Archpoet, Poem IV and Some Horatian Intertexts



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Archpoet, Poem IV and Some Horatian Intertexts
That the Archpoet knew and used the poetry of Horace seems beyond question. The standard edition of Watenphul and Krefeld notes many examples of quotation or allusion to individual lines 1, while Otto Zwierlein in a useful article has provided a number of classical intertexts for the Archpoet's poetry 2, and Peter Dronke has argued for extended uses of passages of Horace in Poem X 3. Complete copies of the works of Horace were widely available in Northern Europe in the twelfth century 4, and it is not unreasonable to suppose that the Archpoet was able to read complete Horatian poems as well as quotations and florilegia, being thus enabled to use contextual as well as verbal echoes. Here I should like to argue briefly for the importance of several Horatian contexts for the understanding of Poem IV; one or two of the individual parallels have been noted, but the subtle employment of the original contexts in the Archpoet's reworkings merits an analysis which it has not yet received. As Otto Zwierlein remarked in 1972 : 'der Einflub klassicher Schriftsteller auf unseren Dichter scheint noch nicht erschöpfend untersucht' 5.

The effect of Poem IV depends partly on an analogy between the Archpoet and Horace in their relationships with their patrons 6. Both poets are primarily attached to a great personage who is a major adviser to a ruler (the Archchancellor Reinald von Dassel and Maecenas). Both the rulers are conquering emperors who have the title Caesar in Latin (so the Archpoet of Frederick Barbarossa at IV.16.2 Caesar Fredericus, Horace of Augustus frequently). In each case the poet can present himself as being asked by the adviser to praise the ruler's conquests, a request which the poet declines in the characteristic classical form of the recusatio with the assertion that the poet is not up to the task 7. Such a request and refusal are found in Poem IV, and their conjunction recalls Odes 2.12, where Horace similarly stresses to Maecenas, presumably in answer to a request, that he is not suitable to write an account of Caesar's wars (and in fact assigns the task to Maecenas himself, probably with a certain irony). Of course, there are differences as well as similarities between the two situations : Reinald is much more of an active soldier and politician than Maecenas, and the two poets decline the task of lauding Caesar for different reasons, Horace because such material is generically inappropriate for the lighter themes of lyric, the Archpoet because he has insufficient time to write. But there seems little doubt that the Archpoet modelled the literary presentation of his relationship with Reinald on that of Horace and Maecenas, and uses that link to compliment his patron.

More indirect, but equally important in the contemporary context, is the way in which the Archpoet/Horace and Reinald/Maecenas equivalences are used in poem IV to compliment Frederick as a second Augustus. It was of course a platitude since Charlemagne that the Holy Roman Empire continued the Roman Empire of Augustus, and that same idea was prominent under Frederick Barbarossa 8. In Poem IX the Archpoet himself makes the Frederick/Augustus analogy much more explicit, as we would expect in a poem which owes something to Horace's own epistle to Augustus (Ep.2.1) 9. At IX.30 Frederick is ranked with Augustus as a bringer of peace in a compliment which typically combines a classical comparison with an allusion to the Vulgate 10 :
iterum describitur orbis ab Augusto,

redditur res publica statui vetusto,

pax terras ingreditur habitu venusto,

et iam non opprimitur iustus ab iniusto.


This comparison with Augustus as peace-bringer also occurs implicitly in the contemporary historical panegyric of Otto of Freising, the Gesta Friderici (II.58) :
Porro tanta ab ea die usque inpresentiarum toti Transalpino pacis

iocunditas arrisit imperio, ut non solum imperator et augustus,

sed et pater patriae iure dicatur Fridericus.
Here the title augustus is in lower case, as in Frederick's usual formal titulature from about 1155, Romanorum imperator (et semper) augustus 10, but the conjunction with pater patriae surely implies an analogy with Augustus himself, who similarly viewed the title of pater patriae as the ultimate distinction (Res Gestae 35, Suetonius Div.Aug.58). The author of the contemporary Ludus de Antichristo is more explicit, referring to Frederick as Augustus in a context where the parallel with the first princeps is clear (1.1.47-50) :
Romani nominis honorem veneramur

Augusto Caesari servire gloriamur.

Cuius imperii virtus est formidanda,

Honor et gloria maneant veneranda.


The analogy of Frederick with Augustus is evident in contemporary panegyrical texts, and Poem IV takes its place amongst these in implicitly echoing this piece of flattery.

Aside from this more political aspect, Poem IV at its beginning seems to owe something to an Horatian poem where Augustus is not mentioned, namely Epistles 1.7. The two poems seem analogous in theme and dramatic situation. The Archpoet opens by apologising to his patron for being unable to fulfil a request (the writing of a poem on Frederick's Italian wars); the apology is accompanied by copious praise of the patron and by a statement of the poet's inadequacy for the task. In Epistles 1.7 Horace begins by apologising to his patron for being unable to fulfil a request (attending his patron in Rome during the hot and unhealthy summer), giving similar praise and making a similar kind of statement of inadequacy. Of course, the requests made are different, but both poets reply with an elegant refusal, and the verbal parallels confirm the thematic link.

