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scattered notices. He was of a plain middle-class family at Venusia (a military colony on the Lucanian frontier, (Sat. II. i. 36.), his father, in rank a libertinus, by occupation a coactor," or collector of payments made for sales at auction, a man of unblemished character and strong sound sense, with judgment enough to foresee the value of a good education, and to send his son to Rome for it (Sat. I. vi. 64. sqq.). From Rome Horace went to Athens (Ep. II. ii. 43.), until the breaking out of the Civil War, in which, zealously joining the side of his friend Brutus, he held the rank of military tribune, until the rout of Philippi. In the overthrow of his party he suffered the loss of his small estate ; but still had saved enough to purchase a sort of Treasury clerkship, which maintained him while he sought for help and patronage of another kind by the productions of his genius. (Ep. II. ii. 51.)
Then followed his introduction to Mæcenas, which soon ripened into a friendship honourable to both, developing a feeling of esteem on one side, of gratitude on the other, a gratitude never forgotten, but never lessening independence: of that true kind which is not ashamed of having gifts* conferred. He was (Sat. 11. vi. 42.) first taken up as an amusing retailer of gossip; as his qualities developed themselves, he assumed gradually, and was content with so assuming, a more creditable position. He found himself admitted to the intimacy of the greatest, and that on a fair and equal footing. And to maintain him he received the present of a farm in the Sabine district, about thirty-five miles north of Rome.
He is not merely, then, the grateful client, but the attached friend; and where can we find a truer affection
* Cic. Ep. II. vi. “ Animi ingenui cui multum debeas eidem plurimum velle debere."
than that breathed in the first Epode, and the Ode 11. xvii.? to which we may add the pleasure with which he dwells elsewhere on his friend's recovery and the popular acclamation to him (as in Od. 1. xx.), while with it we instinctively connect the remembrance that the promise of the Ode was truly spoken, and that the last journey was trodden by the patron and the poet in the same year.
His figure, as well as his temper (to the quickness of which he elsewhere alludes, as in Carm. III. xiv. 27.), be has described in Ep. I. XX.
The anticipation there expressed, that among the signs of approval of his works would be that of their adoption as a text-book in schools, is confirmed by Juvenal (Sat. vii. 226.). Persius, his admirer and imitator, has characterised his genius in well-known lines, Sat i. 115.:
Omne vafer vitium ridenti Flaccus amico
In modern times there may be found a singular testimonial to him, and one which curiously indicates the universal classic taste. It is in Walton's life of Hooker,
here he mentions that Edwin Sandys and George Cranmer, taking a journey to see Hooker, “found him with a book in his hand (it was the Odes of Horace), he being then, like humble and innocent Abel, tending his small allotment of sheep in a common field.”
Subjoined are references to the markings of time, and notices of cotemporary events, collected from his works, with the dates affixed.
65. Birth of Horace. Consulship of L. A. Cotta and L. M. Tor.
quatus (Carm. III. xxi. ; Epod. xiii. 8.).—Ad Aufidum (Carm.
III. Xxx. 10., IV. ix. 2.). 60. The first Triumvirate (Carm. II. i. 1-4.).—The civil war and
victories of Julius Cæsar (vv. 20—28.) 53. Defeat of Crassus (alluded to, Carm. IIl vi. 9.). 46. Death of Cato Uticensis (Carm. I. xii. 35.). 42. Philippi (Carm. II. vii. 9., III. iv. 26. ; Ep. 11. ii. 49.), Consule
Planco (Carm. III. xiv. 28.). 41. Horace's introduction to Mæcenas (Sat. I. vi. 55. and 11. vi. 40.). 40. War with the Parthians, and defeat of Antony's troops under
