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The planes in thickening alley rising tall, gour and elocution above the level of
And Maro slumbering to the river's fall ; the mere amatory elegy. I shall se-
The Naiad statues ringing far and wide, lect one or two additional proofs of
And Triton spouting from his trump the similar qualities.
tide :

The following is his indignant rein which elegant lines he artfully probation of licentious pictures. diminishes the plausibility of her pretence by heightening the beauties of Quæ manus obscænas depinxit prima ta

bellas, the city ; but throwing off the mask with a start of sudden anger, he ex

Et posuit castâ turpia visa domo ; claims abruptly,

Illa puellarum ingenuos corrupit ocellos,

Nequitiæque suæ noluit esse rudes ; Falleris !-ista tui furtum via monstrat a.

Ah! gemat in terris, istâ qui protulit arte moris ;

Jurgia sub tacitâ condita lætitiâ. Non urbem, demens ! lumina nostra, Non istis olim variabant tecta figuris. fugis.

(Ibid. 17.)

Tum paries nullo crimine pictus erat.

Sed non immeritò velavit aranea fanum, Thou mock'st thyself !--thy road detects Et mala desertos occupat herba Deos. thee: Aly!

(El. 6, 27, b. 2.) But not from Rome, fond wretch ! _-'tis from this searching eye.

The hand that traced on tablets wanton

flames, I have no hesitation in challenging And blazon'd modest roofs with pictured a finer example of bantering resent- shames, ment and irrepressible jealousy, not That hand made artless minds too dearly in Tibullus only, but in every poet of wise, antiquity, be he who he may.

And seard th' ingenuous shame of virgin . With what spirit, yet with what eyes. elegance, he pours his execrations

Be sorrow on his head! whose painted snare on the jewels with which he sup- Not thus were checker'd our ancestral halls,

Hid with mute joys the ravings of despair ! poses his mistress to have been cor

Nor crime was imaged on the blushing walls. rupted!

Thus then the spider weaves in heaven's Sed quascumque tibi vestes, quoscumque And the rank herbage choaks the courts of

abode, smaragdos, Quósve dedit flavo lumine chrysolithos,

God. Hæc videam rapidas in vanum ferre pro

I need scarcely observe that, in the cellas, Quæ tibi terra, velim, quæ tibi fiat aqua, the sentiment is fully equal to the

above extract, the moral dignity of (El. 16, 43, b. 2.)

force and delicacy of the expression: But may his gifts, vest, emerald, chrysolite yet this is the writer in whom the Of yellow lustre, in thy very sight critic of the Reflector can see only Be whirl'd on storms along the void of skies,

“ abominable obscenity.”. For the Be changed to clay or water in thine eyes

occasional prostitution of his powers and with how much of the true feel- to the adorning of vulgar profligacy ing of a poet he takes advantage of a and sensual enslavement of mind I passing thunder storm!

offer no defence : but why is this

unhappy imputation on gentile geVidistín' toto sonitus percurrere cælo ? nius to rest individually on ProperFulmináque æthereâ desiluisse domo ?

tius? It was the reproach of the Non hæc Pleïades faciunt neque aquosus manners, rather than the man; and

Nec sic de nihilo fulminis ira cadit.

the virulence of censure does not (Ibid. 49.)

seem very consistent in the mouth of

that critic, who in the same breath Mark'st thou yon sounds run rattling gives vent to lamentations that any through the sky ?

thing of Catullus should have been Saw'st thou the flash leap down from æther's lost. canopy ?

The ideas in his prophecy of imOf moist Orion's stars_of Pleiads dream mortality were common to the Rom Thou art the cause—for thee the angry man writers, but I question whether gleam.

either Ovid or Horace approaches so If I am not mistaken, the reader nearly to sublimity as the despised will remark in these passages a vi- and reviled Propertius.


