Sivut kuvina

Oft, when alive, in my behalf she spoke:
Your endless «oyncs» must her shade provoke:
With ugly dreami she'll haunt your hour of rest,
And weep before you, an unwelcome guest!
Ghastly and pale, as when besmear'd with blood.
Oh fatal fall! she pass'd the Stygian flood. 30
No more, my strains : your eyes with tears

This moving object renovates your woe:
You, you are guiltless! I your maid accuse;
You generous are! (he, she has selfish views.
Nay, were you guilty, I'll no mere complain;
One tear from you o'erpays a life of pain!

She, Phryne, prnmis'd tn .promote my vows:
She took, but never gave my billet-doux.
You're gone abroad, she confidently swears,
Oft when your sweet-ton'd voice salutes mine cars:
Or, when you promise to reward my paios, 41
That you're afraid, or indispos'd, she feigns:
Then madding jealousy inflames my breast;
Then fancy represents a rival blest;
I wish thee, Phryne! then a thousand woes;—
And if the gods with half my wishes close,
Phryne! a wretch of wretches thou shalt be,
And vainly beg of death to set thee free'.


Suicide was not only not criminal, but esteemed heroical by the Romans. We may suppose but few destroyed themselves from philosophical motives, although the Stoics permitted ir. Under the emperors, indeed, those especially that disgraced nature, self-murder became too frequent, a? then only the best men were doomed the victims of their barbarity; for by this.means they preserved their estates to their posterity. Under such circumstances, suicide was in truth less blameable; but still no circumstances can be offered, which wholly abate its iniquity. Be that, however, as it will, even those who condemn selfmurder as unjustifiable, will own that death sounds prettily in the mouth of a lover; and this gives some countenance to the reading,

jam mala fioislem leto,

which makes the beginning of this elegy, in some editions; but as our poet everywhere else shows the utmost abhorrence at death, as the best MSS. read

Finirent multi leto mala, ckc and as it appears by the line Spes facilem Nemefin, ice.

that he only was enumerating some of the many effects of that catholic cordial hope, the translator has adopted the more common reading, and, with Broekhusius, has made this .1 distinct elegy; which, in not a few editions, is preposterously tacked to the foregoing poem.

The whole existence of a lover is made up of hope and fears: Though always disappointed by Nemesis, our poet still hoped, that his amorous inclinations would at last be indulged: for this purpose, he entreats her, as was natural, by the things see held most dear.—The text informs us, that her sister had unfortunately fallen from a window, and broken her neck: this person had always warmly espoused the interest of Tibullus; and as it was a point of pagan belief, that their ghosts continued their attention to their friends op earth,

especially if these paid proper honours to their tombs, our poet informs his cruel fair one, that he means to repair to her sister's monument, arid by oblations of slower*, &c. to implore her assistance. But, at it was natural for him to imagine, that the mentioning so favourite an object would renew all Nemesis's grief for her unfortunate end. he breaks off, and artfully throwing the blame of what he had suffered on her servant, he finishes the elegy with cursing her.

Ver. I. Although the Romans looked upon suicide as heroical; yet Virgil thus describes the evil condition and remorse of those who had laid violent hands upon themselves:

Proxima deinde tenent msesti loca, qui sibi letum lnsontes peperere manu, lucemque perosi Projecere animas: qttam vellent in sethero alto Nunc & pauperiem, & duros tolerare laboret! Fas obstat, triflique palus inimabilis unda Adligat, et novies Styx interfuse coercet.

In Plato's almost divine dialogue, intituled,Pha*.' do, Socrates has fully evinced the unlawfulness of self-murder. This dialogue Cicero seems to have copied in his admirable piece, intituled, Somnium Scipionis. "Quaiso, inquam, pater sanctifsime atque optime, quoniam hate est vita, (ut Africa, niirn audio dicere) quid moror in terra f quin hinc ad vos venire propero t Non est ita, inquic ille; nisi Deus is, cujus hoc templum est omne, quod conspicis, iftis te corporis custodits liberaverit, hue tibi adirus patere non poteft. Heroines enim flint hac lege generati, qui tuerentur ilium globum, quern in hoc templo medium vides, qua: terra dicitur; hifque animus datus est ex illts sempiternis ignibus, quse sidera, et stellas vocatis: qua: globosee, ct rotunda-, cirtfos suos orbesque cenficiunt ecleritate mirabili. Quare et tibi, Publi, ct piis omnibus retinendus est animus in custodia corporis: nec injulTu ejus, a quo ille est vobis datus, ex hominum vita migrandum est, ne munus. humanum adsigr.atum a Deodcfugifle videarrjoi."

