Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, UT TUTO AB ATRIS CORPORE VIPERIS ..., by JOHN BYROM



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UT TUTO AB ATRIS CORPORE VIPERIS ..., by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Horace, an infant, (here he interweaves
Last Line: "for bears read goats""—pro ursis lege hircis"
Subject(s): Babies; Horace (65-8 B.c.); Poetry & Poets; Infants


HORACE, an infant, (here he interweaves
In rambling ode, where no design coheres)
By fabled stock-doves cover'd up with leaves,
"Kept safe from black-skinn'd vipers and from bears:"
But passing by the incoherent ode,
I ask the critics "where the bears abode?"

The leaves, indeed, that stock-doves could convey,
Would be but poor defence against the snakes,
And sleeping boy be still an easy prey
To black pervaders of the thorny brakes;
The bears, I doubt too, would have smelt him out,
If there had been such creatures thereabout.

The snakes were black; the bears, I guess, were white,
(Or what the vulgar commonly call bulls)
Bears had there been.—Another word is right,
That has escap'd the criticising skulls,
Who suffer bears as quietly to pass
As if the bard had been of Lapland class.

A word where sense and sound do so agree,
That I shall spare to speak in its defence;
And leave absurdity, so plain to see,
With due correction, to your own good sense;
'Tis this, in short, in these Horatian verses,
"For bears read goats"—pro URSIS lege HIRCIS





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