« PredošláPokračovať »
surface. Augustus, tribunus plebis, be it remembered, and plebi gratior quam optimatibus, had been very dangerously ill in Spain: ille rumor (of course) plebem maxime terruit. Klotz. p. 317. the commons were trembling for the loss of their protector: the nobility caught at the chance of regaining their old ascendancy in the state.
Or take it from the Argumentum of the Ode, as it stands in Gesner's edition. Bello Cantabrico maximus erat novorum tumultuum a partibus Optimatium metus, ob diuturnam Augusti Tarracone decumbentis valetudinem. Illo igitur jam domum reverso, publicas ferias Palatio universæque PLEBI Horatius indicit.
Several conspiracies a formed against the life of that Prince are recounted by Suetonius in D. Oct. Cæs. Augusto, § XIX. But the most affecting story of the kind is that related by Seneca, of Cinna's desperate design...non occidere, sed immolare: nam sacrificantem placuerat adoriri. The recorded exclamation of Augustus carries a point with it, which renders all comment unnecessary. Ego sum NOBILIBUS adolescentibus expositum caput, in quod mucrones acuant! Seneca de Clementiâ, 1. 9.
Turn now to the 4th book of Odes: imagine the lapse of a few eventful years, say from B.C. 24 to the year 15, when Augustus yet remained in Gaul; and then, in the absence of all alarm, mark the lofty tone of pride and security, and the oblivion of all political distinctions.
ii. 50. Non semel dicemus, Io triumphe! | Civitas omnis.
v. 1-8. Divis orte bonis, optime Romula
Custos gentis, abes jam nimium diu:
For "the conspiracy and death of Murena," &c., &c., vide Fast. Hellen.
Adfulsit populo; gratior it dies,
xiv. 1-5. Quæ cura Patrum, quæve Quiritium,
Per titulos memoresque fastos
To understand the writings of Horace with complete satisfaction in those parts which at all involve his personal history, the knowledge of his actual residences will be found similarly useful, if not equally necessary, as the correct distribution of his books in their original order. His localities, indeed, when rightly ascertained, are so directly connected with the Chronology and just arrangement of his works; that even Bentley's masterly calculation may derive support from a careful development of the scenes of his residence, hitherto partially or erroneously stated.
For the sake of clearness in what follows, though it be in part anticipating, let the principal places in which I believe Horace to have resided after his return from Philippi, be here at once laid before the reader.
At an early period, then, he had beyond all dispute a house in Rome, (on the higher ground of that city, Fuge quo descendere gestis. 1 E. xx, 5.) which during his life time he appears to have kept: by the liberality of Mæcenas
not long after, he was possessed of a RUS and villula in the Sabine valley and charmed with the scenery of Tibur, which on his way from Rome into the Sabine country he often halted to admire, he finally became master of a cottage with a garden to it in the precincts of Tibur or as it is now called Tivoli.
It was on this latter spot, if I may be allowed to anticipate, that he dedicated the pine-tree to Diana, (3 C. XXII. Montium custos...) in an ode remarkable also for its contiguity in position to that beautiful ode to Phidyle, Cœlo supinas... which will be found to bear such decisive evidence to the very same locality. May we not also with some probability suppose, that of the two passages in which fondness for building is imputed to Horace, the first, 2 S. 111, 308. Ædificas, &c., must be referred to the new erection or repairs required for his comfort in the Sabine valley; while the second, 1 E. 1, 100. Diruit, ædificat, &c., written at a latter period, naturally carries our thoughts to improvements at Tivoli, in which he might then be engaged.
And here at setting out, let me avow that I feel no scruple in imputing the FIRST great source of confusion and error to that unlucky expression in the Life attributed to Suetonius. "Vixit plurimum in secessu RURIS sui Sabini aut Tiburtini: domusque ejus ostenditur circa Tiburni luculum." And the phrase itself, Sabini aut Tiburtini, had its origin, there can be no doubt, in the Iambic Scazons of Catullus Ad Fundum. XL.
O Funde noster, seu Sabine, seu Tiburs,
Nam te esse Tiburtem autumant, quibus non est
Cordi Catullum lædere; at quibus cordi est,
The author, whoever he was, of that Life, apparently quite ignorant of the Sabine valley, never seems to have supposed, that Horace had any rural residence except at Tivoli,
or any property and estate except in that place or just across the Sabine border.
Mr. Gifford, indeed, in his preface to Persius, considers the lives under the name of Suetonius as compilations from different Scholia of unequal value. But allowing Suetonius himself to have been the author, yet even he lived and wrote a full century after the death of Horace. And to a spot in Horace's own time evidently so little known and frequented as the vale of Digentia, (now called Licenza,) unless Suetonius had gone from curiosity and on purpose, it was very improbable in the common course of things that he should ever pay a visit at all; situated as that spot was in the mountains, fifteen miles above Tivoli, and four miles out of the line of the Via Valeria. In the course too of a hundred years or more, the inhabitants of a place circumstanced like Tivoli, might very easily lose all account of the Poet's estate and habitation lying so far out of their way; of his residence on their own spot the tradition, if founded in truth, was little likely for a very long time to be forgotten. The words therefore, domusque ejus ostenditur circa Tiburni luculum, whenever written, show expressly that the people of Tivoli continued to claim the honour of having had Horace as a sojourner, and to point out with pride the very house in which he lived. It is true, that the site of the Poet's dwelling cannot now be determined with anything more than probable conjecture: but what has that difficulty at this day to do with the distinct tradition of the second or third century? Ages upon ages of change and revolution since then have made sad havock with the palaces as with the cottages of Tivoli.
The SECOND great source of dispute and difficulty is of a more recent date and rises in a contrary direction to the former. The Life imputed to Suetonius seemed to fix the RUS with the domus of Horace at Tivoli or in its immediate neighbourhood. When therefore the Avvocato D. Domenico
de Sanctis first, and after him the Abbe Capmartin de Chaupy, had succeeded in demonstrating once for all that the RUS and the villa lay in the Sabine vale of Licenza; our obligation to the rival discoverers would have been complete, and all would have ended delightfully well, if they had been content to stop there. But led astray by their favourite conceit of unicity,
Satis beatus unicis Sabinis. 2 C. xvIII. 14.
(which in the Poet's meaning carried only unicity of RUS or Estate,) they proceeded to demolish every vestige of property, or of habitation involving property, any where else; of course therefore house and garden at Tivoli entirely disappear.
But without such a residence granted to the Poet, there will soon be occasion to show, that we shall be constantly at fault in the localities of his poetry; from the 1st Ode of the 1st book,
-Me gelidum nemus,
to the und Ode of the 4th,
Sed quæ TIBUR aquæ fertile præfluunt,
Et spissæ nemorum comæ,
In the meanwhile, as it is far more gratifying to the ingenuous enquirer, to acknowledge himself anticipated, than to wrangle for prior title or to assert originality, in ascertaining the truth; I bring forward with pride a third authority
* Dissertazione della Villa di Orazio Flacco, in Ravenna, 1784, is perhaps the latest edition. It first appeared at Rome in 1761, and a second time in 1768.
b Decouverte de la Maison de Campagne d' Horace, 3 Vol. à Rome 1767, 1769.