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Rim, happy morn, without a cloud arise!
O genius, grant whate'er my friend desires;
Not venal, your request no eastern (lores,
With endless concord bless the married pair.
Tan elegy celebrates the birth-day of Cornutus; and is addressed to genius, a fort of divinity, who was supposed constantly to attend every man through the whole course of his life. It exhibits a description of the rites usually performed on that occasion.
In some less perfect editions, the person, on whose birth-day this elegy was written, is called Ceriuthus; but as the laborious Broekhusius has proved, that Cerinthus is the foreign name of a slave, and slaves, according to him, were not permitted to marry, " servis enim non uxores, fed concubernales erant;" a wife being mentioned by the poet at the chief boon his friend had to demand of his natal god: and as the oldest MSS. and least corrupted editions read Cornutus, we also have retained that name.
After al), as we know nothing certain of either Cerinthus, or Cornutus, the reader may adopt what name he shall think proper.
Ver. I. The god meant in th« text a* Genius. Plutarch (in Lib. de Oracul.) and Plato inform us, that being of a middle nature between gods and men, the genii wrre supposed to be the secret menitors, by whose insinuations mankind were inclined to the practice of goodness. According to Varro, in his book intituled Atticus, the ancients abstained from all bloody sacrifices at the festival of Genius. and the reason given lor this conduct l», iliac they might not deprive other beings ef
life, on that day, wherefdre they themselves joyfully commemorated the reception of it. They offered wine indeed, because that promotes hilarity ; as also pulse, which they call " tritilla," that being in ancient times a child's first spoon meat. Vid. Censor de Die natal. & Boxhora. Qusest. Rom. p. 91.
Genius is derived from " Gigno; and therefor* Horace styles him
Natale Comes qui temperat astrum,
Vid. Notes on Fl. viii. B. t. and El. v. B. 4.
Ver. 1. This Cornutus, if Broekhusius is not mistake* in his conjecture, is he who was prastor of Rome A. U C. 710. in the consulate of Hirtius and Panl'a; who, in their absence, enjoyed the consular authority, and was appointed by the senate " fupplicationes per 30 dies ad omnia pulvinaria constitucre," for the victory obtained at "Modena. Vid. Ciccr. Lib. 10. tp. fam. 11. &16. See also the notes on £1. v. B. 3.
However as this supposition is sounded upon the sameness of name only, so the person, whose birth our poet celebrates, may have been some young nobleman of the Sulpiciaft or Cœcilian families, Cornutis being a surname in both these houses.
It was the custom, lays Dart, to enjoin silence at all religious invocations; the priest began with the known expression of " Favcte linguit," leflf
any words of 111 omen should injure the sacrifice. Vid. Hor. Ep. Lib iii. Ode I. and Virg. Æn Lib. 5. but as Tibullus enjoins '* bona verba," which Ovid calls •' bonx 1reces:" it would seem, that silence was not so much expected, as that the words and prayers of the sptctators should have a tendency to further the happiness of him, for whom the offering was made.
The different manners in which these two lines are printed in the original, have occasioned a variety of interpretations.
See a more particular account of the festival of Census in Ovid. Lib. 3. Trist. El. 13. Lib. 5. Trist. El. 5. also Lib. 1. Fast. V. 72. and Lib. 3. Pont, lipist. 4.
Ver. 9. Although among the Romans each person was supposed to have his own distinct genius, who was born and died with him, and consequently, though genius was but a plebeian divinity, yet it appears from this, and some other passage* in the classics, that the genii were thought to have a power of bestowing important favours on those they attended. They seem, however, to be nothing else, but the particular bent of each person, made into a deity: and as every body's own temper is, in a great measure, the cause of his happiness or misery, they were supposed to fliare in ail the enjoyments aud sufferings of the persons thev attended Hence, probably, come those expressions among the ancients, of indulging or defrauding your genius. The Comes, or presiding genius of the sex, was a female, and called Juno. The women, as well as their admirers, used to swear by this deity. Of the latter we have an instance in the last elegy of the last book of Tibullus; and Petroniu* gives us a pleasant instance of the former, " Junonem mam iratem habeam," says the debauched Qnartilla, " si me unquam vir;;inum fuisse memini!" On medals these deities are sometime- dressed, lik- the persons over whom they presided. Thus the Juno of a vestal was habited like a nun of that order, 'i here was no harm in this; but when the medallists represent the genius of that monster Ntro, with the insignia of piety, plenty, and prosperity, we cannot help lamenting at least the depravity of these artists.
