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THE materials for Horace's life are derived almost entirely from his own works. A few additional facts are got from a short memoir

attributed to Suetonius.

He was born on the 8th December, A.U.C. 689 (B.c. 65), at or near Venusia (Venosa), in the Apennines, on the borders of Lucania and Apulia. His father was a freedman', having, as his name proves, been the slave of some person of the Horatia gens. As Horace implies that he himself was ingenuus, his father must have obtained his freedom before his birth. He afterwards followed the calling of a coactor1, a collector of money in some way or other, it is not known in what. He made in this capacity enough to purchase an estate, probably a small one, near Venusia. We hear nothing of his mother, except that Horace speaks of both his parents with affection. His father, probably seeing signs of talent in him as a child, was not content to have him educated at a provincial school, but took him (at what age he does not say, but probably about twelve) to Rome, where he became a pupil of Orbilius Pupillus, who had a school of much note, attended by boys of good family, and whom Horace remembered all his life as an irritable teacher, given unnecessarily to the use of the rod. With him he learnt grammar, the earlier Latin authors, and Homer. He attended other masters (of rhetoric, poetry, and music, perhaps) as Roman boys were wont, and had the advantage (to which he afterwards looked back with gratitude) of his father's care and moral training during this part of his education. It was usual for young men of birth and ability to be sent to Athens to finish their education by the study of Greek literature and philosophy under native teachers; and Horace went there too, at what age is not known, but probably when he was about twenty. Whether his father was alive at that time or dead is uncertain.

1 C. iii. 4. 9; C. iv. 9. 2; S. ii. 1. 34.

3 S. i. 6. 8.

5 S. i. 6. 96.

If he went to Athens at

2 S. i. 6. 6. 45, 46.

4 S. i. 6. 86.

6 Epp. ii. 1. 71; ibid. 2. 41.

twenty, it was in A.U.C. 709, the year before C. Julius Caesar was assassinated. After that event Brutus and Cassius left Rome and went to Greece. Foreseeing the struggle that was before them, they got round them many of the young men at that time studying at Athens, and Horace was appointed a tribune' in Brutus' army, a high command, for which he was not qualified. He went with Brutus into Asia Minor, and finally shared his defeat at Philippi, A.U.c. 712. He makes humorous allusion to this defeat in his Ode to Pompeius Varus (ii. 7). After the battle he came to Italy, having obtained permission to do so, like many others who were willing to give up a desperate cause and settle quietly at home. His patrimony, however, was forfeited, and he seems to have had no means of subsistence, which induced him to employ himself in writing verses, with the view perhaps of bringing himself into notice° rather than for the purpose of making money by their sale. It is not impossible, however, that some of his earliest compositions were severe personal satires and lampoons, written at the instigation of those who were able to pay him for them. That the book of Epodes which we possess does not contain all that he wrote in Archilochus' vein, I think is pretty certain; and the same I believe may be said of the books of Satires. Probably his earliest efforts were more severe and licentious than those which his judgment allowed him afterwards to publish, though some of these are bad enough. With Archilochus and Lucilius before him as models, and without the experience he afterwards gained, his earliest productions may without difficulty be supposed to have been such as in later life he would condemn. By some means he managed to get a place as scriba' in the Quaestor's office, whether by purchase or interest does not appear. In either case we must suppose he contrived soon to make friends, though he could not do so by the course he pursued without also making many enemies. His Satires are full of allusions to the enmity his verses had raised up for him on all hands. He became acquainted, among other literary persons, with Virgil and Varius, who about three years after his return (A.U.C. 715) introduced him to Maecenas, who was careful of receiving into his circle Brutus' tribune, and one whose writings were of a kind that was new and unpopular. He accordingly saw nothing of Horace for nine months after his introduction (S. i. 6. 61). He then sent for him (A.U.C. 716), and from that time continued to be his patron and friend. There is nothing

7 S. i. 6. 48.

8 Epp. ii. 2. 50.

9 Kirchner (Qu. Hor. p. 15, n. 4) and Franke (Fast. Hor. p. 20) reject this notion, supposing Horace to mean in the passage on which it is founded (Epp. ii. 2. 51), that poverty made him desperate and careless of consequences, but that when he became comparatively rich he lost that stimulus.

1 Suet. Vit. S. ii. 6. 36

more genuine in Horace's writings than his expressions of affection for his father and for Maecenas. His gratitude to Maecenas never takes the form of servility, his affection never savours of affectation, and his familiarity never approaches to impertinence. He sees in Maecenas' gifts to himself only the generous disposition of the giver, of which he has no thought of taking undue advantage; his patronage he neither exaggerates nor undervalues; for his health he feels tenderly; his danger he tries to share; and his anxieties he does his best to soothe. It is evident that Maecenas valued his society and understood his character.

