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LAYS OF ANCIENT ROME.

PREFACE.

That what is called the history of the kings in the sacred grove, the fight of the three Rn. and early consuls of Rome is to a great extent mans and the three Albans, the purchase of the fabulous, few scholars have, since the time of Sibyline books, the crime of Tullia, the simu. Beaufort, ventured to deny. It is certain that, lated madness of Brutus, the ambiguous reply more than three hundred and sixty years after of the Delphian oracle to the Tarquins, ihe the date ordinarily assigned for the foundation wrongs of Lucretia, the heroic actions of Hom of the city, the public records were, with ratius Cocles, of Scævola, and of Clelia, the scarcely an exception, destroyed by the Gauls. battle of Regillus won by the aid of Castor and It is certain that the oldest annals of the com- Pollux, the fall of Cremera, the touching story monwealth were compiled more than a centu- of Coriolanus, the still more touching story of ry and a half after the destruction of the re- Virginia, the wild legion about the draining of cords. It is certain, therefore, that the great the Alban lake, the combat between Valerius Latin writers of a later period did not possess Corvus and the gigantic Gaul, are among the those materials, without which a trustworthy many instances which will at once suggest account of the infancy of the republic could themselves to every reader. not possibly be framed. They own, indeed, In the narrative of Livy, who was a man of that the chronicles to which they had access fine imagination, these stories retain much of were filled with battles that were never fought their genuine character. Nor could even the and consuls that were never inaugurated; and tasteless Dionysius distort and mutilate them we have abundant proof that, in those chroni- into mere prose. The poetry shines, in spite cles, events of the greatest importance, such of him, through the dreary pedantry of his as the issue of the war with Porsena, and the eleven books. It is discernible in the most te. issue of the war with Brennus were grossly dious and in the most superficial modern works misrepresented. Under these circumstances al on the early times of Rome. It enlivens the wise man will look with great suspicion on the dulness of the Universal History, and gives a j'rend which has come down to us. He will, charm to the most meager abridgments of Bachaps, be inclined to regard the princes who Goldsmith. are said to have founded the civil and religious Even in the age of Plutarch there were disinstitutions of Rome, the son of Mars, and the cerning men who rejected the popular account husband of Egeria, as mere mythological per of the foundation of Rome, because that acsonages, of the same class with Perseus and count appeared to them to have the air, not of Ixion. As he draws nearer and nearer to the a history, but of a romance or a drama. Pluconfines of authentic history, he will become tarch, who was displeased at their incredulity, less and less hard of belief. He will admit had nothing better to say in reply to their arthat the most important parts of the narrative guments than that chance sometimes turns have some foundation in truth. But he will poet, and produces trains of events not to be distrust almost all the details, not only because distinguished from the most elaborate plots they seldom rest on any solid evidence, but which are constructed by art.* But though also because he will constantly detect in them, the existence of a poetical element in the early even when they are within the limits of physi- history of the Great City was detected so many cal possibility, that peculiar character, more ages ago, the first critic who distinctly saw easily understood than defined, which distin- from what source that poetical element had guishes the creations of the imagination from been derived was James Perizonius, one of the the realities of the world in which we live. most acute and learned critics of the seven

The early history of Rome is indeed far teenth century. His theory, which, in his own more poetical than any thing else in Latin lite- age, attracted little or no notice, was revived in rature. The loves of the Vestal and the God the present generation by Niebuhr, a man who of War, the cradle laid among the reeds of Tiber, the fig tree, the she-wolf, the shepherd's • Ύποπτον μεν ενίοις εστί το δραματικών και πλασμα

τώδες: ου δεί δε απιστεϊν, την τύχην ορώντας, οίων ποιηcabin, the recognition, the fratricide, the rape

uárwv onun aupyós coti.- Plut. Rom. viii. This remark

able passage has been more grossly misinterpreted than of Hosius Hostilius, the struggle of Meitus

| any other in the Greek language, where the sense wag

so obvious. The Latin version of Cruserius, the French Curtius through the marsh, the women rushing version of Amyot, the old English version by geveral with torn raiment and dishevelled hair between hands, and the later English version by Langhorne, are their fathers and their husbands, the nightly all equally destitute of every trace of the meaning of the

| original. None of the translators saw even that roinna meetings of Numa and the Nymph by the well I is a poem. They all render it an event.