Vtr. 16 Wbcrt ruJrly vatm lave, &c.] A quotation from that accurate and curious Roman traveler Pietro dclla Valle, will (how the propriety of this expression.
"Mi maravipliai ben' assai del nome di*j>ss>. che si ''a a qnesro more: prrchc non i come il mar Nero, cne per la sicurezza sua, che nasce dal fomlo cupo e fporcho rrerita drgnamrnte quel Borne : in quest-. 1' acqii3 e chiariflima, che si vede il fundo piu, che non si fa a Posilipo la state; ed a vedtrla di lontano piglia, come gli altri mari color di turchino. L' arena poi dalla quale voglintio alcuni che il nome derivi. (son tutte but;ie) ccome le alrre; anzibianca assn r"u delle nostre; di maniera, che il nome non puo venir da attro, che oal nome prrprio di quel re Eythra, sepulto in un' isola del oceano meridionale come dice Strabooe che sigmfirava Rosso; dal quale, come si vide in use appreffo'i Latini, tutto quel mare| e
non il s lo semi Arabic*, che € ana partkeSa I esso, prese di Ri.ssn il nome , che da' modern pi. forse perche cosi lo chiama la sacra Scnttu'i si passag^io degli Ebrei, al seno Arabics, ei coi u:liamo piu spetialmentc a stato appropriito.' Brockhus p. 232.
Ver 19. The original of this passage Mr. Dr., in conformity to Achilles Statiiu. interprets,
Alas your prayers are slighted, &c
But the subsequent part of the elegy slum dr
Besides, we know the ancients soppofcd, tk genius was never complaisant upon those occafoa, never refusing any petition. The nuptial b»i was consecrated to this god.
Not only men, but cities and nations had fe genii. The concealment of the names of the toter was looked upon as of the highest cseiquence j it being believed, that when a town ** invested, or a country harassed by wan, if at enemy implored them by their right appelLcthey would abandon that city or nation
Cicero twice uses the word " cadere"e'Jj fame fense that our poet uses it.
Ver. 20. Yellow was consecrated, by tk ■ ctents, to the god of marriage.
Ver. 23. The original of this passage is vaii read. According to Heinsius's correction a
"Hue venias natalis avi, prolemque minifc.
But Scaliger, and other editors, print it tin.
"Hue veniat Natalis avis prolemque min&c"
The natal bird, which this reading fippe* was, according to them, the crow, hi* Ælian (de Anim. Lib iii. c. 9 ) tells us, k»s informed, that the ancients, in their unrigs, were wont to invoke that bird, after the* dresses to Hymenxus, it being regarded at > "bol «f concord by those who married Od ac: children. The passage, however, upon whiki1'" bnilt this their interpretation, plainly Om'" the crow was not looked up^o, in the day S Hadrian, as propitious to marriage; and we si* the authori.y of Virgil and Horace, not to Bxl~Pliny the elder, for asserting, that the crov *»' bird of bad omen. The '• hac Avi" then, rf;original signifies " hoc Augurio;" as iseiprcfc in the version, where something of Scabget >terpretation is also retained
According to Vulpius they used to oWefK E the birth of a child, what birds either icw jor made a noise, and from these circuinib*'' predicted good or bad fortune to their pTV But as Cupid some few lines before it reprefer--: with " Strepitantibus alis," that critic is 0! r> nion that the " Natalis Avis" mrwioBrd «* text, is the god of sove, who, at the birth efC*' nutus and his wife, gave happy onees. ■-' though it is true, that Bion has represented >« as a large bird, the interpretation ferau tes K" fetched for Tibullus.
Mr fair, Cornutus, to the country's Sown,
Admetus' herd, the fair Apollo drove,
To fee thee, Phœbus, thus disfigur'd stray!
Assist the lover, and neglect the vine;
NiUEiis, to whom the remaining elegies in this book are addressed, had gone from Rome, to her estate in the country, to be present, as is supposed, at the festival of the god Terminus, which was annually celebrated about the list of February. As the poet was deeply enamoured of Nemesis, her departure gave him great uneasiness; hut being informed, that (he meant to continue at her feat till the vintage and harvest were past, he determined to follow her in the dress of a peasant, and by getting,himself employed in her fields, thus to enjoy the satisfaction of beholding her undiscovered. Cornutus prohahly "objected to the disgrace of this metamorphosis; but to this Tibullai gave an appropriated answer; the god of poeti, Apol'o h.miclf, in circumstances analogous '.» mine, laid he, abandoned heaven, and became
the herdsman of Admetus! Nay, so thoroughly was that deity mastered by love, that lie withdrew his attention from the Delphian Ihrine, &c. and submitted to pe rform the meanest rural drudgeries.
