Horace

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He wins every hand who mingles profit with pleasure, by delighting and instructing the reader at the same time.
What odds does it make to the man who lives within Nature's bounds, whether he ploughs a hundred acres or a thousand?

Quintus Horatius Flaccus (8 December 65 BC27 November 8 BC), known in the English-speaking world as Horace, was the leading lyric poet in Latin.

Quotes[edit]

Life grants nothing to us mortals without hard work.
Never despair...

Satires (c. 35 BC and 30 BC)[edit]

  • Quamquam ridentem dicere verum quid vetat? ut pueris olim dant crustula blandi doctores, elementa velint ut discere prima.
    • What is to prevent one from telling truth as he laughs, even as teachers sometimes give cookies to children to coax them into learning their A B C?
    • Book I, satire i, line 24
  • What odds does it make to the man who lives within Nature's bounds, whether he ploughs a hundred acres or a thousand?
    • Book I, satire i, line 48
  • Inde fit ut raro, qui se vixisse beatum
    dicat et exacto contentus tempore vita
    cedat uti conviva satur, reperire queamus.
    • We rarely find anyone who can say he has lived a happy life, and who, content with his life, can retire from the world like a satisfied guest.
    • Book I, satire i, line 117.
  • Non satis est puris versum perscribere verbis.
    • 'Tis not sufficient to combine
      Well-chosen words in a well-ordered line.
    • Book I, satire iv, line 54 (translated by John Conington).
  • Atqui si vitiis mediocribus ac mea paucis
    mendosa est natura, alioqui recta, velut si
    egregio inspersos reprehendas corpore naevos,
    si neque avaritiam neque sordes nec mala lustra
    obiciet vere quisquam mihi, purus et insons,
    ut me collaudem, si et vivo carus amicis...
    at hoc nunc
    laus illi debetur et a me gratia maior.
    nil me paeniteat sanum patris huius, eoque
    non, ut magna dolo factum negat esse suo pars,
    quod non ingenuos habeat clarosque parentis,
    sic me defendam.
    • If my character is flawed by a few minor faults, but is otherwise decent and moral, if you can point out only a few scattered blemishes on an otherwise immaculate surface, if no one can accuse me of greed, or of prurience, or of profligacy, if I live a virtuous life, free of defilement (pardon, for a moment, my self-praise), and if I am to my friends a good friend, my father deserves all the credit... As it is now, he deserves from me unstinting gratitude and praise. I could never be ashamed of such a father, nor do I feel any need, as many people do, to apologize for being a freedman's son.
    • Book I, satire vi, lines 65-92.
  • Nil sine magno
    vita labore dedit mortalibus.
    • Life grants nothing to us mortals without hard work.
    • Book I, satire ix, line 59.
  • In peace, as a wise man, he should make suitable preparation for war.
    • Book II, satire ii, line 2.
  • Ille sinistrorsum, hie dextrorsum abit : unus utrique
    Error, sed variis illudit partibus.
    • This to the right, that to the left hand strays,
      And all are wrong, but wrong in different ways.
    • Book II, satire iii, line 50 (trans. Conington)
  • Heu, Fortuna, quis est crudelior in nos
    Te deus? Ut semper gaudes illudere rebus Humanis!
    • O Fortune, cruellest of heavenly powers,
      Why make such game of this poor life of ours?
    • Book II, satire viii, line 61 (trans. Conington).
  • Dum licet, in rebus jucundis vive beatus;
    Vive memor quam sis aevi brevis.
    • Then take, good sir, your pleasure while you may;
      With life so short 'twere wrong to lose a day.
    • Book II, satire viii, line 96 (trans. Conington).

Odes (c. 23 BC and 13 BC)[edit]