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Fortunata, meo si qua es celebrata libello; duce innumerable passages of the

Carmina erunt formæ tot monumenta tuæ. softest delicacy and tenderness from Nam neque Pyramidum sumtus ad sidera Homer,” is just nothing to the purducti,


Such passages are only inciNec Jovis Elæi coelum imitata domus,

dental to epic poetry; they do not Nec Mausolei dives fortuna sepulcri,

form its essential character. So in Mortis ab extremâ conditione vacant : Aut illis flamma aut imber subducet ho- exposing what he thinks an absurdity nores;

in Gravina, who speaks of Tibullus Annorum aut ictu pondera victa ruent ;

“ replete with sweetness, grace, At non, ingenio quæsitum, nomen ab ævo tenderness, passion, purity, and eleExcidet: ingenio stat sinè morte decus gance," and assigns to Propertius

(El. 2, 17, b. 3.) “novelty of expression, a truly lyO happy nymph! to whom my page is lent, subjects," he smartly rejoins,

rical fancy, and a fitness for great Each verse shall be thy beauty's monu

would have been an excellent epic The pyramid star-crown'd, the fane of Jove poet, because it is an understood Whose domeexpanding mocks heav'n's arch thing that in this higher species of above,

poetry we never look for grace, or The mausoleum's sumptuous pile-yea, all tenderness, or passion, or purity, or One lot awaits, one common funeral. any such minor and trivial ornaLightnings shall strike ; rains wash their ments.” To this it is obvious to repomp away ;

ply, that the sweetness and grace of Ages in dust the ponderous ruin lay ; But genius drops not from the roll of time, and grace appropriate to an epic

a love-elegy are not the sweetness Stands o'er the wrecks of death, and shares th' eternal prime.


The critic seems to imagine that We may now, I think, appreciate “ novelty of expression” can only the justice of the Reflector's obser- mean either new words or new comvation, that the reported recommen- binations: this is to limit the phrase, dation of Mæcenas, the undertaking and contract the encomium: I unof an epic poem, was too ridiculous derstand by the words, that coloure to be any thing but a mauvaise plai- ing which diction imbibes from the santerie : and that if Propertius had conceptions of an original mind. attempted the epopea, he would have Though the Reflector is « utterly at « furnished a consolation for modern a loss to discover whence a critic of genius, in enabling them to say, that the present day can determine whea Roman nobleman could write as ther the expressions of any particular sillily as an English knight.” (Sir Ri- author were or customarychard Blackmore.) The Reflector sup- whether they were part of the vulgar poses a line in Propertius, implying currency of poetical phraseology, or that “ in love a single verse of Mim- were produced fresh from the mint of nermus avails more than the whole the poet's genius,” I confess, without of Homer," was the “real origin of pretending to peculiar sagacity, that the opinion that Propertius would I do not feel myself thus utterly at a have been an excellent epic poet;” loss, so long as the poets contemhis disclaiming epic verse, as unsuit- porary with Propertius are open to able to amatory purposes, leading to my perusal. Who can doubt whethe idea that he could have employed ther the expressions of the following it had he chosen. I think I have exquisite passage were peculiar to already shown that a much better the poet? ground might be laid in the power of

-Ferâ Galatea sub Ætna thought, the splendour of fancy, and Ad tua rorantes carmina flexit equos. the vehemence of expression, which

(El. 2. 7, b. 3.) are continually breaking out in the love-elegies of this poet.

Beneath wild Ætna to thy warbling reeds On this sentiment of Propertius,

The sea-nymph hush'd rein'd back her the critic in the Reflector falls rather

dripping steeds. testily, but it is surely very true, But this critic, equally unhappy when allowing for poetic hyperbole. What he praises as when he censures, sehe says of “the utter falsity of the lects as the “ only merit” which idea," inasmuch as he could“ pro- Propertius possesses, (and this he



