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Library. The principal ground for this idea is that
Hyginus was certainly at one time on terms of
intimate friendship with Ovid, and that none of
the letters written in exile are addressed to him.
Either he or some one else among the numerous
acquaintances who courted the poet in the days of
his popularity, and who deserted him in his exile,
may have been in the author's thoughts ; but the
poem is scarcely serious. It has the look of being a

144 OVID.

literary tour de force. Callimaclms was a favourite
model with Eoman authors, and Ovid probably amused
some of the vacant hours of his exile with translating
his poem.* Every story of Greek mythology, legend,
and history is ransacked to furnish the curses which
are heaped on the head of the luckless man. " May he
fall over a staircase, as did Elpenor, the companion of
Ulysses ! May he be torn to pieces by a lioness, as
was Phayllus, tyrant of Ambracia ! May he be killed
by a bee-sting in the eye, as Avas the poet Achajus !
May he be devoured, as Glaucus was devoured, by his
horses ; or leap, as did another Glaucus, into the sea !
May ho drink, with trembling mouth, the same
draught that Socrates drank, all undisturbed ! May
he perish caught by the hands, as was Milo in the
oak which he tried to rend ! " These are a few, but,
it will probably be thought, sufficient, examples of
the ' Ibis.'

Tlie last lines written by Ovid are i^robably some
which we find in the ' Fasti ' under the first of June,
praising Tiberius for the pious work which he had ac-
complished in rebuilding and dedicating various temples
at Eome. These temples were dedicated, as Ave learn
from Tacitus, in a.d. 17. The poet died, St Jerome
tells us, in the same year, some time before September,
from which month, in Jerome's chronicle, the years

* Allusions to Virgil's /Eneid show that it was not wholly a


are reckoned. It had been his earnest wish that the
sentence which had been so rigorously executed against
him during his life might at least be relaxed after
his death, and that his bones might be permitted to
rest in his native Italy. The desire was not granted :
he was buried at Tomi. A pretended discovery of
his tomb was made early in the sixteenth century at
Stainz, in Austria, — a place far too remote from Tomi
to make the story at aU probable. If his body could
have been transported so far, why not to Italy 1 The
story appeared in another edition ; the tomb and its
epitaph were the same, as was also the year of the dis-
covery, but the place was now Sawar, in Lower Hun-
gary. It may probably be put down as one of the
impostures, more or less ingenious, with which schol-
ars have often amused themselves, and of which the
period following the revival of learning — a period dur-
ing which genuine discoveries of classical remains were
frequently made — was particularly fertile. As recently
as the beginning of this century, it was announced in
some of the Parisian papers that the Russian troops,
while engaged in building a fortress on the banks of
the Danube, had opened the poet's sepulchre, and had
named the place Ovidopol, in his honour. Unfortu-
nately it turned out that the fortress had never been
built, or even commenced ; and that the local name
of Lagone Ovidouloni (which, to give a colour to the
story, had been changed into Lacus Ovidoli) owed its
origin, not to any remembrance of Ovid, but to the
practice of washing there the sheep (Lat. ovis) which
A.C.S.S., vol. ii. K

146 VJD.

M'ere exported in large numbers from Moldavia for the
consumption of Constantinople. We may dismiss as
equally apocryphal the story of the silver writing-style
of the poet, which was shown in 1540 to Isabella,
Queen of Hungary, as havuig been recently discovered
at Belgrade, the ancient Taurunum.



In his ' Art of Love,' Ovid tells his readers that he had
written a book on " Cosmetics," which was small in
size, but had cost him much pains. Of this book we
have remaining a fragment of about a hundred lines.
The poet begins by saying that everything is the better
for cultivation — the human face of course included.
The simple Sabine matrons of old may have been con-
tent to spend all their labour on their fields, but the
fair ones of modern Rome had different tastes.- Dresses
embroidered with gold, hair richly scented and ar-
ranged in various ways, fingers adorned with rings,
and ear-rings of pearls, so heavy that two pearls were
weight enough for an ear — such were now their tastes.
How could they be blamed, for the tastes of men were
just the same 1 They were quite right in trying to
please ; only let them please in lawful ways. Drugs
and love-potions must be eschewed. Goodness should
be their chief charm. The days would come when it
would be a pain to look into the mirror ; but virtue
lasts through life, and the love which attaches itself
to it is not hghtly lost. After this edifying preface,