I have made a monument more lasting than bronze.
  • Vitae summa brevis spem nos vetat inchoare longam.
    • Life's short span forbids us to enter on far reaching hopes.
    • Book I, ode iv, line 15.
  • Nil desperandum...
    • Never despair...
    • Book I, ode vii, line 27.
  • Permitte divis cetera.
    • Leave all else to the gods.
    • Book I, ode ix, line 9.
  • Dum loquimur, fugerit invida
    Aetas: carpe diem, quam minimum credula postero.
    • As we speak cruel time is fleeing. Seize the day, believing as little as possible in the morrow.
    • Book I, ode xi, line 7.
    • Cf. John Conington's translation:
      In the moment of our talking, envious time has ebbed away,
      Seize the present, trust tomorrow e'en as little as you may.
  • O matre pulchra filia pulchrior
    • O fairer daughter of a fair mother!
    • Book I, ode xvi, line 1.
  • Nunc est bibendum, nunc pede libero
    pulsanda tellus.
    • Now is the time for drinking, now the time to dance footloose upon the earth.
    • Book I, ode xxxvii, line 1.
  • Aequam memento rebus in arduis
    servare mentem.
    • In adversity, remember to keep an even mind.
    • Book II, ode iii, line 1.
  • Auream quisquis mediocritatem
    diligit, tutus caret obsoleti
    sordibus tecti, caret invidenda
    sobrius aula.
    • Whoever cultivates the golden mean avoids both the poverty of a hovel and the envy of a palace.
    • Book II, ode x, line 5.
  • Virginibus puerisque canto.
    • I sing for maidens and boys.
    • Book III, ode i, line 4.
  • Aequa lege Necessitas
    Sortitur insignes et imos;
    Omne capax movet urna nomen.
    • Death takes the mean man with the proud;
      The fatal urn has room for all.
    • Book III, ode i, line 14 (translated by John Conington).
  • Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori.
    • It is sweet and honorable to die for one's country.
    • Book III, ode ii, line 13.
  • Iustum et tenacem propositi virum
    non civium ardor prava iubentium,
    non vultus instantis tyranni
    mente quatit solida.
    • The man who is tenacious of purpose in a rightful cause is not shaken from his firm resolve by the frenzy of his fellow citizens clamoring for what is wrong, or by the tyrant's threatening countenance.
    • Book III, ode iii, line 1.
  • Si fractus illabatur orbis,
    impavidum ferient ruinae.
    • If the world should break and fall on him, it would strike him fearless.
    • Book III, ode iii, line 7.
  • Vis consili expers mole ruit sua.
    • Force without wisdom falls of its own weight.
    • Book III, ode iv, line 65.
  • Crescentem sequitur cura pecuniam,
    Maiorumque fames.
    • As money grows, care follows it and the hunger for more.
    • Book III, ode xvi, line 17.
  • Magnas inter opes inops.
    • A pauper in the midst of wealth.
    • Book III, ode xvi, line 28.
    • Cf. Conington's translation: "'Mid vast possessions poor."
  • Ille potens sui
    laetusque deget, cui licet in diem
    dixisse "vixi: cras vel atra
    nube polum pater occupato
    vel sole puro."
    • He will through life be master of himself and a happy man who from day to day can have said, "I have lived: tomorrow the Father may fill the sky with black clouds or with cloudless sunshine."
    • Book III, ode xxix, line 41.
  • Exegi monumentum aere perennius
    • I have made a monument more lasting than bronze.
    • Book III, ode xxx, line 1.
  • Pulvis et umbra sumus.
    • We are but dust and shadow.
    • Book IV, ode vii, line 16.
  • Vixere fortes ante Agamemnona.
  • Brave men were living before Agamemnon.
    • Book IV, ode ix, line 25.

Epistles (c. 20 BC and 14 BC)[edit]

I am not bound over to swear allegiance to any master; where the storm drives me I turn in for shelter.
To flee vice is the beginning of virtue, and to have got rid of folly is the beginning of wisdom.
He who has begun has half done. Dare to be wise; begin!
  • Nullius addictus iurare in verba magistri,
    quo me cumque rapit tempestas, deferor hospes.
    • I am not bound over to swear allegiance to any master; where the storm drives me I turn in for shelter.
    • Book I, epistle i, line 14.
  • Virtus est vitium fugere et sapientia prima
    stultitia caruisse.
    • To flee vice is the beginning of virtue, and to have got rid of folly is the beginning of wisdom.
    • Book I, epistle i, line 41.
  • Nos numerus sumus et fruges consumere nati.
    • We are but numbers, born to consume resources.
    • Book I, epistle ii, line 27.
  • Dimidium facti qui coepit habet; sapere aude;
    incipe!
    • He who has begun has half done. Dare to be wise; begin!
    • Book I, epistle ii, line 40.
  • Semper avarus eget.
    • The covetous man is ever in want.
    • Book I, epistle ii, line 56.
  • Ira furor brevis est: animum rege: qui nisi paret imperat.
    • Anger is a momentary madness so control your passion or it will control you.
    • Book I, epistle ii, line 62.
  • Inter spem curamque, timores inter et iras,
    Omnem crede diem tibi diluxisse supremum:
    Grata superveniet quae non sperabitur hora.
    • Let hopes and sorrows, fears and angers be,
      And think each day that dawns the last you'll see;
      For so the hour that greets you unforeseen
      Will bring with it enjoyment twice as keen.
    • Book I, epistle iv, line 12 (translated by John Conington).
  • Omnem crede diem tibi diluxisse supremum.
    grata superveniet, quae non sperabitur hora.
    • Think to yourself that every day is your last; the hour to which you do not look forward will come as a welcome surprise.
    • Book I, epistle iv, line 13-14.
  • Me pinguem et nitidum bene curata cute vises,
    cum ridere voles Epicuri de grege porcum.
    • As for me, when you want a good laugh, you will find me in fine state... fat and sleek, a true hog of Epicurus' herd.
    • Book I, epistle iv, lines 15-16.
  • Naturam expellas furca, tamen usque recurret.
    • You may drive out Nature with a pitchfork, yet she still will hurry back.
    • Book I, epistle x, line 24.
  • Caelum, non animum mutant, qui trans mare currunt.
    • Sky, not spirit, do they change, those who cross the sea.
    • Book I, epistle xi, line 27.
  • Pauper enim non est, cui rerum suppetit usus.
    si ventri bene, si lateri est pedibusque tuis, nil
    divitiae poterunt regales addere maius.
    • He is not poor who has enough of things to use. If it is well with your belly, chest and feet, the wealth of kings can give you nothing more.
    • Book I, epistle xii, line 4.
  • Quid velit et possit rerum concordia discors
    • What the discordant harmony of circumstances would and could effect.
    • Book I, epistle xii, line 19.
  • Nam neque divitibus contingunt gaudia solis,
    nec vixit male, qui natus moriensque fefellit
    .
    • For joys fall not to the rich alone, nor has he lived ill, who from birth to death has passed unknown.
    • Book I, epistle xvii, line 9.
  • Sedit qui timuit ne non succederet.
    • He who feared that he would not succeed sat still.
    • Book I, epistle xvii, line 37.
  • Semel emissum volat irrevocabile verbum.
    • Once a word has been allowed to escape, it cannot be recalled.
    • Book I, epistle xviii, line 71.
  • Qualem commendes, etiam atque etiam aspice, ne mox incutiant aliena tibi peccata pudorem.
    • Look round and round the man you recommend,
      For yours will be the shame should he offend.
    • Book I, epistle xviii, line 76 (translated by John Conington).
    • Variant translation: Study carefully the character of the one you recommend, lest his misdeeds bring you shame.
  • Nam tua res agitur, paries cum proximus ardet.
    • It is your concern when your neighbor's wall is on fire.
    • Book I, epistle xviii, line 84.
  • Interdum volgus rectum videt, est ubi peccat.
    • At times the world sees straight, but many times the world goes astray.
    • Book II, epistle i, line 63.
  • Graecia capta ferum victorem cepit et artes intulit agresti Latio.
    • Conquered Greece took captive her savage conqueror and brought her arts into rustic Latium.
    • Book II, epistle i, lines 156-157.
  • Singula de nobis anni praedantur euntes.
    • The years as they pass plunder us of one thing after another.
    • Book II, epistle ii, line 55.
  • Natales grate numeras?
    • Do you count your birthdays with gratitude?
    • Book II, epistle ii, line 210.

