Ode 1.1

Maecenas edite atavis regibus
o et praesidium et dulce decus meum:
sunt, quos curriculo pulverem Olympicum
collegisse iuvat metaque fervidis
evitata rotis palmaque nobilis
terrarum dominos evehit ad deos.
hunc, si mobilium turba Quiritium
certat tergeminos tollere honoribus,
illum, si proprio condidit horreo,
quicquid de Libycis verritur areis.
gaudentem patrios findere sarculo
agros Attalicis condicionibus
numquam demoveas, ut trabe Cypria
Myrtoum pavidus nauta secet mare;
luctantem Icariis fluctibus Africum
mercator metuens otium et oppidi
laudat rura sui; mox reficit rates
quassas, indocilis pauperiem pati.
est, qui nec veteris pocula Massici,
nec partem solido demere de die
spernit, nunc viridi membra sub arbuto
stratus, nunc ad aquae lene caput sacrae.
multos castra iuvant et lituo tubae
permixtus sonitus bellaque matribus
detestata. manet sub Iove frigido
venator teneris coniugis immemor
seu visa est catulis cerva fidelibus
seu rupit teretes Marsus aper plagas.
me doctarum hederae praemia frontium
dis miscent superis, me gelidum nemus
Nympharumque leves cum Satyris chori
secernunt populo, si neque tibias
Euterpe cohibet, nec Polyhymnia
Lesboum refugit tendere barbiton.
quodsi me lyricis vatibus inseres,
sublimi feriam sidera vertice.


Horace’s Ode 1.1 reminds me of the song “The Anthem” by Good Charlotte. During the Ode, Horace uses many examples of professions that he scorns. He condemns the ordinary occupation of a soldier in lines 23-25, and says that wars are detested by mothers “bella detestata matribus”. Similarly, Good Charlotte sings about their dislike of high school, “At my high school it felt more to me like a jail cell, a penitentiary.” Since almost every person in the world attends some sort of high school, Good Charlotte is expressing distaste against the normal view. The two artists express approval of the things that lazy people typically do. Horace describes this person as stretched out under a tree at the source of sacred water, “stratus membra sub arbuto ad lene caput sacarae aquae” (lines 20-21). Since he uses the word sacred to describe the water, he illustrates that he favors this person (Horace likes the gods and sacred things, as later described in the Ode). The band Good Charlotte also embraces the idea of laziness, “Go to college, a university, get a real job… [but] I could never live the way they want I’m gonna get by, and just do my time.” The band likes the idea of living a life of laziness, without an education or an occupation.
Both the band and the poet make it a point to separate themselves from the crowd of ordinary people. Horace says that the light-footed dances of nymphs set him apart from the people “leves chori nymphorum secernunt me populo” (lines 30-31). In this case, the ethereal dance of nymphs brought on by his worldly philosophy and poetry, makes him drastically different from the ordinary Roman citizens. Good Charlotte asks the listeners, “Do you really wanna be like them, do you really wanna be another trend? Do you wanna be part of that crowd? ‘cause I don’t ever wanna, I don’t ever wanna be.” The band condemns the crowd of conformists in a similar way. However, the band and the poet are different in the way that they separate themselves from the ordinary people. The poet specifically says that he is different than the ordinary people and haughtily expresses that nymphs dance for him. The band tries to better their audience by asking them if they really want to be so ordinary. Both the poet and the band end their piece with an action that suggests that they will fight against the occupational conformity. Horace says that he will strike the constellations with an uplifted head, “sublimi vertice fenam sidera” (line 36). The band says, “Y’all got to feel me, sing if you’re with me, you, don’t wanna be just like you. This is the anthem throw all your hands up, y’all got to feel me, sing if you’re with me!” Though the band is not as angry and will not strike constellations, they attempt to make their audience agree with their statements and ask them to sing with them and throw their hands up in protest.
Horace Ode 1.11
Tu ne quaesieris (scire nefas), quem mihi, quem tibi
finem di dederint, Leuconoe, nec Babylonios
temptaris numeros. ut melius, quidquid erit, pati!
seu pluris hiemes, seu tribuit Iuppiter ultimam,
quae nunc oppositis debilitat pumicibus mare
Tyrrhenum: sapias, vina liques et spatio brevi
spen longam reseces. dum loquimur, fugerit invida
aetas: carpe diem, quam minimum credula postero.

Ode 1.11, written by Horace, strongly reminds me of the song “Let It Be” by the Beatles. Throughout the poem, Horace is trying to portray the basic idea of living in the moment and disregarding the consequences that might follow those actions. He says in line 3, “how much better it is to endure whatever will be,” [ut melius, quidquid erit, pati]. Similarly, the constantly repeat the line, “let it be.” The similar ideas of letting ones fate come to him by enduring whatever it will be, and simply by letting it happen, (letting it be) are portrayed in both the poem and the song. Both Horace and the Beatles also address the issue of questioning ones fate. Horace says, “You should not ask… which end the gods have given to me, to you” in lines 1-2, [Tu ne quaesieris…quem mihi, quem tibi finem di dederint]. The Beatles sing, “There will be an answer, let it be.” Horace is more direct in ordering Leuconoe to not question her fate (the woman Ode 1.11 is addressed to) in contrast to the Beatles who simply state that there will be an answer. Both are trying to tell the reader or audience that questioning your fate is foolish. Horace goes on to describe why knowing is foolish by saying “it is a crime to know,” [scire nefas]. The Beatles describe why asking questions is foolish by saying that an answer will come, so let the answer come on its own.


The song and the poem again parallel each other with their teaching style. Horace is strictly addressing Leuconoe, a woman whom he is trying to seduce, and he orders her to adopt his philosophies. He uses subjunctive verbs as commands, “ne quaesieris” [you shall not ask], “sapias” [you shall be wise], and “reseces” [you shall strain]. The Beatles use a similar style to get across their message by ordering the listener to “let it be.” Though the Beatles are not as harsh with their commands, the message is still as strong as Horace’s. Horace also addresses Leuconoe in a teaching manner by telling her an abundant amount of philosophies such as “carpe diem” [sieze the day]. The Beatles also use a teaching manner by saying that these words (let it be) are, “words of wisdom.” Since the advice is one of wisdom, a listener should follow it in the same manner that a student would follow a teacher’s words. Interestingly, Horace and the Beatles use images of the sky in their artworks. Horace references the sky in regard to the stars, or Babylonian numbers. He says in lines 2-3, “Nor should you tempt the Babylonian numbers” [nec Babylonios temptaris numeros]. The Babylonian numbers relate to astrology, and stars were commonly linked to people’s fate. Romans often looked to the stars to predict their future, and by saying that you should not tempt these stars, Horace is implying that you shouldn’t try to know the future events by actively pursuing them. With similar imagery, the Beatles sing “And when the night is cloudy, there is still a light that shines on me, shine until tomorrow, let it be.” Though the Beatles are referencing the sun, the implied message is the same. The Beatles are trying to say that though there is no way to know how long the night will be cloudy (similar to how no one can predict their own fate), the sun will still shine tomorrow, so let it be. Both Horace and the Beatles have a sense of self-assurance and confidence that the future is set and therefore there is no need to actively pursue it. Interestingly enough, Horace’s 1.11 Ode is one of the most quoted Latin literature poems of all time because of “Carpe Diem” [Seize the Day]. The Beatle’s “Let It Be” is also one of the most popular songs from that time period, and it is still widely known and loved today. Their similarity in popularity show how influential and well accepted the same overall messages are to the public.