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Best Famous Horace Poems

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Written by John Wheelwright | Create an image from this poem

Train Ride

 For Horace Gregory

After rain, through afterglow, the unfolding fan
of railway landscape sidled onthe pivot
of a larger arc into the green of evening;
I remembered that noon I saw a gradual bud
still white; though dead in its warm bloom;
always the enemy is the foe at home.
And I wondered what surgery could recover our lost, long stride of indolence and leisure which is labor in reverse; what physic recall the smile not of lips, but of eyes as of the sea bemused.
We, when we disperse from common sleep to several tasks, we gather to despair; we, who assembled once for hopes from common toil to dreams or sickish and hurting or triumphal rapture; always our enemy is our foe at home.
We, deafened with far scattered city rattles to the hubbub of forest birds (never having "had time" to grieve or to hear through vivid sleep the sea knock on its cracked and hollow stones) so that the stars, almost, and birds comply, and the garden-wet; the trees retire; We are a scared patrol, fearing the guns behind; always the enemy is the foe at home.
What wonder that we fear our own eyes' look and fidget to be at home alone, and pitifully put of age by some change in brushing the hair and stumble to our ends like smothered runners at their tape; We follow our shreds of fame into an ambush.
Then (as while the stars herd to the great trough the blind, in the always-only-outward of their dismantled archways, awake at the smell of warmed stone or the sound of reeds, lifting from the dim into the segment of green dawn) always our enemy is our foe at home, more certainly than through spoken words or from grief- twisted writing on paper, unblotted by tears the thought came: There is no physic for the world's ill, nor surgery; it must (hot smell of tar on wet salt air) burn in fever forever, an incense pierced with arrows, whose name is Love and another name Rebellion (the twinge, the gulf, split seconds, the very raindrops, render, and instancy of Love).
All Poetry to this not-to-be-looked-upon sun of Passion is the moon's cupped light; all Politics to this moon, a moon's reflected cupped light, like the moon of Rome, after the deep well of Grecian light sank low; always the enemy is the foe at home.
But these three are friends whose arms twine without words; as, in still air, the great grove leans to wind, past and to come.

Written by Rudyard Kipling | Create an image from this poem

A Translation

 Horace, BK.
, Ode 3 "Regulus"-- A Diversity of Creatures There are whose study is of smells, And to attentive schools rehearse How something mixed with something else Makes something worse.
Some cultivate in broths impure The clients of our body--these, Increasing without Venus, cure, Or cause, disease.
Others the heated wheel extol, And all its offspring, whose concern Is how to make it farthest roll And fastest turn.
Me, much incurious if the hour Present, or to be paid for, brings Me to Brundusium by the power Of wheels or wings; Me, in whose breast no flame hath burned Life-long, save that by Pindar lit, Such lore leaves cold.
I am not turned Aside to it More than when, sunk in thought profound Of what the unaltering Gods require, My steward (friend but slave) brings round Logs for my fire.
Written by Matthew Prior | Create an image from this poem

A Better Answer

 Dear Chloe, how blubbered is that pretty face;
Thy cheek all on fire, and thy hair all uncurled!
Prithee quit this caprice, and (as old Falstaff says)
Let us e'en talk a little like folks of this world.
How canst thou presume thou hast leave to destroy The beauties which Venus but lent to thy keeping? Those looks were designed to inspire love and joy: More ord'nary eyes may serve people for weeping.
To be vexed at a trifle or two that I writ, Your judgment at once, and my passion, you wrong: You take that for fact which will scarce be found wit— Od's life! must one swear to the truth of a song? What I speak, my fair Chloe, and what I write, shows The diff'rence there is betwixt nature and art: I court others in verse, but I love thee in prose; And they have my whimsies, but thou hast my heart.
The god of us verse-men (you know, child) the sun, How after his journeys he sets up his rest; If at morning o'er earth 'tis his fancy to run, At night he reclines on his Thetis's breast.
So when I am wearied with wand'ring all day, To thee, my delight, in the evening I come: No matter what beauties I saw in my way, They were but my visits, but thou art my home.
Then finish, dear Chloe, this pastoral war, And let us like Horace and Lydia agree; For thou art a girl as much brighter than her, As he was a poet sublimer than me.
Written by John Wilmot | Create an image from this poem

