« ForrigeFortsæt »
reference in the notes. I have desired, in presenting the matter in this form, to leave the teacher free to use it in whatever way he deems best, and according to his estimate of its importance. In my own judgment it is of vital importance; for although the appreciation of poetry must in the last resort be a matter of taste and feeling, beyond the reach of categorical statement, yet an intelligent study of the poet's language and literary method is the only adequate basis for such appreciation.
In preparing this exposition I have had the benefit of a number of monographs in which certain parts of the subject are treated in a more or less thorough manner, but no previous work dealing with the whole subject is known to me. I am sensible of the imperfections which are inevitable in a first attempt of this kind, and shall welcome friendly suggestions from any quarter for its improvement. Two things ought perhaps to be said: While much, if not most, of my statement applies to other poets of the Augustan and subsequent periods, I have made it with sole reference to Horace; and in the absence of any sharp line of division between the usage of prose and of poetry I have in some cases purposely included a recognized prose construction in order to set the poetic usage in a clearer light. For constructions not explained in the Introduction occasional reference is made in the notes to grammars in current use, chiefly to Madvig's, Roby's, and Allen and Greenough's. For the last named the abbreviation 'Gr.' is used.
The text of Horace is open in a number of places to the grave suspicion, which sometimes approaches certainty, of
interpolation. In the absence, however, of any general agreement among scholars in condemning definite passages, I have not thought it desirable, in an edition of this kind, to bracket verses or strophes which appear to me suspicious or spurious, or to vex college students with critical discussions where they could be avoided. The text has been constituted in accordance with the principles stated in § 39 of the Introduction. A list of the most important variants has been given in an appendix, where I have adopted, with some modifications, the convenient method of indicating the comparative weight of MS. authority used by Professor Arthur Palmer in his edition of the Satires.
In printing the poems I have adhered to the traditional arrangement, which (not without some reason) has relegated the Epodes to the position of a sort of appendix to the Odes; but I cannot do so without advising every one who wishes to become acquainted with Horace, as well as with his poetry, to follow the chronological order and read the Epodes first.
For the interpretation and illustration of the poems I have availed myself freely of the resources which have been accumulated by many generations of Horatian scholars and are accessible in the larger editions and elsewhere. This general acknowledgment covers a great number of suggestions adopted from various sources, for which particular credit could not well be given, even when the author could be determined, in a book of this kind. Especial mention ought to be made, however, of the editions of Orelli (ed. by Hirschfelder) and Wickham, and particularly of
the stimulating and suggestive commentary of Kiessling, from all of which I have derived much assistance. In preparing the life of the poet, I have found, next to the material collected in the Prolegomena of the Orelli edition, Sellar's Horace and the Elegiac Poets the most useful of the works I have consulted.
I take this opportunity also to express my obligations to my friends and colleagues: to Professors Lane, Greenough, and Morgan, from each of whom I have received useful advice and criticism in preparing the Introduction; and especially to Professor Allen, who has kindly read a large part of both Introduction and Commentary, as they were passing through the press, and aided me with many valuable suggestions.
C. L. S.
I. LIFE AND WRITINGS.
1. Our knowledge of the facts of Horace's life is derived in part from a biography, appended to certain manuscripts of his poems, which has been shown by conclusive evidence to be, in substance, the life of the poet which Suetonius wrote in his encyclopedic work, De Viris Illustribus. There are briefer lives in some of the other manuscripts, and scattered notices in the scholia. But all these sources afford — beyond a few dates and facts—little information that we do not already possess, in fuller and more authentic form, in the poet's own writings. To these we must go for an adequate understanding of his mind and character. In the Satires and Epistles, and to a less degree in the Epodes, Horace takes the reader into his confidence and speaks of his circumstances and feelings with singular frankness. The Odes, too, contain much biographical material, but it is of a kind that must be used with caution. As a poet Horace claims the freedom of his craft and frequently puts himself, for poetical effect, in situations which may perhaps reflect his mode of thought and feeling and even shadow forth his personal experiences, but must not be taken literally as autobiography.
BIRTH AND EARLY TRAINING.
2. Quintus Horatius Flaccus was born on the 8th of December, B.C. 65, and died on the 27th of November, B.C. 8.
It is important to observe the significance of these dates. Horace's life began when the Romans were still living under the forms of the Republic; when it closed, the Empire was fully established. When our poet first saw the light, Cicero was planning his canvass for the consulship. His boyhood fell in the stormy decade of the 'First Triumvirate' (B.C. 60-50), which formed the prelude of the Civil War. Horace was old enough to be interested in the later victories of Caesar in Gaul, and the destruction of Crassus with his army at Carrhae in 53 may well have made a deep impression on a lad of twelve. The two decades of civil strife which followed were experiences of his youth and early manhood, and when peace came with the deaths of Antony and Cleopatra in B.C. 30, Horace was thirty-five years old. The remaining twenty-two years of his life belong to the first half of the principate of Augustus, the period of the growth and consolidation of his power under the guidance of his two great ministers, Agrippa and Maecenas, whose deaths, B.C. 12 and 8, were closely followed by that of Horace.
3. Horace's birthplace was Venusia, a colony planted for military purposes in the Samnite wars, high up on the northern slope of the Apennine range, in Apulia, near the Lucanian border. It stood on a branch of the Aufidus, in that region a swift mountain stream, among the wooded hills which culminate in the lofty peak of Mt. Voltur. There the poet's father by shrewdness and thrift had not only secured his own freedom-for he was born a slave but had acquired a modest farm and an income which enabled him to educate his son. His occupation was that of a coactor, that is, a collector of money—whether of money due for taxes or for goods sold at auction, the corrupt text of the Suetonian biography leaves us in doubt. It is supposed by some that he had acted in this capacity