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Q. HORATII FLACCI
CHARLES ANTHON, LL.D.,
JAY-PROFESSOR OF LANGUAGES IN COLUMBIA COLLEGE, AND
LONGMAN AND CO.; HAMILTON AND CO.; SIMPKIN AND
THE object of the present work is to furnish the student with a text book of convenient size, which may contain, at the same time, a commentary sufficiently ample for all his wants.
Professor Anthon has been long favourably known by his publications; and their reproduction in this country is the best criterion of their merit. On no writings of antiquity has he laboured with such zeal and success, as on those of Horace; and the publisher conceives that he has done a service to literature, by presenting his masterly annotations to the British scholar in a form at once cheap and elegant. They have been diligently revised by the present Editor, who has corrected many inaccuracies as regards citations and references, and adapted the work to the mode of teaching prevalent in our most efficient schools.
The great value of the Professor's notes results from the skill with which he conveys to the pupil the connection of the poet's thoughts, and developes the train of ideas which links each fresh image, or new argument, with its precursors. Next in importance to this ample illustration of the meaning of his author, are the numerous notices gleaned from recent travellers, to clear up the historical, geographical, and antiquarian minutiæ, without a full understanding of which, the spirit of many of the finest ideas of the ancients becomes a dead letter.
The Professor has sedulously incorporated all that is valuable in the notes of Döring and of preceding commentators; and it may be mentioned, as no mean praise, that his translations of numerous passages, apparently within the reach of the learner, will be found to impart an insight into the curiosa felicitas of the poet's expressions, unattainable by the mere aid of the dictionary.
The chief additions to Anthon's notes consist in the quotation of parallel passages from our own writers. Those proper names have alone been noticed, on which the information given by Lempriere is either incorrect or too scanty; and the Life of Horace has been entirely re-written.
Ample use had been made, in the original edition, of Mr. Dunlop's valuable" History of Roman Literature;" and the present is even more indebted to it. The Editor has likewise to acknowledge his obligations to an admirable treatise in the Encyclopædia Metropolitana on Latin Poetry; and he has borrowed from the Horatius Restitutus of the Rev. James Tate, Bentley's scheme of the order in which Horace published his works.
The text, with few exceptions, is Döring's, not Anthon's. The estimation in which the former is held by the literary world, both at home and abroad, and its reception in our universities, authorize the change.
LIFE OF HORACE.
THE life of Horace is written in his works. Not only is the reader made acquainted with the sentiments, he is also introduced to the literary habits and domestic life, of the bard. The description he has given of his predecessor Lucilius is equally applicable to himself:
Votiva pateat veluti descripta tabella
His loves, friendships, and enmities, his rules of life and motives of action; even the wayward and changeable feelings of the hour, are all embodied in imperishable colours. Like Montagne, he tells us even to the wine he most enjoys, and we are thankful for the knowledge.
The only biography of Horace left us by antiquity is the meagre compilation of Suetonius, without which, as the sole record of the kind, any edition of his writings would be imperfect. It will, therefore, be given; but first let us trace the history of the poet, as noted down in his own tablets.
QUINTUS HORATIUS FLACCUS was born at Venusia or Venusium 1 (now Venosa), a town on the boundary line separating Lucania and Apulia, at present the district of Basilicata in Calabria. This event took place on the 8th of December, in the consulship of L. Aurelius Cotta and L. Manlius Torquatus, in the 688th year of Rome, and consequently B. c. 65. His father, a libertinus 2 or freedman of the noble family from which his son derives his name, had purchased a small farm near the above town, and situated, it would seem, on the banks of the Aufidus. Here the youthful Flaccus passed his childhood, and imbibed that predilection for the calm pleasures of a country life which the gay scenes of the capital could never effaces. A true perception and ardent admiration of the beauties of nature are visible in his works; and many of his allusions may be traced to the impressions made upon him by the wild and mountainous scenery of his native region. He has recorded an event which happened to him at this period, and which seems to have distinguished him in the estimation of his Sabine neighbours as "no vulgar boy." Wandering in the woods, whilst yet a mere infant, beguiled, doubtless, by butterfly and wild flower, the little nursling of the Muses, worn out by his own
3 Sat. 2. 6. 60.
1 Ode 4. 9. 2.
2 Sat. 1. 6. 6.
4 Epod. 2. Ode 1. 7. 12. Ode 1. 17., et passim.