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tion as a man; he declined the tendered office which would attach him to his palace and his person, for he knew that such an office, though it might bring him worldly distinction, would involve him in a connection with the emperor and his court, that would be sure to bind, though in golden fetters, his personal freedom. The same independent bearing he always observed in his relations with Maecenas, and in an epistle addressed to him, which ranks among the most characteristic of his writ. ings, it is most strikingly illustrated. He gratefully acknowledges the kindness of Maecenas, but with a manly frankness, insists upon consulting his own tastes and wishes; he is profoundly thankful for his bounty, but prizes his own liberty far more than even the wealth of Arabia, and rather than part with that inborn, priceless possession, he would cheerfully resign all the gifts of his generous patron.

Some of the earlier writings of Horace justify an unfavorable view of his moral character; they show that at least in earlier life, he was not free from vices, for which youth, the spirit and customs of the age, and the other considerations, so often pleaded for modern as well as ancient writers, are of course no sufficient apology. But we are entitled to infer from the high moral tone of by far the greater part of his works, that, in his manhood and in all his later years, he gave himself to an earnest study of moral and religious truth, and sought to make a practical use of the results he reached ; his

a profound veneration for the memory of his father, and his warm acknowledgment of his virtuous precepts and example, are no slight proof of goodness of heart and life; and his exalted conceptions of a supreme Being, the all-powerful Creator and the all-wise and all-just Governor of the universe, bis distinct and grateful recognitions of an overruling Providence,

* See above on page xx. and the note there. % The Seventh of Book First. 3 Sat. 1, 6, 65-99. * E. g., 0. 1, 12, 13-18; ib. 1, 34, 12-14; ib. 2, 10, 15-17; ib. 3, 4, ib. 3, 6, 5-8; ib. 3, 29, 29-32.

0. 1, 22, 9 seqq. ; ib. 1, 31, 13–15; ib. 1, 34; ib. 3, 2, 29-32; ib. 3, 6, 1-8; ib. 3, 4, 20.


6 E. g.)

and the pure and elevated sentiments he every where teaches and enforces, impress us with the conviction, that he was one of the best and most enlightened characters of antiquity.

It is unnecessary to dwell at length upon the literary merits of a writer, whose fame has long been permanently established, and “ whom all men admire in proportion to their capacity for appreciating him.” The versatility of the genius of Herace is shown by the various departments of poetry, which he cultivated, in all of which he was eminent, in some original and unequalled. It was his own boast,' that he had

. reared, in his odes, the peculiar and enduring monument of his fame; and certainly his lyric compositions, though not the most valuable and popular of his works, yet best exhibit his distinctively poetic powers. If they do not indicate the presence of the highest attributes of genius, they display a rare assemblage of the gifts and attainments of a true poet; a lively and well-stored fancy, an exquisite sensibility, delicate perceptions, a faultless taste, with a mastery of the graces and powers of metre and of language, harmony of numbers, elegance and vigor of style, and a felicity of expression” which was won and can be won only by the most assiduous culture.

The claims of Horace to originality as a lyric poet have been much discussed, and his odes have been characterized, sometimes in an ambiguous and very often in a directly disparaging tone, as imitations of the lyric poets of Greece. It is an obvious fact, that the metres of his odes are Greek, and the fullest admission of the fact is of course no disparagement to his originality; he boasted himself that he had been the first to tra sfer to the Roman lyre the Aeolian measures, and well he might be proud that he had so skilfully adapted those graceful and flowing measures to his inflexible native tongue. In other respects, in all that is essential to the character of the odes, it is difficult to determine, in the absence of direct evidence, how far and in what sense he was an imitator.



10.3, 30; 4, 3.
* Horatii curiosa felicitas, Petronius, Sat. c. 118.

30.3, 30, 13.

But the close resemblance of some passages to existing frag. ments of Greek poetry is no sufficient ground for the opinion often expressed, that the Roman lyrist was a mere copyist of Greek originals; and it was a singularly gratuitous observation of an early critic," that if the Lyrics of the Greeks were extant, very many of his thefts might be detected.” On the contrary, those pieces and parts of pieces which, by the presence of the originals, we know were borrowed from Greek writers, so far from diminishing the reputation of the Roman poet, are such as none but a master could produce; his translations of single words and phrases are executed with such a rare felicity, that the language “ seems to be born, as it were, with the thought,” and those passages, which are reproductions from the Greek, are written with such a boldness and genial freedom, that they admirably illustrate that power of adaptation, which fixes the stamp of originality upon an acknowledged imitation. And we may use for Horace, as Warton has done for Pope,3 the words with which Virgil is said to have replied to those who accused him of borrowing from Homer: “ Cur non illi quoque eadem furta tentarent? Verum intellecturos, facilius esse Herculi clavum, quam Homero versum surripere.

