A Poetical Translation of the Works of Horace

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by Horace

A Poetical Translation of the Works of Horace

Title page from A Poetical Translation of the Works of Horace, volume two, George Wythe Collection, Wolf Law Library, College of William & Mary.

Author Horace
Editor {{{editor}}}
Translator Philip Francis
Published London: Printed for A. Millar ... in the Strand
Date 1747
Edition Second
Language English
Volumes 4 volume set
Pages {{{pages}}}
Desc. 12mo (18 cm.)
Location Shelf J-4
  [[Shelf {{{shelf2}}}]]

Poetical Translation of the Works of Horace is a compilation of the works of Horace Quintus Horatius Flaccus (65 BCE– 8 BCE)—more commonly known as Horace, the renowned Roman poet, literary critic, and satirist—as well as notes in Latin and French from various critics. Born to a wealthy family in Apulia, Italy, in 65 B.C.E., Horace studied philosophy and literature in Athens before becoming an officer in Brutus’ army.[1] After leaving the army and losing his family’s fortune, Horace went to Rome, where he worked as a clerk at the Treasury and started writing poetry.[2]

In 29 B.C. Horace published Epodes, his first book of poetry, before publishing a four-part series of books called Odes in 23 B.C and the poem Ars Poetica sometime before his death in 8 B.C.E.[3] Remembered for its plain but witty style, Horace’s poetry covers a wide range of topics, from drinking with friends to political musings on the fate of the Roman Empire as it recovered from years of civil war.[4] Several of Horace’s poems are addressed to dignitaries and political figures, including Emperor Augustus and senators, about subjects such as patriotism, ethics, and honor.[5] Horace encouraged writers to “read widely, to strive for precision, and to find the best criticism” and he was a wide influence on several eighteenth-century poets, including Alexander Pope.[6] His ability to simply express difficult ideas, and his political, ethical, and social commentary on the Roman Empire, have influenced great thinkers and leaders for two millennia.

Evidence for Inclusion in Wythe's Library

Listed in the Jefferson Inventory of Wythe's Library as "Horace by Francis. 4.v. 12mo." and given by Thomas Jefferson to his grandson Thomas Jefferson Randolph. The precise edition owned by Wythe is unknown. George Wythe's Library[7] on LibraryThing indicates this, adding "Four-volume duodecimo editions were published at London in 1747, 1750, 1756, 1764, 1765, 1778, 1791, and 1794." The Brown Bibliography[8] lists the London 4th edition published in 1750 based on the copy Jefferson sold to the Library of Congress.[9] Because we do not know exactly which edition Wythe owned, the Wolf Law Library purchased the second London edition (1747) when a copy became available.

Description of the Wolf Law Library's copy

Rebound in brown library binding. Purchased from Smythe Books LLC.

Images of the library's copy of this book are available on Flickr. View the record for this book in William & Mary's online catalog.

See also


  1. The American Academy of Poets, s.v. “Horace," accessed October 3, 2013, http://www.poets.org/poet.php/prmPID/331
  2. Ibid.
  3. Poetry Foundation, s.v. “Horace,” accessed October 3, 2013, http://www.poetryfoundation.org/bio/horace
  4. Ibid.
  5. Ibid.
  6. The American Academy of Poets, s.v. “Horace.”
  7. LibraryThing, s. v. "Member: George Wythe," accessed on November 13, 2013, http://www.librarything.com/profile/GeorgeWythe
  8. Bennie Brown, "The Library of George Wythe of Williamsburg and Richmond," (unpublished manuscript, May, 2012) Microsoft Word file. Earlier edition available at: https://digitalarchive.wm.edu/handle/10288/13433
  9. E. Millicent Sowerby, Catalogue of the Library of Thomas Jefferson, (Washington, D.C.: The Library of Congress, 1952-1959), 4:507 [no.4476].

External Links

Read volume two of this book in Google Books.