Page:The works of Horace - Christopher Smart.djvu/15

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INTRODUCTION

ix

patron to Brundusium, where, in company with Cocceius Nerva and Capito, he was engaged in negotiating a reconciliation between Antony and Augustus. A most amusing description of "travelers' miseries," in the fifth Satire of the first Book, commemorates this event, and gives an entertaining picture of the domestic habits of the wealthier classes at Rome during the Augustan age. In accompanying Mæcenas in the war against Sextus Pompey, a storm arose, and our poet narrowly escaped being drowned in the Gulf of Velia. Nevertheless, he volunteered himself as his companion in the expedition that ended in that decisive battle of Actium, an offer which Mæcenas, probably out of tenderness to the health of his friend, declined to accept.

Mæcenas was not a mere complimentary friend, but one of tried liberality. To his kindness our poet was indebted for his villa at Tibur, and to his intercession with Augustus, for a grant of land in the Sabine district. The emperor even offered him the appointment of private secretary to himself, but he declined this honor, as it would have separated him from the frequent society of Mæcenas. Augustus bore this refusal in good part, and even personally encouraged our poet to further literary exertions.

Alternating between his dwelling on the then health Esquiline hill at Rome, and the quieter and more congenial retirement of his villa at Præneste, Horace lived a life of Epicurean enjoyment, nor wholly untainted with the vices of the times, but yielding to them rather with the carelessness of a wit, than with the wantonness of a voluptuary. His mode of living at home

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