The Archpoet's initial address to Reinald is naturally in complimentary mode (IV.1.1-4) :
Archicancellarie, vir discretae mentis,

cuius cor non agitur levitatis ventis

aut morem transgreditur viri sapientis,

non est in me forsitan id quod de me sentis.


The phrase viri sapientis, though common enough, may recall Horace's implicit praise of Maecenas at Epistle 1.7.22-3, similarly characterising his patron as a wise man who understands how the relationship of patronage works :
vir bonus et sapiens dignis ait esse paratus

nec tamen ignorat quid distent aera lupinis.


Both poets are trying to present the claims of patronage as flexible in a potentially delicate situation, and the Archpoet is able to add in a compliment to Rainauld by comparing him to Maecenas as a generous and discerning patron. Likewise, the idea expressed by the Archpoet that the humble poet cannot live up to his exalted patron's idea of his capacity for poetry (non est in me...) is prominently seen in Epistles 1.1.1-4, where Maecenas is presented as suggesting that Horace engage once more in the arena of lyric poetry, and countered with a refusal :
prima dicte mihi, summa dicende Camena,

spectatum satis et donatum iam rude quaeris,

Maecenas, iterum antiquo me includere ludo.

non eadem est aetas, non mens.
The Archpoet's second stanza asks for pardon for the poet's inadequacy in not fulfilling the patron's request (IV.2.1-4) :
Audi preces, domine, veniam petentis :

exaudi suspiria gemitusque flentis

et onus impositum ferre non valentis,

quod probare potero multis argumentis.


venia is sought by Horace too at the opening of Epistles 1.7 for the same reason, combined with a similar anxiety about insufficient strength (Ep.1.7.3-5):
si me vivere vis sanum recteque valentem,

quam mihi das aegro, dabis aegrotare timenti,

Maecenas, veniam ...
In Horace's case the lack of strength is literal and connected with ill-health, while for the Archpoet weakness is at least partly metaphorical, a trope (repeated at IV.16.1 scribere non valeo) which is itself drawn from other passages of Horace where the classical poet professes a similar lack of literary strength to deal with the victories of Augustus (Sat. 2.1.12-13 cupidum, pater optime, vires / deficiunt, Ep. 2.1.258-9 nec meus audet / rem temptare pudor quam vires ferre recusent).

This kind of subtle adaptation is continued in IV.6, which adds several other classical allusions :


vir virorum optime, parce tuo vati,

qui se totum subicit tuae voluntati,

precor, cum non audeam onus tantum pati,

ut rigorem temperes ardui mandati.



Parce tuo vati, though the whole phrase may echo William of Apulia's use of it earlier in the twelfth century, seems ultimately Horatian in origin : Horace uses vates tuus at Ep.1.7.11 in a line which also involves the verb parcere (ad mare descendet vates tuus et sibi parcet). The idea of not daring to take on a literary burden of epic is Horatian : audeo is twice used of the praise of Caesar which Horace shrinks from undertaking (Sat.2.1.10 aude / Caesaris invicti res dicere, Ep.2.1.258-9 nec meus audet / rem temptare pudor quam vires ferre recusent), and onus tantum pati again recalls the latter passage, where ferre clearly refers to the same metaphor of not bearing a load too great for the poet (as Ars Poetica 39-40 quid ferre recusent, / quid valent umeri confirms). Finally, ardui mandati perhaps recalls another passage where a dependent poet addresses Maecenas, this time not Horace but Vergil in the Georgics, where the poem itself is referred to in the proem of Georgic 3 as tua, Maecenas, haud mollia iussa (3.41). Vergil, of course, fulfilled his difficult orders, while the Archpoet attempts to escape from those imposed on him, but the complimentary parallel with Maecenas is again drawn.

Horatian literary colouring in Poem IV is clearest in its opening stanzas, which have not been fully explored from this point of view. Better investigated are the Horatian allusions in its middle section, both in the conflation of Ars Poetica 390 nescit vox missa reverti and Ep.1.18.71 et semel emissum volat irrevocabile verbum in IV.9.1 quae semel emittitur nescit vox reverti, and in the section about the character of the poet which is shared with poem X (IV.10-15) 11, though one might add that IV.15.4 in me Phoebus irruit is likely to be an echo of Odes 1.19.9 in me tota ruens Venus. I pass over these and conclude by considering IV.16, where the recusatio theme is most succinctly expressed (IV.16.1-4):


scribere non valeo pauper et mendicus

quae gessit in Latio Caesar Fredericus,

qualiter subactus est Tuscus inimicus,

praeter te qui Caesaris integer amicus.


