Pagina:Zibaldone di pensieri VII.djvu/398

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(4456-4457) pensieri 389

other hand what is related of Ancus has not a touch of poetical colouring. But afterward with L. Tarquinius Priscus begins a great poem, which ends with the battle of Regillus; and this lay of the Tarquins even in its prose shape is still inexpressibly poetical; nor is it less unlike real history. The arrival of Tarquinius the Lucumo at Rome: his deeds and victories; his death; then the marvellous story of Servius; Tullia’s impious nuptials; the murder of the just king; the whole story of the last Tarquinius; the warning presages of his fall; Lucretia; the feint of Brutus; his death; the war of Porsenna; in fine the truly Homeric battle of Regillus; all this forms an epopee, which in depth and brilliance of imagination leaves every thing produced by Romans in later times far behind it. Knowing nothing of the unity which characterizes the most perfect of Greek poems, it divides itself into sections, answering to the adventures in the lay of the Niebelungen: and should any one ever have the boldness to think of restoring it in a poetical form, he would commit a great mistake in selecting any other than that of this noble work (del poema of the Niebelungen).  (4457) These lays are much older than Ennius, (nota 637:

                  ― Scripsere alii rem
   Versibu’ quos olim Fauni vatesque canebant:
   Quom neque Musarum scopulos quisquam superarat,
   Nec dicti studiosus erat.

Horace’s annosa volumina vatum may have been old poems of this sort: though perhaps they are also to be understood of prophetical books, like those of the Marcii; which, contemptuously as they are glanced at, were extremely poetical. Of this we may judge even from the passages preserved by Livy (XXV, 12).: Horace can no more determine our opinion of them than of Plautus) who moulded them into hexameters,