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Title: Studies in the Poetry of Italy, I. Roman
Author: Miller, Frank Justus
Language: English
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  Studies in the Poetry
      of Italy

      I. ROMAN



  _The University of Chicago_

    Chautauqua Press




  Third Edition, 1913

  The Chautauqua Print Shop

  Chautauqua, New York


The accumulated literature of centuries of ancient Roman life, even
after the loss of more works than have survived, is still so large that,
were we to attempt to cover the whole field, the space allotted to this
volume would suffice for only the most superficial mention of the extant
authors. The writer has therefore chosen to present to his readers the
field of poetry only, and to narrow the scope of his work still further
by the selection of certain important and representative phases of
poetry, namely, the dramatic, satiric, and epic.

These different phases of the Roman poetic product will be presented in
the order named, although it is by no means certain which class of
poetry was first developed at Rome. It is more than likely that satire
and comedy had a common origin in the rude and unrecorded literary
product of ancient Italy. Ennius, indeed, prior to whose time the extant
fragments are exceedingly meager, produced both drama, satire, and epic.
And the same is true, though to a more limited extent, of other writers
of the same early period.

Each of these phases of poetry is treated separately in this volume,
according to its chronological development. We shall, therefore,
traverse the field three times by three parallel paths: from Andronicus
to Seneca, from Ennius to Juvenal, and from Nævius to Vergil.

  F. J. Miller



     OLD ROMAN TRAGEDY                                                1

  2. LATER ROMAN TRAGEDY AND SENECA                                   8

  3. ROMAN COMEDY                                                    38


  1. INTRODUCTION AND EARLY SATIRE                                   70

  2. QUINTUS HORATIUS FLACCUS                                        80

  3. AULUS PERSIUS FLACCUS                                           99

  4. DECIMUS JUNIUS JUVENALIS                                       105


  1. CN. NÆVIUS.--THE FIRST NATIONAL ROMAN EPIC                     119

  2. QUINTUS ENNIUS                                                 121

  3. PUBLIUS VERGILIUS MARO                                         128




    "Whose end, both at the first and now, was and is, to hold, as
    'twere, the mirror up to nature; to show virtue her own features,
    scorn her own image, and the very age and body of the time his
    form and pressure."


When Greece was at the height of her glory, and Greek literature was in
its flower; when Æschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides, all within two
brilliant generations, were holding the polite world under the magic
spell of their dramatic art, their rough and almost unknown Roman
neighbors were just emerging from tradition into history. There the
atmosphere was altogether one of struggle. The king-ruled Romans, long
oppressed, had at last swept away that crumbling kingdom, and
established upon its ruins the young republic; the unconsidered masses,
still oppressed, were just heaving themselves up into legal recognition,
and had already obtained their tribunes, and a little later the boon of
a published law--the famous Law of the Twelve Tables, the first Roman

Three years before this, and in preparation for it, a committee of three
Roman statesmen, the so-called triumvirs, had gone to Athens to study
the laws of Solon. This visit was made in 454 B. C. Æschylus had died
two years before; Sophocles had become famous, and Euripides had just
brought out his first play. As those three Romans sat in the theater at
Athens, beneath the open sky, surrounded by the cultured and
pleasure-loving Greeks, as they listened to the impassioned lines of the
popular favorite, unable to understand except for the actor's art--what
a contrast was presented between these two nations which had as yet
never crossed each other's paths, but which were destined to come
together at last in mutual conquest. The grounds and prophecy of this
conquest were even now present. The Roman triumvirs came to learn Greek
law, and they learned it so well that they became lawgivers not alone
for Greece but for all the world; the triumvirs felt that day the charm
of Greek art, and this was but a premonition of that charm which fell
more masterfully upon Rome in later years, and took her literature and
all kindred arts completely captive.

Still from that day, for centuries to come, the Romans had sterner
business than the cultivation of the arts of peace. They had themselves
and Italy to conquer; they had a still unshaped state to establish; they
had their ambitions, growing as their power increased, to gratify; they
had jealous neighbors in Greece, Africa, and Gaul to curb. In such
rough, troubled soil as this, literature could not take root and
flourish. They were not, it is true, without the beginnings of native
literature. Their religious worship inspired rude hymns to their gods;
their generals, coming home, inscribed the records of their victory in
rough Saturnian verse on commemorative tablets; there were ballads at
banquets, and dirges at funerals. Also the natural mimicry of the
Italian peasantry had no doubt for ages indulged itself in uncouth
performances of a dramatic nature, which developed later into those
mimes and farces, the forerunners of native Roman comedy and the old
Medley-Satura. Yet in these centuries Rome knew no letters worthy of the
name save the laws on which she built her state; no arts save the arts
of war.

But in her course of Italian conquest, she had finally come into
conflict with those Greek colonists who had long since been taking
peaceful possession of Italy along the southeastern border. These
Græco-Roman struggles in Italy, which arose in consequence, culminated
in the fall of Tarentum, B. C. 272; and with this victory the conquest
of the Italian peninsula was complete.

This event meant much for the development of Italian literature; it
meant new impulse and opportunity--the impulse of close and quickening
contact with Greek thought, and the opportunity afforded by the internal
calm consequent upon the completed subjugation of Italy. Joined with
these two influences was a third which came with the end of the first
Punic War, a generation afterward. Rome has now taken her first fateful
step toward world empire; she has leaped across Sicily and set
victorious foot in Africa; has successfully met her first great foreign
enemy. The national pride and exaltation consequent upon this triumph
gave favorable atmosphere and encouragement for those impulses which had
already been stirred.

The first Punic War was ended in 241 B. C. In the following year the
first effects of the Hellenic influence upon Roman literature were
witnessed, and the first literary work in the Latin language of which we
have definite record was produced at Rome. This was by Livius
Andronicus, a Greek from Tarentum, who was brought to Rome as a captive
upon the fall of that city. He came as the slave of M. Livius Salinator,
who employed him as a tutor for his sons in Latin and Greek, and
afterward set him free to follow the same profession independently. That
he might have a Latin text from which to teach that language, he himself
translated into the Roman tongue the _Odyssey_ of Homer and some plays
of the Greek tragedians--the first professor of Latin on record! These
same translations, strangely enough, remained school text-books in Rome
for centuries.

His first public work, to which we have referred above, was the
production of a play; but whether tragedy or comedy we do not know. It
was at any rate, without doubt, a translation into the crude,
unpolished, and heavy Latin of his time, from some Greek original. His
tragedies, of which only forty-one lines of fragments, representing nine
plays, have come down to us, are all on Greek subjects, and are
probably only translations or bald imitations of the Greek originals.

The example set by Andronicus was followed by four Romans of marked
ability, whose life and work form a continuous chain of literary
activity from Nævius, who was but a little younger than Andronicus, and
who brought out his first play in 235 B. C.; through Ennius, who first
established tragedy upon a firm foundation in Rome; through Pacuvius,
the nephew of Ennius and his worthy successor, to the death of Accius in
(about) 94 B. C., who was the last and greatest of the old Roman

As to the themes of these early tragedies, a few of them were upon
subjects taken from Roman history. Tragedies of this class were called
_fabulæ prætextæ_, because the actors wore the native Roman dress. When
we think of the great value which these plays would have to-day, not
only from a literary but also from a historical point of view, we cannot
but regret keenly their almost utter loss. In the vast majority of
cases, however, the old Roman tragedy was upon subjects taken from the
traditional Greek cycles of stories, and was closely modeled after the
Greek tragedies themselves. Æschylus and Sophocles were imitated to some
extent, but Euripides was the favorite.

While these tragedies were Greek in subject and form, it is not at all
necessary to suppose that they were servile imitations or translations
merely of the Greek originals. The Romans did undoubtedly impress their
national spirit upon that which they borrowed, in tragedy just as in all
things else. Indeed, the great genius of Rome consisted partly in
this--her wonderful power to absorb and assimilate material from every
nation with which she came in contact. Rome might borrow, but what she
had borrowed she made her own completely, for better or for worse. The
resulting differences between Greek literature and a Hellenized Roman
literature would naturally be the differences between the Greek and
Roman type of mind. Where the Greek was naturally religious and
contemplative, the Roman was practical and didactic. He was grave and
intense, fond of exalted ethical effects, appeals to national pride; and
above all, insisted that nothing should offend that exaggerated sense of
both personal and national dignity which characterized the Roman

All these characteristics made the Romanized Greek tragedies immensely
popular; but, strangely enough, this did not develop a truly national
Roman tragedy, as was the case, for instance, with epic and lyric
literature. We have already seen how meager was the production of the
_fabulæ prætextæ_. With the rich national traditions and history to
inspire this, we can account for the failure to develop a native Roman
tragedy only upon the assumption that the Roman lacked the gift of
dramatic invention, at least to the extent of originating and developing
great dramatic plots and characters, which form the essential elements
of tragic drama.

We shall not weary the reader with quotations from the extant fragments
of old Roman tragedy, fragments which, isolated as they are, can prove
next to nothing as to the development of the plot or the other essential
characteristics of a drama. A play is not like an animal: it cannot be
reconstructed from a single fragment. It will be profitable, however, to
dwell upon a few of these fragments, in order to get some idea of the
nature and contents of all that is left of an extensive literature.

There is a very dramatic fragment of the _Alexander_ or _Paris_ of
Ennius. It represents Cassandra, in prophetic raving, predicting the
destruction which her brother Paris is to bring upon his fatherland. It
is said that Hecuba, queen of Troy, before the birth of Paris, dreamed
that she had brought forth a firebrand. Remembering this, Cassandra
cries out at sight of her brother:

    Here it is; here, the torch, wrapped in fire and blood. Many years
    it hath lain hid; help, citizens, and extinguish it. For now, on
    the great sea, a swift fleet is gathering. It hurries along a host
    of calamities. They come: a fierce host lines the shores with
    sail-winged ships.


Several of the fragments show a certain measure of descriptive power and
poetic imagination in these early tragedians. The following passage from
the _Argonautæ_ of Accius shows this to a marked degree. It is a
description of the first ship, _Argo_, as she goes plowing through the
sea. It is supposed to be spoken by a rustic who from the shore is
watching the vessel's progress. It should be remembered that the great
boat is as strange a sight to him as were the ships of Columbus to the
natives of newly discovered America. Hence the strange and seemingly
strained metaphors.

                  The mighty mass glides on,
      Like some loud-panting monster of the deep;
      Back roll the waves, in eddying masses whirled.
      It rushes on, besprinkling all the sea
      With flying spray like backward streaming breath;
      As when one sees the cloud-rack whirled along,
      Or some huge mass of rock reft off and driven
      By furious winds, or seething whirlpools, high
      Upbeaten by the ever-rushing waves;
      Or else when Ocean crashes on the shore,
      Or Triton, from the caverns of the sea,
      Far down beneath the swelling waters' depths,
      A rocky mass to upper heaven uprears.


Sellar, in speaking of the feeling for natural beauty, says of Accius:
"The fragments of Accius afford the first hint of that enjoyment of
natural beauty which enters largely into a later age"; and quotes the
following passage from the _Oenomaus_ as "perhaps the first instance
in Latin poetry of a descriptive passage which gives any hint of the
pleasure derived from contemplating the common aspects of nature":

    By chance before the dawn, harbinger of burning rays, when the
    husbandmen bring forth the oxen from their rest into the fields,
    that they may break the red, dew-sprinkled soil with the plough,
    and turn up the clods from the soft soil.

When we read this delightful passage, and then turn to the exquisite and
fuller pictures of natural beauty which Lucretius and Vergil have left
us, we shall agree that Accius was himself indeed the "harbinger of
burning rays."


Tragedy long continued to flourish after Accius, but its vitality was
gone. Such men as Pollio, Varius, and Ovid in the Augustan period, and
Maternus, Pomponius Secundus, and Lucan in the first century A. D.,
amused themselves by writing tragedies, and even produced some
commendable work. Varius, who was the personal friend of Vergil and
Horace, was perhaps the most gifted of these. He wrote a tragedy on
_Thyestes_ which was presented as part of the public rejoicings after
the battle of Actium. Of this play Quintilian said that it would stand
comparison with any Greek tragedy. Ovid also wrote a tragedy on _Medea_,
which was highly praised by Roman critics. Maternus wrote tragedies on
_Medea_ and _Thyestes_, as well as _prætextæ_ on _Domitius_ and _Cato_.
Of all these nothing remains but the barest fragments. But it is certain
that the efforts of these later tragedians were for the most part of a
dilettante sort, and that their plays were purely literary (see,
however, the case of Varius), intended for dramatic reading and
declamation, rather than for presentation upon the stage.

Of this sort also were the ten tragedies commonly attributed to L.
Annæus Seneca, the philosopher, who is better known as the author of
numerous philosophical essays. He lived in the time of Nero, and was,
indeed, the tutor of that emperor. Of these ten plays, nine are modeled
after the Greek, and one, the _Octavia_, which is undoubtedly not
Seneca's, is a _prætexta_, in which Seneca himself appears.

These plays are of especial interest to us, aside from their intrinsic
value, for the triple reason that they are the sole representatives of
Roman tragedy preserved entire, that they reflect the literary
complexion of the artificial age in which they were produced, and that
they had so large an influence in shaping the early English drama. They
are, in fact, the stepping-stone between ancient and modern, Greek and
English, drama.

As to their style, even a cursory reading reveals their extreme
declamatory nature, the delight of the author in the horrible and weird,
the pains he has taken to select from the Greek sources the most
harrowing of all the tales as the foundation of his tragedies, the
boldness with which he has broken over the time-honored rule that deeds
of blood should not be done upon the stage, and his fondness for
abstruse mythological allusions. Add to these features the dreary
prolixity with which the author spoils many of his descriptive passages,
protracting them often into veritable catalogues of places and things,
also his frequent exaggerations and repetitions, and we have the chief
defects of these tragedies.

And yet they have equally marked excellences. They abound in brilliant
epigrams, graphic descriptions, touching pathos, magnificent passion,
subtile analysis of character and motive. But when all is said, it must
be admitted that the plays, faults and virtues included, are highly
rhetorical and artificial, such alone as that artificial age would be
expected to produce.

Such as they were, and perhaps because they were what they were, the
tragedies of Seneca, rather than the Greek plays, were the model for
Italian, French, and early English tragedy. The first and obvious reason
for this no doubt is the fact that the Middle Age of Europe was an age
of Latin rather than of Greek scholarship, so far as popular
scholarship was concerned. And this made Seneca rather than Euripides
available. But it is also probable that his style and spirit appealed
strongly to those later-day imitators. So great, indeed, was the
popularity of Seneca's tragedies in the early Elizabethan age, that he
might be said to have monopolized the attention of writers of that time.
He was a favorite with the schools as a classical text-book, as old
Roger Ascham testifies; and his works were translated entire into
English then for the first time by five English scholars, and collected
into a single volume in 1581 by Thomas Newton, one of the translators.

In addition to the version of 1581, the tragedies of Seneca were again
translated into English by Glover in 1761. Since that date no English
version was attempted until the present writer a few years ago undertook
the task again, and produced a metrical version of three of these plays.

We have selected the tragedy of _Medea_ for presentation to the readers
of this volume as an illustration of the Senecan tragedy, and (alas for
the fate of so many noble works!) of the entire field of Roman tragedy.
It follows Euripides in general development of the plot; but if the
reader will take the trouble to compare the two plays, he will find that
the imitation is by no means close.

Although the play is confined in time to the final day of catastrophe at
Corinth, the background is the whole romantic story of the Argonauts:
how Jason and his hero-comrades, at the instigation of Pelias, the
usurping king of Thessalian Iolchos, undertook the first voyage in
quest of the golden fleece; how after many adventures these first
sailors reached the kingdom of Æëtes, who jealously guarded the fleece,
since upon its possession depended his own kingship; how the three
deadly labors were imposed upon Jason before the fleece could be won;
how, smitten by love of him, the beautiful, barbaric Medea, daughter of
the king, by the help of her magic, aided Jason in all his labors and
accompanied him in his flight; how, to retard her father's pursuit, she
slew her brother and scattered his mangled remains in the path as she
fled; how again, for love of Jason, she restored his father to youth,
and tricked Pelias' own daughters into slaying their aged sire; how, for
this act, Medea and her husband were exiled from Thessaly and went and
dwelt in Corinth; how, for ten happy years, she lived with her husband
and two sons in this alien land, her wild past almost forgotten, her
magic untouched. But now Jason has been gradually won away from his
wife, and is about to wed Creüsa, the daughter of Creon, king of
Corinth. The wedding festivities have already begun, when the play opens
and reveals Medea invoking all the powers of heaven and hell in
punishment of her false lord.

Into her frenzied and dreadful imprecations breaks the sound of sweet
voices from without of a chorus of Corinthian women, chanting the
epithalamium for the nuptials of Jason and Creüsa.

Hearing this cruel song in praise of her rival and of her false husband,
Medea goes into a wilder passion of rage. Medea's old nurse tries to
soothe her mistress and recall her to her right mind by wise saws and
prudent philosophy. But the flood of passion will not be checked.

  _Nurse._    Be silent now, I pray thee, and thy plaints confine
              To secret woe. The man who heavy blows can bear
              In silence, biding still his time with patient soul,
              Full oft his vengeance gains. 'Tis hidden wrath that harms;
              But hate proclaimed oft loses half its power to harm.

  _Medea._    But small the grief is that can counsel take and hide
              Its head; great ills lie not in hiding, but must rush
              Abroad and work their will.

  _Nurse._                    O cease this mad complaint,
              My mistress; scarce can friendly silence help thee now.

  _Medea._    But Fortune fears the brave, the faint of heart o'erwhelms.

  _Nurse._    Then valor be approved, if for it still there's room.

  _Medea._    But it must always be that valor finds its place.

  _Nurse._    No star of hope points out the way from these our woes.

  _Medea._    The man who hopes for naught at least has naught to fear.

  _Nurse._    The Colchians are thy foes; thy husband's vows have failed;
              Of all thy vast possessions not a jot is left.

  _Medea._    Yet I am left. There's left both sea and land and fire
              And sword and gods and hurtling thunderbolts.

  _Nurse._    The king must be revered.

  _Medea._                               My father was a king.

  _Nurse._    Dost thou not fear?

  _Medea._                   Not though the earth produced the foe.

  _Nurse._    Thou'lt perish.

  _Medea._                    So I wish it.

  _Nurse._                                  Flee!

  _Medea._                                      I'm done with flight.
              Why should Medea flee?

  _Nurse._                              Thy children!

  _Medea._                                   Whose, thou know'st.

  _Nurse._    And dost thou still delay?

  _Medea._                            I go, but vengeance first.

  _Nurse._    Th' avenger will pursue.

  _Medea._                        Perchance I'll stop his course.

  _Nurse._    Nay, hold thy words and cease thy threats, O foolish one.
              Thy temper curb; 'tis well to yield to fate's decrees.

  _Medea._    Though fate may strip me of my all, myself am left.
              But who flings wide the royal palace doors? Behold,
              'Tis Creon's self, exalted high in Grecian sway.

                               [_Medea retires to the back of the stage._

  _Creon._   [_As he enters._]
              Medea, baleful daughter of the Colchian king,
              Has not yet taken her hateful presence from our realm.
              On mischief is she bent; well known her treacherous power.
              For who escapes her? Who may pass his days in peace?
              This cursed pestilence at once would I have stayed
              By force of arms: but Jason's prayers prevailed. She still
              May live, but let her free my borders from the fear
              Her presence genders, and her safety gain by flight.

                      [_He sees Medea approaching._]

              But lo, she comes with fierce and threatening mien to seek
              An audience with us.
                                 Slaves! defend us from her touch
              And pestilential presence! Bid her silence keep,
              And learn at length obedience to the king's

              [_To Medea._] Go, speed thy flight, thou thing of evil,
              And monstrous!

  _Medea._               What the crime, my lord, or what the guilt
              That merits exile?

  _Creon._                        Let the guiltless question thus.

  _Medea._    If now thou judgest, hear me; if thou reign'st, command.

  _Creon._    The king's command thou must obey, nor question aught.

  _Medea._    Unrighteous kingdoms never long endure.

  _Creon._                                                       Go, bear
              Thy plaints to Colchis.

  _Medea._                           Yea, but let him take me hence
              Who brought me to thy shores.

  _Creon._                           Too late thy prayer, for fixed
              Is my decree.

  _Medea._               Who sits in judgment and denies
              His ear to either suitor, though his judgment right
              Appear, is still himself unrighteous.

  _Creon._                                          Didst _thou_ lend
              Thine ear to Pelias, ere thou judgedst him to death?--
              But come, I'll give thee grace to plead thy goodly cause.

  _Medea._    How hard the task to turn the soul from wrath, when once
              To wrath inclined; how 'tis the creed of sceptered kings
              To swerve not from the proposed course they once
                have taken,
              Full well I know, for I have tasted royalty.
              For, though by present storms of ill I'm overwhelmed,
              An exile, suppliant, lone, forsaken, all undone,
              I once in happier times a royal princess shone,
              And traced my proud descent from heavenly Phoebus' self.
              Then princes humbly sought my hand in wedlock, mine,
              Who now must sue.--
                            O changeful Fortune, thou my throne
              Hast reft away, and given me exile in its stead.
              Trust not in kingly realms, since fickle chance may strew
              Their treasures to the winds. Lo _this_ is regal, this
              The work of kings, which time nor change cannot undo:
              To succor the afflicted, to provide at need
              A trusty refuge for the suppliant. This alone
              I brought of all my Colchian treasure, this renown,
              This very flower of fame,--that by my arts I saved
              The bulwark of the Greeks, the offspring of the gods.
              My princely gift to Greece is Orpheus, that sweet bard,
              Who can the trees in willing bondage draw, and melt
              The crag's hard heart. Mine too are Boreas' winged sons,
              And Leda's heaven-born progeny, and Lynceus, he
              Whose glance can pierce the distant view; yea, all the
              Save Jason; for I mention not the king of kings,
              The leader of the leaders: he is mine alone,
              My labor's recompense. The rest I give to you.
              Nay, come, O king, arraign me, and rehearse my crimes.
              But stay! for I'll confess them all. The only crime
              Of which I stand accused is this--the _Argo_ saved.
              Suppose my maiden scruples had opposed the deed;
              Suppose my filial piety had stayed my hand:
              Then had the mighty chieftains fall'n, and in their fate
              All Greece had been o'erwhelmed; then this thy son-in-law
              Had felt the bull's consuming breath, and perished there.
              Nay, nay, let Fortune when she will my doom decree;
              I glory still that kings have owed their lives to me.
                  But what reward I reap for all my glorious deeds
              Is in thy hands. Convict me, if thou wilt, of sin,
              But give him back for whom I sinned. O Creon, see,
              I own that I am guilty. This much thou didst know,
              When first I clasped thy knees, a humble suppliant,
              And sought the shelter of thy royal clemency.
              Some little corner of thy kingdom now I ask
              In which to hide my grief. If I must flee again,
              O let some nook remote within thy broad domain
              Be found for me!

Creon claims to have been merciful in having shielded Jason and Medea
all these years from the just resentment of the king of Thessaly.
Jason's cause would be easy enough to defend, for he has been innocent
of guilt; but it is impossible longer to shield Medea, who has
committed so many bloody deeds in the past, and is capable of doing the
like again.

  _Creon._    Then go thou hence and purge our kingdom of its stain;
              Bear with thee in thy flight thy fatal poisons; free
              The state from fear; abiding in some other land,
              Outwear the patience of the gods.

  _Medea._                                     Thou bidst me flee?
              Then give me back my bark in which to flee. Restore
              The partner of my flight. Why should I flee alone?
              I came not thus. Or if avenging war thou fear'st,
              Then banish both the culprits; why distinguish me
              From Jason? 'Twas for him old Pelias was o'ercome;
              For him the flight, the plunder of my father's realm,
              My sire forsaken and my infant brother slain,
              And all the guilt that love suggests; 'twas all for him.
              Deep-dyed in sin am I, but on my guilty soul
              The sin of profit lieth not.

  _Creon._                                   Why seek delay
              By speech? Too long thou tarriest.

  _Medea._                                            I go, but grant
              This last request: let not the mother's fall o'erwhelm
                 her hapless babes.

  _Creon._                         Then go in peace; for I to them
              A father's place will fill, and take them to my breast.

  _Medea._    Now by the fair hopes born upon this wedding day,
              And by thy hopes of lasting sovereignty secure
              From changeful fate's assault, I pray thee grant from flight
              A respite brief, while I upon my children's lips
              A mother's kiss imprint, perchance the last.

  _Creon._                                             A time
              Thou seek'st for treachery.

  _Medea._                               What fraud can be devised
              In one short hour?

  _Creon._                      To those on mischief bent, be sure,
              The briefest time is fraught with mischief's fatal power.

  _Medea._    Dost thou refuse me, then, one little space for tears?

  _Creon._    Though deep-ingrafted fear would fain resist thy plea,
              A single day I'll give thee ere my sentence holds.

  _Medea._    Too gracious thou. But let my respite further shrink,
              And I'll depart content.

  _Creon._                                Thy life shall surely pay
              The forfeit if to-morrow's sun beholds thee still
              In Corinth.
                                  But the voice of Hymen calls away
              To solemnize the rites of this his festal day.

Creon goes out toward his palace. Medea remains gazing darkly after him
for a few moments, and then takes her way in the opposite direction.

The chorus sings in reminiscent strain of the old days before the
_Argo's_ voyage, the simple innocent life of the golden age when each
man was content to dwell within the horizon of his birth; the impious
rash voyage of the Argonauts, their dreadful experiences in consequence,
their wild adventure's prize of fatal gold and more fatal Colchian
sorceress; their dark forebodings of the consequences in after years,
when the sea shall be a highway, and all hidden places of the world laid
bare. Medea comes rushing in bent upon using for vengeance the day which
Creon has granted her. The nurse tries in vain to restrain her.

  _Nurse._    My foster daughter, whither speedest thou abroad?
              O stay, I pray thee, and restrain thy passion's force.

But Medea hastens by without answering or noticing her. The nurse,
looking after her, reflects in deep distress:

              As some wild bacchanal, whose fury's raging fire
              The god inflames, now roams distraught on Pindus' snows,
              And now on lofty Nysa's rugged slopes; so she
              Now here, now there, with frenzied step is hurried on,
              Her face revealing every mark of stricken woe,
              With flushing cheek and sighs deep drawn, wild cries
                and tears,
              And laughter worse than tears. In her a medley strange
              Of doubts and fears is seen, and overtopping wrath,
              Bewailings, bitter groans of anguish.--Whither tends
              This overburdened soul? What mean her frenzied threats?
              When will the foaming wave of fury spend itself?
              No common crime, I fear, no easy deed of ill
              She meditates. Herself she will outvie. For well
              I recognize the wonted marks of rage. Some deed
              Is threatening, wild, profane and hideous. Behold,
              Her face betrays her madness. O ye gods, may these
              Our fears prove vain forebodings!

Our own imaginations and our fears keep pace with those of the devoted
nurse, and we listen in fearful silence while Medea, communing with her
tortured soul, reveals the depth of suffering and hate into which she
has been plunged.

  _Medea._                                For thy hate, poor soul,
              Dost thou a measure seek? Let it be deep as love.
              And shall I tamely view the wedding torches' glare?
              And shall this day go uneventful by, this day
              So hardly won, so grudgingly bestowed? Nay, nay;
              While, poised upon her heights, the central earth shall
              The heavens up; while seasons run their endless round,
              And sands unnumbered lie; while days and nights and sun
              And stars in due procession pass; while round the pole
              The ocean-fearing bears revolve, and tumbling streams
              Flow downward to the sea: my grief shall never cease
              To seek revenge, and shall forever grow. What rage
              Of savage beast can equal mine? What Scylla famed?
              What sea-engulfing pool? What burning Ætna placed
              On impious Titan's heaving breast? No torrent stream,
              Nor storm-tossed sea, nor breath of flame fanned by
                the gale,
              Can check or equal my wild storm of rage. My will
              Is set on limitless revenge!

But this wild rage can lead nowhere. She struggles to calm her terrible
passion to still more terrible reason and resolve.

                                                   Will Jason say
              He feared the power of Creon and Acastus' wrath?--
              True love is proof against the fear of man. But grant
              He was compelled to yield, and pledged his hand in fear:
              He might at least have sought his wife with one last word
              Of comfort and farewell. But this, though brave in heart,
              He feared to do. The cruel terms of banishment
              Could Creon's son-in-law not soften? No. One day
              Alone was given for last farewell to both my babes.
              But time's short space I'll not bewail; though brief in
              In consequence it stretches out eternally.
              This day shall see a deed that ne'er shall be forgot.--
              But now I'll go and pray the gods, and move high heaven
              But I shall work my will!

As Medea hastens from the scene, Jason himself enters; and now we hear
from his own lips the fatal dilemma in which he finds himself. Regard
for his marriage vows, love for his children, and fear of death at the
hands of Creon--all are at variance and must be faced. It is the usual
tragedy of fate.

  _Jason._    O heartless fate, if frowns or smiles bedeck thy brow!
              How often are thy cures far worse than the disease
              They seek to cure! If, now, I wish to keep the troth
              I plighted to my lawful bride, my life must pay
              The forfeit; if I shrink from death, my guilty soul
              Must perjured be. I fear no power that man can wield,
              But in my heart paternal love unmans me quite;
              For well I know that in my death my children's fate
              Is sealed. O sacred Justice, if in heaven thou dwell'st,
              Be witness now that for my children's sake I act.
              Nay, sure am I that even she, Medea's self,
              Though fierce she is of soul, and brooking no restraint,
              Will see her children's good outweighing all her wrongs.
              With this good argument my purpose now is fixed,
              In humble wise to brave her wrath.
                  [_Re-enter Medea._]             But lo! at sight
              Of me her fury flames anew! Hate, like a shield,
              She bears, and in her face is pictured all her woe.

But Medea's passion has for the moment spent itself. She is now no
sorceress, no mad woman breathing out dreadful threatenings; but only
the forsaken wife, indignant, indeed, but pathetic in her appeals for
sympathy and help from him for whose sake she had given up all her
maiden glory, and broken every tie that held her to the past. Her quiet
self-control is in marked contrast to her recent ravings.

  _Medea._    Thou seest, Jason, that we flee. 'Tis no new thing
              To suffer exile; but the cause of flight is strange;
              For with thee I was wont to flee, not from thee. Yes,
              I go; but whither dost thou send me whom thou driv'st
              From out thy home? Shall I the Colchians seek again,
              My royal father's realm whose soil is steeped in blood
              My brother shed? What country dost thou bid me seek?
              What way by sea is open? Shall I fare again
              Where once I saved the noble kings of Greece and thee,
              Thou wanton, through the threatening jaws of Pontus' strait,
              The blue Symplegades? Or shall I hie me back
              To fair Thessalia's realms? Lo, all the doors which I,
              For thee, have opened wide, I've closed upon myself.
              But whither dost thou send me now? Thou bidd'st me flee,
              But show'st no way or means of flight.
                  [_In bitter sarcasm._]            But 'tis enough:
              The king's own son-in-law commands, and I obey.
              Come, heap thy torments on me; I deserve them all.
              Let royal wrath oppress me, wanton that I am,
              With cruel hand, and load my guilty limbs with chains;
              And let me be immured in dungeons black as night:
              Still will my punishment be less than my offense.--
              O ingrate! Hast thou then forgot the brazen bull,
              And his consuming breath? the fear that smote thee, when,
              Upon the field of Mars, the earth-born brood stood forth
              To meet thy single sword? 'Twas by my arts that they,
              The monsters, fell by mutual blows. Remember, too,
              The long-sought fleece of gold I won for thee, whose guard,
              The dragon huge, was lulled to rest at my command;
              My brother slain for thee. For thee old Pelias fell,
              When, taken by my guile, his daughters slew their sire,
              Whose life could not return. All this I did for thee.
              In quest of thine advantage have I quite forgot
              Mine own.
                        And now, by all thy fond paternal hopes,
              By thine established house, by all the monsters slain
              For thee, by these my hands which I have ever held
              To work thy will, by all the perils past, by heaven,
              And sea that witnessed at my wedlock--pity me!
              Since thou art blessed, restore me what I lost for thee:
              That countless treasure plundered from the swarthy tribes
              Of India, which filled our goodly vaults with wealth,
              And decked our very trees with gold. This costly store
              I left for thee, my native land, my brother, sire,
              My reputation--all; and with this dower I came.
              If now to homeless exile thou dost send me forth,
              Give back the countless treasures which I left for thee.

