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than the ardent poet lover could well endure. There were quarrels and reconciliations. For some fault he was banished for a whole year from her presence?; yet much later, in his bitter leave-taking 3 he reminds her that he had been her devoted slave for five years. The chronology of the poems appears to agree with this five-year period; for none of those referring to Cynthia appears to have been written earlier than 28 or later than 23 B.C. Yet the question of the relative order of the elegies and the determination of the exact years
included in the five are unsolved problems. When the year of separation occurred, and whether the five years were interrupted or not, are moot questions. The publication of the poet's first book of elegies, probably in the year 25, dealing almost exclusively with his love, must have flattered the lady and cemented their affection for the time. But its genius won for Propertius also a place in the friendship of Maecenas, prince of patrons, and opened the way for the development of other interests and for increasing ambition to write on other themes. While about two thirds of all the elegies are connected in some way with Cynthia, there may be noted an increasing restlessness on the part of the poet, a sense of dissatisfaction that his work is confined within so narrow a circle, which feeling was probably fostered by his friends, who saw higher possibilities in him. He defends himself from time to time for not launching out on a broader sea, and tries his hand a little on a certain patriotic type of poetry. Meanwhile his liaison was running the natural course of all such attachments. The lover became tired of the imperiousness and the fickleness of the beloved ; love was supplanted by disgust,
1 Cf. 1, 8.
2 3, 16, 9.
83, 25, 3. 4 Cf. 2, 8, 13: ergo iam multos nimium temerarius annos, inproba, qui tulerim teque tuamque domum, ecquandone tibi liber sum visus ?
5 Cf. Schanz, 287; Plessis, pp. 210 sqq.; Postgate, Prop., pp. xxi sqq.; Ramsay, p. xlvi; Otto, “Die Reihenfolge der Gedichte des Properz,” in Hermes, Vol. 20 (1885), pp. 552–572.
6 The Cynthia Monobiblos of Martial's epigram 14, 189: Cynthia, facundi carmen iuvenale Properti, accepit famam, nec minus ipsa dedit.
and, probably in the year 23, Propertius renounced his mistress in two bitter elegies (3, 24 and 25), in which his hatred seems as intense as his earlier love had been. Whether there was any sort of a reconciliation before her death (which may be put not later than the year 18) seems very doubtful. It is not impossible that in conformity with the wishes of Augustus the poet may have married some time before his death and become the father of offspring.?
34. That the Cynthia book was published first, and as a whole, is clear.3 Book 2 is somewhat larger, with thirty-four elegies ; but they are still mostly on the same subject, and the first and last poems are well adapted to open and close respectively such a book. Lachmann, however, introduced apparently endless confusion into Propertius texts by deciding that a third book begins with 2, 10. His argument is based chiefly on an assumed lacuna before 2, 10; on the apparent fitness of this elegy to open a new book dedicated to Augustus ; and on the use of the expression tres libelli in 2, 13, 25.4 On the other hand, it may be urged (1) that it is not certain that 2, 10 is incomplete, or is preceded by any important omission. (2) This poem is not very suitable as an introduction to a book containing little but love elegies. (3) Libellus does not necessarily mean a 'book'of poems at all.5 Propertius in the passage in question does not appear to be thinking of near approaching death, and might easily have been expecting to complete other books of elegies before that should occur. Perhaps a conventional number is suggested by the fact that Horace published
1 But cf. Postgate's elaborate argument in his Selections, pp. xxiv-xxvii.
2 Cf. Plin. Ep. 6, 15: Passennus Paulus scribit elegos. Gentilicium hoc illi : est enim municeps Properti atque etiam inter maiores suos Propertium numerat.
3 Cf. 2, 3, 3-4: vix unum potes, infelix, requiescere mensem, et turpis de te iam liber alter erit; 2, 24, 1-2 : cum sis iam noto fabula libro et tua sit toto Cynthia lecta foro.
4 Cf. Lachmann, pp. xx sqq.
three books of odes just about this time. Although there are still found scholars to defend the theory of Lachmann, the growing disposition seems to be to return to the Ms. division into four books.? . Book 2 was probably published about 24 B.C., but some of its elegies were written at least several years earlier. The third book is still on the whole largely concerned with Cynthia. There are, however, in this book a number of more general love poems, and a third group, including the first five elegies, in which he only starts with love, if love figures at all in these, and branches off into other subjects. The book must have been published as late as, or later than, 23 B.C., as is evidenced by 3, 18, on the death of Marcellus. In fact, 3, 4 seems to be of the year 22. In the fourth book elegies Nos. 7 and 8 at least refer to Cynthia. Nos. 3 and 11 are of the type of the Heroides of Ovid, while the others are of the aetiological type which Propertius, following in the wake of Callimachus, was evidently ambitiously planning to develop The last elegy of the collection was written in the year 16, and was probably the last one he penned. There is no cogent reason for doubting that he attended himself to the publication of all these books.
