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bjections which may be urged against them, are
lo the first place, it appears from the seventh legy of the first book, that our poet not only atnded Me-ssala to the war of Aquitaine, but that : was also rewarded with military honours for s behaviour at that time. Now it is known, it the reduction of that province was accomilhcd A. U. <E 735; of course, if Tibullus wat irn 710, he must have had those marks of fucsiful bravery conferred on him when he was on
fit'teen years of age; hut the Romans did not it on the " toga virilis" at soonest till the fifenth year of their age; therefore, say they, Tiilius could not, if no older, serve with Messala. his argument, however, is more specious than so1; for it is certain that some Roman youths had c manly gown conferred on them before their teenth year; and experience shows us, that >uog men at that age often behave with as much trepidity, as those who are more advanced iu e.
Again, Horace, in the ode addressed to Tibul15, has the following lines:
lbi ne delas plus nimio memor, &c.
■ more in elegiac strain
[cruel Glyccra complain;
lough she resigns her faithful charms
) a new lover's younger arms.
Trancii, Lib. i. Ode 33.
iw, argues Douza, as Horace was but about forty hen this ode was wrote, Tibullus could only be out fifteen; and how could one at those years rite mournful elegies? or how could Glycera well eftr one younger than himself? To obviate is objection, Dacier explains junior by a nrw «tr. But there is no occasion for this strained terpretation; for it will afterwards be proved, it younger folks have written, and with apJiise too, poems of a more difficult nature than "11; and he must know little of life, who has t observed some women, even in our cold cli>te, prefer a lover os fourteen even to one of enty; and Julius Cæsar divorced Cossutia in e sixteenth year of his age. But not to insist on esc arguments; the critics may be defied to prove trace's age, when the thirty-third ode of his first ok was written: for though that poet was just rty when some of the odc-s of the second book Etc composed, we know that his odes are not iced in the order ih^y were written: hencs ere is no necessity of alleging, with some crithat this ode was written to our poet's fa
But, fays Vulpius, Horace, when upwards of rty " (octo lustra prætergeflum)", used to conIt Tibullus upon his satire, as appears from the llowiug line,
lbi nostrorum fermonum candidc jades.
Ft. 4. Lib. i.
jbius, in whom my satires find candid critic, aud a kicd. Fnncit.
Now this, adds the Italian editor, is not to be supposed; as Tibullus, at that time, must, if born in 7 to, have been nineteen years younger than the poet. To this it may be anfwereo, that a person c.s nineteen, is endowed with good sense, and some practice in poetry, may be capable of correcting the writings of a man of forty: thus Pope, when younger than Tibullus is supposed to be, amended Wycherley's poem?, when that gentlemen was upwards of fifty; and even wrote the Essay on Citicifm at twtnty. But, what is of more consequence, the critics are nut agreed about the time when the fourth epistle of the first book was written: thus SanaJon fays, it was composed about the year 720, when Horace w as thirtyone, and Tibullus thirty years old. And the truth is, the precise lime os it cannot be determined. Bci sides, the commentators have proved, that Horace wrote an epistie to Lollius when that nobleman attended Augustus in the Cantabrian war, A. U. C. 717, and was only sixteen years of age.
Again, lays Brockhulius, our Roman knighe fell sick at Phæacia, in his voyage with Messala to Syria. Now it is certain, that excellent general went thither with au extraordinary command, A. U. C. 714, therefore Tibu lus, if born 710, could only then be fourteen: and yet it appears from the elegy itself (which is much too fine a piece for a boy of these year*), that he had been some time in love with Delia. To this argument, this short reply may be made: that it cannot be proved that Messala was upon his Syrian expedition w hen our poet w as left behind sick in Phsc ■ acia; and, could that even be established, instances are pot wanting to prove, that poems, not inferior to the third elegy of the first book, have been the production of youths not much older. L. Valerius Prudens gained the prize of poetry, and was crowned, in the reign of Domitian, when only thirteen years old; Johannes Securdus was not twenty.five years old when he died; and there is good reason for asserting, that Cardinal Rovera, when only ten years of age, published at Pavia, a collection of his own poems; nay, it is a fact, that Cowley printed a volume of poems, all which were written before his fifteenth year.
