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This piece ought not to be considered either as a systematic treatise upon the Art of Poetry, nor, on the other hand, as a desultory composition, destitute of all plan and order, but rather as a poetical Epistle; in which Horace, addressing three of his personal friends, communicates his sentiments on the subject of poetry, preserving throughout a rain of thought sufficiently connected for the familiar style of epistolary writing. The persons to whom the Epistle was addressed, were Lucius Piso and his two sons The father was born B. c. 49, was consul B. c. 15, and was made prefect of the city by Tiberius. His name is mentioned with distinguished honor by the historian Tacitus in his Annals, vi. 10: Per idem tempus, L. Piso pontifex, rarum in tanta claritudine, fato obiit, nullius servilis sententiae sponte auctor, et quoties necessitas ingrueret, sapienter moderans. Patrem ei censorium fuisse memoravi; aetas ad octogesimum annum processit; decus triumphale in Thracia meruerat. Sed praecipua ex eo gloria, quod praefectus Urbi recens continuam potestatem et insolentia parendi gravi. orem mire temperavit. Two of the earliest commentators tell us, that he was himself a poet; but on this point there seems to be no evidence. From the fact, that a considera. ble part of the Epistle is addressed to the elder of the sons, there seems to be some ground for the conjecture of Wieland, that this son was given to poetical pursuits, and had either projected or already written some poetical work.

The course of thought which the poet pursues, seems to be, in general, as follows (the details will be given in italics, in the Notes):

I. He first lays down and illustrates some general precepts applicable alike to all kinds of poetical composition (1-152). II. Thence he passes to a series of rules and historical notices of the drama, with chief reference to the Tragedy of the Greeks (153-284). III. Then, after touching upon the aversion of Roman poets to slow and laborious composition (285-294), and the absurd notion, with which it was connected, respecting the frenzy of poetic inspiration (295–303), he goes through, in the rest of the piece, with a course of critical instruction for the poet; whence he may derive his resources and his culture, what are the noble aims and attainments of excellence in his art, and what the fatal consequences of ignorance and error (304-end).

This Epistle, though it has some historic worth from the sketch which it gives of the origin and progress of the Grecian drama, yet derives its chief and inestimable value from that larger portion which is strictly critical. Written at the close of Horace's life, and the last of his works, it is a precious legacy to his country and the world, of a poet who, by long and laborious culture, had made himself a master in his art; embodying the gathered results of his studies and experience in a series of rules and instructions, which are admirable alike in thought and expression; which, by their truth, good sense, and wisdom, commend themselves to the reason and judgment, and by their inimitable language catch the attention, and fasten themselves in the memory. It is a brief but comprehensive body of criticism, which has proved itself a veritable Kтμa és άel, ▸ possession for all times; in the words of La Harpe, "a lasting code of good taste;" er, in the kindred language of Hurd, "a kind of summary of the rules of good writing, to be gotten by heart by every student, and to whose decisive authority the greatest masters in taste and composition must finally submit."

The principal works which have been written in imitation of this Epistle are Vida' Poetics (Poetic Lib. iii.), Pope's Essay on Criticism and Boileau's Art Poétique.

Special works, illustrative of the plan and conterts of the Epistle, which have been consulted in preparing this edition, are the well known works of Hurd, Wieland, and Colman, and the following:

Des Q. H. Flaccus Buch über die Dichtkunst, u. s. w.; erklärt von Dr. F. v. Paula Hocheder, Studien-Rektor, u. Professor in Würzburg Passau: Friedrich Pustet. 1848. pp. 187:

Des Horaz Brief an die Pisonen, u. s. w. von Aug. Arnold; Berlin, Posen u. Brom berg, bei E. S. Mittler. 1836. VIII. u. 40 S. in gr. 4.

De Q. H. F. Ad Pisones Epistola. Commentatio, etc. Scripsit Guil. Theod. Streuber. Plil. Doctor. Basiliae. 1839. pp. 103.

Epitre d'Horace aux Pisons, sur l'Art Poétique. (Containing an Introduction, Text, French version, Notes, discussion of different readings and interpretations, Studies upon the precepts, and a poetical translation in French), par B. Gonod, Professeur de Rhétorique au Collège royal de Clermont, &c. Clermont-Ferrand, 1841, pp. 334. De Q. H. F. Epist. ad Pisones scripsit Engelb. Jos. Hilgers, &c. Bonnae: 1841. PP. 58.

I. 1-152. General precepts. The principal points are these: Simplicity and unity of design; its necessity illustrated, and some of the modes of its violation (1—37); choice of a subject-order—use of words (38-72); the different species of poetry and their respective measures (73-85); the necessity of a practical knowledge of the province and character of each kind of poetry (86–89), illustrated (from the drama) in regard to the appropriate style of tragedy and comedy, their diction (90—118), and characters and subjects (119—135); the beginning of a poem (not dramatic alone, but of any poem) (136—152). · 1-23. In these lines, Horace inculcates this precept: that, in every poem, there must be simplicity and unity of design. —1—4. To illustrate by contrast the importance of unity, the poet describes a picture of a monstrous creature, composed of the most incongruous elements.-Comp. Virg. Aen. iii., 426 seqq. Various-colored.

