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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.
Taflb has given us a no less beautiful instance of this passionate figure in his Gierusalem. Liherat. Canto xx. where Armida, being abandoned by Rinaldo, breathes fury and revenge , ants, pursuing him through the ranks of the battle, aims an artow at his heart; but scarce had the shaft left the bqw, when returning love compelled her to wish it might miss its aim:
Lo Oral volo ; ma con lo slral, un voto
Such sudden changes of passion give a vast energy to poetical compositions. They are frequent in the elegiac poets: but no instance of this kind ever afforded the translator more pleasure than the following of Lotichius, who desiring his deceased mistress's shade often to appear to him, suddenly checks himself:
Quid precor imprudens? non fas ira velle priumve
Otia sint cincri,sit sopor usque tuo.
Et fedeat custos ad tua busta Venus.
B. iii. El. $.
Ver. 37. This double passion is aptly termed dissimulation, by Mr Spencc, in his ingenious Observations on Pope's Odyssey Such figures are viewed in a juster light, when we look upon them as naturally expressive of what we feel within us, than when we regard them only as the artful machineries of writing.
Ver. 4j. Catullus is here called learned; and antiquity, with one consent, bestows upon him that distinguished epithet. He certainly understood the Greek language, and translated, with some applause, Callimachus's beautiful poem on Bertnice's hair: but his version from Sappho is very indifferent. Yet these perhaps obtained him the reputation of learning; or perhaps it arose from his frequent use of cramp words. Men are often called learned, even now-a-days, for no better reasons. .The translator, however, is not of opi. nion, that he merited that distinction, so much at least as some of his Roman predecessors Nay, arc not the best critics now agreed, that had all his poems perished, the world would have been at no very great loss, except for the piece here al Iuded to, his Epilhalamium ou Pclcus and Thetis, and one or two more i >
The most remarkable part of Catullus's character is, the freedom with which, in his writings, he attackid Julius Osar, at a time when he was the sovereign master of the world. That great, but wicked Roman, understood the importance of having the men of abilities and learning on his side, and therefore invited the poet to sup with him on the night his Pasquin was publiflied. Could the poet satirize aster such an act of condescension? Something of the same kind it also told us, of that most consummate of politicians, Philip, who more than paved the way for his son's conquest of the East.
See Dr Iceland's excellently written Life cf 6z monarch.
In the poem which Tibullus here had in hiiry: there is an exquisite stroke of nature, where Ariadne runs into the sea, as if to reach Theseus, its was sailing off
Turn tremuli salis adverfas percurrere in undo* Mollia nnndatx tollentem tegmina furx&c. Ovid has written on the fame subject: but tka is more real beauty in the pathetic exclaaiausi and frantic behaviour of Catallus's Ariadne, this ill the witty, but unassected epistle of Naso.
There appears no connection between this tin of Ariadne, and what either goes before willows ir. But if the translator durst ventme t:a a transposition, he would join
Thrice happy they, and so on, to
Hence, serions thoughts! to the forty-second line, and make it pastes* advice which our poet's companion gave bi The manner of disposing and connecting tta verses, would make the story of Ariadne Jtjo as part of Tibullus's answer, by which he »SS insinuatc, that if the women were dcathd, s men are not much better, as witness the lament which Theseus, whom they all deeff.' hero, gave Ariadne.
Ver. 50. The common editions read
Junonemque suam, perque suam venom But Broekhusius is of opinion that Tibu la'
Junonemque suam, per Venercmque fun, and produces several instances of his of * "que" in that mar.ner. He closes his SCO* on that subject with the following which is in the trne spirit of a verbii"3'* Hacc palaynonibus nostris exila videbœs,* que satis digna in quibus otium ponator: vero, qua: mea est humilitas, nihil eiile b&£" quod saciat ad inlustrationem sennoois Latin"
Ver. 51. Female infidelity has beenacos^ topic of invective with the wits of all ages * yet, had they looked into their own conduit the fame virulent penetration, they wold hi* found that the lion made a just observation re t> man, who vauntingly showed him • wherein one of the lion kind was represent' conquered by a man, when that monarch ■ s* woods said, " We lions are not painters."
Ver. j». Plato assigns a whimsical reitsfe Jupiter's good-nature in thisassair; the pleal*" (fays he) are infants, incapable of underftariri and judgment, and therefore not liable to pssi ment for peijury,"or breach ot promise.
