Topics Horace Quotations
Quintus Horatius Flaccus (December 8, 65 BC – November 27, 8 BC), known in the English-speaking world as Horace, was the leading lyric poet in Latin.
Satires (c. 35 BC and 30 BC)
- Inde fit ut raro, qui se vixisse beatum
dicat et exacto contentus tempore vita
cedat uti conviva satur, reperire queamus.
- Translation: We rarely find anyone who can say he has lived a happy life, and who, content with his life, can retire from the world like a satisfied guest.
- Book I, satire i, line 117
- Atqui si vitiis mediocribus ac mea paucis
mendosa est natura, alioqui recta, velut si
egregio inspersos reprehendas corpore naevos,
si neque avaritiam neque sordes nec mala lustra
obiciet vere quisquam mihi, purus et insons,
ut me collaudem, si et vivo carus amicis...
at hoc nunc
laus illi debetur et a me gratia maior.
nil me paeniteat sanum patris huius, eoque
non, ut magna dolo factum negat esse suo pars,
quod non ingenuos habeat clarosque parentis,
sic me defendam.
- If my character is flawed by a few minor faults, but is otherwise decent and moral, if you can point out only a few scattered blemishes on an otherwise immaculate surface, if no one can accuse me of greed, or of prurience, or of profligacy, if I live a virtuous life, free of defilement (pardon, for a moment, my self-praise), and if I am to my friends a good friend, my father deserves all the credit... As it is now, he deserves from me unstinting gratitude and praise. I could never be ashamed of such a father, nor do I feel any need, as many people do, to apologize for being a freedman's son.
- Book I, satire vi, lines 65-92
- Nil sine magno
vita labore dedit mortalibus.
- Translation: Life grants nothing to us mortals without hard work.
- Book I, satire ix, line 59
Odes (c. 23 BC and 13 BC)
- Nil desperandum...
- Translation: Never despair...
- Book I, ode vii, line 27
- Permitte divis cetera.
- Translation: Leave all else to the gods.
- Book I, ode ix, line 9
- ...loquimur, fugerit invida
aetas: carpe diem, quam minimum credula postero.
- Translation: As we speak cruel time is fleeing. Seize the day, believing as little as possible in the morrow.
- Book I, ode xi, line 8
- O matre pulchra filia pulchrior
- Translation: O fairer daughter of a fair mother!
- Book I, ode xvi, line 1
- Nunc est bibendum, nunc pede libero
- Translation: Now is the time for drinking, now is the time to beat the earth with unfettered foot.
- Book I, ode xxxvii, line 1
- Aequam memento rebus in arduis
- Translation: In adversity, remember to keep an even mind.
- Book II, ode iii, line 1
- Auream quisquis mediocritatem
- Translation: Whoever cultivates the golden mean avoids both the poverty of a hovel and the envy of a palace.
- Book II, ode x, line 5
- Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori.
- Translation: It is sweet and honorable to die for one's country.
- Book III, ode ii, line 13
- Iustum et tenacem propositi virum
non civium ardor prava iubentium,
non vultus instantis tyranni
mente quatit solida.
- Translation: The man who is tenacious of purpose in a rightful cause is not shaken from his firm resolve by the frenzy of his fellow citizens clamoring for what is wrong, or by the tyrant's threatening countenance.
- Book III, ode iii, line 1
- Vis consili expers mole ruit sua.
- Translation: Force without wisdom falls of its own weight.
- Book III, ode iv, line 65
- Magnus inter opes inops.
- Translation: A pauper in the midst of wealth.
- Book III, ode xvi, line 28
- Ille potens sui
laetusque deget, cui licet in diem
dixisse "vixi: cras vel atra
nube polum pater occupato
vel sole puro."
- Translation: He will through life be master of himself and a happy man who from day to day can have said, "I have lived: tomorrow the Father may fill the sky with black clouds or with cloudless sunshine."
- Book III, ode xxix, line 41
- Exegi monumentum aere perennius
- Translation: I have made a monument more lasting than bronze.
- Book III, ode xxx, line 1
- Pulvis et umbra sumus.
- Translation: We are but dust and shadow.
- Book IV, ode vii, line 16
Epistles (c. 20 BC and 14 BC)
- Nullius addictus iurare in verba magistri,
quo me cumque rapit tempestas, deferor hospes.
- Translation: I am not bound over to swear allegiance to any master; where the storm drives me I turn in for shelter.
