See West Notes at: West, D. Horace Odes I Carpe Diem: Text, Translation and Commentary, Oxford: Clarendon Press, (1995), 190-194
Not a partnership of master/slave which would not have an authentic contemporary feel, but rather two female, writer friends. Throughout my versions of these odes I have recommended that writers keep a sense of proportion, keep their feet on the ground, be modest, recognise that death comes to all, the great writer and the not-so-great, all are equal in death. In places acknowledgement has been given to great epic writers, in others writers have been taken to task. The politics of the country, and of politicians has been called into question. The behaviour of writers and the world of contemporary writing as a whole have been questioned, certain propositions have been put forward about what kind of behaviour is ethical and what is not in terms of making your way into the canon and here, at the end, like Horace, I turn back to a simple theme. The idea of chasing the luxury and recognition that comes to some through ‘perfect’ ‘establishment-accepted’ verse is abandoned for simple poetry – the love of it for its own sake.
In Horace we are presented with an image of Horace and his slave boy alone in a room, with Horace urging the boy to stop fussing and simply join him and drink. This is matched by my image of two women alone in a room together with one fussing around preparing a posh table so that they can sit and eat. The ‘perfect silver line’ here is a reference not only to a silver line of verse, but is also meant to suggest a line of cutlery and ‘measured formed and folded’ is a reference not only to perfect, controlled stanzas, but also to neatly folded napkins, and the ‘buffing’ of epics is meant to represent fruit being polished. Here then is the same sort of scenario, two people, one fussing around over trifles (and here again this is meant to carry a double meaning, i.e. trifles as in a dessert and trifles as in small unimportant things) while all the narrator wants is that they should sit down together under the shade/ umbrella of poetry and drink together.