"Homer Himself Hath Been Observed To Nod"

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Context: Horace is writing a letter, perhaps to one of the Pisos, who was thinking of writing a play. Horace gives his ideas on drama and poetry, saying that the best thing for an aspiring writer to do is to read the Greek poets, particularly Homer, night and day. Minor flaws in a poem, Horace feels, may be excused, if the beauties are more numerous. Horace asks:

. . . What, then, is the truth? As a copying clerk is without excuse if, however much warned, he always makes the same mistake, and a harper is laughed at who always blunders on the same string: so the poet who often defaults, becomes, methinks, another Choerilus, whose one or two good lines cause laughter and surprise; and yet I also feel aggrieved, whenever good Homer "nods," but when a work is long, a drowsy mood may well creep over it.

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