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published the text with an elaborate critical apparatus and a collation of the most important manuscripts. At this very time Mr Robinson Ellis had for years been engaged on a still more elaborate critical edition, founded on an independent collation of a yet larger number of manuscripts and published in 1867: a revision of the text had come out in the preceding year. If either of these thorough editors should feel aggrieved that part of the same work has been done twice over, the public at all events will not complain. My present design however is not to criticise either of these distinguished works: it is to examine at length and dissect a single poem of Catullus, the 29th, from a wish to abate some shameful scandals which have attached themselves to the fame of the greatest of the Romans, and at the same time to try to rescue from obloquy a humbler man, who yet appears to have been a most efficient servant to two of the first generals in history: perhaps also to mitigate our censure of Catullus himself who has propagated these scandals, by shewing that what looks like foul insult is three parts of it meant only in jest.
But first a word or two about the name and, what is of more importance for our immediate purpose, the date of the poet. The unadulterated testimony of manuscripts calls him merely Catullus Veronensis, but we know from Suetonius and others that his gentile name was Valerius. Though there has been more doubt about his praenomen, I thought that Schwabe had settled the question; but I see that Ellis regards it as still open. Jerome, copying Suetonius' words, names him Gaius Valerius Catullus, the word Gaius being written at full length, so as to preclude all possible error in the case of a writer whose Mss. are so very valuable and so independent as those of Jerome: a scarcely less weighty authority than Suetonius, Apuleius terms him in his Apologia C. Catullus: what is there to set against such overwhelming testimony? And yet Scaliger, Lachmann, Haupt, Mommsen and other distinguished scholars decide for Quintus, mainly on the authority of a passage of Pliny, XXXVII 6 $ 81. But there the best Mss. and the latest editor have Catullus, not Q. Catullus; and the Q. I wager will never appear in any future critical edition. In the other four places
where he mentions the poet, Pliny calls him simply Catullus. But the important, though very late codex D designates him as Q. Catullus, and a few other less important Mss. have the Q.; but clearly D and the rest have taken this Q. from Pliny who was a most popular author when they were written; and the Q. got into the inferior codices of Pliny from a common confusion with Q. Catulus so often mentioned by him. As then Catullus was not at the same time both Gaius and Quintus, Scaliger's conjecture of Quinte for qui te in 67 12 can have no weight whatever against the convincing evidence of Suetonius and Apuleius, though it has been adopted by Lachmann, Haupt, Ellis and others: the poet always calls himself simply Catullus.
His age has to be decided by the testimony of Jerome, corrected by that offered by his own poems. Intense personal feeling, the odi or amo of the moment, characterises so many of Catullus' finest poems, that dates are of the greatest importance for rightly apprehending his meaning and allusions, much more so indeed than in the case of Horace's more artificial muse. Jerome under the year corresponding to B.C. 87 records his birth: 'Gaius Valerius Catullus scribtor lyricus Veronae nascitur': under that answering to B.C. 57 he says 'Catullus XXX aetatis anno Romae moritur'. Here I have little doubt that he has accurately taken down Suetonius' words in respect of the place of birth and death and of the poet's age when he died. But, as so often happens with him, he has blundered somewhat in transferring to his complicated era the consulships by which Suetonius would have dated; for it is certain that many of the poems, and among them the one we are about to consider, were written after B.C. 57. Lachmann hit upon an escape from the difficulty which once approved itself to many: in 52 3 we have 'Per consulatum peierat Vatinius’: now Vatinius was consul for a few days at the end of B.C. 47; and hence Lachmann infers that Catullus at all events was then living. He supposes therefore that Jerome has confounded the Cn. Octavius who was consul in 87 with one of the same name who was consul in 76; and that Catullus was born in 76 and died in 46. This is ingenious, but hardly can be true. Schwabe, following in the track of more than one scholar, has shewn that it is by no means necessary to assume that Catullus saw Vatinius consul. He has cited more than one most striking passage from Cicero to prove that this creature of Caesar'and Pompey, marked out by them for future office, was in the habit of boasting of his consulship to come, as early as B.C. 56 or even 62: Catullus therefore in the line quoted need only mean that Vatinius used to say, 'as I hope to be consul, I swear it is so’; and the verse thus carries with it far more point. Again 76 is too late a date for his birth: it is plain that as early as 62, when he would thus be only 14 years old, he had become entangled with Lesbia, who was no other than the formidable Clodia, the Clytemnestra quadrantaria, the Medea of the Palatine. When the reference to Vatinius has been explained as above, we find that several of his most personal poems allude to events which took place in 55 and 54: this will be seen more in detail when we come to consider our 29th poem: but the latest event which can be dated is the allusion to his friend Calvus' famous denunciation of Vatinius which took place in August of 54. As the years then which immediately followed were full of momentous events which must have stirred the feelings of Catullus to their inmost depths, we can scarcely conceive him as writing after this period. We may well suppose then that towards the end of 54, feeling the approach of early death which his poems seem more than once to anticipate, he collected and published them with the dedication to Cornelius Nepos.