takes care to tell us was “the merit the genus heroine. See Elegy 2, of his age” rather than his own) the book 2 Is he jealous of his mis“ correctness and even harmony of tress, because her mother or sister his versification:" whereas to even kissed her, or for some reason equally harmony few poets have less preten- substantial? Why then he is as mad sions: few have more to richness and not as a March hare, or a dog in selectness of diction. To the charge July—but precisely as the furious of obscurity I shall say nothing ; for Centaurs were, who flourished some every writer remarkable for origi- dozen centuries before his time.” El. nality and boldness of language is 6, b. 2. taunted with obscurity. When the Whether the simile of dog in imputation is extended to entire ele- July” would have been more poetical gies, however, it is proper to remind than a comparison which brings bethe objector of the confusion of the fore the imagination one of the wild copies, and the frequent ingraftment adventures of heroic fable, I shall not of one elegy on another; and as to stay to inquire ; and it is scarcely the “ desultory manner," objected worth while to notice the inaccuracy by Dr. Jortin, (who, we are told, of this statement; for the poet is not of wrote himself excellent Latin comparing his own madness to that verses," as if the writing Latin verses of a Centaur, but illustrating the ill constituted a man a judge of Latin effects of female inconstancy by the poetry, or as if the best modern Latin height of frenzy to which it is caverses might not have been indited pable of inflaming the passions. The by the valet of Propertius) the pas- proper answer to all this ludicrous sionate transitions, which I have be- style of cavil is, that to call such fore instanced, are among the most “ allusions to ancient fable « futile striking beauties of this author. and superfluous," is not to prove Chez lui un beau desordre est un effet de them so. This is to criticise an anl'art.

cient author by modern rules, and to

forget that what in a modern writer His grand disorder speaks his matchless art might be pedantic, would be natural

The Reflector is, however, most and becoming in a Roman poet. We angry with Gravina's observation; might as well_say of the graceful “perhaps there is more nature in Ti- comparison of Dido to Diana, on the bullus ;” and I am about to stand banks of the Erimanthus-(which convicted in his eyes of “ being Virgil, by the bye, from whom Proeither a man of wretched taste, or pertius is accused of stealing, stole an ignorant one, who presumes to from Homer), “ Did Dido look six talk of what he does not understand,” feet in her stockings ? So did Diana, by doubting the fact. This remark when dancing a quadrille with her brings me at once to what might, nymphs.” after all, be considered as the only The pedantic and unnatural manproper point of comparison between ner of Propertius is argued from his Propertius and Tibullus ; the expres- mythological learning, as if his poems sion of tender sentiment.

contained nothing else; whereas it The pedantry of Propertius is al- is merely the ornament of his style; ways taken for granted; and is ad- his source of illustration; his maduced as incontrovertible proof of his chinery. Does Tibullus himself, of deficiency in the description of na- whose nature and unaffected ease we tural passion. “ Open Propertius in hear so much, confine his invention any place," remarks this critic, “and within the limits of every-day inci. you will find that he cannot pay a dent? certainly not. On most occa. common compliment to his mistress, sions he has recourse to pastoral ocexcept, like a lawyer, he ransack an- cupations, and takes care to remind tiquity for some precedent or case in us, that the “ beautiful Apollo fed point. Is she yellow-haired, and the bulls of Admetus.” El. 3, b. 2. are her hands long?' Such was Mi- I, for one, perceive more spirit and

Is she six feet high with variety in the diversified illustrations out her shoes?' (a burlesque parody of Propertius, who manages his store of the common characteristic of Greek of legendary tradition with much and Roman beauty, maxima toto cor- poetic effect, and strikes the fancy pore,) 80 was Ischomache Lapi- with surprising or affecting incidents,


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many of which have formed the sub- would talk out of character, if he ject of Grecian tragedy, and which promised to turn up clods or carry are ingeniously conceived to warn lambs in his bosom. He would find his mistress of the dangers of cruelty more natural food for meditation in or faithlessness, and to paint the the romantic adventure of Milanion. consequences of amorous despair. Nam modò Partheniis amens errabat in The everlasting pastoralities of Ti

antris, bullus, I am free to say, are some- Ibat et hirsutas ille videre feras. what tiresome; and it is a rather Ille etiam, Hylæi percussus vulnere rami, trying exercise of my credulity to Saucius Arcadiis rupibus ingemuit. suppose a Roman gentleman goading