Ver. $9 "Nobis merenti," in the oriciml-11 Broekhusius observes, is an elegant GiW* (archaismus), which Terence and the moil corrS , Roman poets have admitted. There arr»*T such Grœcisms in both Miiton and SJukfpc^''' the former, no doubt, thought the joiE»ii *'
gular with a plural an elegance ; but it is a question whether the instances of this kind which occur in the tragic bard are not the effect of chance, or saulr of transcribers, &c. This pentameter is the only turn on words to be found in Tibullut. When sparingly admitted, such turns are doubtless beauties. Mr. Dryden makes Virgil the parent of this elegance in xompositfon: that critic, however, is mistaken, as Homer has a turn on the word>, II. 30, where Hector fays, that at all events he will attack Achilles:
xmi u trust x"f*r 10'xfy y.' wvgi xutat ,u5ic> "Sits**
Not from yon boaster shall your chief retire, Not though his heart were steel, his hands were fire:
That fire, that steel, your Hector should withstand.
And brave the vengeful heart, and dreadful handSo very attentive was Mr. Pope not to lose any cf the beautie- of his original. And if Mr. Dryden (Dedicat. to Juvenal) had looked, he would have sound that Catullus used this charm in writing before Virgil.
Dt flos in feptis secretus nascitur hortis,
Carm. Nupl. 60
It must indeed be owned, that Virgil and Ovid more frequently use turns, both on words and thoughts. Neither is Milton wholly destitute of that beauty, though Mr. Dryden fay-, he could find none such in his poems, as witness the following charming verses, where Eve addresses our general ancestor:
With thee conversing, I forget all time!
On this delightful land; nor herb, fruit, flower,
Various this peaceful scene, this mineral roof;
Ver. 61. Bacchus was brought np by the nymphs; which, fays Vulpius, is a poetical figment, signifying that wine ought to be mixed with water.
At Uufi^tu <w B4*£#f or |j» trvtot nXtts i utoej
Ttfflx* *f» Hvp$xti u,s; ftXof, Mv It ut uefilt
E cincere ut Bacchum nymphæ cesscre sorores,
Membraque lavarunt fonte perennis aquæ, Junctus amicitia est Nymphis. Si forte repellaf,
Natum de slammis ezperiere Deum. And Plato, in his poetical language, calls the mixing of wine with water, the taming a mad god with a sober one.
Ver. 68. "Jam dudum" in the original, fays Broekhufius, " formula venusta de tempore non longo in re præscnte & scriptoribut elegamibui adamata."
Festus observes, that the boon companions of old used sometimes to tie birds to their garlands, not only to amuse themselves with their songs, but also to be kept awake by their pecking; so ingenious were they in the article of drinking!
The (jarlands used at first upon these occasions, were made of fine wool; and therefore Theocritus calls them 1.-.; urn, the flower of the sheep.
Parsley, roses, ivy, &c. came afterwards to be worn; for which, as well as for the introduction of essences in drinking, die* topers of antiquity were indebted to the fair lex. Lipsius hit gives! 111 the " leget convivalet" of the ancient*.
To you my tongue eternal fealty swore,
My lips the deed with conscious rapture own;
A fickle libertine I rove no more,
You only please, and lovely seem alone.
The numerous beauties that gay Rome can boast, With you compar'd, arc ugliness at best;
On me their bloom and practis'd smiles are lost, Drive then, my fair! suspicion Irom your breast.
Ah no! suspicion is the test of love:
I too dread rivals, I'm suspicious grown; Your charms the most insensate heart must move;
Would you were beauteous in my eyes alone!
I want not man to envy my sweet late,
Of happy conquests let the coxcomb prate!
Supremely pleas'd with you, my heavenly fair!
In any trackless desert I could dwell; From our recess your smiles would banish care,
Your eyes give lustre to the midnight cell.
For various converse 1 should long no more,
Its various arts are her's, whom I adore;
Should mighty Jove fend down from heaven i
With-Veous' cestus zon'd, my faith to try,
But hold! you're mad to vow, unthinking fool:
Safe from alarms, she'll treat you as a tool— Ah, babbling tongue ! from thee what mischief) flow!
Yet let her use me with neglect, disdain;
In all, sublervicnt to her will I'll prove; Whate'er 1 feel, her slave I'll still remain,
Who shrinks from sorrow, cannot be in love!
Imperial queen of bliss '. with fetters bound,
You kindly heal the constant lover's wound1,
NOTES ON ELEGY VII.
