Abbildungen der Seite

censor, would have struck me off the list of senators, if not born of free parentage-deservedly, I shall not dispute, since I would not keep my own station : Yet all this cannot alter your judgment and mine, that it is of no importance what u man's birth be, provided he be personally a good man. This last clause Horace leaves to be supplied from what goes before ; and hence has arisen the obscurity of which the interpreters complain. 23. Sed fulgente trahit, &c. Instead of filling up his sentence by repeating what he had said before, Horace pursues the thought of the 22d line, and laughs at that ambition which will not let men rest in their own sphere. He introduces this digression (which extends to v. 45. Nunc ad me redeo, &c.) by this line Sed fulgente trahit, &c., which from its heroic cast, and elevated expression, so different from the context, I conjecture is a quotation, probably from Ennius, or Lucilius. Baxter has made the same conjecture; therefore, I print it in Italics, and make a new paragraph. If it be not a quotation, Horace purposely raises his style to give it a comic effect,

By the way, the lines immediately preceding this have not been well understood :

Quid oportet Nos facere, a vulgo longe longeque remotos? The meaning is—“ If even the vulgar, the slaves of general opinion,---incapable of forming a judgment for themselves, who doat on titles of honor and the insignia of high birth, see the worthlessness of Lævinus, how much more must you and 1,-10 removed from these vulgar prejudices-judge the high birth of Lævinus of no value ?"

Whether I have been more successful than my predecessors in the explanation of this difficult passage, must be left to the candid judgment of your learned readers.

In the sixth Satire of the second Book, I have ventured to make a transposition of two lines, bringing in what in all other editions are the 18th and 19th, before the 16th and 17th. The passage as I read it stands thus:

Nec mala me ambitio perdit, nec plumbeus Auster,
Autumnusque gravis, Libitinæ quæstus acerbæ.
Ergo ubi me in montes, et in arcem ex urbe removi,
Quid prius illustrem Satiris Musaque pedestri?
Matutine pater, seu Jane libentius audis,

Unde homines operum primos vitæque labores
Instituunt, (sic dis placitum) tu carminis esto
Principiuin. Romæ sponsorem me rapis: "Eia !
Ne prior officio quisquam respondeat, Urge.'
Sive Aquilo, &c.


It is necessary only, I think, to read the passage attentively, as I have given it, to feel that this is the original order. The 19th line, Quid prius illustrem, &c. has been generally interpreted, What shall I write preferably to satires ? But you could never say illustrare satiras, for scribere satiras. The meaning is, What subject shall I illustrate in my satires ? i. e. What shall be the subject of my satires ? The sequel puts this beyond doubt. “Father Janus, be thou my first subject. When I am at Rome, you carry me early in the morning to give surety for a friend." This first subject, now that he is in the country, is the thousand inconveniences he suffers in the city,

In the 39 v. Direris, Experiar--If you say, that is, if one say-if I say. Perhaps Horace wrote, Dixero si Experiar.

In the 48th and 49th lines, for spectaverat and luserat, I adopt Dr. Bentley's spectaverit and luserit, but not in his sense, for si spectaderit, &c. The passage, as I give it, is this :

Per totum hoc tempus, subjectior in diem et horam
Invidiæ: “Noster ludos spectaverit una !

• Luserit in Campo ! Fortunæ filius ! Omnes. that is, Quidni ludos spectaverit una! Quidni luserit! Oh to be sure! why should not our military tribune! our freedman's son! sit by Mæcenas at the theatre ! and play at ball with him! who but he!”--the language of envy.

By the way, a principal source of difficulty in the Satires and Epistles is the dramatic style in which they are written. I think, therefore, a real service is done, to the young reader especially, by marking the dialogue with inverted commas. This frequently throws more light on a passage than could have been done by much laborious writing.

Epist. 1. 2. 32. * Ut jugulent hominem, surgunt de nocte latrones;

Ut teipsum serves, non expergisceris?”. These words are explained literally, and Horace is understood as quoting the activity of robbers in their nefarious pursuits, as a reproach to the indolence of men in the pursuit of virtue. This sense I adopted in my edition, if I may dignify it with that name. On more mature consideration of the passage, and recollection of Horace's manner, I am now convinced that it is metaphorical. “ Bad passions, like robbers, are ever on the watch to destroy us, and, if we do not bestir ourselves, will effect that object.” The sequel clearly shows that this is the author's meaning.

In the eighth Epistle, Horace plainly writes to Celsus in a

friendly style, when he enumerates his own weaknesses. We are therefore not to understand the concluding verse,

Ut tu fortunam, sic nos te, Celse, feremusor the advice in the third Epistle, beginning, 'Quid mihi Celsus agit,' as bitter satire, but as a friendly freedom, which their intimacy warranted. This Epistle is plainly an answer to one from Celsus, which may be regarded as a proof that he took the advice in the third Epistle in good part.

I would make a similar observation on the twelfth Epistle. Dacier, Desprez, Baxter, Zeunius, &c., consider this Epistle as a piece of severe satire and irony. But certainly, if Horace meant to do his friend Grosphus a service by recommending him to Iccius, it was a strange way to begin by turning Iccius himself into ridicule. In the 7th verse he represents him as living sparingly at a plentiful table, in medio positorum abstemius. "This certainly does not countenance the charge of ararice brought against him by the Commentators. For the same reasons I regard the 29th ode of the first book as a piece of goodnatured and friendly raillery, warranted by their intimacy. There can be no better examples than these of the character given by Persius to our author :- Omne vafer Flaccus,' &c. I am happy to have the support of Gesner by his note on the 11th verse of this Epistle : Nil equidem Ironiæ video, nihil mordax: sed ingenuum laudatorem amici et virtutis.