As Tibullu. decnied his friend's approbation of consequence, he enumerates these servilities, aud therefore the translator cannot help thinking that the line
fpfe Deus, &e.
and the three following, being descriptive of these, are genuine. What farther confirms the translator in his opinion of their authenticity, is, that Ovid makes use of the fame argument in his Art of Love.
But probably, the example of Apollo had not ill the influence en the uninspired and laughing Cor. nutus, that our pott could have wished. Tibullus therefore curses the occasion of his amoroui travesty, exclaims against agriculture, and wishes for a return of the golden age; but suddenly changing hi* tone, he offers himself to the meanest and most laborious employments of the country, to enjoy the felicity of obeying his mistress.
Propertius's ninteenth elegy, Lib. 2. and Ovid"s beautiful invitation to Corinna, from his country feat, may be compared with this.
Ver. 5. Hercules Strorza, no mem poet of Ftrrara, has happily imitated this passage of Tibullus;
Rura peto; valeatque forum, valeanque sodales.
Et Venus et Veneris cesiit in arva peter. Fascit Amor pecus; at numerum Cytherea recenset:
Vomera dura gravi iugera firdit Hymen. Et dominant mirantur Oves, domiiiunique volucrem:
Vicinasque rudis combibit agna face".
Lib. i. Am. El. 1.
Strozza inherited the poetical talent of his father Titus.
Ver. 7. It is not improbable, as Brockhufius remarks, that Tibullus was indebted to Mofchus'a Epigram Eij t£»T« a^T^i^vrx, for thi6 thcu^lit.
Ver. 9. Hammona's seventh elegy is almost a tranflation of this.
Ver. Jj. Mytbologisti assign different reason* for Apollo's absence from heaven; but whatever the cause was, love (according to these gentlemen') soon made him less solicitous to regain his native skies. Alcestis, the wife cf Admetus was his favourite; but it is probable, that all his endeavours to gain that lady proved ineffectual; for when .Admetus, in a dangerous fit of illness, consulted the oracle for a remedy, and was answered, that he must perish unless another would die in his room, she, with a disiiitcrev/lcdncss and love peculiar to conjugal fidelity, b*came the willing sacrifice, and by her death recovered her husband. It happened fortunately, tlrat Hercules atrived at Admetus's palace the very day that Alcestis was sacrificed; and having been well entertained by that prince, expressed his gratitude to him by descending into hell, foiling death, and bringing back again Alcestis to her beloved husband. Upon this fable Euripides has founded one of his most pathetic taagedies.
The ladies are not greatly indebted to the mytliologists, who have unanimously represented Apollo, though au *«Xo! **/ an uts, always beau, lul, and always young, as unsuccessful in his amours: but whatever reason they have to complain, those-who are fund of poetry have none; as the repulse that god met with from Daphne, hath given rise to a piece in Waller, which for ease en" numbers, and happiness of fabulous allusion, is lurpassed by sew modern poems. Vid. his story of Daphne and PhœSus applied.
Ver, 19. If love Lad so much power over
Apollo, as to make him pndergo, not only thi most servile drudgeries, but also to neglect tbe fate of nations; surely, I may be excused, argea our poet, when the same passion obliges men become a ploughman. But fhnuld not Tibulfci have added, that as his Nemesis every way elcellcd Apollo's flame; so he himself, in acne? the part he did, was more excusable than the deity? This gallant addition, Mr. Prior, had ht produced Phtrbus's conduct as an apology for ha own, would nut have omitted, though Mr. Hits mond has.
Ver. 21. Homer, I). 5. mentions the jaice of the fig, as applied to this purpose. All acith a> agulate milk.
Nor was Apollo only bountiful to ctie fwainis those respects: Callimachus records man; ate instances of blessings, which, in his absence froe heaven, he bestowed em the country, e&eibar *«' Hsf&t*v Kix?.nrxofttt 14 irt xitn
Hiin Lt' t^un KlKaufffiiva; AdaBTffia, &C
Vid. his Hymu Eir Aisums V. 46. 4; Which Prior ha6 thus translated, Thee, Nomian, we adore, for th3t from hetrea Descending, thou on fair Amptirysus' banks Didlt guard Admetus' herds; sithence the ee* Produc'd an ampler store of milk, and the goat
Not without pain dragg'd her distended udder. And ewes that erst brought forth but fe:'lambs, [atde Now dropp'd their twofold burdens; b!etl i< On which Apollo cast; his favouring eye.
