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P. i. 6. 19 :— * quae (i. e. mea pectora) stulta magis dici quam scelerata decet.' T. iv. 4. 43:— ' ergo ut iure damus poenas, sic abfuit omne peccato facinus consiliumque meo.' P. i. 7. 41 :— * quod nisi delicti pars excusabilis esset, parva relegari poena futura fuit.' ii. 9. 71 :— * nec quicquam, quod lege vetor committere, feci.' See also T. iii. I I. 34; iv. I. 23 ; 8. 4o; Io. 89 ; v. 2. 17 ; 4. 18; I I. 17. P. i. 7. 43. (2) But he had been an unintentional witness of some crime committed by another or others : T. ii. Io3 :— * cur aliquid vidi ? cur noxia lumina feci ? cur imprudemti cognita culpa mihi ? inscius Actaeon vidit sine veste Dianam : praeda fuit canibus non minus ille suis.' iii. 5. 49:— * inscia quod crimen viderunt lumina, plector, peccatumque oculos est habuisse meum.' Ibid. 6. 27 :— * nec breve nec tutum quo sint mea dicere casu lumina funesti conscia facta mali.'
and it was somcthing shamcful, T. v. 8. 23 :— * vel quia peccavi citra scelus, utque pudore non caret, invidia sic mea culpa caret.' (3) It was something that nearly affected Augustus, and the mention of it was likely to prove very painful and offensive to him. T. ii. 133:— * tristibus invectus verbis—ita principe dignum— ultus es offensas, ut decet, ipse tuas.' Ibid. 2o7:— * perdiderint cum me duo crimina, carmen et error, alterius facti culpa silenda mihi :
P. ii. 2. 59:—
non contrectari tutius esse puto.
posse velim cineres obruere ipse meos.'
See T. i. 5. 52. (4) What it was, was a matter of general notoriety at Rome :
T. iv. Io. 99 :—
P. i. 7. 39:— * et tamen ut cuperem culpam quoque posse negari, sic facinus memo mescit abesse mihi.' (5) Though the original fault was a mere venial error, , yet he neglected to atone for it by his subsequent conduct. Hence it was the first of a long series ; and for the rest he was responsible : since had he sought and taken the advice offriends
he might have repaired the wrong he had done:
T. iv. 4. 37:— - -
iii. 6. II :—
excepto quod me perdidit, unus eras.
consilioque forem sospes, amice, tuo.'
P. ii. 6. 7 :—
cum poteram recto transire Ceraunia velo, ut fera vitarem saxa, monendus eram.' See P. ii. 3. 91. (6) But his timidity prevented himfrom takingtheright Course,
P. ii. 2. 17:—
'(7) What he did arose from no hope of personal gain, and tended to ruin no one but himself:
P. ii. 2. I 5:— ,
* est mea culpa gravis, sed quae me perdere solum ausa sit, et nullum maius adorta nefas.' T. iii. 6. 33:— *nil igitur referam, nisi me peccasse: sed illo praemia peccato nulla petita mihi.'
What then was this offence against the Emperor, which so nearly affected the honour of his name ?
Following closely upon the exile of Qvid occurred the disgrace of the younger, daughter of the elder Julia, and granddaughter of Augustus. In spite of the example of her mother's fate the young princess followed the same evil courses, and was banished in 762/9 to the island Trimerus on the shore of Apulia. Her paramour, D. Silanus, was excluded from the friendship of the Emperor', and voluntarily withdrew into exile. It seems impossible not to connect the two events. According to this theory we may suppose that Julia and Silanus attached to themselves the accomplished and fashionable poet of the Art of Love. They found in him a pleasant and amusing confidant. And he was • not likely to trouble lovers with scruples ; to him the wish of the Emperor's granddaughter was equivalent to a command, or perhaps his vanity was stirred by the splendour of the connexion with the imperial house. Augustus had always regarded him with coldness; but now the oppörtunity seemed to have presented itself of attaining to what was the dearest wish of his heart, the position of the recognised poet of the court. When his own eyes told him the nature of the connexion*, he would be sure to think silence was the only discreet, if not the only fair, course to adopt ; any act would involve personal danger, which he was too timid to risk*. Thus he became no doubt their confidant, though without gain to himself*. The affair was soom noised abroad and reached the Emperor's ears. The opportunity had come at last ; the desired pretext was afforded
against the author of the Art of Love. Ovid was the first of the three to suffer ; and upon him was laid the severest punishment'.
