In a recent discussion of the Soracte Ode (Horace C. I, 9) Charles W. Lockyer insists on certain characteristics of the poem which he describes as follows: ‘Keeping in mind, then, the importance of the metaphor, I should like to approach the scene with a certain amount of dramatic emphasis. For Horace has really written a miniature scene, even though he casts it in the form of a monologue–a fact which is itself significant, as will be seen. … Rather we must pay close attention to the fact that the poem presents two real persons and not mere abstract sentiments decked out in elaborate imagery. … The dramatic quality of the poem should not be overlooked as it has in the past.’ (305). ‘Nothing better points up the difference between youth and age than the two people in this little play.’ (308).
There is a growing awareness that this poem does not present its true self if seen as a symbolic vehicle of philosophical maxims. In one way or another, we find the insistence that we are confronted by real people. Kenneth Quinn, without further discussion, had suggested in Latin Explorations (1963), 108-09, that vides ut alta is properly seen as a dramatic monologue. Lockyer, 305 n. 11, claims that the chief contribution of J. W. Rettig, ‘Dissolve Frigus: Horace Carm. I, 9’, CB 42 (1965) 19-23, was perceiving that two real persons are presented. David West, Reading Horace, taking up Quinn's suggestion placed an uneven stress on the setting (6, 10). Viktor Pöschl pays constant close attention to the speaker. Lockyer uses the terms dramatic and monologue, but it is the former that he really finds in the poem, leading him to think of the poem as a play.