633

2 1 2

would have been the first writer of his time, through many revolutions, minstrelsy retained if his talent for communicating truths had its influence over both the Teutonic and the borne any proportion to his talent for investi. Celtic race. The vengeance exacted by the gating them. It has been adopted by several spouse of Attila for the murder of Siegfried eminent scholars of our own country, particu- was celebrated in rhymes, of which Germany larly by the Bishop of St. David's, by Professor is still justly proud. The exploits of Athelstane Malden, and by the lamented Arnold. It apo were commemorated by the Anglo-Saxons, and pears to be now generally received by men those of Canute by the Danes, in rude poems, conversant with classical antiquity; and in- of which a few fragments have come down to deed it rests on such strong proofs, both in- us. The chants of the Welsh harpers preternal and external, that it will not be easily served, through ages of darkness, a faint and subverted. A popular exposition of this theory doubtful memory of Arthur. In the highlands and of the evidence by which it is supported of Scotland may still be gleaned some reliques may not be without interest even for readers of the old songs about Cuthullin and Fingal. who are unacquainted with the ancient lan. The long struggle of the Servians against the guages.

Ottoman power was recorded in lays full of The Latin literature which has come down martial spirit. We learn from Herrera that, to us is of later date than the commencement when a Peruvian Inca died, men of skill were of the second Punic war, and consists almost appointed to celebrate him in verses which exclusively of words fashioned on Greek mo- all the people learned by heart, and sang in dels. The Latin metres, heroic, elegiac, lyric, public on days of festival. The feats of Kur. and dramatic, are of Greek origin. The best roglou, the great freebooter of Turkistan, reLatin epic poetry is the feeble echo of the Iliad counted in ballads composed by himself, are and Odyssey. The best Latin eclogues are known in every village of Northern Persia. imitations of Theocritus. The plan of the most Captain Beechey heard the bards of the Sandfinished didactic poem in the Latin tongue was wich Islands recite the heroic achievements of taken from Hesiod. The Latin tragedies are Tamehameha, the most illustrious of their bad copies of the master-pieces of Sophocles kings. Mungo Park found in the heart of Africa and Euripides. The Latin comedies are free a class of singing mien, the only annalists of translations from Demophilus, Menander, and their rude tribes, and heard them tell the story Apollodorus. The Latin philosophy was bor- of the great victory which Damel, the negro rowed, without alteration, from the Portico and prince of the Jaloffs, won over Abdulkader, the the Academy; and the great Latin orators con. Mussulman tyrant of Foota Torra. This spestantly proposed to themselves as patterns the cies of poetry attained a high degree of excel speeches of Demosthenes and Lysias.

lence among the Castilians, before they began But there was an earlier Latin literature, a to copy Tuscan patterns. It attained a still literature truly Latin, which has wholly pe- higher degree of excellence among the English rishedwhich had, indeed, almost wholly pe- and the Lowland Scotch, during the fourteenth, rished long before those whom we are in the fifteenth, and sixteenth centuries. But it reach habit of regarding as the greatest Latin writers ed its full perfection in ancient Greece; for were born. That literature abounded with there can be no doubt that the great Homeric metrical romances, such as are found in every poems are generically ballads, though widely country where there is much curiosity and in indeed distinguished from all other ballads, and, telligence, but little reading and writing. All indeed, from almost all other human compo human beings, not utterly savage, long for sitions, by transcendant merit. some information about past times, and are As it is agreeable to general experience that, delighted by narratives which present pictures at a certain stage in the progress of society, to the eye of the mind. But it is only in very ballad-poetry should flourish, so is it also enlightened communities that books are readily agreeable to general experience that, at a subaccessible. Metrical composition, therefore, sequent stage in the progress of society, balladwhich, in a highly civilized nation, is a mere poetry should be undervalued and neglected. luxury, is, in nations imperfectly civilized, Knowledge advances: manners change: great almost a necessary of life, and is valued less foreign models of composition are studied and on account of the pleasure which it gives to imitated. The phraseology of the old minstrels the ear than on account of the help which it becomes obsolete. Their versification, which, gives to the memory. A man who can invent having received its laws only from the ear, or embellish an interesung story, and put it abounds in irregularities, seems licentious and into a form which others may easily retain in uncouth. Their simplicity appears beggarly their recollection, will always be highly esteem- when compared with the quaint forms and ed by a people eager for amusement and infor- gaudy colouring of such artists as Cowley and mation, but destitute of libraries. Such is the Gongora. The ancient lays, unjustly despised vrigin of ballad-poetry, a species of composi- by the learned and polite, linger for a time in tion which scarcely ever fails to spring up and the memory of the vulgar, and are at length too Nourish in every society, at a certain point in often irretrievably lost. We cannot wonder the progress towards refinement. Tacitus in that the ballads of Rome should have altogether forms us that songs were the only memorials disappeared, when we remember how very of the past which the ancient Germans pos- narrowly, in spite of the invention of printing, scssed. We learn from Lucan and from Am- those of our own country and those of Spain mianus Marcellinus, that the brave actions of escaped the same fate. There is, indeed, little the ancient Gauls were commemorated in the doubt that oblivion covers many English songs verses of Bards. During many ages, and equal to any that were published by Bishop