2. Varias.


6. Isti tabulae. Such

Et; so that; in close connection with collatis. a picture as that; isti expresses contempt. 7. Vanae, having no regard to reality; fantastic. 9. Pictoribus, etc. Supposed words of an objector. In prose an objection is generally introduced with at.10. Aequa; not equal, but just, fair; it may be here translated as an adverb; have always justly had the license. The meaning is, not that both have this permission alike (which in the mouth of the objector were irrelevant), but that to both it is justly conceded. - 12. Sed non ut, etc. In reply, the poet defines, negatively, the limits of the license, which is thus claimed and allowed. 14-23. The poet now mentions the violations of unity, which are occasioned by ambitious and irrelevant descriptions. 15. Late qui splendeat; the relative expresses purpose; to make a great show. -18. Rhenum; here an adjective; instead of flumen Rhenus. So in O. iv. 4, 38, Metaurum flumen. -19. Et fortasse; perhaps also. The connection is: the poet, who is guilty of such digressions, is like the painter, whose for te

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was in painting a cypress tree, and who therefore painted it everywhere, even in a sea-picture. -21. Qui pingitur. The poet alludes to a sabula votiva, on which see n. O. i., 5, 13. - -23-37. Poets who are

wanting in the skill and culture of the true artist, fail of the harmony, which is secured by unity, in two ways: 1, (25-31) by carrying too far an acknowledged excellence of style; 2, (32-37) by devoting undue care to certain parts, so that other parts are neglected, and a symmetrical whole is not created. 25. Decipimur, on the use of the first person, see n. Epist. ii., 1, 219. 26. Levia, the smooth; smoothness.· 27. Grandia, the sublime. 29. Prodigialiter, in a marvellous manner; so that all readers may marvel at the writer's genius. -32. Unus; = praeter ceteros, beyond all others; comp. Sat. ii., 3, 24; ib. vi., 57; Epist i., 9, 1.


41. Facundia,

34. Ponere, to form; comp. the passage in O. iv., 8, 8. 38-72. Horace proceeds to advise, that the writer choose a subject, which he can master; if he make such a choice, he will not be wanting, either in method or in eloquent expression (facundia). He briefly treats of method (42–45), and then more fully of expression, or the use of words (46–72).· Potenter, = pro suis viribus; according to his powers. this word does not occur in Cicero; but Horace uses it in the sense of Cicero's word elocutio; including all that belongs to expression or language. -46-72. On the subject of expression the leading thoughts are these: old words may be rendered new by a skilful connection (46–48); new words may be coined for new ideas (48-53), which precept is justified by the example of early writers (53–59), and by the consideration, that language, like all human things, is liable to change and decay (60–69); old words may be revived; and, in general, usage is the arbiter of language (70-72). 46. Serendis, from sero, sertum, from which also the word sermo; in arranging. 47. Dixeris egregie; you will be distinguished, in your diction, from the crowd (egregie from e and grex); "votre diction vous distinguera de la foule;" Gonod. - · Callida-junctura. As illustrations of this expression, Orelli quotes from Horace, splendide mendax (O. iii., 11, 35, where see note), insanientis sapientiae (1, 34, 2), animac magnae prodigus (1, 12, 37). Gonod gives from Cicero, negligentia diligens, Orat. xxiii.; and De Amic. vii., Absentes adsunt, etc. To these may be added from Horace, Epist. i., 11, 28, Strenua nos exercet inertia; laborious idleness our powers employs; also O. iii., 16, 25; ib. 28; and from Boileau, A. P. i., 59, l'abondance stérile. Pope has many examples of this happy use of words.-Callidus is generally used of a person.-Persius, Sat. v., 17, has a parallel passage; verba togae sequeris, junctura callidus acri. 50. Cinctutis, literally, who wore the cinctus, and, as this was a garment worn by the ancient Romans, the word is here = ancient. The cinctus was a garment "reaching from the waist to the knees, which was worn in early times, instead of the tunic, by persons of the male sex, engaged in active or laborious employ

ments." Rich's Companion. 51. Pudenter, with modesty; comp Epist. i., 17, 44. Quintilian, in like manner, guards the use of new words: Usitatis tutius utimur; nova non sine quodam periculo fingimus, -Detorta dei., 5, 71. 53. Parce, opposed to large; sparingly.. ducta, derivata. Freund cites Cato in Priscian, p. 871, P., Marrucini vocantur, de Marso nomen detorsum. Horace does not speak of Greek words adopted into Latin with a slight change, e. g. of termination, but of Latin words formed prudently according to the analogy of Greek ones. Orelli adduces, in illustration, centimanus, tauriformis, inaudax; and from Sidonius Apollin. praef. Carm. 14, essentia, indoloria, used by Cicero. Cicero refers to his practice in translating from the Greek, in De Orat. i., 34, 155: ut, cum ea, quae legeram Graece, Latine redderem, non solum optimis verbis uterer et tamen usitatis, sed etiam exprimerem quaedam verba imitando quae nova nostris essent, dum modo essent idonea. 54. Caecilio Plautoque. Comp. Epist. ii., 1, 58, 59.

