Obrázky na stránke

time retort on those who had envied his rise, the proud fact itself with the moral praise implied in it,

1 S. vI. 47. Nunc quia sum tibi, Mæcenas, convictor: &c.

down to the year in which his patron gave him that estate in the Sabine hills; the personal history of Horace must be traced in the first book of Satires. The composition of that book evidently belongs to the years fixed by Bentley, and probably enough to a year or two lower down.

Two Satires alone (the vth and v11th) in the number of those ten seem to require any particular notice, from political connection with the times to which, by the subjects of them, the reader's mind is naturally carried.


The journey to Brundusium (Sat. v.) when determined to the right year in the spring of B. c. 38. will receive the only farther illustration which it can admit or require, from the history of the Commonwealth, to which it belongs, or from Mr. Cramer's Description of Ancient Italy. The most beautiful passage in that poem shows how rapid and deep the growth of affection had been betwixt Horace and his two friends, Virgil and Varius: of Plotius we know little but by name.

vv. 39-44. Postera lux oritur multo gratissima: namque

Plotius et Varius Sinuessæ, Virgiliusque
Occurrunt; animæ, quales neque candidiores
Terra tulit, neque quîs me sit devinctior alter.
O qui complexus, et gaudia quanta fuerunt!
Nil ego contulerim jucundo sanus amico.

A subsequent enumeration of the distinguished authors of that period embraces in fact so many of his personal friends;

"I incline with Wesseling and Heyne to refer the journey of Horace to the intended conference at Brundusium described by Appian, Civ. v. 78. And you will observe that this date, the spring of u. c. 716, B. c. 38, for the poet's journey, will bring that vth Satire of the 1st Book within the dates of Bentley." H. F. Clinton. MS. communication.

1 S. x. 40-45. Argutâ meretrice potes, Davoque Chremeta

Eludente senem, comis garrire libellos
Unus vivorum, Fundani: Pollio regum
Facta canit, pede ter percusso: forte epos acer,

Ut nemo, Varius ducit: molle atque facetum
Virgilio annuerunt gaudentes rure Camœnæ.

The comic author Fundanius we meet again, (2 S. vi. 19,) as the pleasant narrator of what happened at Nasidienus's dinner. Varius, whose fine tragedy of Thyestes is so highly praised by Quintilian, appears already to have been celebrated for that epic talent alluded to in 1 C. vi.,

Scriberis Vario fortis et hostium

Victor, Mæonio carminis aliti; &c.

and Pollio had acquired eminence in the tragic drama, which we find him still maintaining when afterwards engaged in the history of the civil wars;

2 C. 1. 9-12.

Paulum severæ Musa Tragœdiæ

Desit theatris; mox, ubi publicas

Res ordinâris, grande munus
Cecropio repetes cothurno.

while in regard to Virgil the clear information is gained, that he was then only known as the writer of Bucolics, but in the delicacy and high finish of his style, (molle atque facetum,) even then indicating the consummate poet that was soon to arise.

And here from the same satire not unaptly may be introduced the proud list of all Horace's friends at that early day.

vv. 81-88.

Plotius, et Varius, Mecenas, Virgiliusque,
Valgius, et probet hæc Octavius optimus, atque
Fuscus; et hæc utinam Viscorum laudet uterque :

Ambitione relegatâ, te dicere possum,

Pollio, te, Messala, tuo cum fratre; simulque

Vos, Bibule et Servi; simul his te, candide Furni :

Complures alios, doctos ego quos et amicos

Prudens prætereo, &c. &c.

Well then might Horace, when allowing in other respects

the superiority of Lucilius, justly assert that he too had shared the friendship of the great;

2 S. 1. 74-78.

Quicquid sum ego, quamvis
Infra Lucili censum ingeniumque, tamen me
Cum magnis vixisse invita fatebitur usque
Invidia, et fragili quærens illidere dentem,
Offendet solido.

Let us now proceed to the viith Satire, Proscripti Regis Rupili, &c., which might be supposed (and not without some plausibility) to have been Horace's earliest attempt in Satiric writing, having the scene of its story at Clazomenæ, and in the presence of the great Brutus. In that view M. Sanadon speciously enough assigns for its date a few months before the battle of Philippi, and even discovers, in its juvenile carelessness of composition, an argument to favour that date.

