Tuesday, February 01, 2011
George L. Richardson, Classical Criticism
Old Horace, on a summer afternoon,
Well primed with sweet Falernian, let us say,
Lulled by the far-off brooklet's drowsy croon
To a half-doze, in a haphazard way
Scratched off a half a dozen careless rhymes,
As was his habit. When next day he came
Awake to work, he read them several times
In vain attempt to catch their sense and aim.
"What was I thinking about? Blest if I know!
Jupiter! What's the difference? Let them go!"
"Lines twelve to twenty are in great dispute,"
(Most learnedly the lecturer doth speak.)
"I think I shall be able to refute
Orelli's claim they're taken from the Greek.
I think, with Bentley, Horace's purpose here
Is irony, and yet I do not know
But Dillenberger's reading is more clear
For which he gives eight arguments, although
Wilkins gives twelve objections to the same"
(So on ad infinitum.) Such is fame.