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in the Quaestor's office, a sort of sinecure clerkship of the Treasury, which he continued to hold for many years, if not, indeed, to the close of his life. It was upon his return to Rome that he made the acquaintance of Virgil and Varius, who were already famous, and to them he was indebted for his introduction to Maecenas. The particulars of his first interview with his patron he has himself recorded (Sat. I. vi.). The acquaintance rapidly ripened into mutual esteem. It secured the position of the poet in society, and the generosity of the statesman placed him above the anxieties of a literary life. Throughout the intimate intercourse of thirty years which ensued there was no trace of condescension on the one hand, nor of servility on the other.

By Maecenas Horace was introduced to Octavius, probably soon after the period just referred to. About A. U. c. 722, Horace, who had already given to the world many of his poems, including the ten Satires of the first book, received from Maecenas the gift of the Sabine farm, which at once afforded him a competence, and all the pleasures of a country life. The farm was situated in the valley of Ustica, about twelve miles from Tibur (Tivoli), and, among its other charms, possessed the valuable attraction for Horace, that it was within an easy distance of Rome. Here he spent a considerable part of every year. Here he could entertain a stray friend from town, his patron Maecenas, upon occasion, and the delights of this agreeable retreat were doubtless more than a compensation for the plain fare, or the thin home-grown wine, vile Sabinum, with which its resources alone enabled him to regale them.

The life of Horace from the time of his intimacy with Maecenas appears to have been one of comparative ease and of great social enjoyment. He was soon admitted to the friendship of Augustus, and to the close of his life his favour at court continued without a cloud. And favour did not spoil him. He was ever the same kindly, urbane, and simple man of letters he had originally been, never presuming upon his position, nor looking superciliously on others less favored than himself. At all times

generous and genial, years only mellowed his wisdom and gave a finer polish to his verse. The unaffected sincerity of his nature and the rich vein of his genius made him courted by the rich and noble. He mixed on easy terms with the choicest society of Rome; and what must that society have been which included Virgil, Varius, Plotius, Tibullus, Pollio, and a host of others who were not only ripe scholars, but had borne and were bearing a leading part in the great actions and events of that memorable epoch?

At no time very robust, Horace's health appears to have declined for some years before his death. He was doomed to see some of his dearest friends drop into the grave before him. This to him, who gave to friendship the ardour which other men give

to love, was the severest wound that time could bring. "The shocks of Chance, the blows of Death" smote him heavily; and the failure of youth, and spirits, and health, in the inevitable decay of nature, saddened the thoughtful poet in his solitude, and tinged the gayest society with melancholy. Maecenas's health was a source of deep anxiety to him; and one of the most exquisite Odes (Carm. II. 17) addressed to that valued friend, in answer to some outburst of despondency, while it expresses the depth of the poet's regard, bears in it the tone of a man somewhat weary of the world. He declares that, if untimely fate shall snatch away his patron, he will not survive him; and the prophecy was fulfilled almost to the very letter. The same year

(A. U. c. 746, B. c. 8) witnessed the death of both Horace and Maecenas. The latter died about the middle of the year, committing his friend, in almost his last words, to the care of Augustus: Horati Flacci, ut mei, esto memor. On the 27th of November, when he was on the eve of completing his fifty-seventh year, Horace himself died, of an illness so short and sudden that he was unable to make his will in writing. He declared it verbally before witnesses, leaving to Augustus the little which he possessed. He was buried on the Esquiline Hill, near his patron and friend Maecenas.

There are no authentic busts or medallions of Horace, and his descriptions of himself are vague. He was short in stature, his eyes and hair were dark, but the latter was early silvered with gray. He suffered at one time with an affection of the eyes, and seems to have been by no means robust in constitution. His habits were temperate and frugal, as a rule, although he was far from insensible to the charms of a good table and good wine, heightening and heightened by the zest of good company. he seems to have had neither the stomach nor the taste for habitual indulgence in the pleasures of the table. Latterly he became corpulent and sensitive to the severity of the seasons, and sought at Baiae and Tibur the refreshment or shelter which his mountain retreat had ceased to yield to his delicate frame.


Of all his writings, Horace himself appears to have ascribed the greatest value to the Odes, and to have rested upon them his claims to posthumous fame. They were the result of great labour, as he himself indicates (Carm. Iv. 2, 27 sqq.); and yet they bear pre-eminently the charm of simplicity and ease. He was the first to mould the Latin tongue to the Greek lyric measures; and his success in this difficult task may be estimated from the fact that, as he was the first, so was he the greatest, of the Roman lyrists. In airy and playful grace, in happy epithets, in variety of imagery, and exquisite felicity of expression, the Odes are still unsurpassed among the writings of any period or language. It is these qualities and a prevailing vein of genial and sober wisdom, which imbue them with a charm quite peculiar,

and have given them a hold upon the minds of educated men which no change of taste has shaken.

