Abbildungen der Seite
PDF

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 u 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.'? Thețe 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. 8 Cf. 2, 10, Intr.

4 E.g.2, 31, which belongs to the year 28. 6 Ep. 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 — 4

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 subjectiveerotic 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 recklessness, vagueness, looseness, sometimes its intricacy, and often its obscurity. No better instance can be cited than his omnibus use of the Ablative, which, however, only exaggerates in characteristic manner a tendency long dormant in the language. With the inconsistency of a lover, brevity wrestles with a fondness for periphrasis; e.g. in infinitive expressions. What Postgate 3 acutely calls the “polarization of an idea " so as to treat it immediately from another standpoint, may be compared with his “ love of symmetry and correspondence” in arrangement.* If his metaphors are often far-fetched, they are nevertheless telling. In short, the poetry of Propertius is the work of a brilliant young man, hardly more than a boy, unrestrained, unpruned, full of the marks of genius, and overcrowded with much as yet unassimilated learning. His “faculty of evoking a dim consciousness of awe in lines which present an indefinable stimulus to the imagination "5 is doubtless partly due to what Sellar calls his “desperate sincerity," and partly to an imagination that in its sweep leaves most Latin poets out of the race.

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.

3 Cf. Sellar, pp. 306-310; Foster in TAP.A., Vol. 40 (1909), pp. 31–62; Ramsay, p. xlvii.

4 J. S. Phillimore has published an Index Verborum Propertianus, Oxford, 1905.

5 Cf. Uhlmann, pp. 83-88; Frahnert, Zum Sprachgebrauch des Propera, Halle, 1874; Kuttner, De Propertii Elocutione Quaestiones, Halle, 1878; Postgate, Prop. pp. xxxviii-xl.

36. The history of Propertian text criticism has been, and still is, a stormy one ; and probably no important Latin author still labors under so much uncertainty as to what he actually wrote, or is so overburdened with the learned attempts of scholars in many lands to suggest what they surmise he may have written. The areas of arid wastes abandoned to Propertius text conjectures in the various periodicals in the field of classical philology are growing with alarming rapidity, and it will not be long, apparently, before an attempt to enumerate the suggested changes in a page of the text will occupy more space than the text itself.

Lachmann correctly decided that the Codex Neapolitanus (N), written about 1200 A.D. in the vicinity of Metz, now at Wolfenbüttel, was the most nearly correct and trustworthy of all the Propertius Mss. known in his day, although he overestimated sadly another Ms., now generally considered as of little worth (Groninganus, fifteenth century). After a half century of controversy over the relative merits of N, Baehrens in 1880 preferred to base his edition chiefly on four other Mss. belonging to two different families. These were the Vossianus (A) of Leyden, probably written in France in the latter part of the thirteenth or early part of the fourteenth century; the Laurentianus (F), a Milan Ms. of the fourteenth century, evidently of the same family and even believed by Ullman' to be “a granddaughter of A,” the Ottobonianus Vaticanus 1514 (V), written in the fourteenth or fifteenth century; and the Daventriensis (D), of the same family as the last, written in the fifteenth century. More recent scholarship has rejected Baehrens's judgment and confirmed Lachmann's view that N is far the best of known Propertius Mss. Propertian criticism, however, is apparently ever increasingly active. The history of the Mss. already mentioned, and their relation to each other and to many others, mostly apparently inferior Mss., are the subject of vigorous discussion. New Mss. have been discovered, like the Codex Holkhamicus (L), written in Italy in 1421, and belonging to the same general class as the preferred Mss. of Baehrens, and several other Italian Mss., including the Codex Lusaticus (L), written in 1469 at Padua, which Paul Köhler? attempted to exalt to an important place beside N. But Postgate 3 has argued convincingly to show this last to have little independent value. 0. L. Richmond has in connection with a review of the known Mss. of Propertius compared five fifteenth century Mss. that appear to come from a common origin, which he denominates C, and thinks may have been written by an Irish scholar, and that it presented

1 Cf. Wagner, De Syntaxi Propertiana, Passau, 1888; Hoerle, De Casuum usu Propertiano, Halle, 1887; Postgate, Prop., Intr., pp. Ivii sqq.; the Index Grammaticus in Hosius; and the recent comprehensive study of Uhlmann.

2 Cf. Postgate, Prop. p. xlii ; Uhlmann, p. 94.
3 L.c., p. Ixvii.
4 Postgate, Prop., p. Ixxi.

5 Duff, p. 578.

i Class, Phil., Vol. 6 (1911), p. 288. 2 Philologus, Vol. 64 (1905), pp. 414-437. 8 Class. Rev., Vol. 20 (1906), pp. 349-352. 4 Jour. of Phil., Vol. 31 (1908-1910), pp. 162-196.

« ZurückWeiter »