Sunday 4 February 2024

Horace and Landor

   Neither simple nor passionate sensuous only in so far as he is a gourmet of food and of language, aere perennius, Quintus Horatius Flaccus, bald-headed, pot-bellied, underbred, sycophantic, less poetic than any other great master of literature, occupies one complete volume of the British Museum Catalogue and about half the bad poetry in English might seem to have been written under his influence, but as almost no Englishman save Landor has ever written a line of real criticism this is not perhaps very surprising. There are people called the ‘English Critics’ (sometimes the gt. E.C.) who have put down a few rules of thumb about finding rhymes, or about the religious bearing of literature, or indulged in metaphysical speculation, but Landor was almost unique in examining specific passages of verse to see whether they were well or ill written or if they could be improved.
Ezra Pound, ‘Horace’, Arion, 9.2/3 (1970), 178-187 (p. 178).