Pronos =

61. Prima; 64. Neptunus,

55. Vario. See O. i., 6, 1. 56. Invideor, for invidetur mihi, in imitation of the Greek, povoûμai; see Z. § 413. -Catonis; Cato the Elder, or the Censor; as in Epist. ii., 4, 117. On Enni, see n. O. iv., 8, 20. 59. Signatum-nota. The metaphor is from the mint; marked with the stamp of the present day. 60. Pronos in annos. ad finem vergentes, drawing to a close; comp. O. iii., 27, 18. In annos= quotannis, every year; with the closing year. the earliest; " quae prius germinarunt." Dillenb. · etc. In illustrating the change and decay to which all human things are subject, the poet here compliments Augustus by referring to the construction of the Portus Julius, or Julian Harbor. This great public work was made B. c. 37, by the advice of Agrippa, by uniting the Lucrine with Lake Avernus, and then opening a communication between the basin thus formed, and the sea. Comp. n. O. ii., 15, 4. — Aquilonibus. The prose construction would be: aquilones a classibus; comp. O. i., 17, 3. 65. Regis;=regium. Comp. O. ii., 15, 1.. - Palas, etc. This passage seems to refer to the draining of the Pontine marshes, in Campania. Suetonius says: (Caes. 44,) Julius Caesar siccare Pomptinas paludes meditabatur. We have no evidence that this enterprise, intended by Julius Caesar, was executed by Augustus. 67. Amnis. The poet probably refers to embankments, constructed by Augustus, to guard against the inundations of the Tiber. Comp. first n. on O. i., 2. -69. Nedum. Much less. This particle always has this meaning after a negative expression; here, e. g. peribunt = non stabunt. See Z. § 573. Hand. Turs. iv., 150, thus explains the word: per nedum res tollitur omnino, atque dicitur non in considerationem venire. Id vero in negativa sententia eam rationem habet, ut res, quae dicitur, multo minus quam ante dicta suum locum obtineat; in affirma tiva autem, ut res, quae per se intelligitur, ne demonstranda quidem


Stet-vivax, stare: manere (as in Virg. Georg. iv., 209, stat fortuna domus), stand fast, endure; its force is increased by vivax, which means long-lived; much less shall the honor and grace of language for ever endure. -71. Usus. Comp. Epist. ii., 2, 119.73-85. The poet describes the different kinds of poetry.—Epic, Elegiac, Dramatic, and Lyric-and their respective measures. 75. Impariter; i. e. alternate hexameters and pentameters. This adverb is peculiar to Horace, and is found only in this passage. Querimonia; lamentation; i. e. for the death of friends; a mournful song or elegy. Horace here gives, by implication, the derivation of exeyos from ě ěλéyew. This view is thus supported by Hermann, in Zeitschrift für die Alterthumsw., 1836, N. 66: "Lugendi formula est ě ě λéye; ex eaque et origo carminis elegiaci et appellatio explicari potest. Vix enim dubitandum videtur, quin antiquissimi illius lugubris carminis ea ratio fuerit, ut pentametrorum posterior pars haec esset: λey' ě ě λeye. Illi igitur versus recte dicti sunt ἔλεγοι.” -76. Voti-compos. Voti compos, used of a person, means one who has obtained (is master of) his desire; sententia = sensus, feeling; the feeling of gratified desire; i. e. love and themes of love afterwards came to be written in this measure; after the elegia θρηνητική, came the elegia ερωτική, erotic or amatory. -77. Exignos; in comparison with the epic, humble, both in subject and measure. -Auctor. Callinas wrote martial songs in this elegiac measure about 635 в. C.; Mimnermus first adapted it to erotic themes; see at Epist. ii., 2, 101; i. 6, 65; comp. n. O. ii., 1, 38. 78. Grammatici ; the critics of the Alexandrian School, to whom the poet doubtless alludes with something of irony, on account of their many idle inquiries 79. Archilochum. See n. Epod. vi., 13.- 80. Socci-cothurni ;

the sock-the buskin; for comedy and tragedy; see at Epist. ii., 1, 174. 81. Alternis, etc. This adaptedness of iambics to dramatic uses is easily explained by the quickness of the foot, the rapidity with which it is pronounced, and the distinctness by which the cadences are marked Aristotle says, that the iambic is best suited of all measures to conversation; and that in fact men use it most in talking: Poet, 4. Fidibus; to the (strings of the) lyre; i. e. to lyric poetry, and its freer, more various measures. 85. Curas; anxious loves; comp. Epod. ii.,


- 83.

37. 86–135. Having described the different kinds of poetry, he now lays down (86-88) and illustrates (89-135) the rule, that the province and distinctive character of each kind of poetry must be carefully ob served. The illustration is drawn from the drama. (The details will be given with each passage.) 86. Vices, officia, munera, part, prorince. Comp. Sat. i., 10, 12. Descriptas, not: expositas, antea descriptas, but divisas, set off, or marked out by certain laws; fixed province. Colores, complexion (character) of different works. - 89-98. Tragedy and comedy have each its own style (to 1. 92), yt, to a certain

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