Page images




small Poets, who were hostile to Virgil and Horace. It is
rather, indeed, against the character, than the poetry of


"Omnia cum Bavio communia frater habebat,

Unanimi fratres sicut habere solent.

Rura, domum, nummos, atque omnia, denique, ut aiunt,
Corporibus geminis spiritus unus erat.

Sed postquam alterius mulier communis utrique
Nupsit, deposuit alter amicitiam."

It is rather a strange fancy of some, that Mævius was
this brother of Bavius. See Weichert, Poeta Latini, p. 243.

OCTAVIUS.-Sat. 1. x. 82. An Historian as well as a Poet. There is an Epitaph in the Catalecta of Virgil which may apply to this Octavius. These lines form

part of it:~


Scripta quidem tua nos multum mirabimur, et te
Raptum, et Romanam flebimus historiam."

PANTILIUS, THE BUG.-Sat. I. x. 78. One of the
wretched Poets, who belong to the Dunciad of Horace.
Weichert thinks this an opprobrious name given to some
obscure person παρὰ τοῦ πᾶν τίλλειν — quævis vellicandoma
sort of synonym of the pestering cimex.


PITHOLEON, THE RHODIAN.-Sat. 1. x. 22. A freed-man
of M. Otacilius, whose name he bore, prefixed to that of
Pitholeon (or Pitholaus, as it is written in Macrobius,
Saturn. ii. 2, where a witticism of his is related).
is, no doubt, the same person whose opprobrious satire
Cæsar is said to have borne with such dignified forbear-
"Pitholai carminibus maledicentissimis laceratam
existimationem suam civili animo tulit" (Suet. Cæs. c. 75).
PLOTIUS.-Sat. I. v. 40; I. x. 81. A Poet named,
with Varius and Virgil, as among the dearest friends
of Horace. He is one of those to whom Augustus





entrusted the publication of the Æneid. Not a line of his poetry is known to exist.

PROPERTIUS (with Marsus, one of the two contemporary Poets, whose name we are surprised to find unnoticed by Horace).-Propertius, like Horace, enjoyed the patronage if not the friendship of Maecenas, and of Augustus. Like Horace, he seems to have been at times urged to devote himself to panegyric on the exploits of the Emperor. But he delicately reminds Mecenas that in declining such lofty subjects he is but following the example of his patron, who preferred humble retirement to more public and distinguished station.

"Mæcenas, eques Etrusco de sanguine regum.

Infra fortunam qui cupis esse tuam."-Eleg. III. vii. 1.

[blocks in formation]

"Parcis, et in tenues humilem te colligis umbras,

Velorum plenos subtrahis ipse sinus."

23. Compare Eleg. 11. i. 1-71.

The more quiet or less social habits of Propertius may have kept him aloof from the genial circle, which assembled in the palace or villa of Mæcenas. His praises of Augustus may likewise be compared with those of Horace. Compare Hertzberg, Quæstiones Propertianæ, 1. p. 27.

PUPPIUS.-Epist. 1. i. 67. Of this writer of doleful tragedies nothing is known but an Epitaph, said by the Scholiast to have been written by himself; but much more probably by some wit in his person.

"Flebunt amici et bene noti mortem meam,
Nam populus in me vivo lachrymavit satis."

Compare Welcker, Griechische Tragödie, p. 1434. TIBULLUS-ALBIUS.· -Carm. 1. xxxiii. Epist. I. iv. (His prænomen is unknown.) Was of equestrian family.

The date of his birth is uncertain: it is assigned by Voss, Passow, and Dissen to u.c. 695, by Lachman and Paldanus to u.c. 700; but as he died young (see Epigram in Marsus), soon after Virgil, whose death took place u. c. 735, the later date is more probable. He would then be about eleven years younger than Horace. There is a singular coincidence in the lives of the two friends. Each served at least in one military campaign. Each lost his estate in the partitions during the civil wars; each found a powerful patron with whom he lived in the most familiar friendship. Messala was the Mæcenas of Tibullus. The patrimonial estate of Tibullus was at Pedum, between Tibur and Præneste. It was either entirely or partially confiscated; yet he retained or recovered part of it, and spent there the greater portion of his short and latterly peaceful and happy life. His household gods, indeed, had once been the guardians of a flourishing, now they were those only of a poor patrimony. He no longer gathered in the plentiful harvests of his grandsire (Eleg. 1. i. 41-4). A single lamb was now the sacrifice of a family, which used to offer a calf out of countless heifers. On this estate he had been brought up as a child: he had played before the simple wooden images of the same household gods.