Ver. 2, Hope is a poetical subject, to which j D iiij

many, both ancient and modern, have done great justice. Thcognis suppose*, that when the other gods left the earth, hope only staid behind. This thought Ovid has adopted:

Hæc dca, quum fugerent sceleratas numina terras, In dils invifa sola rcmanCt hutne. As hope, as well as fear, is one of the barriers implanted in us by nature, to prevent our rustling out of life, ou;ht it not to have been taken iiito the estimate of life in Hamlet's Soliloquy I

To be, or not to be j ■which, however sensible, has, as a late critic well observes, nothing to do ia the place where it is introduced.

This enumeration of the consequences of hope, or what it may Be productive of, though not frequent in our poet, is yet common in Ovid, aud has in lecd a fine effect even in perceptive poems; but in Inch as are impassioned or heroic, seems essentially improper. Hence Marino and Davenant sire reprehensible; neither is Shakspeare himself entirely free from blame on this score.

St. Paul, with no less beauty than emphasis of expression, calls hope our early immortality. The ■excellent author of the Night Thoughts, thus expresses his sentiments with regard to wishing:

"Wishing of all employments, is the worst,
Philosophy's reverse, anJ health's decay '.
"Were 1 as plump as stall'd theology,
Wishing would w ste me to this shade again.
Were I as wealthy as a South-Sea dream,
Wishing is an expedient to be poor.
"Wishing, that constant hectic of a fool;
Caught at a court: purg'd off by purer air,
■And simpler diet, gifts of ratal life I

Ver. 9. The goddess, mentioned in the original, is, by some commentator*, supposed to be Nemesis: but a« that would be more in the affected mode of Ovid, than in the natural way of Tibullus; and as the context, when carefully considered, shows that the poet meant hope, the translator has kept to that interpretatii n in the version, notwithstanding Otway, in his translation of this elegy, retains the former.

Ver. 11. Vulpius has collected almost a century of quotations, to prove, that the ancients, when deeply affected with sorrow generally sat. "Graviter dolentes, veteri consuttudine, fere semper scdebant." A wonderful discovery this, and well worthy of critical investigation!

Ver. (9. According to ancient superstition, ghosts often appeared in the fame dismal circumstances in which they had departed life. Of this we have a striking instance in Virgil j.

Tempui erat, quo prima quie» uiortiTuai atp*
lncipic, et dono divuni gratislinia ferpir.
In lomm', ecce ante oculos morstiuimus Hector
Visus adesse mihi, largosque essundcre fierus;
Riptaeus bigls. ut qondam, aterque crurnto
Pulvere, perque pedes trajectus lora tumente*.
Hei mihi, qualis erat! quantum motatri' it> ilio
Hectore, qui redit exuvias iudutus Achilles!

afia. ii. S.6S.

Instances of the fame fort may be found inOrW. Met. hb. ii. ver 6jO. Fast. lib. T. ver. ajl-it: in Statius, Theb. lib; ii. ver up. iW.

Ver. 31. Baptist* ©uar'ini, in a sonnet wool he blames his tongue for being unable to upi his love, thus addresses his eyes:

Ma fe mota fe' tu. sien gliocchi nostrl l.oquaei, e caldi; e'n lor le (ue profonae Piaghe, e l' inferno duol difcopra ii core,

Non e si chiuso o si segreto ard-ire

Ch'un cigho a l'altro no'l riveli o moflri
La dove amor vera eloquenza asconde.

