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verses, smitten as I am by grievous love, by love, who singles
me out of all for his flames to burn me. This is the third
December, which shakes the glory from the woods, since my
mad passion for Inachia ceased. Woe is me, throughout the
city I am ashamed of such ill-doing was I the talk of all.
And for those banquets I must grieve, where dull spirits, and
silence, and sighs drawn deep betrayed the lover. " Is the
honest genius of a poor man no match for gold ? " So used
I to make my appeal to your sympathy, when I was heated
with more generous wine, and the god who knows not re-
serve had drawn my secrets forth. " But now that anger
surges in my soul so free, that to the winds it scatters these
thankless remedies, which bring no relief to my sore wound,
my shame is gone, and I shall cease to vie with unworthy
rivals." Such was the course I praised with virtuous words
when in your presence: you bid me go back home; but my
wavering feet bore me to doors alas! unfriendly, and to
thresholds, woe to me! how hard! against which I bruised
my loins and side.


While nature is stormy without, let friends be 'joyous within.
Life is short and full of troubles, but has its pleasures and

THE heavens frown with rough weather, and Jove is down-
ward drawn with rain and snow; now seas, then woods war
with the Thracian blasts ; let us, my friends, snatch our oppor-
tunity from the present day, and whilst our limbs are vigor-
ous still, and joy becomes us, let age be cleared from off our
clouded brow. Bring you forth the wine made when Tor-
quatus was consul in my natal year. 1 Care not to speak

1 B.C. 65.


of aught beside: God perchance will settle back in peace our
lot by kindly change. To-day right joyously I bedew myself
with Achaemenian * nard, and on the lyre of Mercury lighten
my heart of dreaded cares ; even as the noble Centaur sang
to his tall pupil: " Mortal child of immortal Thetis, for you,
destined to be invincible, waits the land of Assaracus, 2 which
the cool streams of little Scamander and rolling Simois divide ;
unalterable is the woof by which the Fates have cut off your
return; never shall your azure mother 3 bear you home;
when there, you must lighten every toil by wine and song,
the two sweet comforters of unsightly sorrow."


Addressed to Maecenas to excuse himself for not having com-
pleted a long-promised poem.

MAECENAS, true friend, you will be the death of me, if you
ask so often, why a soft indolence has spread itself into my
inmost soul, as though with thirsty throat I had drained cups
inducing Lethsean slumbers: a god, yes, a god forbids my
bringing to the finishing point the iambics I began, my long
promised poem. Not otherwise, 'tis said, Anacreon of Teos
loved Samian Bathyllus, and oft on hollow shell mourned
for his passion, in measures freely flowing. You yourself
are burning woefully ; 4 but if no brighter beauty kindled with
fire beleaguered Troy, rejoice in your lot : I am racked by love
of Phryne, a freedwoman, a mistress not content with a sin-
gle admirer.

1 Persian.

2 Troy, of which Assaracus was king.
* Thetis, goddess of the azure sea.

4 Terentia, the wife of Maecenas, tormented him with other flames
besides those of love. She was divorced by him and again taken
back, so that it was said he was married often, but had only one
wife. Od. n. 12, 13.



Horace complains of the broken faith of one Ne&ra, who had
abandoned him for a wealthier rival, and he warns him that
he will meet with the same perfidy.

'TWAS night, in cloudless sky the moon was shining amid
the lesser stars, when you, fearing not to profane the divinity
of the great gods, swore to the oath that I dictated; and
clinging to me with twining arms, closer than tall oak is em-
braced by ivy, vowed that whilst wolves are the enemies of
sheep, and Orion, the disturber of the stormy sea, is the
dread of sailors, whilst wave in the breeze the flowing locks
of Apollo, so long my love should be returned. But ah!
Neaera, destined are you to grieve through my resolution ; for
if in Flaccus there be aught of manhood, he will not brook
that you ever to a rival give your hours, and, angry with you,
will look for one who will return his love. Nor will his
resolve give way to your beauty which has once displeased
him, if settled wrath has passed into his soul. And you,
whoe'er you be, happier now, who shew yourself so proud at
my expense, rich you may be in flocks and many an acre,
for you Pactolus may flow with gold, and known to you per-
haps are the mysteries of Pythagoras, the seer born to many
a life, in beauty you may surpass Nireus; 1 yet with sighs
shall you mourn her love transferred elsewhere, and I in turn
shall laugh.

i 13. Describes the threatened ruin of Rome by civil wars.

