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country life. But in this delicious and glowing description, it is observable that no part of the scenery which he apostrophizes by name belongs to his own country. It is all Grecian ; & his fields, his moun
; tains, his rivers, and his woods are all found in Thessaly, Laconia, and Thrace.
Horace is so far like Virgil, that neither does he derive his ideas of rural beauty from the country of which he was a native; but, unlike him in other respects, gives the palm to some parts of Italy over all the rest of the world. In particular, he prefers it to the most admired scenery of Greece, even by name, in the strongest terms. In his ode to Plancus (Lib. I. Ode 7), he tells him that he shall leave to others the office of celebrating the beauties both of art and nature to be found in Greece ; for that neither Laconia itself" (which country was expressly
g Georg. II. v. 486, et seq.
O ubi Campi
Sistat, et ingenti ramorum protegat umbra!
Tam patiens Lacedæmon cannot refer to the city, because that could be no object of comparison with the groves and river of Tiber. Larissa was seated on the river Peneus, which also ran through the vale of Tempe; and, no doubt, is to be understood as referring to that valley which might well be compared to Tiber, though the fertile Larissa in the strict and literal sense could not.
included in Virgil's praises) nor even the boasted vale of Tempe was equal in his estimation to the scenery round Tiber; in which neighbourhood his own villa was seated. Upon the same principle we find the poet earnestly wishing at another time (Lib. II. Ode 6) that he may pass the evening of his days at Tiber, and that if this prayer be denied him, he may be allowed to settle in the soft and genial climate of Tarentum, in the south-east of Italy.
This difference of opinion, or taste, in two poets, contemporaries and friends, is very striking. To which the suffrage was given by the Emperor who loved them both, and (I am sorry to add) was flattered by both, it would now be useless to inquire ; but it is curious to observe in how different a light the same objects appear to minds of perhaps equal powers, of equally cultivated understandings, and having an equal taste for the enchanting scenery which abounds in both those countries.
Admirable indeed is the variety of the powers of Nature, and their influence on the minds of men; and the different manner in which they affect different dispositions, so that what is to one a beauty, to another appears a deformity, is not one of the least instances of the bounty of Providence towards
Extensive as their variety seems in combination, the works of Nature (like every thing that is truly great) are simple. Water, hill, plain, and wood, form all her materials; but these are subdivided, modelled, classed, and mixed together, in so many forms of beauty, as to prove to a well regulated mind one of the purest as well as highest sources of innocent and intellectual pleasure
On the State best adapted to Human Happiness.
“ Vitam quce faciunt beatiorem,
Jucundissime Martialis, hæc sunt;
nunquam, toga rara; mens quieta;
MARTIAL, X. 47.
Translation by Cowley. “ Since, dearest friend, 'tis your
desire to see
Let this estate from parent's care descend;