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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.2 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.3
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.
1 Cf. 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, p. xlvii.
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.
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 Wolfen
1Cf. 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.
5 Duff, p. 578.
büttel, 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 1 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 has argued convincingly to show this last to have little independent value. 0. L. Richmond 4 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 Class. Phil., Vol. 6 (1911), p. 288.
a “corrupt, but ancient tradition" of much importance, and was probably written earlier than any other of our Mss. This view, however, is not shared by B. L. Ullman,' who in discussing the Mss. of Propertius finds after examining as many as a hundred Mss. that none are earlier than the fifteenth century except N, A, and F, and gives an interesting chain of evidence to show that all our Mss. come from A and N, that a famous lost Ms. of Petrarch was copied from A, and that this lost Ms. was the archetype of F. Among the most prolific inventors of emendations to the text has been A. E. Housman.
37. The first edition of Lachmann in 1816, with introduction and critical notes, was followed in 1829 by his text edition, in which he receded from his positions in many instances, but gave no explanation of the changes. Hertzberg's edition of 1843–1845 contains a wealth of material in the introductory Quaestiones and the elaborate commentary. Baehrens's text in 1880 was characteristically marred by the liberties he took with its traditional form. In 1898 Rothstein produced a masterly commentary, with up-to-date introduction and various happy textual emendations. Butler's edition with English commentary (1905). is somewhat disputatious and perhaps reactionary, but offers many valuable suggestions. The latest text editions are the Oxford text of Phillimore (1901) and the Teubner text of Hosius (1911) Postgate's Select Elegies has a very useful introduction and analysis of Propertius's style, and a commentary rich in its illustrative material and its literary appreciation. Besides the Haupt-Vahlen text with Catullus and Tibullus, the elegiac selections of Ramsay, Schulze, Jacoby, and Carter should be noted (cf. § 19). Cranstoun's metrical translation in 1876 has been followed by Phillimore's prose version, after thirty years. Still more recent is Butler's, in the Loeb library.
1 Class. Phil., Vol. 6 (1911), pp. 282–301.
2 Cf. Heydenreich in Bursian's JB., Vol. 55 (1888), pp. 144-152. A good detailed description of the most important Mss. is found in Ramsay's introduction, pp. l-lvii; cf. Plessis, pp. 1-45; Housman in Class. Rev., Vol. 9 (1895), pp. 19–29.
3 Cf. Foster in AJP., Vol. 33 (1912), pp. 330-342.