Epist. 11. 1. 30. Ennius, et sapiens, et fortis, et alter Homerus,

Ut critici dicunt, leviter curare videtur,
Quo promissa cadant, et somnia Pythagorea.

Nævius in manibus non est, &c. This is a very difficult passage. The obvious and natural meaning of the words is, Ennius takes no pains to fulfil his great promises, and to show himself animated by the soul of Homer. But this is manifestly contrary to the spirit of the whole passage, where Horace is giving the sentiments of those who admired the ancient poets exclusively. The ancient scholiast gives another interpretation, which is applauded and adopted by Bentley: Ennius is not now solicitous about his reputation ; his promises are accomplished, and his dreams are fulfilled. For, says the Doctor—Leviter curamus ea, quæ extra aleæ discrimen posita esse videmus. Gesner gives another interpretation : Ennius is not solicitous that his dreams about Homer should be accomplished: he has obtained immortality among us in his own name of Ennius. These interpretations are consistent with the rest of the passage ; but they are forced, and can hardly be brought out of

the words. If conjecture were allowable, I would read the passage thus :

Ennius, et sapiens, et fortis, et alter Homerus-
(Ut critici dicant, leviter curare videri,
Quo promissa cadant, et somnia Pythagoreano)

Nævius in manibus, &c. The lines in the parenthesis are an interruption: “However good critics, as Varius, Tucca, &c. nay say that he takes no great pains to fulfil his mighty promises, and dreams of being animated by Homer's spirit; their criticism is disregarded, and the exclusive admirers of antiquity still call him a second Homer.”

In the second Epistle of the second Book, Horace is offering to Florus many excuses and apologies, partly jocular, partly serious, for having failed in his promise of sending him some odes. His fifth apology, beginning at the 87th verse, Frater erat Romæ, &c.” has not been well understood. It is this : “ Poets are vain mortals; and, if I enlist myself among them, I must *court and Aatter them, that they may flatter me, and, what is worst of all, must listen to their recitations, that they may return me the same compliment.” This is jocular, no doubt; for he tells us elsewhere, that he would not do so. The 94th verse,

Quid ferat, et quâ re sibi nectat uterque coronam, I render, “ What each endures, and by what means be weaves a wreath for his own head;" that is, what are the arts he employs to induce his brother poet to praise him. This interpretation of quare (I have printed it in the text, quâ re, in two words, to lead more easily to this uncommon meaning) seems to have escaped all the interpreters. I have no doubt, that whoever will take pains to consider the connexion of the passage, will agree, that this is the author's meaning :-"Each endures the pains of death while he listens to the recitation of the other, and then he has his revenge, by reciting in his turn.” These are the means each uses~" Then by his vote I am a second Alcæus, and I pronounce him a Callimachus or Mimnermus." He goes on :

Multa fero, ut placem genus irritabile vatum,
Cum scribo, et supplex populi suffragia capto :
Idem, finitis studiis, et mente recepta,

Obturem patulis, impune, legentibus aures. These four lines put the explication, above given, beyond doubt: “When I myself write, I must bear a great deal, in order to pacify and propitiate the irritable race of poets; and I must use every art to catch the favor of the people: but when I reco

ver from the madness of poetry, and lay down my pen, I can set the reciters at defiance, and refuse to listen-you must excuse me, therefore, if I prefer my own liberty."

This use of quâ re, joined to the subjunctive mood, in the sense of BY WHAT MEANS, or how, is not unexampled. Cæs. B. G. v. 31. Omnia excogitantur QUARE nec sine periculo maneatur, et languore militum et vigiliis periculum augeatur: All things were, as if on purpose, contrived, how it might be dangerous to remain, and how that danger might be farther increased, by the fatigue of the soldiers.” Cic. Epist. Fam. x. 21. “Omnia feci, Quare Lepido conjuncto ad rempublicam defendendam-perditis resisterem :" “ I have done every thing, BY MEANS OF WHICH, or WHEREBY, I might engage Lepidus to join with me in the defence of the republic, and in resisting these desperate men.”

These are a few instances in which I have differed from all the interpreters. Some of them seem of considerable importance to the right understanding of these authors. I shall be happy to be corrected by you, or any of your learned contributors who may think it worth while; and still more so to be supported by your suffrages, where I may be thought to be in the right.

HENRY LISTON. Manse of Ecclesmachan, Jan. 1823.

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]



[ocr errors]

[Vide Classical Journal, XXIX, 165-71.; XXX, 310-13.)

“ MAGNUS sane is locus est, quem nemo magis perpurgavit Reizio, cui tanquam Pelias quidam, si diuturniorem fortuna vitam ei concessisset, omnis hæc doctrina de accentibus recoquenda erat. Non pænitebit tamen vel post hunc virum quædam protulisse, fulta grammaticis rationibus. Opportune enim accidit, quod Barkerus nuper Herodiani Accentuum doctrinam in epitomen ab Arcadio Antiocheno redactam edi curavit, de qua quidem non ita sentimus, ut ne transversum quidem digitum decedendum

« ZurückWeiter »