To be sure I did say, that the verses of Lucilius[*](Lucilius had his numerous admirers in Rome, who were greatly disobliged by the freedom with which our poet had treated him in his fourth Satire. Horace was determined to support his own judgment, and instead of making an apology, confirms what he had said, with his utmost force and address. Respecting the eight spurious verses usually prefixed to this satire, see Orelli's Excursus. The verses are as follows: lucili, quam sis mendosus, teste catone,defensore tuo, pervincam, qui male factosemendare parat versus, hoc lenius ille,quo melior vir et est longe subtilior illo,qui multum puer et loris et funibus udisexoratus, ut esset, opem qui ferre poetisantiquis posset contra fastidia nostra,grammaticorum equitum doctissimus. ut redeam illuc: ) did not run smoothly. Who is so foolish an admirer of Lucilius, that he would not own this? But the same writer is applauded in the same Satire,[*](Cf. Sat. 4. ) on account of his having lashed the town with great humor. Nevertheless granting him this, I will not therefore give up the other [considerations]; for at that rate I might even admire the farces of Laberius,[*](Mimi were farces written purely for diversion and laughing. Decimus Laberius was made a Roman knight by Julius Caesar. He had long maintained the first character in this kind of writing, but Publius Syrus at last became his rival, and carried off all the applause of the theater.) as fine poems. Hence it is by no means sufficient to make an auditor grin with laughter: and yet there is some degree of merit even in this. There is need of conciseness that the sentence may run, and not embarrass itself with verbiage, that overloads the sated ear; and sometimes a grave, frequently jocose style is necessary, supporting the character one while of the orator, and [at another] of the poet, now and then that of a graceful rallier that curbs the force of his pleasantry and weakens it on purpose. For ridicule often decides matters of importance more effectually and in a better manner, than severity. Those poets by whom the ancient comedy was written, stood upon this [foundation], and in this are they worthy of imitation: whom neither the smooth-faced Hermogenes ever read, nor that baboon who is skilled in nothing but singing [the wanton compositions of] Calvus and Catullus.
But [Lucilius, say they,] did a great thing, when he intermixed Greek words with Latin. O late-learned dunces! What! do you think that arduous and admirable, which was done by Pitholeo the Rhodian? But [still they cry] the style elegantly composed of both tongues is the more pleasant, as if Falernian wine is mixed with Chian. When you make verses, I ask you this question; were you to undertake the difficult cause of the accused Petillius, would you (for instance), forgetful of your country and your father, while Pedius,[*](Pedius. This is, without doubt, the son of that Q. Pedius whom Julius Caesar made heir to the fourth part of his estate, and who was chosen consul with Octavius, in room of Hirtius and Pansa.) Poplicola, and Corvinus'[*](Corvinus. V. Messala Corvinus, no less distinguished by his eloquence than by his noble birth. He was descended from the famed Valerius Poplicola) sweat through their causes in Latin, choose to intermix words borrowed from abroad, like the double-tongued Canusinian.[*](Canusium was built by Diomede. Its inhabitants, originally Greeks, had preserved many words of their first language, which being mixed with Latin, made a ridiculous, disagreeable jargon. Virgil for the same reason, calls the Tyrians, Tyriosque bilingues.(Aen. 1.661) ) And as for myself, who was born on this side the water, when.I was about making Greek verses; Romulus appearing to me after midnight, when dreams are true, forbade me in words to this effect; "You could not be guilty of more madness by carrying timber into a wood, than by desiring to throng in among the great crowds of Grecian writers."