an

Percy, and many Spanish songs as good as Dionysius, and contains a very remarkable rethe best of those which have been so happily ference to the old Latin poetry. Fabius says translated by Mr. Lockhart. Eighty years ago that, in his time, his countrymen were still in England possessed only one tattered copy of the habit of singing ballads about the Twins. Childe Waters and Sir Cauline, and Spain only “Even in the hut of Faustulus,”-so these old one tattered copy of the noble poem of the Cid. lays appear to have run,“the children of The snuff of a candle, or a mischievous dog, Rhea and Mars were, in port and in spirit, not might in a moment have deprived the world for like unto swineherds or cowherds, but such ever of any of those fine compositions. Sir that men might well guess them to be of the Walter Scott, who united to the fire of a great blood of kings and gods.". poet the minute curiosity and patient diligence Cato the Censor, who also lived in the days of a great antiquary, was bui just in time to of the Second Punic War, mentioned this lost save the precious reliques of the Minstrelsy of literature in his lost work on the antiquities of the Border. In Germany, the lay of the Ni- his country. Many ages, he said, before his belungs had been long utterly forgotten, when, time, there were ballads in praise of illustrious in the eighteenth century, it was, for the first time, printed from a manuscript in the old 0 de dvdpo@lvres vivovrat, Kará TE df{woiv popons library of a noble family. In truth, the only rai opovnjaros dykov, où ovogopbois rai Boukodois dospeople who, through their whole passage from

Η κότες, άλλ' οίους άν τις αξιώσεις τους εκ βασιλείου της

bóvras zivous, kai daò daluów cropas yeviolui rouesos simplicity to the highest civilization, never for mévous, ws tv rois tarpious Ünvous dto 'Pwpaíw & re kal a moment ceased to love and admire their old

vùva derdi.-Dion. Hal. i. 79. This passage has sometimes

been cited as if Dionysius had been speaking in his own ballads, were the Greeks.

person, and bad, Greek as he was, been so industrious or That the early Romans should have had so fortunate as to discover some valuable remains of ballad-poetry, and that this poetry should have

that early Latin poetry which the greatest Latin writers

of his age regretted as hopelessly lost. Such a suppoperished, is, therefore, not strange. It would, onsition is highly improbable; and indeed it seems clear the

from the context that Dionysius, as Reiske and other

editors evidently thought, was merely quoting from Pacome to pass; and we should be justified in

bius Pictor. The whole passage has the air of an extract pronouncing them highly probable, even if we from an ancient chronicle, and is introduced by the had no direct evidence on the subject. But words, Korvros pèr áßlos ó Niktwp deyouevos, ride

Ypádet. we have direct evidence of unquestionable

Another argument may be urged which seems to deauthority.

