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LIFE OF HORACE,

BY MILMAN.

CHAPTER I.

INTRODUCTION—BIRTH, PARENTAGE, EDUCATION OF HOR ICE-ATHEM -PHILIPPI-RETURN TO ROME.

THE Poetry of Horace is the history of Rome during the great change from a republic to a monarchy, during the sudden and al most complete revolution from centuries of war and civil faction to that peaceful period which is called the Augustan Age of Letters. His life is the image of his eventful times. In his youth he plunges into the fierce and sanguinary civil war, and afterward subsiding quietly into literary ease, the partisan of Brutus softens into the friend of Mæcenas, and the happy subject, if not the flatterer, of Augustus. Nor is his personal history merely illustrative of his times in its broader outlines; every part of it, which is revealed to us in his poetry; is equally instructive. Even the parentage of the poet is connect. ed with the difficult but important questions of the extent to which slavery in the Roman world was affected by manumission, and the formation of that middle class (the libertini), with their privileges, and the estimation in which they were held by society. His birthplace in the romantic scenery, and among the simple virtues of the old Italian yeomanry; his Roman education; his residence at Athens; his military services; the confiscation of his estate; his fortunes as a literary adventurer, cast upon the world in Rome; the state of Roman poetry when he commenced his career; the degree in which his compositions were Roman and original, or but the naturalization of new forms of Grecian poetry; the influence of the different sects of philosophy on the literature and manners of the age; even the state religion, particularly as it affected the higher and more intellectual orders, at this momentous crisis when Christianity was about to be revealed to mankind—every circumstance in the life of the poet is an incident in the history of man. The influences which formed his moral and poetical character are the prevalent modes of feelng and thought among the people, who had achieved the conquest of the world, and, weary of their own furious contentions, now be. gan to slumber in the proud consciousness of universal empire In him, as in an individual example, appears the change which took place in the fortunes, position, sentiments, occupations, estimation character, mode of living, when the Roman, from the citizen of fr and turbulent republic, became the subject of a peaceful inon

archy, disguised indeed, but not, therefore, the less arbitrary, while his acquaintance, and even his intimate friends, extending through almost every gradation of society, show the same influences, as they affect persons of different characters, talents. or station. Horace is exactly in that happy intermediate rank which connects both ex. tremes. His poems are inscribed to Agrippa or Mæcenas, even tc the emperor himself, to his humbler private friend, or to his bailiff He unites, in the same way, the literary with the social life; h shows the station assumed by or granted to mere men of letters, when the orator in the senate or in the forum ceded his place to the agreeable writer; the man who excited or composed at his will the strong passions of the Roman people, had lost his occupation and his power, which devolved, as far as the literary part of his fame, upon the popular author. The mingling intellectual elements blend together, even in more singular union, in the mind of the poet. Gre. cian education and tastes have not polished off the old Roman independence; the imitator of Greek forms of verse writes the purest vernacular Latin; the Epicurean philosophy has not subdued his masculine shrewdness and good sense to dreaming indolence. In the Roman part of his character he blends some reminiscence of the sturdy virtue of the Sabine or Apulian mountaineers with the refined inanners of the city. All the great men of his day are the familiars of the poet; not in their hours of state alone, but in the ease of social intercourse: we become acquainted with their ordinary manners and habits; and are admitted to the privacy of Macenas, of Augus tus himself, of Virgil, and of Varius. Thus the Horatian poetry is more than historical, it is the living age itself in all its varied reality. Without the biography of the poet, even without that of some of his contemporaries, the poetry of Horace can not be truly appreciated, it can hardly be understood; and by the magic of his poetry the reader is at once placed in the midst of Roman society in the Au gustan age.

Quintus Horatius Flaccus was born on the 8th of December, in the year U.C. 689, B.C. 65, during the consulship of L. Cotta and L. Manlius Torquatus. His father (such was the received and natural theory) owed his freedom to one of the illustrious family of the Horatii, whose name, according to general usage, he was permitted to assume. Recent writers,' however, have shown from inscriptions that Venusia, the town in the territory of which Horace was born, belonged to the Horatian tribe at Rome; and that the father of Horace may have been a freedman of the town of Venusia The great family of the Horatii, so glorious in the early days of the republic, certainly did not maintain its celebrity in the later times. With one solitary exception, a lega`e of C. Calvisius in Africa (Ctc.. id Fam., xii., 30), it might seem to have been extinct. If the freed man of an Horatius, the father of the poet does not appear to have 1. G. F. Grotefend ir "Ersch und Gruber's Encyclopædie," Horatius; and ( 4. Grotefeud in the Darmstadt Lit. Tournal. Franke. Fasti Horatiani. note 1.