(El. 1. 11. b. 1.) oxen, and trimming vines like a vin- Witless he ranged Parthenian dens, and tager. In this particular, Propertius, who is accused of being forced, and To look on shaggy beasts in dreariment; stiff, and affected, is really more na

Smote by the Centaur's branch he rued the

wound; tural; and his beautiful elegy on Cynthia's retiring into the country, Arcadia’s rocks dispers’d his groans around. while abounding with fresh and well- But does the whole elegy consist of selected images of rural scenery, has only historic examples ? no allusion but to employments At vos, deductæ quibus est fallacia lunæ, which a lady of Rome and her lover

Et labor in magicis sacra piare focis; might consistently adopt. El. 19, b. 2. En agedum dominæ mentem convertite Sheep and goats, however, supply

nostræ, an inadequate topic of allusion for Et facite illa meo palleat ore magis : the sort of passion which Propertius Tuncego crediderim vobis, et sidera et amnes is usually occupied with describing. Posse Cytææis ducere carminibus. If he has less amenity in his style

(Ibid. 19.) than Tibullus, he has also less soft- Deceivers! ye that drag the moon to earth, ness in his sentiments; and as the And act devotions on a magic hearth ; harsh and disconnected manner which Come now and turn my mistress' heart of has been charged upon him is but

stone, the natural dress of jealous irritation, And blanch her cheek with paleness like and the fits and starts of contending I'll then believe that rivers rush along,

my own ; emotions, so the field of adventure And stars shoot headlong to your Colchian opened to him in heroic fable formed

song. a more appropriate machinery for his powers than the scenes of pastoral of the pretended power of magic to

After this fine taunting invocation life. The sensitiveness and excitability of his temperament are powerfully thetic passion, we have this animated

inspire his mistress with a sympa. drawn in his own confession. The burst of resentment and despair : passage is also a master-piece of graphical painting, exercised on the Ferte per extremas gentes, et ferte per undas, familiar subject of a lady sitting in Quà non ulla meum femina nôrit iter! the theatre:

(Ibid. 29.)

Let me to farthest realms and oceans fly, Intereà nostri quærunt sibi vulnus ocelli,

Where none of that false sex may track me Candida non tecto pectore si qua sedet;

with her eye. Sive vagi crines puris in frontibus errant, Indica quos medio vertice gemma tenet;

If this be not nature, I must sucQuæ si fortè aliquid vultu mibi dura negârat, pose it to be meant that nature conFrigida de totâ fronte cadebat aqua. sists in tame and obvious sentiments,

(El. 22, 7, b. 2.) conveyed in common-place language. My wandering eyes now court their wound, In the 13th elegy, v. 43, second if there

book, there occurs a double allusion Some damsel sit, her dazzling bosom bare: to historic and mythological tradiO'er her pure brow if mazy ringlets rove, tion. Let the reader judge how far And India's jewel grasps the tressed tier these allusions are unnatural in a Ro

above ; Then should her stern cold look some boon fere with the genuine expression of

man poet, and how far they interrefuse, From all my forehead start the chilling dews.

feeling and melancholy tenderness.

