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Tinker

The Horatian Ode

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Tinker

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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' unusèd 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:

Thematic Odes:


~~ © ~~ Poems by Judi Van Gorder ~~

For permission to use this work you can write to Tinker1111@icloud.com

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