The gentle mind of Tibullus does not seem, like that of Horace, at the later period of his life, to have recoiled in horror from the crimes only of civil war. His poetry, in one passage, betrays a natural yet un-Roman aversion to war altogether. Yet Dissen, his recent biographer and editor, has condemned him to ten years' hard and compulsory service before the only campaign in which he is known to have been engaged, that of Messala, in Aquitain. The tenth Elegy of the first book is thought to express the

inglorious reluctance of a youth, compelled, as a knight's son, to serve for a certain period—at one time not less than ten years. "He is dragged to war; and the enemy is already girt with the arms by which he is to be mortally wounded" (Eleg. 1. x. 13). "Let others have the fame of valour; he would be content to hear old soldiers recounting their campaigns around his hospitable board, while they draw their battles on the table in their wine." But this Elegy is too exquisitely finished for a boyish poem: and there is nothing whatever to fix its date. It is clear, however, from the first Elegy of the first book, that he declined to follow his patron, Messala, to the war of Actium. But when Messala, immediately after the victory in the autumn of u. c. 723, was detached by Cæsar to suppress a formidable insurrection which had broken out in Aquitain, the Poet overcame his repugnance to arms, and accompanied his patron in the honourable post of Contubernalis (a kind of aide-de-camp) to Gaul. A part of the glory of the Aquitanian campaign (Appian. B. c. iv. 38), for which four years later (u. c. 727) Messala obtained a triumph, and which Tibullus celebrated in language of unwonted loftiness, redounds to his own fame. He was present at the battle of Atax (Aude, in Languedoc), which broke the Aquitanian rebellion. Messala, it is probable, then received the submission of all the Gaulish tribes in that province, and was accompanied on his triumphant journey by Tibullus. The Poet invokes as witnesses of his fame the Pyrenean Mountains, the shores of the sea in Xaintonge, the Saone, the Garonne, and the Loire, in the country of the Carnuti (near Orleans). In the autumn of the following year (u. c. 724), Messala having pacified Gaul, was sent into the East, to organize that part of the empire under the sole dominion of Cæsar. Tibullus set

out in his company, but was taken ill and obliged to remain at Corcyra (Eleg. i. 3), from whence he returned to Rome. So ended the active life of Tibullus. He retired to the peace for which he had longed. His Poems are now the chronicle of his life, and of those tender passions which inspired his verse. The Epistle of Horace gives the most pleasing view of the quiet retreat of Tibullus, written by a kindred spirit. He does homage to that perfect purity of taste which is the characteristic of Tibullus's own Poems, and takes pride in the candid judgment of his friend as to his own Satires. The time of Tibullus he supposes to be shared between the finishing of his exquisite small Poems, which were to surpass even those of Cassius of Parma, and the enjoyment of the country. The personal beauty of Tibullus, as described by the old biographer, is confirmed by Horace; and Tibullus seems to have died in the midst of what Horace thought true happiness. He had all the blessings of life-a competent fortune, fame, health; and knew how to enjoy those blessings.

It should be observed that the first two books only of the Elegies of Tibullus are authentic. The third is the work of a very inferior Poet, and a younger one, for he was born in the year of the Battle of Mutina (u. c. 711), unless these lines (III. v. 17, 18) are an interpolation. The name of Lygdamus may be real or fictitious. The hexameter Poem on Messala, which opens the fourth book, is so bad, that, although an Elegiac Poet might have failed when he attempted epic verse, yet it cannot be ascribed to a writer of such fine taste as Tibullus. The shorter Elegies of the fourth book, on the other hand, have all his inimitable grace and simplicity. With the exception of the thirteenth, they relate to the love of Sulpicia, a woman of noble birth,

« PreviousContinue »