An Allusion to Horace

 Well Sir, 'tis granted, I said Dryden's Rhimes, 
Were stoln, unequal, nay dull many times: 
What foolish Patron, is there found of his, 
So blindly partial, to deny me this? 
But that his Plays, Embroider'd up and downe, 
With Witt, and Learning, justly pleas'd the Towne, 
In the same paper, I as freely owne: 
Yet haveing this allow'd, the heavy Masse, 
That stuffs up his loose Volumes must not passe: 
For by that Rule, I might as well admit, 
Crownes tedious Scenes, for Poetry, and Witt.
'Tis therefore not enough, when your false Sense Hits the false Judgment of an Audience Of Clapping-Fooles, assembling a vast Crowd 'Till the throng'd Play-House, crack with the dull Load; Tho' ev'n that Tallent, merrits in some sort, That can divert the Rabble and the Court: Which blundring Settle, never cou'd attaine, And puzling Otway, labours at in vaine.
But within due proportions, circumscribe What e're you write; that with a flowing Tyde, The Stile, may rise, yet in its rise forbeare, With uselesse Words, t'oppresse the wearyed Eare: Here be your Language lofty, there more light, Your Rethorick, with your Poetry, unite: For Elegance sake, sometimes alay the force Of Epethets; 'twill soften the discourse; A Jeast in Scorne, poynts out, and hits the thing, More home, than the Morosest Satyrs Sting.
Shakespeare, and Johnson, did herein excell, And might in this be Immitated well; Whom refin'd Etheridge, Coppys not at all, But is himself a Sheere Originall: Nor that Slow Drudge, in swift Pindarique straines, Flatman, who Cowley imitates with paines, And rides a Jaded Muse, whipt with loose Raines.
When Lee, makes temp'rate Scipio, fret and Rave, And Haniball, a whineing Am'rous Slave; I laugh, and wish the hot-brain'd Fustian Foole, In Busbys hands, to be well lasht at Schoole.
Of all our Moderne Witts, none seemes to me, Once to have toucht upon true Comedy, But hasty Shadwell, and slow Witcherley.
Shadwells unfinisht workes doe yet impart, Great proofes of force of Nature, none of Art.
With just bold Stroakes, he dashes here and there, Shewing great Mastery with little care; And scornes to varnish his good touches o're, To make the Fooles, and Women, praise 'em more.
But Witcherley, earnes hard, what e're he gaines, He wants noe Judgment, nor he spares noe paines; He frequently excells, and at the least, Makes fewer faults, than any of the best.
Waller, by Nature for the Bayes design'd, With force, and fire, and fancy unconfin'd, In Panigericks does Excell Mankind: He best can turne, enforce, and soften things, To praise great Conqu'rours, or to flatter Kings.
For poynted Satyrs, I wou'd Buckhurst choose, The best good Man, with the worst Natur'd Muse: For Songs, and Verses, Mannerly Obscene, That can stirr Nature up, by Springs unseene, And without forceing blushes, warme the Queene: Sidley, has that prevailing gentle Art, That can with a resistlesse Charme impart, The loosest wishes to the Chastest Heart, Raise such a Conflict, kindle such a ffire Betwixt declineing Virtue, and desire, Till the poor Vanquisht Maid, dissolves away, In Dreames all Night, in Sighs, and Teares, all Day.
Dryden, in vaine, try'd this nice way of Witt, For he, to be a tearing Blade thought fit, But when he wou'd be sharp, he still was blunt, To friske his frollique fancy, hed cry ****; Wou'd give the Ladyes, a dry Bawdy bob, And thus he got the name of Poet Squab: But to be just, twill to his praise be found, His Excellencies, more than faults abound.
Nor dare I from his Sacred Temples teare, That Lawrell, which he best deserves to weare.
But does not Dryden find ev'n Johnson dull? Fletcher, and Beaumont, uncorrect, and full Of Lewd lines as he calls em? Shakespeares Stile Stiffe, and Affected? To his owne the while Allowing all the justnesse that his Pride, Soe Arrogantly, had to these denyd? And may not I, have leave Impartially To search, and Censure, Drydens workes, and try, If those grosse faults, his Choyce Pen does Commit Proceed from want of Judgment, or of Witt.
Of if his lumpish fancy does refuse, Spirit, and grace to his loose slatterne Muse? Five Hundred Verses, ev'ry Morning writ, Proves you noe more a Poet, than a Witt.
Such scribling Authors, have beene seene before, Mustapha, the English Princesse, Forty more, Were things perhaps compos'd in Half an Houre.
To write what may securely stand the test Of being well read over Thrice oat least Compare each Phrase, examin ev'ry Line, Weigh ev'ry word, and ev'ry thought refine; Scorne all Applause the Vile Rout can bestow, And be content to please those few, who know.
Canst thou be such a vaine mistaken thing To wish thy Workes might make a Play-house ring, With the unthinking Laughter, and poor praise Of Fopps, and Ladys, factious for thy Plays? Then send a cunning Friend to learne thy doome, From the shrew'd Judges in the Drawing-Roome.
I've noe Ambition on that idle score, But say with Betty Morice, heretofore When a Court-Lady, call'd her Buckleys Whore, I please one Man of Witt, am proud on't too, Let all the Coxcombs, dance to bed to you.
Shou'd I be troubled when the Purblind Knight Who squints more in his Judgment, than his sight, Picks silly faults, and Censures what I write? Or when the poor-fed Poets of the Towne For Scrapps, and Coach roome cry my Verses downe? I loath the Rabble, 'tis enough for me, If Sidley, Shadwell, Shepherd, Witcherley, Godolphin, Buttler, Buckhurst, Buckingham, And some few more, whom I omit to name Approve my Sense, I count their Censure Fame.
Written by Archibald MacLeish | Create an image from this poem


