Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Book 1
Book 2 consists of 20 poems. Notable poems in this collection include:
II.14, Eheu fugaces, an ode to Postumus on the futility of hoarding up treasure that begins Eheu fugaces, Postume, Postume, labuntur anni! (alas, the fleeting years glide away, Postumus, Postumus)

Carminum liber secundus Book 2
Book 3 consists of 30 poems.
The ancient editor Porphyrio read the first six odes of this book as a single sequence, one unified by a common moral purpose and addressed to all patriotic citizens of Rome. These six "Roman odes", as they have since been called, share a common meter and take as a common theme the glorification of Roman virtues and the attendant glory of Rome under Augustus. Ode III.2 contains the famous line "Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori," (It is sweet and honorable to die for one's country). Ode III.5 Caelo tonantem credidimus Jovem makes explicit identification of Augustus as a new Jove destined to restore in modern Rome the valor of past Roman heroes like Marcus Atilius Regulus, whose story occupies the second half of the poem.
Besides the first six Roman Odes, notable poems in this collection include:
III.13, O fons Bandusiae, a celebrated description of the Bandusian fountain.
III.29, Tyrrhena regum progenies, an invitation for the patron Macenas to visit the poet's Sabine farm.
III.30, Exegi monumentum, a closing poem in which Horace brags Exegi monumentum aere perennium (I have raised a monument more permanent than bronze).

Book 4
In a 2003 speech, poet Seamus Heaney stated that ode I.34 Parcus deorum cultor et infrequens resonated greatly with him after the events of 9/11, and inspired him to write "Horace and the Thunder", reprinted with some alterations as "Anything Can Happen" in District and Circle.
"After that day, a poem which I had cherished for different reasons took on new strengths and new strangeness - Horace, a poem by Quintus Horatius Flaccus, a Latin poet, of the Augustan age. If anybody's interested, it's in Carminum Liber Primus. That's the first Book of Odes, Number 34. Horace, in this poem, gets a shock. He says, I'm a pretty cool kind of guy. I'm not really gospel greedy. I go with the crowd. But, something happened that really put the wind up me. Oops! And the terms of the poem…it's really about poetry's covenant with the irrational, I thought first of all. It's about thunder in the clear, blue sky. Shock, Jupiter, the thunder god, ba-boom."

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