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differs from that ordinarily used, the student will find the more common form among the various readings, particularly in the first part of the book. In the latter part of the book, readings are given illustrating the most important peculiarities of orthography not adopted in the text. These variations in orthography, as well as the more important various readings indicating actual differences in expression, are all derived from the manuscripts, (older or more recent,) unless indicated as conjectural.
The dates at which Horace's poems were written are in some instances easily ascertained, in others will always remain matters of doubtful conjecture. In disputed cases, the two extremes of the dates which have been proposed by scholars, or at least of the most plausible ones, are given in the notes, directly after the caption of each poem.
Students of Horace will aid themselves in understanding and appreciating him by judicious collateral reading,- especially in Roman history, where Mommsen and Merivale are particularly recommended to their attention. But nothing can supersede the fond and constant reading of the author himself, continued until his own words speak directly to the mind and ear with a power and beauty unattainable by the best translation.
The marks of punctuation indicate variations of interpunction in different editions: except that different readings of the same word or passage are separated by a comma.
LIFE OF HORACE.
BY THEODORE MARTIN.
UINTUS HORATIUS FLACCUS was born vi. Id. Dec. A. U. c. 689 (B. c. 65), during the consulship of L. Aurelius Cotta and L. Manlius Torquatus. His father was a freedman of the town of Venusia, the modern Venosa, the inhabitants of which belonged to the Horatian tribe, and had received his manumission before his son was born. He had realized a moderate independence in the vocation of coactor, a name borne indifferently by the collectors of public revenue, and of money at sales by public auction. To which of these classes he belonged is uncertain, but most probably to the latter. With the fruits of his industry he had purchased a small property near Venusia, upon the banks of the Aufidus, the modern Ofanto, in the midst of the Apennines, upon the doubtful boundaries of Lucania and Apulia. Here the poet was born, and in this picturesque region of mountain, forest, and stream the boy became imbued with the love of nature, which distinguished him through life.
In his father's house, and in those of the Apulian peasantry around him, Horace had opportunities of becoming familiar with the simple virtues of the poor, their independence, integrity, chastity, and homely worth, which he loved to contrast with the luxury and vice of imperial Rome. He appears to have been an only child. No doubt he had at an early age given evidence of superior powers; and to this it may have been in some measure owing, that his father resolved to give him a higher education than could be obtained under a provincial schoolmaster, and, although ill able to afford the expense, took him to Rome when about twelve years old, and gave him the best training which the capital could supply. No money was spared to enable the boy to keep his position among his fellow-scholars of the higher ranks. He was waited on by numerous slaves, as though he were the heir to a considerable fortune. At the same time, he was not allowed to feel any shame for his own order, or to aspire to a position which he was unable to maintain. Under the stern tutorage of Orbilius Pupillus, a grammarian of high standing, richer in reputation than gold, but unduly fond of the rod, he learned grammar, and became familiar with the earlier Latin writers and
LIFE OF HORACE.
with Homer. What was of still more importance, during this critical period of his first introduction to the temptations of the capital, he enjoyed the advantage of his father's personal superintendence, and of a careful moral training. His father went with him to all his classes, and, being himself a man of shrewd observation and natural humour, he gave his son's studies a practical bearing, by directing his attention to the follies and vices of the luxurious and dissolute society around him, and showing their incompatibility with the dictates of reason and common sense. From this admirable father Horace appears to have gathered many of the rugged maxims hewn from life" with which his works abound, and also to have inherited that manly independence for which he was remarkable, and which, while assigning to all ranks their due influence and respect, never either overestimates or compromises its own. Under the homely exterior of the Apulian freedman we recognize the soul of the gentleman. At what age Horace lost his father is uncertain, but probably before he left Rome for Athens, to complete his education in the Greek literature and philosophy, under native teachers. This he did some time between the age of seventeen and twenty. At Athens he found many young men of the leading Roman families, engaged in the same pursuits with himself. He was no careless student of the classics of Grecian literature, and, with a natural enthusiasm, he made his first poetical essays in their flexible and noble language. His usual good sense, however, soon caused him to abandon the hopeless task of emulating the Greek writers` on their own ground, and he directed his efforts to transfusing into his own language some of the grace and melody of these masters of song. In the political lull between the battle of Pharsalia, A. U. c. 706 (B. c. 48), and the death of Julius Cæsar, A. U. C. 710 (B. c. 44), Horace was enabled to devote himself without interruption to the tranquil pursuits of the scholar. But when, after the latter event, Brutus came to Athens, and the patrician youth of Rome, fired with zeal for the cause of republican liberty, joined his standard, Horace, infected by the general enthusiasm, accepted a military command in the army which was destined to encounter the legions of Antonius and Octavius. His rank was that of tribune, and his appointment excited jealousy among his brother officers, who considered that the command of a Roman legion should have been reserved for men of nobler blood. But he had manifestly a strong party of friends, who had learned to appreciate his genius and attractive qualities. It is certain that he secured the esteem of his commanders, and bore an active part in the perils and difficulties of the campaign, which terminated in the total defeat of the republican party at Philippi, A. U. C. 712 (B. C. 42).
Horace reached home, only to find his paternal acres confiscated. He was enabled, however, to purchase the place of scribe
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 "led the way," (as the poet foretold), 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. But he seems to have had neither the stomach nor the taste for ha
bitual 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,