Ars Poetica, or The Epistle to the Pisones (c. 18 BC)[edit]

The mountains will be in labor, and a ridiculous mouse will be brought forth.
  • Inceptis gravibus plerumque et magna professis
    purpureus, late qui splendeat, unus et alter
    adsuitur pannus.
    • Often a purple patch or two is tacked on to a serious work of high promise, to give an effect of colour.
    • Line 14.
  • Brevis esse laboro,
    obscurus fio
    .
    • Struggling to be brief I become obscure.
    • Line 25.
  • Non satis est pulchra esse poemata; dulcia sunto
    Et, quocumque uolent, animum auditoris agunto.
    • Mere grace is not enough: a play should thrill
      The hearer's soul, and move it at its will.
    • Line 99 (translated by John Conington).
  • Si vis me flere, dolendum est
    primum ipsi tibi.
    • If you wish me to weep, you yourself
      Must first feel grief.
    • Line 102.
  • Format enim Natura prius nos intus ad omnem
    Fortunarum habitum, juvat, aut impellit ad iram,
    Aut ad humum moerore gravi deducit, et angit.
    • For nature forms our spirits to receive
      Each bent that outward circumstance can give:
      She kindles pleasure, bids resentment glow,
      Or bows the soul to earth in hopeless woe.
    • Line 108 (trans. Conington).
  • Difficile est proprie communia dicere.
    • It is difficult to speak of the universal specifically.
    • Line 128.
  • Parturient montes, nascetur ridiculus mus.
  • Grais ingenium, Grais dedit ore rotundo
    Musa loqui, præter laudem nullius avaris. . .
    • The Muse gave the Greeks their native character, and allowed them to speak in noble tones, they who desired nothing but praise.
    • Line 323.
  • Omne tulit punctum qui miscuit utile dulci,
    lectorem delectando pariterque monendo
    .
    • He wins every hand who mingles profit with pleasure, by delighting and instructing the reader at the same time.
    • Line 343.
  • Sunt delicta tamen quibus ignovisse velimus.
    • Some faults may claim forgiveness.
    • Line 347 (trans. Conington).
  • Indignor quandoque bonus dormitat Homerus;
    • I am displeased when sometimes even the worthy Homer nods;
    • Whence the familiar expression, Even Homer nods (i.e. No one is perfect: even the wisest make mistakes).
    • Line 359.
  • Mediocribus esse poetis Non homines, non di, non concessere columnae.
    • Mediocrity in poets has never been tolerated by either men, or gods, or booksellers.
    • Lines 372-373
  • Nee satis apparet, cur versus factitet.
    • None knows the reason why this curse
      Was sent on him, this love of making verse.
    • Line 470 (trans. Conington).


Misattributed[edit]

  • Ars longa, vita brevis.
    • Art is long, life is short.
    • Seneca's (De Brevitate Vitae, 1.1) Latin translation of the Greek by Hippocrates.

External links[edit]

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