While bombastical Alpinus[*](Alpinus. The most probable conjectures induce us to believe, that Horace means Furius Bibaculus, a poet of some reputation, and not without merit. He describes him in another Satire (2.5.40)pingui tentus omaso, and here he calls him turgidus, not only from the fatness of his person but the flatulency of his style. The surname of Alpinus marks his being born among the Gauls, who lived on the Alps; or, as Dr. Bentley pleasantly understands it, from a famous line, which our poet laughs at in another place: "Jupiter hibernas cana nive conspuit Alpes." Iugulat dum Memnona is a tone and style of bombast in the true spirit of ridicule.) murders Memnon, and while he deforms the muddy source of the Rhine, I amuse myself with these satires; which can neither be recited in the temple[*](Quae nec in Aede sonent. The commentator tells that Augustus appointed five judges, of whom Metius Tarpa was one, to distribute poetical prizes, and determine what plays should be presented on the stage. Vossius believes they were established in imitation of the Sicilians and Athenians. Mr. Dacier thinks they were continued under the reign of Domitian.) [of Apollo], as contesting for the prize when Tarpa presides as judge, nor can have a run over and over again represented in the theaters. You, O Fundanius,[*](Fundanius. He is known only by this elogium of Horace. This passage refers to the Andria of Terence, where Chremes is deceived by the artifices of Davus.) of all men breathing, are the most capable of prattling tales in a comic vein, how an artful courtesan and a Davus impose upon an old Chremes: Pollio sings the actions of kings in iambic[*](Pede ter percusso. The tragic Iambics had but three measures, each measure having two feet, from whence they were sometimes called senarii, and sometimes trimetra. ) measure; the sublime Varius composes the manly epic, in a manner that no one can equal: to Virgil the Muses, delighting in rural scenes, have granted the delicate and the elegant. It was this kind [of satiric writing], the Aticinian Varro and some others having attempted it without success, in which I may have some slight merit, inferior to the inventor: nor would I presume to pull off the [laurel] crown placed upon his brow with great applause.
But I said that he flowed muddily, frequently indeed bearing along more things which ought to be taken away than left. Be it so; do you, who are a scholar, find no fault with any thing in mighty Homer, I pray? Does the facetious Lucilius make no alterations in the tragedies of Accius? Does not he ridicule many of Ennius' verses, which are too light for the gravity [of the subject]? When he speaks of himself by no means as superior to what he blames. What should hinder me likewise, when I am reading the works of Lucilius, from inquiring whether it be his [genius], or the difficult nature of his subject, that will not suffer his verses to be more finished, and to run more smoothly than if some one, thinking it sufficient to conclude a something of six feet, be fond of writing two hundred verses before he eats, and as many after supper? Such was the genius of the Tuscan Cassius, more impetuous than a rapid river; who, as it is reported, was burned [at the funeral pile] with his own books[*](The funeral piles on which dead bodies were burned were made of wood. Cassius had written so much, that Horace sportively gives it as a rumor, that his books formed his funeral pile. MCCAUL.) and papers. Let it be allowed, I say, that Lucilius was a humorous and polite writer; that he was also more correct than [Ennius], the author[*](There is a great variation in the interpretation of this passage. They may be found collected in MCCAUL's notes. ) of a kind of poetry [not yet] well cultivated, nor attempted by the Greeks, and [more correct likewise] than the tribe of our old poets: but yet he, if he had been brought down by the Fates to this age of ours, would have retrenched a great deal from his writings: he would have pruned off every thing that transgressed the limits of perfection; and, in the composition of verses, would often have scratched his head, and bit his nails to the quick.
You that intend to write what is worthy to be read more than once, blot frequently: and take no pains to make the multitude admire you, content with a few [judicious] readers. What, would you be such a fool as to be ambitious that your verses should be taught in petty schools? That is not my case. It is enough for me, that the knight [Maecenas] applauds: as the courageous actress, Arbuscula, expressed herself, in contempt of the rest of the audience, when she was hissed [by the populace]. What, shall that grubworm Pantilius[*](Pantilius. A buffoon, and a great enemy of Horace, whom he calls Cimex, an insect, out of contempt. Fannius is the same of whom he speaks in Satire iv. ) have any effect upon me? Or can it vex me, that Demetrius carps at me behind my back? or because the trifler Fannius, that hanger-on to Hermogenes Tigellius, attempts to hurt me? May Plotius and Varius, Maecenas and Virgil, Valgius and Octavius[*](Octavius. An excellent poet and historian. The Visci were two brothers, and both senators. Bibulus was the son of him that had been consul in 695, and Servius the son of Servius Sulpicius, who corresponded with Cicero. Furnius was consul in the year 737, and equally master of the pen and the sword.) approve these Satires, and the excellent Fuscus likewise; and I could wish that both the Visci would join in their commendations: ambition apart, I may mention you, O Pollio: you also, Messala, together with your brother; and at the same time, you, Bibulus and Servius; and along with these you, candid Furnius; many others whom, though men of learning and my friends, I purposely omit — to whom I could wish these Satires, such as they are, may give satisfaction; and I should be chagrined, if they pleased in a degree below my expectation. You, Demetrius, and you, Tigellius, I bid lament among the forms of your female pupils.
Go, boy, and instantly annex this Satire to the end of my book.