And now again we have a situation which only the quick, sharp flashes,
the clash of words like steel on steel, can relieve. Here is no chance
for long periods, nor flights of oratory; but sentences as short and
sharp as swords, flashes of feeling, stinging epigrams.

  _Jason._    Though Creon, in a vengeful mood, would have thy life,
              I moved him by my tears to grant thee flight instead.

  _Medea._    I thought my exile punishment; 'tis now, I see,
              A gracious boon!

  _Jason._                        O flee, while still the respite holds.
              Provoke him not, for deadly is the wrath of kings.

  _Medea._    Not so. 'Tis for Creüsa's love thou sayest this;
              Thou wouldst remove the hated wanton once thy wife.

  _Jason._    Dost thou reproach me with a guilty love?

  _Medea._                                               Yea, that,
              And murder too, and treachery.

  _Jason._                                          But name me now,
              If so thou canst, the crimes that I have done.

  _Medea._                                              Thy crimes--
              Whatever I have done.

  _Jason._                                Why then, in truth, thy guilt
              Must all be mine, if all thy crimes are mine.

  _Medea._                                                 They are,
              They are all thine: for who by sin advantage gains
              Commits the sin. All men proclaim thy wife defiled;
              Do thou thyself protect her and condone her sins.
              Let her be guiltless in thine eyes who for thy gain
              Has sinned.

  _Jason._    But gifts which sin has brought 'twere shame to take.

  _Medea._    Why keep'st thou then the gifts which it were shame to take?

  _Jason._    Nay, curb thy fiery soul! Thy children--for their sake
              Be calm.

  _Medea._            My children! Them I do refuse, reject,
              Renounce! Shall then Creüsa brothers bear to these
              My children?

  _Jason._                But the queen can aid thy wretched sons.

  _Medea._    May that day never dawn, that day of shame and woe,
              When in one house are joined the low-born and the high,
              The sons of that foul robber Sisyphus, and these
              The sons of Phoebus.

  _Jason._                      Wretched one, and wilt thou, then
              Involve me also in thy fall? Begone, I pray.

  _Medea._    The king hath yielded to my prayer.

  _Jason._                                What wouldst thou then?

  _Medea._    Of thee? I'd have thee dare the law.

  _Jason._                                        The royal power
              Doth compass me.

  _Medea._                         A greater than the king is here:
              Medea. Set us front to front, and let us strive;
              And of this royal strife let Jason be the prize.

  _Jason._    Outwearied by my woes I yield. But be thou ware,
              Medea, lest too often thou shouldst tempt thy fate.

  _Medea._    Yet Fortune's mistress have I ever been.

  _Jason._                                                   But see
              With hostile front Acastus comes, on vengeance bent,
              While Creon threatens instant death.

  _Medea._                                     Then flee them both.
              I ask thee not to draw thy sword against the king,
              Nor yet to stain thy pious hands with kindred blood.
              Come, flee with me.

  _Jason._                         But what resistance can we make,
              If war with double visage rear his horrid front,--
              If Creon and Acastus join in common cause?

  _Medea._    Add, too, the Colchian armies with my father's self
              To lead them; join the Scythian and Pelasgian hordes.
              In one deep grief of ruin will I whelm them all.

  _Jason._    Yet on the scepter do I look with fear.

  _Medea._                                                   Beware,
              Lest not the fear, but lust of power prevail with thee.

  _Jason._    Too long we strive: have done, lest we suspicion breed.

  _Medea._    Now Jove, throughout thy heavens let the thunders roll!
              Thy mighty arm make bare! Thy darting flames
              Of vengeance loose, and shake the lofty firmament
              With rending storms! At random hurl thy vengeful bolts,
              Selecting neither me nor Jason with thy aim,
              That thus whoever falls may perish with the brand
              Of guilt upon him. For thy hurtling darts can take
              No erring flight.

  _Jason._                       Recall thee and in calmness speak
              With words of peace and reason. Then if any gift
              From Creon's royal house can compensate thy woes,
              Take that as solace of thy flight.

  _Medea._                                        My soul doth scorn
              The wealth of kings. But let me have my little ones
              As comrades of my flight, that in their childish breasts
              Their mother's tears may flow. New sons await thy home.

  _Jason._    My heart inclines to yield to thee, but love forbids.
              For these my sons shall never from my arms be reft,
              Though Creon's self demand. My very spring of life,
              My sore heart's comfort and my joy are these my sons;
              And sooner could I part with limbs or vital breath,
              Or light of life.

  _Medea._      [_Aside._]     Doth he thus love his sons? 'Tis well;
              Then is he bound, and in his armored strength this flaw
              Reveals the place to strike.

Here, apparently, is the first suggestion to Medea of the most terrible
part of the revenge which she was to take upon Jason. The obvious
revenge upon Creon and his daughter, as well as upon her husband, Medea
had already foreshadowed in her opening words; but her deadly passion
had not yet been aimed at her children. It is true that twice she had
bitterly renounced them, once to the nurse, and again but now to Jason
himself, since they were Jason's also, and were likely now to be
brothers to the sons of her hated rival; nevertheless her mother-love
still is strong. But now, by Jason's unfortunate emphasis upon the love
he bears his sons, she sees a chance to obtain that measure of revenge
which in her heart she has already resolved to find. And yet this
thought is so terrible to her that, even though we see her shape her
present course in reference to it, it is evident that she gives it no
more than a subconscious existence.

But now she resolves to conceal her purposes of revenge and overcome
Jason with guile, and thus addresses him:

                                                At least ere I depart
              Grant me this last request: let me once more embrace
              My sons. E'en that small boon will comfort my sad heart.
              And this my latest prayer to thee: if, in my grief,
              My tongue was over-bold, let not my words remain
              To rankle in thy heart. Remember happier things
              Of me, and let my bitter words be straight forgot.

Jason is completely deceived, as Creon had been, by Medea's seeming
humility, as if, indeed, a passionate nature like hers, inflamed by
wrongs like hers, could be restrained and tamed by a few calm words of
advice! He says:

              Not one shall linger in my soul; and curb, I pray,
              Thy too impetuous heart, and gently yield to fate.
              For resignation ever soothes the woful soul.

                                                        [_Exit Jason._

As Jason leaves her, calmly satisfied with this disposition of affairs,
with no recognition of his wife's great sufferings, the thought of this
adds fresh fuel to her passion.

              He's gone! And can it be? And shall he thus depart,
              Forgetting me and all my service? Must I drop,
              Like some discarded toy, out of his faithless heart?
              It shall not be. Up then, and summon all thy strength
              And all thy skill! And this, the fruit of former crime,
              Count nothing criminal that works thy will!
                                                             But lo,
              We're hedged about; scant room is left for our designs.
              Now must the attack be made where least suspicion makes
              The least resistance. Now Medea, on! And do,
              And dare thine utmost, yea, beyond thy utmost power!
              [_To the Nurse._] Do thou, my faithful nurse, the comrade
                of my grief,
              And all the devious wanderings of my checkered course,
              Assist me now in these my plans. There is a robe,
              The glory of our Colchian realm, the precious gift
              Of Phoebus' self to King Æëtes as a proof
              Of fatherhood; a gleaming circlet, too, all wrought
              With threads of gold, the yellow gold bespangled o'er
              With gems, a fitting crown to deck a princess' head.
              These treasures let Medea's children bear as gifts
              To Jason's bride. But first imbue them with the power
              Of magic, and invoke the aid of Hecate;
              The woe-producing sacrifices then prepare,
              And let the sacred flames through all our courts resound.

The chorus, which is supposed to be present throughout the play, an
interested though inactive witness of all that passes, has already been
seen to be a partisan of Jason, and hostile to Medea. It now sings a
choral interlude opening on the text "Hell hath no fury like a woman
scorned," and continuing with a prayer for Jason's safety. It then
recounts the individual history of Jason's companions subsequent to the
Argonautic expedition, showing how almost all came to an untimely end.
These might indeed be said to have deserved their fate, for they
volunteered to assist in that first impious voyage in quest of the
golden fleece; but Jason should be spared the general doom, for the task
had been imposed upon him by his usurping uncle, Pelias.

As the next scene opens, the old nurse voices the feeling that we all
have upon the eve of some expected but unknown horror.

              My spirit trembles, for I feel the near approach
              Of some unseen disaster. Swiftly grows her grief,
              Its own fires kindling; and again her passion's force
              Hath leaped to life. I oft have seen her, with the fit
              Of inspiration in her soul, confront the gods,
              And force the very heavens to her will. But now,
              A monstrous deed of greater moment far than these
              Medea is preparing. For, but now, did she
              With step of frenzy hurry off until she reached
              Her stricken home. There, in her chamber, all her stores
              Of magic wonders are revealed; once more she views
              The things herself hath held in fear these many years,
              Unloosing one by one her ministers of ill,
              Occult, unspeakable, and wrapt in mystery.

We omit the remainder of the nurse's speech out of regard for Seneca's
reputation as an artist, for in a long passage of sixty lines he
proceeds to scour heaven, earth, and the waters under the earth, for
every form of venomous serpent, noxious herb, and dread, uncanny thing
that the mind of man can conceive; and by the time he has his full array
of horrors marshaled before us, we have grown so familiar with the
gruesome things that we cease to shiver at them. But at last the
ingredients for the hell-broth are ready.

              These deadly, potent herbs she takes and sprinkles o'er
              With serpent venom, mixing all; and in the broth
              She mingles unclean birds, a wailing screech-owl's heart,
              A ghastly vampire's vitals torn from living flesh.
              Her magic poisons all she ranges for her use:
              The ravening power of hidden fire is held in these,
              While deep in others lurks the numbing chill of frost.
              Now magic runes she adds, more potent far.
                                                          But lo!
              Her voice resounds, and as with maddened step she comes
              She chants her charms, while heaven and earth convulsive

Medea now enters, chanting her incantations. Madness has done fearful
work with her in the last few hours. We see at a glance that she has
indeed, as the nurse has told us, gone back to

  The things herself hath held in fear these many years,

and has been changed from a true wife and loving mother to a wild and
murderous witch once more. She calls upon the gods of the underworld,
the silent throng from the dark world of spirits, the tormented shades,
all to come to her present aid. She recounts her miraculous powers over
nature which she has used aforetime, and which are still in her grasp.

                                         Thou radiant moon,
              Night's glorious orb, my supplications hear and come
              To aid; put on thy sternest guise, thou goddess dread
              Of triple form! Full oft have I with flowing locks,
              And feet unsandaled, wandered through thy darkling groves,
              And by thy inspiration summoned forth the rain
              From cloudless skies; the heaving seas have I subdued,
              And sent the vanquished waves to ocean's lowest depths.
              At my command the sun and stars together shine,
              The heavenly law reversed; while in the Arctic Sea
              The Bears have plunged. The seasons, too, obey my will:
              I've made the burning summer blossom as the spring,
              And hoary winter autumn's golden harvests bear.
              The Phasis sends his swirling waves to seek their source;
              And Ister, flowing to the sea with many mouths,
              His eager water checks and sluggish rolls along.
              The billows roar, the mad sea rages, though the winds
              All silent lie. At my command primeval groves
              Have lost their leafy shade, and Phoebus, wrapped in gloom,
              Has stood in middle heaven; while falling Hyades
              Attest my charms.

Here again Seneca's love for the curious runs counter to his art; for he
represents Medea as possessed of a veritable museum of curious charms
which she has in some occult way gathered from various mythological and
traditionary sources, and which she now takes occasion to recount. And
it is to this catalogue that we are compelled to listen, though we are
waiting in breathless suspense to know what is to come of all this

After these and much more somewhat confused ravings, Medea at last says
to her attendants:

              Take now Creüsa's bridal robe, and steep in these
              My potent drugs; and when she dons the clinging folds,
              Let subtle flames go stealing through her inmost heart.

We are told that these magic flames are compounded of some of that fire
which Prometheus stole from heaven; certain sulphurous fire which Vulcan
had given her; a flame gained from the daring young Phaëthon, who had
himself perished in flames because of his overweening folly; the fiery
Chimera's breath, and some of "that fierce heat that parched the brazen
bull of Colchis." The imagination flags before such an array of fires.
The mystery of the burning robe and crown is no longer mysterious.
Truly, he doth explain too much.

But now, in more hurried strain, we hasten on the dénouement.

                                           Now, O Hecate,
              Give added force to these my deadly gifts,
              And strictly guard the hidden seeds of flame;
              Let them escape detection of the eye,
              But spring to instant life at human touch.
              Let burning streams run through her veins;
              In fervent heat consume her bones,
              And let her blazing locks outshine
              Her marriage torches!--Lo, my prayer
              Is heard: thrice have replied the hounds,
              The baying hounds of Hecate.
              Now all is ready: hither call
              My sons, and let them bear the gifts
              As costly presents to the bride. [_Enter sons._]
              Go, go, my sons, of hapless mother born,
              And win with gifts and many prayers
              The favor of the queen!
              Begone, but quick your way retrace,
              That I may fold you in a last embrace.

                        [_Exit sons toward the palace, Medea in the
                                      opposite direction._]

The chorus, which but dimly comprehends Medea's plans, briefly voices
its dread of her unbridled passion. It knows that she has one day only
before her banishment from Corinth, and prays that this day may soon be

And now, as the chorus and the old nurse wait in trembling suspense for
what is to follow, a messenger comes running breathless from the
direction of the royal palace. All ears are strained to hear his words,
for his face and manner betoken evil tidings. He gasps out his message:

               Lo, all is lost! The kingdom totters from its base!
               The daughter and the father lie in common dust!

  _Chorus._    By what snare taken?

  _Messenger._             By gifts, the common snare of kings.

  _Chorus._    What harm could lurk in them?

  _Messenger._                          In equal doubt I stand;
               And, though my eyes proclaim the dreadful deed is done,
               I scarce can trust their witness.

  _Chorus._    What the mode of death?

  _Messenger._ Devouring flames consume the palace at the will
               Of her who sent them; there complete destruction reigns,
               While men do tremble for the very city's doom.

  _Chorus._    Let water quench the fire.

  _Messenger._                  Nay, here is added wonder:
               The copious streams of water _feed_ the deadly flames;
               And opposition only fans their fiery rage
               To whiter heat. The very bulwarks feel their power.

Medea has entered meanwhile, and has heard enough to be assured that her
magic has been successful. The nurse, seeing her, and fearing for her
mistress, exclaims:

              O haste thee, leave this land of Greece in headlong

  _Medea._    Thou bidst me speed my flight? Nay, rather, had I fled,
              I should return for this. Strange bridal rites I see!

But now, forgetful of all around her, she becomes absorbed in her own
meditations. And here follows a masterful description of the struggle of
conflicting passions in a human soul. The contending forces are
mother-love and the passionate hate of an outraged wife. And when the
mother-love is at last vanquished, we may be sure that all the woman is
dead in her, and she becomes what the closing scene of the play
portrays--an incarnate fury.

  _Medea._    Why dost thou falter, O my soul? 'Tis well begun;
              But still how small a portion of thy just revenge
              Is that which gives thee present joy? Not yet has love
              Been banished from thy maddened heart if 'tis enough
              That Jason widowed be. Pursue thy vengeful quest
              To acts as yet unknown, and steel thyself for these.
              Away with every thought and fear of God and man;
              Too lightly falls the rod that pious hands upbear.
              Give passion fullest sway; exhaust thy ancient powers;
              And let the worst thou yet hast done be innocent
              Beside thy present deeds. Come, let them know how slight
              Were those thy crimes already done; mere training they
              For greater deeds. For what could hands untrained in crime
              Accomplish? Or what mattered maiden rage? But now,
              I am Medea; in the bitter school of woe
              My powers have ripened.

This mood culminates in an ecstasy of madness as she dwells upon her
former successful deeds of blood.

                                                  O the bliss of memory!
              My infant brother slain, his limbs asunder rent,
              My royal father spoiled of his ancestral realm,
              And Pelias' guiltless daughters lured to slay their sire!
              But here I must not rest; no untrained hand I bring
              To execute my deeds.
                                            But now, by what approach,
              Or by what weapon wilt thou threat the treacherous foe?
              Deep hidden in my secret heart have I conceived
              A purpose which I dare not utter. O I fear
              That in my foolish madness I have gone too far.--
              I would that children had been born to him of this
              My hated rival. Still, since she hath gained his heart,
              His children too are hers.--
              That punishment would be most fitting and deserved.
              Yes, now I see the final deed of crime, and thou,
              My soul, must face it. You, who once were called my sons,
              Must pay the penalty of these your father's crimes.--
              My heart with horror melts, a numbing chill pervades
              My limbs, and all my soul is filled with sinking fear.
              Now wrath gives place, and, heedless of my husband's sins,
              The tender mother-instinct quite possesses me.
              And could I shed my helpless children's blood? Not so,
              O say not so, my maddened heart! Far from my hand
              And thought be that unnamable and hideous deed!
              What sin have they that shedding of their wretched blood
              Would wash away?
                                     Their sin--that Jason is their sire,
              And, deeper guilt, that I have borne them. Let them die;
              They are not mine.--Nay, nay, they are my own, my sons,
              And with no spot of guilt.--Full innocent they are,
              'Tis true: my brother too was innocent. O soul,
              Why dost thou hesitate? Why flow these streaming tears
              While with contending thoughts my wavering heart is torn?
              As when conflicting winds contend in stubborn strife,
              And waves, to stormy waves opposed, the sea invade,
              And to their lowest sands the briny waters boil:
              With such a storm my heart is tossed. Hate conquers love,
              And love puts impious hate to flight. O yield thee, grief,
              To love! Then come, my sons, sole comfort of my heart,
              Come cling within thy mother's close embrace. Unharmed
              Your sire may keep you, while your mother holds you too.

But she remembers, even as she embraces her children, that this is her
last embrace.

              But flight and exile drive me forth! And even now
              My children must be torn away with tears and cries.--
              Then let them die to Jason since they're lost to me.
              Once more has hate resumed her sway, and passion's fire
              Is hot within my soul. Now fury, as of yore,
              Reseeks her own. Lead on, I follow to the end!
              I would that I had borne twice seven sons, the boast
              Of Niobe! But all too barren have I been.
              Still will my two sufficient be to satisfy
              My brother and my sire.

She suddenly falls distraught, as one who sees a dreadful vision.

                                      But whither hastes that throng
              Of furies? What their quest? What mean their brandished
              Whom threats this hellish host with horrid, bloody brands?
              I hear the writhing lash of serpents huge resound.
              Whom seeks Magæra with her deadly torch?--Whose shade
              Comes gibbering there with scattered limbs?--It is my
              Revenge he seeks; and we will grant his quest. Then come,
              Within my heart plunge all your torches--rend me--burn!
              For lo, my bosom open to your fury's stroke.
              O brother, bid those vengeful goddesses depart
              And go in peace down to the lowest shades of Hell.
              And do thou leave me to myself, and let this hand
              That slew thee with the sword now offer sacrifice
              Unto thy shade.

Roused to the point of action by this vision, and still at the very
pitch of frenzy, she plunges her dagger into the first of her sons. (The
poet thus violates the canons of the classical drama in representing
deeds of blood upon the stage.)

But now hoarse shouts and the quick tramping of many feet are heard; and
well does Medea know their meaning.

                                         What sudden uproar meets my ear?
              'Tis Corinth's citizens on my destruction bent.
              Unto the palace roof I'll mount, and there complete
              This bloody sacrifice.
              [_To her other son._] Do thou come hence with me;
              But thee, poor senseless corse, within mine arms I'll bear.
              Now gird thyself, my heart, with strength. Nor must this
              Lose all its just renown because in secret done;
              But to the public eye my hand must be approved.

Medea disappears within, leading one son, terrified and reluctant, and
bearing the body of her other child in her arms. Jason and a crowd of
Corinthian citizens rush upon the stage. Stopping in front of his own
palace, he shouts:

              Ho, all ye loyal sons who mourn the death of kings!
              Come, let us seize the worker of this hideous crime.
              Now ply your arms and raze her palace to the ground.

At this moment, though as yet unseen by those below, Medea emerges upon
the palace roof.

  _Medea._    Now, now have I regained my regal power, my sire,
              My brother! Once again the Colchians hold the spoil
              Of precious gold, and by the magic of this hour
              I am a maid once more! O heavenly powers appeased
              At length! O festal hour! O nuptial day! On! on!
              Accomplished is the guilt, but not the recompense.
              Complete the task while yet thy hands are strong to act.
              Why dost thou linger still? Why dost thou hesitate
              Upon the threshold of the deed? Thou canst perform it.
              Now wrath has died within me, and my soul is filled
              With shame and deep remorse. Ah me, what have I done,
              Wretch that I am? Wretch that thou art, well mayest thou
              For thou hast done it!--At that thought delirious joy
              O'ermasters me and fills my heart which fain would grieve.
              And yet, methinks, the act was almost meaningless,
              Since Jason saw it not; for naught has been performed
              If to his grief be added not the woe of sight.

  _Jason._    [_discovering her._] Lo, there she stands upon the
                lofty battlements!
              Bring torches! Fire the house! That she may fall ensnared
              By those devices she herself hath planned.

  _Medea._    [_derisively._]                                 Not so;
              But rather build a lofty pyre for these thy sons;
              Their funeral rites prepare. Already for thy bride
              And father have I done the service due the dead;
              For in their ruined palace have I buried them.
              One son of thine has met his doom; and this shall die
              Before his father's face.--

  _Jason._    By all the gods, and by the perils of our flight,
              And by our marriage bond which I have ne'er betrayed,
              I pray thee spare the boy, for he is innocent.
              If aught of sin there be, 'tis mine. Myself I give
              To be the victim. Take my guilty soul for his.

  _Medea._    'Tis for thy prayers and tears I draw, not sheathe the
              Go now, and take thee maids for wives, thou faithless one;
              Abandon and betray the mother of thy sons.

  _Jason._    And yet, I pray thee, let one sacrifice atone.

  _Medea._    If in the blood of one my passion could be quenched,
              No vengeance had it sought. Though both my sons I slay,
              The number still is all too small to satisfy
              My boundless grief.

  _Jason._                      Then finish what thou hast begun--
              I ask no more--and grant at least that no delay
              Prolong my helpless agony.

  _Medea._                                 Now hasten not,
              Relentless passion, but enjoy a slow revenge.
              This day is in thy hands; its fertile hours employ.

  _Jason._    O take my life, thou heartless one.

  _Medea._                                       Thou bidst me pity--
              Well--[_She slays the second child_]--'Tis done!
              No more atonement, passion, can I offer thee.
              Now hither lift thy tearful eyes, ungrateful one.
              Dost recognize thy wife? 'Twas thus of old I fled.
              The heavens themselves provide me with a safe retreat.
              Twin serpents bow their heads submissive to the yoke.

For there suddenly appears in the air a chariot drawn by dragons.

              Now, father, take thy sons; while I, upon my car,
              With winged speed am borne aloft through realms of air.

  _Jason._    [_calling after as she vanishes_].
              Speed on through realms of air that mortals never see:
              But heaven bear witness, whither thou art gone, no gods
                can be.


We have already said that the natural mimicry of the Italian peasantry
no doubt for ages indulged itself in uncouth performances of a dramatic
nature, which developed later into those mimes and farces, the
forerunners of Roman comedy and the old Medley-Satura. We have also
shown how powerfully Rome came under the influence of Greek literature
and Greek art; and how the first actual invasion of Rome by Greek
literature was made under Livius Andronicus, who, in 240 B. C., produced
the first play before a Roman audience translated from the Greek into
the Roman tongue. What the history of native comedy would have been, had
it been allowed to develop entirely apart from Greek influence, we shall
never know, since it did come powerfully under this influence, and
retained permanently the form and character which it then acquired.

When Rome turned to Greece for comedy, there were three models from
which to choose: the Old Athenian Comedy of Eupolis, Cratinus, and
Aristophanes, full of criticism boldly aimed at public men and policies,
breathing the most independent republican spirit; the Middle Comedy,
which was still critical, directed, however, more at classes of men and
schools of thought than at individuals; and New Comedy, the product of
the political decadence of Greece, written during a period (340-260
B. C.) when the independence which had made the trenchant satire of the
Old Comedy possible had gone out of Greece. These plays aimed at
amusement and not at reform. Every vestige of politics was squeezed out
of them, and they were merely society plays, supposed to reflect the
amusing and entertaining incidents of the social life of Athens. The
best known writers of New Comedy were Philemon, Apollodorus, and
Menander, only fragments of whose works have come down to us.

Which of these models did the Romans follow? There is some evidence in
the fragments of the plays of Nævius, a younger contemporary of
Andronicus, and who produced his first play in 235 B. C., that he wrote
in the bold spirit of the Old Comedy, and criticized the party policies
and leaders of his time. But he soon discovered that the stern Roman
character was quite incapable of appreciating a joke, especially when
its point was directed against that ineffably sacred thing, the Roman
dignity. For presuming to voice his criticisms from the stage the poet
was imprisoned and afterward banished from Rome.

Perhaps warned by the experience of Nævius, Roman comic poets turned to
the perfectly colorless and safe society plays of the New Comedy for
translation and imitation. They not only kept within the limitations of
these plays as to spirit and plot, but even confined the scene itself
and characters to some foreign city, generally Athens, and for the most
part were careful to exclude everything Roman or suggestive of Rome from
their plays.

Judging from the remaining fragments, there must have been many writers
of comedy during this period of first impulse; but of all these, the
works of only two are preserved to us. These are Titus Maccius Plautus,
who died in 184 B. C., and Publius Terentius Afer, commonly known as
Terence, who was born in 195 B. C., and died in 159 B. C. These two
writers have much in common, but there are also many important points of
difference. Plautus displays a rougher, more vigorous strength and a
broader humor; and, within the necessary limitations of which we have
spoken, he is more national in his spirit, more popular in his appeal.
Terence, on the other hand, no doubt because he was privileged to
associate with the select and literary circle of which Scipio and Lælius
were the center, was more polished and correct in style and diction. But
while he thus gains in elegance as compared with Plautus, he loses the
breezy vigor of the older poet.

As an illustration of the society play of the New Comedy, we are giving
with some abridgment the _Phormio_ of Terence, which we have taken the
liberty of translating into somewhat free modern vernacular. This is
perhaps the best of the six plays of Terence which we have, and was
modeled by him after a Greek play of Apollodorus. It is named _Phormio_
from the saucy parasite who takes the principal rôle. The other
characters are two older men, brothers, Demipho and Chremes; two young
men, sons of these, Antipho and Phædria; a smart slave, Geta; a
villainous slave-driver, Dorio; Nausistrata, wife of Chremes, and
Sophrona, an old nurse. The scene, which does not change throughout the
play, is laid in Athens. As for the plot, it will develop itself as we

A shock-headed slave comes lounging in from the direction of the Forum
and stops in front of Demipho's house. He carries in his hand a purse of
money which, it appears, he has brought in payment of a debt:

    Friend Geta paid me a call yesterday; I've been owing him a
    beggarly balance on a little account some time back, and he wanted
    me to pay it. So I've got it here. It seems that his young master
    has gone and got married; and this money, I'm thinking, is being
    scraped together as a present for the bride. Things have come to a
    pretty pass, to be sure, when the poor must all the time be
    handing over to the rich. What my poor gossip has saved up out of
    his allowance, a penny at a time, almost starving himself to do
    it, this precious bride will gobble up at one fell swoop, little
    thinking how hard Geta had to work to get it. Pretty soon he will
    be struck for another present when a child is born; for another
    when its birthday comes around, and so on, and so on. The mother
    will get it all; the child will be only an excuse. But here comes
    Geta himself.

The private marriage of the young man Antipho, mentioned in this slave's
soliloquy, is one of the important issues of the play. The real
situation is revealed in the following conversation between the two
slaves. After the payment of the money and an interchange of civilities,
says the friend:

  _Davus._ But what's the matter with you?

  _Geta._ Me? Oh, you don't know in what a fix we are.

  _Da._ How's that? _Ge._ Well, I'll tell you if you won't say anything
  about it. _Da._ O, come off, you dunce, you have just trusted money
  with me; are you afraid to lend me words? Besides, what good would it
  do me to give you away? _Ge._ Well, listen then. You know our old
  man's brother Chremes? _Da._ Well, I should say. _Ge._ And his son
  Phædria? _Da._ As well as I do you. _Ge._ Both the old men went away,
  Chremes to Lemnos, and his brother to Cilicia, and left me here to
  take care of their two sons. My guardian spirit must have had it in
  for me. At first I began to oppose the boys; but there--my
  faithfulness to the old men I paid for with my bones. Then I just
  gave it up and let them do as they pleased. At first, my young master
  Antipho was all right; but his cousin Phædria lost no time in getting
  into trouble. He fell in love with a little lute-player--desperately
  in love. She was a slave, and owned by a most villainous fellow.
  Phædria had no money to buy her freedom with--his father had looked
  out for that; so the poor boy could only feast his eyes upon her, tag
  her around and walk back and forth to school with her. Antipho and I
  had nothing else to do, so we watched Phædria. Well, one day when we
  were all sitting in the barber-shop across the street from the little
  slave-girl's schoolhouse, a fellow came in crying like a baby. When
  we asked him what the trouble was, he said: "Poverty never seemed to
  me so dreadful before. Just now I saw a poor girl here in the
  neighborhood crying over her dead mother. And there wasn't a single
  soul around, not an acquaintance or a relative or any one at all to
  help at the funeral, except one little old woman, her nurse. I did
  feel sorry for the girl. She was a beauty, too." Well, he stirred us
  all up. Then Antipho speaks up and says: "Let's go and see her; you
  lead the way." So we went and saw her. She _was_ a beauty. And she
  wasn't fixed up a bit either: her hair was all hanging loose, she was
  bare-footed, unkempt, eyes red with weeping, dress travel-stained.
  So she must have been an all-round beauty, or she couldn't have
  seemed so then. Phædria says: "She'll do pretty well." But
  Antipho-- _Da._ O yes, I know, he fell in love with her. _Ge._ But do
  you know how much? Wait and see how it came out. Next day he went
  straight to the nurse and begged her to let him see the girl; but the
  old woman wouldn't allow it. She said he wasn't acting on the square;
  that the girl was a well-born citizen of Athens, and that if he
  wanted to marry her he might do so in the legal way. If he had any
  other object it was no use. Our young man didn't know what to do. He
  wanted to marry her fast enough, but he was afraid of his absent
  father. _Da._ Why, wouldn't his father have forgiven him when he came
  back? _Ge._ What, he allow his son to marry a poor girl that nobody
  knew anything about? Not much! _Da._ Well, what came next? _Ge._ What
  next? There is a certain parasite named Phormio, a bold fellow--curse
  his impudence! _Da._ What did he do? _Ge._ He gave this precious
  piece of advice. Says he: "There is a law in Athens that orphan girls
  shall marry their next of kin, and the same law requires the next of
  kin to marry them. Now I'll say that you are related to this girl,
  and will bring suit against you to compel you to marry her. I'll
  pretend that I am her guardian. We'll go before the judges; who her
  father was, who her mother, how she is related to you--all this I'll
  make up on the spur of the moment. You won't attempt any defense and
  of course I shall win the suit. I'll be in for a row when your father
  gets back, but what of that? You will be safely married to the girl
  by that time." _Da._ Well, that _was_ a jolly bluff. _Ge._ So the
  youth was persuaded, the thing was done, they went to court, our side
  lost the suit, and Antipho married the girl. _Da._ What's that? _Ge._
  Just what I say. _Da._ O Geta, what will become of you? _Ge._ I'll be
  blessed if I know. I'm sure of one thing, though: whatever happens,
  I'll bear it with equanimity. _Da._ That's the talk! You've got the
  spirit of a man! But what about the pedagogue, the little
  lute-player's young man? How is he getting on? _Ge._ Only so so.
  _Da._ He hasn't much to pay for her, I suppose? _Ge._ Not a red; only
  his hopes. _Da._ Has Antipho's father come back yet? _Ge._ No. _Da._
  When do you expect him? _Ge._ I'm not sure, but I have just heard
  that a letter has been received from him down at the custom-house,
  and I'm going for it now. _Da._ Well, Geta, can I do anything more
  for you? _Ge._ No. Be good to yourself. Good-by.

