“This is the common fault of all singers: when they are asked to sing, among their friends, they can never summon up the courage to do it; but when no one asks for a song, they just cannot stop singing.”
Omnibus hoc vitium est cantoribus, inter amicos
ut numquam inducant animum cantare rogati,
iniussi numquam desistant.
6 thoughts on “Horace, Satires 2.3.1-3”
Well, we needed something to cleanse our palate from that Ausonius.
This will do quite well.
This rather ties in with the previous post on friendship in Lysis. Hippothales’ friend complains
καὶ ὅ ἐστιν τούτων δεινότερον, ὅτι καὶ ᾁδει εἰς τὰ παιδικὰ φωνῇ θαυμασίᾳ, ἣν ἡμᾶς δεῖ ἀκούοντας ἀνέχεσθαι.
And what is more dreadful, he actually sings about the object of his love with an awful voice which we have to endure hearing.
Plat. Lysis 204
Amateur singers certainly had quite the bad reputation in the ancient world! Consider also the epigram of Martial: http://sententiaeantiquae.com/2014/09/11/martial-4-41-to-a-poet/
I suppose that derision of bad singers is still quite commonplace today!
I suppose the modern day equivalent would be the plague of singer-guitarists that sets upon major cities and college campuses.
(And, as an offender earlier in my life, I can say as much.)
And this one from the Greek anthology
νυκτικόραξ ᾁδει θανατηφόρον ἀλλ᾽ ὅταν ᾄσῃ
Δημόφιλος, θνήσκει καὐτὸς ὁ νυκτικόραξ.
The night raven sings a deadly song
But when Demophilus sings it is the night raven that dies.
Anth. Gr. 11.186
This is a great one. Thanks!