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Horace   By: (1829-1919)

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[Illustration: [ Bib. Nat., Paris. HORACE. From a bronze medallion of the period of Constantine.]

Bell's Miniature Series of Great Writers



REV. W. TUCKWELL, M.A. Author of "Chaucer," Etc.


London George Bell & Sons 1905

Chiswick Press: Charles Whittingham and Co. Tooks Court, Chancery Lane, London.



Struggle 9 Success 19 Satires and Epistles 30 Odes and Epodes 51 Swan Song 74 The Wines of Horace 82 Chronology 85 Index 87



Horace, from a Bronze Medallion Frontispiece Brutus 12 Maecenas 16 The Site of Horace's Villa 22 The Roman Forum 26 Augustus 46 Virgil 64 The Forum Restored, as in A.D. 80 74



Quintus Horatius Flaccus, the "old popular Horace" of Tennyson, petted and loved, by Frenchmen and Englishmen especially, above all the poets of antiquity, was born on 8th December, B.C. 65. He calls himself in his poems by the three names indifferently, but to us he is known only by the affectionate diminutive of his second or gentile name, borne by his father, according to the fashion of the time, as slave to some member of the noble Horatian family. A slave the father unquestionably had been: meanness of origin was a taunt often levelled against his son, and encountered by him with magnanimous indifference; but long before Horace's birth the older Horatius had obtained his freedom, had gained sufficient money to retire from business, and to become owner of the small estate at Venusia on the borders of Apulia, where the poet was born and spent his childhood. He repeatedly alludes to this loved early home, speaks affectionately of its surrounding scenery, of the dashing river Aufidus, now Ofanto, of the neighbouring towns, Acherontia, Bantia, Forentum, discoverable in modern maps as Acerenza, Vanzi, Forenza, of the crystal Bandusian spring, at whose identity we can only guess. Here he tells us how, wandering in the forest when a child and falling asleep under the trees, he woke to find himself covered up by woodpigeons with leaves, and alludes to a prevailing rural belief that he was specially favoured by the gods. Long afterwards, too, when travelling across Italy with Maecenas, he records with delight his passing glimpse of the familiar wind swept Apulian hills.

Of his father he speaks ever with deep respect. "Ashamed of him?" he says, "because he was a freedman? whatever moral virtue, whatever charm of character, is mine, that I owe to him. Poor man though he was, he would not send me to the village school frequented by peasant children, but carried me to Rome, that I might be educated with sons of knights and senators. He pinched himself to dress me well, himself attended me to all my lecture rooms, preserved me pure and modest, fenced me from evil knowledge and from dangerous contact. Of such a sire how should I be ashamed? how say, as I have heard some say, that the fault of a man's low birth is Nature's, not his own? Why, were I to begin my life again, with permission from the gods to select my parents from the greatest of mankind, I would be content, and more than content, with those I had... Continue reading book >>

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