We see from the foregoing conversation what the situation is at the
opening of the play, and can guess at the problems to be solved by the
development of the action: How shall Phædria obtain the money with which
to buy his sweetheart? and how shall Antipho's father be reconciled to
the marriage so that he may not annul it or disown both the young people
upon his return?

The two cousins Antipho and Phædria now appear, each envying the
seemingly happy lot of the other, and deploring his own. Antipho has
already repented of his hasty action, and is panic-stricken when he
thinks of the wrath of his father. While Phædria can think only of his
friend's good fortune in being married to the girl of his heart. Geta's
sudden appearance from the direction of the harbor strikes terror into
Antipho, and both the cousins retire to the back of the stage. The
slave is evidently much disturbed, though the young men can catch only a
word now and then.

Desirous, yet fearful of knowing the worst, Antipho now calls out to his
slave, who turns and comes up to him.

  _Antipho._ Come, give us your news, for goodness' sake, and be quick.
  _Ge._ All right, I will. _Ant._ Well, out with it, then. _Ge._ Just
  now at the harbor-- _Ant._ What, my-- _Ge._ That's right. _Ant._ I'm
  done for!

Phædria has not Antipho's fear-sharpened imagination to get Geta's news
from these fragmentary statements, and asks the slave to tell him what
it is all about.

  _Geta._ I tell you that I have seen his father, your uncle. _Ant._
  [_frantically_]. How shall I meet this sudden disaster? But if it has
  come to this, Phanium [_his wife_], that I am to be separated from
  you, then I don't want to live any longer. _Ge._ There, there,
  Antipho, in such a state of things you ought to be all the more on
  the watch. Fortune favors the brave, you know. _Ant._ [_with choking
  voice_]. I'm not myself to-day. _Ge._ But you must be, Antipho; for
  if your father sees that you are timid and meek about it, he'll think
  of course that you are in the wrong. _Ant._ But, I tell you, I can't
  do any different. _Ge._ What would you do if you had some harder job
  yet? _Ant._ Since I can't do this, I couldn't do that. _Ge._ Come,
  Phædria, there's no use fooling with this fellow; we're only wasting
  our time. Let's be off. _Phæd._ All right, come on. _Ant._ O say,
  hold on! What if I pretend to be bold. [_Strikes an attitude_]. Will
  that do? _Ge._ Stuff and nonsense. _Ant._ Well, how will this
  expression do? _Ge._ It won't do at all. _Ant._ How is this? _Ge._
  That's more like it. _Ant._ Is this better? _Ge._ That's just right.
  Keep on looking that way. And remember to answer him word for word,
  tit for tat, and don't let the angry old man get the better of you.
  _Ant._ I--I--w-won't. _Ge._ Tell him you were forced to it against
  your will-- _Phæd._ By the law, by the court. _Ge._ Do you catch
  on?--But who is this old man I see coming up the street?

Antipho casts one look of terror down the street, cries: "It's father
himself, I just can't stay," and takes to his heels.

  _Phæd._ Now, Geta, what next? _Ge._ Well, you're in for a row; and I
  shall be hung up by the heels and flogged, unless I am much mistaken.
  But what we were advising Antipho to do just now, we must do
  ourselves. _Phæd._ O, come off with your "musts"! Tell me just what
  to do. _Ge._ Do you remember how you said when we were planning how
  to get out of blame for this business that "Phormio's suit was just
  dead easy, sure to win"? Well, that's the game we want to work
  now,--or a better one yet, if you can think of one. Now you go ahead
  and I'll wait here in ambush, in case you want any help.

They retire to the back of the stage as Demipho enters from the
direction of the harbor. The old man is in a towering rage, for he has
heard the news, which by this time is all over town. After listening
awhile to his angry soliloquy, and interjecting sneering comments _sotto
voce_, Geta and Phædria conclude that it is time to act. So Phædria
advances to his uncle with an effusive welcome:

  _Phæd._ My dear uncle, how do you do? _Demipho_ [_crustily_]. How are
  you? But where is Antipho? _Phæd._ I'm so glad to see-- _Dem._ Oh, no
  doubt; but answer my questions. _Phæd._ Oh, he's all right; he's here
  in the house. But, uncle, has anything gone wrong with you? _Dem._
  Well, I should say so. _Phæd._ What do you mean? _Dem._ How can you
  ask, Phædria? This is a pretty marriage you have gotten up here in my
  absence. _Phæd._ Why, uncle, you aren't angry with him for that, are
  you? _Dem._ Not angry with him, indeed? I can hardly wait to see him
  and let him know how through his own fault his indulgent father has
  become most stern and angry with him. _Phæd._ Now, uncle, if Antipho
  has been at fault in that he wasn't careful enough of his purse or
  reputation, I haven't a word to say to shield him from blame. But if
  some one with malicious intent has laid a trap for him and got the
  best of him, is that our fault, or that of the judges, who often
  decide against the rich through envy, and in favor of the poor out of
  pity? _Dem._ But how is any judge to know the justice of your case,
  when you don't say a word in self-defense, as I understand he didn't?
  _Phæd._ Well, in that he acted like a well-bred young man; when he
  came before the judges, he couldn't remember a word of his speech
  that he had prepared; he was so bashful.

Seeing that Phædria is getting along so well, Geta decides to come

  _Ge._ Hail, master! I'm very glad to see you home safe again. _Dem._
  [_with angry irony_]. Hail! A fine guardian you are! A regular pillar
  of the family! So you are the fellow that I left in charge of my son
  when I went away?

Geta plays injured innocence, and wants to know what Demipho would have
had him do. Being a slave, he could neither plead the young man's cause
nor testify in his behalf.

  _Dem._ O, yes; I admit all that. But even if the girl was never so
  much related, he needn't have married her. Why didn't you take the
  other legal alternative, give her a dowry, and let her find another
  husband? Had he no more sense than to marry her himself? _Ge._ O, he
  had sense enough; it was the dollars he lacked. _Dem._ Well, he might
  have borrowed the money. _Ge._ Borrowed it? That's easier said than
  done. _Dem._ He might have gotten it from a usurer on a pinch. _Ge._
  Well, I do like that! As if any one would lend him money in your

The old man, beaten to a standstill, can only fall back upon his
obstinate determination, and vow that he won't have it.

  _Dem._ No, no; it shall not be, it cannot be! I won't permit this
  marriage to continue for a single day longer. Now, I want to see that
  other fellow, or at least find out where he lives. _Ge._ Do you mean
  Phormio? _Dem._ I mean that woman's guardian. _Ge._ I'll go get him
  for you. _Dem._ Where is Antipho now? _Ge._ O, he's out somewhere.
  _Dem._ Phædria, you go hunt him up and bring him to me. _Phæd._ Yes,
  sir; I'll go find him right away. _Ge._ [_leering at Phædria as the
  latter passes him_]. You mean you'll go to Pamphila [_Phædria's

Demipho, left alone, announces that he will get some friends together to
advise him in the business, and prepare him for his interview with
Phormio. The act ends with the prospect pretty dark for Antipho, and
with no plan of action formed in his behalf.

We are now introduced, at the opening of the second act, to the actor of
the title rôle, the keen-witted, reckless parasite, Phormio. He is
accompanied upon the stage by Geta, who is telling him the situation.
Geta beseeches Phormio to come to their aid, since he is, after all,
entirely responsible for the trouble. Phormio remains buried in thought
awhile, and then announces that he has his plans formed, and is ready to
meet the old man.

  [_Enter Demipho and three friends from the other side of the stage.
  Demipho is talking to his friends._]

  _Dem._ Did you ever hear of any one suffering more outrageous
  treatment than I have? I beg you to help me. _Ge._ [_apart to
  Phormio_]. My, but he's mad! _Phor._ You just watch me now; I'll stir
  him up. [_Speaking in a loud enough tone to be overheard by
  Demipho_]. By all the powers! Does Demipho say that Phanium isn't
  related to him? Does Demipho say so? _Ge._ Yes, he does.

Demipho is caught by this bait, as Phormio had intended, and says to his
friends in an undertone:

  I believe this is the very fellow I was seeking. Let's go a little

Phormio continues in a loud voice to berate Demipho for his neglect of
the supposed relative, while Geta noisily takes his master's part.
Demipho now interrupts this sham quarrel, and after snubbing Geta, he
turns with mock politeness to Phormio.

  _Dem._ Young man, I beg your pardon, but will you be kind enough to
  tell me who that friend of yours was that you are talking about, and
  how he said I was related to him? _Phor._ O, you ask as if you didn't
  know. _Dem._ As if I didn't know? _Phor._ Yes. _Dem._ And I say that
  I _don't_ know. Now do you, who say that I do, refresh my memory.
  _Phor._ Didn't you know your own cousin? _Dem._ O, you make me tired.
  Tell me his name. _Phor._ The name? Why, certainly.

But now the name by which he had heard Phanium speak of her father has
slipped from his mind, and he is forced to awkward silence. Demipho is
quick to see his embarrassment:

  Well, why don't you speak? _Phor._ [_aside_]. By George! I'm in a
  box! I have forgotten the name. _Dem._ What's that you say? _Phor._
  [_aside in a whisper to Geta_]. Say, Geta, if you remember that name
  we heard the other day, tell it to me. [_Then determining to bluff it
  out, he turns to Demipho_]. No, I won't tell you the name. You are
  trying to pump me, as if you didn't know it already. _Dem._
  [_angrily_]. I pump you? _Ge._ [_whispering_]. It's Stilpho. _Phor._
  [_to Demipho_]. And yet what do I care? It's Stilpho. _Dem._ Who?
  _Phor._ [_shouting it at him_]. Stilpho, I say. Did you know him?
  _Dem._ No, I didn't, And I never had a relative of that name. _Phor._
  No? Aren't you ashamed of yourself? Now if he had left a matter of
  ten talents-- _Dem._ Confound your impudence! _Phor._ You would be the
  first to come forward, with a very good memory, and trace your
  connection with him for generations back. _Dem._ Well, have it as you
  say. Then when I had come into court. I should have told just how she
  was related to me. Now you do the same. Come, how is she related to
  me? _Phor._ I have already explained that to those who had a right to
  ask--the judges. If my statement was false then, why didn't your son
  refute it? _Dem._ Don't mention my son to me! I can't possibly
  express my disgust at his folly. _Phor._ Then do you, who are so
  wise, go before the magistrates and ask them to reopen the case.
  [_This, according to the law of Athens, was impossible._]

Demipho has twice been completely beaten in a war of words--once by Geta
and now by Phormio. He chokes down his rage as best he can, and now
makes a proposition to his enemy. He is still too angry to express
himself very connectedly.

  _Dem._ Although I have been outraged in this business, still, rather
  than have a quarrel with such as you, just as if she were related to
  me, since the law bids to give her a dowry, take her away from here,
  and make it _fui minæ_. _Phor._ Ho! ho! ho! Well, you _are_ a
  cheerful idiot! _Dem._ What's the matter? Have I asked anything
  wrong? Or can't I get even what is my legal right? _Phor._ Well,
  really now, I should like to ask you, when you have once married a
  girl, does the law bid you then to give her some money and send her
  packing? On the contrary, it is for the very purpose that a citizen
  of Athens may not come to shame on account of her poverty, that her
  next of kin is bidden to take her to wife. And this purpose you are
  attempting to thwart. _Dem._ Yes, that's just it--"her next of kin."
  But where do I come in on that score? _Phor._ O pshaw! don't thresh
  over old straw. _Dem._ Sha'n't I? I vow I shall not stop until I have
  accomplished my ends.

After further badgering and bear-baiting on the part of Phormio, Demipho
finally falls back upon his dogged determination as before, and gives
his ultimatum:

  See here, Phormio, we have said enough. Unless you take immediate
  steps to get that woman away, I'll throw her out of the house. I have
  spoken, Phormio.

Phormio is not to be outdone in bluster, and adopting Demipho's formula,
as well as his tone and gestures, he says:

  And if you touch that girl except as becomes a free-born citizen,
  I'll bring a cracking suit against you. I have spoken, Demipho.

So saying, he turns and swaggers off the stage, much to the secret
delight of Geta, the impotent rage of Demipho, and the open-mouthed
amazement of the three friends.

Demipho now appeals to his friends for advice as to how to proceed in
this crisis; but they are so obsequious in their manner, and so
contradictory in their advice, that Demipho is in greater perplexity
than before, and decides to take no action at all until his brother
Chremes comes home. He accordingly leaves the stage in the direction of
the harbor, his three friends having already bowed themselves out.

This temporary disposition of Antipho's case is fittingly followed by
the appearance of the young man himself in self-reproachful soliloquy
that he should have run away and left his young wife in the lurch. Geta
appears, and tells Antipho all that has passed in his absence, much to
Antipho's gratitude and relief, though he sorely dreads the return of
his uncle, who, it seems, is to be the arbiter of his destiny.

Phædria and his troubles now claim the center of the stage. As Antipho
and Geta stand talking, they hear a pitiful outcry, and looking up, they
see a black-browed, evil-faced, typical stage villain, who we presently
discover is Dorio, the slave-driver who owns Phædria's sweetheart.
Things have evidently come to a crisis with that young man. He is
following Dorio, and imploring him to wait three days until he can get
money enough to buy his sweetheart. But Dorio says he has a customer who
offers cash down. After much entreaty, however, he tells Phædria that if
the money is forthcoming before to-morrow morning he will consider the
bargain closed. So there Phædria's business is brought to a head, and
the attention of us all must be at once turned to what has suddenly
become the paramount issue. What is to be done? Phædria is too
hysterical to be of any help in the matter, and Antipho tells the
faithful and resourceful Geta that he must get the money somehow. Geta
says that this is liable to be a pretty difficult matter, and doesn't
want to undertake it, but is finally persuaded by Phædria's pitiful
despair to try. He asks Phædria how much money he needs.

  _Phæd._ Only six hundred dollars. _Ge._ Six hundred dollars! Whew!
  she's pretty dear, Phædria. _Phæd._ [_indignantly_]. It's no such
  thing! She's cheap at the price. _Ge._ Well, well! I'll get you the
  money somehow.

The third act gives a picture of the situation from the point of view of
the two old men, Demipho and Chremes, for the latter has just returned
from Lemnos, and now comes upon the stage fresh from his travels, in
company with his brother. We now discover for the first time what is
probably the real reason for the opposition to Antipho's marriage to the
orphan girl.

  _Dem._ Well, Chremes, did you bring your daughter with you, for whose
  sake you went to Lemnos? _Chr._ No, I didn't. _Dem._ Why not? _Chr._
  When her mother saw that I was delaying my coming too long, and that
  my negligence was harming our daughter, who had now reached a
  marriageable age, she simply packed up her whole household, and came
  here to hunt me up--so they told me over there. And then I heard from
  the skipper who brought them that they reached Athens all right.
  _Dem._ Have you heard what has happened to my son while I was gone?
  _Chr._ Yes, and it's knocked all my plans into a cocked hat. For if I
  make a match for my daughter with some outsider, I'll have to tell
  him categorically just how she comes to be mine, and who her mother
  is. I was secure in our proposed match between her and Antipho, for I
  knew that my secret was as safe in your hands as in my own; whereas
  if an outsider comes into the family, he will keep the secret as long
  as we are on good terms; but if we ever quarrel, he will know more
  than is good for me [_looking around cautiously, and speaking with
  bated breath_]; and I'm dreadfully afraid that my wife will find it
  out in some way. And if she does, the only thing left for me to do is
  to take myself off and leave home; for my soul is the only thing I
  can call my own in this house.

From this it develops that Chremes has had a wife and daughter in
Lemnos, and now lives in wholesome fear of his too masterful Athenian

Geta now comes upon the stage in fine spirits, loud in his praises of
the shrewdness of Phormio, with whom he has just concluded a scheme for
getting the money. He is in search of Demipho, and is surprised to find
Chremes on hand as well. Meanwhile, Antipho has come cautiously upon the
stage in search of Geta, just as the latter goes boldly up to the two
old men. As yet unseen by any one, Antipho retires to the back of the
stage, and overhears the following conversation:

  _Ge._ O, how do you do, good Chremes! _Chr._ [_crustily_]. How are
  you? _Ge._ How are things with you? _Chr._ One finds many changes on
  coming back, as is natural enough--very many. _Ge._ That's so. Have
  you heard about Antipho? _Chr._ The whole story. _Ge._ [_to
  Demipho_]. O, you've been telling him? [_To Chremes_]. It's a shame,
  Chremes, to be taken in that way! _Dem._ I have been discussing the
  situation with him. _Ge._ I've been thinking it over, too, and I
  think I have found a way out of it. _Chr._ How's that, Geta? _Dem._ A
  way out of it? _Ge._ [_in a confidential tone_]. Just now when I left
  you, I chanced to meet Phormio. _Chr._ Who's Phormio? _Ge._ That
  girl's-- _Chr._ O, I see. _Ge._ I thought I'd test the fellow, so I
  got him off alone, and said: "Now, Phormio, don't you see that it's
  better to settle this matter in a friendly way than to have a row
  about it? My master is a gentleman, and hates a fuss. If it wasn't
  for that he would have sent this girl packing, as all his friends
  advised him to do." _Ant._ [_aside_]. What in the world is this
  fellow getting at? _Ge._ "Do you say that the law will make him
  suffer for it if he casts her out? Oh, we've looked into that point.
  I tell you you'll sweat for it if you ever get into a law-suit with
  that man. He's a regular corker. But suppose you do win out; it's not
  a matter of life and death, but only of damages. Now here, just
  between ourselves, how much will you take, cash down, to take this
  girl away and make us no more trouble." _Ant._ [_aside_]. Good
  heavens, is the fellow crazy? _Ge._ "For I know that if you make any
  sort of an offer, my master is a good fellow, and will take you up in
  a minute." _Dem._ Who told you to say that? _Chr._ There, there, we
  couldn't have gained our point better. _Ant._ [_aside_]. I'm done
  for! _Dem._ Well, go on with your story. _Ge._ At first the fellow
  was wild. _Chr._ Come, come, tell us how much he wants. _Ge._ How
  much? Altogether too much. Said he: "Well, a matter of twelve hundred
  dollars would be about right." _Dem._ Confound his impudence! Has he
  no shame? _Ge._ That's just what I said. Said I: "What if he were
  marrying off an only daughter? Small gain it's been to him not to
  have raised a girl. One has been found to call for a dowry just the
  same." Well, to make a long story short, he finally said: "I've
  wanted from the first to marry the daughter of my old friend, as was
  right that I should; but, to tell you the honest truth, I've got to
  find a wife who will bring me in a little something, enough to pay my
  debts with. And even now, if Demipho is willing to pay me as much as
  I am getting from the other girl to whom I am engaged, I'd just as
  soon turn around and marry this girl of yours." _Dem._ What if he is
  over his head in debt? _Ge._ Says he: "I have a little farm mortgaged
  for two hundred dollars." _Dem._ Well, well! Let him marry her; I'll
  give him that much. _Ge._ "And then there's a bit of a house
  mortgaged for two hundred more." _Dem._ Ow! that's too much. _Chr._
  No, that's all right. Let him have that two hundred from me. _Ge._
  "Then I must buy a little maid for my wife," says he, "and I've got
  to have a little more furniture, and then there's all the wedding
  expenses. Put all that down at an even two hundred more." _Dem._ [_in
  a rage_]. Then let him bring as many suits as he wants to. I won't
  give a cent. What, is the dirty fellow making game of me? _Chr._ O,
  do please keep still! I only ask that you have your son marry that
  girl that we know of. This girl is being sent off for my sake; so
  it's only right that I should pay for it. _Ge._ Phormio says to let
  him know as soon as possible if you are going to give Phanium to him,
  in order that he may break his engagement with the other girl; for
  her people have promised the same dowry. _Chr._ Well, we will give it
  to him, so let him break his other engagement and marry the girl.
  _Dem._ And a plague on him into the bargain! _Chr._ [_to Demipho_].
  Very fortunately, I have brought some money with me--the rent I have
  collected from my wife's Lemnian estate. I'll take it out of that,
  and tell her that you needed it.

The two old men go into Chremes' house; and now Geta finds himself
confronted by the indignant Antipho, who has hardly been able to contain
himself during this (to him) inexplicable dialogue, in which his wife
was being coolly bargained away. It is only with the greatest difficulty
that Geta can make the angry bridegroom appreciate the ruse by which the
money has been obtained for Phædria's use. In the end Antipho goes off
to tell the news to Phædria. Demipho and Chremes now come out, the
former with a bag of money in his hand. He wants it understood that no
one can cheat him; he is going to be very business-like and have ample
witness to the transactions. Chremes' only desire is that the business
may be settled as soon as possible. Demipho now tells Geta to lead the
way to Phormio, and they start toward the Forum. Chremes' troubles are
only in part allayed. His Lemnian daughter's marriage with Antipho seems
now safely provided for, but where _is_ his Lemnian daughter and her
mother? That they are here in Athens fills him with terror. He paces
back and forth in deep thought, muttering:

  Where _can_ I find those women now, I wonder?

And just at this moment out from Demipho's house comes old Sophrona,
Phanium's nurse, who also seems to be in great distress:

  O, what _shall_ I do? Where shall I find a friend in my distress, or
  to whom shall I go for advice? Where get help? For I'm afraid that my
  young mistress is going to get into trouble from this marriage that I
  persuaded her into. I hear that the young man's father is very much
  put out about it. _Chr._ [_aside_]. Who in the world is this old
  woman coming out of my brother's house? _So._ But want made me advise
  her as I did, though I knew that the marriage was a bit shaky, in
  order that for awhile at least we might be sure of our living. _Chr._
  [_aside in great excitement_]. By Jove! unless I'm much mistaken, or
  my eyes don't see straight, that's my daughter's nurse! _So._ And I
  can't get any trace of the man who is her father. _Chr._ [_aside_].
  Shall I go up to her, or shall I wait until I understand better what
  she's talking about? _So._ But if I could only find him now, I'd have
  nothing to fear. _Chr._ [_aside_]. It _is_ Sophrona; I'll speak to
  her. [_Calling softly_]. Sophrona! _So._ Who is this I hear calling
  my name? _Chr._ Look here, Sophrona. _So._ [_finally looking the
  right way_]. My goodness gracious! Is this Stilpho? _Chr._ No. _So._
  No? _Chr._ [_drawing her cautiously away from the vicinity of his
  house_]. Say, Sophrona, come away a little from that door, will you?
  And don't you ever call me by that name again. _So._ O, my goodness,
  aren't you the man you always said you were? _Chr._ Sh! _So._ What
  makes you so afraid of that door? _Chr._ I've got a savage wife shut
  up there. I gave you the wrong name on purpose, that you might not
  thoughtlessly blurt it out in public sometime, and so let my wife
  here get wind of it. _So._ And so that's the reason why we poor women
  could never find you here. _Chr._ Tell me now what business you have
  with this household from which you have just come out. Where are
  those women? _So._ [_with a burst of tears_]. O dear me! _Chr._ How?
  What's that? Aren't they alive? _So._ Your daughter is. But the
  mother, sick at heart over this business, is dead. _Chr._ That's too
  bad! _So._ And then, considering that I was just a lonely old woman,
  in a strange city without a cent of money, I think I did pretty well
  for the girl, for I married her off to the young man the heir of this
  family here. _Chr._ What, Antipho? _So._ Why, yes! _Chr._ You don't
  mean to say he's got two wives? _So._ O gracious, no! This is the
  only one. _Chr._ But what about that other girl who is said to be
  related to him? _So._ Why, this is the one. _Chr._ [_beside himself
  with joy and wonder_]. You don't mean it! _So._ That was a cooked up
  scheme that her lover might marry her without a dowry. _Chr._ Thank
  heaven for that! How often things come about by mere chance that you
  wouldn't dare hope for! Here I find my daughter happily married to
  the very man I had picked out for her! What my brother and I were
  taking the greatest pains to bring about, here this old woman,
  without any help from us, all by herself, has done. _So._ But now,
  sir, we've got to bestir ourselves. The young man's father is back,
  and they say he's in a terrible stew about it. _Chr._ O, there's no
  danger on that score. But, for heaven's sake, don't let any one find
  out that she's my daughter. _So._ Well, no one shall find it out from
  me. _Chr._ Now you follow me, we'll talk about the rest inside.
  [_They go into Demipho's house._]

Demipho and Geta appear in a brief scene, in which the former
grumblingly comments upon the bargain which they have just made with
Phormio. He disappears into his brother's house. Geta, left alone,
soliloquizes upon the situation and sums it up so far as it is known to
him. As he disappears into Demipho's house, the latter is seen coming
out of his brother's house with his brother's wife, Nausistrata, whom in
fulfilment of his promise he is taking in to see Phanium in order to
reconcile the bride to the new arrangements that have been made for her.

And just at this moment Chremes comes rushing out of his brother's
house; he calls to Demipho, not seeing in his excitement that
Nausistrata is also on the stage.

  _Chr._ Say, Demipho! Have you paid the money yet? _Dem._ Yes, I've
  tended to that. _Chr._ Well, I wish you hadn't. [_Aside as he sees
  his wife_]. Gracious! There's my wife! I almost said too much. _Dem._
  Why do you wish it, Chremes? _Chr._ O, that's all right. _Dem._ What
  do you mean? Have you talked with the girl on whose account I'm
  taking Nausistrata in? _Chr._ Yes, I've had a talk with her. _Dem._
  Well, what does she say? _Chr._ She can't be disturbed. _Dem._ Why
  can't she? _Chr._ O, because--they're so fond of each other. _Dem._
  What difference does that make to us? _Chr._ A great deal. And
  besides, I've found that she's related to us, after all. _Dem._
  What's that? You're off your base. _Chr._ No, I'm not. I know what
  I'm talking about. I remember all about it now. _Dem._ Surely, you
  _are_ crazy. _Naus._ I beg you won't do any harm to a relative.
  _Dem._ She's no relative. _Chr._ Don't say that. She gave the wrong
  name for her father. That's where you make your mistake. _Dem._
  Nonsense! Didn't she know her own father? _Chr._ Yes, she knew him.
  _Dem._ Well, then, why didn't she tell his right name? _Chr._ [_apart
  to Demipho, in low, desperate tones_]. Won't you ever let up? Won't
  you understand? _Dem._ How can I, if you tell me nothing? _Chr._ O,
  you'll be the death of me. _Naus._ I wonder what it's all about.
  _Dem._ I'll be blest if I know. _Chr._ Do you want to know? I swear
  to you there's no one nearer to her than you and I. _Dem._ Good
  gracious! Let's go to her, then. Let's all together get to the bottom
  of this business. [_He starts toward his house with Nausistrata_].
  _Chr._ I say, Demipho! _Dem._ Well, what now? _Chr._ [_angrily_].
  Have you so little confidence in me as that? _Dem._ Do you want me to
  take your word for it? Do you want me to seek no further in the
  matter? All right, so be it. But what about the daughter of our
  friend? What's to become of her? _Chr._ She'll be all right. _Dem._
  Are we to drop her, then? _Chr._ Why not? _Dem._ And is Phanium to
  remain? _Chr._ Just so. _Dem._ Well, Nausistrata, I guess we will
  excuse you. [_Exit Nausistrata into her own house_]. Now, Chremes,
  what in the world is all this about? _Chr._ Is that door tight shut?
  _Dem._ Yes. _Chr._ [_leading his brother well out of earshot of the
  house_]. O Jupiter! The gods are on our side. My daughter I have
  found--married--to your son! _Dem._ What? How can that be? _Chr._ It
  isn't safe to talk about it here. _Dem._ Well, go inside then. _Chr._
  But see here, I don't want even our sons to find this out. [_They go
  into Demipho's house._]

Antipho has seen Phædria's business happily settled, and now comes in,
feeling very gloomy about his own affairs. His deep dejection serves as
a happy contrast to the fortunate turn of his affairs which we have just
witnessed. In his unsettled state he starts off to find the faithful
Geta, when Phormio comes on the stage, in high spirits over his success
in cheating the old men out of their money in behalf of Phædria. It is
his own rôle now, he says, to keep well in the background. Now the door
of Demipho's house opens and out rushes Geta, shouting and

  O luck! O great good luck! How suddenly have you heaped your choicest
  gifts on my master Antipho this day! _Ant._ [_apart_]. What can he
  mean? _Ge._ And freed us all from fear! But what am I stopping here
  for? I'll throw my cloak over my shoulder and hurry up and find the
  man, that he may know how things have turned out. _Ant._ [_aside_].
  Do you know what this fellow is talking about? _Pho._ No, do you?
  _Ant._ No. _Pho._ No more do I. _Ge._ I'll run over to Dorio's house.
  They are there now. _Ant._ [_calling_]. Hello, Geta! _Ge._ [_without
  looking back_]. Hello yourself! That's an old trick, to call a fellow
  back when he's started to run. _Ant._ I say, Geta! _Ge._ Keep it up;
  you won't catch me with your mean trick. _Ant._ Won't you stop? _Ge._
  You go hang. _Ant._ That's what will happen to you, you rogue, unless
  you hold on. _Ge._ This fellow must be one of the family by the way
  he threatens. But isn't it the man I'm after--the very man? Come here
  right off. _Ant._ What is it? _Ge._ O, of all men alive you are the
  luckiest! There's no doubt about it, Antipho, you are the pet child
  of heaven. _Ant._ I wish I were. But please tell me how I am to
  believe it. _Ge._ Isn't it enough if I say that you are fairly
  dripping with joy? _Ant._ You're just killing me. _Pho._ [_coming
  forward_]. Why don't you quit your big talk, Geta, and tell us your
  news. _Ge._ O, you were there, were you, Phormio? _Pho._ Yes, I was;
  but hurry up. _Ge._ Well, then, listen. Just now, after we gave you
  the money in the Forum, we went straight home; and then my master
  sent me in to your wife. _Ant._ What for? _Ge._ Never mind that now,
  Antipho; it has nothing to do with this story. When I am about to
  enter the woman's apartments, the slave-boy Mida runs up to me,
  plucks me by the coat and pulls me back. I look around, and ask him
  what he does that for; he says, it's against orders for any one to go
  to the young mistress. "Sophrona has just taken the old man's brother
  Chremes in there," he says, "and he's in there with 'em now." As soon
  as I heard that, I tiptoed toward the door of the room--got there,
  stood still, held my breath and put my ear to the key-hole. So I
  listened as hard as I could to catch what they said. _Ant._ Good for
  you, Geta! _Ge._ And then I heard the finest piece of news. I declare
  I almost shouted for joy! _Ant._ What for? _Ge._ What do you think?
  _Ant._ I haven't the slightest idea. _Ge._ But, I tell you, it was
  the grandest thing! Your uncle turns out to be--the father
  of--Phanium--your wife! _Ant._ What? How can that be? _Ge._ He lived
  with her mother secretly in Lemnos. _Pho._ Nonsense! Wouldn't the
  girl have known her own father? _Ge._ Be sure there's some
  explanation of it, Phormio. You don't suppose that I could hear
  everything that passed between them, from outside the door? _Ant._
  Now I think of it, I too have had some hint of that story. _Ge._ Now
  I'll give you still further proof: pretty soon your uncle comes out
  of the room and leaves the house, and before long he comes back with
  your father, and they both go in. And now they both say that you may
  keep her. In short, I was sent to hunt you up and bring you to them.
  _Ant._ [_all excitement_]. Well, why don't you do it then? What are
  you waiting for? _Ge._ Come along. _Ant._ O my dear Phormio, good-by!
  _Pho._ Good-by, my boy. I declare, I'm mighty glad it's turned out
  well for you.