148 VI D.

the poet proceeds to his subject. His instructions are
eminently practical in character, — giving the ingredi-
ents, the proper weight, and the right manner of mix-
ing them. His first recipe is for brightening the com-
plexion. Take two pounds of barley, as much of
bitter lupine, and ten eggs ; dry and then grind the
substance. Add a sixth of a pound of stag's-horns ;
they must be those shed by the animal for the first
time. The mixture is to be passed through a sieve.
Twelve narcissus-roots with the rind stripped off are
to be pounded in a marble mortar ; add the sixth of a
pound of gum, and as much spelt, with a pound and
a half of honey. " Dress your face," says the poet,
" with this, and you will have a complexion brighter
than your mirror itself." The prescription is some-
what complicated ; but then, it must be allowed, the
object is difficult of attainment. Colour, as might be
expected, is more easily secured. To five scruples of
fennel add nine of myrrh, a handful of dry rose-leaves,
and a quantity equal in weight to the rose-leaves of
gum-ammoniacum and frankincense, and pour over it
the liquor of barley. "What other secrets of beauty
Ovid may have unfolded cannot be known, for here
the fragment breaks off.

About a hundred and thirty lines of a poem on
" Fishing" have also survived; but they are in a very
broken condition, and a passage descriptive of land
animals has somehow found its way into the midst of
them. They contain nothing practical, except it is
the advice which those acquainted with the art of
sea-fishing will recognise as sound, that the fisherman


must not try his fortune in very deep water. A poem
called the " "Walnut," in which the tree complains,
among other things, of its hard lot in being pelted
with stones by passers-by, has been attributed to
Ovid. Some critics have supposed it to be a juvenile
production, but the weight of authority is against its

In the tragedy of " Medea" the world has suffered a
serious loss. Quintilian, a severe critic, says of it that
it seemed to him to prove how much its author could
have achieved, if he had chosen to moderate rather
than to indulge his cleverness. He mentions in the
same context the " Thyestes " of Varius, which might
challenge comparison, he says, with any of the Greek
tragedies. The two dramas are also coupled together
by Tacitus in his " Dialogue about Famous Orators,"
where he compares the popularity of dramatic and
oratorical works, just as we might couple together
" Hamlet" and " King Lear." The " Medea" has been
altogether lost, but we may gather some idea of the
manner in which the poet treated his subject from
the seventh book of the ' Metamorphoses,' the first
half of which is devoted to the legend of the great
Colchian sorceress. What portion of it was chosen
for the subject of the drama we do not know; but it
may be conjectured that while the "Medea" of Euri-
pides depicted the last scenes of her career, when she
avenged the infidelity of Jason by the murder of her
children, Ovid represented her at an earlier time,
when, as the daughter of King ^etes, she loved and
helped the gallant leader of the Argonauts. Anyhow,

150 OVID.

we find in the ' Metamorphoses' a very fine soliloquy, in
which the love-stricken princess holds debate between
Love and Duty : —

" Up ! gird thee ! for delay
Is death ! For aye thy debtor for his life
Preserved must Jason be ! And torch and rite
His honoured wife will make thee, and through all
Pelasgian cities shall their matrons hail
The Saviour of their Prince !— Ah ! thus then, thus
My Sister, Brother, Sire, my natal soil,
My country's Gods, do I desert, and fly
To exile with the winds 1 — my She is stern.
Our land is barbarous : — my Brother yet
An infant : — for my Sister, with my own
Her vows are one : — and, for the gods, — within
This bosom beats the Greatest ! Little 'tis
To lose, and much to win ! Fame to have saved
This flower of all Achaian youth, and sight
And knowledge of a nobler land, where tower
The cities of whose glory Fame even here
Loud rumours, and the culture and the arts
That grace the life of Heroes ! More than all
I win uie ^son's son, for whom the world
With all its treasures were biit cheap exchange !
Oh bliss ! to be his wife, his envied wife,
Dear to his kindred-Gods ! My head will touch
The very stars with rapture ! What if rocks,
As Rumour speaks, clash jostling in our track
Athwart the Seas, and fell Charybdis, foe
To shijjs, with flux and reflux terrible
Swallows and spouts the foam-flood 1 — what if, giit
With serpents, in Sicilian ocean-caves
Devouring Scylla barks 1 — The seas for me.
Clasped to the bosom of the man I love.
Will wear no terrors : — or, within his arms,


If fear should rise, 'twill be, not for myself.

