Lest Historians Are Too Sure of Themselves

Actually by George L. Richardson

Horace in his Studium not thinking what you think he’s thinking. Source.

Classical Criticism

21 B. c.

Old Horace, on a summer afternoon,
Well primed with sweet Falernian, let us say,
Lulled by the far-off brooklet’s drowsy croon
To a half -doze; in a hap-hazard way
Scratched off a half a dozen careless rhymes,
As was his habit. When next day he came
Awake to work, he read them several times
In vain attempt to catch their sense and aim.
“What was I thinking about? Blest if I know!
Jupiter! What’s the difference? Let them go.”

1886 A. D.

“Lines twelve to twenty are in great dispute,”
(Most learnedly the lecturer doth speak)
“I think I shall be able to refute
Orelli’s claim they’re taken from the Greek.
I think, with Bentley, Horace’s purpose here
Is irony, and yet I do not know
But Dillenburger’s reading is more clear
For which he gives eight arguments, although
Wilkins gives twelve objections to the same.”
(So on ad infinitum.) Such is fame.

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About T.H. Gray

T.H. Gray is the self-appointed court jester and Dr. Demento for the history museum field. A lifelong museum professional and reenactor, he is a graduate of the prestigious Peale-Barnum Public History Museum Studies Program. Until 2011, when the AHS hired him away, he was on staff at the Benjamin Dover Memorial Museum & Swimming Pool ("Our History is All Wet!"). He remembers when museums were still about history, science, and art. BTW, all of these posts say they are by T.H. Gray because he can't turn off the byline. Credit, when due, is given. View all posts by T.H. Gray

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