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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.
THE METRES OF HORACE.
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:
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:
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:
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 Asclepiadēan verses, a Pherecratean, and a Glyconic:
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:
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:
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:
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 cr iambus, followed by a bacchius:
Strong and lively, the proper metre for appeal and encouragement, exhortation and admonition.
The first verse, beginning with a monosyllabic basis, consists of two halves; the third verse is the doubling of the first of those halves; the fourth verse is a pure refrain, combining the second halves of the two preceding kinds of verse. The Alcaic strophe, then, is like a composition in which a musical thought, after it has impressed itself upon the ear by repetition, is resolved into its elements and further carried out.
Horace employs this metre more than any other, and it is hence often called the Horatian stanza. (I. 9, 16, 17, 26, 27, 29, 31, 34, 35, 37; II. 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, 13, 14, 15, 17, 19, 20; III. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 17, 21, 23, 26, 29; IV. 4, 9, 14, 15.)
IX. The first Archilochian strophe, in which the dactylic hexameter alternates with the minor Archilochian verse :
The Archilochian strophes all express a certain sadness. The first is elegiac, with a prevailing tone of melancholy, while the falling rhythms of the shorter verse seem to represent hopelessness and resignation. (IV. 7.)
X. The second Archilochian strophe; the dactylic hexameter followed by the iambilegic or the iambico-dactylic verse:
The iambic dimeter, here interposed between the two members of the first Archilochian strophe, expresses encouragement. (Ep. 13.)
XI. The fourth Archilochian strophe, consisting of the greater Archilochian verse followed by an iambic trimeter catalectic:
XII. The Alcmanian strophe; dactylic hexameter alternating with dactylic tetrameter catalectic:
This metre resembles the Archilochian strophe, and like that expresses melan
choly thoughts. (I. 7, 28.)
XIII. The iambic trimeter:
Impetuous as the swift arrows of Archilochus, the repertor pugnacis iambi. (Ep. 17.)
XIV. The iambic strophe; iambic trimeters, alternating with iambic dimeters :
The regular Epode-measure of Archilochus. The short, abrupt clauses are well adapted to give the words point and stress. (Epodes 1-10)
XV. The first Pythiambic strophe, consisting of the dactylic hexameter (which, as the proper verse for oracles, is also called the Pythian,) and the iambic dimeter:
XVI. The second Pythiambic strophe; the dactylic hexameter alternating with the iambic trimeter (here consisting of pure iambs):
XVII. The trochaic strophe (or the Hipponactēan); a trochaic dimeter catalectic followed by an iambic trimeter catalectic:
The very smoothness and rapidity of the metre expresses a mind content with its lot and spurning superfluities. (II. 18.)