But very many of the best odes of Horace are so thoroughly Roman in their whole character, in their occasion, subjects, sentiments, imagery, and allusions, that they could by no possibility have been formed upor: Greek models, but are peculiarly and exclusively his own. This class includes those which celebrate the glories of Augustus in peace and in war, and the two which describe the victories of his step-sons

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* The elder Scaliger. in Poet. Lib. 5, c. 7: De Horatio quidem ita sentimus; si Graecorum Lyrica exstarent, futurum, ut illius furta quam. pluurimu deprehenderentur.

* Seo some illustrations of this point in Encyc. Metropol., vol. I, p. 400; also in Tate's Horatius Restitutus, Append. vi.

3 Essay on the Genius and Writings of Pope, vol. 1., p. 96. * Donat. in Vit. Virgil.


Tiberius and Drusus,' those which lament the degeneracy of the age, and aim to bring back the virtues and discipline of earlier days, and in short, all which owed their origin to the inspiring events of the times, to peculiar influences, national, local and personal. All these belonged to a purely Roman vein of lyric song, and could have been wrought out only by the genius of a Roman poet. Whence, for instance, but from the soul of a Roman poet, could have emanated the sublime martial cle to Antonius ?3 or the peaceful lay called forth from the lyre by the closing of the temple of Janus?4 Who but a Roman poet could have drawn the fine picture of the disinterested patriotism of Regulus ? or produced the noble ode, in which Juno, in the council of the gods, admits Romulus to divine honors, and pronounces the lofty destinies of his people ? or those spirited stanzas, in which Hannibal, impressed into the service of the Latian Muse, is made to own and honor the inherent energy and invincible might of the Roman nation ? While such living monuments as these attest the originality of the Roman poet, we need not give heed to any hypothetical charges against his literary honesty. The truth seems to be, that Horace was an imitator in the true and noble sense of the word; his resemblance to the Greek poets is such as is common to all the illustrious kindred of genius; he owed to them what the eminent artists and writers of all times have owed to the genial study of the best models; he read them, studied them, communed with them, and catching the spirit that glowed in their poetry, he breathed it into his own.

But it is the Satires and the Epistles of Horace, and especially the Epistles, which show his greatest powers, and establish his claim to the respect and admiration of the world. It is there that we find his sterling good sense, his vigorous understanding, his deep insight into the human heart, his

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10. 4, 4 & 14. 2 E. g., The first six in Book Third. $ 0.4, 2. * 0. 4, 15. 0. 3, 5, 14-57. 6 0.3, 3.

0.4, 4, 49–76. • See the introductory remarks on pages 439, 440, and on pages




keen observation and familiar knowledge of the character and ways of men,-it is there that we find the wise, comprehensive and genial mind, that could readily seize, and interpret in easy and graceful verse, the characteristic incidents of his eventful times, the features of Roman life and manners, and the great facts of human life and experience. The value of these writings to the student of Roman history and Roman character, has been briefly and truly expressed by Mr. Milman. “Of Rome,” he says, or of the Roman mind, no one can know any thing, who is not profoundly versed in Horace; and whoever really understands Horace will have a more perfect and accurate knowledge of the Roman manners and the Roman mind, than the most diligent and laborious investigator of the Roman antiquities.” In their relations to the study of poetry as an art, and to all aesthetic criticism, they are scarcely less valuable. Critics and writers on rhetoric have always ranked them among their chief authorities, and have found in their aphoristic maxims, admirable alike in thought and expression, the fundamental rules of good taste and good composition. But these writings have a greater and wider value -a value for all men of all times. This consists in the practical wisdom that pervades them—the noblest and best wisdom of the world, and more than this was not then attainable—the cheerful philosophy of human life, gained by a large and thoughtful observation and experience of the world, and imparted in no obtrusive, dogmatic tone, but with all the kindness of a familiar friend, bidding us shun “ the care that loads the day with superfluous burden," and thankfully accept every joyous hour that is given us, to seek for happiness not in honors and riches, or rank, or in any external circumstances, but in ourselves; not in distant lands, and in new and strange scenes, but here,: at home, wherever our lot may be cast, in a

1 In his Life of Horace, prefixed to his illustrated edition of the poet's works.

Quod petis, hic est,
Est Ulubris, animus si te non deficit aequus.

Epist. 1, 11, 29, 30.


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