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patron, Mæcenas, proved too strong for his tender nature. He had declared that he could not survive the loss of one who was "part of his soul 18," and his prediction was verified. The last request of Mæcenas to Augustus had been "Horati Flacci, ut mei, esto memor;" but, with his demise, the world became a blank to the affectionate bard; and, breathing his last shortly after, "in their deaths they were not divided;" for his remains were deposited next to those of Mæcenas, at the extremity of the Esquiline Hill.
Time has dealt leniently with Horace, and benignantly to posterity. Not only can we trace the man in the enduring record of his Works, but we can follow him to his loved retreats, and gaze on hill, dale, grove, and fountain, bearing the same distinctive features with which they wooed the regards of Horace. His Sabine farm 19 is still best described in his own words; the fountain of Bandusia still sparkles in the sun, and the villa at Tibur (which has been denied to him on the strength of an expression in one of his odes, "Satis beatus unicis Sabinis,” as if he could not have acquired this addition to his property afterwards, and innumerable passages might be adduced to prove that he did so) is still to be traced by the traveller 20.
When at Rome, Horace resided in a small and plainly furnished mansion 21 on the Esquiline Hill. He was not an early riser; but often read or wrote before he rose, and generally studied for some time after getting up. Then he would either walk, or exercise in the Campus Martius; and, refreshing himself by taking a bath, he made a slight breakfast. His afternoons were frequently spent in lounging about the Forum, and watching, with observant eye, the temper, habits, and follies of the crowd. At home, his supper was frugal, consisting chiefly of herbs 22: but when invited out, which it is natural to suppose he frequently was, he could enjoy the splendid fare of a Messala or a Mæcenas. When in the country, as the whim seized, he would either study hard, or be luxuriously idle. The country was the place where his heart abode; and here he displayed all the kindness of his disposition. At times reclining under the shade of a spreading tree, by the side of some "bubbling runnel," he would temper his Massic with the cooling lymph; at others, he would handle the spade and mattock, and delight in the good-humoured jokes of his country neighbours, when they laughed at him, with his little punchy figure,
18 Ode 2. 17. 5.
19 Epist. 1. 16.
20 For a full examination of the question, and its satisfactory settlement, the reader is referred to the " Preliminary Dissertation" of Mr. Tate, prefixed to hir "Horatius Restitutus."
puffing and blowing at the unwonted work. But his suppers here were the chief scene of his enjoyment. He would then collect around him the patriarchs of the neighbourhood; listen to their homely, but practical, wisdom, and participate in the merriment of his slaves seated around the blazing fire. Well and truly might he exclaim, “Noctes canaque Deúm 23 !
The character of Horace is as clearly developed in his writings, as the manner in which he passed his time, or the locality of his favourite haunts. Good sense was the distinguishing characteristic of his intellect; tenderness that of his heart. He acknowledged no master in philosophy 24, and his boast was not a vain one. Although leaning to the tenets of Epicurus, the "summum bonum" of Horace soared far above the selfishness—“the badge of all the tribe." His happiness centered not in self; but was reflected from that of others. Culling what was best from each sect, he ridiculed, unsparingly, the vague theories of all; and, notwithstanding his shafts are chiefly directed against the Stoics, he assented to the loftier and better part of their doctrine the superintendence of the Divinity over the ways of men 25. Like his Aristippus, " omnis color et status" became him. From an accomplished courtier he could become a happy recluse. He who would wish to learn how to live with princes must study his Epistles to Scæva and Lollius; and he who would be independent of the frowns or smiles of fortune, will find the means pointed out in his character of Ofellus.
Like those of every other mortal, the sterling qualities of Horace were mixed with baser alloy. His philosophy could not preserve him, even at the age of fifty, from the weaknesses of a boy; and he did not escape unsullied by the vices of the time. The morbid temperament, ever inherent in poets, claimed Horace likewise for its own; and would occasionally lead him to sigh for that happiness which is so often vainly sought for in change of scene, but which he has himself, in his wiser moods, taught us, can only be found in the sanctuary of one's own heart 26.
These frailties apart, we recognise in Horace all the amenities, and most of the virtues, which adorn humanity. Antiquity has hardly transmitted to us a purer; nor has literature, even to the present time, made us acquainted with a more loveable character.
