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  1. Tinker

    The Horatian Ode

    Explore the Craft of Writing Poetry Greek Verse Latin Verse The Ode The Horatian Ode is the Latin descendant of the Aeolic ode, both of which were written to project a tranquil, contemplative tone meant for meditation. Both retain the purpose and formality of all odes, however, the Latin descendant attributed to Horace in 20 BC, is better preserved. The Horatian Ode is simply a stanzaic form in which all stanzas are structured in the same pattern at the discretion of the poet. (rhyme, meter, number of lines etc.), more technically it is "nonce stanzaic" or a "homostrophic" ode (ode made up of same structured stanzas created specifically for that poem). Below are the first 2 stanzas of a Horatian Ode On Cromwell's Return from Ireland by Andrew Marvel (1621-1678). It is written in quatrains made up of rhyming couplets, L1, L2 iambic tetrameter, L3, L4 iambic trimeter and indented. The poet could just as well have written the ode in cinquains in iambic pentameter with alternating rhyme and as long as all of the stanzas were the same, it too could be identified as a Horatian Ode. The forward youth that would appear Must now forsake his Muses dear, -------Nor in the shadows sing -------His numbers languishing: 'Tis time to leave the books in dust And oil th' unus├Ęd armor's rust, -------Removing from the wall -------The corselet of the hall. Or another example of a Horatian Ode is Ode on Solitude by Alexander Pope written in quatrains with alternating rhyme, L1, L2, L3 tetrameter, L4 dimeter. Happy the man, whose wish and care A few paternal acres bound, Content to breathe his native air, In his own ground. Whose heards with milk, whose fields with bread, Whose flocks supply him with attire, Whose trees in summer yield him shade, In winter fire. Blest! who can unconcern'dly find Hours, days, and years slide soft away, In health of body, peace of mind, Quiet by day, Sound sleep by night; study and ease Together mix'd; sweet recreation. And innocence, which most does please, With meditation. Thus let me live, unseen, unknown; Thus unlamented let me dye; Steal from the world, and not a stone Tell where I lye. Here is the stanza written by Horace with his famous phrase, "carpe diem", seize the day! A translation can be found in An Introduction of Poetry, XJ Kennedy and Dana Gioia, 2002, page 335. This has nothing to do with the Horatian Ode but I just thought it would be an interesting footnote. Odes I (11 ) Tu ne quaesteris---scire nefas quem milu, quem tibi finem di dederint, Leuconoe, nec Babylonios temptaris numeros. Ut melius, quicquid erit, pati! seu plures hiemes, seu tribuit Iuppipter ultiman, quae nunc oppositis debilitate pumicibus mare Tyrrhenum, Sapia, vina liques, et spatio brevi spem longam teseces. Dum loquimur, fugerit invida aetas: carpe diem, quam minimum credula postero. - - - Horace 20 BC The Ode Odes named for poet or culture of their origin: The Aeolic Ode The Choral Ode or Pindaric Ode or Dorian Ode The Anacreontic Ode The Horatian Ode The Irregular or Cowleyan Ode The Keatsian or English Ode The Ronsardian Ode Thematic Odes: Elegy, Obsequy, Threnody Ode Elemental Ode Genethliacum Ode Encomium or Coronation Ode Epithalamion or Epithalamium and Protholathiumis Palinode Ode Panegyric or Paean Triumphal Ode Occasional Verse
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