Horace, Epistles

LCL 194: 400-401

Go To Section
Go To Section


“iste quidem veteres inter ponetur honeste, qui vel mense brevi vel toto est iunior anno.” 45utor permisso, caudaeque pilos ut equinae paulatim vello et demo unum, demo etiam1 unum, dum cadat2 elusus ratione ruentis acervi, qui redit in3 fastos4 et virtutem aestimat annis miraturque nihil nisi quod Libitina sacravit. 50Ennius et sapiens et fortis et alter Homerus, ut critici dicunt, leviter curare videtur, quo promissa cadant et somnia Pythagorea. Naevius in manibus non est et mentibus haeret paene recens? adeo sanctum est vetus omne poema. 55ambigitur quotiens, uter utro sit prior, aufert Pacuvius docti famam senis, Accius alti, dicitur Afrani toga convenisse Menandro, Plautus ad exemplar Siculi properare Epicharmi, vincere Caecilius gravitate, Terentius arte.


Epistles II

surely will find a place of honour among the ancients, who is short by a brief month or even a whole year.” I take what you allow, and like hairs in a horse’s tail, first one and then another I pluck and pull away little by little, till, after the fashion of the falling heap,a he is baffled and thrown down, who looks back upon the annals, and values worth by years, and admires nothing but what the goddess of funerals has hallowed.


Ennius,b the wise and valiant, the second Homer (as the critics style him), seems to care but little what becomes of his promises and Pythagorean dreams.c Is not Naevius in our hands, and clinging to our minds, almost as of yesterday?d So holy a thing is every ancient poem. As often as the question is raised, which is the better of the two, Pacuvius gains fame as the learned old writer, Accius as the lofty one. The gowne of Afranius, ’tis said, was of Menander’s fit; Plautus hurries alongf like his model, Epicharmus of Sicily. Caecilius wins the prize for dignity, Terence for art. These authors

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.horace-epistles.1926