Sa. A,

Many other passages might here be added, wr-t^ in speaking eyes are mentioned ; for this basks] the language of lovers in ail ages. But, u excellent Rambler remarks, " There are fkc. "of fiction so widely scattered, and so easily cv "ped, that it is scarcely just to tax the ue "them, as an act by which any particular T-~ "is despoiled of his garland, for they mijr. "said to be plauted by the ancients in uV. "road of poetry, for the accommodation oftis: "successors, and to be the right of even «t "that has art to pluck them without itjt&r "theirTolours or their fragrance."

Ver. 33. aVay, ictre you guilty ^ &c] Thi»sature; but the Arcadian lovers us Italy carrjsi emotions beyond the bounds of probability.

ogni eosa (says Amis,1 O tentato per plaearla fuor che morte Mi rcsta suol che per placarla io niora, E morro volontier pur ch' io sia cerro Ch'clla o le ne compiaccra, o se ne'doglia Ne so de tai due cose qual piu brami.

A mighty difficulty, in truth!

Ver. 37. If the reader is desirous to know rke stratagems practised by the bawds of antiquiT, he may peruse Ovid's El. viii. lib. I- and Prupt'tius, lib. iv. el. 5. In this particular, heweser, the modern sisterhood, if the modest editor of' late justly famous romance describes them ari{ttt greatly surpass their ancient predecessors.

[ocr errors]


Owe words in the elegies of this book are of that fort, which are frequently used by the baft writers catachrettically, sometimes denoting more la*, sometimes more intimate relations. The difficulty of ascertaining the sense in which Tibullus has used them, has thrown a seeming obscurity on a poet, who will ever have the first place amongst the wits of Greece and Rome, for elegant simplicity; and has caused such illufttious aunotatnrs, as Scaligcr, Lipsius, and Muretus, to stumble. The great difficulty is contained in the following lines; and if this can be cleared up, all the rest ■will be easy and intelligible. EL i. lin. 13.

Hzc tihi vir quondam, nunc sratcr, casta Nezra,

Mittit, et accipias muncra parva, rogat.
x Teque suis jurat rarum magis else medullii,

Sive sibi conjunx five futura ioror.
Scd potius conjunx hujus spem nominis ilia

Auseret extincto pallida ditis aqua.

Where it is first inquired, what is meant by " frater," and " soror?" It is readily seen, that they cannot be understood in their primitive sense, because a marriage betwiit brother and sister would never have been tolerated at Rome: the very thoughts of it would have been regarded with abhorrence. These words sometimes mean cousin-germans, and in this fense Muretus here understands them; but this is too cold and unanimatrd, to he admitted into poetry, or to flow from the pen of Tibullus, when he is expressing the tender feelings of a fond doating lover. It is much more probable, that he designed to represent by them one of those delicate connections, which have their foundation in the will and the affections, that by " frater" he would have us to understand a fond admirer; and by " soror," a beloved mistress, who had entertained a reciprocal kindness and o-fleem for her lover. This fense of the words is familiar to most languages. Nothing can be more i Mii to this purpose than what we meet with in the Canticles of Solomon,—" Thou hast ravished my beast, my sister, my spouse,"—ch. iv. ver. o. aud in several other places.

Ovid also has used the words in this sense:

Alloquor Hermione nuper fratrcmque virumque,
Nunc sratrem, nomen conjugis alter habet.

And the Greetshad so accustomed themselves to this use of them, that we find their Venus has a tjtle given her by Lycophron, which his Scholiast explains by " T«» ttSiXfrruct, the author of brotherly associations" And assigns this pretty whimsical reason for it: " For a commerce in love matters r ijkcs those who were strangers, brothers: and those who would carry on an amorous commerce secretly, say of one they favour, he is my brother, he is mv relation."

a ving solved, we hope, this difficulty, we shall nejtt coi Sder what is the import of " vir" and " conianx." They certainly were designed to express some nearer connection, some closer tie, than mere friendship, or whatever else is comprehended in " frater" and " soror." The epithet "casta" given to Ncæra, will not permit us to understand them of any loose amour; that title never could belong to a jilt, who had granted favours to one lover, and, upon some caprice, had thrown herself into the arms of another: but divorces were common enough at Rome, so that even a wife might dismiss her husband upon some displeasure taken, at least, before actual matrimony without hurting ber reputation by it: so that I think husband and wife are the true meaning of " vir" and" conjunx."

