O Ship, The Waves Are Sweeping You


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O Ship, The Waves Are Sweeping You1
             Horace 1.14

O ship, the waves are sweeping you out to sea
again. What are you up to! Break your back
      to . . .
. . . . . . . . . .


1Ode 1.14, often called The Ship of State ode. Here Horace imitates the ship of state poems of Alkaios of Lesbos (Alceus), who used the ship in dangerous waters as an extended metaphor to depict the perils of the state. A celebrated American poem that follows the metaphor of the classical ship of state model is Walt Whitman’s “O Captain, My Captain” in which the perils of the state are recounted after its captain, Abraham Lincoln, lies on the deck, assassinated.