In The Odes of Horace, Steele Commager examines the odes with particular attention both to their language and structure and to the effect a poem is intended to, or does, produce. Horace’s conciseness and apparent clarity phrase by phrase tempt us into believing that there is an equally concise and clear meaning to be assigned to a poem, or even to his thought as a whole. Yet Horace has no systematic philosophy to impart; his poems record only an imaginative apprehension of the world. Each ode is a calculated assault on our sensibilities, a deliberate invasion of our consciousness. Only by yielding to each in its entirety can we momentarily share Horace’s vision.