"The Odes of Horace" are the lyric masterpieces of the golden age of Latin literature. They speak of the politics of the time, of the return to peace after the agony of civil war; they are imbued with consciousness of the brevity of life and the inevitability of death; but they are also filled with the pleasures of friendship, wine and love. The English have always responded to their humanity and humour, and have translated and quoted them more than any other Latin poetry, so that they are woven into the fabric of English literature. This new verse translation departs from the vogue for free verse and returns to the traditional English disciplines of rhyme and metre, thus imitating the strictness of Horace's own metrical discipline. It will delight those who already know something of Horace, but it is particularly designed for those, such as students of Classical Studies, who have little or no Latin, but who know of the reputation of the Odes and wish to find out what they say. There are notes to explain the historical, social and personal context of each poem, and the Latin is set out opposite the English, stanza for stanza.
The Secular Hymn is included in its chronological position. With the learning of Latin under increasing threat there is a greater risk than ever before of losing contact with the Latin roots of our cultural heritage. All adults who care about the literary education of their children, godchildren, etc., should invest in a sufficient stock of this book. At present-giving time it will be a standby for years to come.