Page images

just as this yearning, appeased for the moment, is suggested in the storm-tost Æneadæ pressing to land magno telluris amore. Another instance will complete the illustration. As the youthful Pallas is about to fight Turnus, he prays to Hercules, his ancestral friend and god, for aid. The hero-god hears, but speaks not:

Audiit Alcides juvenem, magnumque sub imo

Corde premit gemitum, lacrimasque effudit inanes.

He knew the vanity of his silent wish to save the youth; his tears fall, but no word of supplication does he utter to his father Jove. Then speaks the father consoling him:

Stat sua cuique dies; breve et irreparabile tempus
Omnibus est vitæ ; sed famam extendere factis,
Hoc virtutis opus. Troiæ sub moenibus altis
Tot gnati cecidere deum; quin occidit una
Sarpedon mea progenies. Etiam sua Turnum
Fata vocant, metasque dati pervenit ad ævi."

No thought is here which may not be found in Homer; but the sadness and futility of all life wells through the words of Jove, who is not bewailing one death or another, but expressing the universal lot of mortals.' It is thus that the pathos of Virgil, as compared with that of Homer, is generalized by reflection or expressed through incidents and circumstances which suggest the sadness of all lots.

Many poets before Virgil, lyrists like Mimnermus, dramatists like Euripides, had seen pathos everywhere; the pathos of life's shortness and grief, in happy events the pathos of imagined change. They had reflected too, and consequently often express generalized modes of pathos, though hardly before Virgil had been attained

1 Æn., i, 171.

2 lb., x, 464, etc.

3 Compare the scene between Zeus and Hera in regard to the fate of Sarpedon, I., xvi, 431; and Achilles' words to Lycaon, I., xxi, 106–113.

such expressions of life's universal sadness as those just cited from the Eneid. But Virgil had a heart more set on high endeavor and ethical worth than any of the pathetic writers of Greece. So it came to Virgil to endue the Æneid with the pathos of high endeavor, successful or frustrated, but saddened by its struggle, the pathos of the toil which must be undergone by noble hearts with fortitude. This is the pathos of the character of Æneas, the pathos of the fleeing shores of Italy, which must be reached, for which any intervening joy must be abandoned. This pathos in Æneas is presaged in the words dis aliter visum, which, enlarged and commented on by his career, mean: be it as God wills. It is more distinctly foretold when, seeking his wife 'midst the expiring flames of Troy, there appears to him the

Infelix simulacrum atque ipsius umbra Creusæ,

which tells him his lot:

Longa tibi exsilia, et vastum maris æquor arandum,—'

those long exiles which his heart must endure, the vast seas he must furrow; for on him is a weighty destiny. The full expression of this pathos comes first from Æneas's lips when onward he must fare, and leave Helenus and Andromache and their new Ilium, the sight of which made his heart yearn. In tears he bids them farewell:

Vivite felices, quibus est fortuna peracta
Jam sua; nos alia ex aliis in fata vocamur.

Vobis parta quies, nullum maris æquor arandum,
Arva neque Ausoniæ semper cedentia retro

His wife's very words come back to him-vastum maris

1 ii, 772, 780.

2 iii, 492.


Farewell happy ye, whose destiny is accomplished; we are called hence to other fates; rest is yours, with no seas to plough, no evervanishing fields of Italy to seek."

æquor arandum—and his own hitherto fruitless voyagings have taught the sorrow of the fleeing shores of Italy.'

Virgil's Tenderness towards All of Life.

The pathos of high endurance and endeavor, was the form of pathos suited to the lots of the Trojan founders of Rome, and to the ideal of patient fortitude which the Augustan age conceived of Rome's beginnings. Virgil's heart was as mightily set on what was high and strong as the heart of Pindar or Æschylus; but it was a heart which also felt tenderness for all the sorrow of life, and most tender love for life's loveliness. It is this tenderness for all of life, that makes Virgil humanize with touch of pathos the little postern gate through which Æneas enters Priam's tottering palace, the gate by which unhappy Andromache used to take Astyanax to see his grandparents; it is this tenderness which makes him transform the heroic cruelty of the Homeric Doloneia into the touching episode of Nisus and Euryalus,' and conclude the Georgics with Eurydice borne back again to night, holding out helpless hands,-alas! not his,—to Orpheus. And beyond all, through Virgil's tender sympathy and sense of the pitiableness of human woe, the underworld through which Æneas passes unfolds vista after vista of human tears and yearning. To this picture, from Homer's ghastly world of shades, there were eight centuries of growth of the human heart. The ideal outcome of all the manifold pathos of the Æneid is just this tenderness towards all of human life and pity for all human sorrow. This was a new ideal for man which Virgil, the greatest pagan heart, first brought to large epic expression. After him, the world was not to lose it, and though philosophic self-control was still to look