A SECOND age is now wearing away in civil wars, and
Rome by her own act is falling through her own strength.
The city, which neither the neighbouring Marsians had power
to destroy, nor Tuscan troops of menacing Porsena, nor the
rival valour of Capua, nor Spartacus fierce in war, nor the
Allobroges faithless in days of change; the city unsubdued by

1 The beautiful poltroon of the Iliad.


wild Germany with its blue-eyed warriors, or by Hannibal,
name abhorred by parents ; this city we shall ourselves destroy,
an impious age whose blood is doomed, and again wild beasts
shall be the lords of the soil. A conqueror and barbarian,
alas ! shall trample on our ashes, and the horsemen strike our
city's streets with echoing hoof; and insolently scatter (oh
unholy sight!) the bones of Quirinus, sheltered now from
wind and sun.

14 40. An exhortation to his countrymen to bind themselves
by oath to a voluntary and perpetual exile.

Perchance all in common, or at least the better-minded
part of you, are consulting how best to escape from woeful
troubles. Let no opinion be preferred to this; even as the
state of Phocaea's people fled into exile, bound by a solemn
curse, 1 as they left their fields and own sacred homes and
their shrines to be a dwelling-place for wild boars and raven-
ing wolves ; to go whither feet can carry, whither o'er the bil-
lows Notus invites or wanton Africus. Is this your pleas-
ure? or has any one better advice to give? Why delay at
once to embark with propitious omens? But let this be our
form of oath: "As soon as stones lifted -from the lowest
depths swim on the surface, then to return may not be a sin ;
that we need not repent setting our sails homeward on the
day that the Po washes Matinum's peaks, or the lofty Apen-
nine juts into the sea, and a wondrous love forms monstrous
unions with strange passion, so that tigers may gladly pair
with stags, and the dove mate with the kite, and trusting cattle
lose their dread of glaring lions, and the he-goat, now smooth,
haunt the briny main." To such oaths as these, and others
like them, that may cut off a return to dear home let us bind
ourselves, and go, the whole state, or the part wiser than the
crowd who will not learn; let the craven and despairing still
press their ill-starred beds; but you of a manly spirit away
with womanish sorrow, and wing your voyage beyond the
Tuscan shores.

41 66. A full description of the happy isles.

Us Ocean waits, that wanders round the world; let us

1 See Herodotus.


speed to the fields, the blessed fields, and to the isles of wealth,
where Earth tinploughed supplies her corn each year, and
ever flourishes the unpruned vine, and the topmost bough of
the olive shoots and never disappoints, and the dusky fig
adorns its proper tree; from hollow oak flows honey, lightly
the rill with tinkling foot bounds down the mountain heights.
There the unbidden goats come to the pails, and the kindly
flock brings back distended udders; nor roars around the
fold the evening bear, nor does the deep soil heave with
vipers. More too in our bliss we shall admire; how that
watery Eurus ne'er sweeps the fields with drenching showers,
nor are the seeds rich in promise scorched in the arid earth,
as the king of heavenly Powers tempers either extreme.
Hither sped not the ship Argo with her rowers, the shameless
Medea set not foot here, nor did sailors of Sidon turn sail-
yards hitherward, nor Ulysses' toilsome crew. No ill conta-
gion hurts the cattle, the burning violence of no star scorches
the flock. Jove set apart those shores for a pious race, when
he debased the days of gold with brass; when he hardened
the ages with brass, and then with iron; from which an
auspicious flight is granted to the pious, with me for their


I 52. Horace represents himself as entreating Canidia for
mercy. He retracts the charges he had made against her,
in an ironical recantation.

Now, now to witchcraft's workings I surrender, and hum-
bly beseech by Proserpine's realms, by Hecate's powers not
lightly to be provoked, and by the magic books able to unfix
the stars and call them down from heaven, Canidia, forbear
at last your charms of imprecation, and unroll backwards,
unroll your rapid wheel. 1 Telephus to pity moved the grand-
son of Nereus, 2 though in his pride he had marshalled against
him the Mysian lines, and hurled his pointed spears. The
matrons of Troy anointed the body of Hector the slayer of