Antipho and Geta hurry away to Demipho's house, while Phormio retires up
a convenient alley to await future developments.

The only problem now remaining on Phormio's side is how to keep the
money that has been given him by the old men, so that Phædria may not be
again embarrassed; on the side of the old men the problem is to get back
their money. How the poet treats us to the liveliest scene of all after
the more important matters have been settled, is now to be seen. Demipho
and Chremes come upon the stage, congratulating each other upon the
happy turn which their affairs have taken.

  _Dem._ I ought to thank the gods, as indeed I do, that these matters
  have turned out so well for us, brother. _Chr._ Isn't she a fine
  girl, just as I told you? _Dem._ Yes, indeed. But now we must find
  Phormio as soon as possible, so as to get our six hundred dollars
  back again before he makes away with it.

Phormio now walks across the stage in a lordly way without seeming to
see the old men, and goes straight to Demipho's door, upon which he raps
loudly and calls to the attendant within:

  If Demipho is at home. I want to see him, that-- _Dem._ [_stepping up
  from without_]. Why, we were just coming to see you, Phormio. _Pho._
  On the same business, perhaps? _Dem._ Very likely. _Pho._ I supposed
  so. But why were you coming to me? It's absurd. Were you afraid that
  I wouldn't do what I had promised? No fear of that. For, however poor
  I may be, I have always been particularly careful to keep my word.
  And so I have come to tell you, Demipho, that I am ready; whenever
  you wish, give me my wife. For I put all my own private
  considerations aside, as was quite right, when I saw that you wanted
  this so much. _Dem._ [_who does not know quite what to say_]. But my
  brother here has asked me not to give her to you. "For," says he,
  "what a scandal there will be if you do that! At the time when she
  could have been given to you honorably it was not done; and now it
  would be a disgrace to cast her off." Almost the same arguments that
  you yourself urged upon me not long ago. _Pho._ Well, you _have_ got
  gall! _Dem._ What do you mean? _Pho._ Can't you see? I can't even
  marry that other girl now; for with what face could I go back to her
  after I had once thrown her over? _Chr._ [_prompting Demipho, sotto
  voce_]. "Then I find that Antipho is unwilling to to let his wife
  go"--tell him that. _Dem._ And then I find that my son objects to
  letting his wife go. But come right over to the Forum, if you please,
  Phormio, and sign this money back to me again. _Pho._ How can I, when
  I have already used it to pay my debts with? _Dem._ Well, what then?
  _Pho._ [_pompously_]. If you are willing to give me the girl you
  promised for my wife, I'll marry her: but if you want her to stay
  with you, why, the dowry stays with me, Demipho. For it isn't right
  that I should lose this on your account, when it was for the sake of
  your honor that I broke with the other girl who was offering the
  same dowry. _Dem._ Go be hanged, with your big talk, you jail-bird!
  Do you suppose that I don't see through you and your tricks? _Pho._
  Look out, I'm getting hot. _Dem._ Do you mean to say you would marry
  this girl if we gave her to you? _Pho._ Just try me and see. _Dem._
  [_with a sneer_]. O yes, your scheme is to have my son live with her
  at your house. _Pho._ [_indignantly_]. What do you mean? _Dem._ Come,
  give me that money. _Pho._ Come, give me my wife. _Dem._ [_laying
  hands on him_]. You come along to court with me. _Pho._ You'd better
  look out! If you don't stop-- _Dem._ What will you do? _Pho._ I?
  [_Turning to Chremes_]. Perhaps you think that I take only poor girls
  under my protection. I'll have you know I sometimes stand as patron
  to girls with dowries too. _Chr._ [_with a guilty start_]. What's
  that to us? _Pho._ O nothing. I knew a woman here once whose husband
  had-- _Chr._ O! _Dem._ What's that? _Pho._ Another wife in
  Lemnos-- _Chr._ I'm a dead man. _Pho._ By whom he had a daughter; and
  he's bringing her up on the quiet. _Chr._ I'm buried. _Pho._ And
  these very things I'll tell his real wife. _Chr._ Good gracious,
  don't do that! _Pho._ Oho! You were the man, were you, Chremes?
  _Dem._ [_in a rage_]. How the villain gammons us! _Chr._ You may go.
  _Pho._ The deuce you say! _Chr._ Why, what do you mean? We are
  willing that you should keep the money. _Pho._ Yes, I see. But what,
  a plague! do _you_ mean? Do you think you can guy me by changing your
  minds like a pair of silly boys? "I won't, I will--I will, I won't,
  again--take it, give it back--what's said is unsaid--what's been
  agreed on is no go"--that's your style. [_He turns to go away_].
  _Chr._ [_apart_]. How in the world did he find that out? _Dem._ I
  don't know, but I'm sure I never told any one. _Chr._ Lord! it seems
  like a judgment on me! _Pho._ [_gleefully, aside_]. I've put a spoke
  in their wheel! _Dem._ [_aside_]. See here, Chremes, shall we let
  this rascal cheat us out of our money and laugh in our faces besides?
  I'd rather die first. Now make up your mind to be manly and resolute.
  You see that your secret is out, and that you can't keep it from your
  wife any longer. Now what she is bound to learn from others it will
  be much better for her to hear from your own lips. And then we will
  have the whip hand of this dirty fellow. _Pho._ [_overhearing these
  words, aside_]. Tut! tut! Unless I look out, I'll be in a hole.
  They're coming at me hard. _Chr._ But I am afraid that she will never
  forgive me. _Dem._ O, cheer up, man. I'll make you solid with her
  again, more especially since the mother of this girl is dead and
  gone. _Pho._ Is _that_ your game? I tell you, Demipho, it's not a bit
  to your brother's advantage that you are stirring me up. [_To
  Chremes_]. Look here, you! When you have followed your own devices
  abroad, and haven't thought enough of your own wife to keep you from
  sinning most outrageously against her, do you expect to come home and
  make it all up with a few tears? I tell you, I'll make her so hot
  against you that you can't put out her wrath, not if you dissolve in
  tears. _Dem._ Confound the fellow! Was ever a man treated so
  outrageously? _Chr._ [_all in a tremble_]. I'm so rattled that I
  don't know what to do with the fellow. _Dem._ [_grasping Phormio's
  collar_]. Well _I_ do. We'll go straight to court. _Pho._ To court,
  is it? [_Dragging off toward Chremes' house_]. This way, if you
  please. _Dem._ [_hurrying toward his own house_]. Chremes, you catch
  him and hold him, while I call my slaves out. _Chr._ [_holding off_].
  I can't do it alone; you come here and help.

Demipho comes back and lays hold of Phormio, and all engage in a violent
struggle mingled with angry words and blows. Phormio is getting the
worst of it, when he says:

  Now I'll have to use my voice. Nausistrata! Come out here! _Chr._
  Stop his mouth. _Dem._ [_trying to do so, without success_]. See how
  strong the rascal is. _Pho._ I say, Nausistrata! _Chr._ Won't you
  keep still? _Pho._ Not much.

Nausistrata now appears at the door of her house; Phormio, seeing her,
says, panting but gleeful:

  Here's where my revenge comes in. _Naus._ Who's calling me? [_Seeing
  the disordered and excited condition of the men_]. Why, what's all
  this row about, husband? Who is this man? [_Chremes remains
  tongue-tied_]. Won't you answer me? _Pho._ How can he answer you,
  when, by George, he doesn't know where he is? _Chr._ [_trembling with
  fear_]. Don't you believe a word he says. _Pho._ Go, touch him; if he
  isn't frozen stiff, you may strike me dead. _Chr._ It isn't so.
  _Naus._ What is this man talking about, then? _Pho._ You shall hear;
  just listen. _Chr._ You aren't going to believe him? _Naus._ Good
  gracious, how can I believe one who hasn't said anything yet? _Pho._
  The poor fellow is crazy with fear. _Naus._ Surely it's not for
  nothing that you are so afraid. _Chr._ [_with chattering teeth_].
  Wh-wh-who's afraid? _Pho._ Well then, since you're not afraid, and
  what I say is nothing, you tell the story yourself. _Dem._ Scoundrel!
  Shall he speak at your bidding? _Pho._ [_contemptuously_]. O you!
  you've done a fine thing for your brother. _Naus._ Husband, won't you
  speak to me? _Chr._ Well--_Naus._ Well? _Chr._ There's no need of my
  talking. _Pho._ You're right; but there's need of her knowing. In
  Lemnos-- _Chr._ O don't! _Pho._ unbeknown to you-- _Chr._ O me! _Pho._
  he took another wife. _Naus._ [_screaming_]. My husband! Heaven
  forbid. _Pho._ But it's so, just the same. _Naus._ O wretched me!
  _Pho._ And by her he had a daughter--also unbeknown to you. _Naus._
  By all the gods, a shameful and evil deed! _Pho._ But it's so, just
  the same. _Naus._ It's the most outrageous thing I ever heard of.
  [_Turning her back on Chremes_]. Demipho, I appeal to you; for I am
  too disgusted to speak to him again. Was _this_ the meaning of those
  frequent journeys and long stays at Lemnos? Was _this_ why my rents
  ran down so? _Dem._ Nausistrata, I don't deny that he has been very
  much to blame in this matter; but is that any reason why you should
  not forgive him? _Pho._ He's talking for the dead. _Dem._ For it
  wasn't through any scorn or dislike of you that he did it. And
  besides, the other woman is dead who was the cause of all this
  trouble. So I beg you to bear this with equanimity as you do other
  things. _Naus._ Why should I bear it with equanimity? I wish this
  were the end of the wretched business; but why should I hope it will
  be? Am I to think that he will be better now he's old? But he was old
  before, if that makes any difference. Or am I any more beautiful and
  attractive now than I was, Demipho? What assurance can you give me
  that this won't happen again?

Phormio now comes to the front of the stage and announces in a loud
official voice to the audience:

  All who want to view the remains of Chremes, now come forward! The
  time has come.--That's the way I do them up. Come along now, if any
  one else wants to stir up Phormio. I'll fix him just like this poor
  wretch here.--But there! he may come back to favor now. I've had
  revenge enough. She has something to nag him with as long as he
  lives. _Naus._ But I suppose I have deserved it. Why should I recount
  to you, Demipho, all that I have been to this man? _Dem._ I know it
  all, Nausistrata, as well as you. _Naus._ Well, have I deserved this
  treatment? _Dem._ By no means! but, since what's been done can't be
  undone by blaming him, pardon him. He confesses his sin, he prays for
  pardon, he promises never to do so again: what more do you want?
  _Pho._ [_aside_]. Hold on here; before she pardons him, I must look
  out for myself and Phædria. Say, Nausistrata, wait a minute before
  you answer him. _Naus._ Well? _Pho._ I tricked Chremes out of six
  hundred dollars; I gave the money to your son, and he has used it to
  buy his wife with. _Chr._ [_angrily_]. How? What do you say? _Naus._
  [_to Chremes_]. How now? Does it seem to you a shameful thing for
  your son, a young man, to have one wife, when you, an old man, have
  had two? Shame on you! With what face will you rebuke him? Answer me
  that? [_Chremes slinks back without a word_]. _Dem._ He will do as
  you say. _Naus._ Well, then, here is my decision: I'll neither pardon
  him, nor promise anything, nor give you any answer at all, until I
  have seen my son. And I shall do entirely as he says. _Pho._ You are
  a wise woman, Nausistrata. _Naus._ [_to Chremes_]. Does that suit
  you? _Chr._ Does it? Indeed and truly I'm getting off well--[_aside_]
  and better than I expected. _Naus._ [_to Phormio_] Come, tell me your
  name. What is it? _Pho._ Mine? It's Phormio; I'm a great friend to
  your family, and especially to Phædria. _Naus._ Phormio, I vow to you
  I am at your service after this, to do and to say, so far as I can,
  just what you want. _Pho._ I thank you kindly, lady. _Naus._ No,
  upon my word, you've earned it. _Pho._ Do you want to begin right
  off, Nausistrata, and do something that will both make me happy and
  bring tears to your husband's eyes? _Naus._ That I do. _Pho._ Well,
  then, invite me to dinner. _Naus._ With all my heart, I do. _Dem._
  Come then, let's go inside. _Chr._ Agreed; but where is Phædria, my
  judge? _Pho._ I'll soon have him here.

And so ends this merry play, as the whole party moves toward Chremes'
house, where, let us hope, all family differences were forgotten in the
good dinner awaiting them.

Meanwhile the man before the curtain reminds us that we still have a
duty to perform:

  Fare you well, my friends, and give us your applause.


_The Roman Drama_, as illustrated by the works of the early tragedians,
from 240 to the first century B. C.: Andronicus Nævius, Ennius,
Pacuvius, Accius. The later tragedians to the close of the first century
A. D.: Pollio, Varius, Ovid, Maternus, Secundus, Lucan, and Seneca. The
writers of comedy, second century B. C.: Plautus and Terence.

1. How did the civilization of Rome in 454 B. C. compare with that of
Greece? 2. How did Rome's conquest of the Greek colonies in Italy help
the development of Italian literature? 3. How did the First Punic War
affect this development? 4. Who was the "first professor of Latin on
record"? 5. From what sources were the subjects of the old Roman
tragedies taken? 6. How did the Roman spirit differ from that of the
Greek? 7. Why did the Romans fail to develop a truly national tragedy?
8. What four names besides that of Andronicus are representative of the
old Roman tragedy? 9. What qualities of Accius do we find in the
fragments of his writings which remain? 10. What is true of the writers
of tragedy after Accius? 11. Why have the tragedies of Seneca special
interest? 12. What are their defects? 13. What their strong qualities?
14. Why did the plays of Seneca have such an influence in England? 15.
What is the outline of the story of Medea? 16. How does it illustrate
Seneca's defects of style? 17. Quote passages which illustrate his skill
in epigram. 18. In graphic description. 19. In pathos and passion. 20.
In subtile analysis of character and motive. 21. Describe the three
great types of Greek comedy. 22. What result followed the attempts of
Nævius to write in the spirit of Old Comedy? 23. What two writers alone
of comedy are known to us from their works? 24. What are the chief
characteristics of _Phormio_ of Terence?



RIBBECK, _Die Römische Tragödie_.

WORDSWORTH, _Fragments and Specimens of Early Latin_, pp. 567 and

SIMCOX, _History of Latin Literature_, Vol. I, pp. 31-44.

SELLAR, _Roman Poets of the Republic_, pp. 47-150.

TYRRELL, _Latin Poetry_, pp. 32-42.

CONINGTON, _Miscellaneous Writings_, Vol. I, pp. 294-347.

MOULTON, _The Ancient Classical Drama_, pp. 203-222.


TEUFFEL, _History of Roman Literature_ (translated by Warr), Vol. II,
pp. 48-52.

NEWTON (and others), _Seneca, his Tenne Tragedies Translated into
Englysh_ (Spenser Society reprint, 1887).

CONINGTON, _Miscellaneous Writings_, Vol. I, pp. 385-411.

CUNLIFFE, _The Influence of Seneca on Elizabethan Tragedy_.

PATIN, _Études sur les Tragiques Grecs; Euripides_. The work has many
valuable comparisons between Euripides and Seneca.

TYRRELL, _Latin Poetry_, pp. 269-272.

SIMCOX, _History of Latin Literature_, Vol. II, pp. 24-28.

WARD, _History of English Dramatic Literature_, Vol. I, pp. 189 and

MERIVALE, _History of Rome Under the Empire_, Vol. VI, pp. 382 and

MOMMSEN, _History of Rome_, Vol. II, pp. 527-538.


MOMMSEN, _History of Rome_, Vol. II, pp. 503-526.

SIMCOX, _History of Latin Literature_, Vol. I, pp. 45-61.

SELLAR, _Roman Poets of the Republic_, pp. 153-220.

TYRRELL, _Latin Poetry_, pp. 43-58.

MOULTON, _The Ancient Classical Drama_, pp. 377-423.



    Satire has always shone among the rest,
    And is the boldest way, if not the best,
    To tell men freely of their foulest faults,
    To laugh at their vain deeds and vainer thoughts.


What prophecy was to the ancient Hebrews, the drama to the Greeks, the
purpose-novel and the newspaper editorial to our own day, satire was
to the Roman of the republic and the early empire--the moral mentor of
contemporary society. This conception of the prophet as the preacher of
his day is often obscured by the conception of him as one who could
reveal the future; but a closer study of the life and times of these
great religious leaders shows them to have been men profoundly
interested in current life, who gave all their energies to the task of
raising the standard of the religious and social thought of their own
day. The function of Greek tragedy was ever religious. It had its very
origin in the worship of the gods; and the presence of the altar as the
center of the strophic movements of the chorus was a constant reminder
that the drama was dealing with the highest problems of human life.
Added to the general religious atmosphere of tragedy were the direct
moral teachings, the highest sentiments of ancient culture, which
constantly sounded through the play. Greek comedy, especially of the old
and middle type, also served a distinct moral purpose in society. It did
not, indeed, sound the same lofty notes as did its sister tragedy; but
it was the lash which was mercilessly applied, at first with bolder
license to individual sinners in high places, and afterward in a more
guarded manner to the vices and follies of men in general. In either
case, the powerful stimulus of fear of public ridicule and castigation
must have had a real effect upon the manners and morals of the ancient

When we turn to our own time, we find the literary preacher at the
novelist's desk or in the editor's chair. The influence of the
purpose-novel and the editorial can hardly be overestimated. In the
generation immediately preceding our own, a very direct influence upon
the public social life of his day was wielded by the pen of Dickens. His
eyes were open to abuses of every kind--in educational, charitable,
legal, and criminal institutions; and he used every weapon known to
literary art to right these wrongs. In this task he was ably assisted by
men like Thackeray, Reade, Kingsley, and others. And there can be little
doubt that the improved conditions in the England of to-day are due in
generous measure to the work of these novelist preachers. The editor's
function is still more intimately and constantly to hold the mirror up
to society, revealing and reproving its faults. And to-day there is
probably no more potent force acting directly upon the opinions and
conduct of men than the daily editorial.

Now, the literary weapon of the Roman moralist was satire. It flourished
in all periods of Roman literature, both the word _satire_ and the thing
itself being of Latin origin. In other fields of literature there is a
large imitation of Greek models. Roman tragedy was at first but little
more than a translation of the Greek plays, and the same is true of
comedy. Cato, Varro, Vergil, and the rest who wrote of agriculture, had
a Greek prototype in Hesiod, who in his _Works and Days_ had treated of
the same theme; Lucretius was the professed disciple and imitator of
Epicurus; Cicero, in oratory, had ever before his eyes his Demosthenes,
and in philosophy his Plato and Aristotle; Vergil had his Homer in epic
and his Theocritus in pastoral; Horace, in his lyrics, is Greek through
and through, both in form and spirit, for Pindar and Anacreon, Sappho,
Alcæus, Archilochus, and the whole tuneful line are forever echoing
through his verse. Ovid, in his greatest work, only succeeded in setting
Greek mythology in a frame of Latin verse, though he told those
fascinating stories as they had never been told before; while the
historians, the rhetoricians, the philosophers--all had their Greek
originals and models.

But in the field of satire the Romans struck out a new literary path for
themselves. Even here we are bound to admit that the spirit is Greek,
the spirit of the old comedy, of bold assault upon the evils of
government, of society, of individuals. But still satire, as a form of
literature, is the Roman's own; and beginning with Lucilius, the father
of satire in the modern sense, the long line of satirists who followed
his lead sufficiently attests the strong hold which this particular form
of literature gained upon the Roman mind.

We have said that Lucilius was the father of satire in the modern sense;
but the name at least, together with many of the features of his satire
and that of his successors, reaches far back of him into the recesses of
an ancient Italian literature, long since vanished, of which we can gain
only the faintest hints. These hints as to the character of that ancient
forerunner of the Lucilian satire come to us from two sources--the
discussions of the Latin grammarians as to the derivation of the word
_satura_ (satire), and the remote reflections and imitations of the old
_satura_ in later works.

These far-off imitations give some idea of the character of the genuine
satire of the earliest time,--that of a medley of verse of different
meters, intermingled with prose, introducing words and phrases of other
languages, and treating of a great variety of subjects. This literary
medley or jumble probably had its origin in the farm or vineyard, where,
in celebration of the "harvest home" or other joyous festival, it would
be brought out, perhaps accompanied by some kind of musical recitation,
and of course loaded with the rude wit of the time.

Such, then, we may suppose, was the character of the rude satire of
ancient Italy. But alas for any real personal knowledge which we may
gain of it, those merry, clumsy jests, those rustic songs, are vanished
with the simple sun-loving race which produced them. The olive orchards
still wave gray-green upon the sunny slopes, the vineyards still cling
to every hillside and nestle in every valley; but the ancient peasantry
who once called this land their home, whose simple annals old Cato loved
to tell, and who could have given us material for precious volumes upon
the folk-lore and customs of their times, have gone, and left scarcely a
trace of their rude, unlettered literature.

The first tangible literary link that binds us to the old Roman satire
is found in the poet Ennius, who flourished about two hundred years
before Christ. The story of his life is outlined elsewhere in this book.
His satires seem to have been a sort of literary miscellany which
included such of his writings as could not conveniently be classified

The merest handful of fragments of these satires remains, although there
is good ground for believing that there were six books of these. No
adequate judgment can therefore be formed as to their character. It can
with safety be said, however, that they were in a sense the connecting
link between the early satire and the literary satire of the modern
type. As has been said above, they were a literary miscellany or medley,
and as such contain some salient features of their predecessors; and it
is highly probable that they contained attacks upon the vices and
follies of the time, in which respect they looked forward to a more
complete development in Lucilian satire.

A most interesting fragment of the _Epicharmus_ describes the nature of
the gods according to the philosophy of Ennius:

  And that is he whom we call Jove, whom Grecians call
  The atmosphere: who in one person is the wind and clouds, then rain,
  And after, freezing hail; and once again, thin air.
  For this, those things are Jove considered which I name to you,
  Since by these elements do men and cities, beasts.
  And all things else exist.

There was a satire by Ennius, as Quintilian tells us, containing a
dialogue between Life and Death; but of this we have not a remnant. He
also introduced the fables of Æsop into his writings. The following is
the moral which he deduces from the story of the lark and the farmers--a
moral which Aulus Gellius assures us that it would be worth our while to
take well to heart. It may be freely translated as follows:

    Now list to this warning, give diligent heed,
      Whether seeking for pleasure or pelf:
    Don't wait for your neighbors to help in your need,
      But just go and do it yourself!

Surely Miles Standish might have gained from his Ennius, as well as from
his Cæsar, that famous motto:

                          If you wish a thing well done,
  You must do it yourself, you must not leave it to others!

We may leave our present notice of Ennius with a glance at the epitaph
which he wrote for himself. It is classed with his epigrams, but it may
properly be considered in connection with the medley of his satires. In
it he claims that unsubstantial immortality of remembrance and of
mention among men which is even now, as we write and read, being
vouchsafed to him.

    Behold, O friends, old Ennius' carvéd stone,
      Who wrote your father's deeds with lambent pen;
    Let no tears deck my funeral, for lo,
      My soul immortal lives on lips of men.

We have seen that the spirit of invective in Lucilius, which became in
his hands the spirit of satire, is traceable to the old Greek comedy.
The poetic form (the dactylic hexameter in which he wrote twenty of the
thirty books of his satire) had already been naturalized in Roman
literature by Ennius in his great epic poem. But to Lucilius is due the
credit of being the first to incarnate this spirit in this form, and
thus to establish an entirely new type in literature.

His satires contain invectives against luxury, avarice, and kindred
vices, and prevalent superstitions; an attack upon the rich; ridicule of
certain rhetorical affectations; grammatical remarks, and criticisms on
art; observations upon the Stoic philosophy; the poet's own political
experiences and expectations, also other anecdotes and incidents
gathered from his own experience; an interesting account of a journey to
Sicily, from which Horace probably obtained the model for his famous
journey to Brundisium. These and many other subjects filled his pages,
and suggest by their wide range the old-time medley-satire.

The poet lived in stirring times. Born in 180 B. C., eleven years before
the death of Ennius, he died about 103 B. C., three years after Cicero's
birth and the year before the birth of Cæsar. He was thus contemporary
with some of the most important and striking events in Roman
history--the third Macedonian War; the Third Punic War; the Numantian
War, in which he himself served as a knight under Scipio Africanus in
133 B. C.; the troubled times of the two Gracchi; the Jugurthine War,
and the rise of Caius Marius. He was of equestrian rank, and lived on
terms of intimacy with some of the best men at Rome, notably the younger
Scipio and Lælius. With such backing as this, of family and friends, he
was in good position to direct his satire against the wicked and
unscrupulous men of his time, regardless of their rank, without fear or

What did the Romans themselves think of Lucilius? To judge from the
frequency and character of their references to him, the poet must have
made a profound impression upon his countrymen. A study of these
references shows that in the main this impression was favorable. He is
_doctus_, that is, profoundly learned in the wisdom of the Greeks; and,
according to Aulus Gellius, he was equally well versed in the language
and literature of his own land. He is to Juvenal the _magnus_, the
"father of satire," who has well-nigh preempted the field, to follow
whom requires elaborate explanation and apology on the part of the
would-be satirist. He is to Cicero _perurbanus_, preëminently endowed
with that subtle something in spirit and expression which marks at once
the polished man of the world. He is to Fronto remarkable for his
_gracilitas_, that plainness, directness, and simplicity of style which,
joined with the "harshness" and "roughness" of his "eager" spirit and of
his righteous indignation, made his satire such a formidable weapon
against the vices of his day. Persius says of him that he "slashed the
citizens of his time and broke his jaw-teeth on them." And the testimony
of Juvenal is still more striking: "But whenever Lucilius with drawn
sword fiercely rages, his hearer, whose soul is cold within him because
of his crimes, blushes with shame, and his heart quakes in silent fear
because of his guilty secrets."

Like those of so many of his predecessors in literature, the works of
Lucilius remain to us only in the merest fragments. For these we are
indebted largely to the Latin grammarians, who quote freely from him,
usually in illustration of the meaning of some word which they may be
discussing. A comparatively small number of the fragments have come down
to us through quotations on account of their sentiment, as when Cicero
says: "Lucilius used to say that he did not write to be read by either
of the extremes of society, because one would not understand him, and
the other knew more than he did."

We shall now examine a few of the more important of the fragments which
have been preserved to us. The following has been thought to be a vivid
picture of the unworthy struggle of life as he saw it in the Rome of his
own time. Lactantius, however, whose quotation of the fragment has saved
it, thinks that the poet is portraying in a more general way the
unhappy, unrestful life of mankind, unrelieved, as Lucretius would say,
by the comforting reflections of philosophy.

    But now, from morning to night, on holidays and work days, in the
    same place, the whole day long, high and low, all busy themselves
    in the forum and never depart. To one and the same pursuit and
    practice have they all devoted themselves: to cheat as guardedly
    as possible, to strive craftily, to vie in flattery, to make a
    pretense of being good men, to lay snares just as if they were all
    the foes of all.

There was a certain Titus Albucius, who, it seems, was so enamored with
everything Greek that he was continually affecting the manners and
language of that country. Such running after foreign customs and speech
has not yet wholly disappeared. This weakness is the object of the
poet's wit in the following passage, in which he tells how Scævola, the
proprætor of Asia, once "took down" the silly Albucius in Athens:

A Greek, Albucius, you would be called, and not a Roman and a Sabine, a
fellow-townsman of Pontius and Tritanius, though they are both
illustrious men, and first-rate standard-bearers. And so, as prætor at
Athens, when I meet you, I salute you in the foreign style which you are
so fond of: "+chaire+!"[A] I say; and my lictors and all my
retinue inquire: "+chaire+?" Fie, Albucius! for this thou art my
country's foe, and my own enemy!

[A] Hail.

The fourth satire, says an ancient scholiast, was an attack upon luxury
and the vices of the rich. The following passage might well have been
the opening lines of this satire, representing Lælius as exclaiming in
praise of a vegetable diet and against gluttony:

    "O sorrel, how praiseworthy art thou,
    And yet how little art thou really known!"

over his mess of sorrel Lælius the wise used to cry out, chiding one by
one the gluttons of our day.

And that he did not hesitate to call the glutton and spendthrift by name
is shown by this fragment, which is evidently a continuation of the same

    "O Publius Gallonius, thou spendthrift," said he, "thou art a
    wretched fellow. Never in all thy life hast thou dined well,
    though all thy wealth on that lobster and that sturgeon thou

The last selection which we shall present from Lucilius is the longest
extant fragment. The passage is a somewhat elaborate definition of
_virtue_ as the old Roman understood it. We use the translation of

    Virtue, Albinus, consists in being able to give their true worth
    to the things on which we are engaged, among which we live. The
    virtue of a man is to understand the real meaning of each thing:
    to understand what is right, useful, honorable for him; what
    things are good, what bad, what is unprofitable, base,
    dishonorable; to know the due limit and measure in making money;
    to give its proper worth to wealth; to assign what is really due
    to office; to be a foe and enemy of bad men and bad principles; to
    extol the good, to wish them well, to be their friend through
    life. Lastly, it is true worth to look on our country's weal as
    the chief good; next to that the weal of our parents; third and
    last, our own weal.


Horace well sustains the character of preacher whose function it has
already been said that satire performs. He found in his world the same
frail human nature which had aroused the righteous scorn of Lucilius,
and had led him to those bitter attacks upon the follies of his time for
which his satire was justly dreaded. But Horace is cast in a different
mold from Lucilius. While he sees just as clearly the shortcomings of
society, he has a realizing sense that he himself is a part of that same
society, guilty of the same sins, subject to the same criticism.

This consciousness of common frailty leads to moderation on the part of
the preacher. He manifests a kindly sense of human brotherhood for
better or for worse, which forms one of his most charming
characteristics, and differentiates him from his great predecessor as
well as from those who followed in the field of satire. It is true that
Horace is sufficiently strenuous and severe in his polemics against the
prevalent frailties of society as he saw them; but he has a habit of
taking his hearers into his confidence at the end of his lecture, and
reassuring them by some whimsical jest or the information that the
sermon was meant as much for himself as for them. He had no idea of
reforming society from the outside as from a separate world; but he
proceeded upon the principle that, as real reformation and progress must
be the result of reformed internal conditions, so the reformer himself
must be a sympathetic part of his world.

It was in a homely and wholesome school that our poet learned his moral
philosophy. In a glowing tribute of filial affection for his father, he
tells us how that worthy man, who was himself only a freedman--a humble
collector of debts by trade, or possibly a fishmonger, away down in his
provincial home in Apulia--decided that his son should have a better
chance in life than had fallen to his own lot. The local school in the
boy's native village of Venusia, where the big-boned sons of retired
centurions gained their meager education, was not good enough for our
young man. He must to Rome and afterward to Athens, and have all the
chances which were open to the sons of the noblest families of the land.
And so we have the pleasing picture of the sensible old father, not
sending but taking his boy to Rome, where he was the young student's
constant companion, his "guide, philosopher, and friend," attending him
in all his ways, both in school and out.