his interpretation, however, is not without difficulties; the silence of antiquity, and several other circumstances, make the marriage of Tibullus appear improbable, it has therefore been supposed by X.ipiiiis, th;; '* quaadica" was intended, to exptese future, and aot past tipje. It ciacot be dcjpiedj that it it sometime! thu« used; but it more commonly signifies the time past, or formerly; aw % understand it otherwise here, would make the constrnction harsh and nngrammatical. In ronhr confirmation of appears that the following elegies of this book relate to the fame person tei the fame distress: they were probably the new-year's gift which Lygdamus, by the advice of Moses, proposes to fend to Neatra: now these furnish us with passages which can be understocki nothing else but a marriage-contract, and a subsequent separation: thus, in EL 3. we find,

, Sed veniat cars matris comitata dnlore,

Maereat hsec genero, mæreat ilia viro.

And again,

Lygdamus hie situs eft, dolor huic & cura Neajrae
Conjugis ereptx causa perire suit.
In the third elegy, t

Oh niveam quæ tc poterit mihi reddere lucem.

And again,

Aut, si fata negant reditum tristesque sororcs.

In EL 4.

Nec gaudet ca (la nupta Near* domo.

One must torture these passages eatremely, to make them consistent with any thing else but a prrra marriage, or at least a very solemn contract. Was Tibullus then married? or did he intend au to marry Nexra? I am not inclined to think so, as none of the ancient writers has given uithc<ai hint of it. But the poet is not tiod down to actual life:

Pictoribus atque poetis
Quidlibet audendi semper suit sequa potestas.

The sacrifice of Iphigenia at Aulis, is probably a mere fable: and yet what noble, what affeSof what interesting lcenesof distress have both the tragedian and painter formed upon it: And rag-" not Tibullus, to indulge his plaintive humour, and-to display the soft feelings of his seal, dadt' represent himself in a situation that forms one cf the most melting and agonizing distrefTn, to * found amongst those beds of thorns and roses which love prepares for his capricious votario1-4 beloved wife, grown dearer by more intimate acquaintance, charming without the help of sisfa and rooted in the foul by a thousand repeated endearments, torn from the arms of an ewijiiK husband, whilst he still doats upon her, and ready to be sacrificed to auother ;—what seeHajf^c but shudders at the thought ?—especially when the delicate affecting colours are laid on krE pencil of Tibullus .' The names certainly are fictitious; Nexra was as trite a name for > missRe me, as Phyllis or Cloe with our modern fonnetteers, And what confirms me in limp^ that the distress painted in these elegies is also fictitious, so far as Tibullus»is coneernos1 that Ovid, in his poem on Tibultus's death, takes notice of no other mistress but Delia andSo*; to one of whom he assigns the last, to the other the first interest in him, without any intend favourite.

Sic Nemesis longum, sic Delia nomen habebit.
Altera cura recens, altcra primus amor.

Ovid seems to have carefully searched out every curious particular of Tibollus's life, and tletdss could not have overlooked so striking a circumstance as the distresses celebrated in these elepas they had really happened to Tibullus. He, and his cotemporarics of the Augustan age, wntp bably well informed of the true reason of Tibullus's composing the following book. Scmei1distress might have happened, and been much talked of in Rome; and Tibullus mijjhtsen*sf it as a favourable opportunity for displaying his elegiac genius in its full lustre. Propertf*'" made the fame use of the misfortunes of a noble family, in the twelfth elegy of book 4. It is"*; nion artifice with delicate writers, to sigh and tell a piteous tale, while their hearts are Mt a" affected. *


Tht calends,Mars! are come from whence of old, To my Nexra, tuneful virgins! fay.
The year's beginning our forefathers told: What shall I give, what honour shall I J»T-

How various gifts through every house impart, Dear, e'en if sickle; dearer,if inysriead'.
The pleasing tokens of the friendly heart. 'so the lov'd fair, what present stall I ft*!/


Gold wins the venal, verse the lovely maid: your smooth numbers be her charms difplay'd. n polish'd ivory let the sheets be roll'd, II jur name in signature, the edges gold. 3 pumice spare to smooth each parchment scroll, a gay wrapper then secure the whole. Ius to adorn your poems be your care; id thus adorn'd, transmit them to the fair. Put.