35. Propertius is the greater genius, Tibullus the greater artist.”? There are many points of similarity between Propertius and Catullus. Both undertook to follow the Alexandrian school of elegy. Both were gifted with the genuine poetic fire. Each in the years of youthfully exuberant passions fell under the spell of a somewhat older, yet commanding belle, who knew how
1 For still other possibilities cf. Lachmann himself, 1.c., p. xxii.
2 For the view that Book I was long lost and that the grammarians were wont to cite from an edition of Books 2-4, cf. Ullman in Class. Phil., Vol. 4 (1909), pp. 45-51, and Birt in Rh. Mus., Vol. 64 (1909), pp. 393 sqq. 3 Cf. 2, 1o, Intr.
4 E.g. 2, 31, which belongs to the 5 E.g. 11 and 13.
6 Cf. 4, 1, Intr. 7 Leo, in Die Kultur der Gegenwart, “ Die Römische Literatur," p. 350.
8 For Propertius as a poet of nature cf. K. P. H. in PAPA., Vol. 32 (1901), pp. xx-xxii; Geikie, pp. 96–97, et passim,
ROM. EL. POETS
to enthrall her lover and practically drove any more serious career for the time from his life. Both died prematurely, before the work that might have been expected in their maturity could materialize. But Propertius confined himself entirely .to elegy and in that field not merely produced a remarkable group of erotic poems revealing the passion of his life, but worked out the beginnings, so far as Roman literature is concerned, of two new types which were to be developed more elaborately by his successor Ovid, the amatory epistle and the aetiological poem. The intensity of Propertius goes far to explain his work and its manner. When love holds him he forgets everything else, and pictures for the reader every changing mood and fortune of his passion. When ambition rules, he hesitates at no literary device to win and keep the attention and admiration of his audience. He believed thoroughly in the merits of the Alexandrian manner, and therefore almost outdid the Alexandrians themselves. This unrestrained temper as a poet brings about the strange juxtaposition of simple human passion and pedantic learning. It also leads the poet to an extreme recklessness of the conventionalities of the Latin language. He does not care to speak by the book, but uses often an idiom all his own. His desire to be considered the Roman Callimachus was doubtless responsible for much of the abstruse mythological lore that burdens his pages; but his poetic imagination enabled him in spite of this pedantry to be a great poet. He carries the reader with him as he breaks abruptly in upon his own course of thought to ejaculate a question, or utter a reproach, or enunciate a principle. We follow him into the contagious gladness of love's heyday, and the next moment share his despair and forecast of death. Yet there are many indications that he studied carefully many models, not merely those of the Alexandrian epoch, but throughout the broader field of classic Greek. Modern scholarship has not yet fully worked out the intricate relations of Roman elegy. But among the interesting questions discussed in recent times are those of the amatory epistle as an intermediate type leading up to subjective
erotic elegy, the part played by the epigram as a seed thought for such elegy, and the whole matter of the actual existence in the Alexandrian epoch of anything corresponding to the Roman subjective-erotic elegy as we know it in Propertius. Doubtless the elements that Propertius combined in his effective product were gathered from many sources; but there is little proof that anything closely resembling these elegies ever existed in Alexandria. Attention should also be called to the skillful arrangement of two or more elegies of Propertius in various instances.? In his use of the elegiac distich Propertius manifests both the skill and the freedom characterizing his work in other respects. A growing care in its treatment is seen in the frequency of his rimes and dissyllabic pentameter endings, and his treatment of the pentameter in general was epoch-making.
The language and style of Propertius furnish a subject worthy of most careful investigation and analysis. Considering his devotion to Greek models, his diction is notably free from Grecisms. The large freedom of treatment of many familiar words like cogo, venio, duco, and the poetic abandon with which he ranges through the language for unexpected expressions for such familiar ideas as death, for example, have been carefully investigated, as well as his unusual handling of various classes of words. The syntax of Propertius is remarkable for its reck
1Cf. Jacoby in Rh. Mus., Vol. 60 (1905), pp. 38–105; 64 (1909), pp. 601 sqq.; 65 (1910), pp. 22 sqq.; and in BPW., Vol. 31 (1911), Sp. 169 sqq.; Heinemann, Epistulae Amatoriae quo modo cohaereant cum elegiis Alexandrinis (1910); Reitzenstein in P.W., article Epigramm; Crusius in P.W., article Elegie; Bürger in Bursian's JB., Vol. 153, pp. 135-145; Hermann Peter, Der Brief in der römischen Litteratur, pp. 188 sqq.; Fridericus Mallet, Quaestiones Propertianae, Göttingen, 1882; Maas, “ Untersuchungen zu Properz und seinen Griechischen Vorbildern,” in Hermes, Vol. 31 (1896), pp. 375 sqq.
2 Cf. Ites, De Propertii Elegiis inter se conexis, Göttingen, 1908. 8 Cf. Sellar, pp. 306–310; Foster in TAPA., Vol. 40 (1909), pp. 31–62; Ramsay,
4 J. S. Phillimore has published an Index Verborum Propertianus, Oxford, 1905.
5 Cf. Uhlmann, pp. 83-88; Frahnert, Zum Sprachgebrauch des Properz, Halle, 1874; Kuttner, De Propertii Elocutione Quaestiones, Halle, 1878; Postgate, Prop., pp. xxxviii-xl.