serve consideration. The author of the passage in question mentions a thatched hut which, in bis time

stood between Mount Palatine and the Circus. Tbio Second Punic War, was regarded in the

hut, he says, was built by Romulus, and was constantly Augustan age as the father of Latin poetry. He kept in repair at the public charge, but never in any res

pect embellished. Now, in the age of Dionysios there

certainly was at Rome a thatched but, said to have been of Latin poetry, of the only school of which

that of Romulus. But this hut, as we learn from Vitruthe works have descended to us. But from vius, stood, not near the Circus, but in the Capitol. (Vit. Ennius himself we learn that there were poets

ii. 1.) If, therefore, we understand Dionysius to speak

in his own person, we can reconcile his statemen with who stood to him in the same relation in that of Vitruvius only by supposing that there were at which the author of the romance of Count Rome, in the Angustan age, iwo thatched huts, both beAlarcos stood to Garcilaso, or the author of the

lieved to have been built by Romulus, and both carefully

repaired, and beld in high honour. The objection, to « Lytell Geste of 'Robin Hode" to Lord Surrey. such a supposition seem to be strong. Neither Dionysius Ennius speaks of verses which the Fauns and nor Vitruvius speaks of more than one such hut. Dio the Bards were wont to chant in the old time,

Cassius informs us that twice, during the long adminis

tration of Augustus, the hut of Romulus caught fire. when none had yet studied the graces of (xlviii, 43. liv. 29.) Had there been two such buts, speech, when none had yet climbed the peaks

would he not have told us of which he spoke An Eng sacred to the Goddesses of Grecian song.

Jish historian would hardly give an account of a fire at

Queen's College without saying whether it was at * Where," Cicero mournfully asks,“ are those Queen's College, Oxford, or ai Queen's College, Cainold verses now ?"*

bridge. Marcus Seneca, Macrobius, and Conon, a Greek

writer from whom Photius bas made large extracts, Contemporary with Ennius was Quintus

mention only one hot of Romulue, that in the Capitol. Fabius Pictor, the earliest of the Roman anna (M. Seneca, Contr. 1. 6; Macrobius, Sal. i. 15; Protrus, lists. His account of the infancy and youth of

Bibl. 186.) Ovid, Petronius, Valerius Maximus, Lucius

Seneca, and Bt. Jerome mention only one hut of RomuRomulus and Remus has been preserved by lus without specifying the site. (Orid, Fasti, iii. 183.

Petronius, Fragm. Val. Mar. iv. 4; L. Seneca, Consola.

tio ad Helviam; D. Hieron. ad Paulintanum de Didymo. "Quid I Nostri velerer versus ubi sunt 1

The whole difficulty is removed, if we suppose that

Dionysiu. was merely quoting Fabius Pictor. Nothing .... "Quos olim Fauni vatesque canebant, Cum neque Musarum scopulos quisquam superärat,

I is more probable than that the cabin, which in the time Nec dicti studiosus erat."

of Fabius stood near the Circus, might, long before the

age of Auguetus, bave been transported to the Capitol. Cic. in Bruto, cap. xviii.

as the place fittest, by reason both of its safety and of The Muses, It shonld be observed, are Greek divinities. its sanctity, to contain so precious a relique. The Italian Goddesses of verse were the Camane. At The language of Plutarch confirms this hypothesis. a later period, the appellations were used indiscriminate-Ile describes, with great precision, the spot where Roly; but in the age of Ennius there was probably a dis mulus dwelt between the Palatine Mount and the Cir. tinction. In the epitaph of Naving who was the repre. cns : but he says not a word implying that the dwelling sentative of the old Italian school of poetry, the Ca was still to be seen there. Indeed, his expressions im. mænæ, not the Muses, are represented as grieving for ply that it was no longer there. The evidence of Soli the loss of their votary. The "Musarum scopuli" are nug is still more to the point. He, like Plutarch, evidently the peaks of Parnassus.

describes the spot where Romulus had resided, and Scaliger, in a note on Varro (De Lingua Latina, lib. ways expressly that the hut had been there, but that, in vi.) soggests, with great ingenuity, that the Fauns who | his time, it was there no longer. The site, it is certain, were represented by the superstition of later ages as a was well remembered ; and probably retained its old race of monsters, half gods and half brutes, may really name, as Charing Cross and the Haymarket have done have been a class of men who exercised in Latium, at a l This is probably the explanation of the words, “casa very remote period, the game functiong which belonged | Romuli" in Victor's description of the Tenth Region of to the Magiang in Persin and to the Bards in Gaul. I Rome, under Valentinian.

