I am going to kick off a short course on Roman Architecture soon and have been reading up on the great and good like old man Julius and Octavian Augustus. Horace was a good old egg at that time and here’s a lovely poem which I read from the man.
Still, if my character’s flawed by only a few little
Faults, and otherwise sound, just as you’d censure
Perhaps the blemishes scattered over a noble body:
And if no one can accuse me in fairness of greed,
Meanness, debauchery, if in truth, in my own praise,
I live purely, innocently, loved by my friends:
It’s due to my father, who though poor, on poor land,
Wouldn’t send me to Flavius’ school, where fine lads
The sons of fine centurions went with their tablets
And satchel hanging from their left shoulders, carrying
Their eight coins as fee on the Ides of each month,
But instead he bravely whisked his son off to Rome,
To be taught the skills senator or knight would expect
To be taught his son. And if anyone noticed my clothes
And attendants, a big city scene, he’d have thought
The expenses were being met from ancestral wealth.
He, the truest of guardians, toured all my teachers
With me, too. What can I say? He guarded my innocence,
And that’s virtue’s prime ornament, he kept me free
Not only from shameful actions, but slander as well.
He wasn’t afraid someone might call him foolish
If I’d only followed the trade of an auctioneer
Or collector of dues like himself: I’d not have complained
As it turns out I owe him still greater praise and thanks.
It is considered to be one of the most wonderful paeans of praise to a father. Makes one think, no? And while we are at it, thank you Baba.