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Epode, in verse, is the third part of an ode, which followed the strophe and the antistrophe, and completed the movement.

At a certain point in time the choirs, which had previously chanted to right of the altar or stage, and then to left of it, combined and sang in unison, or permitted the coryphaeus to sing for them all, while standing in the centre. With the appearance of Stesichorus and the evolution of choral lyric, a learned and artificial kind of poetry began to be cultivated in Greece, and a new form, the epode-song, came into existence. It consisted of a verse of trimeter iambic, followed by a dimeter iambic, and it is reported that, although the epode was carried to its highest perfection by Stesichorus, an earlier poet, Archilochus, was really the inventor of this form.

The epode soon took a firm place in choral poetry, which it lost when that branch of literature declined. But it extended beyond the ode, and in the early dramatists we find numerous examples of monologues and dialogues framed on the epodical system. In Latin poetry the epode was cultivated, in conscious archaism, both as a part of the ode and as an independent branch of poetry. Of the former class, the epithalamia of Catullus, founded on an imitation of Pindar, present us with examples of strophe, antistrophe and epode; and it has been observed that the celebrated ode of Horace, beginning Quem virum aut heroa lyra vel acri, possesses this triple character.

Epodes of Horace

The word is now mainly familiar from an experiment of Horace in the second class, for he entitled his fifth book of odes Epodon liber or the Book of Epodes. He says in the course of these poems, that in composing them he was introducing a new form, at least in Latin literature, and that he was imitating the effect of the iambic distichs invented by Archilochus. Accordingly, we find the first ten of these epodes composed in alternate verses of iambic trimeter and iambic dimeter, thus:

"At o Deorum quicquid in caelo regit Terras et humanum genus;"

In the seven remaining epodes Horace diversified the measures, while retaining the general character of the distich. This group of poems belongs mostly to the early youth of the poet, and displays a truculence and a controversial heat which are absent from his more mature writings. As he was imitating Archilochus in form, he believed himself justified, no doubt, in repeating the sarcastic violence of his fierce model. The curious thing is that these particular poems of Horace, which are really short lyrical satires, have appropriated almost exclusively the name of epodes, although they bear little enough resemblance to the epode of early Greek literature.

References


Source material

Up to date as of January 22, 2010

From Wikisource

Epode
by Ben Jonson

NOT to know vice at all, and keep true state,
        Is virtue, and not fate:
Next to that virtue is to know vice well,
        And her black spite expel,
Which to effect (since no breast is so sure,
        Or safe, but she’ll procure
Some way of entrance) we must plant a guard
        Of thoughts to watch and ward
At th’eye and ear, the ports unto the mind,
        That no strange or unkind
Object arrive there, but the heart, our spy,
        Give knowledge instantly
To wakeful reason, our affections’ king:
        Who, in th’ examining,
Will quickly taste the treason, and commit
        Close, the close cause of it.
’Tis the securest policy we have,
        To make our sense our slave.
But this true course is not embraced by many:
        By many? scarce by any.
For either our affections do rebel,
        Or else the sentinel,
That should ring larum to the heart, doth sleep:
        Or some great thought doth keep
Back the intelligence, and falsely swears
        They’re base and idle fears
Whereof the loyal conscience so complains.
        Thus, by these subtle trains,
Do several passions invade the mind,
        And strike our reason blind:
Of which usurping rank, some have thought love.
        The first, as prone to move
Most frequent tumults, horrors, and unrests,
        In our inflamèd breasts:
But this doth from the cloud of error grow,
        Which thus we over-blow.
The thing they here call Love is blind Desire,
        Armed with bow, shafts, and fire;
Inconstant, like the sea, of whence ’t is born,
        Rough, swelling, like a storm;
With whom who sails, rides on the surge of fear,
        And boils as if he were
In a continual tempest. Now, true Love
        No such effects doth prove;
That is an essence far more gentle, fine,
        Pure, perfect, nay, divine;
It is a golden chain let down from heaven,
        Whose links are bright and even,
That falls like sleep on lovers, and combines
        The soft and sweetest minds
In equal knots: this bears no brands nor darts,
        To murther different hearts,
But in a calm and godlike unity
        Preserves community.
O, who is he that in this peace enjoys
        Th’ elixir of all joys?
A form more fresh than are the Eden bowers,
        And lasting as her flowers:
Richer than Time, and as Time’s virtue rare:
        Sober, as saddest care;
A fixèd thought, an eye untaught to glance:
        Who, blest with such high chance,
Would, at suggestion of a steep desire,
        Cast himself from the spire
Of all his happiness? But, soft, I hear
        Some vicious fool draw near,
That cries we dream, and swears there’s no such thing
        As this chaste love we sing.
Peace, Luxury, thou art like one of those
        Who, being at sea, suppose,
Because they move, the continent doth so.
        No, Vice, we let thee know,
Though thy wild thoughts with sparrows’ wings do fly,
        Turtles can chastely die.
And yet (in this t’ express ourselves more clear)
        We do not number here
Such spirits as are only continent
        Because lust’s means are spent;
Or those who doubt the common mouth of fame,
        And for their place and name
Cannot so safely sin. Their chastity
        Is mere necessity.
Nor mean we those whom vows and conscience
        Have filled with abstinence:
Though we acknowledge, who can so abstain
        Makes a most blessèd gain;
He that for love of goodness hateth ill
        Is more crown-worthy still
Than he, which for sin’s penalty forbears:
        His heart sins, though he fears.
But we propose a person like our Dove,
        Grac’d with a Phœnix’ love;
A beauty of that clear and sparkling light,
        Would make a day of night,
And turn the blackest sorrows to bright joys:
        Whose od’rous breath destroys
All taste of bitterness, and makes the air
        As sweet as she is fair.
A body so harmoniously composed,
        As if nature disclosed
All her best symmetry in that one feature!
        O, so divine a creature,
Who could be false to? chiefly when he knows
        How only she bestows
The wealthy treasure of her love on him;
        Making his fortunes swim
In the full flood of her admired perfection?
        What savage, brute affection
Would not be fearful to offend a dame
        Of this excelling frame?
Much more a noble and right generous mind
        To virtuous moods inclined,
That knows the weight of guilt: he will refrain
        From thoughts of such a strain;
And to his sense object this sentence ever,
‘Man may securely sin, but safely never.’


