Compare and Contrast Horace and Juvenal

Compare and Contrast Horace and Juvenal, using their poems and satires included here

Horace, poems and satires, ca. 30 – 15 BCE

Ode I-XI “Carpe Diem”

The most famous of Horace’s odes uses agricultural metaphors to urge us to embrace the pleasures available in everyday life instead of relying on remote aspirations for the future—hence his immortal motto “Carpe Diem”, or “pluck the day”:

Pry not in forbidden lore,

Ask no more, Leuconoe,

How many years – to you? – to me?

The gods will send us

Before they end us;

Nor, questing, fix your hopes

On Babylonian horoscopes.

Learn to accept whatever is to be:

Whether Jove grant us many winters,

Or make of this the last, which splinters

Now on opposing cliffs the Tuscan sea.

Be wise; decant your wine; condense

Large aims to fit life’s cramped circumference.

We talk, time flies – you’ve said it!

Make hay today,

Tomorrow rates no credit.

“Civil War”
Why do you rush, oh wicked folk,
To a fresh war?

Again the cries, the sword, the smoke

What for?

Has not sufficient precious blood

Been fiercely shed?

Must ye spill more until ye flood

The dead?

Not even armed in rivalry

Your hate’s employed;

But ‘gainst yourselves until ye be


Even when beast slay beast, they kill

Some other kind.

Can it be madness makes ye still

So blind?

Make answer! Is your conscience numb?

Each ashy face

Admits with silent lips, the dumb


Murder of brothers! Of all crime,

Vilest and worst!

Pause – les ye be, through all of time,


“To Be Quite Frank” Your conduct, naughty Chloris, is Not just exactly Horace’s Ideal of a lady At the shady Time of life; You mustn’t throw your soul away On foolishness, like Pholoe– Her days are folly-laden– She’s a maiden, You’re a wife. Your daughter, with propriety, May look for male society, Do one thing and another In which mother Shouldn’t mix; But revels Bacchanalian Are–or should be–quite alien To you a married person, Something worse’n Forty-six! Yes, Chloris, you cut up too much, You love the dance and cup too much, Your years are quickly flitting– To your knitting, Right about! Forget the incidental things That keep you from parental things– The World, the Flesh, the Devil, On the level, Cut ’em out!

Juvenal, satires and poems – samples, ca. 110-127 CE

Juvenal’s Third Satire 4

Against the City of Rome 9 (sample reading)

Sons of men freeborn give right of way to a rich man’s

Slave; a crack, once or twice, at Calvina or Catiena

Costs an officer’s pay, but if you like the face of some floozy

You hardly have money enough to make her climb down from her high chair.

Put on the stand, at Rome, a man with a record unblemished,

No more a perjurer than Numa was, or Metellus,

What will they question? His wealth, right away, and possibly, later,

(Only possibly, though) touch on his reputation.

‘How many slaves does he feed? ‘What’s the extent of his acres?

How big are his platters? How many? What of his goblets and wine bowls?’

His word is as good as his bond—if he has enough bonds in his strongbox.

But a poor man’s oath, even if sworn on all altars

All the way from here to the farthest Dodecanese island,

Has no standing in court. What has he to fear from the lightnings

Of the outraged gods? He has nothing to lose; they’ll ignore him.

“If you’re poor, you’re a joke, on each and every occasion.

What a laugh, if your cloak is dirty or torn, if your toga

Seems a little bit soiled, if your shoe has a crack in the leather,

Or if more than one patch attests to more than one mending!

Poverty’s greatest curse, much worse than the fact of it, is that

It makes men objects of mirth, ridiculed, humbled, embarrassed.

‘Out of the front-row seats!’ they cry when you’re out of money,

Yield your place to the sons of some pimp, the spawn of some cathouse,

Some slick auctioneer’s brat, or the louts some trainer has fathered

Or the well-groomed boys whose sire is a gladiator.

Such is the law of place, decreed by the nitwitted Otho:

All the best seats are reserved for the classes who have the most money.

Who can marry a girl if he has less money than she does?

What poor man is an heir, or can hope to be? Which of them ever

Rates a political job, even the meanest and lowest?

Long before now, all poor Roman descendants of Romans

Ought to have marched out of town in one determined migration.

Men do not easily rise whose poverty hinders their merit.

Here it is harder than anywhere else: the lodgings are hovels,

Rents out of sight; your slaves take plenty to fill up their bellies

While you make do with a snack. You’re ashamed of your earthenware dishes—

Ah, but that wouldn’t be true if you lived content in the country,

Wearing a dark-blue cape, and the hood thrown back on your shoulders.

From Juvenal’s “Against Women”

Where you ask, do they come from, such monsters as these? In the old days

Latin women were chaste by dint of their lowly fortunes.

Toil and short hours for sleep kept cottages from contagion.

Hands were hard from working the wood, and husbands were watching.

Standing in arms at the Colline Gate, and the shadow of

Hannibal’s looming.

Now we suffer from the evils of long peace. Luxury hatches

Terrors worse than the wars, avenging a world beaten down.

Every crime is here, and every lust, as they have been Since the day, long since, when Roman poverty perished.

Over our seven hills, from that day on, they came pouring.

The rabble and rout of the East, Sybaris, Rhodes, Miletus,

Yes, and Tarentum too, garlanded, drunken, shameless.

Dirty money it was that first imported among us Foreign vice and our times broke down with overindulgence.

Riches are flabby, soft. And what does Venus care for When she is drunk? She can’t tell one end of a thing from another.

Gulping big oysters down at midnight, making the unguents Foam in the unmixed wine, and drinking out of a conchhorn

While the walls spin round, and the table starts in dancing.

And the glow of the lamps is blurred by double their number.

There’s nothing a woman won’t do, nothing she thinks is disgraceful.

With the green gems at her neck, or pearls distending her ear lobes.

Nothing is worse to endure that your Mrs.Richbitch, whose visage Is padded and plastered with dough, in the most ridiculous manner.

Furthermore, she reeks of unguents, so God help her husband With his wretched face stunk up with these, smeared by her lipstick.

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