The Tristia'of Ovid has been frequently disparaged on two accounts: (1) the matter of the poems, and (2) their form has been impugned. Let us inquire into the truth of these charges.
(1) It has often been alleged that the reader is wearied by the sameness of the subject matter. But if we consider that the five books of the Tristia are a collection of elegies professedly dealing with the exile's unhappy lot, we shall be astonished rather at the ingeniously diversified treatment with which what might well have become a monotonous theme has been handled*. An examination, elegy by elegy, of the contents of the different books will make this apparent.
Let us begin with the first, with which we are more directly concerned. The prefatory El. i. is a highly ingenious apology for the shortcomings of the work. Ell. ii. and iv. contain two vigorous descriptions of a storm at sea. El. iii., one of the most beautiful of Ovid's poems, is an exquisitely touching description of his last night at Rome, and sad departure into his hopeless exile. El. v. is a finished eulogium of loyal friendship. El. vi. contains the expression of his affection towards his loving wife.
* The theory here adopted is that of Gaston Boissier, L'Opposition sous les Césars, ch. 3. The paper by Thomas Dyer in the Classical Museum, vol. 4. pp. 229-247, on the cause of Ovid's exile has also been of great use. The Essai sur l'exile d'Ovide (Paris, 1859) by A. Deville is a successful refutation of most of the solutions that have been proposed.
* The same criticism has been made upon Tennyson's In Memoriam, and may be answered in the same way.
El. vii. is an apology for the Metamorphoses ; El. viii. a vehement expostulation with a friend who had deserted him. El. ix. contrasts the success of one of his friends with his own ruin. El. x. is a topographical account of the route from Italy to Tomi. El. xi. forms the epilogue to the Book. The charge of monotony is still further refuted by the contents of Book ii., òne of the most elaborate of all the works of Ovid, full of literary learning and taste, in which he seeks to justify the Ars Amatoria by showing that it is no worse than much existing literature that is received with general approval. The case is the same with the contents of the three remaining books, which embrace several narrative poems*; the charge of monotony must accordingly be abandoned, and we cannot refrain from the suspicion that those who make it have not read, or at any rate havè read but superficially, the poems criticised. Again, it is urged that the expression ofthe poet's sufferings is too. unrestrained ; that there is an excess of dolorous lamentation which betrays a want of manly endurance. This criticism is partially true, and is as old as the poet's own time. For in P. iii. 9 he shows in defence of the Pontic Epistles—and the defence is as applicable to the Tristia—that such frequent lamentations are what might be expected in dealing with so sad a subject (P. iii. 9. 35 ff.), and that as the poems are addressed to different persons the same sentiments naturally recur. Would it be reasonable, he naively remarks, to force me to write always to the same person, that the reader may not be offended by the recurrence of the same ideas (P. iii. 9. 41)? Nor does the charge, brought by Macaulay, of* impatience and pusillanimity *,' in enduring suffering appear well founded. One age differs from another, and one people from another, in no respect more than in this, The Greek hero or soldier might weep in the face of danger, but he was none the less brave. The Roman exile,
* e. g. iii. 9. (on the origin of the name Tomi); iii. 1 1 (the story of Phalaris); iv. 2 (a description of the triumph of Tiberius); iv. io (the poet's autobiography).
* Life and Letters of Lord Macaulay, I. 47o.