The Epistle to Augustus Epistles 2.1
|1.||This work with all its many motifs contributing to a celebration of Augustan poetry is itself a masterly Augustan performance.|
|2.||. . . its unity must depend on the clarity of the tone struck with regard to the Augustus on whom Augustan poetry depends.|
|3.||It may be that even this unequalled master of civilized tone could not overcome an imbalance that may be felt between the several personages that here appear under the name of Augustus. . . . [They are] not fully compatible. 1|
Of these assertions I can agree fully only with the first, for this epistle seems to have a unity that responds to the conflicting sides of Augustus himself as the addressee. "The number of recent Horaces is large and their diversities are bewildering," writes Brink himself: "Few, if any of them could have written the poems that are the subject of Horace on Poetry."
Brink finds Syme's division of the Augustan age into two "new and novel" periods unconvincing; i.e. 43-28 B.C. ( Cicero to the return of normal government) and 28-13 B.C. ( Aeneid, Odes I-IV, Epistles I; and possibly Epistles II and Ars Poetica), for they would put Odes I-III into the same period as IV, and would exclude Epistle 2.1 from it. The years