1. Education

Book III.2 of The Odes and Carmen Saeculare of Horace

By

Bronze medallion of Horace from the reign of Constantine.

Bronze medallion of Horace from the reign of Constantine.

Horace, by Wm Tuckwell (1829-1919). London: G. Bell & sons. 1905.

The Odes of Horace Book III.2

The famous line "Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori" comes from this poem. Here's the modern (20th century, World War I era) poem, by Wilfred Owen, that uses Horace's line:

    DULCE ET DECORUM EST by WILFRED OWEN

Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots,
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of tired, outstripped Five-Nines that dropped behind.

Gas! GAS! Quick, boys! - An ecstasy of fumbling,
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling
And flound'ring like a man in fire or lime . . .
Dim through the misty panes and thick green light,
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.

In all my dreams before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.

If in some smothering dreams, you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues, -
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est
Pro patria mori.

And now, back to the original, by Horace, in Latin and English:

Ode 2 translated into English verse by John Conington, M.A. Corpus Professor of Latin in the University of Oxford. Third Edition.

The Latin text comes from The Latin Library.

Horace > Satires and Epistles | Odes > Odes Book III

Directory of Greek and Roman Writers | Meters in Greek and Latin Poetry | Book III. Notes

II.

To suffer hardness with good cheer,
In sternest school of warfare bred,
Our youth should learn; let steed and spear
Make him one day the Parthian's dread;
Cold skies, keen perils, brace his life.
Methinks I see from rampined town
Some battling tyrant's matron wife,
Some maiden, look in terror down,--
"Ah, my dear lord, untrain'd in war!
O tempt not the infuriate mood
Of that fell lion! see! from far
He plunges through a tide of blood!"
What joy, for fatherland to die!
Death's darts e'en flying feet o'ertake,
Nor spare a recreant chivalry,
A back that cowers, or loins that quake.
True Virtue never knows defeat:
HER robes she keeps unsullied still,
Nor takes, nor quits, HER curule seat
To please a people's veering will.
True Virtue opens heaven to worth:
She makes the way she does not find:
The vulgar crowd, the humid earth,
Her soaring pinion leaves behind.
Seal'd lips have blessings sure to come:
Who drags Eleusis' rite to day,
That man shall never share my home,
Or join my voyage: roofs give way
And boats are wreck'd: true men and thieves
Neglected Justice oft confounds:
Though Vengeance halt, she seldom leaves
The wretch whose flying steps she hounds.

Angustam Amice.

Angustam amice pauperiem pati
robustus acri militia puer
condiscat et Parthos ferocis
uexet eques metuendus hasta

uitamque sub diuo et trepidis agat 5
in rebus. Illum ex moenibus hosticis
matrona bellantis tyranni
prospiciens et adulta uirgo

suspiret, eheu, ne rudis agminum
sponsus lacessat regius asperum 10
tactu leonem, quem cruenta
per medias rapit ira caedes.

Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori:
mors et fugacem persequitur uirum
nec parcit inbellis iuuentae
poplitibus timidoue tergo. 15

Virtus, repulsae nescia sordidae,
intaminatis fulget honoribus
nec sumit aut ponit securis
arbitrio popularis aurae. 20

Virtus, recludens inmeritis mori
caelum, negata temptat iter uia
coetusque uolgaris et udam
spernit humum fugiente pinna.

Est et fideli tuta silentio 25
merces: uetabo, qui Cereris sacrum
uolgarit arcanae, sub isdem
sit trabibus fragilemque mecum

soluat phaselon; saepe Diespiter
neglectus incesto addidit integrum, 30
raro antecedentem scelestum
deseruit pede Poena claudo.

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