A short note on Horatian Ode

The Horatian Ode: This kind of Ode has been named after the Latin poet, Horace, who imitated Pindar but with far reaching modifications. The Horation Ode consists of a number of stanzas with a more or less regular metrical structure but without any division into triads of the Pindaric. It may be rhymed or unrhymed. This kind of Ode is light and personal (not choric) without the elaboration and complexity of the Pindaric. Unlike the more formal Pindaric ode, the Horatian ode traditionally explores intimate scenes of daily life.

The Horatian Ode is simply a stanzaic form in which all stanzas are structured in the same pattern at the discretion of the poet. (rhyme, meter, number of lines etc.), more technically it is “nonce stanzaic” or a “homostrophic” ode (ode made up of same structured stanzas created specifically for that poem).

Some notable examples are William Collin‘s Ode to Simplicity and Ode to Evening; Thomas Gray‘s Eton Ode , Wordsworth’s Ode to Duty; Shelley’s Ode of the West Wind; and Keats’ Ode to Nightingale.


My heart aches, and a drowsy numbness pains
         My sense, as though of hemlock I had drunk,
Or emptied some dull opiate to the drains
         One minute past, and Lethe-wards had sunk:
‘Tis not through envy of thy happy lot,
         But being too happy in thine happiness,—
                That thou, light-winged Dryad of the trees
                        In some melodious plot
         Of beechen green, and shadows numberless,
                Singest of summer in full-throated ease. ( Keats’ Ode to Nightingale)

Also read: Pindaric Ode