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Delia from his breast, he again paid his addresses to her: and, from some passages in the second and seventh elegies of the first book, it would seem that they were but too successful.
When a woman has once so far forgot herself, as to bestow improper favours on a lover, nothing is more natural than for that lover to suspect he is not the only favourite. Our poet is an instance of the truth of this observation; for to such a height did his ungenerous suspicions of Delia arise (notwithstanding all her protestations of innocence), that he made her husband acquainted with his intrigue *. Whether Delia was innocent or not, (he could never forgive this discovery. Or had she been willirg to forget the past, we cannot suppose that her husband would ever admit Tibullus again into his house.
Such, then, wai the extraordinary conclusion of our poet's intimacy with Delia; and therefore the poem which furnished these particulars is justly made the last of the poems inscribed to that beauty.
Although the elegies of Tibullus warrant, in some sort, these surmises, yet it ought to be con. sidered, that poets write from imagination more frequently than from reality, because ideal subjects assord greater scope to their faculties, than occurrences in common life: — and indeed, if what Ovid tells us may be depended on, Delia was again enamoured with our poet at the time nf his decease, when probably her husband was dead.
Some time elapsed, before Tibullus entered into any new engagements. In this interval, he composed his famous elegy on Messala's Birthday, the ninth and the following elegies of the first book, with the first and second of the second book; endeavouring to forget his disasters, by dividing his time between his country-seat and Rome, but chiefly by conversing, more than ever, with the learned and polite: of these the most eminent among his acquaintances were Messala, Valgius, Maccr, and Horace.
Messala was now in the height of his reputation: in eloquence and military knowledge, he was excelled by none of his cotemporarics; and yet the goodness of his heart surpassed his abilities. His house was the rendezvous of the the learned; and his patronage, as an admirable poets expresses it, was
The surest passport to the gates of fame.
Happy in the approbation of all parties, his siding with Augustus, after the defeat at Philippi, did not lose him the esteem of his old friends; and his interesting himself in their behalf, to the honour of that emperor, made him not the less beloved by Augustus}.
• Lib. i. Rl. J.
i At -Jsrlj bad a brother, v/lo tvai also a polite smbolar, at Horace insormt ut. According to St. ferom'e, this illustrious Roman married Tcrentia, Ciccro'i niao-w, and by her bad two /one, leiarsui and Lucius,
J. Valgius Rufus was eminent, net only:' heroic poetry, but also for his elegies, efpttii": those on the death of his son Myttes*. Heii wrote some excellent epigrams. But all b poems are now lost. As Tibullus thought the best poet next to Homer, posterity has ssic ed much in their lofsf.
Of Macer, all that is known, is mentions i the notes to the sixth elegy of the second bock.
But although Tibullus himself informs 11 his acquaintance with these eminent schotoi yet should we not have known of the fticodi which Horace and he entertained for one uo-bc had it not been for Horace, who probably it . this time sent our poet an epistle, which it i. translated by Mr. Francis. Albius! in whom my si'ires find A candid critic, and a kind. Do you, while at your country feat, Some rhiming labours meditate. That shall in volum'd bulk arise, And e'en from Casfiut bear the prize; Or, sauntering through the silent wood, Think what befits the wise and good.
Thou art not form'd of lifeless mould,
Can a fend nurse one blessing more,
By hope inspir'd, deprest by sear.
Such are the maxims I embrace.
You'll find, for laughter fitly bred,
Motif. Dacierf observes, that thi« c| isllc is all ironical; for Tibullu*, according to him, hiving! exhausted his fortune by extravagance, had now: retired to the country, to recruit his finances, and avuid the importunity of his creditors.
To find out these things from the epistle before quoted, required a strange obliquity of understanding; as to support them, demanded some learning :— however, it must be confessed, that the French editor of Horace is not the first author who maintained this extraordinary opinion. An old grammarian f, whose comment on Ho race, Caspar Uarthius owns he perused, but to whom Dacier was willing to fink his obligations, though he als. must have seen him, has out-done the French critic in what he writes of Fibullus. "Fuit hie Albius" (fays this uncommon genius) "eques Romanus, qui primus in amatorio sarBitre habetur: cum per ironiam irritlet Horatius, quasi rem benc gesscrit, cum in juventa omnia prodegerit, et postea versions victum quarsiverit. Ergo ubi eum laudat, fe innuit Horatius; ubi vituperat fe, & Epicurum uominat, Albium intclligit, quern ridendum ait quod prodegerit omnia, jam nihil habens, quo, ut solcbat, cutem curare poUel: quod vero ait
Di tibi divitias dederint, &c
mauifesta imi.ia est, nam Epicuri non credentes deos habere curam rcrum humanarum, omnia prodignnt; cguod postquaua factum est omnibus hint iidiculi.'J
Whence th is " femi-prifeus Grammaticus" (for so Brockhusius calls him) drew these particulars relating to our poet, is not known: but that Dacier stiould adopt them, is matter of wonder; as, in all probability, the, Frenchman had read Titul'us'* panegyric §, which plainly shows that the diminution of his fortune was not owing to his own intemperance. And if the grammarian had perused his elegies || with ever so little attention, he would have seen, that Tibullus was rather re. ligious than otherwise, and by no means an Epicurean, at least in belief.
