Obrazy na stronie

bent of his disposition, to intermingle the
melodies of the moral lyre, and the lucubrations
of philosophy, with the simplest pleasures of
unreproving Nature. Here, then, amidst the
woods and fields of his Sabine farm, may we
alone discern the genuine tone and texture of
his mind, the independency of his soul, the sa-
gacity of his judgment, the innate rectitude of
his breast, and, above all, the moderation and
cheerful contentedness of his spirit. But the poet
shall speak for himself; for after recommending
the virtues and the mode of life best calculated
to secure tranquillity, and a conscience at peace
within itself, he thus beautifully adds, in allu-
sion to his own views and practice:

Me quoties reficit gelidus Digentia rivus,
Quem Mandela bibit, rugosus frigore pagus;
Quid sentire putas, quid credis, amice, precari?
Sit mihi, quod nunc est, etiam minus ; ut mihi vivam
Quod superest ævi, si quid superesse volunt Dî:
Sit bona librorum et provisæ frugis in annum
Copia: ne fluitem dubiæ spe pendulus horæ.
Sed satis est orare Jovem quæ donat et aufert ;
Det vitam, det opes: æquum mî animum ipse pa-


Epistol. lib. i. Epist. 18.

Here then, refreshed by cool Digentia's rill,

What is my prayer? That heaven would grant me still,

To keep the present good, nay even less:

But to myself my life, or long or short, possess.
A moderate store of books and wealth to save,
Lest hope float doubtful, a dependent slave
Upon the passing hour- Enough, to pray
For these to Jove, who gives and takes away!
Let him give life, and health; myself will find
That first of blessings, a contented mind!
Yet grant me, Phoebus! with that mind entire,
Age not unhonour'd, nor without the lyre.


With feelings and with moderated wishes such as these, and with a character and conduct in a great degree moulded and regulated by their impression, it is scarcely possible that Horace could have been otherwise than happy, as far as happiness can be said to be attainable in this life; for though, as we have seen by the numerous quotations already given, that he had formed a just estimate of the fragility and fleeting nature of our being here, and, with the most gifted of the ancient world, looked forward to a future state with much of doubt and

uncertainty, yet he never shrunk from a steady and unappalled contemplation of the issues of life and death. Sometimes, indeed, he would call up the inevitable destiny of man as a motive towards seizing the present moment for social yet moderate enjoyment; but more generally did he view its approach with a perfect though a pensive acquiescence, conscious that, whilst with a determination to render it subservient to the best purposes of morality and religion, he had often held it up as a terror to vice and ambition; he was prepared to meet it in his own person with equanimity and resignation. Accordingly, he appears to have felt a soothing pleasure in meditating on the evening and close of his own days; and, among several exquisite passages to this effect, none perhaps can be quoted as more beautifully interesting than that addressed to his friend Septimius, where he points out the spot he should prefer as the asylum of reposing age:

Tibur Argeo positum colono

Sit meæ sedes utinam senectæ ;
Sit modus lasso maris, et viarum,

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Should envious fate deny these seats,
Next let me court the blest retreats,

Where, murmuring through the plain,

For richest fleeces far renown'd,


laves the realms that own'd Phalantus' Spartan reign.—

* Horace's villa was situated near Tibur, originally founded by a Greek colony.

+ Galesus is a river which waters Tarentum, founded by a colony of Spartans under Phalantus.

These blest abodes, these chosen bowers,
Shall gild with joy life's fleeting hours.
Here, when my days shall end,

Bathe my loved ashes with a tear,
And cherish, with regret sincere,
Thy poet, and thy friend.



The features which we have now dwelt at some length in the poetry and character of Horace, place him before us in a point of view not only singularly pleasing and impressive, but, at the same time, truly amiable, moral, and instructive. It is evident, that as he advanced in years, and the experience of life came more fully upon him, he learnt to appreciate the pleasures of sense, and the allurements of wealth and power, at their just value; and that, shunning the city as the temple of voluptuousness and scepticism, and the theatre of political intrigue, he sought in the shades of retirement to become acquainted with himself, and with the moral destiny of his species, prepared for, and resigned to, the evils incident to humanity, and, though keenly sensible to, and ever anxious to participate in, the

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