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derings, after much thought and discipline, something of a sense of quiet and inward freedom, for which we are longing, and which he can help us attain. We may gather up from his words the materials for a philosophy of life, which is better as a practical guide than the speculative systems of the poet's time; more noble and elevating than the Epicurean, more humane and humanizing than the Stoic; perhaps, indeed, the truest and the best, that the unaided wisdom of man can frame.
The poetical Epistle is a form of composition which Horace invented, and in which, though often imitated, he has never been equalled. Most of his imitators, while they have not failed to perceive and to admire that rare union of the utile and the dulce,* the instructive and the entertaining, in which lies the secret of Horace's power, have yet pressed too far either the one or the other of these qualities, and 30 have verged either to the dry and didactic, or to the low and trivia l; and even Pope and Boileau, have, with all their merit, fallen below the genial excellence of their original. In that wonderful mingling of thoughtful earnestness and playful humor, which, ever near together, and always just in place, dignify and enliven one another, now pointing a sober precept with a sprightly jest, now drawing grave lessons from a gay fable, and, like the well attempered lights and shades of a fine picture, blending severe truth" and "faery fiction" into an harmonious whole,in that singular union of poet and philosopher, the man of wit and genius with the man of sound sense and judgment, that we see every where in the Epistles of Horace, he appears at once the inventor and the unrivalled master of this species of composition.
Finally, it is worthy of remark, in this brief estimate of these writings, that, while they are the most original and the most perfect of the works of Horace, they are also the most characteristic of all the productions of the Roman Muse. They are the genuine poetry of the Roman life; they embody in a most finished poetic form, those qualities of the national character, that for long centuries were at once the glory and the safety of Rome. That strong practical sense, that earnestness and love of order, those virtues of temperance, frugality, moderation, self-government, which mark and set apart the Roman from all other types of ancient character,-all these have found, in the Epistles of Horace, a just and poetic expression. There, while we see as in a mirror, the image of a Roman poet.-if not the most gifted of the poets of Rome, certainly the poet of largest experience, both in life and in art, and of incomparably the greatest influence, we also behold the noblest and truest reflection of the Roman spirit and character.
This Epistle was occasioned by the desire of Maecenas, that Horace should give him. self with renewed ardor to the cultivation of lyric poetry. The poet declares, in reply that, with advancing years, he has lost his taste for the sportive effusions of the Lyric Muse, and is now absorbed in the studies of philosophy (1-12). He then proceeds,—disclaiming, at the same time, all allegiance to sect, and waiving all pretensions to the highest attainments in philosophy (13-40), to set forth and inculcate some of his favorite doctrines of practical wisdom. He teaches that virtue is far better than money, that a good conscience and a contented, independent mind are superior to all worldly goods (41-69); and he contrasts these teachings with the opinions and conduct of the multitude, which he shows to be various, uncertain, and inconsistent (70-end).
1. Prima-summa. First-latest; i. e. always a worthy theme for my muse, from the beginning to the very close of my life as a poet.2. Donatum-rude. Horace compares himself with a gladiator who had gained an honorable discharge. In token of such discharge, a gladiator was always presented with a rudis, a staff, or foil. 3. Ludo. School; i. e. of gladiators.- -6. Ne populum, etc. A discharged gladiator was sometimes won back to the amphitheatre by prospects of high pay; he then ran the same risks as an ordinary gladiator, and, if worsted in fight, was at the mercy of the populace. When appealed to, the populace turned up their thumbs (vertere pollicem) as a sign, that the gladiator should be killed, and turned them down (premere) as u sign that he should be spared.- -9. Ilia ducat; literally, draw his flanks, an action in horses indicative of difficult breathing; become broken-winded. So Virgil, Georg. 3, in describing the diseases of horses, says, imaque longo Ilia singultu tendunt. 11. Omnis in hoc. Comp. Sat. i., 9, 2.- 13. Lare; here, by metonymy, for domus; on domus, see n. O. i., 29, 14. - 14. Addictus, etc. The poet goes back to the image of a gladiator. Addictus, used primarily of an insolvent debtor given over to his creditor, was also used of a person who became a gladiator for hire, because he was bound to the master of the school in which he was trained. Such a person also took an oath of allegiance to his master on entering his service. Sce Dict. Antiqq. under Nexi, and Gladiatores. 16. Nunc, etc. Preserving the image drawn from the sea, which is first used in the preceding line, the poet proceeds to describe himself pleasantly as a kind of Eclectic in philosophy, now studying the Stoics and now the Epicureans.. Agilis. The Stoics taught their disciples to mingle actively in public affairs.