1 The rhombos, or enchanter's wheel. See Idyl n. of Theocritus.

2 Achilles, who first wounded, then cured Telephus, king of Mysia.


heroes, when doomed to wild birds and dogs, after that the
king went forth from the city, and threw himself, sad sight,
at the feet of the obstinate Achilles. The toilsome mariners
of Ulysses stripped their limbs of rough bristling hides, for
so consented Circe; then reason and speech returned to them
gradually, and the familiar grace of the human countenance.
Enough and more than enough is the atonement I have
paid to you, sweetheart of many a boatman and huckster.
My youthful look is gone, the hue of modesty has left my
bones clad now with yellow skin ; my hair is grey through your
ointments, no ease succeeds my toil to give me rest; night
follows close on day, and day on night, nor can I relieve the
tightened breathing of my chest. So then, wretched man that
I am, I am forced to believe a truth I once denied, that
Sabine enchantments can trouble the heart, and Marsian chants
can split the head. What would you more ? O sea ! O earth !
I burn, as ne'er burned Hercules smeared with the poisoned
blood of Nessus, nor the undying Sicilian flame in glowing
yEtna; but till I am reduced to dry cinders and borne by
insulting winds, you glow like crucible with Colchian drugs.
What end awaits me now? what payment can I make? De-
clare; impose your penalty, with good faith will I pay it,
ready to make atonement should you name a hecatomb of
bullocks, or from my lying lute demand a song, how chaste
you are, yes you, how honest; so shall you range among the
stars, a golden constellation. 1 Castor and the brother of great
Castor, offended on account of Helen defamed, yet, overcome
by prayer, restored the bard 2 his eyesight taken from him.
And you, (for you have power,) free me from my frenzy,
you, a woman disgraced by no shame of father, you, no hag
skilled to scatter the ashes on the ninth day 3 among the
graves of the poor. You surely have a heart kind to strang-
ers, your hands are pure, Pactumeius is your true son, and
of your childbirth there is no doubt, whenever you come
forth strong after your travail.

1 i. e., like Ariadne.

2 Stesichorus, whose recantation was famous.

8 The day on which the ashes of the dead were buried.


53 8 1. Canidia is made to speak as one who is deaf to

Horace's prayers.

Why do you pour forth prayers to stopped ears? The
rocks are not deafer to the naked sailors, when wintry
Neptune buffets them with dashing surge. What! are you
with impunity to divulge and deride the mysteries of Cotytto, 1
the rites of Cupid unchecked by law, and unpunished to fill
the city with my name, as though you were high-priest of
witchcraft on the Esquiline hill? what then would be the good
to have enriched Pelignian hags, and to have mingled poison
full swift in its effects? But no, a death more lingering
than you pray for awaits you, and you must prolong a
wretched thankless life only for this, that you may ever sur-
vive to bear fresh pains. So longs for rest the father of faith-
less Pelops, Tantalus craving ever for the bounteous repast;
so longs Prometheus to a vulture bound ; so longs Sisyphus
to set the stone on the summit; but Jove's laws forbid. At
times you will wish to spring from lofty towers, anon to lay
your breast bare with the Noric sword ; 2 in vain will you bind
a noose around your throat in the despair of your sickening
grief. Then shall I ride mounted on your hated shoulders,
and the earth shall yield to my arrogance. I can give motion
to images of wax, 8 as your own prying eyes have seen, and
from the sky my charms can pluck the moon, I can wake the
dead from their ashes, and mix cups of pining love, and am
I to lament the issue of my craft as unavailing against you?

1 A worship introduced into Athens from Thrace.

2 Noricum, now Carinthia, Styria, and parts of Bavaria, was famous
for its steel.

8 Enchanters were thought to be able to do this. See Theocritus,
Idyl II.


SATIRE arose, as poetry in general arose, from the rude
devotion and festive revels of the rustics in days of old. The
Greek plays, tragic and comic alike, had the same origin.
Ceres and Bacchus were the teachers and inspirers of these
rough and unlettered poets. Often have been quoted the
standard passages of Virgil, Horace, and Tibullus, in which
is described the worship of the stout swains of old, their
rural songs, their alternate strains and boisterous raillery.
It seems indeed a long way from the uncouth and extem-
poraneous effusions of these husbandmen at the end of harvest
to the highly-polished satires of Boileau and Pope; but it is
a way easily followed; and, after all, the difference is more
one of form and style than real feeling. In the unshapen
poetry of an early and uncivilized people, all styles and kinds
are found mixed together, as yet undistinguished, in what
may be called a formless and confused chaos; presently the
various parts of poetry separate from one another, just as
is the case in all things, in nature, in language, in society;
from the rustic gibe poured forth in alternate verse came
the farces, then the plays of Livius Andronicus; whilst En-
nius, amongst his other works, and after him Pacuvius, wrote
compositions which they called Satires. These satires em-
braced all varieties of subjects, serious and gay, were com-
posed in metres mingled together in the same poems, were like
a dish [satura~\ laden with a medley of all sorts of food,
(whence came the name "satire,") and contained fables,
dialogues, allegories, precepts, description, eulogy, censure,
all thrown together. They could not then have been alto-
gether unlike the satires of Horace.

