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in the Tristia, lest it might prove disadvantageous to them to be found maintaining a connection with a man who was subjected to the displeasure of the emperor. In the later work he is freed from this apprehension; the anger of Augustus had lost its first violence, and there seemed some prospects of the possibility of a reconciliation. The poems were censured even in antiquity, on account of their monotonous character, as they all revolve within so small a circle, and Ovid even felt himself called upon to vindicate them against this charge. But we must not forget that, though we read them in a few hours, they were not written at short intervals; but their composition was continued through a space of eight years, and they were addressed to the most various parties. We must rather inquire whether each separate poem does not answer the end which the poet had in view; whether the different elegies, though confined to the same subject-matter, do not display variety of description and richness of invention; and if we must answer these questions in the affirmative, we shall feel ourselves forced to admire the genius which could accomplish so much under such unfavourable circumstances. For Ovid complains bitterly of his position, which so greatly obstructed him in the exercise of his art he found even his life in danger, from the constant wars which the hostile tribes waged against each other: he was quite cut off from the society of men who could understand him; he could not even converse with those about him, for he was ignorant of their language, and they of his; he wanted a tranquil, lonely spot, where he could labour in peace. In the course of time he felt himself estranged from home; he acquired the language of the Getae, and even attempted to write in it. He now lost the easy command which he had formerly possessed over his mother tongue, and he tells us how he had often to seek about for the right word to express his thought, and did not always find it. In many of his later poems we can perceive traces of this condition. But he was then nearly sixty years old—an age at which poetic power, almost without exception, begins to fail. Augustus died A.D. 14, and there was little to hope from the hard-hearted Tiberius. At length death put an end to the poet's misfortunes A.D. 16, the same year in which Rome lost another of its most illustrious authors-the historian Livy. With them closes the most splendid period of Roman literature, which we are accustomed to term its Golden Age.
On the whole, Ovid may be considered as standing in the highest rank among Roman poets; he surpasses most of them in richness and versatility of poetic talent-he, if any, was born a poet. Everything formed itself into verse under his hands, and he knew how to invest the most unlikely materials with grace and beauty. Who else ever thought of attempting a
poetic treatment of a calendar? And yet how successfully did he accomplish this work! His chief fault is intimately connected with his excellence-it is a certain diffuseness, a striving after ingenious antitheses and unexpected turns: he is often unable to stop in describing an object, and weakens the impression by his excessive minuteness. But the recognition which he obtained from his contemporaries and successors is incredible: the works of scarcely any other poet have been so widely diffused, none was so much imitated, and of none do we possess such a number of manuscripts. His language is pure and noble, yet he, with Livy, forms the transition from the Augustan to the later age: the forms and modes of expression which the latter transferred from the poetic style to the common prose-a special characteristic of the later Latinity-occur chiefly in Ovid, and we are justified in asserting that his influence on this period was decisive.