Q. Horatius Flaccus (Horace), The Art of Poetry: To the Pisos

Παιδείας Εγκώμιον

Horace reads before Maecenas, by Fyodor Bronnikov

C. Smart, Theodore Alois Buckley, Ed.

If a painter1 should wish to unite a horse’s neck to a human head, and spread a variety of plumage over limbs [of different animals] taken from every part [of nature],2 so that what is a beautiful woman in the upper part terminates unsightly in an ugly fish below; could you, my friends, refrain from laughter, were you admitted to such a sight Believe, ye Pisos, the book will be perfectly like such a picture, the ideas of which, like a sick man’s dreams, are all vain and fictitious: so that neither head nor foot can correspond to any one form. “Poets and painters [you will say] have ever had equal authority for attempting any thing.” We are conscious of this, and this privilege we demand and allow in turn: but not to such a…

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