Horace tells us how this practical old father taught him to avoid the
vices of the day. No fine-spun, theoretical philosophy for him; but
practical illustration drove every lesson home. The poet dwells with
pleasure upon this element in his education.

That Horace was a worthy son of a worthy father is proved in many ways,
but in none more clearly than when, in after years, as a welcome member
of the most exclusive social set in Rome, he affectionately recalls his
father's training, and tells his high-born friends that, if he had the
chance to choose his ancestry, he would not change one circumstance of
his birth.

The practice of personal observations of the life around him, which he
learned from his father, the poet carried with him through life, and is
the explanation of the intensely practical and realistic character of
his satire. See him as he comes home at night and sits alone recalling
the varied happenings of the day. These are some of the thoughts, as he
himself tells us, which come to him at such times, and find
half-unconscious audible expression:

    Now that's the better course.--I should live better if I acted
    along that line.--So-and-so didn't do the right thing that
    time.--I wonder if I shall ever be foolish enough to do the like.

It is after such meditations as these that he takes up his tablets and
outlines his satires. We are reminded in this of the practice of the
great Cæsar, who is said to have recalled, as he rested in his tent at
night, the stirring events of each day, and to have noted these for his

This method of composition from practical observation explains many
peculiarities of the style of Horace's satires. They are absolutely
unpretentious, prevailingly conversational in tone, abounding in homely
similes and colloquialisms, pithy anecdotes, familiar proverbs, and
references to current people and events which make up the popular gossip
of the day. He also has an embarrassing habit of suddenly turning his
"thou-art-the-man" search-light upon us just when we are most enjoying
his castigation of our neighbors. He employs burlesque and irony also
among his assortment of satiric weapons. He is, above all, personal,
rarely allowing the discourse to stray from the personality of himself
and his audience.

The following outline of one of his "sermons" will afford a good
illustration of his style and method of handling a discourse. Its
subject is the sin and folly of discontent and greed for gain, a sin
which he frequently denounces, not alone in his satires, but in his odes
as well. This satire is addressed by way of compliment to his patron
Mæcenas, and is placed at the beginning of his two books of satires.

    How strange it is that no one lives content with his lot, but must
    always be envying his neighbor! The soldier would be a merchant,
    the merchant a soldier; the lawyer would be a farmer, the farmer a
    lawyer. But these malcontents are not in earnest in this prayer
    for a change; should some god grant their petition, they would one
    and all refuse to accept the boon.

    The excuse of those who toil early and late is, that when they
    have "made their pile" and have a modest competency for a peaceful
    old age, they will retire. They say that they seek gold only as a
    means to an end, and cite the example of the thrifty ant. But
    herein they show their insincerity; for, while the ant lives upon
    its hoarded wealth in winter, and stops its active life, the
    gain-getter never stops so long as there is more to be gotten.

    "But," you say, "it is so delightful to have a whole river to
    drink from." Why so? You can't possibly drink it all, and besides,
    the river water is apt to be muddy. I prefer to drink from a clear
    little spring myself. And then, too, you are liable to be drowned
    in your attempt to drink from the river.

    "But one _must_ have money. A man's social standing depends upon
    his bank account." It's useless to argue with such a man. He can
    see nothing but the almighty dollar. If he did but know it, he is
    simply another Tantalus, surrounded by riches which he cannot, or,
    in his case, will not enjoy. And besides he does not really care
    for popular opinion as he professes to do. Poor wretch! he has all
    the care and none of the pleasures of his wealth. Heaven keep me
    poor in such possessions!

    You say that money secures help in sickness? But _such_ help! Your
    greed has alienated all who would naturally love and care for you;
    and you must not be surprised if you do not keep the love which
    you are doing nothing to preserve.

    No, no! away with your greed; cease to think that lack of money is
    necessarily an evil; and beware lest your fate at last be
    miserably to lose your all by a violent death. No, I am not asking
    you to be a spendthrift. Only seek a proper mean between this and
    the miser's character.

    But, to get back to the original proposition, no one is content
    with his lot, but is constantly trying to surpass his fellows. And
    so the jostling struggle for existence goes on, and rare indeed is
    it to find a man who leaves this life satisfied that he has had
    his share of its blessings.

With this conclusion another man would have been content. But Horace
somehow feels that he has been a little hard upon his kind, and by way
of softening down the seriousness of the lecture, and at the same time
saving himself from the fault of verbosity, which he detests, he ends
with a characteristic jibe at the wordy Stoic philosophers:

    But enough of this. Lest you think that I have stolen the notes of
    the blear-eyed Crispinus, I'll say no more.

In another satire, Horace rebukes the fault of censoriousness. His text
practically is: "Judge not that ye be not judged." With characteristic
indirect approach to his subject, he begins with a tirade against one
Tigellius, until we begin to be indignant with this censorious preacher;
when suddenly he whips around to the other side, assumes the rôle of one
of his hearers, and puts the question to himself: "Have you no faults of
your own?" And then we see that he has only been playing a part, and
giving us an objective illustration of how it sounds when the other man
finds fault, thus exposing to themselves those who, habitually blind to
their own faults, are quick to discover those of other men.

The dramatic element, which seems to have been inherent in satire from
the beginning, is one of the most noticeable characteristics of style in
the satires of Horace. Indeed, his favorite method of expression is the
dialogue, carried on either between himself and some other person, real
or imaginary, or between two characters of his creation, whom he
introduces as best fitted to conduct the discussion of a theme.

The most dramatic of his satires is that in which he introduces the
bore. In this, the poem consists solely of dialogue and descriptions of
action which may be taken as stage direction. It therefore needs but
slight change to give it perfect dramatic form. The problem of the
episode is how to get rid of the bore and at the same time keep within
the bounds of gentlemanly conduct. This famous satire is given below in


    The persons of the drama: Horace; the Bore; Aristius Fuscus, a
    friend of Horace; an adversary of the Bore; Horace's slave-boy; a
    street mob.

    SCENE: The Sacred Way in Rome, extending on during the action into
    the Forum.

    [_Enter Horace, walking along the street in deep thought. To him
    enters Bore, who grasps his hand with great show of affection and
    slaps him familiarly on the shoulder._]

    _Bore._ How are you, my dear old fellow? _Horace_ [_stiffly_].
    Fairly well, as times go. I trust all is well with you? [_As the
    Bore follows him up, Horace attempts to forestall conversation,
    and to dismiss his companion with the question of formal leave:_]
    There's nothing I can do for you is there? _Bore._ Yes, make my
    acquaintance. I am really worth knowing; I'm a scholar. _Horace._
    Really? You will be more interesting to me on that account, I am
    sure. [_He tries desperately to get rid of the Bore, goes faster,
    stops, whispers in the slave-boy's ear; while the sweat pours down
    his face, which he mops desperately. He exclaims aside:_] O
    Bolanus, how I wish I had your hot temper! _Bore_ [_chatters empty
    nothings, praises the scenery, the buildings, etc. As Horace
    continues silent, he says:_] You're terribly anxious to get rid of
    me; I've seen that all along. But it's no use, I'll stay by you,
    I'll follow you. Where are you going from here? _Horace_ [_trying
    to discourage him_]. There's no need of your going out of your
    way. I'm going to visit a man--an entire stranger to you. He lies
    sick at his house away over beyond the Tiber, near Cæsar's
    gardens. _Bore._ O, I have nothing else to do, and I'm a good
    walker. I'll just go along with you. [_As Horace keeps on doggedly
    in sullen silence, he continues:_] Unless I am much mistaken in
    myself, you will find me a more valuable friend than Viscus or
    Varius. There's no one can write more poetry in a given time than
    I, or dance more gracefully; and as for singing, Hermogenes
    himself would envy me. _Horace_ [_interrupting, tries to frighten
    him off by suggesting that the sick man whom he is going to visit
    may be suffering from some contagious disease_]. Have you a mother
    or other relative dependent on you? _Bore._ No, I have no one at
    all. I've buried every one of them. _Horace_ [_aside_]. Lucky
    dogs! Now I'm the only victim left. Finish me up; for a dreadful
    fate is dogging my steps, which an old Sabine fortune-teller once
    warned me of when I was a boy. She said: "No poisonous drug shall
    carry this boy off, nor deadly sword, nor wasting consumption, nor
    crippling gout; in the fulness of time some chatterbox will talk
    him to death. So then, if he be wise, when he shall come to man's
    estate, let him beware of all chatterboxes." [_They have now come
    opposite the Temple of Vesta in the south end of the Forum, near
    which the courts of justice were held. The hour for opening court
    has arrived._] _Bore_ [_suddenly remembering that he has given
    bond to appear in a certain suit, and that if he fails to appear
    this suit will go against him by default_]. Won't you kindly
    attend me here in court a little while? _Horace._ I can't help you
    any. Hang it, I'm too tired to stand around here; and I don't know
    anything about law, anyhow. Besides, I'm in a hurry to get--you
    know where. _Bore._ I'm in doubt what to do, whether to leave you
    or my case. _Horace._ Leave me, by all means. _Bore_ [_after a
    brief meditation_]. No, I don't believe I will. [_He takes the
    lead, and Horace helplessly follows. The Bore starts in on the
    subject which is uppermost in his mind._] How do you and Mæcenas
    get on? He's a very exclusive and level-headed fellow, now, isn't
    he? No one has made a better use of his chances. You would have an
    excellent assistant in that quarter, one who could ably support
    you, if only you would introduce yours truly. Strike me dead, if
    you wouldn't show your heels to all competitors in no time.
    _Horace._ Why, we don't live there on any such basis as you seem
    to think. There is no circle in Rome more free from self-seeking
    on the part of its members, or more at variance with such a
    feeling. It makes no difference to me if another man is richer or
    more learned than I. Every man has his own place there. _Bore._
    You don't really mean that? I can scarcely believe it. _Horace._
    And yet such is the case. _Bore._ You only make me more eager to
    be admitted. _Horace_ [_with contemptuous sarcasm_]. O, you have
    only to wish it: such is your excellence, you'll be sure to gain
    your point. To tell the truth, Mæcenas is a soft-hearted fellow,
    and for this very reason guards the first approach to his
    friendship more carefully. _Bore_ [_taking Horace's suggestion in
    earnest_]. O, I shall keep my eyes open. I'll bribe his servants.
    And if I don't get in to-day, I'll try again. I'll lie in wait for
    chances, I'll meet him on the street corners, and walk down town
    with him. You can't get anything in this life without working for
    it. [_Enter Aristius Fuscus, an intimate friend of Horace. They
    meet and exchange greetings_]. _Horace_ [_to Fuscus_]. Hello!
    where do you come from? _Fuscus._ Where are you going? [_Horace
    slyly plucks his friend's toga, pinches his arm, and tries by nods
    and winks to get Fuscus to rescue him from the Bore. But Fuscus
    pretends not to understand._] _Horace_ [_to Fuscus_]. Didn't you
    say that you had something to say to me in private? _Fuscus._ Yes,
    but I'll tell you some other time. To-day is a Jewish festival.
    You wouldn't have me insult the Jews, would you? _Horace._ O, I
    have no such scruples myself. _Fuscus._ But I have. I'm just one
    of the plain people--not as strong-minded as you are. You really
    must excuse me; I'll tell you some other time. [_Fuscus hurries
    away, with a wicked wink, leaving his friend in the lurch._]
    _Horace_ [_in a despairing aside_]. O, to think that so dark a day
    as this should ever have dawned for me! [_At this juncture the
    Bore's adversary at law comes running up._] _The Adversary_ [_to
    Bore, in a loud voice._] Where are you going, you bail-breaking
    rascal? [_To Horace._] Will you come witness against him? [_Horace
    gives him his ear to touch in token of his assent, and the Bore is
    hurried off to court, with loud expostulations on both sides, and
    with the inevitable jeering street crowd following after._]
    _Horace_ [_left alone_]. Saved, by the grace of Apollo!

The fourth and tenth satires of the first book are of especial value to
us, because they contain Horace's own estimate of his predecessor,
Lucilius; answers to popular criticism against the spirit and form of
satire; much general literary criticism; and many personal comments by
the poet upon his own method and spirit as a satirist. Following is an
abstract of the tenth:

    Yes, Lucilius _is_ rough--anybody will admit that. I also admit
    that he is to be praised for his great wit. But wit of itself does
    not constitute great poetry. There must also be polish, variety of
    style, sprightliness and versatility. This is what caused the
    success of the old Greek comedy. "But," you say, "Lucilius was so
    skilled in mingling Latin and Greek." That, I reply, neither
    requires any great skill, nor is it a thing to be desired. This
    last assertion is at once apparent if you take the discussion into
    other fields of literature than poetry. I myself have been warned
    by Quirinus not to attempt Greek verse.

    I have looked over the literary field and found it occupied by
    men who could write better than I in each department--comedy,
    tragedy, epic, pastoral. Satire alone promised success to me; but
    still I do not profess to excel Lucilius. I freely leave the crown
    to him.

    But for all that I cannot help seeing his faults which I mentioned
    in my former satire--his extreme verbosity and roughness. In
    criticizing him I take the same license which he himself used
    toward his predecessors, and which he would use now toward his own
    extant works were he alive to-day. He surely would be more
    careful, and take more pains with his work, if he were now among

    And that is just the point. One must write and rewrite, and polish
    to the utmost, if he would produce anything worth reading. He must
    not be eager to rush into print and cater to the public taste. Let
    him be content with the applause of men of culture, and strive to
    win that; and let him leave popular favor to men who are
    themselves no better than the rabble whom they court.

Few Roman writers are more frankly autobiographical than Horace. His
odes, epodes, satires, and epistles are full of his own personality and
history. From various references in these poems, we learn that he was
born in 65 B. C., in Venusia, a municipal town in Apulia; that his
father was a freedman, a small farmer, and debt collector by trade; that
he was educated in Rome under his father's personal care; that he
finished his education in Athens, where he eagerly imbibed Greek
philosophy and literature. But now the long storm of civil war, which
had attended the rise of Julius Cæsar and the struggle between that
leader and Pompey for supremacy, and which had been temporarily allayed
by the complete ascendency of Cæsar, broke out afresh with renewed
violence upon the assassination of the great dictator. The verse of
Horace, especially in his odes, is full of the consciousness of this
civil strife, and of deep and sincere regret for its consequence to the

The young student was just twenty-one years of age when the fall of
Cæsar startled the world. And when Brutus reached Athens on his way to
Macedonia, and called upon the young Romans there to rally to the
republic and liberty, the ardent heart of the youthful Horace responded
to the summons. He joined the ill-fated army of the liberators, was made
a military tribune, and served as such until the disastrous day of
Philippi, when Horace's military and political ambition left him
forever, together with all hope which he may have cherished of the lost
cause. He made his way back to Rome under shelter of the amnesty which
the merciful conqueror had granted, and there found himself in an
unfortunate plight indeed; for his father was now dead, his modest
estate lost, probably swallowed up in the general confiscations, and he
himself with neither money, friends, nor occupation. He managed in some
way, however, to secure a small clerkship, the income from which served
to keep the wolf from his humble door.

But in this obscure, unfriended clerk one was now walking the streets of
Rome to whom Rome's proudest and most princely mansions were before many
years to open as to a welcome guest. For he carried within him,
concealed in a most unpretentious personality, a rich store of
education, experience, and genius, which was to prove the open sesame
for him to the world's best gifts. To the exercise of this genius he now
turned; and the appearance of the earliest of his satires, with perhaps
some of his odes and epodes as well, was the result. All these things
and much more the poet tells us, frankly giving the whole of his story
with neither boasting on the one hand nor false pride on the other.

And now the event occurred which was the first link that bound Horace
tangibly to his future greatness--his meeting with the poet Vergil, who
was at this time famous and powerful in the friendship of Mæcenas,
Pollio, and even the emperor himself. This sweet and generous-souled
poet, recognizing the kindred spirit of genius in the youthful Horace,
straightway admitted him to his own friendship, a friendship which is
one of the most charming pictures of that brilliant age, and which was
destined to endure unbroken until parted by the death of Vergil himself.
It was Vergil who in due time introduced Horace to another friend, a man
who was one of the great personages of that age, a leading statesman, a
man of letters himself, and a generous patron of letters--Mæcenas,
under whose sheltering patronage our poet grew and expanded to the full
development of those poetic powers which first had brought him

From this shelter Horace writes a satire addressed to Mæcenas, in which
he recounts, among other circumstances of his life, the occasion of his
introduction to his patron; and takes occasion to answer the envious
criticisms which were aimed against him, that he, a mere freedman's son,
should be elevated above his betters to this high social position. The
theme of this satire, which he sturdily maintains, is, that in social,
even if not in political matters, character, not family, should be the
standard; or, in the language of another gifted son of poverty:

    The rank is but the guinea's stamp;
    The man's the gowd for a' that.

We give quotations from this satire in the translation of Francis.

The poet feels justified in addressing it to his patron, because, though
Mæcenas is of noble birth himself, he does not hold in contempt the
worthy of lowly descent. Horace says that it is all very well to deny a
man political advancement on the score of low birth; but when it comes
to denying social advancement upon this score to a man of worth, that is
quite unbearable. Horace cannot rightly be envied or criticized for his
friendship with Mæcenas, for this came to him purely on his merits and
not by chance. A pleasing picture is given of his first introduction to
Mæcenas, and his final admission to that nobleman's charmed circle of

    As for myself, a freedman's son confessed;
    A freedman's son, the public scorn and jest,
    That now with you I joy the social hour,--
    That once a Roman legion owned my power;
    But though they envied my command in war
    Justly, perhaps, yet sure 'tis different far
    To gain your friendship, where no servile art
    Where only men of merit claim a part.
      Nor yet to chance this happiness I owe;
    Friendship like yours it had not to bestow.
    First my best Vergil, then my Varius, told
    Among my friends what character I hold;
    When introduced, in few and faltering words
    (Such as an infant modesty affords),
    I did not tell you my descent was great,
    Or that I wandered round my country seat
    On a proud steed in richer pastures bred;
    But what I really was I frankly said.
    Short was your answer, in your usual strain;
    I take my leave, nor wait on you again,
    Till, nine months past, engaged and bid to hold
    A place among your nearer friends enrolled.
    An honor this, methinks, of nobler kind,
    That, innocent of heart and pure of mind,
    Though with no titled birth, I gained his love,
    Whose judgment can discern, whose choice approve.

The poet here pays a glowing tribute of filial affection to his father,
to whose faithful care and instruction he owes it that he has been
shielded from the grosser sins and defects of character.

    If some few venial faults deform my soul
    (Like a fair face when spotted with a mole),
    If none with avarice justly brand my fame,
    With sordidness, or deeds too vile to name;
    If pure and innocent, if dear (forgive
    These little praises) to my friends I live,
    My father was the cause, who, though maintained
    By a lean farm but poorly, yet disdained
    The country schoolmaster, to whose low care
    The mighty captain sent his high-born heir,
    With satchel, copy-book, and pelf to pay
    The wretched teacher on th' appointed day.
      To Rome by this bold father was I brought,
    To learn those arts which well-born youth are taught;
    So dressed and so attended, you would swear
    I was some senator's expensive heir;
    Himself my guardian, of unblemished truth,
    Among my tutors would attend my youth,
    And thus preserved my chastity of mind
    (That prime of virtue in its highest kind)
    Not only pure from guilt, but even the shame
    That might with vile suspicion hurt my fame;
    Nor feared to be reproached, although my fate
    Should fix my fortune in some meaner state,
    From which some trivial perquisites arise,
    Or make me, like himself, collector of excise.
      For this my heart, far from complaining, pays
    A larger debt of gratitude and praise;
    Nor, while my senses hold, shall I repent
    Of such a father, nor with pride resent,
    As many do, th' involuntary disgrace
    Not to be born of an illustrious race.
    But not with theirs my sentiments agree,
    Or language; for if Nature should decree
    That we from any stated point might live
    Our former years, and to our choice should give
    The sires to whom we wished to be allied,
    Let others choose to gratify their pride;
    While I, contented with my own, resign
    The titled honors of an ancient line.

Horace proceeds to draw a strong contrast between the very onerous
duties and social obligations which fall to the lot of the high-born,
and his own simple, quiet, independent life.

This friendship with Mæcenas, of which the preceding satire relates the
foundation, began in the year 38 B. C., when Horace was twenty-seven
years of age. From this time on the poet received many substantial
proofs of his patron's regard for him, the most notable of which was the
gift of a farm among the Sabine hills about thirty miles from Rome.

Such a gift meant to Horace freedom from the drudgery of the workaday
world, consequent leisure for the development of his literary powers, a
proper setting and atmosphere for the rustic moods of his muse; while
his intimacy in the palace of Mæcenas on the Esquiline gave him standing
in the city and ample opportunity for indulging his urban tastes.

Although this gift of the farm and other favors derived from the
friendship of Mæcenas were so important to Horace as to color all his
after life and work, he nowhere manifests the slightest spirit of
sycophancy toward his patron. While always grateful, he makes it very
clear that the favors of Mæcenas cannot be accepted at the price of his
own personal independence. Rather than lose this, he would willingly
resign all that he has received.

The following satire expresses that deep content which the poet
experiences upon his farm, the simple delights which he enjoys there,
and, by contrast, some of the amusing as well as annoying incidents of
his life in Rome as the favorite of the great minister Mæcenas. The
satire is in the translation of Sir Theodore Martin.

    My prayers with this I used to charge,--
    A piece of land not over large,
    Wherein there should a garden be,
    A clear spring flowing ceaselessly,
    And where, to crown the whole, there should
    A patch be found of growing wood.
    All this and more the gods have sent,
    And I am heartily content.
    O son of Maia,[B] that I may
    These bounties keep is all I pray.
    If ne'er by craft or base design
    I've swelled what little store is mine,
    Nor mean it ever shall be wrecked
    By profligacy or neglect;
    If never from my lips a word
    Shall drop of wishes so absurd
    As, "Had I but that little nook,
    Next to my land, that spoils its look!"
    Or, "Would some lucky chance unfold
    A crock to me of hidden gold,
    As to the man whom Hercules
    Enriched and settled at his ease,
    Who, with the treasure he had found,
    Bought for himself the very ground
    Which he before for hire had tilled!"
    If I with gratitude am filled
    For what I have--by this I dare
    Adjure you to fulfil my prayer,
    That you with fatness will endow
    My little herd of cattle now,
    And all things else their lord may own
    Except what wits he has, alone,
    And be, as heretofore, my chief
    Protector, guardian, and relief!
    So, when from town and all its ills
    I to my perch among the hills
    Retreat, what better theme to choose
    Than Satire for my homely muse?
    No fell ambition wastes me there,
    No, nor the south wind's leaden air,
    Nor Autumn's pestilential breath,
    With victims feeding hungry death.

[B] Mercury, the god of gain, and protector of poets.

The poet proceeds to contrast with his restful country life the
vexatious bustle of the city, and the officious attentions which people
thrust upon him because of his supposed influence with Mæcenas.

    Some chilling news through lane and street
    Spreads from the Forum. All I meet
    Accost me thus--"Dear friend, you're so
    Close to the gods, that you must know;
    About the Dacians have you heard
    Any fresh tidings?" "Not a word."
    "You're always jesting!" "Now may all
    The gods confound me, great and small,
    If I have heard one word!" "Well, well
    But you at any rate can tell
    If Cæsar means the lands which he
    Has promised to his troops shall be
    Selected from Italian ground,
    Or in Trinacria be found?"
    And when I swear, as well I can,
    That I know nothing, for a man
    Of silence rare and most discreet
    They cry me up to all the street.
    Thus do my wasted days slip by,
    Not without many a wish and sigh:
    Oh, when shall I the country see,
    Its woodlands green? Oh, when be free,
    With books of great old men, and sleep,
    And hours of dreamy ease, to creep
    Into oblivion sweet of life,
    Its agitations and its strife?
    When on my table shall be seen
    Pythagoras' kinsman bean,
    And bacon, not too fat, embellish
    My dish of greens, and give it relish?
    Oh happy nights, oh feasts divine,
    When, with the friends I love, I dine
    At mine own hearth-fire, and the meat
    We leave gives my bluff hinds a treat!
    No stupid laws our feasts control,
    But each guest drains or leaves the bowl,
    Precisely as he feels inclined.
    If he be strong, and have a mind
    For bumpers, good! If not, he's free
    To sip his liquor leisurely.
    And then the talk our banquet rouses!
    Not gossip 'bout our neighbors' houses,
    But what concerns us nearer, and
    Is harmful not to understand;
    Whether by wealth or worth, 'tis plain
    That men to happiness attain;
    By what we're led to choose our friends,--
    Regard for them, or our own ends;
    In what does good consist, and what
    Is the supremest form of that.

At some such informal gathering of neighbors as this the story of the
city mouse and the country mouse would be told. The poet's own moral of
this homely tale is gathered from the farewell words of the country
mouse as he escapes from the splendors--and terrors of the city:

    "Ho!" cries the country mouse. "This kind
    Of life is not for me, I find.
    Give me my woods and cavern. There
    At least I'm safe! And though both spare
    And poor my food may be, rebel
    I never will; so, fare ye well!"


The mantle of the satirist preacher which had fallen from Horace found
no worthy claimant for nearly half a century. The successor, and, so far
as in him lay, the sincere imitator of Horace, was Aulus Persius
Flaccus. His circumstances were as unlike those of his great predecessor
as can well be imagined. Horace was the son of a freedman, with no
financial or social backing save that which he won by his own genius;
Persius was, like Lucilius, of noble equestrian rank, rich, and related
by birth to some of the first men of his time. Horace, while he had
every opportunity for learning all that books and the schools could
teach him, was, as we have already seen, preëminently a student of real
life, having been taught by his father to study men as they actually
were. Persius, on the other hand, saw little of the world except through
the medium of books and teachers. When the future satirist was but six
years of age, his father died, and he was brought up chiefly in the
society of his mother and sister, carefully shielded from contact with
the rough and wicked world. At the age of twelve he was taken from his
native Volaterræ in Etruria to Rome, where his formal education was
continued in the same careful seclusion until he assumed the toga of
manhood. His writings do not, therefore, smack of the street and the
world of men as do those of Horace, but they savor of the cloister and
the library. Horace preached against the sins of men as he saw them;
Persius, as he imagined them and read of them, taking his texts often
from the more virile satires of Horace himself. Horace was devoted to
no school of philosophy, but accepted what seemed to him best and sanest
from all schools, and jeered alike at the follies of all. But Persius
was by birth, education, and choice a Stoic. He became an ardent
preacher and expounder of the Stoic philosophy, just as Lucretius had
thrown his whole heart into expounding the doctrine of Epicurus a
hundred years before.

Stoicism, as Tyrrell says, was the "philosophy in which under the Roman
Empire the human conscience sought and found an asylum. It had ceased
now to be a philosophy, and had become a religion, appealing to the rich
and great as Christianity appealed to the poor and humble."

Persius, accordingly, following his early bent, as soon as he arrived at
man's estate, placed himself under the care and instruction of Cornutus,
a Stoic philosopher. His own account of this event forms one of the most
pleasing passages in his works, and is found in the fifth satire, which
is a confession of his own ardent devotion both to his friend the Stoic,
and to Stoicism as well.

The lofty and almost Christian tone of this ardent young Stoic preacher
was greatly admired in the Middle Ages, and he was much quoted by the
Church Fathers. His high moral truths sounded out in an age of moral
laxity, when faith in the old religious beliefs had given way, and had
not yet laid hold upon the nascent doctrine of Christianity which was
even now marching westward and was soon to gain admission to Rome
itself. To the Stoic, virtue was the bright goal of all living. To gain
her was to gain life indeed; and to lose her was to suffer loss
irreparable. This loss the poet invokes in a masterly apostrophe in the
third satire upon those rulers who basely abuse their power.

    Dread sire of gods! when lust's envenomed stings
    Stir the fierce nature of tyrannic kings;
    When storms of rage within their bosoms roll,
    And call in thunder for thy just control;
    O then relax the bolt, suspend the blow,
    And thus and thus alone thy vengeance show:
    In all her charms set Virtue in their eye,
    And let them see their loss, despair, and die!

The Christian tone of Persius is perhaps best seen in the second satire,
which is a sermon on prayer. The tone throughout is far above the level
of the thinking of his time, and shows a lofty conception of the deity
and of spiritual things. In the closing lines especially, he reaches so
high and true a spiritual note that he seems almost to have caught a
glimpse of those high conceptions which inspired his great contemporary,
the apostle Paul. This sermon might well have had for its text the
inspired words of the Old Testament prophet Hosea: "For I desired mercy
and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings."

That the Romans were not without their own light as to the acceptable
offering to heaven is further seen in an ode of Horace, in which he
voices the same high truth, that the thought of the heart is of more
moment in the sight of God than the offering of the hand. This fine ode
ends with the following stanza:

    If thy hand, free from ill, the altar touch,
    Thou shalt the offended gods appease as much
    With gifts of sparkling salt and pious meal
    As if thy vows more costly victims seal.

But let us now return to our poet's sermon on prayer. Persius addresses
it to his friend Plotius Macrinus, congratulating him upon the returning
anniversary of his birthday.

    Health to my friend! and while my vows I pay,
    O mark, Macrinus, this auspicious day,
    Which, to your sum of years already flown,
    Adds yet another--with a whiter stone.

Amid the prayers to his tutelary genius this day, Macrinus will not
offer those selfish and impious prayers with which men are too prone to
come before the gods, prayers which they would not dare to utter to a
man, or even in the hearing of men.

    Indulge your genius, drench in wine your cares:
    It is not yours, with mercenary prayers,
    To ask of heaven what you would die with shame,
    Unless you drew the gods aside, to name;
    While other great ones stand, with downcast eyes,
    And with a silent censer tempt the skies!--
    Sound sense, integrity, a conscience clear,
    Are begged aloud, that all at hand may hear;
    But prayers like these (half whispered, half suppressed)
    The tongue scarce hazards from the conscious breast:
    "O that I could my rich old uncle see
    In funeral pomp!--O that some deity
    To pots of buried gold would guide my share!
    O that my ward, whom I succeed as heir,
    Were once at rest! Poor child, he lives in pain,
    And death to him must be accounted gain.--
    By wedlock thrice has Nerius swelled his store,
    And now--he is a widower once more!"

The ingenious manner in which this prayer is framed so as to calm the
conscience of the votary is admirably pointed out by Gifford. "The
supplicant meditates no injury to any one. The death of his uncle is
concealed under a wish that he could see his magnificent funeral, which,
as the poor man must one day die, is a prayer becoming a pious nephew.
The second petition is quite innocent.--If people will foolishly bury
their gold and forget it, there is no more harm in his finding it than
another. The third is even laudable; it is a prayer uttered in pure
tenderness of heart, for the relief of a poor suffering child. With
respect to the last, there can be no wrong in mentioning a fact which
everybody knows. Not a syllable is said of his own wife; if the gods are
pleased to take a hint and remove her, that is their concern; he never
asked it."

    One question, friend, an easy one, in fine:
    What are thy thoughts of Jove? "My thoughts?" Yes, thine.
    Wouldst thou prefer him to the herd of Rome?
    To any individual?--But to whom?
    To Statius, for example. Heavens! a pause?
    Which of the two would best dispense of laws?
    Best shield th' unfriended orphan? Good! Now move
    The suit to Statius, late preferred to Jove:
    "O Jove! Good Jove!" he cries, o'erwhelmed with shame,
    And must not Jove himself "O Jove!" exclaim?
    Or dost thou think the impious wish forgiven,
    Because, when thunder shakes the vault of heaven,
    The bolt innoxious flies o'er thee and thine,
    To rend the forest oak and mountain pine?
    Because, yet livid from the lightning's scath,
    Thy smoldering corpse, a monument of wrath,
    Lies in no blasted grove, for public care
    To expiate, with sacrifice and prayer;
    Must, therefore, Jove, unsceptered and unfeared
    Give to thy ruder mirth his foolish beard?
    What bribe hast thou to win the powers divine
    Thus to thy rod?--The lungs and lights of swine!

