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whether Cicero, or Ovid, or Seneca, might venture to express feelings which the long habit of self-restraint has taught the modern European to conceal, but it may well be doubted whether the virtue of patient endurance is really given to the one in any greater degree than it was to the other. Macaulay himself chafed bitterly under what he chose to call his banishment*. Yet the circumstances of Ovid were far more melancholy than those of Macaulay. Macaulay went to India, for a limited period, with an established reputation, to discharge important legislative duties. Ovid went to Tomi as an exile who might scarcely hope for return. Ovid had fallen under the displeasure of the Emperor, the absolute master of the civilised world. And into this state of misery he was plunged from the most fortunate state. A happy father and a happy husband, an honoured member of the most brilliant literary society of the world, enjoying the favour of many of Rome's greatest nobles, a man of elegance and luxury, personally unaccustomed to hardship, he was banished suddenly to the inhospitable and barbaric Tomi, the Siberia of the ancient world*. It may rather be urged that this very exuberance and simplicity of feeling, this intense subjectivity, constitutes one of the chief excellences of these poems of exile. - There is as much of sorrow as of happiness in the world ; and it is the function of the
* Macaulay's Life, p. 423, * I have no words to tell you how I pine for England, or how intensely bitter exile has been to me, though I hope that I have borne it well. I feel as if I had no other wish than to see my country again, and die. Let me assure you that banishment is no light matter. No person can judge of it who has not experienced it. A complete revolution in all the habits of life ; an estrangement from almost every old friend and acquaintance ; fifteen hundred miles of ocean between the exile, and everything that he cares for ; all this is, to me at least, very trying. There is no temptation of wealth, or power, which would induce me to go through it again.'
* My father has pointed out to me the curiously analogous case of the poet Salman, who was, imprisoned in the twelfth century by the Ghasnivide sovereigns, Mas'ud Ibrahim and Bahram Shah, and whose poetry presents many illustrative analogies to that of Ovid. See Sir H. Elliot's History of India as told by its own historians, iv. p. 518 ff.
poet to sing of the sadder aspects of human life as well as the 3-- 1 happier'. ( “ Weep not our poet's wrong, imourn not his mischances; sorrow is the source of song,
and of gentle fancies *.'
It is to this feature that the Tristia and Pontic Epistles owed the wide popularity which they very early enjoyed. It has been well remarked by Dean Merivale: “ In the course of time the empire teemed with a society of fellow-sufferers, who learnt perhaps, from their own woes, to sympathize with the lamentations of the first generation of exiles. The Tristia of Ovid became the common expression of the sentiments of a whole class of unfortunates*.'
(2) The faults of form in the Tristia are more obvious, and are the result partly of the poet's acknowledged dislike of correcting and pruning his verses*, partly of his rhetorical training, and partly of the admiration, which he in common with many writers of the day, entertained for the affected school of Alexandrine poets".
Ovid's dislike of correcting gives rise to that excessive luxuriance of similes and images with which at times he overloads the subject and overburdens the reader*, and which led Quintilian to characterise him as * nimium amator ingénii sui ". His rhetorical training must answer for his great addiction to declamation,
* Verg. Aen. i. 462 :— * sunt lacrimae rerum, et mentem mortalia tangunt.' Keble has dwelt largely upon this aspect of poetry in his Praelectiones Academicae, the subject of which work is de poeticae vi medica. * James Hedderwick. * Merivale's History of the Romans under the Empire, iv. 6o7. * P. i. 5. 15; iii. 9. 7 ff. * The Alexandrians chiefly imitated by Ovid were, Callimachus (T. v. 5. 33 ff.), Philetas (T. i. 6. 2), Lycophron (Ellis, Ibis p. xlii.); and Antimachus (T. i. 6. 1), though not an Alexandrine, who was another of his models, appears to have laboured under similar faults. * Cp. i. 5. 47, Lörs. ? x. 88.
