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on 19 December 2003
Macaulay's Lays of Ancient Rome - above all that of Horatius - were well known to earlier generations who first heard them at school but now seem to be unknown in book-shops. This is odd because, whenever I looked for a copy, various modern poets were listed under M who were unknown to me and whose 'verse' was mostly unmemorable, obscure and pretentious prose split up into arbitrary lines, whereas 'Horatius' is eminently memorable. From among the many quotations that spring to mind for those who read it in their youth, at least two have gone into general currency:'Those behind cried Forward/And those before cried Back.' and 'Even the Ranks of Tuscany/Could scarce forebear to cheer.'
The poem might be qualified as being 'declamatory' or mainly for school boys. But unlike e.g. Newbolt, Belloc or Chesterton, who speak directly to the reader, Macaulay, as he explains in an Introduction which wears its great scholarship lightly, was trying to reproduce the effect of a traditional Latin poem of the early Republican era; he draws a parallel with what Scott tried to do with his ballads. Remarkably, he was only an occasional poet.
Through Amazon and Abebooks I acquired an 1852 edition. I cannot see the solipsistic obscurities of any modern poets being sought out in 150 years time for the mere pleasure of reading them.
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on 26 November 2013
This book is a window into the minds of people who lived millennia ago. You can imagine them, sitting down to write this material all those centuries in the past. Fascinating reading for anyone interested, to any degree by ancient Rome.
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on 13 December 1998
Then out spake brave Horatius,/ The Captain of the Gate:/ ``To every man upon this earth/ Death cometh soon or late./ And how can man die better/ Than facing fearful odds,/ For the ashes of his fathers,/ And the temples of his gods/ ... Then none was for a party;/ Then all were for the state;/ Then the great man helped the poor,/ And the poor man loved the great:/ Then lands were fairly portioned;/ Then spoils were fairly sold:/ The Romans were like brothers/ In the brave days of old./ Now Roman is to Roman/ More hateful than a foe,/ And the Tribunes beard the high,/ And the Fathers grind the low./ As we wax hot in faction,/ In battle we wax cold:/ Wherefore men fight not as they fought/ In the brave days of old./
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on 19 October 2013
I really do like quotes, especially inspirational ones! And I like poetry, but this book just wasn't my cup of tea! This is the Shakespeare type book in how it is worded.
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on 3 March 2016
superb
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on 22 August 2009
This "edition" is an insult to the original. Even the US Bibliobazaar version spells the author's name correctly.
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