Again, the ears of heaven are assailed by ignorant and superstitious
prayers, against which the poet inveighs. Then follows a rebuke to those
who pray for health and happiness, but who, by their vices and folly,
thwart their own prayer.

Why do men pray so impiously and foolishly? It is because they entertain
such ignorant and unworthy conceptions of the gods, because they think
that they are beings of like passions with themselves. No, no! the gods
have no such carnal passions, nor do they care for gold and the rich
offerings of men's hands. They regard the heart of the worshiper, and if
this is pure, even empty hands may bring an acceptable offering.

    O grovelling souls, and void of things divine!
    Why bring our passions to the Immortals' shrine,
    And judge, from what this carnal sense delights,
    Of what is pleasing in their purer sights?
    This the Calabrian fleece with purple soils,
    And mingles cassia with our native oils;
    Tears from the rocky conch its pearly store,
    And strains the metal from the glowing ore.
    This, this, indeed, is vicious; yet it tends
    To gladden life, perhaps, and boasts its ends;
    But you, ye priests (for sure ye can), unfold--
    In heavenly things, what boots this pomp of gold?
    No more, in truth, than dolls to Venus paid,
    The toys of childhood, by the riper maid!
    No! let me bring the Immortals what the race
    Of great Messala, now depraved and base,
    On their huge charger, cannot;--bring a mind
    Where legal and where moral sense are joined
    With the pure essence; holy thoughts that dwell
    In the soul's most retired and sacred cell;
    A bosom dyed in honor's noblest grain,
    Deep-dyed;--with these let me approach the fane,
    And heaven will hear the humble prayer I make,
    Though all my offering be a barley cake.



When one has read his Horace, one feels personally acquainted with the
poet, so frankly biographical is he. This is true, though to a much less
extent, of Persius. But Juvenal is almost sphinxlike in regard to
himself. What little we know is gained from a few indirect references in
his writings themselves, and from the numerous and contradictory ancient
lives which have come down to us prefaced to the different manuscripts
of Juvenal's satires. From these we gather that he was born sometime
between 48 and 55 A. D., at the town of Aquinum in Latium, and was the
son of a well-to-do freedman who left him a patrimony sufficient for his
modest maintenance through life. He had a good education in grammar and
rhetoric, and devoted himself through a large part of his earlier life
to rhetorical declamation; though he seems not to have made any
professional or profitable use of the talent which he undoubtedly
possessed for the vocation of the advocate. He enjoyed some unimportant
though honorable civil employment under Titus and Domitian, and served
for one period of his life in the army, probably in Britain, with the
rank of military tribune.

In Juvenal's later life he seems to have given offense either to
Domitian by some lines which he wrote upon a favorite pantomime dancer
of the emperor, or to Hadrian for a similar cause. By one or the other
of these emperors, according to tradition, he was practically exiled by
an appointment to a command of a legion in Africa. The date of his death
is as uncertain as that of his birth, but it seems to lie between 128
and 138 A. D.

It will be seen, therefore, that our poet was contemporaneous with ten
Roman emperors, his life covering the period from Nero to Hadrian,
inclusive. It was during the reign of Domitian, however, that Juvenal,
now already well advanced to middle life, took up his residence in Rome
and began that work which was to be his material contribution to life
and letters.

Life in Rome under Domitian!--what a challenge to the satirist! what a
field for the preacher! These were the crowning years of well-nigh a
century of ever-increasing horror. With the downfall of liberty and the
republic, both of which had perished in fact long before their name and
semblance vanished, wealth and luxury had poured into Rome from the
conquered provinces, and with these that moral laxity against which
Horace had aimed his satire, then in four successive reigns Rome had
cringed and groaned under the absolute sway of cynic, madman, fool, and
flippant murderer, each more recklessly disregardful than the last of
civic virtue and the lives and common rights of man. Then three puppets
within a year involving the world in civil strife were themselves swept
off the stage by Vespasian and Titus, who did indeed give passing
respite to the state. And then for fifteen years--Domitian! Of these
fifteen years Tacitus, just emerging into the grateful light of Nerva's
and of Trajan's reigns, indignantly exclaims:

    They had besides expelled all the professors of philosophy, and
    driven every laudable science into exile, that naught which was
    worthy and honest might anywhere be seen. Mighty, surely, was the
    testimony which we gave of our patience; and as our forefathers
    had beheld the ultimate consummation of liberty, so did we of
    bondage, since through dread of informers and inquisitions of
    state, we were bereft of the common intercourse of speech and
    attention. Nay, with our utterance we had likewise lost our
    memory, had it been equally in our power to forget as to be
    silent.... Few we are who have escaped; and, if I may so speak, we
    have survived not only others, but even ourselves, when from the
    middle of our lives so many years were rent; whence from being
    young we are arrived at old age, from being old we are nigh come
    to the utmost verge of mortality, all in a long course of awful

Somewhat earlier than this, though within the same generation, Paul the
apostle to the Gentiles, _the_ preacher of that dark age, had written a
letter to the infant Christian church at Rome in which he had drawn a
terrible picture of what human society can become when it has thrown off
all checks and abandoned itself to profligacy. His picture, we may be
sure, was drawn from the life.

    And even as they refused to have God in their knowledge, God gave
    them up unto a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not
    fitting; being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness,
    covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit,
    malignity; whisperers, backbiters, hateful to God, insolent,
    haughty, boastful, inventors of evil things, disobedient to
    parents, without understanding, covenant-breakers, without natural
    affection, unmerciful: who, knowing the ordinance of God, that
    they which practice such things are worthy of death, not only do
    the same, but also consent with them that practice them.

Upon such a world as this did Juvenal, in the prime of manhood, his
powers of reason, observation, and expression fully ripened, look out
from his home in the Roman Subura;[C] with the product of such times did
he mingle in the crowded reception-rooms of rich and noble patrons. He
looked upon society and noted it, and long restrained his speech. But at
last, as Tyrrell has well expressed it, "the flood of indignation, pent
up in furious silence for forty years, once loose, carried away on its
current or tossed aside every obstacle that impeded its onward rush."

[C] A quarter in Rome given up to markets and tenement-houses.

And this is that which mainly distinguishes him from Horace--his
tremendous moral earnestness, his fiery indignation. His spirit did not
allow him to play with his theme; there were hard blows to strike at
outbreaking sins, and he would strike them. And if venial faults were
struck as hard as more serious offenses, that was a proof not of
inconsistency, but of an earnestness that could not stop to distinguish;
if he writes of practices too shameful for telling in the hearing of
polite ears, it is because his righteous indignation was in no mood to
mince words, but would hold up vice in all its hideousness to the fatal
light. He speaks with frankness of shameful sins, but only to hurl his
denunciations at them. He is always in a rage,--strenuous where Horace
is gently satirical and whimsical; didactic and straightforward where
Horace is conversational and dramatic. At the same time he paints most
vivid pictures, filling in the lines with tremendous sweeps of his
rhetorical brush.

He tells us that he was fairly driven to write satire by the very
atmosphere and daily occurrences of folly and sin around him.[D]

[D] The quotations from Juvenal which follow are taken from the
excellent prose version of Leeper.

    For who so tolerant of this wrong-headed city, who so callous,
    that he can contain himself when lawyer Matho's brand-new litter
    comes along, filled with his Greatness, and after him the betrayer
    of his distinguished friend, who will soon finish off the remnants
    of our nobility already preyed upon.... Is not one moved to fill a
    bulky note-book right in the middle of the cross-roads, when a man
    is carried past, already indulging in six bearers, showing himself
    to view on both sides--a forger who has made himself aristocrat
    and millionaire with a little tablet and a damp seal? Now you are
    confronted by a lady of position, who, when her husband is
    thirsty, just before she hands him the mild Calenian, puts in a
    dash of poison, and, like a superior Lucusta, teaches her
    unsophisticated kinswomen to carry their livid husbands to burial
    right through the town and all its gossip.... It is to crime that
    men owe their pleasure-grounds, their castles, banquets, old
    silver, and goblets with goat's figure in relief.... When nature
    refuses, sheer scorn produces verse--the best it can.

He cannot abide the Greeks. His national pride is touched at the thought
that not only do they swarm in Rome, monopolizing by their superior
shrewdness all profitable employments, but that Rome itself has gone
crazy after them, and things Greek are all the rage.

    And now I will at once admit to you,--no false shame shall stop
    me,--what class is most in favor with our wealthy men, and whom
    most of all I am flying from. I cannot abide, fellow-citizen, a
    Greecized Rome.... Your yeoman citizen, Quirinus, dons his Greek
    boots and wears a Greek collar upon a neck rubbed with Greek
    ointment.... What a quick intellect, what desperate effrontery,
    what a ready tongue, surpassing Isæus himself in fluency. Tell me
    now, what do you take him for? In his own person he has brought
    us--why, whom you will--critic, rhetorician, geometer, painter,
    trainer, prophet, rope-dancer, doctor, sorcerer. The starveling
    Greek knows everything.... Mark how that race, so adroit in
    flattery, extols the foolish friend's conversation, the
    ill-favored friend's features; how they compare some weakling's
    scraggy neck with the throat of a Hercules, or admire a harsh
    voice which is not a whit better than the cry of a cock.... The
    whole breed of them are actors. If you but smile, your Greek
    shakes his sides with heartier merriment; he weeps, if he has
    spied a tear in his friend's eye, and yet he feels no grief. If
    you ask in winter time for a bit of a fire, he takes an overcoat:
    should you remark, "I feel warm," he is in a sweat.

Juvenal complains bitterly of the unproductiveness of honest toil in
literature and the professions. It's all very well to talk about the
poet's inspiration, but Pegasus does not fly upon an empty stomach.

    He has dined, has Horace, when he shouts his "Evoe." ... Were
    Vergil left without a slave and a decent lodging, then every snake
    would tumble from his locks: his trumpet would be hushed, and
    sound forth no more impressive notes.... Historians, is your toil
    more productive? It demands more time and more oil. Each of you,
    doubtless, has his pages rising by the hundred, knowing no limit,
    growing towards bankruptcy with the pile of papyrus. But what is
    your harvest--what does opening up that field yield you? Who will
    pay a historian as much as he would pay a reporter?... Then say
    what public services and the ever-present big packet of documents
    bring in to our advocates. Would you know their real gains? In
    one scale set a hundred advocates' estates; in the other just that
    of Lacerna, the Red Jockey.

The teacher fares no better:

    Who places in Celadus' and learned Palæmon's lap a due reward for
    their scholastic toils? Yet, little as it is, the pupil's stupid
    body servant takes the first bite, and the steward will snip off a
    something for himself. Submit to it, Palæmon; let something be
    abated of your due, as if you were a-huckstering winter blankets
    and white counterpanes.

Here is his exhortation to those degenerate Roman nobles who prided
themselves upon their blue blood and ancient names, but whose lives
belied their birth. The sentiment may seem a commonplace, but it still
inspires our modern poets, as in Tennyson:

    'Tis only noble to be good.
    Kind hearts are more than coronets,
    And simple faith than Norman blood.

    Of what avail are pedigrees? What boots it, Ponticus, taking rank
    by length of descent, and having one's ancestors' portrait-masks
    to show off? What do you gain by the display of a Corvinus in your
    big family roll, or by your affinity with smoke-begrimed Masters
    of the Horse, if you live a life of shame in the very face of the
    Lepidi?... No, though time-honored waxen likenesses adorn the
    length and breadth of your hall, still virtue is the sole and only
    nobility. Be a Paulus, a Cossus, or a Drusus in _character_. Rank
    that above the statues of your ancestors. The first thing you are
    bound to show me is a good heart. If by word and deed you deserve
    the character of a blameless man, one who cleaves to the
    right--good: I recognize the noble; I salute you, Gætulicus be
    you, or Silanus, or of whatever other blood you come.... For who
    will call "noble" one who shames his race, and challenges notice
    by the luster of his name alone?

The very horse is ranked and valued by what he does; so much more man,
and besides, _noblesse oblige_:

    He is a "noble" steed, whatever grass he comes from, who takes
    rank above his fellows--in pace, and who raises the dust upon the
    course ahead of all; but the progeny of Coryphæus and Hirpinus are
    "stock for sale"--if Victory has rarely perched on their collar.
    _There_ is no regard for ancestors, no favoritism toward the
    shades of the departed.... Therefore, so that we may admire
    yourself and not your belongings, give me something of your own to
    carve 'neath your statue, beyond the honors which we have
    rendered, and render still, to those who made you all you are.

Juvenal's most famous satire is the tenth, upon the theme "The Vanity of
Human Wishes." It is more general in scope than the other satires, but
is nevertheless full of the moral earnestness that everywhere
characterizes the author. Here is the broad thesis:

    Through all lands but few are they who can clear themselves of the
    mists of errors, and discriminate between the real blessings and
    what are quite the reverse. For in what fear or wish of ours are
    we guided by reason's rule? No matter how auspiciously you start
    with a plan, do you not live to regret your efforts and the
    attainment of your desire? Whole households have been overthrown
    ere now, at their own petition, by a too gracious heaven. By the
    arts of peace and war alike we strive for what will only hurt us.

Wealth is notoriously a fatal gift, and should be shunned, not sought.
No one need fear poison if he drinks his wine out of a cheap cup. If the
love of money is the root of all evil, the possession of money is a
challenge to all evil-doers. What, then, may one rightly desire? Power?
This is just as fatal to its possessor.

    Some are brought to ruin through their great power, subject itself
    to envy just as great; they are wrecked by their long and
    brilliant roll of honors; down from the pedestals come their
    statues, and now the stroke of the axe shatters the very wheels of
    the triumphal cars. Hark! now the fires are hissing, now, by dint
    of bellows and forge, that head, the people's idol, is aglow; and
    the great Sejanus is a crackling! And soon from the face, second
    to one only in the whole world, they are making pipkins, and
    basins, and a pan--ay, and even meaner vessels!... What laid low a
    Crassus, and a Pompey, and that leader who broke the proud Romans'
    spirit and brought them under his lash? Why, it was just the
    unscrupulous struggling for the highest place, and the prayer of
    ambition, heard but too well by the malicious gods. It is but
    seldom that a king does not take a murderous crowd with him down
    to Ceres' son-in-law; seldom that a despot dies without
    blood-letting.... Just weigh Hannibal. How many pounds' weight
    will you find in that greatest of leaders? This is the man for
    whom Africa is too small--Africa, lashed by the Moorish main, and
    stretching thence to the tepid Nile; and, on another side again,
    to the Ethiopian tribes with their towering elephants! He adds
    Spain to his empire; he bounds over the Pyrenees; Nature barred
    his path with her Alp and her snow; he rives the rocks and bursts
    the mountain with vinegar. Now he holds Italy, yet he still
    strains forward. "Nothing," cries he, "is gained unless we storm
    the city gates with our Punic soldiery, and this hand plants my
    standard in the very heart of Rome!" Oh, what a sight! oh, what a
    subject for a caricature--the one-eyed general bestriding the
    Gætulian monster! What, then, is his end? Fie, glory! Why, he in
    his turn is conquered, and flies headlong into exile; and there he
    sits, that august dependent--a gazing stock at a king's
    gates--until it may please His Majesty of Bithynia to awake. The
    soul which once turned the world upside down shall be quelled, not
    by a sword, not by a stone, no, nor by a javelin; but by that
    Nemesis of Cannæ, the avenger of all that blood--just a ring.[E]
    Off with you, madman! Scour the bleak Alps, that so you may--catch
    the fancy of schoolboys, and become a theme for declamation!

[E] Hannibal always carried with him, concealed in a ring, a dose of
poison, with which, at last, he took his own life, to escape capture by
the Romans.

If any are disposed to pray for long life and length of days, Juvenal's
dark and repulsive picture of old age would effectually banish that
desire. One by one the physical and mental powers fail and the man is
left but a pitiful wreck of his former self.

    But suppose his faculties be sound, yet still he must conduct his
    sons to their burial; must gaze at the pyre of his beloved wife,
    and of his brother, and on urns filled with what was once his
    sisters. This is the forfeit laid upon longevity, to pass to old
    age amid bereavement after bereavement, thick-coming griefs, and
    one weary round of lamentations, with the garb of the mourner
    never laid aside.

But age brings not alone loss of friends, but in many instances personal
suffering and disaster from which one would be mercifully delivered by a
more timely death. This, Caius Marius, the great Roman general, found to
his cost:

    That banishment, that jail, Minturnæ's swamps, and the bread of
    beggary in conquered Carthage, all had their origin in a long
    life. What happier being in the world than that Roman could
    nature, could Rome ever have produced, if, after leading round the
    train of captives amid all the circumstance of war, he had
    breathed out his soul in glory, when just stepping down from his
    Teutonic car?

As for beauty, foolish indeed is that mother who prays for her son or
her daughter that he or she may possess this; for it is the most fatal
possession of all. Not even the most rugged training of the old Sabine
school of morality can shield the possessor of great beauty from the
poisonous, insidious temptations, if not actual violence, of the wicked
world. What then?

    Shall men then pray for nothing? If you will take my advice, you
    will allow the gods themselves to determine what is meet for us,
    and suited to our lot; for the gods will give us--not what is
    pleasant, but what is most befitting in each case. Man is dearer
    to them than to himself. Urged on by impulse, by blind and violent
    desires, we pray for a wife, and for offspring; but only they (the
    gods) know what the children will be, and of what character the
    wife. Still, if you must make your petition, and must vow a meat
    offering at the shrine, then pray for a healthy mind in a healthy
    body; pray for a brave spirit free from the fear of death--a
    spirit that regards life's close as one of nature's boons, that
    can endure any toil, that is innocent of anger and free from
    desire, and that looks on the sufferings of Hercules and his cruel
    labors as more blessed than all the wantoning, and reveling, and
    down-couches of a Sardanapalus.

Perhaps the appeal of Juvenal that comes most powerfully to the present
generation, and contains the most solemn lesson for us, is his warning
to fathers and mothers that all unconsciously to them their sons and
daughters are following in their footsteps, bound to copy them, and
reproduce their faults in later life. The presence of a child is as
sacred as a temple shrine, and should be as carefully guarded from every
profaning influence. It is surely notable to find this wholesome
teaching springing like a lily out of the mire of that degenerate age.
It smacks neither of fervid rhetoric nor of cold and formal philosophy,
but rings true and natural as childhood itself.

    Let no foul word or sight come nigh the threshold where dwells the
    father of a family. _You owe your boy the profoundest respect. If
    meditating aught that is base, despise not your boy's tender
    years; but let the image of your infant son arrest you on the
    verge of sin._ For should he some day do a deed to earn the
    censor's wrath, and show himself not only your counterpart in face
    and figure, but heir of your character as well--one to follow in
    your steps, and sin every sin in worse degree--you will chide and
    scold him, no doubt, with loud reproaches, and then proceed to
    change your will. But whence that boldness, whence those parental
    rights, when you do worse, despite your age? If company is coming,
    none of your people will have any rest. Sweep the pavement! Let me
    see the pillars glistening! Down with the shriveled spider and all
    her web! Ho! you polish the plain silver, and you the figured
    cups! So the master storms at the top of his voice, urging them
    on, with rod in hand. Poor wretch! are you in such a fidget lest
    the hall may offend your friend's eye, when he comes, and lest the
    vestibule be splashed with mud--all of which one little page with
    one half-peck of sawdust puts to rights--but yet bestow no thought
    on this, that your son's eye shall rest upon a household
    unsullied, stainless, innocent of vice? We thank you that you gave
    a citizen to your country and your people, if you make him worthy
    of that country, helpful to its soil, helpful in public work, in
    peace and war; for it will matter much in what lessons and
    principles you train him.

Such wholesome truths as these and many more did Juvenal press home upon
his generation. And he speaks no less to all humanity; for the problems
of human life and conduct are not peculiar to any age, but are always
and everywhere the same.

We have now reviewed two centuries of Roman preachers, and it may
naturally be asked, "What was their influence upon the Roman world?" No
direct results are traceable to their efforts. Society went on its
accustomed course; the seeds of decay and death sprang up, grew to
maturity, and brought forth their natural fruits of national destruction
in due season, apparently unchecked by the counter influences of which
we have spoken. These influences cannot yet be weighed and known--not
until account has been taken of all the factors in the world's life
problem, the grand totals cast up and the trial balance made. But in
that time the bead-roll of the world's real benefactors will contain the
names of these Roman satirists whose voices were raised against an age
of wrong in immemorial protest, who were the numb and dormant conscience
of the human race awakened and incarnate in a human tongue.


_Roman Satire_, as illustrated by the works of Ennius (239-169 B. C.),
Lucilius (180-103 B. C.), Horace (65-8 B. C.), Persius (34-62 A. D.),
and Juvenal (48(?)-138(?) A. D.).

1. What position did the Roman satirist occupy as a teacher of morals?
2. Show how the great Greek writers served as models for the leading
Roman men of letters. 3. In what literary field did the Romans strike
out for themselves? 4. What may we suppose was the character of the rude
satire of ancient Italy? 5. What position does Ennius hold among Roman
satirists? 6. What famous events took place within the lifetime of
Lucilius? 7. How did his social position help to make his writings
effective? 8. What did the Romans themselves think of him? 9. How have
fragments of his works been preserved to us? 10. What picture of life in
the Roman Forum does he present? 11. Give other examples of the
teachings of Lucilius. 12. Quote his definition of virtue. 13. How does
Horace's attitude toward his fellow-men differ from that of Lucilius?
14. What advantage had he in his early education? 15. Illustrate his
habit of personal reflection upon the events of the day. 16. What are
the marked qualities of his style? 17. Describe his argument in favor of
contentment. 18. What qualities of the "bore" are brought out in his
famous satire on this subject? 19. What is his criticism of Lucilius?
20. Give an account of Horace's own life. 21. What ideas does he set
forth in his satire to Mæcenas? 22. What description does he give of his
father? 23. What picture does he give of his life on his farm as
contrasted with his life in Rome? 24. How did the circumstances of the
life of Persius differ from those of Horace? 25. How different is his
poetry for this reason? 26. Illustrate the poet's high estimate of
Stoicism. 27. How does he treat the subject of prayer in one of his
famous satires? 28. How is his skill shown in his picture of the false
suppliant? 29. What do we know of the life of Juvenal? 30. What was the
character of the times in which he lived? 31. How does his style differ
from that of Horace? 32. How does he deal with the Hellenizing
tendencies of his time? 33. Give an outline of his satire upon the
vanity of human wishes. 34. What is his solemn warning to parents?


SIMCOX, _History of Latin Literature_: Early Satire, Lucilius, Vol. I,
pp. 62-68; Horace, pp. 283-300; Persius, Vol. II, pp. 80-86; Juvenal,
pp. 118-138.

SELLAR, _The Roman Poets of the Republic_: Early Roman Satire, C.
Lucilius, pp. 222-252. _The Roman Poets of the Augustan Age--Horace and
the Elegiac Poets_: The Satires of Horace, pp. 51-84.

TYRRELL, _Latin Poetry_: Horace and Lucilius, pp. 162-181; Latin Satire,
pp. 216-259.

NETTLESHIP, _The Original Form of the Roman Satura. Lectures and
Essays_: Horace, Life and Poems, pp. 143-167.

CONINGTON, _The Satires of Persius_, with translations and commentary:
Lecture on Life and Writings of Persius, pp. xiii-xxxii.

GIFFORD, _Satires of Juvenal and Persius_, translated into English
verse: The Life of Juvenal, Vol. I, pp. xxxi-xlviii; The Roman
Satirists, pp. xlix-lxxxii; Life and Satires of Persius, Vol. II, pp.

PEARSON AND STRONG, _Thirteen Satires of Juvenal_ (the best text edition
with commentary): Life of Juvenal, pp. 9-46.



    Show'd me that epic was of all the king,
    Round, vast, and spanning all, like Saturn's ring?


We have already seen how the national pride of Rome was stirred by the
completed subjugation of Italy and the first successful step in foreign
conquest as the result of the First Punic War, and how this quickened
national pride gave a new impulse to literature. We have seen how from
this period under the powerful stimulus of Greek influence the drama
sprang into being in its literary form. And it was in this same soil of
awakened national consciousness, and in this same atmosphere of Greek
thought and expression that the Roman epic had its beginnings.

The rude translation of Homer's _Odyssey_ made by Livius Andronicus is
not to be considered in this connection, for this was produced with no
national feeling, but only that he might have a text-book from which to
instruct his Roman schoolboys in their native tongue. The honor of
producing the first heroic poem in Roman literature belongs to Cn.
Nævius, to whom Mommsen accords the high praise of "the first Roman who
deserves to be called a poet." He was a native of the district of
Campania, of plebeian family, of most sturdy and independent character.
The period of his life falls approximately between the years 269 and 199
B. C. We know that he was a soldier in his earlier life, serving in the
First Punic War in Sicily, that he was imprisoned for his bold attacks
from the stage upon the noble family of the Metelli, and afterward
banished to Africa, where he ended his days.

The tragedies and comedies of Nævius date from his life in Rome, but the
occupation, and we may well believe the solace, of his old age in exile
was the composition of his _Bellum Punicum_, a heroic poem upon the
First Punic War. This poem is a truly national epic written in the rough
old Saturnian verse which came down from hoary antiquity as a native
Roman metrical product. This verse has a jingle not unlike some of our
familiar nursery rhymes, of which

  The king was in his counting-house counting out his money,

is a fair sample. Roman in form, the epic of Nævius was also intensely
national in spirit and content. It was written in seven books, of which
the first two form a kind of mythological background or prelude, and the
remaining five books tell the story of the first great duel between Rome
and Carthage.

In the scanty fragments of this poem, especially in the introductory
books, we are surprised to find ourselves upon familiar ground, until we
discover that we are dealing with one of the great sources of Vergil's
inspiration. For here in these broken scraps as in a shattered mirror we
catch glimpses of Æneas and Anchises departing from Troy with their
wives and treasure, and of the storm that drove the Trojans out of their
course and wrecked them upon the shores of Africa; we hear snatches of
Venus' appeal to Jupiter in their behalf, of Jove's reply promising to
the Trojans a mighty destiny, and of Dido's request to Æneas for his
tale of the Trojan War.

The whole seems to have been written in an exceedingly simple and direct
style, without much attempt at poetic embellishment. The poet prided
himself upon his unadulterated Latinity, and protested against the
strong Hellenizing tendency that was setting in. His epitaph (Roman
writers had a weakness for composing their own epitaphs) may seem a bit
over-laudatory of self from our modest modern standpoint, but it is
quite in keeping with the outspoken style of his time, and is very
interesting in the claim that he makes to be the mouthpiece and perhaps
the last disciple of the native Italian muses (Camenæ). Here is his

  If it were meet that th' immortals' tears should fall on mortal clay,
  Then would our native Muses weep for this our Nævius;
  For truly, since to Death's great garner he was gathered in,
  Our Romans born have clean forgot to speak their mother tongue.


The Hellenizing tendency of which Nævius complains was setting in
strongly already during his life at Rome. But it was especially the
influence of his literary successor, an influence still more strongly
tending toward Greek forms and motives, which the unfortunate Nævius
mourned from his place of exile and which gave added bitterness to the
lament which the sturdy old Roman has left us in his epitaph.

This literary successor was the poet Quintus Ennius, who may almost be
said to have met Nævius at the gates of Rome, since he arrived at Rome
at about the time when Nævius went into banishment. Ennius was not a
Roman citizen at this time, having been born and reared down in the
extreme heel of Italy, at Rudiæ in Calabria, a section which had for
many generations been under Greek influence. He was of good local
family, familiar with the rough Oscan speech of his native village, with
the polished Greek of neighboring Tarentum, where he was probably at
school, and with the Roman tongue, which had become the official
language of his district after Rome had pushed her conquests to the
limits of Italy. He was wont to say of himself that he had three
hearts--Oscan, Latin, and Greek; and certainly by the circumstances of
his birth and education he was a good representative of the threefold
national influences which were rapidly converging.

Ennius was born in 239 B. C., shortly after the close of the First Punic
War; but he comes first into notice as a centurion in the Roman army in
Sardinia during the Second Punic War. Here Cato, while acting as quæstor
in the island, found him, and no doubt attracted by the sturdy scholarly
soldier, took him to Rome in 204 in his own train. The poet afterward
accompanied M. Fulvius Nobilior on that general's expedition to Ætolia,
a privilege which he richly repaid later by immortalizing in verse the
Ætolian campaign. He obtained Roman citizenship in 184 through the
instrumentality of the son of Fulvius. He was most fortunate, moreover,
in enjoying the friendship of the great Scipio, with whom he lived on
the most intimate terms. For himself, he lived always at Rome in humble
fashion on a slope of the Aventine Hill, and gained a modest living by
teaching Greek to the youths of Rome. There is a tradition not very
trustworthy that it was of him that Cato himself "learned Greek at

That Ennius was fitted to be a confidential friend to great men of
affairs we may well believe if, as Aulus Gellius, who has preserved the
passage, would have us understand, the following picture was intended by
the poet as a self-portraiture. The passage is from the seventh book of
the "Annals," and has a setting of its own, but may well represent the
familiar intercourse of the poet with Marcus Fulvius or with Scipio. If
this is indeed a portrait, it is a passage of great value, for it
pictures the character in great detail.

  So having spoken, he called for a man with whom often and gladly
  Table he shared, and talk, and all his burden of duties,
  When with debate all day on important affairs he was wearied,
  Whether perchance in the Forum wide, or the reverend Senate;
  One with whom he could frankly speak of his serious matters,--
  Trifles also, and jests,--could pour out freely together
  Pleasant or bitter words, and know they were uttered in safety.
  Many the joys and the griefs he had shared, whether public or
  This was a man in whom no impulse prompted to evil,
  Whether of folly or malice; a scholarly man and a loyal,
  Graceful, ready of speech, with his own contented and happy;
  Tactful, speaking in season, yet courteous, never loquacious.
  Vast was the buried and antique lore that was his, for the foretime
  Made him master of earlier customs as well as of newer.
  Versed in the laws was he of the ancients, men or immortals.
  Wisely he knew both when he should talk and when to be silent.
  So unto him Servilius spoke in the midst of the fighting....


Ennius died in 169 B. C., and tradition says that his bust was placed in
the tomb of the family of his great patron, whereby the poet-soldier and
the soldier-statesman were mutually honored. Upon that sarcophagus of
Scipio surmounted by the poet's bust might well have been inscribed the
saying of Sellar: "Ennius was in letters what Scipio was in action--the
most vital representative of his epoch."

Ennius wrote satires and tragedies as we have seen; but it is because of
his great epic poem the _Annales_, the work of his ripe age, that he
deserves the high title accorded to him by the Romans themselves--"the
father of Roman literature." This work is epoch-making because of its
form and because of its important contribution to the development of the
Latin language itself. The poet perceived that the native Saturnian
verse was rude and unfitted to serve as a vehicle for the highest form
of literary expression. His feeling toward this verse is shown in a
fragment upon the First Punic War in which he refers to the _Bellum
Punicum_ of Nævius:

    Others have treated the subject in the verses which in days of old
    the Fauns and bards used to sing, before any one had climbed to
    the cliffs of the Muses, or gave any care to style.


