Obrázky na stránke

seem to have used his pen at all: Contractusque leget, are his own words, 1 E. vii. 12, when meditating to go down to the sea, most probably to Baiæ.

Let me not be considered as dwelling too long on this investigation of the Poet's principal localities. Or should it be asked, in what way those points when determined, can give aid towards the illustration of Horace, the following examples with the deductions arising out of them may serve at present for a reply.

(1.) For the entire separation of Horace's residence in the Sabine valley, not only from his house at Rome, but from his humble mansion at Tivoli, we are very much indebted to the information conveyed in his xivth Epistle.

As the picture of country life in all its simplicity and innocence which the 2d Epode (Beatus ille, &c.) presents, was in its general character drawn from Horace's personal knowledge and observation in the vale of Licenza; so we may with the greater zest enjoy the moral repose in those of his writings which bear the stamp of that valley, as the subject at once and the scene of composition.

Now that Epistle (the xivth) to his Villicus, besides much that it tells us not otherwise known of Horace in RURE suo and of his employments there, most fortunately tells us also, from what pests or pleasures that abode of Sabine virtue was free.

vv. 21-26.

fornix tibi et uncta popina
Incutiunt Urbis desiderium, video; et quod
Angulus iste feret piper et tus ocius uvâ;
Nec vicina subest vinum præbere taberna
Quæ possit tibi; nec meretrix tibicina, cujus
Ad strepitum salias terræ gravis, &c.

In consequence of this discovery, for in its application I believe it so to be, we are enabled directly to mark the scene of several of his writings as limited either to Rome or to

Tivoli; and thus we distinguish, very often with little difficulty, what the great city allowed him to write from what the vacuum Tibur suggested or inspired.

Look at the light and elegant Ode to Phyllis. 4 C. x1.

vv. 2, 3. Est in horto, | Phylli, nectendis apium coronis, &c. But he had no hortus at Rome; as the same Epistle testifies,

vv. 41, 2.

invidet usum

Lignorum et pecoris tibi calo argutus et horti : therefore this Ode was not written in that city. Horace goes on thus:

vv. 34, 5.

condisce modos, amandâ | Voce quos reddas. But here is the meretrix tibicina, or a lady hardly of purer quality therefore it was not written in the valley.


Of course Tivoli was the scene of this gay celebration of Mæcenas's birth-day.

(2.) Let us proceed to place in the true light that beautiful Ode with its rational piety, Calo supinas, &c. 3 C. XXIII. The Rustica Phidyle, there addressed, is considered as having been haud dubie Villica in fundo Horatii Sabino; and even the grave and cautious Gesner says, Lepida certe Dacerii et Sanadoni suspicio, Horatium astute dissimulatá Epicurei persona sic voluisse impedire, ne in villâ sua nimii sumtus fierent in sacrificia.

Now it certainly does appear from Cato De re rusticâ, in sacrificia, that the Villica in his time was bound to offer no sacrifice without order from her master or mistress. Scito dominum, he adds, pro totâ familiâ rem divinam facere ; and Columella, who after the lapse of two centuries, has to lament the progress of refinement as deteriorating the character of the rural domini, (Lib. x11. Præfat. pp. 551,2. Ed. Schneider,) inserts amongst the qualifications of a good Villica, that she be a superstitionibus remotissima.

All this might so far very well agree with the idea of Horace's astuteness, in checking the religious expensiveness of such a servant at the Sabine farm; either if any vestige of his having had a Villica on that small establishment were extant in his writings, which it is not, but rather the contrary; or if we found that Horace himself appeared to neglect the proper sacrifices which rustic devotion required: on this latter point we may rather presume that his feelings and his practice went in unaffected conformity with those of the good people, amongst whom, so delighted with their simplicity and probity, he was accustomed to dwell: and in confirmation of that view, the following references, as obliquely or directly bearing on the question before us, may be consulted with advantage.

Ep. 11. 59. 1 C. rv. 11, 12. 3 C. XIII. 3. XVIII. 5. XXII. 7. But lastly, what shall we say, if after all neither the scene nor the subject of that ode could belong to the vale of Lucretilis?

