Fyodor BronnikovHoratius reads before Maecenas, 1863

What! are you a little touched with the sublime lash?” someone asks in George Eliot’s Daniel Deronda, scenting an affair of the heart. No footnote was needed pointing the reader to sublimi flagello in Horace, Odes III.26, for these Horatian tags were part of the small coin of educated conversation. An unworthy purpose for a great poet to serve, one might think, but one that Horace would probably not have taken amiss. A double-dyed ironist, he smilingly collaborates with his own under-reading, and one...


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