Horace's Satires and Epistles are perhaps intrinsically more valuable than his lyric poetry. As reflecting "the age and body of the time," they possess the highest historical value. Through them the modern scholar is able to form a clearer idea, in all probability, of the state of society in Rome in the Augustan age, than of any other phase of social development in the history of nations. Horace's observation of character is subtle and exact, his knowledge of the heart is profound, his power of graphic delineation great. A genial humour plays over his verses, and a kindly wisdom dignifies them. As a living and brilliant commentary on life, as a storehouse of maxims of practical wisdom, couched in language the most apt and concise, as a picture of men and manners, which will be always fresh and always true, because it was true once, and because human nature will always reproduce itself under analogous circumstances, his Satires, and still more his Epistles, will have a permanent value for mankind. In these, as in his Odes, he inculcates what is fitting and decorous, and tends most to tranquillity of mind and body. To live at peace with the world, to shun the extremes of avarice, luxury, and ambition, to outrage none of the laws of nature, to enjoy life wisely, and not to load it with the cares which the lapse of a few brief years will demonstrate to be foolishness, is very nearly the sum of his philosophy. Of religion, as we understand it, he had little. In common with the more vigorous intellects of the time, he had outgrown the effete creed of his countrymen. He was content to use it for poetical purposes, but he could not accept as matter of belief the mythology about which the forms of the contemporary worship still clustered.

Horace has always been a favorite with the young; but it is only by minds matured by experience and reflection that he can be thoroughly appreciated. To them the depth of his observation and the reach of his good sense are made daily more apparent; and the verses which charmed their fancy or delighted their ear in youth, become the counsellors of their manhood, or the mirror which focalizes for their old age the gathered wisdom of a lifetime. No writer is so often quoted, and simply because the thoughts of none are more pertinent to men's "business and bosoms" in the concerns of everyday life, amid the jostle of a crowded and artificial state of society; and because the glimpses of nature, in which his writings abound, come with the freshness of truth, alike to the jaded dweller in cities, and to those who can test them day by day in the presence of nature herself.



In the Satires and Epistles, Horace uses the dactylic hexameter; yet, in the Satires, his Musa pedestris purposely assumes a careless and easy tone. "The approach to prose in Horace's verse is seen, for instance, in his freedom with regard to elision, particularly that of the monosyllabic particles nam, dum, cum, si, which is contrary to the epic usage; in some cases of synaeresis, as prout, quoad, vindemiator; in syncopes, as caldior, soldum; and contractions, as divisse, surrexe. In the construction of the verse, also, we observe an intentional accumulation of spondees, whereas the well-framed epic line delights us by a tasteful variety of dactyles and spondees."

In the Odes and Epodes eighteen metres or systems of verse are recognized, a list of which here follows. Further details may be obtained from any of the Grammars.

I. The minor Asclepiadean system, each stanza consisting of four minor Asclepiadean verses:

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There is something noble in the effect of the choriambs, and the steady march of the verse expresses calm assurance. Horace has used this metre thrice, when he speaks with lofty inspiration of the dignity of poetry and his own calling as a bard. (I. 1; III. 30; IV. 8.)

II. The first Asclepiadean strophe, in which the Glyconic verse alternates with the minor Asclepiadean:

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With less elevation and repose, this metre has more pathos and a more varied movement than the preceding. (I. 3, 13, 19, 36; III. 9, 15, 19, 24, 25, 28; IV. 1, 3.) III. The second Asclepiadean strophe, consisting of three minor Asclepiadēan verses, followed by a Glyconic :

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The falling effect of this strophe is appropriate for the expression of modesty, apprehension, despondency, or longing. (I. 6, 15, 24, 33; II. 12; III. 10, 16; IV.

5, 12.)

IV. The third Asclepiadean strophe, consisting of two minor Asclepiadean verses, a Pherecratean, and a Glyconic:

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This metre has a still more subdued tone than the preceding. (I. 5, 14, 21, 23; III. 7, 13; IV. 13.)

V. The greater Asclepiadean system; the greater Asclepiadean verse four times repeated:

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Horace uses this metre thrice in exhortations, which are well supported in the steady march of the weighty choriambs. (I. 11, 18; IV. 10.)

VI. The Sapphic strophe, consisting of three minor Sapphic verses and one Adonic verse:

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Earnest and stately, and the proper metre for supplication to the gods; yet sometimes, with unmistakable humor, applied to subjects of a very different character. (I. 2, 10, 12, 20, 22, 25, 30, 32, 38; II. 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 16; III. 8, 11, 14, 18, 20, 22, 27; IV. 2, 6, 11. Carmen Saeculare.)

VII. The greater Sapphic strophe; an Aristophanic verse followed by a greater Sapphic:

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Used in one Ode (I. 8), in which the question beginning in the shorter verse gains in liveliness and compass as it passes into the longer.

VIII. The Alcaic strophe, consisting of the Alcaic hendecasyllabic verse twice repeated, an Alcaic enneasyllabic, and an Alcaic decasyllabic verse:




The first half of the first three verses may also be divided into a spondee or iambus, followed by a bacchius:

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