Fair maids of Pindnt! I your counsel praise:

i you advise me, I'll adorn my lays:

it by your streams, and by your shades, 1 pray,

jurselves the volume to the fair convey. ao

let it lowly at her feet be laid,

'c the gilt wrapper, or the edges fade;

Then let her tell me, if her flames decline, If quite extinguilh'd, or if still (he'smine. But first your graceful salutations paid. In terms submissive thus address the maid: "Chaste fair! the bard, who doacs upon your charms,

"And once could clasp them in hit nuptial irms, "This volume fends; and humbly hopes, that you, "With kind indulgence, will the present view. j» "You,you! he prizes more, he vows, than life; "Still a lov'd sister, or again his wife. "But oh! may Hymen bless his virtuous fire, 11 And once more grant you to his fond desire! "Fix'd in this hope, he'll reach the dreary shore, "Where sense shall fail, and memory be no "more."


Romom'j, who divided the year into ten lonths, dedicated the first to his father Mars: on ie first day of this month the vestal virgins lightd anew the sacred fire, fresh laurels were hung p in the senate, and at the doors of the highriests's house, &c. the comitia began, the reveues were farmed, and servants not only had their rages paid them (and hence these days were calld " Mercedonix"j, but, for onenight this month, ■rere attended upon at supper by their masters.

Tl)e poet inquires of the muses, what present it Should send to Nan, who, as she was still the ole object of his wishes, so he yet hoped to be igain possessed of her in marriage.

The muses answer (for with Muretus the translator reads

Gaudeat, ut digna est, versibus ilia tuis),

that, as Nexra was a very competent judge of poetry, so he ought to present her with his performances in that way. Our author, however •elf-denied, was yet too much of the poet not to relish their advice; but as the dignity of those who rarry a present, enhances the value thereof, he entreats the muses to take the trouble themselves of delivering into the hands of Nexra his poems; >nd to assure her, that he shall never forego the pleasing expectation of being one day again united to her in marriage.

Scaliger, in his poetics, calli the beginning of this elegy " Plebeian," on account of its spondees, "& tantua ejufdem vocalis sonus."

His own correction, however, is not much better:

Roman! feflx Martis, Ice.

H is remarkable that this hypercritie does not find fault with one single line of the two former Juuks.

Ver. I. Numa Pompilius, in imitation of the Greeks, added January and February to Romulus'i calendar, and began the year with January. From the time of Numa to that of Julius Cæsar, the Roman year was lunar, and consisted of three hundred and fifty-five days. But as this fell about eleven days short of the true solar course, table of intercalation or insertion were invented, to adjust time as nearly at possible to the motions of the fun and moon. The pontifex Maximus and college of priests had the care of inserting these intercalary days; and they, from negligence, superstition, but chiefly from an arbitrary abuse of their power, by which they could make the year either longer or shorter, as suited their own or friends interest, did not punctually insert them; insomuch that in Julius's time, the winter months) became autumnal; and those of antumn had fallen back into summer. This gave rife, A. U. C. 707. to the Julian correction, or solar year, adjusted to) the exact measure of the sun's revolution in the zodiac, and consisting of three hundred and sixtyfive days and six hours. This method of computing time continued in Europe till 158a, when Pope Gregory, by sinking ten days between the 4th and 15th of October, reduced the vernal equinox to the list of October, the day which it had fallen upon, when the festivals were regulated by the council of Nice, and made the year consist of three hundred and sixty-five days, five hours, and forty-nine minutes. This new style, as it was called, to distinguish it from the Julian, being the most correct calculation of the flow of tine, is authorized every where by law, and prevails now in almost all the kingdoms of Europe.

Ver. 3. It has been observed by the writers on antiquities, that a feast called" Matronalia," was celebrated cn the calends of March, when solemn

« EdellinenJatka »