At his house, probably, Horace became intimate with Pollio and the many persons of consideration whose friendship he appears to have enjoyed. Through Maecenas also it is probable Horace was introduced to Augustus, but when that happened is uncertain. In A.U.C. 717 Maecenas was deputed by Augustus to meet M. Antonius at Brundisium, and he took Horace with him on that journey, of which an amusing account is given in the fifth Satire of the first book. Horace appears to have parted from the rest of the company at Brundisium, and perhaps returned to Rome by Tarentum and Venusia. (See S. i. 5, Int.). Between this journey and A.U.c. 722 Horace received from his friend the present of a small estate in the valley of the Digentia (Licenza), situated about thirty-four miles from Rome, and fourteen from Tibur, in the Sabine country. Of this property he gives a description in his Epistle to Quintius (i. 16), and he appears to have lived there a part of every year, and to have been fond of the place, which was very quiet and retired, being four miles from the nearest town, Varia (Vico Varo), the centre of the district, but of no great importance. During this interval he continued to write Satires and Epodes, but also, it appears to me probable, some of the Odes, which some years later he published, and others which he did not publish. These compositions I have no doubt were seen by his friends, and were pretty well known before any of them were collected for publication. It will appear from the separate Introductions to the several Satires of the first book that there is not one which might not have been written by the year A.U.C. 719, and in that year Franke supposes the first book was published. It may have been so, but Franke's arguments are not conclusive. In A.U.C. 723 the battle of Actium was fought, and in the prospect of Maecenas having a command on that occasion, Horace wrote him a touching poem, which stands first in the book of Epodes. The ninth Epode was written immediately after the victory, and there is no poem in the book of Epodes which need be placed later. I agree therefore with Franke in thinking that book, of which one or two poems are among Horace's earliest compositions, may have been published in A.U.C. 724. In that year was written,

as it would seem, the sixth Satire of the second book, which book therefore was not probably published till the end of 724 or the beginning of the next year, when Horace was about thirty-five years old.

When Augustus returned from Asia, in A.U.C. 725, and closed the gates of Janus, being the acknowledged head of the republic, Horace appeared amongst his most hearty adherents. He wrote on this occasion one of his best Odes (i. 2), and employed his pen in forwarding those reforms which it was the first object of Augustus to effect. (See Introduction to C. ii. 15). His most striking Odes appear for the most part to have been written after the establishment of peace. Some may have been written before, and probably were. But for some reason it would seem that he gave himself more to lyric poetry after his thirty-fifth year than he had done before. He had most likely studied the Greek poets while he was at Athens, and some of his imitations may have been written early. If so, they were most probably improved and polished from time to time (for he must have had them by him, known perhaps only to a few friends, for many years) till they became the graceful specimens of artificial composition that they are. Horace continued to employ himself in this kind of writing (on a variety of subjects, convivial, amatory, political, moral; some original, many no doubt suggested by Greek poems) till A.U.c. 730, when I am inclined to think the first three books of the Odes were published. I cannot here discuss the subject, but I have considered and stated in the case of each Ode the evidences, if any, that it contains of its date, and I can find none which may not be placed in that year or before it. Bentley's theory, which limits Horace to one species of composition at a time, and supposes each of the first three books of Odes to have been published separately, I have no faith in; and he overlooks the fact that the twenty-fourth Ode of the first book was certainly written four years after that in which he places the publication of that book. Clinton, who supports Bentley (Fast. Hell. B.C. 38), can only do so by supposing that in the present copies some pieces may have been transposed, which is begging the question. Franke has arrived, as far as I can judge, at the right conclusion upon this subject. During this period Horace appears to have passed his time at Rome among the most distinguished men of the day, or at his house in the country, paying occasional visits to Tibur, Praeneste, and Baiae, with indifferent health, which required change of air. About the year A.U.C. 728 he was nearly killed by the falling of a tree, on his own estate, which accident he has recorded in one of his Odes (ii. 13), and occasionally refers to. In the same stanza he refers to a storm in which he was nearly lost off Cape Palinurus, on the west

2 C. iii. 4. 28.

coast of Italy. When this happened nobody knows. After the publication of the three books of Odes, Horace seems to have ceased from that style of writing, or nearly so; and the only other compositions we know of his having produced in the next few years are metrical Epistles to different friends, of which he published a volume probably in A.U.C. 734 or 735. He seems to have taken up the study of the Greek philosophical writers, and to have got a good deal interested in them, and also to have become a little tired of the world and disgusted with the jealousies his reputation created. His health did not improve as he got older, and he put himself under the care of Antonius Musa, the emperor's new physician. By his advice he gave up, for a time at least, his favourite Baiae. But he found it necessary to be a good deal away from Rome, especially in the autumn and winter*.

In A.U.C. 737 Augustus celebrated the Ludi Saeculares, and Horace was required to write an Ode for the occasion, which he did, and it has been preserved. This circumstance, and the credit it brought him, may have given his mind another leaning to Ode-writing, and have helped him to produce the fourth book, a few pieces in which may have been written at any time. It is said that Augustus particularly desired Horace to publish another book of Odes, in order that those he wrote upon the victories of Drusus and Tiberius (4 and 14) might appear in it. The latter of these Odes was not written, I believe, till a.u.c. 741, when Augustus returned from Gaul. If so, the book was probably published in that year, when Horace was fifty-two. The Odes of the fourth book show no diminution of power, but the reverse. There are none in the first three books that surpass or perhaps equal the Ode in honour of Drusus, and few superior to that which is addressed to Lollius. The success of the first three books, and the honour of being chosen to compose the Ode at the Ludi Saeculares, seem to have given him encouragement. There are no incidents in his life during the above period recorded or alluded to in his poems. He lived five years after the publication of the fourth book of Odes, if the above date be correct, and during that time I think it probable he wrote the Epistles to Augustus and Florus which form the second book; and having conceived the intention of writing a poem on the art and progress of poetry, he wrote as much of it as appears in the Epistle to the Pisones which has been preserved among his works. The fragments of which that poem appears to be composed, and which some have vainly tried to reduce to a consistent whole, may have been written earlier than I have supposed; but there is so much affinity between the Ars Poetica and the Epistle to Augustus that I believe they were written at no great interval of

3 Epp. i. 15.

Epp. i. 7. 1-13.

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