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Quotes of Horace

This post is also available in: Polish (polski)


Horace (Quintus Horatius Flaccus) lived in the years 65-8 BCE. He was one of the most outstanding Roman poets of the Augustan era.

  • “A party host is like a military general: calamities often reveal their genius”
    • latin: [Sed convivatoris, uti ducis, ingenium res adversae nudare solent, celare secundae]
    • sources: Horace, Satires, II.8
  • “That’s so: a bitter destiny dogs the Romans, the guilt of a brother’s murder, since Remus’ innocent blood poured on the ground, a curse on Rome’s posterity”
    • latin: [Sic est: acerba fata Romanos agunt scelusque fraternae necis, ut inmerentis fluxit in terram Remi sacer nepotibus cruor]
    • description: words of Horace, who lamented that the civil wars waged by the Romans resulted from the legendary murder of Remus by his brother Romulus.
    • source: Horace, Epodi VII.17-20
  • “Already a second generation is being ground to pieces by civil war, and Rome through her own strength is tottering”
    • latin: [Altera iam teritur bellis civilibus aetas, suis et ipsa Roma viribus ruit]
    • description: words of the poet regarding the final stage of the ongoing civil war in Rome; just before the fall of the Republic.
    • source: Horace, Epodi XVI.1-2
  • “Captive Greece held captive her uncouth conqueror and brought the arts to the rustic Latin lands”
    • latin: [Graecia capta ferum victorem cepit et artis intulit agresti Latio]
    • description: Romans conquered Greece, but in practice it was Greek culture that later conquered Rome.
    • source: Horace, Epistles II.1.156-157
  • “He who is greedy is always in want”
  • “Even if you cast out nature with pitchforks, it will always return”
    • latin: [Nature expellas furca, tamen usque recurret]
    • source: Horace, Epistles I.X.24
  • “Seize the day”
    • latin: [Carpe diem]
    • source: Horace, Carmina, 1, 11, 8
  • “They change their sky, not their soul, who rush across the sea”
    • latin: [Coelum, non animum mutant, qui trans mare currunt]
    • source: Horace, Epistula XI.9
  • “Nothing is impossible for humankind”
    • latin: [Nil mortalibus ardui est]
    • source: Horace, Odes, I 3
  • “In our foolishness, we assail heaven itself”
    • latin: [Caelum ipsum petimus stuititia]
    • source: Horace, Odes, I 38
  • “Anger is a brief madness”
    • latin: [ira furor brevis est]
    • source: Horace, Epistles 1.2.62
  • “Remember in difficult matters to keep a level mind”
    • latin: [Aequam memento rebus in arduis servare mentem]
    • source: Horace, Odes 2.3.1
  • “When a person envies another’s lot, it is natural for him to be discontented with his own”
    • latin: [Cui placet alterius, sua nimirum est odio sors]
    • source: Horace, Epistles, XIV
  • “He who attacks an absent friend, or who does not defend him when spoken ill of by another; that man is a dark character; you, Romans, beware of him”
    • latin: [Absentem, quo rodit amicum, qui non defendit alio culpante, solutos qui capiat risus hominum famamque dicacis, fingere qui non visa potest, comissa tacere qui nequit, hic niger est, hunc tu, Romane caveto!]
    • source: Horace, Satires, I, 4, 81
  • “The one who saves a man against his will does the same as if he killed him”
    • latin: [invitum qui servat, idem facit occidenti]
    • source: Horace, De Arte Poetica, 453
  • “Dare to know”
    • latin: [Sapere aude]
    • source: Horace, Epistles, I
  • “Shall for the fire its thorns and thistles yield”
    • latin: [Neglectis urenda filix innascitur agris]
    • source: Horace, Satires, 1.3
  • “The naked truth”
    • latin: [Nuda veritas]
    • description: a fact containing the essential content
    • source: Horace, Odes
  • “Marvel at nothing”
    • latin: [Nil admirari]
    • description: in meaning “to be surprised by nothing”
    • source: Horace, Epistulae, 1,6,1
  • “Never despair…”
    • latin: [Nil desperandum]
    • source: Horace, Odes, I, VII, 27
  • “I do not hate the man, but his vices”
    • latin: [Hominem non odi, sed eius vitia]
    • description: assigned also to Martial
  • “Nie lada gnębi mnie troska, abym mógł odwiedzić dalekie źródła i czerpać wskazania sczęśliwego życia”
    • latin: [At mihi cura non mediocris inest, fontes ut adire remotas atque haurire quaem vitae praecepta beatae]