D. Saxa (Carm. III. vi. 9.).—Herod is mentioned, Ep. 11. ii.
184.; he received his kingdom in this year. 39. A. Pollio's successes in Illyria (Carm. II. i.). 39. (? 37.). The journey to Brundisium (Sat. 1. v.).* 36. Defeat off Naulochus, crushing Sextus Pompeius (Epod. ix. 7.). 31. Actium (Ep. I. xviii. 61.). - Wars on the Dacian frontier
(Carm. 111. vi. 14.; Sat. II. vi. 53.). 30. Death of Antony and Cleopatra (Carm. I. xxxvii., IV. xiv. 35.) 29. Temple of Janus shut (Carm. IV. xv. 9.). 27. The name of Augustus conferred (Carm. 11. ix, 19. The name
does not occur in the Satires, Epodes, or 1st Book of Odes).Augustus in Spain meditates an expedition to Britain (Carm.
1. xxxv. 29.). 25. Horace marks his 40th year (Carm. II. iv. 23.–Dacian con
quests (Carm. III. viii. 18.).
* Milman gives these dates :- - Philippi, 42. Horace's return to Rome, 41. His abode there and intimacy with Virgil and Varius. His purchase of the Scriptus Quæstorius to support himself, 40. His first presentation to Mæcenas, 39. Journey to Brundisium, 37. Stallbauni and Orelli refer the last event to 37 likewise, and the peace of Tarentum ; Heyne, iu Vitâ Virgilii (qu. vid.), to 39.
24. Æl. Gallus's march into Arabia (Carm. I. xxix.). — The con
quest of N. Spain (Carm. III. viii. 22.). - Augustus returns to
Ep. I. XV. 3. 22. Conspiracy and death of Murena (of whom, Carm. 11. X.
His brother Proculeius mentioned, Carm. 11. ii. 5.). 21. Horace 44 (Epod. i. 20. 28.).—Coss. Æm. Lepidus M. Lollius. 20. Tiberius in the East. Pacification of Armenia and Parthia.
The standards recovered. (Ep. I. xii. 27., I. xviii. 56. ; Carm.
II. ii. 17., II. ix, 20.) 19. Final conquest of the Cantabri (Ep. 1. xii. 26.). Death of
Virgil (of whom, Carm 1. iii.); of Tibullus (to whom Carm.
1. xxxiii. Ep. 1. iv.). 17. The Carmen Seculare. 16. Lollius legate in Gaul ; his defeat (“Lolliana clades” of Tac.
Ann. i. 10.), perhaps alluded to, Carm. iv. xiv. 51. and ii.
34. 15. Conquests of Drusus and Tiberius over the Northern and Alpine
tribes (Carm. Iv. iv. and xiv. ; 15 years after the submis
sion of Alexandria, Ib. xiv. 37.). 13. Augustus returns from the frontier in Gaul (Carm. Iv. ii. 43.). 8. (In Nov.) Death of Horace, aged 57, and Mæcenas. C. M
Censorino Cos., to whom Carm. iv. viii..
Bentley's computation of the chronology is as follows:
B.C. 1st Book of Satires, composed in 40—38. 2nd
32—31. 1st Book of Odes
24–23. 1st Book of Epistles
20-19. 4th Odes and C. Seculare
Age of Horace.
TABLE OF METRES USED BY HORACE.
TEN different metres are found in the first Book, an eleventh is the only variation from the Sapphic and Alcaic systems of the second, a twelfth is found in B. iii. 12., a thirteenth in B. iv. 7.
The first in order, which comprises also the greatest number of varieties is
1. THE ASCLEPIAD (named from the lyric poet Asclepiades).
The lines are all alike
But it is generally allowed now, as a rule, that the system runs (as do the rest) according to stanzas of four lines (τετράστιχα).
For its violation of this rule the 8th Ode of the 4th Book is supposed incomplete or interpolated.
In the 1st Ode, B. 1., Stallbaum has printed, with some reason, the first and last complete as the halves of one stanza. This arrangement seems to improve the harmony of sense and metre.
2. A second variety of the Asclepiad is found in Carm. 3.