and to the use oftropes and rhetorical figures. To his imitation of the Alexandrines we cam trace the occasional affectation of his sentiments and ideas, and his love of conceits and playing upon words, and other such complications. But when all these defects are considered and allowed for, it must be admitted that they are greatly counterbalanced by the merits of the work. And it would be surprising if this were not so. For in spite of his faults, which he carries on the surface, we shall not be far wrong in judging Ovid, with Niebuhr*, to be * of all the Roman poets whose works have come down to us, by far the most poetical after Catullus.' He may want the gravity and variety of cadence of Vergil—but he has to a greater degree the crowning excellence ofa poet, general simplicity and directness of expression. He may want the finished style of Horace, but he is free from his coldness and painful elaboration. His thought is as clear as water ; and the thought instantly clothes itself in a suitable poetic form. He who alone of his contemporaries has, as faras we know, justly appreciated the greatness of* the majestic Lucretius*'; was too able a critic to fail to observe his own supremacy in this respect ; T. iv. Io. 25:— * sponte sua carmen numeros veniebat ad aptos, et quod temptabam scribere, versus erat.' The ease and apparent artlessness of his numbers has sometimes created an impression óf negligence ; and this opinion is unfortunately likely to attract many in the present age, when it seems to be the fashion to value poetry more highly in proportion to its obscurity, and to confuse simplicity of style with poverty of thought. The study of the works of Ovid cannot fail to serve as a potent antidote to such mistaken notions, for in him, above all other poets, is exemplified the truth of the maxim that the province of art is to conceal art. Nor can we fail to admire his richness of imagination, which manifests itself in a never failing variety of expression, and in the marvellous wealth of his similes* ; or the * Lectures, iii. 139; Bohn's edition. * Am. i. 15. 23. * A notable instance is the celebrated address of Polyphemus to Galatea, M. 13. 788 ff. See T. i. 1. 75 ff; iv. 1. 5 ff; 6. I ff.
easiness of his versification, which has caused the Ovidian distich, rather than that of Tibullus or Propertius, to be regarded as the standard of that class of Latin verse composition. Nor must it be forgotten that, though apparently so simple and straightforward, he was possessed of a store of erudition probably as great as any of the poets of Rome. The legendary lore, history, and literature of Greece and Rome, the field of geography, the manners and customs of different nations, the phaenomena of nature,—all are made to contribute towards the adornment of his verse. Yet richly stocked as was the poet's mind, he is never encumbered with his learning; he wields it with ease and elegance, and it adds only one more to the many charms of his poems*.
THE criticism of the text of Ovid is beset withgreat difficulties; for while, on the one hand, our MSS. are for the most part not very ancient, on the other hand this author acquired very early such wide popularity that numberless corrections of whatever seemed obscure, unusual, or corrupt crept very early into the MS. or MSS. from which our existing copies directly or indirectly drew their origin. Hence the editor of Ovid must search for a MS. which is as free as possible from such corrections. That MS. will be one which to an inexperienced reader would present the appearance of great corruption ; a MS. in which there is such an abundance of mistakes and monstrosities as to indicate that the scribe either of this MS. or of that from which it was
* Contrast e.g. the admirable treatment of Roman legends in Ovid's Fasti with the meagreness ofTibullus, II. 5. The poems of Ovid's exile inspired that curious restoration drama, The Tragedy of Ovid, by Sir Aston Cokain.
copied, was fortunately ignorant of Latim, and therefore unable to amend the text according to his own conceptions ; but was content to simply transcribe, oftem, it may be, incorrectly enough, what lay before him. A MS. of this type is of the greatest possible value, and is called an uninterpolated MS. For the errors incidental to copying may be reduced to certain broad principles; an acquaintance with which frequently enables the critic to detect the cause of a seemingly unintelligible reading, and to correct it. But the ingenious perversities of the educated scribe, with his dangerously slight apparatus oflearning, and his love of altering, sometimes in order to excise whateveridioms.are tohim unfamiliar, sometimes from the pure love of alteration, lead to such a wide departure from the original text that it is often a fruitless task to attempt to distinguish from such data the authentic reading*. A MS. of the latter type is called an interpolated MS., and most of the MSS. of the Tristia belong to this class. It is possible to arrange MSS. with more* or less precision under certain groups, classes, or families, which exhibit such affinities and resemblances as to prove that each family can be traced to a common original now lost. The MSS. of the Tristia can be broadly distinguished into two such families, one of which represents the uninterpolated, the other the interpolated tradition *. Merkel in his criticaledition,and all preceding editors, regarded
* A few examples of interpolation from Bk. i. maybe notuninstructive. In i. 18, the genuine illi is supplanted by the easier exstat ; i. 32, miseris by misero ; i. I 24, viae by morae ; ii. 15, dicta by verba ; ii. 25, murmure by turbine ; ii. 41, di by o (this arises from misunderstanding the construction of di); ii. 92, volunt by vident ; iii. 14, et by ut (interpolated from 1. 13); iii. 25, parvis by parvo ; iii. 58, summa by multa, The apparatus criticus will furnish many other examples.
* It is perhaps possible to subdivide the interpolated MSS. into two different classes, as has been attempted by Güthling, who distinguishes the family of Pal. I. from what he calls, with sufficient vagueness, the * deteriores codices.' But as each group is equally worthless, no practical use results from such a distinction.