Scriptorum chorus omnis amat nemus et urbes fugit.
(Horace, Epistulae 2.2.77)
Every chorus of writers loves the grove and flees the cities.
pron = skrip-TOH-room KOH-roos OHM-nihs AH-mat NAY-moos eht OOR-bays FOO-ghit.
Comment: Horace is one of several Roman poets whose poetry was of a different kind than had been the "usual" fare. Epic poetry had been the poetry of the city-state, the vehicle by which proud peoples told their stories of heros and battles. With the images and cadence of epic poetry, they had "explained" their reason for being. They had clarified what was important.
Horace lived through the civil wars that nearly destroyed Rome, fighting for a while on what would appear later to be the losing side. He lost his family's home and property to illegal seizures and in order to live had had to keep silent about it.
He would find a voice, though, in his verses. And often enough, these lighter verses of lyric (but not always bearing light messages) would turn to the beauty of the sacred grove: the trees, the stream, the joy of simply being there. Indeed, here he would have it that the whole chorus of Roman poets has fled the city (the place of epic concern and war) and moved into the quiet and beauty of the grove.
Adversity can overwhelm and destroy a life. It can also open that life to a new vision and a new appreciation for what life means and how it must be lived.
(Used with permission)
Latin Proverb of the Day Archive