Epist. 1. 14. 35-39.
24 Epist. 1. 1. 14 26 Epist. 1. 8. 12. Epist. 1. 11. 25-30.
23 Ode 1. 1. 19-22. Sat. 2. 6. 65. et seqq. 25 Ode 1. 34. Epist. 1. 18. 111
Prefixed to the Notes on the Epistles and Satires will be found critical remarks, throwing ample light on the general features and scope of these compositions. This yet remains to be done for the Odes; and for this purpose we quote the following judicious estimate of the rank which Horace holds as a lyric poet: -
"Overlooking the real peculiarities of his own original genius, Horace himself entertained no higher idea of originality than to make it consist in the introduction of a new form of poetry from Greece: and affected on this ground to despise, as a servile herd of imitators, those who only copied for the second or third time 27. Indeed, an imitator, as the Romans understood the word, only implied one who imitated Latin authors; the imitation of Greek in no way detracting, in their ideas, from the originality of a composition; but rather being, in some respects at least, implied in its excellence. But Horace had much more substantial claims to originality than those which he so ostentatiously put forth; his metres, the introduction of which he so proudly vaunts, are Greek; and, as far as may be conjectured from extant Greek fragments, considerably restricted; but his subjects breathe all the freshness of original conception. Nor can it be objected that the loss of their models allows us no criterion of their excellence; since many are purely Roman in sentiment and allusion, while others are totally unlike what ancient authors lead us to conclude respecting the strains of the Lesbian lyre. The elegant negligence of Anacreon, the daring and magnificent sublimity of Pindar, and the plaintive melancholy of Simonides, alternate in the Odes of Horace; but it is the spirit alone of these writers that we recognise; and it is probable that his imitations of Alcæus and Sappho were of the same nature. At most, they seem to have been that kind of happy adaptation, which is not to be found in the Eclogues of Virgil, and which gives the beauties of the original to an acknowledged imitation. As an illustration of what we mean, we will here adduce a fragment of Alcæus, manifestly corrupt, but which Horace certainly had before his mind when he wrote the ninth Ode of his first Book: :
γει μὲν ὁ Ζεὺς, ἐκ δ' δρανῷ μέγας
Κάββαλλε τον χειμῶν, ἐπὶ
Yet every Roman must have felt the originality and domestic sentiment of Horace's picture, as strongly as we participate in the social cheerfulness of Cowper's snug and curtained fireside. The thirtyseventh Ode of the same Book has been partially imitated from an ode of Alcæus, beginning: :
Νῦν χρὴ μεθύσκειν, καὶ τινὰ πρὸς βίαν
but the whole spirit of the composition is essentially Roman, and the magnificent description of Cleopatra stamps it original. The eighteenth Ode of the same Book is, probably, one of the closest imitations of Alcæus in the whole volume: the first line of it is a strict translation from a passage of Alcæus preserved in Athenæus:
Μηδὲν ἄλλο φυτεύσῃς πρότερον δένδρεον ἀμπέλω.29
But the solum Tiburis and the mania Catili domesticate the production with peculiar felicity. 29
23 At the end of the volume is given a collection of passages, imitated by Horace, from the Greek Poets.
49 Ency. Metr. Pt. 14.
THE LIFE AND WRITINGS OF HORACE.
Ir is necessary to premise, that Bentley's years of the life of Horace, here printed in Roman figures, were by him calculated in a peculiar way. The year of Horace's birth, B. c. 65, though he was born in the last month of it, in Bentley's reckoning, stands as the year I. of his age, the year after it as II. and so on to the end of Horace's life.
Instead of taking the natal year, Mr. H. F. Clinton, whose chronology we likewise give, makes B. c. 64 the first of his calculation, that is, the current year, till completed in December.
HORACE born, 8 Dec. near Venusia.
Is carried by his father to Rome for education.
His father dies.
Battle of Pharsalia.
He takes the Toga Virilis.
He goes, as to a University, to Athens.
He joins the standard of Brutus, as military tribune,
and shares in the defeat at Philippi.
He returns to Rome,
buys the office of clerk in the Treasury,
becomes acquainted with Virgil and Varius,
is by them introduced to Mæcenas,
obtains his patronage, and is admitted to his friend ship.