The profession of inadequacy in scribere non valeo has already been seen as Horatian above; the idea that the poet as pauper is inadequate to write of Barbarossa's deeds may reflect Horace's own professions of poverty (e.g. Sat.1.1.79, Odes 2.18.10), though the phrasing here is clearly biblical (Ps.39.18 ego autem mendicus sum et pauper) and Horace himself never uses that argument in a recusatio. But this recusatio stanza owes most in fact to Odes 1.6, where Horace addresses Agrippa in declining to write of his deeds and those of Caesar (Odes 1.6.1-4) :
scriberis Vario fortis et hostium

victor Maeonii carminis alite,

quam rem cumque ferox navibus aut equis

miles te duce gesserit.


Here a number of verbal and thematic parallels seem to be in evidence. Both scriberis (consigning the writing of praise to Varius rather than himself) and gesserit may be echoed in the Archpoet's scribere (again refusing the writing himself) and gessit (again of military achievement) : both gesserit and gessit fall in relative clauses. Subactus may again recall Horace's characterization of the civil war in the ode to Pollio (2.1.23 cuncta terrarum subacta), as in the Archpoet's poem celebrating an ideologically important victory.

Finally, the idea of the close friendship of the poet's patron and Caesar stated in these lines of course recalls again the similarly close relationship between Maecenas and Augustus, seen most prominently in the opening Epode (1.3-4) : paratus omne Caesaris periculum / subire, Maecenas, tuo : the closeness of ruler and minister is mirrored in their sharing of danger in battle in Horace, just as it is mirrored in the Archpoet by the fact that both share in the same great military victories. There may also be some echo of the relationship between Agrippa and Augustus as implied in Odes 1.6, where both are military commanders like Reinald and Frederick in Poem IV.

In sum, Archpoet Poem IV, especially in its opening stanzas, has more Horatian colour than previously realised, and in particular uses for its own rhetorical purposes some of the poems in which Horace presents his relationship with Maecenas. Its use of Horace is not merely casual or vicarious, but involves a detailed intertextual reworking of several originals and their contexts, showing both the Archpoet's highly classicizing talent for imitatio and his coherence with other contemporary panegyrical presentations of Frederick I.
Corpus Christi College, Oxford S.J.HARRISON
NOTES

I am most grateful to Professors F.Cairns, P. Dronke and O.Zwierlein, and to Dr K.Friis-Jensen, for much kind help and advice. They should not be held responsible for any of the views put forward in this paper.


1. H.WATENPHUL and H.KREFELD, Die Gedichte des Archipoeta (Heidelberg 1958).
2.O.ZWIERLEIN, Antike Motive bem Archipoeta und im 'Ligurinus', Mlat.Jb. 7 (1972) 102-24.
3. P.DRONKE, The Archpoet and the Classics, in Latin Poetry and the Classical Tradition, ed. P.GODMAN and O.MURRAY (Oxford 1990) 57-72.
4. B.MUNK OLSEN, L'étude des auteurs classiques latins aux XIe et XIIe siècles (Paris, 1982) 421-522 notes 242 Horatian manuscripts and 29 commentaries surviving from the eleventh and twelfth centuries. For a recent survey of Horatian influence in the Middle Ages, cf. M-B.QUINT, Untersuchungen zur mittelalterlichen Horaz-Reception (Frankfurt am Main 1988).
5. ZWIERLEIN (note 2) 102.
6. The analogy is seen as likely to be picked up by a contemporary reader by K.FRIIS-JENSEN, The Medieval Horace and His Lyrics, in Horace [Entretiens Hardt 39] 295-6.
7. ZWIERLEIN (note 2) 121 n.86 notes briefly that Archpoet IV is a recusatio of ancient type, but dooes not draw a close analogy with one particular Horatian poem.
8. Cf. e.g. Gunther von Pairis Ligurinus 1.55-6 (of Frederick) : solus ab Augusto consorti gaudet honore, / et socium claris admittit Carolus actis. For a discussion of Frederick's imperial ideas cf. H.APPELT, Die Kaiseridee Friedrich Barbarossas (SB Öst.Ak.Wiss. [Phil.-Hist. Kl.] 252.4, 1967).
9. Cf. ZWIERLEIN (note 2) 103-4.
10. Cf. Luke 2.1 exiit edictum a Caesare Augusto ut describeretur totus orbis.
11. Cf. e.g. H.APPELT (ed.), Friderici I Diplomata [MGH, Diplomata Regum et Imperatorum Germaniae X.1] (Hannover, 1975), 11.
12. Cf. WATENPHUL and KREFELD (note 1) 107.
13. Cf. ZWIERLEIN (note 2) 120-1.




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