the

men; and these ballads it was the fashion for gends, which present so striking a contrast to the guests at banquets to sing in turn while the all that surrounds them, are broken and depiper played. “Would,” exclaims Cicero,“ that faced fragments of that early poetry which, we still had the old ballads of which Cato even in the age of Cato the Censor, had bespeaks!"*

come antiquated, and of which Tully bad Valerius Maximus gives us exactly similar never heard a line. information, without mentioning his authority, That this poetry should have been suffered and observes that the ancient Roman ballads to perish will not appear strange when we were probably of more benefit to the young consider how complete was the triumph of the than all the lectures of the Athenian schools, Greek genius over the public mind of Italy. and that to the influence of the national poetry | It is probable that, at an early period, Homer, were to be ascribed the virtues of such men Archilochus, and Herodotus, furnished some as Camillus and Fabricius.t.

hints to the Latin minstrels :* but it was not Varro, whose authority on all questions con- till after the war with Pyrrhus that the poetry nected with the antiquities of his country is of Rome began to put off its old Ausonian entitled to the greatest respect, tells us that at character. The transformation was soon conbanquets it was once the fashion for boys to summated. The conquered, says Horace, led sing, sometimes with and sometimes without captive the conquerors. It was precisely at instrumental music, ancient ballads in praise the time at which the Roman people rose to of men of former times. These young per- unrivalled political ascendency, that they formers, he observes, were of unblemished stooped to pass under the intellectual yoke. character, a circumstance which he probably It was precisely at the time at which the mentioned because, among the Grecks, and sceptre departed from Greece that the empire indeed in his time among the Romans also, of her language and of her arts became unithe morals of singing boys were in no high versal and despotic. The revolution indeed repute.

was not effected without a struggle. Nævius The testimony of Horace, though given in- seems to have been the last of the ancient line cidentally, confirms the statements of Cato, of poets. Ennius was the founder of a new Valerius Maximus, and Varro. The poet pre- dynasty. Nævius celebrated the First Punie dicts that, under the peaceful administration War in Saturnian verse, the old national verse of Augustus, the Romans will, over their full of Italy.t Ennius sang the Second Punic War goblets, sing to the pipe, after the fashion of their fathers, the deeds of brave captains, and see the Preface to the Lay of the Battle of Regillus.

f the

+ Cicero gpeaks highly in more than one place of this city.s

poem of Nævjus ; Ennius sneered at it, and stole from it. The proposition, then, that Rome had ballad.

As to the Saturnian measure, see Herman's Elementa

Doctrinæ Metricæ, iii. 9. poetry is not merely in itself highly probable,

The Saturnian line consisted of two parts. The first but it is fully proved by direct evidence of the was a catalectic dimeter iambic; the second was comgreatest weight.

posed of three trochees. But the license taken by the

early Latin poets seems to have been almost boundless. This proposition being established, it be The most perfect Saturnian line wbich has been precomes easy to understand why the early his served by the grammarians was the work, not of a pro

fessional artist, but of an amateur ; tory of the city is unlike almost every thing else in Latin literature-native where almost

"Dabunt malum Metelli Nævio poeta." everything else is borrowed, imaginative

There has been much difference of opinion among where almost every thing else is prosaic. We

learned men respecting the history of this measure.

That it is the same with a Greek measure used by Arcan scarcely hesitate to pronounce that the chilochus is indisputable. (Bentley, Phalaris, xi.) But magnificent, pathetic, and truly national le- |

in spite of the authority of Terentianus Maurus, and of the still higher authority of Bentley, we may venture to

