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He honours him with the highest compliments; then treats copious of poetry, its origin, character, and cxcellence.

Since you alone support so many and such weighty concerns, defend Italy with your arms, adorn it by your virtues, reform it by your laws; I should offend, O Cæsar, against the public interests, if I were to trespass upon your time with a long discourse.

Romulus, and father Bacchus, and Castor and Pollux, after great achievements, received into the temples of the gods, while they were improving the world and human nature, composing fierce dissensions, settling property, building cities, lamented that the esteem which they expected was not paid in proportion to their merits. He who crushed the dire Hydra, and subdued the renowned monsters by his forefated labour, found envy was to be tamed by death [alone]. For he burns by his very splendour, whose superiority is oppressive to the arts beneath him after his decease, he shall be had in honour. On you, while present amongst us, we confer mature honours, and rear altars where your name is to be sworn by; cons fessing that nothing equal to you has hitherto risen, of will hereafter rise. But this your people, wise and just in one point, (for preferring you to our own, you to the Grecian heroes,) by no means estimate other things with like proportion and measure: and disdain and detest every thing, but what they see removed from earth and

already gone by; such favourers are they of antiquity, as to assert that the Muses [themselves] upon Mount Alba dictated the twelve tables, forbidding to transgress, which the decemviri ratified; the leagues of our kings concluded with the Gabii, or the rigid Sabines; the records of the pontifices, and the ancient volumes of the augurs.

If because the most ancient writings of the Greeks are also the best, Roman authors are to be weighed in the same scale, there is no need we should say much there is nothing hard in the inside of an olive, nothing [hard] in the inside of a nut. We are arrived at the highest pitch of success [in arts]: we paint, and sing, and wrestle more skilfully than the anointed Greeks. If length of time makes poems better, as it does wine, I would fain know how many years will stamp a value upon writings. A writer who died a hundred years ago, is be to be reckoned among the perfect and ancient, or among the mean and modern authors? Let some fixed period exclude all dispute. He is an old and good writer who completes a hundred years. What one that died a month or a year later, among whom is he to be ranked? Among the old poets, or among those whom both the present age and posterity will disdainfully reject? He may fairly be placed among the ancients, who is younger either by a short month only, or even by a whole year. I take the advantage of this concession, and pull away by little and little, as [if they were] the hairs of a horse's tail: and I take away a single one, and then again another single one; till, like a tumbling heap, [my adversary,] who has recourse to annals and estimates excellence by the year, and admires nothing but what Libitina has made sacred, falls to the ground.

Ennius the wise, the nervous, and (as our critics say) a second Homer, seems lightly to regard what becomes of his promises and Pythagorean dreams. Is not Nævius in people's hands, and sticking almost fresh in their memory? So sacred is every ancient poem. As often as a debate arises, whether this poet or the other be preferable; Pa cuvius bears away the character of a learned, Accius, of a lofty writer; Afranius' gown is said to have fitted Menander; Plautus, to hurry after the pattern of the Sicilian

Epicharmus; Cæcilius, to excel in gravity, Terence in contrivance. These mighty Rome learns by heart, and these she views crowded in her narrow theatre; these she esteems and accounts her poets from Livy the writer's age down to our time. Sometimes the populace see right; sometimes they are wrong. If they admire and extol the ancient poets so as to prefer nothing before to compare nothing with them, they err; if they think and allow that they express some things in an obsolete, most in a stiff, many in a careless manner; they both think sensibly, and agree with me, and determine with the assent of Jove himself. Not that I bear an ill-will against Livy's epics, and would doom them to destruction, which I remember the severe Orbilius taught me when a boy; but they should seem correct, beautiful, and very little short of perfect, this I wonder at: among which if by chance a bright expression shines forth, and if one line or two [happen to be] somewhat terse and musical, this uLreasonably carries off and sells the whole poem. I am lisgusted that any thing should be found fault with, not because it is a lumpish composition or inelegant, but because it is modern; and that not a favorable allowance, but honour and rewards are demanded for the old writers. Should I scruple, whether or not Atta's drama trod the saffron and flowers in a proper manner, almost all the fathers would cry out, that modesty was lost; since I attempted to find fault with those pieces which the pathetic Esopus, which the skilful Roscius acted: either because they esteem nothing right, but what has pleased themselves; or because they think it disgraceful to submit to their juniors, and to confess, now they are old, that what they learned when young is deserving only to be destroyed. Now he who extols Numa's Salian hymn, and would alone seem to understand that which, as well as me he is ignorant of, does not favour and applaud the buried geniuses, but attacks ours, enviously hating as moderns and every thing of ours. Whereas if novelty had been detested by the Greeks as much as by us, what at this time would there have been ancient? Or what would there have been for common use to read, and thumb common to every body?

