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up the study of the Greek philosophical writers, and to have become a good deal interested in them, and also to have been a little tired of the world, and disgusted with the jealousies his reputation created. His health did not improve as he grew older, and he put himself under the care of Antonius Musa, the emperor's new physician.* By his advice he gave up, for a time at least, his favorite Baiæ. But he found it necessary to be a good deal away from Rome, especially in the autumn and winter.t
In B. C. 17, Augustus celebrated the Ludi Seculares, and Horace was required to write an Ode for the occasion, which he did, and it has been preserved. This circumstance, and the credit it brought him, may have given his mind another leaning to Ode-writing, and have helped him to produce the fourth book, a few pieces in which may have been written at any time. It is said that Augustus particularly desired Horace to publish another book of Odes, in order that those he wrote upon the victories of Drusus and Tiberius (4 and 14) might appear in it. The latter of these Odes was not written, probably, till B. C. 13, when Augustus returned from Gaul. If so, the book was probably published in that year, when Horace was fifty-two. The Odes of the fourth book show no diminution of power, but the reverse. There are none in the first three books that surpass, or perhaps equal, the Ode in honor of Drusus, and few superior to that which is addressed to Lollius. The success of the first three books, and the honor of being chosen to compose the Ode at the Ludi Seculares, seem to have given him encouragement. There are no incidents in his life during the above period recorded or alluded to in his poems. He lived five years after the publication of the fourth book of Odes, if the above date be correct, and during that time, I think it probable, he wrote the Epistles to Augustus and Florus which form the second book; and having conceived the intention of writing a poem on the art and progress of poetry, he wrote as much of it as appears in the Epistle to the Pisones which has been preserved among his works. It seems,
* Epp. i. 15.
† Epp. i. 7. 1 – 13,
from the Epistle to Florus, that Horace at this time had to resist the urgency of friends begging him to write, one in this style and another in that, and that he had no desire to gratify them and to sacrifice his own ease to a pursuit in which it is plain he never took any great delight. He was likely to bring to it less energy as his life was drawing prematurely to a close, through infirmities either contracted or aggravated during his irrational campaigning with Brutus, his inaptitude for which he appears afterwards to have been perfectly aware of. He continued to apply himself to the study of moral philosophy till his death, which took place, according to Eusebius, on the 27th of November, B. C. 8, in the fifty-seventh year of his age, and within a few days of its completion. Mæcenas died the same year, also towards the close of it; a coincidence that has led some to the notion, that Horace hastened his own death that he might not have the pain of surviving his patron. According to Suetonius, his death (which he places after his fifty-ninth year) was so sudden, that he had not time to execute his will, which is opposed to the notion of suicide. The two friends were buried near one another “in extremis Esquiliis,” in the farthest part of the Esquiliæ, that is, probably, without the city walls, on the ground drained and laid out in gardens by Mæcenas. (See S. i. 8, Introduction.)
Q. HORATII FLACCI
MAECENAS atavis edite regibus
Multos castra juvant et lituo tubae
JAM satis terris nivis atque dirae
Templaque Vestae ;
Labitur ripa Jove non probante u
Voltus in hostem ;
Caesaris ultor :
Te duce, Caesar.