 A year or two, and grey Euripides, 
And Horace and a Lydia or so, 
And Euclid and the brush of Angelo, 
Darwin on man, Vergilius on bees, 
The nose and Dialogues of Socrates, 
Don Quixote, Hudibras and Trinculo, 
How worlds are spawned and where the dead gods go,-- 
All shall be shard of broken memories.
And there shall linger other, magic things,-- The fog that creeps in wanly from the sea, The rotton harbor smell, the mystery Of moonlit elms, the flash of pigeon wings, The sunny Green, the old-world peace that clings About the college yard, where endlessly The dead go up and down.
These things shall be Enchantment of our heart's rememberings.
And these are more than memories of youth Which earth's four winds of pain shall blow away; These are earth's symbols of eternal truth, Symbols of dream and imagery and flame, Symbols of those same verities that play Bright through the crumbling gold of a great name.

Written by A E Housman | Create an image from this poem

Diffugere Nives (Horace Odes 4.7)

 The snows are fled away, leaves on the shaws
 And grasses in the mead renew their birth,
The river to the river-bed withdraws,
 And altered is the fashion of the earth.
The Nymphs and Graces three put off their fear And unapparelled in the woodland play.
The swift hour and the brief prime of the year Say to the soul, Thou wast not born for aye.
Thaw follows frost; hard on the heel of spring Treads summer sure to die, for hard on hers Comes autumn with his apples scattering; Then back to wintertide, when nothing stirs.
But oh, whate'er the sky-led seasons mar, Moon upon moon rebuilds it with her beams; Come we where Tullus and where Ancus are And good Aeneas, we are dust and dreams.
Torquatus, if the gods in heaven shall add The morrow to the day, what tongue has told? Feast then thy heart, for what thy heart has had The fingers of no heir will ever hold.
When thou descendest once the shades among, The stern assize and equal judgment o'er, Not thy long lineage nor thy golden tongue, No, nor thy righteousness, shall friend thee more.
Night holds Hippolytus the pure of stain, Diana steads him nothing, he must stay; And Theseus leaves Pirithous in the chain The love of comrades cannot take away.
Written by Philip Freneau | Create an image from this poem