Now if the reader will but look to v. 5, he will discern among the blessings which Phidyle might expect:

Nec pestilentem sentiet Africum
Fœcunda vitis.

Let him turn next to the Epistle (x1v.) ad Villicum suum, (his bailiff,) and there he will read at v. 23,

Angulus iste feret piper et tus ocius uvâ.

The Sabine valley then produced no grapes at that time. And as to the Sirocco, elsewhere called the plumbeus Auster of Autumn (2 S. vi. 16-19.), so far from being annoyed with it there, Horace fled thither in montes et in arcem ex urbe on purpose to avoid it: very often for two months together apparently, or more: Sextilem totum (1 E. VII. 2.) Septembribus horis (xvi. 16.). He could however endure and even enjoy the city, (this we find from

his epistle to Torquatus, 1 Ep. v.,) even so late as Julius 1/Cæsar's birth-day, the 10th of July.

In one word, then, what is the plain inference from all this? Phidyle (whether a real person or in part imaginary) must be considered as a yeoman's wife in the neighbourhood of Tivoli. Such a person we may well suppose to have been the pudica mulier (Ep. 11. 39.) elsewhere described; and, innocence of character being therefore presumed, we have only to take immunis at the beginning of that fine stanza, Immunis aram ...... mica,

in its natural sense of costless, with little or no cost; which Casaubon (Persian. Imit. Horat. ad S. 11. 75.) and Bentley (in loc.) agree in maintaining against the vulgar interpretation of innocent, as unauthorized as it is unnecessary.

But we have not yet done with this Ode. From Tivoli or the high grounds near it, Phidyle might probably see Algidum or Alba (vv. 9—11). In the Sabine valley, the Villica of Horace (if such a person there was) most assuredly could see nothing of the kind; and was far too remote to hear anything of places like those. There would have been a violation of all nature and probability in addressing such an Ode, even nomine tenus, to a person so circumstanced.

Then too, (v. 16,) from whence was the myrtle to come? from the same genial soil which yielded the rose, the ivy, the apium, and the vine; from the mite solum Tiburis (1 C. XVIII. 2.), to be sure.

(3.) On similar internal evidence to that contained in the two Odes, (already considered,) 4 C. x1, and 3 C. xxIII. I should date in Tivoli the invitation to Quinctius Hirpinus, 2 C. XI.

Quid bellicosus Cantaber, &c. Examine if you please the following particulars :

21, 22. Quis devium scortum eliciet domo

Lyden? eburná dic age cum lyrâ, &c.

[blocks in formation]

and let the hâc pinu be especially remarked, for the same scene, apparently, as chat in the beautiful stanza, 2 C. 111. 9-12. Quâ pinus, &c., rivo.

On the authority of Mr. Hobhouse (in his note 71 to Canto IV. of Childe Harold) and from his own lively report we learn, that the Pine is now as it was in the days of Virgil, a garden tree [pinus in hortis. Buc. vII. 65.]; and that there is not" at present, "a Pine in the whole valley" of Licenza. I venture to add, that not one verse of Horace decisively records a single Pine in that valley; and it is barely possible, that in the course of the few years which elapsed betwixt the 2d book of Satires and the 2d or 3d book of Odes, any Pine tree of Horace's own planting there should have been imminens villæ (3 C. xx11. 5.) or as in the Ode before us, like Virgil's plane tree, (Geo. IV. 146.) ministrans potantibus umbras.

As for Quinctius Hirpinus in particular, it is quite clear, that he had never visited (what friend of Horace, does it appear, ever did visit?) the vale of Licenza: or we should not have now possessed that Epistle (the xvith) with the Poet's description of his delight (hæ latebræ dulces) in the Sabine valley, and of the romantic beauty (amœnæ) which adorned it. He did not rest his attachment to that sequestered spot, on the ground of a partiality merely resulting from habitual residence, "cum locis etiam ipsis montuosis delectemur et sylvestribus, (these are Cicero's words,) in quibus diutius commorati sumus." Lælius. s. 19. For such scenery of the picturesque kind he avows at once his taste and admiration, in a way that we should hardly expect, writing thus to his Villicus, 1 E. XIV. 19, 20. on the contrast of their respective likings,


« PredošláPokračovať »