Timeless meditations on the subjects of wine, parties, birthdays, love, and friendship, Horace’s Odes, in the words of classicist Donald Carne-Ross, make the “commonplace notable, even luminous.” This edition reproduces the highly lauded translation by James Michie. “For almost forty years,” poet and literary critic John Hollander notes, “James Michie’s brilliant translations of Horace have remained fresh as ...
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Odes: With the Latin Text

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Timeless meditations on the subjects of wine, parties, birthdays, love, and friendship, Horace’s Odes, in the words of classicist Donald Carne-Ross, make the “commonplace notable, even luminous.” This edition reproduces the highly lauded translation by James Michie. “For almost forty years,” poet and literary critic John Hollander notes, “James Michie’s brilliant translations of Horace have remained fresh as well as strong, and responsive to the varying lights and darks of the originals. It is a pleasure to have them newly available.”

From the Trade Paperback edition.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“Horace has always been one of my favourite poets, and I have often toyed with the idea of translating him.
After reading Michie’s translation, however, I see that I must dismiss the idea. I do not expect to read a better one.” —W. H. Auden

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780307431554
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 12/18/2007
  • Series: Modern Library Classics
  • Sold by: Random House
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 559,930
  • File size: 691 KB

Meet the Author

James Michie was born in 1927 and studied classics at Trinity College, Oxford. His other translations include The Poems of Catullus and Virgil’s Eclogues. His Collected Poems was awarded the Hawthornden Prize.

Gregson Davis is Andrew W. Mellon Professor of Classics and Comparative Literature at Duke University and the author of Polyhymnia: The Rhetoric of Horatian Lyric Discourse.

From the Trade Paperback edition.
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Read an Excerpt

Odes Book One
Carminum Liber Primus

Maecenas atavis edite regibus, o et praesidium et dulce decus meum, sunt quos curriculo pulverem Olympicum collegisse iuvat, metaque fervidis evitata rotis palmaque nobilis terrarum dominos evehit ad deos; hunc, si mobilium turba Quiritium certat tergeminis tollere honoribus; illum, si proprio condidit horreo quidquid de Libycis verritur areis. gaudentem patrios findere sarculo agros Attalicis condicionibus numquam dimoveas ut trabe Cypria Myrtoum pavidus nauta secet mare. luctantem Icariis fluctibus Africum mercator metuens otium et oppidi laudat rura sui; mox reficit ratis quassas, indocilis pauperiem pati. est qui nec veteris pocula Massici nec partem solido demere de die spernit, nunc viridi membra sub arbuto stratus, nunc ad aquae lene caput sacrae. multos castra iuvant et lituo tubae permixtus sonitus bellaque matribus detestata. manet sub Iove frigido venator tenerae coniugis immemor, seu visa est catulis cerva fidelibus, seu rupit teretes Marsus aper plagas. me doctarum hederae praemia frontium dis miscent superis, me gelidum nemus nympharumque leves cum Satyris chori secernunt populo, si neque tibias Euterpe cohibet nec Polyhymnia Lesboum refugit tendere barbiton. quodsi me lyricis vatibus inseres, sublimi feriam sidera vertice.

Maecenas, son of royal stock, My friend, my honour, my firm rock, The enthusiastic charioteer Stirs up the Olympic dust, then, clear- ing turning-post with red-hot wheels, Snatches the victor’s palm and feels Lord of the earth, god among men; The politician glories when The fickle voters designate Him three times public magistrate; A third if in his barns he stores All Libya’s wheat-stacked threshing floors. The peasant happy with a rake Scratching his family fields won’t take Even an Attaline reward To face the terrors of shipboard, An awkward landsman trying to plough Salt furrows with a Cyprian prow. The trader, when the southerly gales Tussle with waves round Samos, quails And grumbles for a life of ease, For his home town and fields and trees, But, ill-disposed to learn to be A poor man, soon refits for sea His tossed ships. One man won’t decline Goblets of vintage Massic wine, Or stolen time, a solid chunk Of afternoon, sprawled by the trunk Of a green arbutus, or spread- eagled by some quiet fountain-head. Another likes the life at arms, The camp’s cacophonous alarms— Bugle and clarion—and the wars Mothers abominate. Outdoors, Underneath the freezing skies, Contentedly the hunter lies, Oblivious of his sweet young bride

Iam satis terris nivis atque dirae grandinis misit Pater et rubente dextera sacras iaculatus arces terruit urbem,

terruit gentis, grave ne rediret saeculum Pyrrhae nova monstra questae, omne cum Proteus pecus egit altos visere montis,

piscium et summa genus haesit ulmo nota quae sedes fuerat columbis, et superiecto pavidae natarunt aequore dammae.

vidimus flavum Tiberim retortis litore Etrusco violenter undis ire deiectum monumenta regis templaque Vestae,

Iliae dum se nimium querenti iactat ultorem, vagus et sinistra

When once his trusty dogs have spied Deer, or a Marsian wild boar tears The fine-spun netting of his snares. But me the crown of ivy, sign Of poets’ brows, denotes divine; Me the light troop, in the cool glen, Of nymphs and satyrs screens from men— While Euterpe still lets me use Her twin pipes, and her sister Muse Consents to tune the Lesbian lyre. And if to the great lyric choir You add my name, this head, held high, Will jog the planets in the sky.


Enough the ordeal now, the snow- and hail-storms God has unleashed on earth, whose red right hand hurled Bolts at the Capitol’s sacred summits, spreading
Fear in the City streets,

Fear among nations lest the age of horror Should come again when Pyrrha gasped at strange sights: Old Proteus herding his whole sea-zoo uphill,
Visiting mountain-tops,

And the fish people, tangled in the elm-trees, Floundering among the ancient haunts of pigeons, And deer in terror struggling through the new-spread
Fields of a world-wide flood.

We watched the Tiber’s tawny water, wrenched back Hard from the Tuscan side, go raging forward To Vesta’s temple and King Numa’s palace,
Threatening their overthrow.

From the Trade Paperback edition.
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