1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

EPODE, in verse, the third part in an ode, which followed the strophe and the antistrophe, and completed the movement; it was called ErrcpSos rEpiobos by the Greeks. At a certain moment the choirs, which had chanted to right of the altar or stage and then to left of it, combined and sang in unison, or permitted the coryphaeus to sing for them all, standing in the centre. When, with the appearance of Stesichorus and the evolution of choral lyric, a learned and artificial kind of poetry began to be cultivated in Greece, a new form, the etSos i rw&KOv, or epode-song, came into existence. It consisted of a verse of trimeter iambic, followed by a dimeter iambic, and it is reported that, although the epode was carried to its highest perfection by Stesichorus, an earlier poet, Archilochus, was really the inventor of this form. The epode soon took a firm place in choral poetry, which it lost when that branch of literature declined. But it extended beyond the ode, and in the early dramatists we find numerous examples of monologues and dialogues framed on the epodical system. In Latin poetry the epode was cultivated, in conscious archaism, both as a part of the ode and as an independent branch of poetry. Of the former class, the epithalamia of Catullus, founded on an imitation of Pindar, present us with examples of strophe, antistrophe and epode; and it has been observed that the celebrated ode of Horace, beginning Quern virum aut heroa lyra vel acri, possesses this triple character. But the word is now mainly familiar from an experiment of Horace in the second class, for he entitled his fifth book of odes Epodoxa liber or the Book of Epodes. He says in the course of these poems, that in composing them he was introducing a new form, at least in Latin literature, and that he was imitating the effect of the iambic distichs invented by Archilochus. Accordingly we find the first ten of these epodes FIG. 13. - Endothelial Cells from the Interior of an Artery.

FIG. 12. - Mesothelial Cells forming the Peritoneal SerousMembrane. Three stomata are seen surrounded by cubical cells. One of these is closed. The light band marks the position of a lymphatic. (After Klein.) composed in alternate verses of iambic trimeter and iambic dimeter, thus: "At o Deorum quicquid in coelo regit Terras et humanum genus." In the seven remaining epodes Horace has diversified the measures, while retaining the general character of the distich. This group of poems belongs in the main to the early youth of the poet, and displays a truculence and a controversial heat which are absent from his more mature writings. As he was imitating Archilochus in form, he believed himself justified, no doubt, in repeating the sarcastic violence of his fierce model. The curious thing is that these particular poems of Horace, which are really short lyrical satires, have appropriated almost exclusively the name of epodes, although they bear little enough resemblance to the genuine epode of early Greek literature.


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