Horace's Odes and Carmen Saeculare
At a time of extraordinary political upheaval, Horace wrote poetry and proudly boasted that his Odes were bringing to Rome the metres and subject matter of the Greek lyric poets who had flourished some six centuries earlier. His achievement ensured that the Odes remained unique in Latin literature, and they have continued to be read and loved for two thousand years. Horace’s metrical diversity is fundamental to his artistry, so these translations recreate the original thirteen metres in English. They are written in elegant verse which is always alert to the poems’ structure, register, rhetoric, sound and syntax. Special attention is given to the nuanced meanings of words in their context and to the implications of Horace’s often highly unusual word-order—no Roman ever spoke such Latin, except when reading the Odes aloud. The translations are supported by a wide-ranging introduction, which provides biographical, historical and literary context, and shows several ways in which the Odes can respond to literary analysis. The extensive notes constitute a commentary on all the poems, drawing the reader from the translations to the facing text of Horace’s Latin, and offering brief discussions of textual, literary, linguistic, metrical, historical, geographical, mythological and religious issues. Students and general readers will find the tools here to help them develop their own personal response to Horace’s exceptional poetry, while teachers will welcome the opportunity to compare poems across all four books of the Odes in equal detail.
Simon Preece studied Classics at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, where he performed the part of Orestes in Euripides’ Electra for the Cambridge Greek Play, and Singing at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. He works as a classical singer in Britain and further afield, both as a soloist and as a member of many of the best-known professional choirs. His work also explores the poetry and music of 19th and 20th century Lieder, Mélodie and English Song.
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