In a Greifswald index Scholarum published some months ago and transmitted to me by the courtesy of the writer, Mr F. Buecheler tries to prove, p. 15–17, that the two Ciceros had the poems of Catullus in their hands before June of this year 54 and that Catullus must therefore allude to some earlier speech of Calvus against Vatinius. Cicero ad Q. fratrem 11 15 4 has these words 'tu, quemadmodum me censes oportere esse..., ita et esse et fore auricula infima scito molliorem': this, Bue- . cheler says, is an allusion to the 25th poem of Catullus Thalle mollior...vel imula auricilla'. I am disposed to think both Cicero and Catullus are alluding to some common proverbial expression, as I have pointed out in my Lucretius that Cicero, who so often alludes to older poets Greek and Latin, never
quotes any contemporary verses except his own, never mentions the name of Catullus, and speaks of Calvus only as an orator, not as a poet. But granting that Cicero does allude here to Catullus, this will tell us nothing as to the time when he published his 'liber': it is plain from the dedication to Nepos, from such pieces as the 54th which alludes to the publication of the 29th, from the very nature of the case, that Catullus must have given many of his occasional pieces to the world at the time they were written and that Cicero may have had in his hands the piece in question years before the whole collection was made public. For what I now proceed to state will prove that the body of poems we now have could not have been completed very much before the end of 54: I have shewn in my note to Lucretius III 57 how often Catullus has imitated him in one section of his longest work, the marriage of Peleus and Thetis. Now the De Rerum Natura was not published before the commencement of 54; and Catullus must have studied it before he wrote the long episode of Theseus and Ariadne which, as I there observe, though beautiful in itself, singularly interrupts the thread of the narrative. Being then formally a follower of the Alexandrines, though so widely differing from them in genius, he must have thought his varied collection would be imperfect without an epyllion. He therefore wrote or completed, and inserted in the middle of his book this brilliant and exquisite, but unequal and ill-proportioned poem. A generation had yet to pass, before the heroic attained to its perfection; while he had already produced glyconics, phalaecians and iambics, each one entire and perfect chrysolite', 'cunningest patterns of excellence, such as Latium never saw before or after, Alcaeus, Sappho and the rest then and only then having met their match.
If therefore he died in 54 at the age of 30, he was probably born in 84, the year of Cinna's 4th consulship, Jerome as Schwabe suggests having confounded it with 87, when Cinna was first consul: for him a very probable error. But Schwabe prefers to take 87 as the year of his birth and to make him 33 years old at the time of his death. The other alternative I much prefer, as it appears to me to fulfil every requisite con
dition of the problem: he evidently died in youth: Obvius huic venias, hedera iuvenalia cinctus Tempora cum Calvo, docte Catulle, tuo'. He would thus be about 22, when he first met his fate in the ox-eyed Lesbia or Clodia, the Bonus of Cicero and Atticus. She was some ten years older; but her Junolike beauty would then be in its prime; and those terrible lenocinia needed time for their full development; for she was a Juno to whom Aphrodite had lent her own cestus: évéve μεν φιλότης, εν δ' ίμερος, εν δ' οαριστές Πάρφασις, ήτ’ έκλεψε νόον πύκα περ φρονεόντων. If such allurements made captive in a moment the Olympian himself, how were they to be resisted by a youth of twenty-two, that youth a poet, that poet Catullus? 'Haec bona non primae tribuit natura iuventae, Quae cito post septem lustra venire solent', says the teacher of the art of love; and Lesbia was then in her seventh lustrum. She was a fearful woman, but she has also been fearfully outraged and maligned. Seldom can an unfortunate lady have had the luck to incur the burning hatred of two such masters of sarcasm as Cicero and Catullus. She destroyed the luckless poet; yet we owe her some gratitude; for she gave us one of the great lyric poets of the world.
But at present I will dwell no longer on these matters: I will come at once to my more special subject, the 29th poem, of which I have so much to say that I shall probably tire out my readers' patience. And first I will print the piece at length, leaving the words spaced in the only four places where there is any doubt as to the reading : these I will discuss as I come to them in my dissection of the poem.
quis hoc potest videre, quis potest pati,