But, fay some critics, who have too thoughtlessly embraced this opinion, does not Horace confirm it, where be tells us, that his father Warned him, »heu a young man, from pursuing
• Lib i. £p. 4.
4. fVyr= fee notesfur V Horace, lib. i. tp. 4.
Fortuna i ut mos tjl iliit we adverfi fatiget.
And some lines lower,
nam euro nevatur, ^uum memar anteailos semper dolor admovst annot. Sed licet afperiora cudant, jpolierque reliclit.
I Boot i. SI. I, 3, 8, II.
exttavagant courses, by setting before his eye» the infamy and miserable life of Albius, Ninnc vides Albi ut male vival filiusf
To make this objection decisive, the critic* must first prove, that there were no other Albiules in FLome thai] the father of Tibullus; which, by the way, is false: and then they mule ihow, that this infamous and indigent son of Al-* bius's was our poetwhich cannot be done, cfpecially as we know that he died a knight, and o£ course was worth upwards of three thousand pounds sterling.— There are also innumerable passages in his elegies *, which prove, that.be wa* by no means in distressed circumstances, though, less wealthy than his ancestors. Again, is it to be imagined, that the rich and generous Mcssala would have fussred so fine a genius, and one whom he regarded so much, to have been distressed by his creditor.)? And, to crown all, as Tibullus was confessedly some years younger than Horace, with what propriety could Horace's father propose Tibullus as an example not 10 be followed by his son? (
When such were the friends of Tibullus, and his poetical abilities had long since obtained him universal applause, he could have found no difficulty in getting admission to the learned court of Augustus. How then, afle the commentators, has it come to pass, that he never once mentions cither that emperor, or Mæcenas, bath whom hia brother poets celebrated with such a lavishuc-fs of praise » Aud yet, add they, there are many part* of his writings where thole patrons of genius might have been introduced with uncommon propriety?
True to the principles of the republic, and a real friend to the liberties of the people, Tibullus never could prevail upon himself to flatter those, whatever affection they expressed for the muses, whom his principles taught him to deteit as the enflavers of his country.
This, as Pope emphatically expresses it, " kept "him sacred from the great," who, doubtless, perceived with secret displeasure (for Augustus and Mæcenas well knew the importance of having the poets on their side), that no loss of fortune, and no allurement of mbition, could induce Tibullus to join in the general chorus of their praise. Although both the emperor aud his faveurlte must in their hearts have applauded our poet's integrity; yet that mental applause, in all probability, would not have secured Tibullus from the effects of their displeasure, bad it not been for the interest which he had with Messala.
Besides Messala, Valgius, and Macer, Tibullus mentions Coruutus, Marathus, Titius, and Meflalintis. The conjectures of the critics concerning these Romans, are inserted in the note* lo the elegies, where their names occur.
Soon after this, Tibullus fell in love with Neaera. It is true, that the elegies he wrote to Ne
* Se? tie notes on the jirjl elegy of the firs, boob, end on the first and 'bird Aejj of tbe second.
icra, in every edition of our poet, follow those, in which he celebrate* Nemesis: yet as Ovid (who could not well be mistaken in what related to one whom he regarded so much as Tibullus) fays that Nemesis was hi» last mistress, and as it is probable that the fifth elegy of the second book (our poet being then certainly very fond of Nemesis) was written between the years 731 and 734, when Augustus wintered in Samos, that is, a short time before our poet's death, we suppose, although the learned gentleman who favoured the author with the notes marked B, is of a different opinion, that Ncæra was the third object of his assertions.
