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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 (B. C. 39), introduced him to Mecenas, who was careful of receiving into his circle a tribune of Brutus, 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 to him. He then sent for him (B. c. 38), and from that time continued to be his patron and warmest friend.
At his house, probably, Horace became intimate with Pollio, and the many persons of consideration whose friendship he appears to have enjoyed. Through Mæcenas, also, it is probable Horace was introduced to Augustus; but when that happened is uncertain. In B. c. 37, Mæcenas was deputed by Augustus to meet M. Antonius at Brundisium, and he took Horace with him on that journey, of which a detailed 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, Introduction.) Between this journey and B. c. 32, 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), a municipium perhaps, but not a place of any importance. During this interval he continued to write Satires and Epodes, but also, it appears probable, some of the Odes, which some years later he published, and others which he did not publish. These compositions, no doubt, were seen by his friends, and were pretty well known before any of them were collected for publication. The first book of the Satires was published probably in B. c. 35, the Epodes in B. c. 30, and the second book of Satires in the following year, when Horace was about thirty-five years old.
When Augustus returned from Asia, in B. c. 29, and closed the gates of Janus, being the acknowledged head of the republic, Horace appeared among 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 B. C. 24, when there are reasons for thinking the first three books of the Odes were published. 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, Præneste, and Baix, with indifferent health, which required change of air. About the year B. c. 26 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; once in the same stanza with a storm in which he was nearly lost off Cape Palinurus,* on the western 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 B. C. 20 or 19. He seems to have taken
*C. iii. 4. 28.
up the study of the Greek philosophical writers, and to have become a good deal interested in them, and also to have been a little tired of the world, and disgusted with the jealousies his reputation created. His health did not improve as he grew 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 favorite Baiæ. But he found it necessary to be a good deal away from Rome, especially in the autumn and winter.†
In B. C. 17, Augustus celebrated the Ludi Seculares, 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, probably, till B. C. 13, 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 honor of Drusus, and few superior to that which is addressed to Lollius. The success of the first three books, and the honor of being chosen to compose the Ode at the Ludi Seculares, 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. It seems,
* Epp. i. 15.
† Epp. i. 7. 1-13,
from the Epistle to Florus, that Horace at this time had to resist the urgency of friends begging him to write, one in this style and another in that, and that he had no desire to gratify them and to sacrifice his own ease to a pursuit in which it is plain he never took any great delight. He was likely to bring to it less energy as his life was drawing prematurely to a close, through infirmities either contracted or aggravated during his irrational campaigning with Brutus, his inaptitude for which he appears afterwards to have been perfectly aware of. He continued to apply himself to the study of moral philosophy till his death, which took place, according to Eusebius, on the 27th of November, B. C. 8, in the fifty-seventh year of his age, and within a few days of its completion. Maecenas died the same year, also towards the close of it; a coincidence that has led some to the notion, that Horace hastened his own death that he might not have the pain of surviving his patron. According to Suetonius, his death (which he places after his fifty-ninth year) was so sudden, that he had not time to execute his will, which is opposed to the notion of suicide. The two friends were buried near one another "in extremis Esquiliis," in the farthest part of the Esquiliæ, that is, probably, without the city walls, on the ground drained and laid out in gardens by Maecenas. (See S. i. 8, Introduction.)
Q. HORATII FLACCI
MAECENAS atavis edite regibus
Evitata rotis palmaque nobilis.