« ZurückWeiter »
G. E. STE CHERT & CO. NEW YORK.
[411 Rights reserved.)
Catullus, after two centuries of comparative neglect, has of late received from scholars his due share of attention. Even within the last year and half, or Awo vears, have appeared the important critical edition of Aemilius Baehrens and the long and elaborate exegetical commentary of Robinson Ellis. Not to go more than fifteen years back, we have had within that time, in addition to the works just mentioned, first the learned and painstaking Quaestiones' of Schwabe, which throw such a flood of light on the history of Catullus and of his friends and enemies; next Schwabe's critical edition of the text, followed successively by Ellis' and Lucian Mueller's; and, beside all these works, two excellent translations into English verse.
Although the field may be thought to be already sufficiently preoccupied, I flatter myself that this little book will not prove altogether useless either for the criticism or for the elucidation of our poet. For the manuscript material I am wholly indebted to the successive labours of Schwabe, Ellis and Baehrens. It behoves me therefore to be modest when dealing with that for which I am altogether dependent upon the diligence of others. With respect however to the general principles, from which Catullian criticism has to start, there is no room for doubt or hesitation. All critics are now agreed-even Ellis I believe, tho' some of his
reasonings are not easy to reconcile with such an assumption—that, except in the case of one poem, the 62nd, the whole of our manuscript material is derived from one single codex, which reappeared at Verona in the beginning of the 14th century and was afterwards lost to the world once more. The two main and independent representatives of this lost original are the Paris codex Germanensis, copied from that original in 1375, and the Oxford codex, which appears to have been written about the same time. Following Ellis and Baehrens, who have alone collated 0, I call the one G, the other 0; and after the example of all the editors I designate by V the reading of the lost original, when that reading can be satisfactorily made out. Resting on the seemingly complete collation of these two Mss. given by Baehrens, I follow him in looking to them almost alone in order to determine what V was.
Diffidence being as I have said incumbent on me, where I am reaping the fruits of others' industry, I shall not attempt to decide whether G or O is on the whole the better manuscript. There are very many passages in which O, and O alone, gives the undoubted words of the poet : often on the other hand it is very corrupt, where G is right or less wrong. Nor shall I pronounce upon the question whether, beside these two, all other existing manuscripts are derived directly or indirectly from G, Baehrens strenuously maintaining that they are, Ellis as strenuously denying it. But of this I feel no doubt whatever, that if G and O come directly from the original codex--and this Ellis does not seem to call in question—then he very greatly overrates the value of the Datanus, which was not written till 1463. I have much difficulty in catching the drift of the argument about this codex in his first volume, an argument which is partially reproduced in his commentary. But G and O proclaim with a loud voice that the strange and uncouth phenomena of the Datanus are figments and interpolations. It is vain to appeal to the authority of Lachmann who was ignorant of G and 0 alike. Nor is it easy quite to grasp the principle from which Ellis starts, when in his commentary on meae in 167 34 he writes : The valuable Brit. Mus. Ms. a bas uice for meae ; possibly Catullus wrote: Brixia Veronae mater amata uicem'. When G and 0, and apparently every other Ms., have mee, how can we conceive that this was not the reading of V? how can a, written as Ellis tells us elsewhere in 1460, have got this uice directly or indirectly from V? how can it be anything but a stupid interpolation, designed or undesigned ? Again in 64 249 O has 'Que tñ prospectans”; G has 'tamen' in full, and had originally prospectans”; but the pr is erased and o changed to a; later Mss. follow this correction and read 'tamen aspectans'. All the old editions which I have examined before Lachmann's have 'Quae tum prospectans', and so have the recent editions of Schwabe and Baehrens. Ellis in the Academy (Aug. 19, 1876) writes: ‘Are we then to conclude with M. Baehrens that the right reading is 'Quae tum prospectans'? Is there any critic who could hesitate to prefer 'Quae tamen aspectans'?' When we now learn from 0 that V had 'Que tīī prospectans', I should have been disposed rather to say 'Is there any critic who could hesitate to prefer Quae tum prospectans' ?' This is merely putting tū for tñ, a u for an n, no two words being oftener confused than tum and tamen in consequence of their abbreviations being so very similar.