kept up chat connection, or civil relationship, which bound the man cipated slave, by natural ties of affection and gratitude, to the family of his generous master. The theory of this assumption of a Roman name was, that the master, having bestowed civil life on the freedman, stood, in a certain sense, in the place of a parent. He still retained some authority, and inherited the freedman's property in case of his dying intestate. On the other hand, the freedman was under the obligation of maintaining his patron, or even the father and mother of his patron, if they fell into indigence.' But there is no allusion the poet's works to any connection of this kind. At all events, the freedman has thrown a brighter and more lasting lustre around that celebrated name than all the virtues and exploits of the older patriots who bore it. We know no reason for his having the promen Quintus, nor the agnomen, by which he was familiarly known, Flac cus. The latter name was by no means uncommon; it is found in the Calpurnian, the Cornelian, the Pomponian, and the Valerian families. Horace was of ingenuous birth, which implies that he was born after his father had received his manumission. The silence of he poet about his mother leads to the supposition that she died in is early youth.

The father of Horace exercised the function of collector of pay. ments at auction.2 The collector was a public servant. This com paratively humble office was probably paid according to the number of sales, and the value of the property brought to market; and in those days of confiscation, and of rapid and frequent changes of property, through the inordinate ambition or luxury of some, the forfeitures or ruin of opulent landholders, and the extinction of noble families in the civil wars, the amount and value of the property brought to sale (sub hasta) was likely to enable a prudent public officer to make a decent fortune. This seems to have been the case with the elder Horace, who invested his acquisitions in a house and farm in the dis trict of Venusia, on the banks of the River Aufidus, close upon the doubtful boundaries of Lucania and Apulia. There he settled down into a respectable small farmer. In this house the poet was born, and passed his infant years. One incident, mentioned in Ode iii., 4, 9–20, can not but remind the English reader of the old ballad of the

1. Compare Pliny, H. N., xxxi., 2, for an instance of the literary son of a dis nguished man in those times paying a tribute of gratitude to his civil parent. Laurea Tullius, the poet, was a freedman of the great orator. A warm spring had broken out in the Academic Villa of Cicero, which was supposed to cure diseaseA in the eyes. The poetical inscription by L. Tullius (of which the feeling is better than the taste) described the spring as providentially revealed, in order that more eyes might be enabled to read the widely-disseminated works of his master. The freedman and freed woman were admitted into the family mausoleum with those who had emancipated them. See several inscriptions, especial y a very beautiful me, Gruter, p. 715; Ciampini, p. 173.

2 "Coactor exauctionum."-Suet. in Vn. Another reading, exactionum, would ake him a collector of the indirect taxes, farmed by the publicani; the Rena municipalities in Italy being exempt from all "irect taxation.

Children in the Wood, "and Robin Redbreast pic sly did cover them with leaves."

The names and situatio 1 of the towns in this romantic district (the Basilicata) still answer to the description of the poet, the high-hang chalets of Acerenza, the vast thickets of Banzi, and the picturesque peaks of Mount Voltore. There are no monuments to mark the site of Bantia; bones, helmets, pieces of armor, and a few bad vases, have Leon picked up near Acerenza.1 The poet cherished through life his fond reminiscences of these scenes, the shores of the sounding Aufidus (to whose destructive floods he alludes in one of his latest odes), and the fountain of Bandusia.2 He delights also in reverting to the plain life and severe manners of the rustic population. Shrewd, strenuous, and frugal, this race furnished the best soldiers for the Roman legion; their sun-burned wives shared in their toils (Epod. ii., 41-2). They cultivated their small farms with their own labor and that of their sons (Sat. ii., 2, 114). They worshipped their rustic deities, and believed in the superstitions of a religious and simpie people, witchcraft and fortune-telling (Sat. i., 9, 29, 30). The hardy but contented Ofella (Sat. ii, 2, 112, seqq.) was a kind of type of the Sabine or Apulian peasant.

