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In the case of Horace, indeed, most remarkably so, "the Poet is always identified with the man,"
Votivȧ pateat veluti descripta tabellâ
2 S. 1. 32, 3, 4.
even just as he tells us it was in the person of Lucilius, whom he avowedly followed (sequor hunc) in his lucubrations as a Satirist.
And in the very same degree, after the attention is fairly awakened to trace the incidents of his life and the stages of his locality, the personal history of the man adds perspicuity at once and interest to many passages in the Poet, which might otherwise remain neither interesting nor intelligible.
Now therefore that his works are recovered from their long state of disjointed existence, now that the disjecti membra Poëtæ once more compose a figure of fair proportions, and Horace-ad unguem Factus homo-becomes himself again; I have no doubt but he will in many important and curious respects be more easily studied and more clearly understood. The investigation of other scholars which my example perhaps may serve to excite, will be rewarded with a rich return of discovery, from comparing together many parts of Horace hitherto not seen in connexion, or, if at all, awkwardly, but hereafter visible at once in their natural perspective.
Two or three specimens of this nature have recently occurred to my own mind as well worthy of notice.
For instance, the political conduct of Horace (a conduct of the most direct integrity) after the battle of Philippi, it will be impossible hereafter to distort into any semblance of the renegade; if his words and his deeds be only traced ever so severely in the actual succession of years. Then again, his laughing in the Satires, when a young man, at "those budge Doctors of the Stoic fur," Stertinius, Dama
sippus and Co., will be found perfectly compatible with the calm allusion in his later Odes (e. g. 3 C. 11. 17-20; 4 C. 1x. 39-44, &c.) to those moral energies of that high doctrine, which Roman virtue alone might realize or approach.
From the same correctness of view, that topic of literature now lost, De Personis Horatianis, will yet derive considerable illustration, especially as to some of his most valuable friends. Thus, Septimius (2 C. vI.) who with an honest cordiality invites Horace to live and die with him at his adored Tarentum, is still recognised as the same worthy man and equally beloved, when after a few years, weary of retirement, he turns adventurer, and gains that exquisite letter of introduction (1 E. Ix.) to the young Prince Tiberius, then in Asia.
Again, Iccius, whose pursuit of philosophy did not conceal from Horace his hankering after wealth, sustains a sharp but delicate chastisement (1 C. xxix.) at an early period: some ten years afterwards (1 E. xII.) (when in Sicily as the procurator of Agrippa) he receives an Epistle introductory of Grosphus, already settled there, (2 C. xvI. 33,) in which the sweet is very ingeniously made to predominate over the bitter, and to all appearance quite consistently with honesty and truth.
It is to Horace's moral treatment of Iccius, and to other cases like it perhaps, such as that of Quintius Hirpinus (2 C. XI; 1 E. XVI. 17, &c.) and it may be to that of Virgil also (4 C. XII. 15. 21, &c.); that his most devoted admirer, Persius, seems to bear this happy and characteristic testimony.
Omne vafer vitium ridenti Flaccus amico
Tangit, et admissus circum præcordia ludit. - Sat. I. 116, 7.
And yet-arch Horace, while he strove to mend,
In the dedication of Horatius Restitutus, here preserved, it will not be considered as an extravagant compliment, if I have styled Dr. Bentley the Prince of Critics. For what is the constant language of the present generation, and amongst the scholars of the Continent? Hermann, himself confessedly," a scholar and a philosopher of the highest order," in one of his critical works, De R. Bentleio ejusque editione Terentii Dissertatio, tells us distinctly, that from his preceptor, F. V. Reiz, he inherited the disposition to honour Bentley, tanquam perfectissimum critici exemplum: and he has admirably concentered his own eulogy of that character in the following definition which he afterwards expands.
"Erat Bentleius vir infinitæ doctrinæ, acutissimi sensus, acerrimi judicii. Et his tribus rebus omnis laus et virtus continetur Critici."
24th March, 1832.
MASTER, FELLOWS, AND SCHOLARS,
TRINITY COLLEGE, CAMBRIDGE,
WHO HAVE BEEN OR NOW ARE ON THE FOUNDATION,
IN THE BELIEF
THAT THEY WILL KINDLY AND JUSTLY ESTIMATE
R. S. Y.
TO THE CELEBRATED EDITION OF THE WORKS OF
WHICH THE PRINCE OF CRITICS,
FIRST DATED FROM THAT ILLUSTRIOUS COLLEGE,
IN THE YEAR M.DCC.XI.
April 16, 1832.
P.S. An earnest anxiety to learn whatever yet may be accurately known about the Fons Bandusinus, maintained to be the old genuine and only fountain of that name, near to Venusia (or Venosa), induced me to consult Dr. George Errington, Pro-Rector of the English college at Rome. Accordingly I requested from him the advantage of any research which his command of the libraries there might give, into the subject proposed; he was particularly desired to examine every document which he could find, bearing on the question in the Abbé Chaupy's Decouverte de la Maison de Campagne d'Horace, Vol. 111. pp. 364. 538, &c.
In a long, curious, entertaining Letter lately received, my learned and accomplished correspondent assures me, that while the extract itself from the Bull of Pascal the Iid (about which I inquired) is indeed literally correct, he considers its application, however, as very suspicious; from the manner in which Chaupy "sees a little, presumes a great deal, and so jumps to the conclusion."
The passage quoted by Chaupy and more fully given by Mr. Hobhouse (vide the close of the Dissertation for particulars) contains, to be sure, various words-de Castello Bandusii-in Bandusino fonte apud Venusiam, &c., which seem full of excellent promise: but when rigidly examined, those words leave nothing essential, beyond the simple fact, that in the year A.D. 1103, "at or near Venosa there was a Church called in Fonte Bandusino, for what cause so called cannot now be ascertained."
The fountain itself, somewhere in that neighbourhood beyond a doubt, existed apparently in Horace's day. But while the precise spot of the Poet's birth, on the banks of the Aufidus, and therefore if geography may be trusted, not immediately near to Venusia, has but little chance now of ever being exactly determined, the original Fons Bandusinus must without a sigh be resignedto its fate; perhaps that of an extinct fountain in a country more or less subject to volcanic
influence. And finally, in referring here to Mr. Cramer's Ancient Italy, Vol. 11. p. 290, I beg to be candidly understood as not at all impeaching his general accuracy: he does but exhibit, avowedly so, the specious result of Chaupy's discoveries, when he says of the Fons Bandusinus (in the Bull alluded to, APUD Venusiam), "that we ought to restore it to its true position, about six miles from Venosa, on the site named Palazzo." Let the right or the wrong of all this repose with Capmartin de Chaupy.
Habeat secum, servetque sepulchro.