Thursday, May 01, 2014



James Hannay (1827-1873), "Horace and Juvenal," Satire and Satirists: Six Lectures (London: David Bogue, 1854), pp. 3-52 (at 29-30):
His Songs would give you a notion that he indulged in a romantic sort of dissipation. This arises from their not being rightly viewed as fancy-pictures—pictures on the ivory of the Latin language,—of old Lesbian life, and Ionian life, farther south, and long before. To me Horace seems a far homelier, simpler old gentleman than the classical conventionalists would have you suppose. A little, stoutish, weak-eyed, satirical, middle-aged man, sitting—with what hair he had left, smeared with Syrian ointment—crowned, under a vine, drinking, in company of a Greek young woman, with an ivy crown on her head, playing or dancing,—is to me a ludicrous object. I do not think that the simple and philosophic Horatius, with his eye for satire, was much given to this mode of enjoyment. I am pretty sure that he did enjoy himself; but I rather fancy him eating a too luxurious dinner now and then, cramming himself with tunny-fish, muscles, oysters, hare, thrushes, peacock, and whatever else was going; and atoning for it by much quiet and a little rustication in his farm. I am certain that he was, in the main, a homely little man; and that the finish and elegance he shows in his writings did not appear so conspicuously in his person and in the objects about him.

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