Fabricius conjectures, from her name, that she was a woman of the town; Ncacra, in the declension of the Roman empire, being a fynonimous term for a courtezan *: but Fabricius should have considered that Tibullus wrote in the Augustan age. Besides, it appears from Homer f, from Valerius Flaccus f, and from an old marble statue preserved by Pignorius §, that women of the first rank, and most unsuspected modesty, were called by that name. Without, however, these authorities, Tibullus himself screens this favourite from the imputation of libertinism, by bestowing on her the epithet cajla \\: He also characterises her parents, as people of virtue and fortune.
It appears from the second and third elegy of the third book, that Neatra, after a long courtship, having consented to marry Tibullus, was somehow or other forced away from him. This gave our poet an uncommon concern, which was redoubled, when he discovered, that she herself had not only been accessary to her being carried off, but meant also to marry his rival.
Mr. Dart, in his Life of Tibullus ^, is of opinion, that Neæra was the fame with Glycera. But why, then, does our poet not call her by that name? Besides, if any one will attentively peruse Horace's consolatory ode to our author on the infidelity of Glycera, and compare it with many passages in the third book of Tibullus, he will easily fee, that Mr. Dart must be mistaken.
Tibullus, who had hitherto been unsuccessful in his addresses to the fair, was not more fortunate in his last mistress; for, if Nemesis (for so was she called) possessed beauties of mind and person equal to those of Delia and Neavra, her extreme avarice obscured them all. And though Martial •• founds Tibullus's chief claim to poetical reputation on the elegies he addressed to that lady,
Fama est arguti Nemesis formofa Tibulli,
• Tint 1st, the old glojfarijt if Prudential, inter* prtti Nctera by pellcx and concubina. + Odys. lib. xii. ver. 133. } Argonaut, lib. l\. ver. 141. § Epijl. Symbolic, vid, Reinee, Ep. 28. Q Lib. iii. Li. 4. i P. 10.
"Lib. viii. Ep. 73.
we have our poet's authority for asserting, that they produced no effect upon her.
Whether Nemesis ever abated of her rigour: Tibullus, his elegies do not inform us. It indeed probable she did, especially since Ovid npresents her as sincerely grieved at Tibulliiii death, which, according to Marfut, a cot:n: ■ rary poet, happened soon after that of Virgil: Te quoque, Virgilio comitem, non aequi, Tibs-t
Mors juvenem campos misit ad Elysios: Ne foret, aut elegis molles qui fleret amores;
Aut caneret forti regia beila pede.
Thee! young Tibullus, to th' Elyfian plain
Determin'd that no poet should remain,
For Tibullus died either A. U. C. 73J, & year of Virgil's death, or the year after, is tbt forty-fourth or forty-fifth year of his age.
Nor was Marfus the only poet who ctlebffie: this melancholy event: Ovicf who had no!-, friendship than admiration for Tibullus, basismortalized both himself and his friend in the' lowing beautiful elegy; which, containing : - ■ further particulars relating to our poet, will a%k a proper conclusion to this life, which, frwn tk scantiness, as well as the little authority of r of the materials, the author is sorry be caw render more complete.
If Thetis, if the blushing Queen of Morns,
For mortal sons; come Elegy forlorn!
Thou bcar'st, soft mistress of the tearful ere, From grief thy name, now name alas uc£
For fee thy favourite bard, thy glory lie, Stretch'd on yon funeral pile, ah ! lifest*"
See Venus' son, his torch extinguished brings His quiver all revers'd, and broke his bow;
See pensive how he droops with flagging And strikes his bared bosom many a blow:
Loose and neglected, scatter'd o'er his neck, His golden locks drink many a falling to.':
What piteous fobs, as if his heart would brot Shake his fwoln cheek? Ah sorrow loose"
Memnena si mater, mater ploravit Achillem,
Ft tangunt magnas tristia fata deos; Flebilia indignu.«, Elcgia, solve capillos,
Ah nimis ex vero nunc tibi nomen erit! Ille tui vates operis, toa fama, Tibullus
Ardet in extracto corpus inane rogo. Ecce, puer Veneris fert eversamquc pbareinE
Et fractos arcus, et sine luce facem. Adfpice, demissis ut eat miserabilis aiis;
Pectoraque infesti tundat aperta maun. Excipiunt fparsi lacrymas per colls capilli,
Oraque singultu concutieute sonant.
• Lib. iii. Et. 8. j- Aurora.
Thus, fair Mlus'. for thy godlike fire *,
Nor deeper mourn'd the queen of soft desire f,
And yet we bards are fondly call'd divine,
There are, that deem us of tli' ethereal line,
But what can death's abhorred stroke withstand?