- Book I, epistle i, line 14
- Virtus est vitium fugere et sapientia prima
- Translation: To flee vice is the beginning of virtue, and to have got rid of folly is the beginning of wisdom.
- Book I, epistle i, line 41
- Nos numerus sumus et fruges consumere nati.
- Translation: We are but numbers, born to consume resources.
- Book I, epistle ii, line 27
- Dimidium facti qui coepit habet; sapere aude;
- Translation: He who has begun has half done. Dare to be wise; begin!
- Book I, epistle ii, line 40
- Semper avarus eget.
- Translation: The covetous man is ever in want.
- Book I, epistle ii, line 56
- Ira furor brevis est.
- Translation: Anger is a short madness.
- Book I, epistle ii, line 62
- Omnem crede diem tibi diluxisse supremum.
grata superveniet, quae non sperabitur hora.
- Translation: Think to yourself that every day is your last; the hour to which you do not look forward will come as a welcome surprise.
- Book I, epistle iv, line 13
- Naturam expellas furca, tamen usque recurret.
- Translation: You may drive out Nature with a pitchfork, yet she still will hurry back.
- Book I, epistle iv, line 24
- Caelum, non animum mutant, qui trans mare currunt.
- Translation: They change their clime, not their disposition, who run across the sea.
- Book I, epistle xi, line 27
- Pauper enim non est, cui rerum suppetit usus.
si ventri bene, si lateri est pedibusque tuis, nil
divitiae poterunt regales addere maius.
- Translation: He is not poor who has enough of things to use. If it is well with your belly, chest and feet, the wealth of kings can give you nothing more.
- Book I, epistle xii, line 4
- Quid velit et possit rerum concordia discors
- Translation: What the discordant harmony of circumstances would and could effect.
- Book I, epistle xii, line 19
- Nam neque divitibus contingunt gaudia solis,
nec vixit male, qui natus moriensque fefellit.
- Translation: For joys fall not to the rich alone, nor has he lived ill, who from birth to death has passed unknown.
- Book I, epistle xvii, line 9
- Sedit qui timuit ne non succederet.
- Translation: He who feared that he would not succeed sat still.
- Book I, epistle xvii, line 37
- Semel emissum volat irrevocabile verbium.
- Translation: Once a word has been allowed to escape, it cannot be recalled.
- Book I, epistle xviii, line 71
- Nam tua res agitur, paries cum proximus ardet.
- Translation: It is your concern when your neighbor's wall is on fire.
- Book I, epistle xviii, line 84
- Graecia capta ferum victorem cepit...
- Translation: Captive Greece took captive her savage conqueror.
- Book II, epistle i, line 156
- Singula de nobis anni praedantur euntes.
- Translation: The years as they pass plunder us of one thing after another.
- Book II, epistle ii, line 55
- Natales grate numeras?
- Translation: Do you count your birthdays with gratitude?
- Book II, epistle ii, line 210
Ars Poetica, or The Epistle to the Pisones (c. 18 BC)
- Inceptis gravibus plerumque et magna professis
purpureus, late qui splendeat, unus et alter
- Translation: Often a purple patch or two is tacked on to a serious work of high promise, to give an effect of colour.
- Line 14
- Brevis esse laboro,
- Translation: It is when I struggle to be brief that I become obscure.
- Line 25
- Si vis me flere, dolendum est
primum ipsi tibi.
- Translation: If you wish me to weep, you yourself
Must first feel grief.
- Line 102
- Translation: If you wish me to weep, you yourself
- Difficile est proprie communia dicere.
- Translation: It is difficult to speak of what is common in a way of your own.
- Line 128
- Parturient montes, nascetur ridiculus mus.
- Translation: The mountains will be in labor, and a ridiculous mouse will be brought forth.
- Line 139
- Grais ingenium, Grais dedit ore rotundo
Musa loqui, præter laudem nullius avaris. . .
- Translation: The Muse gave the Greeks their native character, and allowed them to speak in noble tones, they who desired nothing but praise.
- Line 323
- Omne tulit punctum qui miscuit utile dulci,
lectorem delectando pariterque monendo.
- Translation: He wins every hand who mingles profit with pleasure, by delighting and instructing the reader at the same time.
- Line 343
- Ars longa, vita brevis.
- Translation: Art is long, life is short.
- Seneca's (De Brevitate Vitae, 1.1) Latin translation of the Greek by Hippocrates.
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