And yet Lucilius passes for the inventor of Satire. In
what particular points Lucilius differed from Ennius, and
how he deserves the honourable name of " the inventor of
Satire," it is hard to say. Indeed Quintilian only says that



in Satire Lucilius first obtained distinguished praise. Prob-
ably Lucilius first gave a regular Jorm to Satire. It is likely,
too, that his satires were a great advance in excellence on those
of Ennius. He used chiefly the hexameter verse, and did not
mingle together different metres in the same book, as Ennius
did. Probably, too, his books had greater unity than those
of Ennius, and less variety of incongruous matter. If so, his
Satires would be a step forward, and less according to the
original meaning of the name, but would approach nearer
to the notion which the word Satire now conveys.

Quintilian claims Satire as entirely Roman, and Horace
speaks of it as a kind of writing untouched by the Greeks;
and yet in another place he says that Lucilius owes all to
writers of the old Greek comedy. There is no contradiction
in these statements. In form no doubt Satire is not Greek.
The Greeks have nothing exactly like the Roman Satire.
There is no Greek Horace, or Greek Juvenal. The writings
of Archilochus, bitterer than gall, which are said to have
driven those attacked by them to suicide, whatever may have
really been their force and power, were doubtless more like
lampoons than satires. They were attacks on particular per-
sons, like some of the Epodes of Horace, and some of the
less pleasing poems of Catullus. Whilst the Roman comedies
of Terence were formed on the model of the new Greek
comedy, the Satires of Rome were like the old Greek comedy,
in personality, wit, vigour, freedom.

Horace appears to have given much offence by his re-
marks on the defects of Lucilius. Either it was orthodox to
admire Lucilius, or the detractors of Horace were glad of a
handle for attacking him. Quintilian says that some were
such devoted admirers of Lucilius as to prefer him not only
to other satirists, but to all other poets. He says that he holds
a middle judgment between such admirers and the depreciator
Horace, who compares Lucilius to a muddy river. " For,"
says Quintilian, " there is in him an admirable erudition, free-
dom too, and an abundance of salt." Cicero long before had
often mentioned Lucilius as erudite and polished, as one who
wrote neither for the most learned, nor for the illiterate, as
witty and free-spoken and ready. However, if we can judge

X 11


at all by the fragments of Lucilius still preserved (which,
though numerous, are all of them very short, and probably
very corrupt), we should say that what Horace says of him
is true, and in fact short of the truth.

Like indeed to Horace was Lucilius in many points.
Both served in wars in their early youth. As Horace lived
on familiar and intimate terms with Augustus and Maecenas,
so did Lucilius with Scipio and Laelius. Both poets were men
of a free and independent character. It is, however, prob-
able that Lucilius was much the severer and sharper critic
of the two. Macrobius speaks of him as a keen and violent
writer. Lactantius mentions him in conjunction with Lucian.
Persius and Juvenal both speak of the way in which he
scourged the vices of his times, whilst the same Persius de-
scribes Horace as moving laughter, and by his playful satire
stealing into the hearts of his readers. Still Lucilius and
Horace had many points in common. Horace was his own
biographer, so was Lucilius. Both met with envy and jeal-
osy, and defended themselves with vigour. Both set them-
selves up to criticise the writings of other authors. Horace's
satires are full of dialogues. The same appears to have been
the case with those of Lucilius. Avarice and extravagance
were the vices which either satirist especially attacked. Both
condemned the luxury that prevailed in their times, and them-
selves preferred a quiet and rural simplicity. Lucilius is
supposed to have laughed at the pedantry of philosophers, as
Horace afterwards did. Lucilius' journey to the shores of
the Sicilian strait is said to be the model of Horace's journey
to Brundusium. The journey of the earlier poet appears not
to have been to accompany any great man, as Horace accom-
panied Maecenas, but to have been a tour of pleasure, after
the same simple fashion in which Horace tells us he liked to