But only for ray Husband. Husband ? — Ah !

With what fair name, Medea, dost thou cloak

Thy purposed crime 1 Ah ! think how great the guilt

Thou darest, and, while yet thou canst, escape !"

The value of Ovid's poetry has been estimated from
time to time in the course of these pages. Quintiliau
says that he was too much in love with his own clever-
ness, hut that he "was in some respects worthy of com-
mendation. Lord Macaulay confirms, or perhaps am-
plifies, this judgment, when he says that Ovid "had
two insupportable faults : the one is, that he will al-
ways be clever ; the other, that he never knows when
to have done." Of the 'Metamorphoses' the same
great critic wrote : " There are some very fine things
in this poem ; and in ingenuity, and the art of doing
difficult things in expression and versification as if
they were the easiest in the world, Ovid is quite in-
comparable." He thought that the best parts of the
work were the second book (specimens of which have
been given in Chapter IV.), and the first half of
the thirteenth book, where, in the oratorical contest
between Ajax and Ulysses for the arms of Achilles,
his own tastes were doubtless satisfied. The sever-
est criticism which he passes upon the poet is when
he pronounces the ' Art of Love ' to be his best poem.

If popularity is a test of merit, Ovid must be placed
very high among the writers of antiquity. N'o classical
poet has been so widely and so continuously read. He

152 OVID.

seems not to have been forgotten even when learning
and the taste for literature were at their lowest ehb.
Among the stories which attest the favour in which
he was held may be quoted the words which are
reported to have been used by Alphonso, surnamed
the ^Magnanimous. That eccentric prince, who may
be called the Pyrrhus of modern history, while prose-
cuting his conquests in Italy, came to the town of
Sulmo, which has been mentioned as Ovid's birth-
place. " Willingly would I jdeld this region, which
is no small or contemptible part of the kingdom of
j^^aples, could it have been granted to my times to
possess this poet. Even dead I hold him to be of
more account than the possession of the whole of
Apulia." The bibliography of Ovid, as a writer in
the ' Xouvelle Biographic UniverseUe ' remarks, is im-
mense. Two folio volumes of the ' !N"ew Catalogue of
the British Museum' are devoted to an enumeration
of editions and translations of the whole or various
parts of his works.

For the immorality of much of his writings no de-
fence can be made. Yet, if it is anything in favour
of a culprit that he is not alone in his guilt, it may be
urged in arrest of judgment that one of the greatest
of English poets translated with much api:)roval of
his OAvn generation the very worst of these writings, —
and not only translated them, but contrived to make
them more offensive in their new dress than they are
in the old.

It was not altogether a bad character which has


been thus summed up by Lord Macaulay : " He seems
to have been a very good fellow; rather too fond of
•women ; a flatterer and a coward : but kind and
generous ; and free from envy, though a man of
letters, and though sufficiently vain of his own per-












Ix the following chapters special acknowledgment is
due to IMr Theodore Martin for numberless extracts
from his admirable and now perfected version of
Catullus ; and an almost equal debt has been in-
curred to Dr James Cranstoun by loans on his Tibul-
lus and Propertius, both of them scholarly perform-
ances, and at present the most adequate English
versions of those poets in a complete form. Through
the kindness of friends, and the publicity of reviews,
some variety has been imparted to the translations —
e.g., in poems of Catullus rendered by Mr E. Dodd-
ridge Blackmore, the author of ' Lorna Doone ; ' in
the "Nuptials of Peleus and Thetis," a portion of
which has been given in a free translation by the
Eev. A. C. Auchmuty ; and in pieces of Catullus and
Propertius, borrowed from Hummel and Brodribb's
'Lays from Latin Lyres' (1876: Longmans); and
from the late Sir Edmund Head's * Ballads and


