"Age Of Gold"

(Magill's Quotations in Context)

Context: Horace is telling Antonius that he should sing Augustus Caesar's praise. The poet begins by extolling Pindar, who "like a river from the mountain rushing down, which the rains have swollen above its wonted banks, so does . . . seethe and, brooking no restraint, rush on with deep-toned voice, worthy to be honoured with Apollo's bays." So too can be the poetry of Antonius. The poet insists that he is a "humble bard." But Antonius must be lofty. The reference to the golden age in the following quotation was thus commented on by C. H. Saint-Simon (1760-1825), quoted by Carlyle in Sartor Resartus, Book 3, Chapter 5: "The golden age, which a blind tradition has hitherto placed in the past, is before us." Horace says this to Antonius:

. . . Thou, a poet of loftier strain, shalt sing of Caesar, when, honoured with the well-earned garland, he shall lead in his train along the Sacred Slope the wild Sygambri; a sovereign than whom nothing greater, nothing better, have the Fates and gracious gods bestowed upon the world, nor shall bestow, even though the centuries roll backward to the ancient age of gold.