Well; but, fays Vulpius, it is not to be believed, that Ovid, who was so studious of the memory of Tibullus, and so minutely exact in other things of less moment, would have passed by an event which did such honour to iiis own birth, had Tibullus and he been born at the fame time. To this it may be answered, that he had but a short acquaintance with our poet, as he himself informs us,
———nec avara Tibullo
Tempus amicitiæ fata dederc me*.
It may, however, be objected, fay Douza and a.
thers, that Domitius Matsus calls Tibullus a youth
when he died:
Te quoque Virgilio comitem non xqua, Tibulle,
Mors juvenem compos tuisit ad Elysius. Now as Marsus lived at that time, Tibullus mull have died when twenty-four i t twenty-five ycara i E iij
nf age, and therefore must have been born A- U. C. 710.
To this it ma^be opposed, that by the laws of Srrvius Tu'.lus, the Romans considered every citizen as ajuvenii till his forty-sixth year. After that time indeed they called them stniorr:; and therefore, as Tibullus was only forty-sive when he died, Marfus might call him jwven'u. Doubtless he might, according to the Tullian computation; but then, it may be observed, that Marfus docs riot fay that Tibullus died the fame year with Virgil, i. e. in his forty-fifth year; but only, that he was the first poet who died after him: aud therefore he must,either have been out of the class oiju-jinii: or born in 710, and consequent, ly then only twenty-five or twenty-six when he died.
But had our author been so young. Ovid would not have omitted that circumstance, as it would have greatly added to the pathos of his famous elegy on his death; especially since, in that very poem, he mentions the youth of Catullus, who, by the by, was upwards of forty whtu he died, contrary to the common opinion.
Obvius huic venies. hedcra juvenilia cinctus
This argument, indeed, is of moment; but the fame poet affords some other arguments of still greater weight to prove that Tibullus could not be born in ;io. In the first place, he fays, that our poet was eminent for his reputation as a writer, when Augustus Cjcfar was prince,
■ 1 jam te principe notus erat.
that is, when Cæsar was " princeps sei»atu«," after having had the glorious but undeserved title of "pater patriai" bestowed on him by Mcssala and the senate, A. LI C. 727. But how could a youth of seventeen be known as a pott? The answer to this has in part been anticipated; and.when we add, that Heinsius reads " natus," it rather is an argument in support of Tibullus's being botn in 7JC- as Cctavius Cæsar and Pedius succeeded Hirtius and Pansa in the consulate. I: must here, at the same time, be confessed, that Cæsar could not be sty'ed " princeps," far less " princeps senatus," for being made consul; yet could even this be granted, Heinsius's reading is supponed by MS. authority.
But the argument to which the least objection can be made, is that which follows, and Ovid furnishes it. It runs thus,
Virgilinm vidi tantum; nee avara Tibullo
Successor suit hictibi, Galle; Propertius illi;
Trifi- Lib. iv. il. 10.
That is, I only saw Virgil, and the cruel fates did not long indulge me with the friendship of Tibullus. He (viz. Tibullus), was thy successor, Gallus; Propertius followed Gallus and, in order of time, 1 myself wa» the fcu:th. Now, at Gallus
was born A. U. C 681 ; and Properriu', by !.:« own confession, did not put on the '■ toga virili>" till after the division of the municipal lands amos;; the veterans, A. U. C 711, when he was at Itift fifteen; Tibullus must have been born between the year 6S1, and the year 696, that is, about die year 69c, one year afer Horace. But whymi'ht be not be five years younger, as well asonc year? And indeed, as this corresponds more with Mirfus's epigram, it seems as likely that Tibullus Wm born 69 j. Some, indeed, object to the p1'' from Ovid, as if that poet meant poetical fame or the order in which the poets he there mentis* were known to the world by their writings; mi indeed, were it not for the former passage fraii Ovid, such a suggestion might invalidate the itgument upon which Douza chiefly builds his opoioii.