Poems' (Smith & Elder: 18G8), in which, the trans-
lations of Propertius are sadly too few. In the
course of the work the writer has found that it
is perfectly vain to expect the reader to take
kindly to the versions of Professor Eohinson Ellis ;
but he may tolerate the few that are given for
their exact literality and evident scholarship. Mr
Paley's versions, where they have been used, will be
found to combine poetic feeling with these merits.
It has seemed well to designate all the versions of the
three poets for Avhich the author of the volume is him-
self responsible with the letter " D. ; " and, he desires
to plead for these not so much a claim of superiority
to other versions, as a scruple to avail himself of the
honey of other bees, without samples and contribu-
tions from his own hive. There is room for even
more workers in this special field of translation ; and
the volume will have done good if it inspires a
friendly rivalry in rendering three specially delightful
poets into congenial English.

J. D.

Moor Court, September 1, 1876.






V. HYMEN, HYMENjEE ! . . .









T I B U L L U S.






II. Cynthia's poet, 147


annals and BIOGRAPHY', . . . .168




Valerius Catullus — about whose pra^nomen there is
no evidence to show whether it w^as Caius or Quintus,
and need be still less concern, as wherever the poet
speaks of himself in his poems it is by his surname
Catullus — was born at Yerona b.c. 87, and died, it is
probable, in B.C. 54 or 53. Like the two somewhat
later elegiac poets usually associated with him, his
life and flower were brief ; but there is internal evi-
dence to prove that he was alive after B.C. 57, his
death-date in the Eusebian Chronicle ; and the silence
of his muse as to public events immediately subsequent
to 54 B.C., the death of Clodius in 52, and the civil
wars in 49-47 amongst the number, forbids the pro-
bability that he attained a longer span than some
thirty-four years. A colour has been sought to be
given to a later date from the supposed mention in
A.C.S.S., vol iii. A


Poem lii. of tlie actual consulsldp of Vatinius in b.c.
47; but it is clear from Cicero that that worthy wliilst
ascending the ladder of office had a habit of enforcing
his affirmations by the oath, " as sure as I shall be
consul," * and so that the poet ridiculed a mere pros-
pect, and not an accomplished fact —

" Vatinius — what that caitiff dares ! —
By when he shall be consul swears ! "

Similarly, the argument for a much later date than
57 B.C. for Catullus's lampoons on Csesar and Mamurra
may as well be used on the other side, as it is obvious
that such attacks would be on all accounts subdued
after the Dictatorship was established, though policy
and statesmanship doubtless counsel ignorance or over-
sight of such petty and ephemeral warfare. On the
whole, it should seem that there are allusions in the
poems of Catullus which must have been written in
B.C. 54 and in 53,t but scarcely a shadow of any
grounds for believing him to have survived the later
of these dates.

Beyond the birth-date, we have literally no souvenirs
of the childhood or early youth of Catullus, for he has
recorded scarcely any admonitus locorum, like Horace,
and does not deal in playfully-described miracles to

* Cic. in Vatin. Interrog., 2. 6. 5. 11.

+ Some allusions in C. xii. to Furius and Aurelius, and in C.
xxix., are later than Caesar's invasion of Britain in B.C. 55 ;
and C. liii. is an epigram based on a speech of Licinius Calvus
against Vatinius, whom Cicero at Cifisar's instance defended in
B.C. 54.


herald the advent of a " divine poet." Born at
Verona, an important town of Transpadane Gaul
on the river Athesis, which became a Latin colony
in 89 B.C., and one of the finest cities in that part of
Italy, he was by family and antecedents essentially
Eoman, and in education and tastes must be regarded
as emphatically a town-bird. There is nothing to lead
to the impression that he had the keen eye of Virgil
for the natural and sylvan beaties of his birthplace
and its environs, no special mention of its wine,
apples, or spelt. He does not indeed utterly ignore
the locality, for one of his most graceful pieces is a
rapture about Sirmio (C. xxxi.), where he possessed
a villa, no great distance from Verona, on the shores
of the Lago di Garda. Hither in his manhood he
returned for solace after trouble and disappointment ;
but it was probably rather with a craving for rest than
from the love of nature, which is not a key-note of his
life or poetry. His removal to Rome at an early age
for his education must have begun the weaning pro-
cess ; and though Verona had its " capital in little,"
its importance, still witnessed by the remains of an
amphitheatre more perfect though smaller than the
Colosseum, its medley of inhabitants from the east
and west, with a fair share of culture and urbanity,
in spite of the infusion of barbarism which Cicero
complained had reached even Rome with the " breeks "
of the peoples from beyond the Alps, it is easy to
conceive that Catullus soon contracted a preference
for the capital, and was fain to quiz the provincials
of his original home, though he seems to have retained