ALTHOcnii this poem is usually published at the end of the fourth book, yet as some old critics assert, that TibuIIus wrote only three books of elegies, and as this piece, in the opinion of Brockhusiug, has all the marks of Tibullian legitimacy, the translator has taken the liberty to place it here; not strictly rendered, but more paraphrastically, j as, in his opinion, better suited to the genius of the alternate stanza. What induced the translator to turn paraphrast with this elegy was, that though the critics unanimously ascribed it to Tiblluus, yet did he think, that the thoughts had not that simplicity, which constitutes one of the characterillieal beauties of our poet. And though TibuIIus is mentioned in the poem, no argument can thence be drawn of it being the work of our ] poet, as in after-times, those who excelled in elegy affected to style themselves TibuIIus: and it is known that Nero used to call the poet Nervaby that appellation.
Ver. XI. Your char mi tbe moji infinsalt Itutus} move;
Would you nvere charming in my tytt dm !} This, exclaims the polite Dutch commentator, is rusticity itself 1 For what more cruel, to a fine woman, could he wish, than that file &&1 please one man only .' And what do the ladktiio at, in all their finery and variety of dress, but!» appear amiable even to those whom they neither can, nor wish to love f
Delcctant etiam castas præconia fonnx.
And what woman did you ever fee, however T& and wretched, whole face or person you dared, a her own presence, to contemn with impuoit;; of who thought herself ugly i Beauty they prefer » life itself; and death they view without duœiT.ii 'hey carry their charms along with them. Tb« lar Broekhusius.
D Ursey, who was the first, that gare tbe French an idea os pastoral romance, hat copied thia thought of our author; and, indeed, it becter suited such languid unnatural compositions as the .Mt rci, than the serious sensibility os the elegiac muse.
Ver. II. OSowley hat imitated thia; or rather, such conceits were in his way.
How happy here, should I
From deserts, solitude.
How much more truly does Prior represent the contentment which lovers feel in one another's company?
My conqueror now, my lovely Abra held
It ligh'd and griev'd, impatient of her stay; "1 Rcturn'd, she chas'd those sighs, that grief away; ( Her absence made the night, her presence made C the day. J
The pastoral writers often ascribe still greater force to the charms os their Galateas and Phyllises, perhaps very impertinently.
Ver. is- Thus finely imitated by Croxal:
Were I invited to a nectar feast
I" Alone—your company—to drink some tea."
I Let who would meet the beauty of the sky.
THE POEMS OF SULPICIA.
Soifi of the best modern commentators contend, that the little poems which compose this fourth book, are not the work of Tibullus. Their chief arguments are derived from the language and sentiment; in both which.it is said,and with more justice than is common on such occaGons, that they bear no resemblance to our poet's productions.
But if the following little pieces are not the compoCtion of Tibullus, to whom shall we impute them? Shall we, with Caspar Barthius, and Broekhufius, ascribe them to Sulpicia, the wife cf Calenus, who flourished in the reign of Domitian r This opinion is by no means improbable, for we know from Martial and hidonius Apolinaris, that Sulpicia was eminent in tbose days for her poetry.
Omnes Sulpiciam legant purll.c,
Tales egregiæ jocos suisse.
Udo crediderim Numæ sub antro.
Hac condiscipula, vcl hac magistra
Esses doctior & pudica Sappho:
Sed tecum paritcr simulque visam
Durus Sulpiciam Phaon amarct.
Fruftra: namque ea nec Tonantis uxor,
Nec Bacchi, nec Apollinis puclU,
Erepto sibi viverct Caleno.
, Mart. Lit. x. Ep. 35.
But to this proof, it is objected by Vulpius, that as the following pieces are of a strain different from those celebrated by Martial, so they could not be written by the wise of Calenus, but are Tibullus's; and that the Sulpicia they praise, was the daughter of Serviu* Sulpicius, the famous lawyer, some of whose epistles to Cicero, are still extant: Fur, flie who is called Sulpicia in this book, adds he, certainly lived in the reign of Augustus, as Horace himself mentions Cerinthus, and Messala is named in the eighth poem. To this ic may be answered, that it cannot be proved, that Sulpicia had never been in love before she married Calenus; or had never composed any other poems, besides those of the conjugal kind, so much extolled" by Martial? Nay, have we not our own testimony, that she wtote some thousands of pieces?
Cetera quin ctiam, quot denique millia lust '.