Tuesday, February 13, 2007


We've been getting some snow here in the Philadelphia area today, so I thought I would post the wintry opening stanzas of Horace Odes 1.9, followed by David West's translation:

Vides ut alta stet niue candidum
Soracte nec iam sustineant onus
siluae laborantes geluque
flumina constiterint acuto?

Dissolue frigus ligna super foco 5
large reponens atque benignius
deprome quadrimum Sabina,
o Thaliarche, merum diota.

You see Soracte standing white and deep
with snow, the woods in trouble, hardly able
to carry their burden, and the rivers
halted by sharp ice.

Thaw out the cold. Pile up the logs
on the hearth and be more generous, Thaliarchus,
as you draw the four-year-old Sabine
from its two-eared cask.

Any readers out there have any other favorites for 'wintry' passages in classical literature?

1 comment:

Bret said...

Although quite a fan of winter myself, I've always been partial to Horace Carm. 4.7: "diffugere nives redeunt iam gramina campis..."

In addition to being a beautiful, stirring meditation on life and the passage of time, 4.7 also features a striking abundance of interior and verse-end rhyme.