one in which even the august hand of Milton did not maintain its sureness of touch, though in his sonnets to Laurence and to Cyriack Skinner he gives the express quintessence of the manner of Horace, far more perfectly than Marvell in his Ode on the Return of Oliver Cromwell from Ireland, which has been called the most Horatian poem not written by Horace. Conington sometimes treats us to a delightful reminiscence of English poetry, as in II. ix. :

The rain, it rains not every day

On the soak'd meads. His weakness is that he sometimes introduces a thought or figure not to be found in the original, a practice to be condemned, even though the figure be in itself beautiful and poetical, as in

A spectral form Soracte stands.

It is a worse fault to emulate the conceits of the Elizabethan age, as in the somewhat cruel ode to poor passée Lyce (IV. xiii.):

The white has left your teeth

And settled on your brow.

However, he does not taunt her in Gladstone's rude phrase as

Once a flambeau, now an ash,

but more courteously deplores her as

A fire-brand, once ablaze,

Now smouldering in grey dust.

His choice of metres is very happy. We only regret that he has not made use of the In Memoriam rhythm so happily employed by Calverley in I. ix. 21 :

Hear now the pretty laugh that tells

In what dim corner lurks thy love,

And snatch a bracelet or a glove
From wrist or hand that scarce rebels.

It may be interesting, after the longer extracts, to compare the different versions of expressions which have won their way into common use, and become household words. Such is ‘simplex munditiis' in the famous ode to Pyrrha (I. v.):



Gladstone. With simple care.
Conington. So trim, so simple.
Martin. With all thy seeming-artless grace.
De Vere. In simple neatness artfully arrayed.
Thomas Hood. With cunning carelessness.
Latham. In unbedizened neatness fair.

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Dulce ridentem Lalagen amabo,

Dulce loquentem' (1. xxii. fin.).
Thy voice, thy smile, my Lalage,

I'll love them there.
I'll love and sing my Lalage,

Her low sweet voice, her sweeter smile.
That smile so sweet, that voice so sweet,

Shall still enchant me.
Still Lalage's sweet smile, sweet voice e'en there

I will adore.
Yet laughing, lisping Lalage

For ever will I love.
My Lalage's sweet laugh I still shall love,

Her prattle sweet.


E. Yardley.


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Splendide mendax ' (III. xi. 35).
Gladstone. Omitted.
Lord Lytton. By glorious falsehood.
Martin. Magnificently false.
De Verc. Nobly untrue.

Gloriously false.
Conington. That splendid falsehood lights her name

Through times unborn.

· Voltus nimium lubricus aspici' (I. xix. 8). Gladstone. And face Ah! perilous to view. Conington That too fair face that blinds when look'd upon. Martin. And face too dazzling for eye to 'bide it. Latham. And look too bright for mortal eye to endure.


Domus exilis Plutonia' (I. iv. 17).
Gladstone. Pluto's cribbing cell.
Conington. The void of the Plutonian hall.
De Vere. Pluto's gloomy mansions.
Martin. The starveling house unbeautiful of Pluto.
Sargent. Pluto's narrow house. (So Latham.)

' Eheu fugaces, Postume, Postume,

Labuntur anni' (II. xiv. 1). Gladstone. Ah Postumus! Devotion fails

The lapse of gliding years to stay.
Conington. Ah Postumus! They fleet away,

Our years.
De Vere. Alas, my Postumus, our years

Glide silently away.
Martin. Ah Postumus, the years, the fleeting years,

Still onwards, onwards glide. Lord Lytton. Postumus, Postumus, the years glide by us. Latham. Ah Postumus, ah Postumus, away

Glide the swift years.


* Placens uxor' (II. xiv. 21).

Winsome wife. (So Martin.)
Your lovely bride.

De Vere.
Lord Lytton.

Thy gentle wife.
Wife in whom thy soul delighteth.
Thy wife adored.

'Fortiter occupa portum' (I. xiv. 2).
Gladstone. Hold the port : be stout.
Conington. O, haste to make the haven yours.

Boldly seize
The port.
De Vere. Hold fast the port.

Fast in the haven.

O matre pulchra filia pulchrior' (I. xvi. 1).
Gladstone. Fairer than thy mother fair.
Conington. O lovelier than the lovely dame

That bore you.
De Vere. O fairer than thy mother fair.
Newman. Fairer child of mother fair!
Latham. O daughter fairer than thy mother fair.

Cuius octavum trepidavit aetas

Claudere lustrum' (II. iv. fin.).

Eight my Justres,
And my shield my age.
Conington. A rival hurrying on to end

His fortieth year.
Latham. One whose life hastes to close in its decline

Its fortieth year.