Atque utinam primis animam me ponere A lover of this tremblingly acute cunis sensibility and impetuosity of feeling Jussisset quævis de tribus una soror !

venis ?"

nes ;

Nam quò tam dubiæ servetur spiritus horæ ? poetry, was correct; that while he has

Nestoris est visus post tria sæcla cinis. more instances of ingenious thought, Si tam longævæ minuisset fata senectæ and of sublime diction than Tibullus,

Gallicus Iliacis miles in aggeribus, his expression of passion, though dif Non ille Antilochi vidisset corpus humati, Diceret aut, “O mors ! cur mihi sera nature ; and that he is by no means

ferent in manner, is equally true to Tu tamen amisso nonnunquam flebis amico: deficient in those little turns of deli. Fas est præteritos semper amare viros.

cate affection, of the praise of which Testis, quem niveum quondam percussit, I am far from wishing to deprive Ti. Adonis,

bullus. Venantem Idalio vertice durus aper. But what_says antiquity ? - The Dlic formosum flevisse paludibus ; illuc critic in the Reflector cannot object

Diceris effusâ tu, Venus, îsse comâ : to this appeal; for he has doubted Sed frustra mutos revocabis, Cynthia, ma- the claim of Propertius to the merit

of having enriched the Roman lanNam mea quid poterunt ossa minuta loqui?

guage, on the score of the silence of Ob had a fatal sister cut the thread, ancient authors, and has urged that And for the cradle made the grave my bed with respect to Horace,“ we have What boots the breath saved

for a doubtful the authority of antiquity to assert year ?

with boldness, that he adorned his Three ages Nestor lived_his dust is here. If in the Trojan trench the soldier's rage

diction with new and happy combi

nations.” Now we have also the auHad snapt the fated limit of his age, He had not look'd upon his buried son, thority of antiquity to assert with Nor cried, “Oh Death! when will my days boldness, that while to some Ti. be run ?"


appeared the most terse and Soon o'er thy lover shall thy tears be shed, elegant,” others preferred Proper. Love still may burn for the departed dead. tius ; Quintilian, b. 10, no. 512; and Witness Adonis, in whose limbs of snow that instead of being an author of The fell boar flesh'd his fang on Ida's brow. “ contemptible mediocrity," or of The marshes rang with her laments : yes,

“ about an equal rank with the Shefthere

fields and Halifaxes of English poe. Went Venus weeping with her scatter'd hair. But thou wilt call my silent ghost in vain: try," he was in fact a leading poet, These crumbling bones-ah! can they speak and an established classic ; and that again ?-

by the acknowledgment of poets of

merit coetaneous with him, and posI shall add only one other instance terior to him. Ovid, in his Tristia, of this poet's total “want of delicacy, el. 10, b. 4, mentions him in terms and softness, and pathos."

of friendly admiration. Sidera sunt testes et matutina pruina, Et furtim misero janua aperta mihi,

Sæpè suos solitus recitare Propertius ignes, Te nihil in vitâ nobis acceptius unquam,

Jure sodalitii qui mihi junctus erat. Nunc quoque eris, quamvis sis inimica To me Propertius would recite his flames, mihi.

(El. 9, 41, b. 2.) My friend by intimacy's closest claims. The stars bear witness, the hoar dews of morn,

He afterwards classes him in the The door unbarr'd by stealth to me who am thy scorn,

list of eminent poets. That life had nothing dearer to my heart, Et tenuit nostras numerosus Horatius aures, Nor has_nor has, unfriendly as thou art ! Dum ferit Ausoniâ carmina culta lyrâ :

Whether this passage comes under Virgilium vidi tantùm; nec amara Tibullo the description of “ a pedantic roun

Tempus amicitiæ fata dedêre meæ. delay" I leave to be decided by Successor fuit hic tibi, Galle: PROPERTIUS

illi : him who has ever been in love. Such

Quartus ab his serie temporis ipse fui. is the writer of whom the critic in the

(Trist. El. 10, b. 4.) Reflector asserts, that “ his frigid verses deserve no other notice from The varied Horace would my ear detain, the ladies, than to cool their irons or Fitting to Latium's lyre his cultured strain; curl their hair.”

Virgil I could but see ; and, born too late,

Tibullus' friendship too was grudged by I think sufficient proofs have been Fate : collected to show, that the judgment He Gallus track’d; Propertius him ; and which was passed on Propertius, in re- mine ference to the indications in his works The name in fourth degree, which closed of a genius superior to mere amatory the line.

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