Aristippi. See n. Sat. ii. 3, 100.
-21. Opus debentibus; L. e. as hired servants. 27. Restat, etc. It remains for me, &c.; i. e. with such feelings and views, it is my business to put to personal and practical application the elementary principles of philosophy, and the time I devote to other things seems to be wasted and lost. His; refers to what follows. 28. Lynceus; who, according to fable, was so sharp-sighted as to be able to see through the earth. The poet first sets forth two examples (28-31), and then states the general principle (1. 32). 30. Glyconis; an athlete, of the poet's time. 33. Cupidine. On the gender, see n. O. ii., 16, 15. -34. Verba-voces ; the former refers to the formulas of incantation, the latter to the tones of music, vocal or instrumental; both are here used figuratively for the precepts of true wisdom. -36. Piacula; here means remedies; the transition from its primary meaning expiatory sacrifices is explained by the fact, that diseases were referred to the anger of the gods, who had to be appeased and propitiated, before the diseases were removed. Here, too, the remedies are the teachings of wise men, as is manifest from the next line. 37. Ter; the favorite numeral with the ancients to denote repetition, indefinite number; especially in all solemn rites Comp. O. i., 28, 36; iii., 3, 65; iii., 22, 3; Carm. Sec. 23; Sat. ii., 1, 7. 43. Repulsam. See n. O. iii., 2, 17.—45. Ad Indos; hyperbolice; usque ad terras remotissimas."-Orelli. -47. Ne cures. Ne, that not, seems here to express a consequence, for which we ordinarily find ut non. So that you may not care for. Comp. Arn. Pr. Intr. 77; Z. § 532. 50. Coronari-Olympia. Olympia is in the acc., in imitation of the Greek σrepavoûσlai 'Oxúμma. So Ennius, quoted in Cic. de Senectute, c. 5, vicit Olympia. The poet argues thus; no combatant would be content with the village crown, who might wear the crown of the Olympian victor; no one prefers things of less, to things of greater, value; but yet virtue is better than silver and gold. -54. Janus summus; i. e. the whole forum; or, as we should say, the Exchange, for the collective sentiment of business and moneyed men. Comp. n. Sat. ii., 3, 18.- -56. Laevo, etc. See n. Sat. i., 6, 74; where these words are used of boys, going to school. So here the citizens, young and old, are pupils of Janus; i. e. are all engaged in business, and the accumulation of money, and bring to the forum, as it were to a school,-loculos tabulamque; i. e. their money-cases and tablet. 58. Quadringentis ; 400 sestertia, = 400,000 sestertii, sesterces (sestertium was a sum of money, sestertius a coin), was the legal pecuniary qualification for admission to the equestrian order. The sum was circa $15,000. 59. Ladentes, in suis ludis, in their sports; i. e. the boys choose their rcx or leader, on the ground of character. Comp. n. O. i., 36, 8. 62. Roscia. See n. Epod. iv 16.- 64. Cariis et Camillis; see notes O.
i., 12, 41 and 42. - 65. Qui, sc. suadet; ut is omitted, according to A & S. § 262. R. 4.—Rem means here money. -67. Pupi. The name of some tragic writer or actor. 69. Praesens; the word involves, besides mere presence, the idea of constant readiness to do one a service; who is ever at your side to exhort, &c. -73. Olim. See n. Sat. ii., 6, 79. 78. Viduas. See Introd. to Sat. ii., 5.- -79. Excipiant, etc. Comp. Sat. ii., 5, 44. 80. Foenore. See n. Sat. i., 2, 14. 83. Baiis. See n. O. ii., 18, 20.- -84. Sentit. See n. O. ii., 18, 21. 86. Teanum, a town in Campania; here in contrast with Baiae, as it was in the interior. 89. Solis. In dat. with maritis.- -92. Conducto. For variety's sake, the poor man hires a boat and makes an excursion, but he gets weary of it, just as much as the rich man, who sails in his own trireme. - -94. Tonsore. On the abl. see n. O. i., 6, 2. 95. Pexae; literally combed, but here means with the wool or nap on, still new. -96. Dissidet impar. Sits uneven. Comp. n. Sat. i., 3, 31. 99. Ordine. Usually with the abl. after compounds of di or dis, a or ab is expressed. See A. & S. § 224, R. 3. - 101. Solennia; = solenniter, after the common fashion, like all other people; i. e. you attach much less importance to these faults of character, than those irregularities of personal appearance. 106. Sapiens, etc. The poet is in earnest in insisting upon the pursuit of what is truly wise; but to give the epistle a pleasant turn at the end, he has another hit at the wise man of the Stoics. Comp. n. Sat. i., 3, 124. Pituita, a cold in the head, with its usual inconveniences. Your wise man, with all his boasted independence of disease, must fain yield to these evils!
