"The Laboring Mountain Scarce Brings Forth A Mouse"

Download PDF PDF Page Citation Cite Share Link Share

Context: In an epistle in which Piso is addressed, which is actually a critical essay on how to write poetry, Horace cautions against either too great a flourish or dullness, suggesting that the style must suit the subject. He advises against originality, in which the aspiring poet may falter, concluding that the writer is more likely to produce a pleasing work of art by following closely the work of another writer whom he admires, but with a style suited to his art as a beginning poet, hence avoiding a ridiculously ostentatious poem:

Begin not as th'old poetaster did,
"Troy's famous war, and Priam's fate I sing;"
In what will all this ostentation end?
The lab'ring mountain scarce brings forth a mouse. . . .

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access

"Homer Himself Hath Been Observed To Nod"