Say what so sacred he will not profane t On all the monster lays his dulky hand,
And poets are immortal deem'd in vain.
Thee, Orpheus', what avail'd thy heavenly fire?
Thy mother-muse, and beast-inchanting song? ilit god for Linus swept his mournful lyre,
And with a father's woes the forests rung.
Great Homer fee, from whose eternal spring
Not he could 'scape the sell remorseless king f,
Still live the work of ages, Ilion's fame,
5o Nemesis shall live, and Delia's name;
sow what avails, ye fair! each holy rite, Each painful service for your lover paid?
lecluse and lonely that you pass'd the night?
Vhea partial fate thus tears the good away,
m led to doubt of Jove's eternal sway,
ratris in Æneæ sic ilium funere dicunt Egressum tectis, pulcher Jiile, tuis. ec minus est confusa Venus morientc Tibullo, Quam juveni rupit, cum ferus inguen aper. t sacri vates, et divum cura vocamur: Sunt etiam, qui nos numen habere putent. ilicet omne sacrum mors importuna prosanat: Omnibus obfeuras injicit ilia manus. aid pater Ismario, quid mater prosuit, Orpheo? Carmine quid victas obstupuisse feras? linon in sylvis idem pater, Ælinon, altis Dicitur invita concinuisse Lyia lspice Mceonidem, a quo, ceu fonte perenni, Vatum Picriis ora rigantur aquis; me quoque summo dies nigro submersit Averno; Efi'ugiutit avidos carmina sola rogos. irat opus vatum Trojani fama laboris, Tardsque nocturno tela retexta dolo. : Nemesis longum, sic Delia nomen habebit, Altera cura recens, altera primus amor, lid nunc sacra juyant i quid nunc Ægyptia prosunt
Sistra * quid in vacuo secubuiffe torn?
im rapiant mala fata bom s (ignoscite fasso)
Sollicitor r.ullos efse putare Dcus.
• Æihui. t Vmu>, \ Pluto
Live pious, you must die: religion prize,
Death to the tomb will drag you from the fane:
Confide in verse; lo! where Tibullus lies!
Thee, sacred bard! could then funereal fires
Not fanes were safe, not Jove's refulgent spires *, From flames that ventur'd on this impious deed
The beauteous queen that reigns in Eryx towers. From the fad sight averts her mournful face;
There are, that tell of soft and pearly showers Which down her lovely cheeks their courses trace.
Yet better thus, than on Phæacia's strand.
His closing eyes here felt a mother's hand,
His parting shade here found a sister's care,
The fair he lov'd his dying kisses share,
"Farewel, dear youth!" thus Delia parting cry'J, "How blest the time, when 1 ini'pir'd the lay?
"You liv'd, were happy; every care desy'd, "While 1 possess'd your heart, untaught to stray.''
To whom thus Nemesi;, in scornful mood,
"Mine was the loss, then why art thou distrefs'd?
"Me, only me with parting life he view'd; "My hand alone with dying ardour presc'd f."
Vive pius; moriere plus: cole sacra; colentem
Mors gravis a templis in cava busta trahet. Carminibus confide bonis; jacet ecce Tibullus,
Vix manet e toto parva quod urna capit.
Pectoribus pasci nec timuere tuis?
Urere, quæ tantum sustinuerc nesas.
Sunt quoqUe, qui lacrymas continuisse negent. Sed tamen hoc melius, quam si Phxacia tellus
Ignotum vili subposuisseot humo.
Mater; & in cineres ultima dona tulit:
Vcnit, inornatas dilaniata comas.
Oscula; nec solos destituere rogos.
"Sum tibi; vixisti, dum tuus ignis eram." Cui Nemesis, " Quid," ait, " tibi siiit mea damna dolori?
"Me tenuit moriens defictente manu."
* The Capital.
f Alluding ironically to the following fajsage in the firfl Elegy, uubicb Tibullur there applies to Delia, Te v'u/eamfuprema mili cunt venerit bora! Tc teneam mortem deftciente manu!
O may I view thee with life's parting ray!
And yet, if ought beyond tbU mouldering clay
Thou liv'st, dear youth! for ever young and gay,
And thou, Catullus! learned gallant mind,
With ivy wreaths thy youthful temples twjn'd,
And Gallua too profuse of life and blood,
Si tamen e nohis a)iquid, nisi nomtn et umbra,
Obvius huic venies hedera juvenilia cinctus
Tti quoque (falsum temerati crimen amici)