When first Greece, her wars being over, began to trifle.

and through prosperity to glide into foily; she glowed with the love, one while of wrestlers, another while of horses: was fond of artificers in marble, or in ivory, or in brass; hung her looks and attention upon a picture; was delighted now with musicians, now with tragedians; as it an infant girl, she sported under the nurse; soon cloyed, she abandoned what [before] she earnestly desired. What is there that pleases, or is odious, which you may not hink mutable? This effect had happy times of peace, and favourable gales [of fortune].

At Rome it was long pleasing and customary to be up early with open doors, to expound the laws to clients; to lay out money cautiously upon good securities; to hear the elder, and to tell the younger by what means their fortunes might increase, and pernicious luxury be diminished. The inconstant people have changed their mind, and glow with a universal ardour for learning: young men and grave fathers sup crowned with leaves, and dictate poetry. I myself, who affirm that I write no verses, am found more false than the Parthians: and, awake before the sun is risen, I call for my pen and papers and desk. He that is ignorant of a ship, is afraid to work a ship; none but he who has learned, dares adminster [even] southern wood to the sick; physicians undertake what belongs to physicians; mechanics handle tools; but we, unlearned and learned, promiscuously write poems.

Yet how great advantages this error and this slight madness has, thus compute: the poet's mind is not easily covetous; fond of verses, he studies this alone; he laughs at losses, flights of slaves, fires; he contrives no fraud against his partner, or his young ward; he lives on husks, and brown bread; though dastardly and unfit for war, he is useful at home, if you allow this, that great things may derive assistance from small ones. The poet fashions the Child's tender and lisping mouth, and turns his ear ever at this time from obscene language; afterwards also he forms his heart with friendly precepts, the corrector of his rudeness and envy and passion; he records virtuous ac tions, he instructs the rising age with approved examples, he comforts the indigent and the sick. Whence should the virgin, stranger to a husband, with the chaste boys, learn the solemn prayer, had not the muse given a poet'

The chorus entreats the divine aid, and finds the gods pro pitious; sweet in learned prayer, they implore the waters of the heavens; avert diseases, drive off impending dani gers, obtain both peace and years enriched with fruits. With song the gods above are appeased, with song the gods 'below.

Our ancient swains, stout and happy with a little, afte the grain was laid up, regaling in a festival season their bodies and even their minds, patient of hardship through the hope of their ending, with their slaves and faithful wife, the partners of their labours, atoned with a hog [the goddess] Earth, with milk Silvanus, with flowers and wine the genius that reminds us of our short life. Invented by this custom, the Fescennine licentiousness voured forth its rustic taunts in alternate stanzas; and this Liberty, received down through revolving years, sported pleasingly; till at length the bitter raillery began to be turned into open rage, and threatening with impunity to stalk through reputable families. They, who suffered from its bloody tooth, smarted with the pain; the unhurt ikewise were concerned for the common condition: further also, a law and a penalty were enacted, which forbade that any one should be stigmatized in lampoon. Through fear of the bastinado, they were reduced to the necessity of changing their manner, and of praising and delighting.

Captive Greece took captive her fierce conqueror, and introduced her arts into rude Latium. Thus flowed off the rough Saturnian numbers, and delicacy expelled the rank venom: but for a long time there remained, and at this day remain, traces of rusticity. For late [the Roman writer] applied his genius to the Grecian pages; and enjoying rest after the Punic wars, began to search what, useful matter Sophocles, and Thespis, and Æschylus afforded he tried, too, if he could with dignity translate their works; and succeeded in pleasing himself, being by nature [of a genius] sublime and strong: for he creathes a spirit tragic enough, and dares successfully; but fears a blot, and thinks it disgraceful in his writings. Comedy is believed to require the least pains, becausc it fetches its subjects from common life; but the less in dulgence it meets with, the more labour it requires. See

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