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LATE HEADMASTER OF THE EDINBURGH COLLEGIATE SCHOOL,
IT has often been said that Horace is untranslateable. With that opinion I thoroughly agree, in one sense. A born poet may found on Horace's Lyrics a series of pretty sonnets or odes; but to transfer Horace in soul, in subtlety, and in metre, from the Latin of the last half century before Christ to the English of the year of grace eighteen hundred and ninety-six, is simply impossible. It would be as difficult adequately to represent the Odes of Horace in English, as to reproduce Burns in Latin. With the Satires and Epistles the case is somewhat different, and the task an easier one. But if Horace cannot be rendered to perfection, that is no reason why an attempt should not be made by British scholars to give in English, prose or verse, as good a representation of the genius, the versatility, the humour, and the wisdom of the Roman poet, as is possible in the circumstances.
In the following Translation of the Odes I have gone on somewhat new lines. I have endeavoured to produce a version having a pleasant run in the words, and a rhythmical cadence in the clauses and sentences. In doing this I have frequently fallen, inadvertently in the first instance, into a sort of blank-verse in individual lines, with which rigid critics may perhaps find fault. Be that as it may, it appears to me that in most cases the effect on the reader's ear will be rather pleasing than otherwise-a result which I have steadily kept in view.
I have at the same time tried to avoid that rugged, and