Horace, "Ars Poetica"
Horace. Satires. Epistles. The Art of Poetry. Translated by H. Rushton Fairclough. Loeb Classical Library 194. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 19261
Horace, Ars Poetica, lines 333-346, pp. 478-479:
Poets aim either to benefit, or to amuse, or to utter words at once both pleasing and helpful to life. Whenever you instruct, be brief, so that what is quickly said the mind may readily grasp and faithfully hold: every word in excess flows away from the full mind. Fictions meant to please should be close to the real, so that your play must not ask for belief in anything it chooses, nor from the Ogress’s belly, after dinner, draw forth a living child. The centuries of the elders chase from the stage what is profitless; the proud Ramnes disdain poems devoid of charms. He has won every vote who has blended profit and pleasure, at once delighting and instructing the reader. That is the book to make money for the Sosii;2 this the one to cross the sea and extend to a distant day its author’s fame.
Horace, Ars Poetica, lines 333-346:3
Aut prodesse volunt aut delectare poetae
aut simul et iucunda et idonea dicere vitae.
quidquid praecipies, esto brevis, ut cito dicta
percipiant animi dociles teneantque fideles:
omne supervacuum pleno de pectore manat.
ficta voluptatis causa sint proxima veris,
ne quodcumque velit poscat sibi fabula credi,
neu pransae Lamiae vivum puerum extrahat alvo.
centuriae seniorum agitant expertia frugis,
celsi praetereunt austera poemata Ramnes:
omne tulit punctum qui miscuit utile dulci,
lectorem delectando pariterque monendo.
hic meret aera liber Sosiis, hic et mare transit
et longum noto scriptori prorogat aevum.
p. 479, footnote c: “For the Sosii, famous booksellers, cf. Epist. i. 20. 2.” ↩
Perseus Digital Library Project. Q. Horatius Flaccus (Horace), De Arte Poetica liber. C. Smart, Ed. ↩