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LIFE OF HORACE.

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Nine months elapsed between the first cold reception of Horace by Mæcenas, and his advances to nearer friendship.

Mæcenas, though still engaged in public affairs, and though he had not yet built his splendid palace on the Esquiline, had nevertheless begun to collect around him all the men, either eminent, or who promised to become eminent, in arts and letters. The friendship with Horace grew up rapidly into close intimacy. In the following year Horace accompanied him on his journey to Brundusium; to which Mæcenas proceeded, though on a political negociation of the utmost importance (the reconciliation of Antony and Octavius), as on a party of pleasure, environed by the wits and poets who had begun to form his ordinary circle.

The mutual amity of all the great men of letters, in this period, gives a singularly pleasing picture of the society, which was harmonised and kept together by the example and influence of Mæcenas. Between Virgil, Plotius, Varius, and Horace, between Horace and Tibullus there was not merely no vulgar jealousy, no jarring rivalry, but the most frank mutual admiration. If an epigram of Martial be not a mere fancy of the poet, Virgil carried his delicacy so far, that he would not trespass on the poetic provinces which seemed to belong to his friends. Though he might have surpassed Varius in tragedy, and Horace in lyric thing which could entitle him to the name of a poet;" therefore, no single Ode. But Horace," as has been well observed, "uses language much like this in his Epistles (Epist. II. i. 250, &c.), written after all his Odes."-Dyer, in Classical Museum, No. v. p. 215, &c.

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LIFE OF HORACE.

poetry, he would not attempt either, lest he should obscure their fame.(43)

In the enjoyment of this society Horace completed the earliest of his works which has reached posterity (if indeed we have not his whole published works), the first book of Satires.("")

(43) "Si tua, Cirini, promas Epigrammata vulgo,
Vel mecum possis, vel prior ipse legi;
Sed tibi tantus inest veteris respectus amici,
Carior ut mea sit, quam tua fama tibi.
Sic Maro nec Calabri tentavit carmina Flacci,
Pindaricos nosset cum superare modos;
Et Vario cessit Romani laude cothurni

Cum posset tragico fortius ore loqui.
Aurum et opes et rura frequens donabit amicus,
Qui velit ingenio cedere, rarus erit."

Mart., Epigram viii. 18.

(4) Even on the publication of the Satires, Odes, and Epistles, in separate books, there are more difficulties than at first sight appear in the chronology of Bentley. Several of the Satires in the first book, but especially the fourth, show that Horace had already made enemies by his satiric poetry. Horace was averse to the fashion of reciting poems in public which had been introduced by Asinius Pollio, and complains that his own were read by few:

"Cum mea nemo

Scripta legat, vulgo recitare timentis."

Compare line 73 et seqq. Some recited their works in the forum-some in the public baths.

No doubt he is in jest in this comparison between his poems and those of his rivals Crispinus and Fannius; but it seems to imply that his poems were already, some way or other, exposed to popular approbation, or neglect. Our notion of publication, the striking off at once a whole edition, probably misleads us. Before the invention of printing, each poem must have been copied and re-copied separately; perhaps they may not have been exposed for sale till made up in books. See for the chronology of the poems the "Fasti Horatiani.”

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it is so desultory as to minister perpetual variety. It starts from some subject of interest or importance, but does not adhere to it with rigid pertinacity. The satire of Horace allowed ample scope to follow out any train of thought which it might suggest, but never to prolixity. It was serious and gay, grave and light; it admitted the most solemn and important questions of philosophy, of manners, of literature, but touched them in an easy and unaffected tone; it was full of point and sharp allusions to the characters of the day; it introduced in the most graceful manner the follies, the affectations, even the vices of the times, but there was nothing stern, or savage, or malignant in its tone; we rise from the perusal with the conviction that Horace, if not the most urbane and engaging-(not the perfect Christian gentleman) - must have been the most sensible and delightful person who could be encountered in Roman society. There is no broad buffoonery to set the table in a roar; no elaborate and exhausting wit, which turns the pleasure of listening into a fatigue; if it trespasses occasionally beyond the nicety and propriety of modern manners, it may fairly plead the coarseness of the times, and the want of efficient female control, which is the only true chastener of conversation, but which can only command respect, where the females themselves deserve it.

The satiric form of poetry was not original; there was something like it in the Silli of the Greeks, and Lucilius had already introduced this style of writing into Rome with great success. The obligations of Horace to Lucilius it is impossible fairly to estimate

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from the few and broken passages of that writer which
have survived. Horace can hardly be suspected of
unworthy jealousy in the character which he gives of
his predecessor in the art. Notwithstanding Quin-
tilian's statement that there were some even in his
own day who still preferred the old satirist not merely
to all poets of his class, but even to every other
Roman poet, there can be no doubt that Lucilius was
rude, harsh, and inharmonious; and it is exactly this
style of poetry which requires ease, and that unstudied
idiomatic perspicuity of language, that careless, as
it may seem, but still skilful construction of verse
which delights the ear, at the same time that it is
widely different from the stately march of the Vir-
gilian hexameter, or the smooth regularity of the
elegiac poets.
It is so near akin to prose, as to
require great art to keep up the indispensable distinc-
tion from it.

The poetry of Horace was the comedy of an un-
theatrical people. If the Romans had been originally
a theatrical people, there would have been a Roman
drama. Their pretextate were but Greek dramas
on Roman subjects. The national character of the
people was, doubtless, the chief cause of the want of
encouragement to the drama, but we may go still
further. The true sphere of the drama seems to be a
small city, like Athens, (we reckon its size by its free
population,) London in the time of Elizabeth and
James, Paris in that of Louis XIV., or Weimar at the
close of the last century. In these cities, either all
orders delight in living in public, or there is a large

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