Giacomo Di Chirico, ‘Quinto Orazio Flacco,’ 1871 (Wikimedia Commons)

“I hate the unwashed herd,”
Horace huffed, and held his nose—
“I keep my distance.”

But he was not loathe
to curry rich Maecenas’ favor,
reaping a choice Sabine estate and
precious casks of sweet Falernian.

Still, cancel not too quickly
the ancient reprobate.

We all strive to erect fine monuments
“more lasting than bronze”; and
are not above obeisant bows
to any Monsignore or Professore
who might promote our cause or
smooth our way.

So, hail to thee, Horati:
“dimidium pars animae meae!

Robert P. Imbelli, a priest of the Archdiocese of New York, is a longtime Commonweal contributor.

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Published in the January 2023 issue: View Contents
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