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The Rhyme Maker
65-8 bce

Theme:  Partying

In this poem, Horace happens upon a Roman wine party which is getting out of control.  The main trouble maker is “Megilla's fair brother” (third stanza), who has been bewitched by a lovely lass (as lovely lasses are prone to do to young men).  Those partiers around him are  “messing with his head” about his forlorn mood and his great love.  Violence is about to ensue from the teasing.  Our poet is trying to convince our young romantic to get our of his “funky mood” by telling his tale of love, and thus, join in the joyful festivities.

“Thracian” (first stanza) is a reference to Greeks – those “madmen” who “fight with wine-cups, that are only meant for delight”.

“Falernian” is a type of wine, grown in a region of Italy that features Mount Falernus.

“Charybdis” (next to last stanza) was a sea monster of mythology that took the form of a violent whirlpool.

Last stanza: Pegasus is the famed winged horse of mythology, and the Chimaera was a female, fire-breathing monster.
- S. H. Bass   

more Horace at

Dear comrade in the days when thou and I (Martin)
No pomp of Persian feast (de Vere)
O precious crock (Martin)
Our common Sabine wine (Martin)
See, Spring's companion, Thracian gales (Gladstone)
Than you, O valued friend of mine (Field)
To A Jar Of Wine (Field)
To Quintus Dellius (Field)
Wine, Women, and Song (Field)

Tributes to Horace:
On A Wine Of Horace's by Franklin P. Adams

Stop Button Clutter!
Hold! hold! 'Tis for Thracian madmen
Horace (65-8 bce), Roman poet
translation by Theodore Martin (1816-1909), Scottish poet

Hold! hold! 'Tis for Thracian madmen to fight
With wine-cups, that only were made for delight.
'Tis barbarous-brutal! I beg of you all,
Disgrace not our banquet with bloodshed and

Sure, Median scimitars strangely accord
With lamps and with wine at the festival board!
'Tis out of all rule! Friends, your places resume,
And let us have order once more in the room!

If I am to join you in pledging a beaker
Of this stout Falernian, choicest of liquor,
Megilla's fair brother must say, from what eyes
Flew the shaft, sweetly fatal, that causes his sighs.

How – dumb! Then I drink not a drop. Never
Whoever the fair one may be, man! Tush, tush!
She'll do your taste credit, I'm certain – for yours
Was always select in its little amours.

Don't be frightened! We're all upon honor, you
So out with your tale! – Gracious powers! Is it so?
Poor fellow! Your lot has gone sadly amiss,
When you fell into such a Charybdis as this!

What witch, what magician, with drinks and with
What god can effect your release from her harms?
So fettered, scarce Pegasus' self, were he near
From the fangs of this triple Chimaera would clear you.

Ode 1.27 from Horace by Theodore Martin


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