The urban and pastoral poetry of the Roman republic, and of the empire that succeeded it, was both the culmination of the magnificent classical tradition of the Mediterranean and the seedbed for almost all the subsequent poetic traditions of Western and Central Europe. The stateliness of Virgil's Eclogues and the grandeur of his epic line, the unsurpassable lyricism - by turns tender, incisive, and scabrous - of Catullus's elegies and satires, the philosophical splendor of Lucretius's meditations, the relentless imaginative energy of Ovid's narratives, and the sonorous beauty of the odes of Horace have been for two millennia a source of endless delight and instruction, and the work of these writers has given to Europe its frames of literary reference and its enduring canons of taste.
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