    • source: Horace, Satira IV 93-95
  • “It does not sink despite the opposite fortunes”
    • latin: [Adversis rerum immersabilis undis]
    • description: own translation from Polish.
    • source: Horace, Epistles
  • “Not all of me will die”
    • latin: [Non omnis moriar]
    • source: Horace, Carmina 3/30:6
  • “I hate the common masses and avoid them”
    • latin: [Odi profanum vulgus et arceo]
    • source: Horace, Odes, III. 1
  • “It is wretched to be found out”
    • latin: [Deprendi miserum est]
    • source: Horace, Satires, I
  • “A dog will never be driven away from a greasy hide”
    • latin: [Canis a corio nunquam absterrebitur uncto]
    • source: Horace, Satires 2.5.83
  • “Why do you laugh? Change only the name and this story is about you”
    • latin: [Quid rides? Mutato nomine et de te fabula narrator]
    • source: Horace, Satires, I, 1, 69
  • “From the egg right to the apples”
    • latin: [Ab ovo usque ad mala]
    • description: from start to finish. Romans started dining with eggs and finish feasts with apples.
    • source: Horace, Satires, 1.3
  • “Control your temper”
    • latin: [Compesce mentem]
    • source: Horace, Odes, 1.16
  • “I hate the common masses and avoid them”
    • latin: [Odi profanum vulgus et arceo]
    • source: Horace, Odes, 3.1
  • “He who has begun is half done: dare to know!”
    • latin: [Dimiduim facti, qui coepit habet]
    • source: Horace, Epistulae 1,2
  • “Know well, but take no offense at the manners of a friend”
    • latin: [Amici mores noveris, non oderis]
    • source: Horace, Satires, 1.3.32
  • “Prawego, niezachwianego męża nie zwiedzie żaden tyran w przemocy ani tłum w gwałtach bezprawia”
  • “We are dust and shadows”
    • latin: [Pulvis et umbra sumus]
    • source: Horace, Odes, IV 7
  • “You are in vain in wine or in a dream to escape”
    • latin: [Jam vino quaerens, jam somno fallere curam]
    • description: own translation from Polish
    • source: Horace, Satires, VIII.114
  • “The useful with the agreeable”
    • latin: [Utile dulci miscere]
    • source: Horace, Ars Poetica
  • “To swear by anyone’s precepts”
    • latin: [Iurare in verba magistri]
    • source: Horace, Epistulae, I, 1,14
  • “Sen tłumi miłosne zapały”
  • “Słowo dowcipne lepiej wiele rzeczy rozstrzyga niż poważne”
  • “Słowo raz wypowiedziane nie powraca”
  • “It is fair for someone asking for pardon for sins to forgive in return”
    • latin: [Aequum est peccatis veniam poscentem reddere rursus]
    • source: Horace, Satires, I, 3.75
  • “The miser is ever in want”
    • latin: [Semper avarus eget]
    • source: Horace, Epistulae I, 2, 56
  • “It is sweet and fitting to die for the homeland”
    • latin: [Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori]
    • source: Horace, Odes III.2.13
  • “Stara miłość nie rdzewieje”
    • source: Leksykon złotych myśli, wyboru dokonał Krzystof Nowak, Warsawa 1998
  • “He gains everyone’s approval who mixes the pleasant with the useful”
    • latin: [Omne tulit punctum qui miscuit utile dulci]
    • source: Horace, Ars Poetica, 343
  • “Now is the time for drinking”
    • latin: [Nunc est bibendum]
    • source: Horace, Odes, I.37
  • “Men do not, in short, all admire or love the same things”
    • latin: [Denique non omnes eadem mirantur amantque]
    • source: Horace, Epistulae II.58
  • “The wolf attacks with his fang, the bull with his horn”
    • latin: [Dente lupus, cornu taurus petit]
    • source: Horace, Satires, II, I.52
  • “There is a limit in things”
    • latin: [Est modus in rebus]
    • source: Horace, Satires, 1, 1 106
  • “With a disdainful tooth”
    • latin: [Dente superbo]
    • description: with disregard
    • source: Horace, Sermonum , 2,87
  • “A man can speak the truth with a smile”
    • latin: [Ridentem dicere verum]
    • source: Horace, Satires, I.i.24-25
  • “For any madness of their kings, it is the Greeks who take the beating”
    • latin: [Quidquid delirant reges, plectuntur Achivi]
    • description: literally “what kings in mercy do focuses on the Greeks”; about Agamemnon and Achilles.
    • source: Horace, Epistulae 1, 2, 14
  • “I have erected a monument more lasting than bronze”
    • latin: [Exegi monumentum aere perennius]
    • source: Horace, Carmina III 30, 1

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