The Ancient Library

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oratione in Octavium Sagitlam, et pro eo De incendio urbis (words which it has been proposed-to reduce to sense by reading Hypomnemata prosa oratione in Octavium Sagittam, et pro eo Declamationes—De incendio urbis). Epistolarum ex Campania.

As to the accuracy of the above list it is impos­sible to offer even an opinion; but it is confirmed to a certain extent, at least, by an old scholiast upon Statius, generally known as Lutatius, who quotes some lines from the Iliacon (ad StaL Theb. iii. 64], and vi. 322), besides which he gives two hexa­meters from a piece which he terms Catagonium (ad Stat. Theb. ix. 424). , With regard to the story of the public defeat sustained .by Nero, which has 'been repeated again and again without any ex­pression of distrust, and has afforded the subject of a glowing picture to a French critic, we may ob­serve that it is passed over in silence by all our classical authorities, that it is at variance with the account given by the compiler of the life attributed to Suetonius, that, a priori, it is highly improbable .that any literary man at that period, however vain and headstrong, much less a court favourite, whose nearest kinsmen were courtiers, would ever have

•formed the project of engaging seriously in a com­bat where success was ruin. That no such event

•took place under the circumstances represented above, can be proved from history, for the quin­quennial competition (quinquennale certamen -triplex, musicum, gymnicum, equestre) instituted by Nero, and called from him Neronia, was held for the first time a. d. 60, when, as we are expressly informed by Suetonius, " carminis Latini coronam, de qua honestissimus quisque contenderat ipsorum consensu concessam sibi recepit," words which in­dicate most clearly the amount of opposition offered by these mock antagonists ; the second celebration did not take place until after the death of Piso and his confederates (Tac. Ann. xiv. 20, xvi. 4 ; Sueton. Ner. 12, comp. 21; Dion Cass. Ixi. 21). In all pro­bability the fable arose from an obscure expression in the Genethliacon of Statius (v. 58), which, al­though hard to explain, certainly affords no suffi­cient foundation for the structure which has been reared upon it.

The only extant production of Lucan is an heroic poem, in ten books, entitled Pharsalia, in which the progress of the struggle between Caesar and Pompey is fully detailed, the events, commencing with the passage of the Rubicon, being arranged in regular chronological order. The tenth book is im­perfect, and the narrative breaks off abruptly in the middle of the Alexandrian war, but we know not whether the conclusion has been lost, or whether the author never completed his task. The whole of what we now possess was certainly not composed at the same time, for the different par ta do not by any means breathe the same spirit. In the earlier portions we find liberal sentiments expressed in very moderate terms, accompanied by open and almost fulsome flattery of Nero ; but, as we pro­ceed, the blessings of freedom are more and more loudly proclaimed, and the invectives against ty­ranny are couched in language the most offensive, evidently aimed directly at the emperor. Whether this remarkable change of tone is to be ascribed

•to- the gradual development of the evil passions of the prince, who excited the brightest hopes at the outset of his reign, or whether it arose from the personal bitterness of a disgraced favourite, tmist be left to conjecture; but, whichever expla-


nation we may adopt, it is impossible to believft that the work was published entire during the life* time of the author, and it appears almost certain that it never received his last corrections.

A remarkable diversity of opinion exists with regard to the merits of Lucan. The earlier critics assuming the attitude of contending advocates, ab­surdly exaggerate and unreasonably depreciate his powers. And yet great defects and great beauties are obvious to the impartial observer. We find almost every quality requisite to form a great poet, but the action of each is clogged and the effect neutralised by some grievous perversity. We dis­cover vast power, high enthusiasm, burning energy, copious diction, lively imagination, great learning, a bold and masculine tone of thought, deep reflec­tion and political wisdom ; but the power being ill-governed, communicates a jarring irregularity to the whole mechanism of the piece, the enthusiasm under no control runs wild into extravagant folly, the language flows in a strong and copious but tur­bid stream ; the learning is disfigured by pedantic display ; the imagination of the poet exhausts itself in far-fetched conceits and unnatural similes ; the philosophic maxims obtruded at unseasonable mo­ments are received with impatience and disgust; we distinctly perceive throughout vigorous genius struggling, but in vain, against the paralysing in­fluence of a corrupt system of mental culture and a depraved standard of national taste.

The Editio Princeps of Lucan was printed at Home, by Sweynheym and Pannartz, under the superintendence of Andrew, Bishop of Aleria, fol. 1469, and two impressions, which have no date and no name of place or printer, are set down by bibliographers next in order. Some improvements were made by Aldus, 8vo. Venet. 1502, 1515, but the first really critical editions are those of Pulmannus, 16mo, Antv. 1564, 1577, 1592. The text was gradually purified by the labours of Bers-mannus, 8vo. Lips. 1584,1589 ; of Grotius, 8vo. Antv. 1614, and Lug. Bat. 1626 ; of Cortius, 8vo. Lips. 1726 ; of Oudendorp, 4to. Lug. Bat. 1728 ; of Burmann, 4to. Leid. 1740 ; of Bentley, 4to. Strawberry Hill, 1760 ; of Renouard, fol. Paris, 1795 ; of Illycinus, Vindob. 4to. 1811 ; of C. Fr. Weber, 8vo. Lips. 1821—1831 ; and of Weise> 8vo. Lips. 1835.

Of these the editions of Oudendorp and Bur­mann are the most elaborate and ample, especially the latter, but the most useful for all practical pur­poses is that of Weber, which contains an ample collection of Scholia and commentaries, a disserta­tion on the verses commonly considered spurious, and various other adminicula ; a fourth volume, however, is required to complete the work, and is intended to contain remarks on the life and writings of Lucan, an account of the editions and fragments^ complete indices, and other aids.

A supplement to the Pharsalia, in seven books, by Thomas May, being a translation into Latin of an English supplement appended to his metrical translation, was published at Leyden in 1630, and will be found at the end of the Amsterdam edd. of 1658, 1669.

The first book of the Pharsalia was rendered into English, line for line, by Christopher Marlow, 4to. Lond. 1600, the whole poem by Arthur Gorges, 4to. Lond. 1614, and by Thomas May, t2mo. Lond. 1627. The latter was reprinted in 1631, with a continuation of the subject until the death

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