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kings ! In short, while you, a king, go to your penny bath, and no escort attends you except crazy Crispinus, my kindly friends will pardon me if I, foolish man, commit some offence, and in turn I shall gladly put up with their shortcomings, and in my private station shall live more happily than Your Majesty. c i.e. stultus, as the Stoics used it, the opposite of sapiens.
A DEFENCE OF SATIRE
The writers of Old Attic Comedy assailed the vicious with the utmost freedom. In Roman literature, Lucilius shows the same spirit and boldness, but his metrical forms are different, and his verse is uncouth. He was careless and verbose, more interested in the quantity than in the quality of his work (1-13).
Similar in this last respect is Crispinus, who challenges the poet to a scribbling contest, but Horace declines to compete with such poetasters,
as he refuses to emulate the self-satisfied Fannius by reading his verses in public, because this kind of writing is not popular. Men do not like to have their weaknesses exposed. Give such a poet a wide berth,” they cry (14-38).
Listen to my defence,” says Horace. “In the first place, a man who composes verses as I do, verses that are really more like conversation, should not be called a poet. The true poet has imaginative power and lofty utterance. This is why the question has been raised whether comedy is poetry, for even in its most spirited passages, as rendered on the stage, we are really dealing with pure conversation, such as would be suitable to similar scenes in daily life” (38-56).
So it is with the verses of Lucilius and my own. Take away the metrical element, change the wordorder, and you have plain prose. But the question whether satire is poetry must be postponed. At present let us consider the question of its unpopularity” (56-65).
You look upon me as an informer, but even if you are a rogue I am no informer. My friends will acquit me of such a charge. I am not writing for the general public, and my object is not to give pain. Yet it is my habit to observe the conduct of 1 others, and to profit thereby, for I was trained to do so by my father, and have always continued the practice. To be sure, I jot down my thoughts, but what of that? Nowadays everybody writes, and you, my critic, willy-nilly, will take to writing yourself” (65-143).
On the appearance of his first Satires (and it is to be noticed that the carefully chosen subjunctive habeat in 1. 71 does not preclude their publication), the poet's critics had accused Horace of being a malevolent scandal-monger. They also contrasted him unfavourably with Lucilius,
who in his open warfare used the weapons of Old Comedy, was familiar with the Greek moralists and philosophers, and had the pen of a ready writer. In his reply, Horace maintains that his own satire is not personal, but rather social and general in its application. He does not indulge in the invective of Old Comedy, but rather follows the New in spirit as well as in style. His teacher in morals, if not a great philosopher (cf. sapiens, 1. 115), was a representative of the fine, oldfashioned Roman virtues, even his own father. As for the copiousness of Lucilius, that was his predecessor's chief fault, which he himself would carefully avoid.
This is one of the early Satires, and in view of the citation in l. 92 is to be associated closely with the Second. As there is no reference to Maecenas, it was probably composed before the poet's introduction to the statesman in 38 B.C.
Eupolis atque Cratinus Aristophanesque poetae atque alii, quorum comoedia prisca virorum est, si quis erat dignus describi, quod malus ac fur, quod moechus foret aut sicarius aut alioqui famosus, multa cum libertate notabant.
5 hinc omnis pendet Lucilius, hosce secutus mutatis tantum pedibus numerisque ; facetus, emunctae naris, durus componere versus. nam fuit hoc vitiosus : in hora saepe ducentos, ut magnum, versus dictabat stans pede in uno ; 10 cum flueret lutulentus, erat quod tollere velles ; garrulus atque piger scribendi ferre laborem, scribendi recte : nam ut multum, nil moror. ecce, Crispinus minimo me provocat :
accipe, si vis, accipiam? tabulas : detura nobis locus, hora, 15 custodes ; videamus uter plus scribere possit.” di bene fecerunt, inopis me quodque pusilli finxerunt animi, raro et perpauca loquentis. at tu conclusas hircinis follibus auras usque laborantis, dum ferrum molliat ignis,
20 ut mavis, imitare. 1 accipe iam, 1, but not in harmony with hora. 2 dentur, II.
a For the emphasis on poetae (denied by Ullman, loc. cit. p. 115) see Epist. ii. 1. 247.
• Proverbial for “ doing without effort.” • For Crispinus see Sat. i. 1. 120. He offers to bet a
Eupolis and Cratinus and Aristophanes, true poets, a and the other good men to whom Old Comedy belongs, if there was anyone deserving to be drawn as a rogue and thief, as a rake or cut-throat, or as scandalous in any
other way, set their mark upon him with great freedom. It on these that Lucilius wholly hangs; these he has followed, changing only metre and rhythm. Witty he was, and of keen-scented. nostrils, but harsh in framing his verse. Herein lay his fault : often in an hour, as though a great exploit, he would dictate two hundred lines while standing, as they say, on one foot. In his muddy stream there was much that you would like to remove. He was wordy, and too lazy to put up with the trouble of writing—of writing correctly, I mean; for as to quantity, I let that pass. See, Crispinus challenges me at long odds c: “ Take your tablets, please ; I'll take mine. Let a place be fixed for us, and time and judges ; let us see which can write the most.” The gods be praised for fashioning me of meagre wit- and lowly spirit, of rare and scanty speech ! But do you, for such is your taste, be like the air shut up in goat-skin bellows, and ever puffing away until the fire softens the iron. large sum against a small one on my part. Bentley conjectured nummo for minimo, i.e. “ bets me a sesterce," that being all his poverty would allow.