'Odi profanum volgus et arceo ' (III. i. 1).
Gladstone. Begone, vile mob, I bar my door.
Conington. I bid the unhallowed crowd avaunt!
Martin. Ye rabble rout, avaunt!
De Vere. Away, ye herd profane!
Latham. I hate and banish hence the godless crowd.

* Divitias operosiores ' (III. i. fin.).
Gladstone. Wealth that taxes toil and time.
Conington. More laborious luxury.
De Vere. The dull load of luxury.
Martin. Wealth which new-born trouble brings.
Lutham. Riches that but add a heavier load.

'Non sine Dis animosus infans' (III. iv. 20).
Gladstone. A charmèd life by heaven's command.
Conington. The child's inspired : the gods were there.

By the gods' peculiar grace

No craven-hearted child.
Lord Lytton. Infant courageous under ward divine.
Latham. An infant by the gods inspirited.

We might perhaps fitly conclude by giving a few examples of the earliest renderings, and one (Mr. Latham's) which we believe

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to be among the very latest. The first comes from the ill-fated Earl of Surrey, and was written about 1545. It is a version of 11. x. (Rectius vives '), of which we give a few lines :

Whoso gladly halseth the golden meane

Voyd of dangers advisdly hath his home
Not with lothsome muck as a den uncleane,

Nor palace-like wherat disdayne may glome.
The lofty pyne the great winde often rives,

With violenter swey falle turrets stepe,
Lightnings assault the huge mountains and clives.

A hart well stayed in overthwartes depe

Hopeth amends, in swete doth fear the soure. Under Charles I., William Cartwright, a distinguished scholar of Oxford, translated IV. xiii. ( Audivere, Lyce '), of which the following is a stanza :

Thou wert awhile the cried-up face
Of taking arts and catching grace,

My Cinara being dead;

But my fair Cinara's thread
Fates broke, intending thine to draw.

Till thou contest with th' aged daw. Milton's and Dryden's versions of single poems are so well known that we will content ourselves with a few lines of Dryden's magnificent paraphrase of III. xxix. (“Tyrrhena regum progenies '), of which it has been said that it is probably the one poem written in imitation of Horace that surpasses the original. It is a challenge to Fortune :

What is 't to me,
Who never sail in her unfaithful sea,
If storms arise and clouds grow black,

If the mast split and threaten wrack?
Then let the greedy merchant fear

For his ill-gotten gain,
And pray to gods that will not hear,
While the debating winds and billows bear

His wealth unto the main.
The following is a characteristic specimen (I. vi.) of the art of

a Mr. F. L. Latham, of Brasenose College, Oxford, the most recent wooer of the Odes, whose volume appeared in 1910 :

Who Mars in adamantine vest arrayed

Shall fitly write, or with Troy's dust asmear
Merion, or Tydides by thine aid,

Pallas, of gods the peer?
I sing of revels, I of wars of maids

With neat-trimmed nails keen against youths to fight,
With empty heart, or, if some flame invades,

With heart as ever light.

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The last stanza is happily turned by Whyte Melville, especially the pretty phrase 'vacui sive quid urimur':

Bards of the banquet's rival jests are we,

Or amorous struggles of the wanton fair,
Touch'd by love's glowing dart or fancy-free,

Still merry, still devoid of care. If anyone thinks this graceful verse almost runs into numbers, let him observe how it comes out in the triscelerate octosyllabics so dear to the aged statesman :

No: me the feast, the war employs
Of girls (their nails well clipt) with boys,
Me fancy-free or something warm;
My playful use does no one harm.

The last verse can hardly be called English for

Non praeter solitum leves. We cannot refrain from adding the felicitous stanzas of Conington and Martin :

Feasts are my theme, my warriors maidens fair,

Who with pared nails encounter youths in fight;
Be Fancy free or caught in Cupid's snare,

Her temper still is light.

Heart-whole or pierced by Cupid's sting,

We in our airy way
Of banquets and of maidens sing
With pared nails coyly skirmishing

To keep young men at bay.

Widely divergent in their views as to the best method of rendering the Odes of Horace, in one point the translators are agreed. Nearly all of them proclaim in their prefaces that these delightful poems are untranslatable, at least into verse. Mr. Godley, of Magdalen College, Oxford, whose masterly versions we have not quoted, as lying, like Wickham's, outside the scope of our article, which deals only with metrical versions, puts the case well :

Essays in translating the Odes metrically have never yet been crowned with any real success: they have not so far accomplished anything, save, indeed—and this is itself a gain—that they demonstrate by actual experiment the peculiar evanescence of a lyric charm which is so intimately bound up with the genius of the poet, perhaps with the Latin language itself, that it cannot survive transplantation. ... These essays will no doubt continue to amuse the leisure of scholarly dilettantists. But the result will be negligible till some really great poet gives himself to the task; and their very magnitude makes great poets too careful of their reputation to attempt a labour where failure is damaging and success, after all, would hardly immortalise.

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