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TO THE FIRST EDITION.
IN the Dissertation here prefixed to this Book of Horatius Restitutus, I am duly sensible, that the idea may arise of something irregular and desultory in the composition of it. Let me candidly own, that I should have been very happy to meet the expectation of my readers with a performance more regular and systematic, if the peculiarity of the subject had more readily allowed me so to do.
According to my own impressions, first of all, that subject itself was so extensive at once and full of variety, that with a little elegant diffusion, (which in its occasional use I am far from disparaging,) the materials of this Dissertation might be expanded easily into a separate volume: and in the second place, from the very nature of some of the disquisitions, necessarily dry, however to the purpose essential, certain breaks of a pleasanter kind seemed desirable, to relieve the formality of argument, if that might be done without the discursive itself becoming tedious.
The straightforward plainness, however, of the great points to be proved, may serve, amidst so much detail, to excuse the want of methodical regularity in the process. That Horace published his collected writings from time to time in such an order of succession and in no other, and that his principal residences, after he became a professed Poet, were three determinate places of abode, neither more, nor less; these surely are questions, which (when aided by the Chronological Table here subjoined) will hardly alarm the mind of an intelligent reader with any apprehension of perplexity.
In the case of Horace, indeed, most remarkably so, "the Poet is always identified with the man,"
Votivâ pateat veluti descripta tabellâ
2 S. 1. 32, 3, 4.
even just as he tells us it was in the person of Lucilius, whom he avowedly followed (sequor hunc) in his lucubrations as a Satirist.
And in the very same degree, after the attention is fairly awakened to trace the incidents of his life and the stages of his locality, the personal history of the man adds perspicuity at once and interest to many passages in the Poet, which might otherwise remain neither interesting nor intelligible.
Now therefore that his works are recovered from their long state of disjointed existence, now that the disjecti membra Poëtæ once more compose a figure of fair proportions, and Horace-ad unguem Factus homo-becomes himself again; I have no doubt but he will in many important and curious respects be more easily studied and more clearly understood. The investigation of other scholars which my example perhaps may serve to excite, will be rewarded with a rich return of discovery, from comparing together many parts of Horace hitherto not seen in connexion, or, if at all, awkwardly, but hereafter visible at once in their natural perspective.
Two or three specimens of this nature have recently occurred to my own mind as well worthy of notice.
For instance, the political conduct of Horace (a conduct of the most direct integrity) after the battle of Philippi, it will be impossible hereafter to distort into any semblance of the renegade; if his words and his deeds be only traced ever so severely in the actual succession of years. Then again, his laughing in the Satires, when a young man, at "those budge Doctors of the Stoic fur," Stertinius, Dama
sippus and Co., will be found perfectly compatible with the calm allusion in his later Odes (e. g. 3 C. 11. 17-20; 4 C. 1x. 39–44, &c.) to those moral energies of that high doctrine, which Roman virtue alone might realize or approach.
From the same correctness of view, that topic of literature now lost, De Personis Horatianis, will yet derive considerable illustration, especially as to some of his most valuable friends. Thus, Septimius (2 C. v1.) who with an honest cordiality invites Horace to live and die with him at his adored Tarentum, is still recognised as the same worthy man and equally beloved, when after a few years, weary of retirement, he turns adventurer, and gains that exquisite letter of introduction (1 E. Ix.) to the young Prince Tiberius, then in Asia.
Again, Iccius, whose pursuit of philosophy did not conceal from Horace his hankering after wealth, sustains a sharp but delicate chastisement (1 C. xxix.) at an early period: some ten years afterwards (1 E. XII.) (when in Sicily as the procurator of Agrippa) he receives an Epistle introductory of Grosphus, already settled there, (2 C. xvI. 33,) in which the sweet is very ingeniously made to predominate over the bitter, and to all appearance quite consistently with honesty and truth.
It is to Horace's moral treatment of Iccius, and to other cases like it perhaps, such as that of Quintius Hirpinus (2 C. XI; 1 E. XVI. 17, &c.) and it may be to that of Virgil also (4 C. XII. 15. 21, &c.); that his most devoted admirer, Persius, seems to bear this happy and characteristic testimony.
Omne yafer vitium ridenti Flaccus amico
Tangit, et admissus circum præcordia ludit. – Sat. 1. 116, 7.
And yet-arch Horace, while he strove to mend,
Played lightly round and round the peccant part,
In the dedication of Horatius Restitutus, here preserved", it will not be considered as an extravagant compliment, if I have styled Dr. Bentley the Prince of Critics. For what is the constant language of the present generation, and amongst the scholars of the Continent? Hermann, himself confessedly, "a scholar and a philosopher of the highest order," in one of his critical works, De R. Bentleio ejusque editione Terentii Dissertatio, tells us distinctly, that from his preceptor, F. V. Reiz, he inherited the disposition to honour Bentley, tanquam perfectissimum critici exemplum: and he has admirably concentered his own eulogy of that character in the following definition which he afterwards expands.
"Erat Bentleius vir infinitæ doctrinæ, acutissimi sensus, acerrimi judicii. Et his tribus rebus omnis laus et virtus continetur Critici."
ESPECIALLY TO THOSE PUPILS OF MINE
WHO HAVE BEEN OR NOW ARE ON THE FOUNDATION,