At about ten or twelve years old commenced the more serious and important part of the Roman education. It does not appear how Horace acquired the first rudiments of learning; but, as he grew to youth, the father, either discerning some promise in the boy, or from paternal fondness, determined to devote himself entirely to the edu ration of his son. He was by no means rich, his farm was unpro. ductive, yet he declined to send his son to Venusia, to the school of Flavius, to which resorted the children of the rural and municipal aristocracy, the consequential sons of consequential fathers, with their satchels and tablets on their arms, and making their regular payments every month. He took the bold step of removing him at once to Rome, to receive the liberal education of a knight's or a senator's son; and, lest the youth should be depressed by the feel. ng of inferiority, provided him with whatever was necessary to make A respectable appearance, dress and slaves to attend him, as if he nad been of an ancient family. But, though the parent thus removed ais son to the public schools of the metropolis, and preferred that he

1. Keppel Craven's Tour in the Abruzzi. Lombardi, sopra la Basilicata, ir Memorie dell' Instituto Archæologico.

2. The bicgraphers of Horace had transferred this fountain to the neighborhood of the poet's Sabine villa. M. Capmartin de Chaupy proved, by a bull of Pope Faschal II., that it was to be sought in the neighborhood of Venusia. Some mod. ern writers are so pertinaciously set on finding it in the Sabine district, that they have supposed Horace to have called some fountain in that valley by the name en deared to him by his youthful remembrances. But do we know enough of the Efe of Horace to pronounce that he may not have visited, even more than once the scenes of his childhood, or to decide that he did not address the famous o to the Venusian fountain (Capmartin de Chaupy. Maison d'Horace, tom. ii., y 3 Sat. i. 5. 71, sego

43.)

should associate with the genuine youthful robility of the capital rather than the no less haughty, but more coarse and unpolished gentry (the retired centurions) of the provinces, he took great care that while he secured the advantages, he should be protected from the dangers of the voluptuous capital. Even if his son should rise no higher than his own humble calling as a public crier or collector, his good education would be invaluable; yet must it not be purchased by the sacrifice of sound morals. He attended him to the differer schools; watched with severe but affectionate control over his char acter; so that the boy escaped not merely the taint, but even the re proach of immorality. The poet always speaks of his father with grateful reverence and with nonest pride.

His first turn for satire was encouraged by his father's severe an imadversions on the follies and vices of his compatriots, which he held up as warning examples to his son.2 To one of his school. masters the poet has given imperishable fane. Orbilius, whose flogging propensities have grown into a proverb, had been an ap paritor, and afterward served in the army; an excellent training for a disciplinarian, if not for a teacher; but Orbilius got more reputa. tion than profit from his occupation.3 The two principal, if not the only authors read in the school of Orbilius, were Homer in Greek, and Livius Andronicus in Latin. Homer was, down to the time of Julian, an indispensable part of Greek, and already of Roman education.5 Orbilius was, no doubt, of the old school; a teacher to the heart of rigid Cato; an admirer of the guine Roman poetry. Liv us Andronicus was not only the earliest writer of tragedy, but had ranslated the Odyssey into the Saturnian vers the native vernacu ar metre of Italy.R Orbilius may not merely have thought the Eu. merism of Ennius, or the Epicurianism of Lucretius, unfit for the study of Roman youth, but have considered Accius, Pacuvius, or Terence too foreign and Grecian, and as having degenerated from the primitive simplicity of the father of Roman verse. The mors modern and Grecian taste of Horace is constantly contending with.

1 Sat. i, 6, 81, seqq.

2. Sat. i., 4, 105, seqq.

3. "Docuit majore fama quam emolumento."-Sueton., de Grammat. 4. Bentley doubted whether any patrician schoolmaster, at that time, would use the works of a poet so antiquated as Livius Andronicus. He proposed to read Lævius, the name of an obscure writer of love verses ('Epwrоnaiyvia), to whom be ascribes many of the fragments usually assigned to Livius, and which bear no marks of obsolete antiquity. But, with due respect to the great critic, the elder Horace might have objected still more strongly to the modern amatory verses of Lævius than to the rude strains of Livius.

5. Epist. i, 2, 41-2. Compare Quint., i., 8; Plin., Epist. ii., 15; Statius, Sylv. v. 3. D. Heinsius quotes from Theodoret, τούτων δὲ οἱ πλεῖστοι οὐδὲ τὴν μῆνα ἴσασι τὴν ̓Αχιλλέως. Even as late as that father of the Church it was a park of norance not to have read Homer.

6. Cicero thought but meanly of Livius: "Nam et Odyssea Latina, est sic tan quam opus aliquod Dæduli, et Lianæ falulæ non satis dignæ quæ terum le fantur."-Brutus, c 12

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