Obrazy na stronie

When Augustus returned from Asia, in B. c. 29, and closed the gates of Janus, being the acknowledged head of the republic, Horace appeared among his most hearty adherents. He wrote on this occasion one of his best Odes (i. 2), and employed his pen in forwarding those reforms which it was the first object of Augustus to effect. (See Introduction to C. ii. 15.) His most striking Odes appear, for the most part, to have been written after the establishment of peace. Some may have been written before, and probably were. But for some reason it would seem that he gave himself more to lyric poetry after his thirty-fifth year than he had done before. He had most likely studied the Greek poets while he was at Athens, and some of his imitations may have been written early. If so, they were most probably improved and polished, from time to time, (for he must have had them by him, known perhaps only to a few friends, for many years,) till they became the graceful specimens of artificial composition that they


Horace continued to employ himself in this kind of writing (on a variety of subjects, convivial, amatory, political, moral, some original, many no doubt suggested by Greek poems) till B. C. 24, when there are reasons for thinking the first three books of the Odes were published. During this period, Horace appears to have passed his time at Rome, among the most distinguished men of the day, or at his house in the country, paying occasional visits to Tibur, Præneste, and Baiæ, with indifferent health, which required change of air. About the year B. C. 26 he was nearly killed by the falling of a tree, on his own estate, which accident he has recorded in one of his Odes (ii. 13), and occasionally refers to; once in the same stanza with a storm in which he was nearly lost off Cape Palinurus,* on the western coast of Italy. When this happened, nobody knows. After the publication of the three books of Odes, Horace seems to have ceased from that style of writing, or nearly so; and the only other compositions we know of his having produced in the next few years are metrical Epistles to different friends, of which he published a volume probably in B. c. 20 or 19. He seems to have taken

*C. iii. 4. 28.

dy of the Greek philosophical writers, and to have ood deal interested in them, and also to have been a of the world, and disgusted with the jealousies his created. His health did not improve as he grew he put himself under the care of Antonius Musa, the new physician.* .* By his advice he gave up, for a time is favorite Baiæ. But he found it necessary to be al away from Rome, especially in the autumn and

. 17, Augustus celebrated the Ludi Seculares, and is required to write an Ode for the occasion, which he t has been preserved. This circumstance, and the rought him, may have given his mind another leaning ting, and have helped him to produce the fourth book, ces in which may have been written at any time. It t Augustus particularly desired Horace to publish anof Odes, in order that those he wrote upon the victousus and Tiberius (4 and 14) might appear in it. The ese Odes was not written, probably, till B. c. 13, when returned from Gaul. If so, the book was probably in that year, when Horace was fifty-two. The Odes of book show no diminution of power, but the reverse. - none in the first three books that surpass, or perhaps

Ode in honor of Drusus, and few superior to that addressed to Lollius. The success of the first three I the honor of being chosen to compose the Ode at the lares, seem to have given him encouragement. There idents in his life during the above period recorded or in his poems. He lived five years after the publica- fourth book of Odes, if the above date be correct, and at time, I think it probable, he wrote the Epistles to and Florus which form the second book; and having the intention of writing a poem on the art and progress he wrote as much of it as appears in the Epistle to the hich has been preserved among his works. It seems,

* Epp. i. 15.

† Epp. i. 7. 1-13.

from the Epistle to Florus, that Horace at this time had to resist the urgency of friends begging him to write, one in this style and another in that, and that he had no desire to gratify them and to sacrifice his own ease to a pursuit in which it is plain he never took any great delight. He was likely to bring to it less energy as his life was drawing prematurely to a close, through infirmities either contracted or aggravated during his irrational campaigning with Brutus, his inaptitude for which he appears afterwards to have been perfectly aware of. He continued to apply himself to the study of moral philosophy till his death, which took place, according to Eusebius, on the 27th of November, B. C. 8, in the fifty-seventh year of his age, and within a few days of its completion. Mæcenas died the same year, also towards the close of it; a coincidence that has led some to the notion, that Horace hastened his own death that he might not have the pain of surviving his patron. According to Suetonius, his death (which he places after his fifty-ninth year) was so sudden, that he had not time to execute his will, which is opposed to the notion of suicide. The two friends were buried near one another "in extremis Esquiliis," in the farthest part of the Esquiliæ, that is, probably, without the city walls, on the ground drained and laid out in gardens by Maecenas. (See S. i. 8, Introduction.)





MAECENAS atavis edite regibus

O et praesidium et dulce decus meum,
Sunt quos curriculo pulverem Olympicum
Collegisse juvat metaque fervidis

Evitata rotis palmaque nobilis.

Terrarum dominos evehit ad Deos,
Hunc si mobilium turba Quiritium
Certat tergeminis tollere honoribus:
Illum si proprio condidit horreo
Quidquid de Libycis verritur areis.
Gaudentem patrios findere sarculo
Agros Attalicis conditionibus

Nunquam dimoveas, ut trabe Cypria
Myrtoum pavidus nauta secet mare.
Luctantem Icariis fluctibus Africum
Mercator metuens otium et oppidi
Laudat rura sui; mox reficit rates
Quassas indocilis pauperiem pati.
Est qui nec veteris pocula Massici
Nec partem solido demere de die
Spernit, nunc viridi membra sub arbuto
Stratus, nunc ad aquae lene caput sacrae.

[blocks in formation]

Multos castra juvant et lituo tubae
Permixtus sonitus bellaque matribus
Detestata. Manet sub Jove frigido
Venator tenerae conjugis immemor,
Seu visa est catulis cerva fidelibus,
Seu rupit teretes Marsus aper plagas.
Me doctarum hederae praemia frontium
Dis miscent superis; me gelidum nemus
Nympharumque leves cum Satyris chori
Secernunt populo, si neque tibias
Euterpe cohibet nec Polyhymnia
Lesboum refugit tendere barbiton.
Quod si me lyricis vatibus inseris,
Sublimi feriam sidera vertice.




[blocks in formation]
« PoprzedniaDalej »