Ver. 23. Valerius Flaccus has imitated * thought in the first book of his Argonwa.1 poem, which, hnwever little read, is by ner*> destitute of many striking poetical beauties. Te quoque dant campi tanto pastore pheni Felices Admeti. Tuis nun pendet in arris Delius, irato Steropen quod fuderar arcu. Ah quuties famulo notis soror obvia sylvij Flevir, ubi Osscæ captaret frigora querciu, Pccttret et pingui mersos Uæbcide crises!
Ver. 31. As the ancients supposed, that ApA showed a particular fondness for fine long enrte? hair, they never failed in their addresses to da: god, to praise him, as possessing that ontimtiK' Hence, in the hymns ascribed to Orpheus, Apes' is styled xfurciupof, and by other Greek poes axwctito/zrif and ax«fgwty«f, and by the Latks Crinitin. In imitation of their patron-god, & bards of old affected to wear long hair. Tfcs Virgil represents Jopas.
Phavorinus, in a quotation which Stobarssb-' preserved of his, uses Znrnt in the fame fense K I'ibullus uses "quserere" in this passage. Sent 64.
Ver. 34. Delos it an island in the Ægraa I", the molt famous of the Cyclades, the birtb-flis of Apollo and his sister Diana; upon which count it was held in such reverence by titE cients, that when the Persians, in one of their expedition* ajjainst Greece, anchored there with a thousand ships, nought belonging to the island was violated hy the army.
Etymologists fay, it obtained the name of DcJos, art Ts AnAsT, from its suddenly emerging from the waves at the command of Neptune. Latona, not daring to remain long during her pregnancy in a known place, the jealous Juno having dispatched the serpent Python in pursuit of her, was here safely delivered. Apollo afterwards flew this serpent. Vid. Ovid's Met. The Athenians, in performance of a vow made by Theseus, sent every year a sacred vessel to Delos, with offerings to that god. Till this vessel returned to Athens, the punishment of criminals, however gnilty they were, was respited. As soon as Apollo's priest crowned the poop of the vessel, which was the signal fur sailing, the city was purified.
Delphi was a city of Phocil, in the neighbourhood of Parnassus, built by Delphus the son of Apollo, or Neptune. It was of difficult access, being situated among rocks and frightful precipices. Here Apollo had a famous temple, to which other nations, as well as the Greeks, repaired in times of public distress, to learn, how an end might be put to their calamities, as also to be informed of the manner in which any enterprise ought to be conducted, or what would be the issue of any event. The pythoness, or priestess of this tempie was famed for the ambiguity of her answers. As nothing is more profuse than superstitious credulity, the riches brought to this temple were immense; insomuch that the retainers to the temple could well afford to maintain spies every where, to inform them of what passed, or Was likely to happen, as well as poets, to versify their responses. The name by which Delphi now goes, is Saloma. Vid, Steph. Dict. See also the
Abbe Banier for the immense wealth of this temple.
Ver. 41. Editions in general read, At tibi dura seges, &c. And the commentators make " seges" here to signify Nemesis's estate; but as there is no authority for this application of that term in any other classic, Brockhusius adopts Heinsius's correction,
At tibi dura Ceres, &c. And this the Dutchman thinks warranted by the immediate introduction of Bacchus in the original. The translator, however, has preferred the first reading, that being supported by most MSS.
Ver. 48. May rills and acorns, &c] This thought shows the iurenseness of our author's passion for Nemesis. The Romans highly esteemed agriculture. Cicero speaks of it as" proxima sapiential ," and Tibullus seems to have been of the lame opinion.
The wife and good Bnethius has drawn no contemptible picture of this primeval simplicity Lib. ii. Carm. j. although we cannot agree with him, when he wishes for a return of that state.
Ver. 55. 0"(e more yesimple usages obtain'
No-~leadme% drive me to lie cultur'Jplain! This abrupt refusal of a state from which he expected so much happiness, is so strongly eiprenVc of love, that it may be put in competition witl any of the most boasted passages in the heroic poets, where a sudden change of impetuous desire is expressed.
Slaves were employed in performing the mots servile offices of husbandry; and their most faithful labours seldom exempted them from the chain. It is indeed shocking to humanity to think, with what cruelty these unfortunate wretches were treated by their Roman masters. See Mr. Hume's entertaining Discourse on tbe Populoulness of Ancient Nations.
Chaws, and a haughty fair I fearless view'.
In pensive gloominess I pass the night,
What though the god of verse my woes indite,