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Secure in his Retreat Vejanius lies,
Hangs up his Arms, nor courts the doubtful Prize;
Or the light Croud for his Discharge implore.
He drag his jaded Limbs, and burft his Wind.
You afk, perhaps, what Sect, what Chief I own;
11. Verum atque decens.] To unite thefe two Parts is the Perfec tion of Philofophy. The firft, when alone, fills the Mind with a barren, abftracted Knowledge. The fecond, renders us Men, by teaching us to regulate our Actions, and preferve whatever are called Decencies in Life.
14. Nullius addictus, &c.] Addi&i were properly thofe Debtors, whom the Prætor adjudged to their Creditors, who might difpofe of them as they pleased. But here the Poet alludes to Soldiers, who took the military Oath at the Time they were enlifted. We have a pleasant Use of the Word in Shakespeare. Leave off all thin Po tations, fays Falstaffe, and addict thyself unto Sack,
15. Tempeftas, deferor bofpes.] A Philofopher is a citizen of the World, and fhould be prepared, like a Mariner in a Tempeft, to live in every Country to which the Storm shall drive him, as if he were naturalized there. Horace had, perhaps, in his View a Paffage of Cicero, who tells us, the Philofophers ftuck to the Sect into which they were driven, as it were by Violence of a Tempest, as ship
Nunc agilis fio, & merfor civilibus undis
Nunc mihi res, non me rebus fubjungere conor,
wrecked Mariners do to a Rock on which they are thrown. But indeed almost all People, who are enlifted in a Profeffion or a Party, are equally tenacious of their Principles, Mr. Sanadon understands by Tempeftas the Opportunities, Hazards, and Confequences of our Actions.
16. Nunc agilis fio, &c.] In the common Arrangement of thefe Lines, the third but ill agrees with the firft, or the fecond with the fourth. How fhall we reconcile that Flexibility of Spirit, neceffary for dexterously managing our Affairs, with the Stiffness of a rude and auftere Virtue? What can be more oppofite to the Character of Ariftippus, pliant and fupple even to Meannefs, than a Stoical Independance of Mind, which mafters and fubdues the Bufinefs of the World? By this new Arrangement the Difficulties, which perplexed the Commentators, difappear: There is no longer any Obfcurity in the Thoughts, or Confufion in the Characters.
18. Virtutis veræ cuftos.] The Virtue of the Stoics, whom our Author here means, was real; nor did any other School give more excellent Leffons: but, in Practice, they mixed fuch an unreasonable Severity of Manners, as made them unfit for the common Affairs of Life, that frequently require a certain Temper and Address, of which they were incapable. In general, we fhall better fucceed by an easy Compliance with any uncommon Occurrences, than by a rigid Oppofition to them.
19. Nunc in Ariftippi.] This naturally follows the three preceding Lines. Horace could not long be reconciled to the two former Syftems; one required too much Action; the other too much Severity; and neither of them was agreeable to his Inclination. The
Now Virtue's Precepts rigidly defend,
Nor to the World the World to me shall bend :
And to a School lefs rigid smoothly glide.
As Night seems tedious to th' expecting Youth,
Morals of Ariftippus, who founded the Epicurean Sect, were more to his Tafte; but as this Philofophy was very feverely treated by the Stoics, and Cynics, the Poet pleasantly says, he was obliged, with Privacy, furtim, to follow its Doctrines.
Horace by the Word, furtim, might probably mean, that he did not país, at once, from the Sentiments of Zeno to thofe of Ariftippus, as it were from one Extreme to another, but by Degrees, and infenfibly.
20. Ut nox longa, &c.] Nothing can give us an higher Idea of that Ardour, which our Author felt for Philofophy, than by comparing it to an Impatience, with which a Lover expects his Mistress at her midnight Affignation: An Impatience which he himself had experienced. Befides, the Comparison appears more strong, and is an higher Honour to Philofophy, thus drawn from Vice, and employed in the Caufe of Virtue. DAC.
21. Diefque lenta videtur.] The common Editions, by reading longa, have loft that beautiful Variety of Epithets, with which Horace hath enlivened his Language, Nox longa, dies lenta, annus piger, tarda tempora. Lenta was found in an old Manufcript by Barthius, and has been received into the Text by Dr. Bentley, Mr. Cuningham and Sanadon.
Opus debentibus.] Not only Hirelings, but Wages, which they have already received. homely Proverb, working for a dead Horfe,
Perfons, who work for
Reftat, ut his ego me ipfe regam folerque elementis.
27. Elementis.] The Remainder of this Epiftle contains what the Poet calls the first Principles and Elements of Wisdom, by which he defigns to regulate his future Life, and comfort himself for not having had Leifure to form a more complete and perfect Syftem of Morality. Such are, You cannot fee like Lynceus: You have not the Limbs of Glycon: Yet every Step to Virtue, &c.
30. Invicti membra Glyconis.] The Commentators tell us, from Diogenes Laertius, that Glycon was a Philofopher, who had made himself famous by his Dexterity and Skill in Athletic Exercises. But more probably the Poet alluded to a Statue, which is ftill preferved in Rome, and of which Montfaucon speaks thus. Hercules of Farnefe, the finest of all, is a Mafter-piece of Art. It is the Performance of Glycon the Athenian, who hath immortalized his Name, by putting it at the Bottom of this admirable Statue.
33. Fervet avaritiâ.] The Difference between Avarice, and a Defire of increafing our Wealth, is here ftrongly marked. Avaritia, miferoque cupidine. The former dares not enjoy what it poffeffes : the latter ardently wishes for whatever feems to gratify its Defires. SAN.
37. Ter pure lecto.] Although the Numbers ten and seven had a myfterious Reverence paid to them by the Ancients, yet the Number
But meaner Precepts now my Life must rule,
What though you cannot hope for Eagle's Eyes,
Yet every Step to Virtue's worth your Care.
Is Fame your Paffion? Wifdom's powerful Charm,
When liftening calmly to th' inftructive Lay.
Even Three feems to have been of more folemn Superftition. Heaven, Earth, and Hell; the Mysteries of Religion; the Affairs of Politics; and the Actions of Morality, were governed by it. Instead of a thousand Proofs let this one be fufficient. Ejufdem caufa ludi magni voti trecentis triginta tribus millibus trecentis triginta tribus triente. For the fame Reason they vowed the great Games to Jupiter; in which was to be expended a Sum of three hundred thirty-three thou fand three hundred thirty-three pieces, and one Third of Brass.
Pure.] With Purity of Mind, Books of Morality are Works confecrated to Virtue, and ought not to be touched by profane Hands. This Idea furnished Horace with the Terms piacula and pure, which are taken from Religion. Before they approach these Myfteries, they fhould be obliged to purify themfelves. Thus the Word recreare is borrowed from Magic and Medicine (which were ufually practifed by the fame Profeffors) and properly fignifies, το refore to Life, αναψύχειν. SAN. DAC.
40. Cultura.] Philofophy, faith Cicero, is the Culture of the Mind ; it tears up our Vices by the Roots; it prepares the Soul to receive the Seed of Virtue, and fows whatever will produce the most plentiful Harvest,