doubt whether the coincidence was not fortuitous. We . Cicero refers twice to this important passage in constantly find the same rude and simple numbers in Cato's Antiquities:-"Gravissimus auctor in Origini- different countries, under circumstances which make it bus' dixit Cato, morem apud majores hunc epularum impossible to suspect that there has been imitation on fuisse, ut deincepe, qui accuba rent, canerent ad tibiam either side. Bishop Heber heard the children of a vil. clarorum virorum laudes atque virtutes. Ex quo per lage in Bengal singing "Radha, Radha," to the tune of spicuum est, et cantus tum fuisse rescriptos vocum so- “My boy Billy." Neither the Castilian por the German nis, et carmina."- Tusc Quest. iv. 2. Again: “Utinam minstrels of the middle ages owed any thing to Paros ct exstarent illa carpina quæ multis feculis ante suam to ancient Rome, Yet both the poem of the Cid and the ætatem in epulis esse cantitata a singulis convivis de poem of the Nibelungs contain many Saturnian verses ; clarorum virorum laudibus in Originibus' scriptum re. liquit Cato."-Brulus, cap. xix.

“ Estas nuevas a mio Cid eran venidas." “ Majores natu in conviviis ad tibias egregia supe “A ni lo dicen ; a ti dan las orejadas." riorum opera carmine comprehensa pangebant, quo ad ea imitanda jnventutem alacriorum redderent. .

“ Man möhte michel wonder von Sifride sagen." Quas Athenas, quam scholam, qnæ alienigena studia

Wa ich den Künic vinde daz sol nan niir sugen." huic domesticæ discipline prætulerim! Inde oriebantur

ebantur | Indeed, there cannot be a more perfect Saturnian line Camilli, Scipiones, Fabricii, Marcelli, Fabii." — Val.

than one which is sung in every English nurseryMar. ii. 1.

“The queen was in her parlour eating bread and boney:" t"In conviviis pueri modesti ut cantarent carmina antiqua, in quibus laudes erant majorum, et assa voce,

1 yet the author of this line, we may be assured, borrowed et cuin tibicine." Nonius, Assa voce pro sola.

nothing from either Nævius or Archilochus. * Nosque et profestis lucibus et sacris,

On the other hand, it is by no means improbable that, Inter jocosi munera Liberi,

two or three hundred years before the time or Ennius, Cum prole matronisque nostris,

some Latin minstrels may have visited Sybaris or CroRite Deos prius apprecati,

tona, may have heard some verses of Archilochus sung, Virtute functos, MORE PATRUM, duces,

may have been pleased with the nietre, and may have Lydis remixto carmine tibiis,

introduced it at Rome. Thus much is certain, that the Trojamque, et Anchisen, et almæ

Saturnian measure, if not a native of Italy, was at Progeniem Veneris canemus."

least so early and so completely naturalized there that Carm. iv. 51. its foreign origin was forgotten.

singulis convivia de Ito ancient Rome.

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Tirum virorum laudibus in

in numbers borrowed from the Iliad. The as the traveller on classic ground sometimes elder poel, in the epitaph which he wrote for finds, built into the heavy wall of a fort or conhimself, and which is a fine specimen of the vent, a pillar rich with acanthus leaves, or a early Roman diction and versification, plain- frieze where the Amazons and Bacchanals tively boasted that the Latin language had seem to live. The theatres and temples of the died with him." Thus, what to Horace ap- Greek and the Roman were degraded into the peared to be the first faint dawn of Roman quarries of the Turk and the Goth. Even so literature, appeared to Nævius to be its hope- did the old Saturnian poetry become the quarry less setting. In truth, one literature was set in which a crowd of orators and annalisis ting, and another dawning.