Lollius, to whom this Epistle is addressed, was the eldest son of the person of that name, to whom Horace wrote the Ninth Ode of the Fourth Book. The young Lollius, now about seventeen years of age, was pursuing his studies at Rome, in preparation för the offices of public life, and Horace, interested in the welfare of one who was a youth of talent and promise, and the son of a personal friend, writes to him from his quiet retreat at Praeneste, and seeks in a strain of paternal counsel, to turn him to the early study and practice of wisdom and virtue. He first sets before the young man the practical moral lessons which are taught by Homer in the Iliad and Odyssey; and then, in a tone at once familiar and earnest, inculcates some of those golden precepts, whose observance is necessary to the formation of right character, and to the conduct of a useful and happy life.
1. Maxime, sc. natu. -2. Declamas. It was needful to the young Roman who aspired to civil honors, to make himself a public speaker; hence the study of elocution was an indispensable part of his education
-On the tense of this verb, comp. n. O. i., 22, 10. Praeneste. See n. O. iii., 4, 22, 4. -4. Chrysippo. See n. Sat. i., 3, 127. Crantor was a philosopher of the Academic school, the head of which was Plato. 7. Barbariae, sc. terrae; here used for Phrygia. The Greeks used the word corresponding to barbaria for a foreign country.——— 10. Ut salvus, etc.; that is, that he will not consent to the restoration of Helen; in persisting in this purpose he perilled his own rank and personal happiness. Regnet must refer to the rank and station of Paris as a prince. -11. Lites. The quarrel that grew out of the seizure of Briseis. See n. O. ii., 3, 4. - 14. Plectuntur. Comp. n. O. i., 28, 27. free translation of the 23. Sirenum-Circae.
- 19. This line and the following one are a opening of the Odyssey. Comp. Ars. P. 141. The Sirens of the Odyssey, who charmed by their melodious voices the passing mariner, and Circe, who by her magic cup, turned men to beasts, Horace here teaches were meant by Homer as illustrations of the seductive and degrading influence of sensual pleasures.
27. Nos numerus sumns. Nos is here = maxima pars hominum, exactly as in English the pronoun we is often often used for people in general, the world, &c. Comp. the same use of nos in Sat. i., 3, 55. Numerus, like the Greek åpiðμós, means those who have only a numerical value, people of worthless character; mere ciphers.-The sense of the passage is this: as Homer's Ulysses is a rare example of temperance and wisdom, so the worthless suitors of Penelope, and the young men of Alcinous, i. e. the sensual Phaeacians, are illustrations of the generality of men. - 29. Plus aeqao. See n. O. i., 33, 1.- 31. Cessatum ducere curam. Cessatum is a supine, depending upon ducere ; and the whole expression is poetic for-" citharae cantu omnem curam abigere," (Orelli) to lull care to rest. 34. Noles, sc. currere, which in
this line is meant for vigorous exercise. The poet teaches in the passage, that, in regard to both health and to character, men learn by sad experience the necessity of care and discipline. 39. Est; from edo; see Harkness, 291. -44. Beata. Rich; see n. O. i., 29, 1. Pueris, dat. does not depend upon beata. - -47. Non domus, etc. Comp. the passage O. ii. 16, 9.- 54. Vas. Here metaphorical for the mind. -56. Semper-eget. Comp. O. iii., 24, 64. - 59. Irae. See Arn. Pr. Intr. 220.- -61. Festinat, festinat exigere, or festi nanter exigit; comp. n. O. i., 16, 21. Odio is dat. - 69. Quo semel. etc. Osborne aptly compares the lines of Moore:
"You may break, you may ruin the vase, if you will,
But the scent of the roses will hang round it still."