Page:The works of Horace - Christopher Smart.djvu/329
the trumpet, but) slender and of simple form, with few stops, was of service to accompany and assist the chorus, and with its tone was sufficient to fill the rows that were not as yet too crowded, where an audience, easily numbered, as being small and sober, chaste and modest, met together. But when the victorious Romans began to extend their territories, and an ampler wall encompassed the city, and their genius was indulged on festivals by drinking wine in the day-time without censure; a greater freedom arose both, to the numbers [of poetry], and the measure [of music]. For what taste could an unlettered clown and one just dismissed from labors have,
- Accessit numerisque modisque licentia major. M. Dacier is out again, when he takes licentia major in a bad sense, as implying “lasciveté,” a culpable and licentious refinement. The license here spoken of, with regard to numbers and sounds, like that in another place, which respects words (1. 51), is one of those which is allowed, when sumpta pudenter. The comparative major, which is a palliative, shows this ; and is further justified by a like passage in Cicero de Oratore (I. iii. c. 48), where, speaking of this very license in poetry, he observes, that out of the heroic and iambic measure, which was at first strictly observed, there arose by degrees the anapæst, “procerior quidam numerus, et ille licentior et divitior dithyrambus;” evidently not condemning this change, but opposing it to the rigorous and confined measures of the elder poet. But the expression itself occurs in the piece entitled “Orator,” in which, comparing the freedoms of the poetical and oratorical style, “in eâ” (i. e. poeticâ), says he, “licentiam statuo majorem esse, quum in nobis faciendorum jungendorumque verborum.” The poet says this license extended “numeris modisque,” the former of which words will express that license of meter spoken of by Cicero, and which is further explained, v. 256, etc., where an account is given of the improvement of the iambic verse. Hurd.