not a few acquaintances and family ties amongst them.
Sucli ties, as is seen in the cases of Catullus and
Horace, were stronger in the provinces than in Eome ;
and we shall see anon that the former was influenced
by the tenderest and most touching fraternal affection ;
but the charms of a residence at Rome, from the school-
boy period up to his brief life's end, asserted a power
which was rarely interrupted by rustication or foreign
travel ; and he cannot herein be accused of the vola-
tility or changeableness which characterised others of
his craft and country. This would be a power certain
to grow with years, and the more so as books, society,
culture, were accumulated in the capital. " At Eome,"
wrote the poet to Manlius —

" Alone I live, alone my studies ply,
And there my treasures are, my haunts, my home."

It is little more than guess-work to speculate on the
rank and calling of Catullus's father. From the life
of Julius Cfesar by Suetonius we gather that he was
on terms of intimacy with, and a frequent host of, that
great man ; and it is not improbable that he and the
son who died in Asia Minor may have been merchants,
though the death in question would consist as well
with the surmise that Catullus's brother was on some
prastor's staff. Attemjits have been made to establish
against the poet himself a charge of impccuniousness
and Avastefulness ; but " the cobwebs in his purse " in
the invitation to Fabullus (C. xiii.) are a figure of
speech which need not be literally interpreted ; his
allusiojis in C. xi., " Concerniug Varus's Mistress," to a


scanty exchequer and shabby equipment whilst in the
suite of Memmius in Bithynia, cut rather at that ill-
conditioned and illiberal prajtor than himself ; and as
to thej'ezi d' esprit about the "Mortgage," it makes all
the difference of meiim and tuum "whether we read of
"your" or "my" country-seat as the snug tenement,
as to which the poet tells Furius-

" That there's a mortgage, I've been told,
About it wound so neatly,
That, ere this new moon shall be old,
'T^\^.11 sweep it off completely." — (C. xxvi.)

Some possible colour for the suspicion is indeed found
m the fact that on occasion — like other young men
about town — Catullus sought to improve his finances,
and so — like other young men — ^joined the suite of the
prcetor, Caius Memmius, in Bithynia, attracted by the
literary prestige of that governor, who was the friend
and patron of Lucretius. From him, however, he de-
rived nothing but disappointment. INIemmius did not
enrich his own coffers : his suite, if we may judge by
Catullus, did not recoup their outfit; but, on the
contrarj', might have stood as a warning to other
would-be fortune-menders for the nonce, as the poet
points the simile —

" Like me, who following about
My prajtor — was — in fact, cleaned out." — (C. xxviii.)

But with regard to the poet's general finances we
have certainly no reason, from his remains, to suppose
that he was habitually out at elbows. On the contrary,


we know that lie had two country-houses, — one at the
Lago di Garda (which some have thought is still repre-
sented by the ruins of a considerable edifice at the ex-
tremity of the promontory on its southern shore, though
later discoveries show that these are remains of baths
of the date of Constantine, to say nothing of their ex-
tent being out of keeping with a poet's villa) ; and the
other in the suburb of Tibur, Avhere Avas his Tiburtine,
or, as his ill-wishers called it, to tease him, his Sabine
Farm (C. xliv.) Add to these a house and library at
Home, of which he wrote, as we have seen above, to
Manlius, and an estate which he owed to the bounty
of a friend, and of which little more is known than
that it included amongst other goods and chattels a
housekeeper ; * and we shall determine that Catullus
was probably in nowise amenable to the charge of
being a spendthrift or " distrest poet," but rather a man
of good average means, in fair circumstances and good
society. For the latter it is plain that his education
would have fitted him. Though he had not, like
Horace, the advantage of a Greek sojourn to give it
finish and polish, he had enjoyed what was then at a
premium in Latin towns even more than at Eome, a
thorough introduction to Greek literature. Herein he

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