Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, CEDES COEMPTIS SALTIBUS ..., by JOHN BYROM



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CEDES COEMPTIS SALTIBUS ..., by             Poet's Biography
First Line: This phrase of 'riches built on high'
Last Line: Give us a better if you can.
Subject(s): Horace (65-8 B.c.); Language; Latin; Universities & Colleges; Words; Vocabulary


THIS phrase of "riches built on high"
Has something in it, at first sight,
Which, if the Latin language try,
Must needs appear not to be right:
Produce an instance, where before
'Twas ever us'd, I'll say no more.

Talk not of "riches pil'd on heaps"
To justify the Latin phrase;
For if you take such critic leaps,
You jump into Dog-Latin days;
And I shall answer to that trick
In-meâ mente non est sic.

That "lands" were here the poet's thought,
"And house along the river's side,
"And lofty villa," built or bought,
Is much too plain to be deny'd.
These "high extructed spires" he writ
That mortal Deltius soon must quit.

"Well, Sir, supposing this the case,
"And structures what the poet meant,
"How will you fill the faulty place
"With phrase that suited his intent,
"Meaning and metre both arrange,
"And small, if possible, the change?"

Smaller and better, to be sure,
Into their place amendments fall:
What first occurs will here secure
Meaning and metre, change and all.
May it not be that for divitiis
Th' original had ædificiis?

If you object that sep'rate Æ
Makes in one word an odd division,
Horace, I answer to that plea,
Has more than once the like elision:
In short, upon correction's plan,
Give us a better if you can.





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