Today, I’d like to share an Ode from the ancient Roman poet Horace. As the opening lines indicate, this Ode is dedicated to the god Bacchus.
“I saw Bacchus today:
In a wild gorge he lay,
Teaching his sacred melodies. O years
To come, credit my glimpse
Of the attentive nymphs
And goat-foot satyrs cocking pointed ears.
Ai, ai, my mind still [...]
“Peace reigned in Heaven
in the wine bowl
It was Hermes
who took up the
wine jug and poured
wine for the gods”
“On Hellespont, guilty of true-loves’ blood,
In view and opposite, two cities stood,
Sea-borderers, disjoined by Neptune’s might;
The one Abydos, the other Sestos hight.
At Sestos Hero dwelt; Hero the fair,
Whom young Apollo courted for her hair,
And offered as a dower his burning throne,
Where she could sit for men to gaze upon.
The outside of her garments were of [...]
“Arms, warfare, violence - I was winding up to produce a
Regular epic, with verse-form to match -
Hexameters, naturally. But Cupid (they say) with a snicker
Lopped off one foot from each alternate line.
‘Nasty young brat,’ I told him, ‘who made you Inspector of Meters?’
We poets come under the Muses, we’re not in your mob.
What if Venus [...]
“My soul would sing of metamorphoses.
But since, o gods, you were the source of these
bodies becoming other bodies, breathe
your breath into my book of changes: may
the song I sing be seamless as its way
weaves from the world’s beginning to our day.”
(prologue to the Metamorphoses of Ovid)
You could say that it was love at first read. [...]
“Winter relaxes its grip. West winds are a pleasant change.The spring’s here.
The windlasses haul down the dry hulls seaward;
Penned in the stable, the beasts grow fretful; the farmer loves his fire less.
The fields no longer shine with morning whiteness.
Queening the dance, with a full moon hanging above, the Cytherean
Leads, and the Nymphs and the comely [...]
“There thou shalt hear and learn the secret power
Of harmony, in tones and numbers hit
By voice or hand, and various-measured verse,
Aeolian charms and Dorian lyric odes,
And his who gave them breath, but higher sung,
Blind Melesigenes, thence Homer called,
Whose poem Phoebus challenged for his own.”
- Milton, Paradise Regained, IV. 245
The ancient Greek playwright Euripides specialized in creating works of tragedy and drama. He engaged his audiences with the stories of several intriguing mythological characters, composing compelling plays about such famous figures as the heroines Medea and Helen.
Euripides lived from circa 480 (or 485, according to some sources) until 406 B.C.E. and worked primarily in [...]
Yesterday, I featured a list of what I am referring to as some of my favorite ancient Greek poets and mythographers (I so rarely have the opportunity to use the word mythographer, despite the name of this site). So today, it only seems fair that I offer a selection of Roman writers.
Apuleius | This author [...]