1 This epithet, which sums up much of the sorrow of the Æneid, recurs. Here it is arva cedentia retro; in v, 629, it is Italiam fugientem; in vi, 61, it is Italia fugientes (or tis) oras. Compare it with the simpler note of the Odyssey. (Od. ix, 62, see above.)

2 Æn., ii, 455.

3 lb., ix, 176, etc.

4 Georg., iv, 497.

askance on tears, yet in the end it was pity that was to loose again the heart which philosophy had steeled against sorrow, indeed against the greater part of life.


Virgil was the prophet of the Empire, the spokesman of great things, the establisher of religion. Horace was the preacher of moderation and morality in daily life. If ever a man was fitted for preaching morals sound and good, yet not too lofty for the comprehension of men, it was this man of balanced mind, this appreciator of the whole of life, this urbane, tactful man. Horace knew his world of Rome; beyond that he knew mankind, its good traits and its weaknesses. He had his own weaknesses and knew them; and he also knew strength to be better than weakness, and good to be better than evil. He saw life truly. There have been men of loftier minds and deeper feelings; and to such may be reserved the certain knowledge of truths ultimate for men. But to the full reach of his mind and personality, Horace apprehended truly, and judged everything at its fair proportionate worth. His thoughts, his feelings, his sentiments, are always true, always just. There is never foolishness or unreality in his poems; they contain no conceits,-apt expressions of taking thoughts which are untrue.' There is nothing in Horace lacking application fair and true in life. And his maturer poems contain tempered wisdom, expressed in modes of universal application.

The common intercourse and the criticism of personality and example, as well as of expressed opinion, among a large number of cultivated statesmen, men of affairs, and men of literature,-great poets some of them,-tended to give form and evenness, sanity and balance, to Augustan literature, and to exclude marked defects. Tibullus,

'Here is an illustration from Tibullus, speaking of a nocturnal adventure : Quisquis amore tenetur, eat tutusque sacerque Qualibet.

—i, ii, 27. This is a conceit, being untrue.

Propertius, Ovid, have many excellences; none of them has any marked defect of literary form; and no quality in Horace is more frequently noticeable than the perfect expression of his thought, the admirable phrase, its entire adequacy. Yet the intercourse with men of his time may not have had as deep influence on Horace-it certainly had not on Virgil-as study of the literary models. afforded by Greece, and by Rome too; for Virgil had Lucretius, and Horace, Catullus. Just as Lucretius and Catullus had followed Greek models suited to their tempers, so Virgil and Horace. Virgil in his youth wandered with Theocritus; his more deeply inspired manhood chose the greatest masters of Greece, Homer, Hesiod, and the dramatists. Horace in the main followed, not the Alexandrians, but the great lyrists. And to whatever the Augustan writers took from Alexandria they gave the larger air and deeper vitality of the greater age in which they lived.' Greek poetry was a granary of thought for Horace, not himself a poet of striking imagination or originality. His views of life he took from Greek philosophy, adhering to no one system, but selecting what he would and tempering it to life's conditions.

Horace knew the social arts and flatteries of his time and perhaps recognized their usefulness in living at the Capitol. He could be very worldly wise.' But he has finer thoughts of social intercourse. His urbanity and courtesy were sincere; backbiters he thought unfit for decent society.' One should not be ready to carp at another's faults,-thou that perceivest not thine own. Nor quickly impute evil to another, least of all to a friend:

eheu !

Quam temere in nosmet legem sancimus iniquam!'

1 Propertius was especially a follower of Callimachus: see Prop., iv, i. But he is a poet of more depth and truer feeling.

'See Epis., i, xvii, and xviii and cf. Sat., i, ix. Sat., i, iv, 81.


▲ Ib., i, iii, 66.

« PreviousContinue »