horace’s most famous phrases, all occur in the first poem in his third book of Odes. It is “carpe diem” with a difference: the more you have, the more there is for you to worry about, and the answer is to be content with modest comforts and avoid the temptations of greed and excess. It is no coincidence that, at the time, the Emperor Augustus was championing a return to simpler, ancestral, Roman values. Hear Horace’s Latin and follow in English here.

A middle-aged Horace attempts, in the last Book of his Odes, to seduce Phyllis, who will, he says, be his last love. He just might be describing a real attraction, with the names changed, or be reworking a Greek model as a purely literary exercise: we will never know, but the poetry is beautiful, and vintage Horace. Hear his Latin and follow in a new English translation here.

The illustration is a Greek girl, by the classicising Victorian painter, Alma-Tadema.