But (add Douza, and the rest who espouse V. opinion), what if we can prove, from Tibullus bi& self, that he was not born A. IT. C 710? Hti he been so young when sick at Corfu, would S not, in a particular manner, have mentioned::' And wruld not a youth of twenty-five years, har; expressed himself differently in the poem before a from
ft nondum cani nigros læfere capilles Nec venit tardo curva scnecta pede.
Besides, in his panegyric, which we know mi written 7x1 (vide 1. 121, &C.J he has the folk*ing lines,
nam cura novatur,
Cum memor ante ados semper dolor annus.
which could not be proper from a boy offr^ years of age. Nay, rhat poem itself, thous- * rior in every relpcct to his elegiac compofe^i is yet too gteat a work for one so young, if to this we add, that in this poem he tails of & old warrior of Arupinum, aud of his baring tended Mrssala in his Pannonian expeditieojtK'wc consider, that this expedition took place AX C. 718, or 719. it must appear that 710 cocld ect be the year of Tibullus'a birth, and that, therefore, the
Cum cecedit fato consul uterejue pari is spurious, and foisted in by some librarian f'W Ovid. Nay, Vulpius, not content with putties a mark of reprobation on that line, even suspeci' the following one, as it is, according to him, ect only languid, but interrupts the sentence, wtidi is complete withouc it.
However immaterial these remarks may f pear to the generality, the translator hopes tiat the critical reader will pardon their length,» they may be found of some service to future Ungraphera.
Ver. 15. Afflti unripe, tolas sdlj 'liiUf^ i This sentiment would answer in pastoral; Im were it not what every man might have tb"efB!> it might be said, that Ovid had 2ttuost traifcriW >t. ...
Ojiitl plenam fraudas vitem crescentibos uvis?
Pomaque crudeli vcllis accrba minus
MI. 14. Lib. », The " tolle cnpidinem immitis uvæ" of Horace, ■ almost the fame ; but as the lyric bard in the ode where he uses these expressiuns describes Ullage at a young frisking heifer, and her lover as a bull, the metaphor is not so happily exact.
Ver. 17. This and the foregoing thought are (hus imitated by Mr. Hammond: No stealth of time has thinn'd my flowing hair,
Nor age yet bent me with her iron haud; Ah why so soon the tender blossom tear?
Ere autumn yet the ripen'd jruit demand. Ye gods who dwell in gloomy (hades below,
Now slowly tread your melancholy round; N»w wandering view the baleful rivers flow,
And musing hearken to their soltmn found:
O let me still enjoy the cheerful day,
Till many years unheeded o'er me roll'd, Plcas'd in my age 1 trifle life away,
Aid tell how much I lov'd ere I grew old. The whole fourth elegy, from which these stanzas are taken, is an improvement upon our author. In the original, the poet joins two adjectives to one noun, which Servius, in his notes on Virgil, blames as a vice in wriiing; and yet not only instances of this may be produced from the ancient Ruman authors, but also from Lucretius, Cicero, Ovid, and Virgil.
Ver. ai. That man should be so solicitous for
Nor lute, nor lyre his feeble powers attend,
He turns, with anxious heart and crippled hands.
His bonds of debt, and mortgages of lands;
Or views his coffers with suspicious eyes,
Unlocks his gold, and counts it till he dies.
But grant the virtues of a temperate prime,
Bless with an a;e exempt from scorn or crime;
An age that melts in unpereciv'd decay,
And glides in modest innocence away:
Whose peaceful days benevolence endears,
Whose nights congratulating conscience cheers;
The general favourite, as the general friend:
S':ch age there is, and who could wish-its end?
Yet ev'n on this her lnad misfortune flings.