To Mr. Blanchard the Celebrated Aeronaut in America

 Nil mortalibus ardui est
  Caelum ipsum petimus stultitia

FROM Persian looms the silk he wove
No Weaver meant should trail above
The surface of the earth we tread,
To deck the matron or the maid.
But you ambitious, have design'd With silk to soar above mankind:-- On silk you hang your splendid car And mount towards the morning star.
How can you be so careless--gay: Would you amidst red lightnings play; Meet sulphurous blasts, and fear them not-- Is Phaeton's sad fate forgot? Beyond our view you mean to rise-- And this Balloon, of mighty size, Will to the astonish'd eye appear, An atom wafted thro' the air.
Where would you rove? amidst the storms, Departed Ghosts, and shadowy forms, Vast tracks of aether, and, what's more, A sea of space without a shore!-- Would you to Herschell find the way-- To Saturn's moons, undaunted stray; Or, wafted on a silken wing, Alight on Saturn's double ring? Would you the lunar mountains trace, Or in her flight fair Venus chase; Would you, like her, perform the tour Of sixty thousand miles an hour?-- To move at such a dreadful rate He must propel, who did create-- By him, indeed, are wonders done Who follows Venus round the sun.
At Mars arriv'd, what would you see!-- Strange forms, I guess--not such as we; Alarming shapes, yet seen by none; For every planet has its own.
If onward still, you urge your flight You may approach some satellite, Some of the shining train above That circle round the orb of Jove.
Attracted by so huge a sphere You might become a stranger here: There you might be, if there you fly, A giant sixty fathoms high.
May heaven preserve you from that fate! Here, men are men of little weight: There, Polypheme, it might be shown, Is but a middle sized baboon.
-- This ramble through, the aether pass'd, Pray tell us when you stop at last; Would you with gods that aether share, Or dine on atmospheric air?-- You have a longing for the skies, To leave the fogs that round us rise, To haste your flight and speed your wings Beyond this world of little things.
Your silken project is too great; Stay here, Blanchard, 'till death or fate To which, yourself, like us, must bow, Shall send you where you want to go.
Yes--wait, and let the heav'ns decide;-- Your wishes may be gratified, And you shall go, as swift as thought, Where nature has more finely wrought, Her Chrystal spheres, her heavens serene; A more sublime, enchanting scene Than thought depicts or poets feign.
Written by Robert Herrick | Create an image from this poem

A Lyric to Mirth

 While the milder fates consent,
Let's enjoy our merriment :
Drink, and dance, and pipe, and play ;
Kiss our dollies night and day :
Crowned with clusters of the vine,
Let us sit, and quaff our wine.
Call on Bacchus, chant his praise ; Shake the thyrse, and bite the bays : Rouse Anacreon from the dead, And return him drunk to bed : Sing o'er Horace, for ere long Death will come and mar the song : Then shall Wilson and Gotiere Never sing or play more here.
Written by Eugene Field | Create an image from this poem

Horace to Melpomene

 Lofty and enduring is the monument I've reared,--
Come, tempests, with your bitterness assailing;
And thou, corrosive blasts of time, by all things mortal feared,
Thy buffets and thy rage are unavailing!

I shall not altogether die; by far my greater part
Shall mock man's common fate in realms infernal;
My works shall live as tributes to my genius and my art,--
My works shall be my monument eternal!

While this great Roman empire stands and gods protect our fanes,
Mankind with grateful hearts shall tell the story,
How one most lowly born upon the parched Apulian plains
First raised the native lyric muse to glory.
Assume, revered Melpomene, the proud estate I've won, And, with thine own dear hand the meed supplying, Bind thou about the forehead of thy celebrated son The Delphic laurel-wreath of fame undying!
Written by Robert Herrick | Create an image from this poem


 Here we securely live, and eat
The cream of meat;
And keep eternal fires,
By which we sit, and do divine,
As wine
And rage inspires.
If full, we charm; then call upon Anacreon To grace the frantic Thyrse: And having drunk, we raise a shout Throughout, To praise his verse.
Then cause we Horace to be read, Which sung or said, A goblet, to the brim, Of lyric wine, both swell'd and crown'd, Around We quaff to him.
Thus, thus we live, and spend the hours In wine and flowers; And make the frolic year, The month, the week, the instant day To stay The longer here.
--Come then, brave Knight, and see the cell Wherein I dwell; And my enchantments too; Which love and noble freedom is:-- And this Shall fetter you.
Take horse, and come; or be so kind To send your mind, Though but in numbers few:-- And I shall think I have the heart Or part Of Clipsby Crew.