How to Take a Poet out of Context – Lesson One

Here is a quote you can find many places online

“no verses which are written by water-drinkers can please, or be long-lived.”

It is ascribed to Horace.

Here is a translation of this line in context:

“O learned Maecenas, if you believe old Gratinus, no verses which are written by water-drinkers can please, or be long-lived. Ever since Bacchus enlisted the brain-sick poets among the Satyrs and the Fauns, the sweet muses have usually smelt of wine in the morning.”

Epistle XIX

Almost as bad as removing the word “not” from a quote.