Ode to an Honourable Death; Answers to Correspondents
Byline: JAMES BLACK;CHARLES LEGGE
Who coined the phrase: 'Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori'?
QUINTUS Horatius Flaccus, commonly known as Horace (65-8BC), was a Roman poet of the Augustan Age.
Horace's extant writings include Satires (circa 35BC), Odes (23-13BC), Epistles (c. 19BC) and the Ars Poetica (c.19BC). His poems include many memorable and witty aphorisms, including Carpe diem - seize the day (Odes 1:11); Dulce est desipere in loco - frivolity is sweet at the right time (Ars Poetica 25); and Nunc est bibendum - now is the time to drink (Odes 1:37).
Dulce est decorum est . . .
originates in Odes Bk 3:2 line 13. The full stanza reads: Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori: Mors et fugacem persequiter virum, nec parcit imbellis iuventae popeitibus timido que tergo.
(Sweet and honourable it is to die for one's country. But death runs down the man in flight and does not spare the coward's knees nor the frightened rear.) As Prof. Peter Jones comments: 'If you're going to die in battle, get some posthumous advantage from it - entirely sensible advice.' The poet is certainly not commending the experience of dying in war for its own sake.
T. E. Page in his 1895 edition of the Odes interprets the poem in a way which would have been attractive to late Victorians and Edwardians: 'On true manliness - let the boy who means to be a man lead a simple and hardy life as the best training for a soldier's career; in the field, let the enemy fear him and let his courage be inspired by the thought that death is glorious indeed when encountered for his country's cause. . .' Wilfred Owen (1893-1918), a poet who fought in World War I and wrote about his experiences with unsentimental realism, didn't agree in his poem Dulce et Decorum Est: If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood Come gargling from the frothcorrupted lungs, Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues- My friend, you would not tell with such high zest To children ardent for some desperate glory, The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est Pro patria mori.
Rev. Raymond Harris,
I have a postcard dated 1947 showing a floral clock in Princes Street Gardens in Edinburgh which cuckooed every 15 minutes. Does this clock still exist?
FURTHER to the earlier answer, the clock was originally designed by my third cousin twice removed, John Wilson McHattie.
A kindly, unassuming man, John excelled at gardening from an early age. He was a foreman gardener by 21 and had already won the first of many gardening awards well before his 30th birthday.
In 1901 he was appointed Superintendent of Parks and Gardens in Edinburgh and the coronation of Edward VII led …
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Publication information: Article title: Ode to an Honourable Death; Answers to Correspondents. Contributors: Not available. Newspaper title: Daily Mail (London). Publication date: June 28, 2005. Page number: 47. © 2007 Daily Mail. COPYRIGHT 2005 Gale Group.
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