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Horace, Odes


Read and translated by George Sharpley

Recordings © the LATIN QVARTER, 2016

As a love poet Horace does not show the same degree of devotion or commitment as Tibullus: his liaisons are for the here and now.

He is less intense than Catullus, less excitable than Propertius. There is a wry, almost avuncular detachment about his desires, although

like the other poets he feels the heat too.

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        Mater saeva Cupidinum
Thebanaeque iubet me Semelae puer
        et lasciva Licentia
finitis animum reddere amoribus.
        urit me Glycerae nitor
splendentis Pario marmore purius;
        urit grata protervitas
et vultus nimium lubricus aspici.
        in me tota ruens Venus
Cyprum deseruit, nec patitur Scythas
        aut versis animosum equis
Parthum dicere nec quae nihil attinent.
        hic vivum mihi caespitem, hic
verbenas, pueri, ponite turaque
        bimi cum patera meri:
mactata veniet lenior hostia.

The cruel mother of Cupids and the son of Theban Semele and frisky Wantonness command me to give my heart back to desires that were over. Glycera’s beauty burns me up; she’s brighter than Parian marble; her delicious cheekiness has me on fire, and her face, too dangerous to look at. Venus has left Cyprus and rushes upon me with all her power. She doesn’t allow me to sing of Scythians or the Parthian who finds courage when his horse is turned to flight or anything of no importance. Here place fresh turf for me, boys, here some green shoots, and incense with a dish of two-year-old wine. We’ll offer a sacrifice and she will come more gently.

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