The old Scholiast, however, quoted by Baxter, appears to give a different, and, as I understand it, a very satisfactory account of the matter.

Publius Rupilius cognomine Rex, Prænestinus, commilito fuit Horatii in castris Bruti. Hic ægre ferens quod Horatius Tribunus esset, sæpe ignobilitatem generis illi objiciebat: idcirco nunc eum ex personâ alterius lacerat.

This idea derives additional support and developement from two remarks of the judicious Gesner.

Forte hæc demum post victoriam Cæsarianorum scripta, cum partes Bruti objiceret Horatio recepto, receptus ipse Rupilius ut Tubero olim Ligario.-Rem non plane recentem commendari versibus, ipsum exordium declarat.

And on Gesner's supposition that Rupilius had thus given offence to Horace at Rome, after they both returned, the v11th Satire, viewed as a retaliation, will be found not unhappily subjoined as a kind of appendix to the vith, Non quia Mæcenas, &c., which resents (vv. 6-45.) the ill

natured imputation, libertino patre natum, cast upon him by certain envious detractors.

Assuming this origin of the Satire to be correct, we may accept as literally true, Horace's own account of his beginning to write verse; that he was first driven to it by necessity after the confiscation of his paternal estate;

2 E. 11. 51.

paupertas impulit audax

Ut versus facerem.

In all the books of Horace, indeed, those of Satires, of Epodes, of Odes, and of Epistles, as the constituent parts now stand arranged in each, I am strongly of opinion, that after a due allowance for much caprice and casualty perhaps, there may still be discovered great ingenuity shown by Horace himself in the close succession by which some pieces. are brought together, and not less of skill, judgment, and delicacy in the intentional disjunction of others.

The peculiar consideration here suggested from internal evidence, will support the whole hypothesis of Bentley by a train of argument not perhaps suspected before. To exemplify the nature of that reasoning, let a few clear instances suffice for the present.

Thus the similarity of attachment which Horace bore to both his friends, Septimius and Pompeius, may fairly account for the neighbourly collocation which those two beautiful Odes (2 C. VI, VII.) now occupy.

And thus the general similitude of subject in the two Epistles, XVII. to Scæva, and XVIII. to Lollius, (younger brother to him addressed, Maxime Lolli, 1 E. 11. 1,) though addressed to two characters totally dissimilar, doubtless led to their juxtaposition when published.

Strangely enough, with all the obvious difference between the characters, even Gesner (ad 1 E. XVIII. 1.) is inclined to think that the two persons might be identically the same, and that of the two Epistles as they now stand, the latter

was either a continuation of the former, or arose as a reply out of Scæva's supposed answer to it.

Now is it not clear, on a close comparison, that Lollius, being a young man of rank, the son of a vir consularis, hot and high-spirited, was liable to offend by want of due complaisance? With his natural brusquerie and his fits of contradictory or unaccommodating humour, he was the most unlikely man in Rome (scurrantis speciem præbere) to be mistaken for a sycophant. Scæva, on the other hand, timid apparently and somewhat necessitous himself, with relatives perhaps ill provided for, while he required encouragement to undertake the office of living with the great, might stand no less in need of delicate caution, how to improve his fortunes as the comes (v. 52) to a rex (v. 43) without meanness and without importunity.

This view of the matter I am happy to find confirmed by Wieland as quoted with approbation by Morgenstern, in a Dissertation to be noticed more particularly by and by. After remarking the skill of Horace in similibus argumentis tractandis, he refers for illustration of it to these very Epistles; Sic Epistolæ ad Scavam et Lollium eandem docent cum principibus vivendi artem: at quam callide diverso utriusque ingenio et conditioni attemperantur præcepta ! p. 61.

The vth Epode on Canidia, is by several others separated from the XVIIth on the same Beldame: evidently to keep the pathetic and the horrible apart in reading from the invective and ironical.

And to take another example from the same family:

The two Odes (1 C. XVI, XVII.) O matre pulchrá, &c. and Velox amænum, &c. are now generally considered as addressed to one person, the daughter of Canidia, (or Gratidia,) under the Greek name of Tyndaris. Assuming as a fact what is most highly probable, then, in the position of the apology first and of the invitation immediately afterwards,

« PredošláPokračovať »