To press the weary minutes' flagging wings;
New sorrow rises as the day returns;
A sister sickens, or a daughter mourns;
Now kindred merit rills the sab!e bier,
Now lacerated friendfliip claims a tear.
Year chases year, decay pursues decay,
Still drops some joy fr.ini withering life away;
New forms arise, and different views engage,
Superfluous lags the veteran on the stage,
Till pitying nature signs the last release,
And bids afflicted worth retire to peace.
But few there are whom hours like these await,
Who set unclouded in the gulfs of fate;
From Lydia's monarch should the search descend,
By Solon caution'd to regard his end,
In life's last scene what prodigies surprise,
Fears of the brave, and follies of the wise;
From Marlborough's eyc9 the streams of dotage
And Swift expires a driv'ler and a show, [flow,
Its great beauty will, it is presomed, excuse the length os this quotation.
Ver. 26. Swimming was much practised by the Romans; au exercise which they, as a military people, found serviceable to them on many accounts, and which Britons, both on that account, and as a naval people, would do well to practise more; for a& the poet of the seasons lings,
This is the purest exercise for health,
Ver. 38. Tibullus was as warm in his fnendIhip as in his love: and certainly, if the love of fume is ever allowable, the wishing to be n m mbred aster death, by one's ftiends, is highly natural. The
Oblitus meorum, obliviscendus et illis,
t he world forgetting, by the world forgot,
of some ■n'lWt, is too misanthropical for the
love of Unit being natural to mao, and the souico
from whence have sprung most of the good ac tions which have astonished or bencfired humani t j-. the translator cannot join issue with thuse who condemn its exertion.
Ver. 31. The old Scholiast on Statiui, whose comment Barthius had in his possession, calls blood, honey, and milk, the banquet of the infernal powers, " inferorum pastus." But this passage in our poet (hows, that wine was also part of their cheer.
Black cattle were the only victims sacrificed to the " dii inferni." The ancient", say the critics, generally offered to their gods, those beasts which they were supposed to hold in the greatest abhorrence. When they sacrificed to the infernal powers, they turned their palms downwards.
There are two or three instances in the fepstrt part ol the Roman story, of the ceasing as piape at Rome, upon immolating on the altars of P.. and Proserpine. Pluto's altars at Taremuin we: chiefly remarkable for miracles of this kind. T:.-i sacrifices, which in time gave rife to the tec _ games, the jubilee of Paganism, were perform; in the evening; as those to the celestial yovo were in the morning. The priests were spricii. with water, when offering* were made to the _. fernal deities. See the old Scholiast on the fees Isthmian ode of Pindar. And it is certah --Homer (Iliad ix. lin. j6>.) that those wk) udressed these powers, fell on their knccina they prayed to them.
doMx, Bacchus, come! so may the mystic vine
Those may the fair with practis'd guile abuse, Who, sourly wise, the gay dispute refuse: The jolly god can cheerfulness impart, Enlarge the foul, and pour out all the heart, Lover.
But love the monsters of the wood can tame, The wildest tygers own the powerful flame: He bends the stubborn to his awful sway, And melts insensibility away: So wide the reign of love!
Wine, wine, dear boy!
No, no, the god can never disapprove,
What pray'd I rashly for.' my madding prayer,
Ye winds, disperse, unratified, in air:
For though, my love ! I'm blotted from yocriaSerenely rise your days, serenely roll!
Companion. The love-sick struggle past, again b« gay: Come crown'd with roses, let'* drink don s
Lover. Ah me! loud-laughing mirth how hard ate?When dsom'd a victim to love's dreadfuls* How fore'd the drunken catch, the ImiliiijA When black solicitude annoys the breast! *
Companion. Complaints, away! the blithsoroe gralcftc Abhors to hear his genuine votaries wiinc.
