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IN preparing this edition of the Odes and Epodes I have borne in mind the fact that the reading of these poems presents, at least to the American student, the first, as well as the best, opportunity for the discriminating study of Latin poetic usage in syntax and diction. Vergil and Ovid regularly precede Horace in our Latin course, but they come at a stage at which the pupil's faculties are so fully occupied in following the verses intelligently, that although these poets are undoubtedly read with pleasure by many pupils, anything beyond a rather dim appreciation of the quality and flavor of their poetry is hardly to be expected. With Horace the case is quite different. Horace is reserved for the college course, often for the second year of the course; and at that stage the student should have acquired by practice in reading and writing such mastery of Latin prose idiom that the peculiarities of poetic language ought to arouse attention and interest. It has been usual for editors of Horace to notice the more striking of these peculiarities in the places where they occur. It has seemed to me better to treat the whole subject together in the Introduction, so that the various usages may be seen in their relations to one another, while their exemplification in any particular passage can be pointed out by a simple
reference in the notes. I have desired, in presenting the matter in this form, to leave the teacher free to use it in whatever way he deems best, and according to his estimate of its importance. In my own judgment it is of vital importance; for although the appreciation of poetry must in the last resort be a matter of taste and feeling, beyond the reach of categorical statement, yet an intelligent study of the poet's language and literary method is the only adequate basis for such appreciation.
In preparing this exposition I have had the benefit of a number of monographs in which certain parts of the subject are treated in a more or less thorough manner, but no previous work dealing with the whole subject is known to me. I am sensible of the imperfections which are inevitable in a first attempt of this kind, and shall welcome friendly suggestions from any quarter for its improvement. Two things ought perhaps to be said: While much, if not most, of my statement applies to other poets of the Augustan and subsequent periods, I have made it with sole reference to Horace; and in the absence of any sharp line of division between the usage of prose and of poetry I have in some cases purposely included a recognized prose construction in order to set the poetic usage in a clearer light. For constructions not explained in the Introduction occasional reference is made in the notes to grammars in current use, chiefly to Madvig's, Roby's, and Allen and Greenough's. For the last named the abbreviation 'Gr.' is used.
The text of Horace is open in a number of places to the grave suspicion, which sometimes approaches certainty, of