Yet in one point the two satirists were utterly different.
Lucilius, as Horace tells us, and as we cannot help judging
from the fragments of his verses still extant, was a rapid and
careless writer, not so very far removed from the rude vine-
dressers and early husbandmen of Italy. He regarded quality
less than quantity, and, as though it were a great feat, would


dictate two hundred verses in an hour, standing on one foot.
Horace was careful and exact, never diffuse, considering and
weighing each line ; he was, as Keightley says, the most elliptic
of writers, in a language which is the most elliptic of lan-
guages. Lucilius was a clumsy and harsh writer; but, if his
thirty books of satires had come down to us, we should no
doubt have had a faithful, if rough picture of the troublous
and restless times in which he lived, of the advance of luxury
in the republic, of the character of Scipio, and of the man-
ners of Laelius, much truer than that given in the dialogue
of Cicero. We, who have the eighteen satires of Horace,
know what we should have lost, if time had robbed us of
them. They are far better to us than the pages of regular
history. They let us into a thousand little things, of which
history is ignorant or disdainful. However minutely Lucilius
may have described the society of his times, he could hardly
have excelled Horace in this point, while the charm of Hor-
ace's style is his own and unrivalled. Finish and care are
apt to make writings dull, as Massillon is said to have taken
the life out of his sermons by continually retouching them.
The finish of Boileau's writings gives them a certain tame-
ness. But the marvel of Horace is, that, though he is so
finished, he is never dull. All comes as fresh from him as
if he spoke the utterances of a child of nature.

" Satires," he calls these writings sometimes ; at other
times he calls them "Discourses " (Sermones). And indeed
.they by no means answer to the idea of satires, as we now
understand the word, but are more like easy conversations
with himself and others. They are free from ill-will and mal-
ice. He has faithfully kept the promise he has made about
this. They are good-natured. They contain a variety which
is admirable. At times they are satires, direct or indirect, on
particular persons, or in general, on avarice, ambition, profli-
gacy, luxury, superstition, on the follies and foibles of man-
kind. But mingled with these attacks are all kinds of sub-
jects. Thus, for instance, in his journey to Brundusium there
is scarcely any satire, as we should call it. Up and down the
satires he has plenty to say about his friends. He is no
niggard of praise towards them. Dryden says of him, " Folly


is his quarry, not vice." He is no set philosopher, as Persius
was, no declaimer like Juvenal. He has much salt, little
gall. His metaphors and figures are not strained, as those
of Persius are. He has turns, sudden and unexpected, and
never wearies by dwelling too long on one subject. He
enlivens his writings by dialogues inserted abruptly. He has
little fables and similes and tales introduced quite naturally.
He never speaks of himself as of a great author, and disarms
criticism by the way in which he confesses his own faults
and weaknesses. He appears t be writing easily, and as
one who plays with literature, and for all that he is a consum-
mate artist. If aught were omitted or transposed, the effect
would be much marred. Many of his lines, from their point
and brevity, have passed into proverbs. He takes care to
end nearly every satire with a light jest, and lets himself
fall gently before he closes. When he describes his good
father, the education he had received, his daily life, the little
troubles and inconveniences which ruffled the surface of a
comfortable and contented existence, he is more charming
than ever.

Some satires, as the gth of the ist book, give a complete
picture of a single event. The 2nd book is on the whole
more powerful, but less easy and natural than the ist, and one
can see that Horace writes in the 2nd book with a certain
amount of authority, and there is in it more satire, strictly
so called, than in the ist book. And yet the 6th satire in
the 2nd book, which describes his simple happiness in the
country, his bores and interruptions in the city, his easy con-
versation with his patron, and which ends with the story of
the two mice, has hardly a word of satire in it. As Walcke-
naer says, in the sense which we now attach to satire, but
which was not yet attached to it by the Romans even in the
days of Augustus, it seems strange to give the name of Satire
to a piece so full of elegance and gentleness, with no malice
or ill-nature in it, no indignation or severity. In this satire
we have the picture of a man modest, content, grateful, free
from ambition, enjoying a happiness much more secure than
that of the country mouse, (who is here the type of Horace,)
when drawn against his better judgment from the country to

Online LibraryMarion Mills MillerThe classics, Greek & Latin; the most celebrated works of Hellenic and Roman literatvre, embracing poetry, romance, history, oratory, science, and philosophy (Volume 10) → online text (page 12 of 37)