From the Saturnian he turned to the hexameter, whose "ocean-roll of
rhythm" had resounded in the great epics of Homer. But it was one thing
to admire the Greek dactylic hexameter, with its smooth-flowing
cadences, and quite another to force the heavy, rough Latin speech into
this measure. But this task, difficult as it was, Ennius essayed, and by
the very attempt to force the Latin into the shapely Greek mold, he
modified and polished that language itself, and handed it down to his
literary successors as a far more fitting vehicle of noble expression
than he had found it. It is true that in comparison with the hexameters
of Vergil and Ovid the lines of Ennius are noticeably rough and heavy;
but still it must be remembered that it was the older poet's pioneer
labors that made the verse of Vergil and Ovid possible.

The "Annals" of Ennius is an attempt to gather up the traditions of
early Roman history and the facts of later times, and present them in a
continuous narrative. Ennius was the pioneer in this work, and shows, as
he says in the supposed self-portraiture quoted above, a very extensive
knowledge of Roman antiquities, as well as a vivid first-hand perception
of contemporary men and events. His active service as a soldier in the
Second Punic War especially fitted him to write the story of a warlike
nation. His descriptions of wars and stirring events are _con amore_. He
breathed the air of victory in the long series of Roman triumphs
following the Second Punic War, and infused into his great national poem
something of that exaltation of spirit which animated his times, and
which raised his work far above the plane which his modest title
suggests. The poem sank deep into the national heart, and became a very
bible of the race, from which his successors drew freely as from a
public fountain.

This poem, the work of the poet's old age, contained eighteen books, of
which only about six hundred lines of fragments remain. The first book
covers the period from the death of Priam to the death of Romulus. This
period is, however, not as long as it is usually represented by
tradition, for Ennius passes over the three hundred years of the Alban
kings and represents Æneas as the father of Ilia, the mother of Romulus.
One of the longest fragments describes the dream of Ilia in which the
birth of Romulus and Remus is foreshadowed.

Then follow scattered fragments relating to the birth and exposure of
the twins, their nourishment by the wolf, their growth to manhood, a
long fragment on the taking of the auspices by which the sovereignty of
Romulus over his brother was decided, and at the end a spirited passage
from the lamentation of the Romans over the death of Romulus.

The second and third books give a history of the Roman kings after
Romulus, with glimpses of the victory of the Horatii, the dreadful death
of the treacherous Mettius Fufetius, the disgusting impiety of Tullia,
and the rape of Lucretia, which precipitated the banishment of the
Tarquins. The fourth and fifth books cover the period from the founding
of the republic to the beginning of the war with Pyrrhus, which is
described in the sixth book. This contains the fine passage in which
King Pyrrhus refuses to accept money for the ransom of captives. He
says to the Roman ambassadors:

  Gold for myself I wish not; ye need not proffer a ransom.
  Not as hucksters might let us wage our war, but as soldiers:
  Not with gold but the sword. Our lives we will set on the issue.
  Whether your rule or mine be Fortune's pleasure,--our mistress,--
  Let us by valor decide. And to this word hearken ye also:
  Every valorous man who is spared by the fortune of battle,
  Fully determined am I of his freedom as well to accord him.
  Count it a gift. At the wish of the gods in heaven I grant it.


The seventh book treats of the First Punic War, which he touches upon
but lightly, since this subject had been so fully covered by his
predecessor. Then follow, in the remaining books, the Macedonian,
Ætolian, and Istrian wars, the history being brought down to within a
few years of the writer's death. In the last book the old poet very
fittingly compares himself to a spirited horse who has won victories in
his day, but now enjoys his well-earned rest in the dignity and
inactivity of age.

As we survey these broken fragments, we gain some appreciation of the
cruelty of that fate which preserved to posterity the ten tedious books
of Lucan's _Pharsalia_, the seventeen books of Silius' _Punica_, and the
twelve books of the _Thebaid_ of Statius, but swept away this great work
of Rome's first genuine poet--a work rendered triply valuable because it
was the first Roman experiment in hexameters, because in it the Latin
language was just molding into literary form, retaining still much of
its early roughness and heaviness, and because of the priceless
contribution to Roman antiquities which it could have furnished us.


We turn from Ennius to Vergil as from prophecy to fulfilment. A hundred
years separated the death of the one from the birth of the other, and
nearly a century and a half stood between their maturer works, a period
covering almost the whole range of republican literature. During this
time many hands had been at work importing literary treasures from
Greece, gleaning from native Italian sources the riches of ancient
folk-lore, customs, traditions, and annals; many minds had pondered over
the problems of life and human destiny, evolving and compiling treasures
of philosophy. And the combined labors of all these had so enlarged,
polished, and enriched the Latin speech, their common instrument, that,
in the single generation embracing the Augustan age, that finished
product was reached which we call the golden age of the language and its
literature, and to the standard of which we refer all Latinity of
earlier or later date.

During this period of development the "inspired" Accius, the immediate
successor of Ennius, had given to the world those works which won for
him the name of the greatest Roman tragic poet; Lucilius, the father of
Roman satire, had left his strong imprint upon his country's life and
language; Varro's tremendous diligence had stored up, among much other
treasure, material upon agriculture and Roman history and antiquities;
Lucretius had written his great didactic poem upon the Epicurean
philosophy; Catullus, an older contemporary of Vergil, had finished his
brief literary as well as earthly career before Vergil had well begun to
write; and lastly, Cicero, Cæsar, and Sallust had wrought in their
strong, polished prose for the further perfecting of the Latin speech.

With such a birthright was Vergil born; in such a school and from such
masters did he gain the equipment for his literary career, which was
destined to make him the most brilliant representative of the most
brilliant period in Roman literature.

His origin was certainly humble enough to hide him from fate. He was
born (B. C. 70) the son of a potter, or as some say a farmer, in an
obscure little village near Mantua, in northern Italy, and received his
early education in the not far away towns of Cremona and Mediolanum.
Thence he went to Rome for his higher education, where he acquired the
usual accomplishments of the Roman youth. His studies fitted him for the
profession of the advocate, but not so his nature. His one appearance at
the bar taught him his utter unfitness for that pursuit, for his natural
shyness on that occasion quite overcame him. As Ovid tells us of his own
experience, the Muses wooed him irresistibly away from the practical
pursuits of the "wordy forum," and claimed him for their own. Nature had
marked him for a poet. We are told that he was framed on large and
generous lines, tall, with the genuine Italian swarthiness of hue,
simple and gentle, almost rustic in appearance, with face so suggestive
of the purity of character within that the Neapolitans, among whom he
loved most to make his home, called him _Parthenias_, "the maiden-like
one." Even after he had attained fame, his natural shyness was so great
that the popular notice which he attracted upon the streets was a
torture to him, from which he always took refuge, as Donatus says, "into
the nearest house," as from a hostile mob.

The steps which led our poet from obscurity to fame we cannot trace in
detail. Local circumstances and his marked poetic ability brought him
early under the influence and patronage of Asinius Pollio, soldier,
statesman, and littérateur; he was admitted also to the select circle of
Mæcenas, to which he himself was privileged later to introduce his
friend Horace; and Mæcenas in turn introduced both these poets, so
unlike and yet so firmly knit together in the bonds of friendship, to
the Emperor Augustus.

Vergil's own works, aside from certain minor poems attributed to him,
were three in number: the _Eclogues_, _Georgics_, and the _Æneid_, all
composed in the dactylic hexameter. His book of _Eclogues_ was written
during the period from 43 to 39 B. C., and consists of ten bucolic or
pastoral poems after the style of the Sicilian Greek poet Theocritus.
These poems, while somewhat artificial in style, are full of genuine
feeling for nature, and contain many valuable references to the poet
himself and his contemporaries. The _Georgics_ are, as their name
implies, a series of treatises in four books upon farming. The first
book is devoted to the tilling of the soil, the second to the
cultivation of the vine and fruit trees, the third to the breeding of
cattle, and the fourth to the care of bees. The whole shows a minute and
first-hand knowledge of the subjects treated which only long and loving
personal observation could have given. The composition of this book
occupied the seven years from 37 to 30 B. C. The work was done chiefly
at Naples, where he seems to have passed the most of the remainder of
his life. His third and greatest work was his epic poem in twelve books
called the _Æneid_, because it relates the story of the Trojan prince
Æneas and his followers.

This poem, whose merits are so evident to us, and whose faults are so
slight in comparison, never in fact received the finishing touches from
the author. Having spent eleven years upon the work, Vergil made a
journey to Greece, intending to continue his travels to Asia also. But
in Athens he met his friend Augustus, who easily persuaded him to return
in his train to Italy. It was but coming home to die. Always of frail
health, the poet's final sickness seized him on the homeward voyage, and
increased so rapidly that he died shortly after landing at Brundisium,
B. C. 19. His remains were buried in his beloved Naples, where still is
proudly pointed out, upon the side of Posilippo hill, the so-called
"tomb of Vergil." A further evidence of the pride which the modern
Neapolitans feel in their great adopted fellow-townsman is to be seen in
the beautiful memorial shrine of white marble which to-day stands to the
poet's (and the city's) honor in the _Villa Nazionale_, the famous
seaside park of Naples.

Vergil, conscious of the incomplete condition of the _Æneid_, left
instructions to Varius and Tucca, his literary executors, to destroy all
his unpublished manuscript; but this great loss to the world was
prevented by the interference of the emperor, who directed Varius to
revise and publish the _Æneid_, which was accordingly done, probably in
the year 17 B. C.

What is the _Æneid_? The Roman no doubt saw in it a national epic,
celebrating the greatness and glory of the Roman race. His heart swelled
with renewed pride of citizenship as he read those glorious lines in
which world dominion was promised to his race:

    Others, belike, with happier grace
    From bronze or stone shall call the face,
    Plead doubtful causes, map the skies,
    And tell when planets set or rise:
    But, Roman, thou, do thou control
        The nations far and wide;
    Be this thy genius, to impose
    The rule of peace on vanquished foes,
    Show pity to the humbled soul,
        And crush the sons of pride.


But Vergil was not alone an intense patriot. He was also ardently
attached to the new imperial administration; and he seems to have set
himself the difficult task of knitting together again into harmony with
Augustus' rule the different classes of Roman citizens so long rent
asunder by factional strife and civil war. He attempts this by reminding
his fellow-citizens of their glorious past and tracing the hand of
destiny in unbroken manifestation from Æneas to Cæsar and to Cæsar's
heir. Thus Jupiter is seen promising to Venus for her Trojan descendants
"endless, boundless reign." This glorious reign is to culminate in the
great Cæsar, who with his heir Augustus shall inaugurate the Golden Age

The _Æneid_ itself may be said in a sense to focus upon Augustus, for
in the vision which is granted to Æneas in the underworld of the long
line of his mighty descendants, it is Augustus who is singled out for
most glowing tribute as the chief glory of the race that is to be:

    This, this is he, so oft the theme
    Of your prophetic fancy's dream,
        Augustus Cæsar, god by birth,
    Restorer of the age of gold
    In lands where Saturn ruled of old,
    O'er Ind and Garamant extreme
        Shall stretch his reign, that spans the earth.
    Look to that land which lies afar,
    Beyond the path of sun or star,
    Where Atlas on his shoulder rears
    The burden of the incumbent spheres.
    Egypt e'en now and Caspia hear
    The muttered voice of many a seer,
    And Nile's seven mouths, disturbed with fear,
        Their coming conqueror know.


Such strains as these in the setting of such a poem, embodying all that
most delicately and most powerfully stimulated the Roman pride of birth
and country, would do much to confer upon the ruling emperor historic
and divine sanction.

Perhaps connected with the national character of the _Æneid_ is the
strong religious motive which animates the whole. Rome was not produced
by chance. The poet never lets us lose sight of the fact that all has
been predestined for ages past. Æneas from the first is in the hands of
heaven, fated indeed to wander, to endure disappointment, suffering,
loss that would have tried beyond endurance a man of weaker faith; but
fated as well to work out a glorious destiny. And Æneas, like the
typical Roman after him, believed in his destiny. He calmly consoles his
shipwrecked friends upon the wild shores of Africa in the face of
seemingly irreparable disaster:

    Comrades! for comrades we are, no strangers to hardships already;
    hearts that have felt deeper wounds! for these too heaven will
    find a balm. Why, men, you have even looked on Scylla in her
    madness, and heard those yells that thrill the rocks; you have
    even made trial of the crags of the Cyclops. Come, call your
    spirits back, and banish these doleful fears. Who knows but some
    day this too will be remembered with pleasure? Through manifold
    chances, through these many perils of fortune, we are making our
    way to Latium, where the Fates hold out to us a quiet settlement;
    there Troy's empire has leave to rise again from its ashes. Bear
    up, and reserve yourselves for brighter days.


The _Æneid_ breathes throughout a tone of reverence for the gods. This
is best seen if we contrast Vergil's and Ovid's attitude. The latter
poet affects a free and easy familiarity with the deities of tradition,
whose deeds, adventures, and escapades are told, often with slight
reverence, and much to the detriment of their divine dignity. But in
Vergil's poem the reader enters a stately temple filled
with an all-pervading reverence for the gods of heaven, who are to be
approached by men only in fitting wise, with veiled face and pure hands;
whose power is over all and wielded in righteousness. It should be added
that the whole sixth book is devoted to an account of the spirit world,
where human souls receive their rewards and punishments for the deeds of
their life on earth.

Vergil's poems have always been thought to have a decidedly Christian
tone, so much so, indeed, that he was revered by the early Christian
fathers, who regarded him in the light of a semi-inspired pagan. There
is a tradition of the medieval church preserved in a mass sung in honor
of St. Paul, in which that saint is said to have stood at the tomb of
Vergil and to have exclaimed: "O greatest of poets, what a man I should
have made of thee had I but met thee in thy day!"

Vergil's standing with the early church was no doubt much enhanced by
his remarkable fourth eclogue, in which he foretells the golden age to
be inaugurated by the birth of the infant son of Pollio. There is a
remarkable similarity between the poet's description of the happy time
of "peace on earth" which the Child shall bring and the language of the
Messianic prophecies of Isaiah.

But entirely aside from its national, religious, or other
characteristics, and so far as its place in the world's literature is
concerned, the _Æneid_ is first of all a story. It has not, indeed, the
simple grandeur of the _Iliad_, upon the model of which it was probably
composed. The passing of nearly a millennium of world-life after Homer's
time made that impossible; and it is obviously unfair to compare any
product of the refined and artificial society of the Augustan with the
product of the simple and fresh life of the Homeric age when the world
was young. But the _Æneid_ has a grandeur, a grace, a polished beauty
all its own; and, compared with the epic product of his own and later
ages, Vergil's poem stands colossal--the unapproachable epic of the
Roman tongue.

It is the heroic story of the last night of Troy, and the subsequent
wanderings of a band of Trojans under Æneas, prince of Troy; their long,
vain search for their fate-promised land; their shipwreck upon the
shores of Africa; their sojourn in Carthage and the love tragedy of Dido
and Æneas; their memorial games in Sicily; Æneas' visit to the
underworld, and the struggle of the Trojan exiles against native princes
for a foothold in their destined Italy--all a story of heroes and heroic
deeds, sketched on broad lines and with a free hand, but worked out with
exquisite grace and beauty of detail.

Vergil follows common usage in telling his story in an order not
chronological. The introduction reminds us that the struggle of the
Trojan exiles is not confined to earth, but has its counterpart in
heaven, where Juno cherishes many old grudges against the Trojans, while
Venus champions them for the sake of her son Æneas. A recognition of
this divine element is all essential to an understanding of the story,
for it is through the agency of these rival goddesses that much of the
action for better and for worse is wrought out.

The first view of our Trojan band shows them helpless in the grasp of a
raging storm, wave-tossed and all but wrecked, they know not where.
Through the uproar of the elements we hear the despairing cry of
stout-hearted Æneas himself:

    O happy, thrice and yet again,
    Who died at Troy like valiant men,
      E'en in their parents' view!
    O Diomed, first of Greeks in fray,
    Why pressed I not the plain that day,
      Yielding my life to you,
    Where, stretched beneath a Phrygian sky,
    Fierce Hector, tall Sarpedon lie:
    Where Simoïs tumbles 'neath his wave
    Shields, helms, and bodies of the brave?


But even as he speaks, the mountain waves break and drive his frail
ships upon the quicksands near some wild and unknown shore.

In striking contrast to this wild scene is the calm haven to which a
portion of the shipwrecked band is guided by the kindly divinities of
the sea. The description of this spot, and the rest and refreshment of
the weary toilers forms one of the most charming bits of realism in the

After the necessary refreshment of food and sleep, Æneas, with his
faithful Achates as sole companion, sets out at early dawn to explore
this wild region upon the shores of which they have been cast. As they
wander through a deep forest they meet Venus in the disguise of a
huntress, and from her they inquire the name of this land.

Æneas now learns that he has been wrecked upon the coast of Africa, not
far from the new city which Dido, a Tyrian princess, is building. He
learns her tragic story: how her brother had killed her husband Sychæus
out of greed for gain, and how she had fled, in consequence, with a band
of Tyrian followers. The goddess points out the way to this new city,
bids them be of good cheer and follow it, and vanishes from their sight,
revealing her true nature to her son as she departs.

They soon reach a height which overlooks the new city of Carthage, and
find themselves before a temple of Juno, upon whose architrave are
sculptured scenes from the Trojan War. It is early morning, and the city
is all a-buzz with toil of its inhabitants who urge on the many busy
works. Æneas, homesick for his lost city, and long baffled in his search
for his own promised home, cries out in longing as he looks upon this

    Yea, all, like busy bees throughout the flowery mead,
    Are all astir with eager toil. O blessed toil!
    O happy ye, whose walls already rise! But I,--
    When shall I see my city and my city's walls?


[F] These quotations are made from Miller and Nelson's _Dido, an Epic
Tragedy_, by permission of Silver, Burdett & Co.

Soon they discover the pictures on the architrave, and are much moved as
well as comforted to know that here, so far from home, their heroic
struggles are known and appreciated. And now the strains of music and
the stir of an approaching throng is heard, and, themselves unseen,
Æneas and Achates behold the beautiful and stately queen Dido entering
the temple with her train of maidens and courtiers. The queen takes her
seat and proceeds to hold an impromptu court, planning the work of the
day, and assigning tasks to her lieutenants.

Again the approach of a more noisy throng is heard, and into the stately
temple breaks a group of desperate men whom Æneas at once recognizes to
be a part of his own band who had been cast up upon another part of the
shore. They are followed by a mob of jeering Carthaginians. Old
Ilioneus, one of the Trojans, pleads their cause before the queen in a
speech of mingled supplication and reproach, while at the same time he
bewails the loss of his beloved prince Æneas.

The queen receives the wanderers with open-handed generosity, disclaims
all intentional harshness, bids the Trojans freely share her city and
her realm, and expresses the wish that their king himself, Æneas, were
before her. These, we may be sure, were glad words to Æneas and his
companions. They at once stand forth before the eyes of the astonished
throng, joyfully greet their comrades, and Æneas salutes the queen with
grateful and courtly speech:

    Lo, him you ask for! I am he,
    Æneas, saved from Libya's sea.
    O, only heart that deigns to mourn
      For Ilium's cruel care!
    That bids e'en us, poor relics, torn
    From Danaan fury, all outworn
    By earth and ocean, all forlorn,
      Its home, it's city share!
    We cannot thank you; no, nor they,
      Our brethren of the Dardan race,
      Who, driven from their ancestral place,
    Throughout the wide world stray.
    May heaven, if virtue claim its thought,
    If justice yet avail for aught,
    Heaven, and the sense of conscious right,
    With worthier meed your acts requite!
    What happy ages gave you birth?
    What glorious sires begat such worth?
    While rivers run into the deep,
    While shadows o'er the hillside sweep,
    While stars in heaven's fair pasture graze,
    Shall live your honor, name, and praise,
    Whate'er my destined home.


The astonished Dido finds fitting words of welcome for her royal guest,
again assures the Trojans that her city is their own, and proclaims a
great feast on the ensuing night in honor of the distinguished

This feast is a scene of royal and barbaric splendor. The Tyrian lords
and Trojan princes throng the banquet-hall with its rich tapestries and
flashing lights, vessels of massive silver and of gold, while the
bright-hued robes of Dido and her train add gladness and color to the
scene. Amidst the feasting there was a song by an old minstrel, which he
accompanied by the strains of his lyre. The song was upon the ever
fascinating theme of natural phenomena, the powers of the air, the
earth, the sea--all the dim mysteries of being. We are told that he sang
about these things. Let us phrase them for his lyric measures.

    Of the orb of the wandering moon I sing,
      As she wheels through the darkening skies;
    Where the storm-brooding band of the Hyades swing,
      And the circling Triones arise;
          Of the sun's struggling ball
          Which the shadows appall
    Till the menacing darkness flies;

    Of the all-potent forces that dwell in the air,
      With its measureless reaches of blue;
    The soft, floating clouds of gossamer there,
      And the loud-wailing storm-rack too;
          Of the rain and the winds
          And the lightning that blinds
    When its swift-darting bolt flashes through;

    Of the marvels deep hid in the bowels of earth,
      In the dark caves of Ocean confined,
    Where the rivers in snow-trickling rills have their birth,
      And the dense tangled mazes unwind;
          In the deep underland,
          In the dim wonderland,
    Where broods the vast cosmical mind.

    Of the manifold wonders of life I sing,
      Its mysterious striving to scan,
    In the rippling wave, on the fluttering wing,
      In beast and all-dominant man.
          'Tis the indwelling soul
          Of the god of the whole,
    Since the dawn of creation began.

Meanwhile the queen, deeply moved with pity first, and now with
admiration for her heroic guest, hangs breathless on his words, asks
eagerly of the famous war, and at last begs him to tell entire the story
of that last sad night of Troy. We listen too while he, whose tears
start as he speaks, relates that tragic story. He tells how, at the end
of the long struggle, when both warring nations were well-nigh exhausted
of their strength, the Greeks at last gained entrance to their Trojan
city by the trick of the wooden horse. This huge image, found without
their walls, filled all unknown to them with their bravest foes, they
draw through their gates, and place upon their very citadel, amid
dancing children and the joyous shouts of all the citizens; for they
have been assured by the lying Sinon that the Greeks have gone home, and
have left this horse as an offering to Minerva for their safe return.

In the deep night watches, when all are drowned in careless slumber and
their festal draughts of wine, Æneas dreams that Hector stands before
him, begrimed with gory dust and weeping bitterly.

    "Ah! fly, goddess-born!" cries he, "and escape from these
    flames--the walls are in the enemy's hands--Troy is tumbling from
    its summit--the claims of country and king are satisfied--if
    Pergamus could be defended by force of hand, it would have been
    defended by mine, in my day. Your country's worship and her gods
    are what she intrusts to you now--take them to share your
    destiny--seek for them a mighty city, which you shall one day
    build when you have wandered the ocean over."


As Æneas springs up from his couch, warned by this vision, his ears are
greeted by the confused sound of distant clamor, hoarse cries, and the
accustomed noise of battle. The sky is red with flames. Rushing out, he
finds that the Greek forces from wooden horse and fleet have filled the
city, while the Trojans, taken unawares, are making brave but desultory
resistance. Collecting a band of men, he makes stubborn stand again and
again; but at last overpowered, his men flee in scattered twos and

Æneas finds himself near Priam's palace. This is beset by swarms of
Greeks, who scale the walls and batter at the doors, while desperate
defenders on the roof hurl down whatever comes to hand. Æneas gains the
roof by a private way, and looking down upon the inner court, he is
witness to the darkest tragedy of that night. Old Priam, with Hecuba his
wife and helpless daughters, sits cowering upon the steps of the central
shrine. A mighty crash and outcry from within tell that the Greeks have
gained an entrance at the door. Now out into the peristyle, along the
beautiful colonnades of the spacious court, comes Priam's youthful son
Polites, hard-pressed by the spear of Pyrrhus, leader of the Greeks. In
breathless fascination they watch the race for life until the boy falls
slain just at his parent's feet. The aged king, roused by this outrage,
stands forth; clad in his time-worn armor, and weak and trembling with
age, he chides the Greek:

    "Aye," cries he, "for a crime, for an outrage like this, may the
    gods, if there is any sense of right in heaven to take cognizance
    of such deeds, give you the full thanks you merit, and pay you
    your due reward; you, who have made me look with my own eyes on my
    son's death, and stained a father's presence with the sight of
    blood. But he whom your lying tongue calls your sire, Achilles,
    dealt not thus with Priam his foe--he had a cheek that could
    crimson at a suppliant's rights, a suppliant's honor. Hector's
    lifeless body he gave back to the tomb, and sent me home to my
    realms in peace." So said the poor old man, and hurled at him a
    dart unwarlike, unwounding, which the ringing brass at once shook
    off, and left hanging helplessly from the end of the shield's
    boss. Pyrrhus retorts: "You shall take your complaint, then, and
    carry your news to my father, Pelides. Tell him about my shocking
    deeds, about his degenerate Neoptolemus, and do not forget. Now
    die." With these words he dragged him to the very altar, palsied
    and sliding in a pool of his son's blood, wreathed his left hand
    in his hair, and with his right flashed forth and sheathed in his
    side the sword to the hilt. Such was the end of Priam's fortunes,
    such the fatal lot that fell upon him, with Troy blazing and
    Pergamus in ruins before his eyes--upon him, once the haughty
    ruler of those many nations and kingdoms, the sovereign lord of
    Asia! There he lies on the shore, a gigantic trunk, a head severed
    from the shoulders, a body without a name.


The tide of carnage sucks out of the palace and ebbs away. As Æneas
descends from the palace roof, he sees Helen skulking in a neighboring
shrine. His heart is hot at sight of her who has been the firebrand of
the war, and he resolves to kill her. But Venus flashes before his
vision and warns him to hasten to the defense of his own home would he
not see his own father lying even as Priam. Conscience-smitten, he
hurries thither, divinely shielded from fire and sword. His plan is
fixed to take his household and seek a place of safety without the city.

The unexpected resistance of his aged father, who is resolved not to
survive his beloved Troy, is at last overcome; and soon, with his sire
upon his shoulders, his little son held by the hand, and his household
following, Æneas steals out the city gate on the side toward Mount Ida,
and makes his way to a preconcerted place of meeting. Here, to his
consternation, he discovers that his wife Creüsa is missing, and wildly
rushes back to the city in search of her. Regardless of danger to
himself, he is calling her name loudly through the desolate streets when
her shade appears to him and says:

    "Whence this strange pleasure in indulging frantic grief, my
    darling husband? It is not without heaven's will that these things
    are happening. That you should carry your Creüsa with you on your
    journey is forbidden by fate, forbidden by the mighty ruler of
    heaven above. You have long years of exile, a vast expanse of
    ocean to traverse--and then you will arrive at the land of
    Hesperia, where Tiber, Lydia's river, rolls his gentle volumes
    through rich and cultured plains. There you have a smiling future,
    a kingdom and a royal bride waiting your coming. Dry your tears
    for Creüsa, your heart's choice though she be. I am not to see the
    face of Myrmidons or Dolopes in their haughty homes, or to enter
    the service of some Grecian matron--I, a Dardan princess, daughter
    by marriage of Venus the immortal. No, I am kept in this country
    by heaven's mighty mother. And now farewell, and continue to love
    your son and mine." Thus having spoken, spite of my tears, spite
    of the thousand things I longed to say, she left me and vanished
    into unsubstantial air. Thrice, as I stood, I essayed to fling my
    arms round her neck--thrice the phantom escaped the hands that
    caught at it in vain--impalpable as the wind, fleeting as the
    wings of sleep.

    So passed my night, and such was my return to my comrades. Arrived
    there, I find with wonder their band swelled by a vast multitude
    of new companions, matrons and warriors both, an army mustered for
    exile, a crowd of the wretched. From every side they were met,
    prepared in heart as in fortune to follow me over the sea to any
    land where I might take them to settle. And now the morning star
    was rising over Ida's loftiest ridge with the day in its
    train--Danaan sentinels were blocking up the entry of the gates,
    and no hope of succor appeared. I retired at last, took up my
    father, and made for the mountains.


Thus simply ends the thrilling story of the Trojan War, told by one who
was himself an active participant in those mighty deeds. It passes from
turbulent action to pathetic rest like the tired sobbing of a child
which has cried itself to sleep.

The banquet-hall of Dido has remained throughout this recital in
breathless silence, and now a long sigh of relief from the strained
tension of passionate sympathy breathes along the couches.

After an impressive pause, during which no word is spoken, Æneas resumes
his story and tells of the seven years of wandering over the sea in
search of the land that fate has promised him. With his little fleet of
vessels, built at the foot of Ida, he touches first at a point in
Thrace, intending to found a city there; but he is warned away by a
horrible portent. He touches next at Delos, and implores the sacred
oracle for a word of guidance to his destined home. To this prayer the
oracle makes answer by a voice wafted from the inner shrine, while the
whole place rocks and trembles:

    Sons of Dardanus, strong to endure, the land which first gave you
    birth from your ancestral tree, the same land shall welcome you
    back, restored to its fruitful bosom; seek for your old mother
    till you find her. There it is that the house of Æneas shall set
    up a throne over all nations, they, and their children's children,
    and those that shall yet come after.


So it is "Ho, for the mother-land!" But where is that? Whence sprang the
Trojans? Here old Anchises, father of Æneas, rich in the lore of old
tradition, says:

    Listen, lords of Troy, and learn where your hopes are. Crete lies
    in the midst of the deep, the island of mighty Jove. There is
    Mount Ida, and there the cradle of our race. It has a hundred
    peopled cities, a realm of richest plenty. Thence it was that our
    first father, Teucer, if I rightly recall what I have heard, came
    in the beginning to the Rhoetean coast, and fixed on the site of
    empire. Ilion and the towers of Pergamus had not yet been reared;
    the people dwelt low in the valley. Hence came our mighty mother,
    the dweller on Mount Cybele, and the symbols of the Corybants, and
    the forest of Ida: hence the inviolate mystery of her worship, and
    the lions harnessed to the car of their queen. Come, then, and let
    us follow where the ordinance of heaven points the way; let us
    propitiate the winds, and make for the realm of Gnossus--the
    voyage is no long one--let but Jupiter go with us, and the third
    day will land our fleet on the Cretan shore.


They quickly reach the Cretan shore, joyfully lay out their new city,
and begin again the sweet, simple life in home and field which had been
theirs before Paris brought the curse on Troy. But alas for their bright
hopes! A blighting pestilence falls on man and beast, on tree and shrub;
the very ground is accursed. It is the harsh warning of fate that they
must not settle here. But where? To Æneas, as he tosses in sleepless
anxiety through the night, there appear in the white moonlight the
images of his country's gods, who give him the needed counsel:

    We, the followers of you and your fortune since the Dardan land
    sank in flame--we, the comrades of the fleet which you have been
    guiding over the swollen main--we it is that will raise to the
    stars the posterity that shall come after you, and crown your city
    with imperial sway. Be it yours to build mighty walls for mighty
    dwellers, and not abandon the task of flight for its tedious
    length. Change your settlement; it is not this coast that the
    Delian god moved you to accept--not in Crete that Apollo bade you
    sit down. No, there is a place--the Greeks call it Hesperia--a
    land old in story, strong in arms and in the fruitfulness of its
    soil--the Oenotrians were its settlers. Now report says that later
    generations have called the nation Italian, from the name of their
    leader. That is our true home: thence sprung Dardanus and father
    Iasius, the first founder of our line. Quick! rise, and tell the
    glad tale, which brooks no question, to your aged sire; tell him
    that he is to look for Corythus and the country of Ausonia.
    Jupiter bars you from the fields of Dicte.


