on November 15, 2004
Of the various translations of Horace's Odes into English, this is the best I have found. The translations stay close to the literal meaning and sequence of the originals, yet are rendered into English poetry (not a prose crib.) Horace is a frequently complicated, dense poet, so the translations are often rather complicated and dense. A reasonable number of explanatory notes are provided in the back. My main reason for withholding a fifth star is the cheapness of the physical presentation: in order to save space, the poems are run together rather than being presented on separate pages, and the typeface is small.
on August 8, 2011
Horace's Odes are a great paean to Humanity. What does it mean to live deeply as a civilised human being? The answers were gleaned long ago by the son of an ex-slave: to love and be loved; to enjoy fine wine in good company; to laugh at fools and their knavery; to treasure the transience of life; to learn, laugh and cry. Truly, there is a time for everything under the sun, accompanied by a time-wearied drop of Falernian.
It was no wonder that Auden was attracted to Horace's Odes - and at the same, so deterred by the mastery of Michie's translation that he elected not to try his own hand: kindred spirits are in play. Alas, my Latin has rusted away - but the sheer mastery of James Michie is indisputable. Magic abounds in every phrase. Book Three in particular coruscates with wisdom, be it from the translator or the poet.
Horace's Odes will deepen out your soul like a dredger. Short of the original, this is the version to have.
on April 27, 2014
The problem that was originally pointed out by the other reviewer two years ago has not been fixed. The Latin text suddenly switches into English for no reason and then back into Latin. Also, there is no way to make the pages show the Latin and English texts side-by-side, which defeats the purpose of a facing translation. I admire the verse translation and rhyming lines but unfortunately the aforementioned problem ruins the whole reading experience of this edition.