• • • • •
You, Ariadne! on a coast unknown, The perjur'd Theseus wept, and wept aloof; But learn'd Catullus in immortal ftrjini, Has lung his baseness, and has wept your juitt
Companion. Thrice happy they, who hear experience ok And shun the precipice where others fall. When the fair clasps you to her breast, brv/as. Nor trust her, by her eyes although (be Ivor.P Not though, to drive suspicion froin your brovS, Or love's soft queen, or Juno (he acted; No truth the women know j their loots ait B»
Yet Jove connives at amorous perjuries. Hence serious thoughts! then why du I coirs*1The fair are licene'd by the god» 10 sogx
I Yet would the guardian powers of gtocle •«*!
I This ouce indulgent to my wishesprert,
Each day we then should laugh, and talk, and toy
The live-long night, all sleepless, must I whine }
Qmck, servants! bi ing us stronger wine.
Nov Syrian odours scent the festal room, 7a
Wi have seen, with what cruelty Neæra had treated her lover, all his endeavours to fix her solely his, having proved hitherto ineffectual. But his misery being now extreme, some remedy must be attempted ; and wine, by the joint approbation of antiquity, being esteemed the certain antidote of affliction, hii friends strongly recommended his making an experiment of its virtues: he follows their advice, aud begins the present elegy with an address to the god of wine, in full confidence of his being able to free him from his amorous inquietude.
This poem, which is one continued struggle between the powers of love and wine, but in which the latter triumphs over the former, the translator has thrown into a dialogue between the lover and one of hit boon companions. This gives it a more spirited air, but does not entirely remove all its obscurities; and hence the translator has been led to believe, that it is imperfect; unless with seme judicious critics, it is supposed, that as the author was agitated with a diversity of ^aslions at the time of his composing it, lo the hyperbaton and disorderly connection was ihe result of judicious choice, and not the fault of imperfection.
In some editions this elegy is improperly split into two.
Ver. 1. —sa nay the mystic vint.] Why myflic? Because those who were initiated in the mysteries of Ceres and Bacchus carried ilyr/i, round which were twisted vine branches; or, because these who assisted at the orgies of Bacchus wore vine garlands. See a description os these siantic ceremonies in the sixth book of Ovid's Metamorphosis, tei.sij.
Ver. a. Bacchus wore grapes on his horns. See notes on the first elegy of the second book; and ivy round his temples.
Cur hedera cincta est? hedcra est gratislima
Hoc qui que cur ita fit, dicere nulla mora est.
Lib. iii. Fast. ver. 769.
But Copsiamius Cxsar, in the eleventh book os lu't Gcopon, says, that Bacchus loved the ivy be
cause his favourite boy Ciflus was metamorphosed into that plant. Brœlb.
The true reason however seems to have been, that the ancients thought ivy chaplets had a power of preventing intoxication.
Those who conquered in poetical contests, had, of old, a wreath of ivy bestowed upon them. Andreas Alciatus gives the following reason io( it:
Hand quaquam arescens hederz est arbuscuUv,
Quz puero Bacchum dona dedisse ferunt:
JJxterius viridis, cetera pallor habec.
Ver. 15.'The two great Italian pastoral poett have enlarged upon this thought in their tragicomedies.
Van le tigre in amore
Ama il leon superbo, &c. Amynt.
Rugge il leon al bosco
Ver. al. When the gods appeared in anger to mortals, they were supposed to become much taller than usual. Thus Ceres, when she appeared to Erysychton, who had violated her sacred grove, trod indeed on the ground, hut with her head she touched the skies.
CaUim. Hymn, in Cerer. ver. 58.
Ver. 13. Penthus, King of Thebes, was torn itspieces by his mother and the other Msnades, for having ridiculed the newly-introduced orgies of Bacchus. See Ovid, Met. lib. iii. and Theocritus, Idyll. 16. See also the Bangm os Euripides.
Ver. 19. This is a fine instance of amorous irresolution; and the prayer the poet puts up to Heaven for the happiness of his inconstant fair, makes us compassionate him more, than if he had broke out into the most direful execrations.