Again on board, they sail for many stormy days until they reach the
islands of the Strophades. Here dwell the Harpies, loathsome human
birds, whose touch is defilement and whose speech is bitter with
railing. Yet even here Æneas finds a prophecy of his destiny. Offended
by the onslaught of the Trojans, Celæno, one of the Harpy band, thus
reviles and prophesies:

    What, is it war for the oxen you have slain and the bullocks you
    have felled, true sons of Laomedon? Is it war that _you_ are going
    to make on _us_, to expel us, blameless Harpies, from our
    ancestral realm? Take, then, into your minds these my words, and
    print them there. The prophecy which the Almighty Sire imparted to
    Phoebus, Phoebus Apollo to me, I, the chief of the Furies, make
    known to you. For Italy, I know, you are crowding all sail: well,
    the winds shall be at your call as you go to Italy, and you shall
    be free to enter its harbors; but you shall not build walls around
    your fated city, before fell hunger and your murderous wrong
    against us drive you to gnaw and eat up your very tables.


Hastily Æneas leaves this place with an earnest prayer that this dire
threat may be averted. Past green Zacynthos, Dulichium, and craggy
Neritos they go, past Ithaca, cursing it for crafty Ulysses' sake, and
reach the rocky shores of Actium; then on past the Phæacian land to
Buthrotum in Epirus, on the western shore of Greece. He is astounded and
delighted to find that the strange fortunes of war have set Helenus, son
of Priam, here as king, with Andromache, wife of the lamented Hector, as
his queen. We may be sure that the meeting was sweet and bitter too for
all the exiles.

They pass many days in hospitable intercourse, recalling the vanished
life of their old Phrygian home, and recounting the checkered
experiences of their recent years. And now, one bright morning, the
breezes call loudly to the sails, and Æneas would pursue his way. He
knows by now that Italy is the object of his quest, but how he may reach
the destined spot in that vast stretch of coast, and what wanderings
still await him, he does not know. But Helenus, his host, is famed as a
diviner of hidden things, and to him Æneas appeals.

Helenus first warns his friend that he must shun that part of Italy
which seems so near at hand, for on this eastern shore the Greeks have
many cities; but he must sail far around, until he reach the farthest
shore. Above all, let him not try to speed his course through the
straits of Sicily, for here the dread monsters Scylla and Charybdis keep
the way. They shall at last come to "Cumæ on the western shore, and the
haunted lake, and the woods that rustle over Avernus," and there shall
they learn further of their fates from the inspired prophetess of
Apollo's shrine. Their final resting-place, where heaven shall permit
them to found their city and end their wanderings, by this strange token
they shall know--a huge white sow with thirty young, lying at ease
beneath a spreading oak. "Such," says Helenus, "are the counsels which
it is given you to receive from my lips. Go on your way, and by your
actions lift to heaven the greatness of Troy."

With exchange of gifts, tokens of mutual love, sad at parting, but with
high thoughts of glorious destiny, the royal pair speed their guests on
their way. One reach to the northward, a night on the sandy shore, an
early embarkation in the misty dusk of the morning, and Æneas turns his
prows once more to the unknown west.

    And now the stars were fled, and Aurora was just reddening in the
    sky, when in the distance we see the dim hills and low plains of
    Italy. "Italy!" Achates was the first to cry. Italy, our crews
    welcome with a shout of rapture. Then, my father Anchises
    wreathed a mighty bowl with a garland, and filled it with wine,
    and called on the gods, standing upon the tall stern: "Ye powers
    that rule sea and land and weather, waft us a fair wind and a
    smooth passage, and breathe auspiciously!"


They make a hasty landing on this nearest shore, pay solemn tribute to
Juno as Helenus had bidden them, and speeding across the great curving
bay of Tarentum, hug fast the shores of southern Italy. Barely escaping
the dangerous straits of Sicily, they pass the night upon the shore near
Ætna, whose awful rumblings, whirlwinds of glowing ashes, and belched up
avalanches of molten stone, appall their hearts. This night of dread
ends in a morning of horror, for there, upon the mountainside, they see
the Cyclopean monsters whom Ulysses and his band had so narrowly
escaped. Hastily they push away from this dread coast, and sail clear
around to western Sicily, where Æneas' aged father dies, and is buried
in the friendly realm of King Acestes.

From here one more short course would have brought them to their
journey's end; but Juno's implacable hate had stirred the winds against
them, and by that dark storm they had been driven far away and wrecked
on the coast of Africa.

    Thus father Æneas, alone, amid the hush of all around, was
    recounting heaven's destined dealings, and telling of his voyages;
    and now at length he was silent, made an end, and took his rest.


Ages after this, Othello the Moor won the love of Desdemona by tales of
valor and of suffering:

                   My story being done,
    She gave me for my pains a world of sighs;
    She wished she had not heard it, yet she wished
    That heaven had made her such a man. She thanked me,
    And bade me if I had a friend that loved her,
    I should but teach him how to tell my story,
    And that would woo her.

By these same means, unwittingly has Æneas stirred the love in Dido's
heart. She goes to her bed, but not to sleep. All night she tosses
restlessly, picturing the hero's face and recalling his words; and in
the morning, sick of soul, she pours her tears and cares into her sister
Anna's bosom.

    O sister, what dread visions of the night invade
    My troubled soul! What of this stranger lodged within
    Our halls, how noble in his mien, how brave in heart,
    Of what puissant arms! From heav'n in truth his race
    Must be derived, for fear betokens low-born souls.
    Alas, how tempest-tossed of fate was he! How to
    The dregs the bitter cup of war's reverses hath
    He drained! If in my soul the purpose were not fixed
    That not to any suitor would I yield myself
    In wedlock, since the time when he who won my love
    Was reft away, perchance I might have yielded now.
    For sister, I confess it, since my husband's fate,
    Since that sad day when by his blood my father's house
    Was sprinkled, this of all men has my feelings moved.
    Again I feel the force of passion's sway. But no!
    May I be gulfed within earth's yawning depths; may Jove
    Almighty hurl me with his thunders to the shades,
    The pallid shades of Erebus and night profound,
    Before, O constancy, I violate thy laws!
    He took my heart who first engaged my maiden love.
    Still may he keep his own, and in the silent tomb
    Preserve my love inviolate.


Anna advises her sister to yield to this new love, and argues that
policy as well as inclination is on her side. Such a union as this would
strengthen her against her brother, and exalt the sway of Carthage to
unhoped for glory.

    And to what glory shalt thou see thy city rise,
    What strong, far-reaching sway upreared on such a tie!
    Assisted by the Trojan arms, our youthful state
    Up to the very pinnacle of fame shall soar.


Thus advised, Dido gives herself up to passion's sway. Her city is
forgotten, her queenly ambition gone. In hospitality, in feasting, and
the dalliance of love the days go by. And seemingly Æneas, too, has
forgotten his glorious destiny, his promised land of Italy, and is sunk
in a languorous dream of present bliss.

But the fates of future Rome must not be thwarted. He is rudely awakened
from his dream by Mercury, who at the command of Jove suddenly appears
before him as he is engaged in urging on the walls and towers of

    And can it be that thou art building here the walls
    Of Tyrian Carthage, and uprearing her fair towers,
    Thou dotard, of thy realm and thy great destiny
    Forgetful! Jove himself, the ruler of the gods,
    Who holds the heavens and earth and moves them at his will,
    To thee from bright Olympus straight hath sent me here.
    He bade me bear on speeding pinions these commands:
    What dost thou here? or with what hopes dost thou delay
    Upon the Libyan shores? If thou, indeed, art moved
    By no regard of thine own glorious destiny,
    Respect at least the budding hopes of him, thy son,
    Who after thee shall hold the scepter; for to him
    Are due the realms of Italy, the land of Rome.


Æneas is overwhelmed with astonishment and remorse. At once all his old
ambitions regain their sway, and his mind is bent upon instant
departure. He cries aloud:

    O Jove, and I had near forgot my destiny,
    To oblivion lulled amid the sweets of this fair land!
    But now my heart's sole longing is for Italy,
    Which waits me by the promise of the fates. But how
    From this benumbing passion shall I free myself?
    How face the queen and put away her clinging love?
    [_To his attendants._] "Go ye, and swiftly call the Trojans to the
    Bid them equip the vessels quickly for the sea,
    And frame for this our sudden voyage some fitting cause."


But Dido has seen the hurrying Trojan mariners, and with her natural
perceptions sharpened by suspicious fear, at once divines the meaning of
this sudden stir. Maddened with the pangs of blighted love, she seeks
Æneas and pours out her hot indignation mingled with pitiful pleadings.

    And didst thou hope that thou couldst hide thy fell design,
    O faithless, and in silence steal away from this
    My land? Does not our love, and pledge of faith once given,
    Nor thought of Dido, doomed to die a cruel death,
    Detain thee? Can it be that under wintry skies
    Thou wouldest launch thy fleet and urge thy onward way
    'Mid stormy blasts across the sea, O cruel one?
    But what if not a stranger's land and unknown homes
    Thou soughtest; what if Troy, thy city, still remained:
    Still wouldst thou fare to Troy along the wave-tossed sea?
    Is't I thou fleest? By these tears and thy right hand--
    Since in my depth of crushing woe I've nothing left--
    And by our marriage bond and sacred union joined,
    If ever aught of mercy I have earned of thee,
    If I have ever giv'n thee one sweet drop of joy,
    Have pity on my falling house, and change, I pray,
    Thy cruel purpose if there still is room for prayer.
    For thee the Libyan races hate me, and my lords
    Of Tyre; for thee my latest scruple was o'ercome;
    My fame, by which I was ascending to the stars,
    My kingdom, fates,--all these have I giv'n up for thee.
    And thou, for whom dost thou abandon me, O guest?--
    Since from the name of husband this sole name remains.
    What wait I more? Is't till Pygmalion shall come,
    And lay my walls in ruins, or the desert prince,
    Iarbus, lead me captive home? O cruel fate!
    If only ere thou fledst some pledge had been conceived
    Of thee, if round my halls some son of thine might sport,
    To bear thy name and bring thine image back to me,
    Then truly should I seem not utterly bereft.


Æneas is seemingly unmoved by this appeal. With the warnings of Jupiter
still sounding in his ears, he dares not let his love answer a word to
Dido's pleadings. And so he coldly answers her that he is but following
the bidding of his fate, which is leading him to Italy, even as hers had
led her to this land of Africa.

Dido has stood during this reply with averted face and scornful look,
and now turns upon him in a passion of grief and rage. No pleadings now,
but scornful denunciation and curses.

    Thou art no son of Venus, nor was Dardanus
    The ancient founder of thy race, thou faithless one;
    But Caucasus with rough and flinty crags begot,
    And fierce Hyrcanian tigers suckled thee. For why
    Should I restrain my speech, or greater evil wait?
    Did he one sympathetic sigh of sorrow heave?
    Did he one tear let fall, o'ermastered by my grief?
    Now neither Juno, mighty queen, nor father Jove
    Impartial sees; for faith is everywhere betrayed.
    That shipwrecked beggar in my folly did I take
    And cause to sit upon my throne; I saved his fleet,
    His friends I rescued--Oh, the furies drive me mad!
    Now 'tis Apollo's dictate, now the Lycian lots,
    And now "the very messenger of heaven sent down
    By Jove himself" to bring this mandate through the air!
    A fitting task is that for heaven's immortal lords!
    Such cares as these disturb their everlasting calm!
    I seek not to detain nor answer thee; sail on
    To Italy, seek fated realms beyond the seas.
    For me, if pious prayers can aught avail, I pray
    That thou amid the wrecking reefs mayst drain the cup
    Of retribution to the dregs and vainly call
    Upon the name of Dido. Distant though I be,
    With fury's torch will I pursue thee, and when death
    Shall free my spirit, will I haunt thee everywhere.
    O thou shalt meet thy punishment, perfidious one;
    My soul shall know, for such glad news would penetrate
    The lowest depths of hell.


She works herself up to a frenzy, and as she finishes she turns to leave
him with queenly scorn, staggers, and falls. The servants carry her from
the scene, leaving Æneas in agony of soul, struggling between love and
duty. Meanwhile the Trojan preparations go on with feverish haste. The
ships are launched, hurried final preparations made, and all is now
ready for departure. Dido sends her sister to Æneas with one last
appeal, but all in vain. No tears or prayers can move him now.

The queen resolves on death. She has a huge pyre built within her palace
court under the pretense of magic rites which shall free her from her
unhappy love. The Trojans spend the night sleeping on their oars; the
queen, in sleepless torment. As the dawn begins to brighten, the sailors
are heard singing in the distance as they joyfully hoist their sails.
Dido rushes to her window and beholds the fleet just putting out from
shore. She cries aloud in impotent frenzy.

    Ye gods! and shall he go and mock our royal power?
    Why not to arms, and send our forces in pursuit,
    And bid them hurry down the vessels from the shore?
    Ho there, my men, quick, fetch the torches, seize your arms,
    And man the oars!--What am I saying? where am I?
    What madness turns my brain? O most unhappy queen,
    Is it thus thy evil deeds are coming back to thee?
    Such fate was just when thou didst yield thy scepter up.--
    Lo, _there's_ the fealty of him who, rumor says,
    His country's gods with him in all his wandering bears,
    And on his shoulders bore his sire from burning Troy!
    Why could I not have torn his body limb from limb,
    And strewed his members on the deep? and slain his friends,
    His son Aschanius, and served his mangled limbs
    To grace his father's feast?--Such conflict might have had
    A doubtful issue.--Grant it might, but whom had I,
    Foredoomed to death, to fear? I might have fired his camp,
    His ships, and wrapped in common ruin father, son,
    And all the race, and given myself to crown the doom
    Of all.--O Sun, who with thy shining rays dost see
    All mortal deeds; O Juno, who dost know and thus
    Canst judge the grievous cares of wedlock; thou whom wild
    And shrieking women worship through the dusky streets,
    O Hecate; and ye avenging Furies--ye,
    The gods of failing Dido, come and bend your power
    To these my woes and hear my prayer. If yonder wretch
    Must enter port and reach his land decreed by fate,
    If thus the laws of Jove ordain, this order holds;
    But, torn in war, a hardy people's foeman, far
    From friends and young Iulus' arms, may he be forced
    To seek a Grecian stranger's aid, and may he see
    The death of many whom he loves. And when at last
    A meager peace on doubtful terms he has secured,
    May he no pleasure find in kingdom or in life;
    But may he fall untimely, and unburied lie
    Upon some solitary strand. This, this I pray,
    And with my latest breath this final wish proclaim.
    Then, O my Tyrians, with a bitter hate pursue
    The whole accurséd race, and send this to my shade
    As welcome tribute. Let there be no amity
    Between our peoples. Rise thou from my bones,
    O some avenger, who with deadly sword and brand
    Shall scathe the Trojan exiles, now, in time to come,
    Whenever chance and strength shall favor. Be our shores
    To shores opposed, our waves to waves, and arms to arms,
    Eternal, deadly foes through all posterity.


With this prophetic curse, to be fulfilled centuries hence, on the
bloody fields of the Trebia, Trasumenus, and of Cannæ, she snatches up
Æneas' sword, rushes out of the room, and mounts the pyre which she has
prepared. Here have been placed all the objects which her Trojan lover
has left behind. Passionately kissing these and pressing them to her
breast, she utters her last words.

    Sweet pledges of my lord, while fate and god allowed,
    Accept this soul of mine, and free me from my cares.
    For I have lived and run the course that Fortune set;
    And now my stately soul to Hades shall descend.
    A noble city have I built; my husband's death
    Have I avenged, and on my brother's head my wrath
    Inflicted. Happy, ah too happy, had the keels
    Of Troy ne'er touched my shores!--And shall I perish thus?--
    But let me perish. Thus, oh thus, 'tis sweet to seek
    The land of shadows.--May the heartless Trojan see,
    As on he fares across the deep, my blazing pyre,
    And bear with him the gloomy omens of my death.


So saying, she falls upon the sword and perishes. The report of the
queen's tragic death

    runs wild through the convulsed city. With wailing and groaning,
    and screams of women, the palace rings; the sky resounds with
    mighty cries and beating of breasts--even as if the foe were to
    burst the gates and topple down Carthage or ancient Tyre, and the
    infuriate flame were leaping from roof to roof among the dwellings
    of men and gods.


With the southern sky murky with the smoke and lurid with the glare of
Dido's funeral pyre, Æneas sails away with sad forebodings, and comes
again to Sicily. By chance this return to Sicily has fallen upon the
anniversary of Anchises' death. Æneas therefore determines to hold a
solemn festival in honor of his father, which he celebrates with the
accustomed funeral games.

While these games are in progress, by the machinations of Juno, the
Trojan women, weary of their long wanderings, attempt to burn the fleet.
But the vessels are saved, with the loss of four, by the miraculous
intervention of Jupiter. Æneas thereupon is advised by Nautes, a Trojan
prince, to build a town here in Sicily, and to leave behind all those
who have grown weak or out of sympathy with his great enterprise.

This advice is ratified by the shade of Anchises, who gives Æneas
further direction for his way.

    My son, more dear, while life remained,
      E'en than that life to me,
    My son, long exercised and trained
      In Ilium's destiny,
    My errand is from Jove the sire,
    Who saved your vessels from the fire,
    And sent at last from heaven above
    The wished-for token of his love.
    Hear and obey the counsel sage
    Bestowed by Nautes' reverend age:
    Picked youths, the bravest of the brave,
    Be these your comrades o'er the wave,
    For haughty are the tribes and rude
    That Latium has to be subdued.
    But ere you yet confront the foe,
    First seek the halls of Dis below,
    Pass deep Avernus' vale, and meet
    Your father in his own retreat.
    Not Tartarus' prison-house of crime
        Detains me, nor the mournful shades:
    My home is in the Elysian clime,
        With righteous souls, 'mid happy glades.
    The virgin Sibyl with the gore
    Of sable sheep shall ope the door;
    Then shall you learn your future line,
    And what the walls the Fates assign.
    And now farewell: dew-sprinkled Night
    Has scaled Olympus' topmost height:
    I catch their panting breath from far,
    The steeds of morning's cruel star.


Moved by this vision, Æneas builds a town for the dispirited members of
his band; and consigning these to King Acestes, sets his face once more
toward Italy. This time, by Venus' aid, he reaches the Italian port of
Cumæ, with no misadventure except the loss of his faithful pilot,

Once more on land, the Trojans joyfully scour the woods, seek out fresh
springs of water, and collect fuel for their fires. Æneas, however,
turns his steps to the temple of Apollo upon a neighboring height, and
prays the guidance of the god upon his further way. But most of all it
is upon the hero's heart to visit his father in the underworld according
to the mandate of his father's shade in Sicily. At the advice of the
Sibyl who presides over the temple of Apollo, Æneas performs the
necessary rites preliminary to this journey, and entering the dread cave
near Lake Avernus, they take their gloomy way below.

    Obscure they went thro' dreary shades, that led
    Along the waste dominions of the dead.
    Thus wander travelers in wood by night,
    By the moon's doubtful and malignant light,
    When Jove in dusky clouds involves the skies,
    And the faint crescent shoots by fits before their eyes.


They reach at last the gates of Hades, where hover the dreadful shapes
of Cares, Disease and Death, Want, Famine, Toil and Strife. Through
these they fare, and stand upon the sedgy bank of the river of death.
They see approaching them across the stream the old boatman Charon, who
in his frail skiff ferries souls across the water.

    A sordid god: down from his hoary chin
    A length of beard descends, uncomb'd, unclean:
    His eyes, like hollow furnaces on fire;
    A girdle foul with grease binds his obscene attire.
    He spreads his canvas; with his pole he steers;
    The freights of flitting ghosts in his thin bottom bears.
    He looked in years; yet in his years were seen
    A youthful vigor, and autumnal green.


The unsubstantial shades throng down to Charon's boat, where some are
accepted for passage, and some rejected. Æneas in wonder turns to his
guide for an explanation of this. She replies:

    Son of Anchises! offspring of the gods!
    (The Sibyl said) you see the Stygian floods,
    The sacred streams, which heav'n's imperial state
    Attests in oaths, and fears to violate.
    The ghosts rejected are th' unhappy crew
    Depriv'd of sepulchres and fun'ral due:
    The boatman, Charon: those, the buried host,
    He ferries over to the farther coast;
    Nor dares his transport vessel cross the waves
    With such whose bones are not compos'd in graves.
    A hundred years they wander on the shore;
    At length, their penance done, are wafted o'er.


Æneas and his guide now present themselves for passage, but the old
boatman refuses his boat to mortal bodies, until he is appeased by the
Sibyl. Grim Cerberus, the three-headed dog who guards the farther bank
of the stream and blocks their onward way, is next appeased. And on they
go, past where the cries of wailing infants fill their ears; where Minos
sits in judgment on the shades and assigns to each his place of
punishment; past the abode of suicides, who rushed so rashly out of
life, but now sigh vainly for the life which they threw away; past the
Mourning Fields, dark groves where wander those who died of love. Here
Æneas meets the shade of Dido, and learns what he had only feared
before. With tears of love and pity he approaches and addresses her; but
she, in indignant silence, turns away.

They reach the fields where souls of slain warriors dwell, still
handling their shadowy arms and ghostly chariots. With empty, voiceless
shouts the Trojan dead greet their hero, in wonder that he comes still
living among them, while the Grecian shades flee gibbering away.

Still on the Sibyl leads her charge, and pausing before the horrid gates
of Tartarus, the abode of lost souls, they listen to the dreadful sounds
within, "the groans of ghosts, the pains of sounding lashes and of
dragging chains." Standing before the gates, Æneas is told of the
suffering which these must undergo whose souls, by reason of impious
lives on earth, are past all reach of cure. What are the crimes that
brought them here? What does Vergil regard as unpardonable sins?

    They, who brothers' better claim disown,
    Expel their parents, and usurp the throne;
    Defraud their clients, and, to lucre sold,
    Sit brooding on unprofitable gold;
    Who dare not give, and e'en refuse to lend,
    To their poor kindred, or a wanting friend--
    Vast is the throng of these; nor less the train
    Of lustful youths, for foul adult'ry slain--
    Hosts of deserters, who their honor sold,
    And basely broke their faith for bribes of gold;
    All these within the dungeon's depth remain,
    Despairing pardon, and expecting pain.
    To tyrants, others have their countries sold,
    Imposing foreign lords, for foreign gold;
    Some have old laws repeal'd, new statutes made,
    Not as the people pleas'd, but as they paid.
    With incest some their daughters' bed profan'd.
    All dar'd th' worst of ills, and what they dar'd, attain'd.


As they turn away from this dread place, a tortured voice sounds after

    Learn righteousness, and dread th' avenging deities.

Far off from here they reach the abode of the blessed--the Elysian

    Where long extended plains of pleasure lay.
    The verdant fields with those of heav'n may vie,
    With ether vested, and a purple sky--
    The blissful seats of happy souls below:
    Stars of their own, and their own suns, they know.
    There airy limbs in sports they exercise,
    And on the green contend the wrestlers' prize.
    Some, in heroic verse, divinely sing;
    Others in artful measures lead the ring.
    Here patriots live, who, for their country's good,
    In fighting fields were prodigal of blood;
    Priests of unblemish'd lives here make abode,
    And poets worthy their inspiring god;
    And searching wits of more mechanic parts,
    Who grac'd their age with new-invented arts;
    Those who to worth their bounty did extend,
    And those who knew that bounty to commend.
    The heads of these, with holy fillets bound,
    And all their temples were with garlands crown'd.


Seeking Anchises among these happy shades, the two are directed to a
remote valley, where, beside the waters of Oblivion, old Anchises is
passing in review the long train of his posterity, marshaled in the
order of their birth into the world. When Anchises sees his son
approaching, he cries out joyfully to him:

    And are you come at last? Has love fulfilled a father's hopes and
    surmounted the perils of the way? Is it mine to look on your face,
    my son, and listen and reply as we talked of old? Yes; I was even
    thinking so in my own mind. I was reckoning that it would be,
    counting over the days. Nor has my longing played me false. Oh,
    the lands and the mighty seas from which you have come to my
    presence! the dangers, my son, that have tossed and smitten you!
    Oh, how I have feared lest you should come to harm in that realm
    of Libya!


Then follows a revelation of the mysteries of transmigration of souls,
the nature of soul essence, its purgation after years of contact with
its old body, and its ages of preparation for another mortal habitation.

Anchises now calls his son's attention to his own posterity, standing in
majestic review before him--noble shades, some of whom are destined to
go to the upper world at once, and some to wait long centuries in the
land of preëxistent souls. The mighty host of Roman worthies are
marshaled here, who, as yet unknown, are to make the name of Rome known
and feared or honored to the farthest bounds of earth. Here stalk the
shadowy forms of kings, consuls, generals, and statesmen, who on earth
shall be Romulus, Numa, and Tarquin; Brutus, Decius, Camillus, Cato, and
the Gracchi; the Scipios, the Fabii; Cæsar and Pompey, and he whose brow
shall be first to wear the imperial crown as ruler of the
world--Augustus Cæsar.

And now Æneas, fortified for any hardships upon earth by these glorious
visions of his posterity, turns his face back to the upper world.

    There are two gates of Sleep: the one, as story tells, of horn,
    supplying a ready exit for true spirits; the other gleaming with
    the polish of dazzling ivory, but through it the powers below send
    false dreams to the world above. Thither Anchises, talking thus,
    conducts his son and the Sibyl, and dismisses them by the gate of
    ivory. Æneas traces his way to the fleet, and returns to his
    comrades; then sails along the shore for Caieta's haven. The
    anchor is cast from the prow; the keels are ranged on the beach.


The Trojans sail up the coast, touch once more upon the land, skirt wide
past Circe's realm of dreadful magic, and then they come to where a
wide-mouthed river pours out into the sea.

    The sea was just reddening in the dawn, and Aurora was shining
    down from heaven's height in saffron robe and rosy car, when all
    at once the winds were laid, and every breath sank in sudden
    sleep, and the oars pull slowly against the smooth unmoving wave.
    In the same moment Æneas, looking out from the sea, beholds a
    mighty forest. Among the trees Tiber, that beauteous river, with
    his gulfy rapids and the burden of his yellow sand, breaks into
    the main. Around and above, birds of all plumes, the constant
    tenants of bank and stream, were filling the air with their notes
    and flying among the woods. He bids his comrades turn aside and
    set their prows landward, and enters with joy the river's shadowed


Up this great stream they sail, and reach at last the spot which Fate
has held in store for them. When that Italy which has so long eluded the
grasp of the hero is actually reached, and he stands upon the fated
ground to which prophecy and the visions of his eager fancy have long
been pointing him, the poem is complete; and all that follows is another
poem, actuated by another spirit. To this point Fate has led him,
through the smoke of his burning city, through storms and shipwreck, and
the unceasing opposition of adverse powers, and here she has finally
rewarded his piety and unswerving faith in his destiny. The first six
books of the _Æneid_ present the hero as the all-enduring one, the last
as the warrior king. The first six books are the story of hope and
anticipation; the last, of attainment and realization.

The incidents of the last six books which constitute the second part of
the _Æneid_ may be briefly told. King Latinus, who ruled over Latium,
received the Trojan prince with kindness and promised him Lavinia for
his wife, the king's only daughter and heiress of his crown. But Juno's
spite still pursued the Trojans, and through her machinations the Latins
and their allies were aroused against these foreigners. Especially was
Italian Turnus roused, a mighty prince of the Rutuli, for he had long
been suitor for Lavinia, and had won the favor of the Queen Amata to his

And now all Italy is ablaze with sudden war. Against his allied foes
Æneas secures the aid of the Greek Evander with his Arcadians, and of
the Etruscan tribes. The plains of Troy are transferred to Italy. Again
are heard the clashing of arms, the trumpet's blare, the snorting of
horses, the heavy tread of marching feet, hoarse challenges to conflict,
the hollow groans of the wounded and dying; the air is lit with the
gleam of torches; the ground is red with streams of blood. Juno and
Venus are active throughout, as of old in the Homeric story, each in the
interest of her own favorite.

But Juno's implacable hate is no match for destiny. Æneas must triumph,
for the fates have spoken it. The interest of the whole conflict centers
in the rival heroes; and when these two, after endless slaughter, on
both sides, of lesser men, meet at last in single conflict, there is no
doubt, even in the Italian's own heart, that he is foredoomed. And when
he falls, wounded by Æneas' spear and slain by his sword, the poem
ends abruptly, for the story can contain no more.

    With these words, fierce as flame, he plunged the steel into the
    breast that lay before him. That other's frame grows chill and
    motionless, and the soul, resenting its lot, flies groaningly to
    the shades.



_Roman Epic Poetry_, as illustrated by Nævius (269-199 B. C.), "the
first Roman who deserves to be called a poet," _Bellum Punicum_; Ennius
(239-169 B. C.), "the father of Roman literature," the _Annals_; Vergil
(70-19 B. C.), greatest of Roman poets, the _Æneid_.

1. What is known of the life of Nævius? 2. What is the nature of his
_Bellum Punicum_? 3. What did Vergil owe to this poem? 4. Quote the
epitaph of Nævius. 5. What is the significance of it? 6. What were the
chief events in the life of Ennius? 7. What interesting bit of
self-portraiture appears in his _Annals_? 8. Why does he deserve the
title of "the father of Roman literature"? 9. What is the nature of the
_Annals_? 10. Why is the loss of the great body of this work so much to
be regretted? 11. What progress did Latin literature make between the
time of Ennius and that of Vergil? 12. How was Vergil fitted for his
career both by nature and training? 13. Into what select circle was he
privileged to enter? 14. What was the nature of the _Eclogues_? 15. What
of the _Georgics_? 16. Why did the _Æneid_ never receive its finishing
touches? 17. How was the poem saved from destruction? 18. What was
Vergil's probable purpose in writing the _Æneid_? 19. Quote the lines
which promise world dominion to the Romans. 20. What religious motive
seems to guide Æneas? 21. How does Vergil's treatment of the gods
compare with that of Ovid? 22. What in brief is the story of the
_Æneid_? 23. What characteristic passages in the poem deal with the
mystery of nature? 24. From what different sources does Æneas
throughout the poem receive guidance as to his future home? 25. On what
occasions do the gods interfere to influence the progress of events? 26.
What characteristic customs of the times are portrayed in the poem? 27.
What picture of life after death does the poem present? 28. What crimes
does Vergil represent as unpardonable sins? 29. How does Vergil glorify
Æneas in his descendants? 30. How many books of the poem are devoted to
the wanderings of Æneas? 31. What in brief is the story of the remaining


SELLAR, _The Roman Poets of the Republic_: Nævius and his Historical
Epic, pp. 57-61; Ennius and the _Annales_, pp. 62-79, 88-119.

SELLAR, _The Roman Poetry of the Augustan Age_: _Vergil_.

TYRRELL, _Latin Poetry_: Lost Augustan Poets, pp. 20-26; Vergil, pp. 26,
126-161; Post-Augustan Epics, p. 27; Lucan, pp. 262-269.

NETTLESHIP, _Essays in Latin Literature_: Suggestions Introductory to a
Study of the _Æneid_, pp. 97-142.

CONINGTON, _Miscellaneous Writings_: Early Roman Epic Poetry, pp.
324-347; Later Roman Epic, pp. 348-384.

SHAIRP, _Aspects of Poetry_: Vergil as a Religious Poet, pp. 136-163.

SHAIRP, _Poetic Interpretation of Nature_: Nature in Lucretius and
Vergil, pp. 153-169.

BOISSIER, _The Country of Horace and Vergil_: The Legend of Æneas, pp.

SIMCOX, _History of Latin Literature_: Ennius, the _Annals_, Vol. I, pp.
22-30; Vergil, Vol. I, pp. 253-282; Lucan and his successors, Vol. II,
pp. 35-74.

MOMMSEN, _History of Rome_: Early Roman Epic, Nævius and Ennius, Vol.
II, pp. 519-540.

MILLER AND NELSON, _Dido, an Epic Tragedy_: A dramatization of the story
of Æneas and Dido.

  Transcriber Notes:

  "+  +" indicates Greek transliteration.

  Pg 051, "his" changed to "has" (all that has passed)

  Pg 053, "Phromio" changed to "Phormio" (the shrewdness of Phormio)

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