in Small House at Allington

Chapter 22 – Lord De Guest at Home

half-forgotten classicalities and the severe Falernian

While John and the earl are drinking, the earl urges John to tell him about his love.  The earl calls his port “severe Falernian,” recalling Horace’s Ode 1.27.  In joking with John, the earl dusts off a Classical phrase that he has partially remembered.  Later in the chapter Trollope continues to refer to the earl’s “Falernian.”  [RR 2006]

Though Trollope seems to poke gentle fun at the earl for his Latin allusion, the citation is apt:  in Ode 1.27 the speaker is trying to get the addressee to speak of his love.  [RR 2011]

Sources:  Horace, Ode 1.27.9-12.



This reference occurs after Johnny Eames returns home after saving the earl and dining with him at his house.  Trollope refers to the earl as Johnny’s patron.  This usage recalls the patron-client system that was prominent in ancient Rome. In this system, an affluent man would support his client in various ways and vice versa.  Trollope is using this reference to allude to the future of the two’s relationship where perhaps the earl will help Johnny financially and socially.  The patron-client comparison to the earl and Johnny occurs throughout the novel.  [KD 2006]