found the materials for their prose. The victory of the foreign taste was deci. It is not difficult to trace the process by sive: and indeed we can hardly blame the which the old songs were transmuied into tho Romans for iuruing away with contempt from form which they now wear. Funeral pane. the rude lays which had delighted their fathers, gyric and chronicle appear to have been the and giving their whole admiration to the great intermediate links which connected the lost productions of Greece. The national romances, | ballads with the histories now extant. From neglected by the great and the refined whose a very early period it was the usage that an education had been finished at Rhodes or oration should be pronounced over the remains Athens, continued, it may be supposed, during of a noble Roman. The orator, as we learn some generations, to delighuhe vulgar. While from Polybius, was expected, on such an occaVirgil, in hexameters of exquisite modulation, sion, to recapitulate all the services which the described the sports of rustics, those rustics ancestors of the deceased had, from the earliest were still singing their wild Saturnian ballads.t time, rendered to the commonwealth. There It is not improbable that, at the time when can be liule doubt that the speaker on whom Cicero lamented the irreparable loss of the this duty was imposed would make use of all poems mentioned by Cato, a search among the the stories suited to his purpose which were to nooks of the Apennines, as active as the search be found in the popular lays. There can be as which Sir Walter Scott made among the de- little doubt that the family of an eminent man scendants of the mosstroopers of Liddesdale, would preserve a copy of the speech which might have brought to light many fine remains had been pronounced over his corpse. The of ancient minstrelsy. No such search was compilers of the early chronicles would have made. The Latin ballads perished forever. recourse to these speeches; and the great hisYet discerning critics have thought that they torians of a later period would have recourse could still perceive in the early history of to the chronicles. Rome numerous fragments of this lost poetry, It may be worth while to select a particular

story, and to trace its probable progress through Bentley says, indeed, that the Saturnian measure was these stages. The description of the migration first brought from Greece into Italy by Nævius. But this is merely obiter dictum, to use a phrase common in our courts of law, and would not have been deliberately maintained by that incomparable critic, whose memory is held in reverence by all lovers of learning. The arguments which might be brought against Bentley's assertion for it is mere assertion, supported by no evi

vestibule of his house, marshalling his clan, dence-are innumerable. A few will suffice.

three hundred and six fighting men, all of the 1. Bentley's assertion is opposed to the testimony of

same proud patrician blood, all worthy to be Ennius. Ennius speered at Nævius for writing on the First Punic Wur in verses such as the old lialian bards attended by the fasces and to command the used before Greek literature had been studied. Now, legions. A sad and anxious retinue of friends the poem of Naevius was in Saturnian verse. Is it possible that Ennius could have used such expressions, if

accompanies the adventurers through the the Saturnian verse had been just imported from streets ; but the voice of lamentation is drownGreece for the first time?

ed by the shouts of admiring thousands. As 2. Bentley's assertion is opposed to the testimony of Horace. "When Greece," says Horace, "introduced

the procession passes the Capitol, prayers and ber arts into our uncivilized country, those rugged Sa- vows are poured forth, but in vain. The deturnian numbers passed away." Would Horace have

voted band, leaving Janus on the right, marches said this, if the Saturnian numbers had been imported from Greece just before the hexameter 1

to its doom through the Gate of Evil Luck. 3. Bentley's assertion is opposed to the testimony of After achieving great Jeeds of valour against Festus and of Aurelius Victor, both of whom positively loverwhelming numbers, all perish save one say that the most ancient prophecies attributed to the Fauns were in Saturnian verse.

child, the stock from which the great Fabian 4. Bentley's assertion is opposed to the testimony of race was destined again to spring, for the Terentianus Mauris, to whon he has himself appealed.

safety and glory of the commonwealth. That Terentianus Maurus does indeed say that the Saturnian measure, though believed by the Romans froni a very

y this fine romance, the details of which are so early period (“credidit vetustas") to be of Italian in- full of poetical truth, and so utterly destitute vention, was really borrowed from the Greeks. But

of all show of historical truth, came originally Terentianus Maurus does not say that it was first horrowed by Nævius. Nay, the expressions used by Te- from some lay which had often been sung with rentianus Maurus clearly imply the contrary; for how great applause at banquets, is in the highest could the Romans have believed, from a very early degree probable. Nor is it difficult to imagine period, that this measure was the indigenous production of Latium, if it was really brought over from Greece in a mode in which the transmission might have an age of intelligence and liberal curiosity, --in the age taken place. The celebrated Quintus Fabius which gave birth to Ennius, Plautne, Caio the Censor, Maximus. who died about twenty years before and other distinguished writers! If Bentley's assertion were correct, there could have been no niore doubt at the First Punic War, and more than forty Romne about the Greek origin of the Saturnian measure years before Ennius was born, is said to have than about the Greek origin of hexameters or Sapphics.

been interred with extraordinary pomp. In the • Aulus Gellius, Noctes Attica, i. 24. + See Servius, in Georg. ii. 385.

leulogy pronounced over his body all the great VOL. IV-68

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