The Ancient Library
 

Scanned text contains errors.

On this page: Lucrina – Lucterius – Luctus – Lucullus

836

LUCRETIUS.

leads to a discourse upon diseases. This in its turn introduces an appalling description of the great pestilence which devastated Athens during the Peloponnesian war, and thus the book closes. The termination being somewhat abrupt, induces the belief that Lucretius may have intended to continue his task, which might have been greatly extended, but there is no reason to suppose that anything has been lost.

With regard to the general merits of the pro­duction, considered merely as a work of art, with­out reference to the falseness and absurdity of the views which it advocates, but little difference of opinion has prevailed among modern critics. All have admired the marvellous ability and skill with which the most abstruse speculations and the most refractory technicalities have been luminously bodied forth in sonorous verse, and expressed in diction which, although full of animation and dignity, is never extravagant nor pompous. All have ac­knowledged the matchless power and beauty of those sublime outbursts of noble poetry which diffuse light, vivacity, and grace, upon themes, which in a less gifted writer must have proved obscure, dull, and repulsive. But even this is not sufficient praise. Had it not been for Lucretius we could never have formed an adequate idea of the power of the Latin language. We might have dwelt with pleasure upon the softness, flexibility, richness, and musical tone of that vehicle of thought, which could represent with full effect the melan­choly tenderness of Tibullus, the exquisite inge­nuity of Ovid, the inimitable felicity and taste of Horace, the gentleness, high spirit, and splendour of Virgil, and the vehement declamation of Juvenal; but had the verses of Lucretius perished we should never have known that it could give utterance to the grandest conceptions with all that sustained majesty and harmonious swell in which the Grecian Muse rolls forth her loftiest outpourings. Yet, strange to say, the Romans themselves seem never to have done full justice to the surpassing genius of their countryman. The criticism of Cicero is correct but cold, the tribute paid by Ovid to his memory is vague and affected, the observations of Quintilian prove how little he had entered into his spirit or appreciated his high enthusiasm, while, the few remaining writers by whom he is named either in­sult him with faint approbation, or indulge in direct censure. Statius alone, perhaps, proves himself not insensible of the power which he describes as the " docti furor arduus Lucreti." (Corn. Nep. Alt. xii. 4 ; Vitruv. ix. 3 ; Prop. ii. 25, 29 ; Veil. Pat. ii. 36 ; Senec., de Tranquil!* Anim.. 2, Ep. xcv. ex; Plin. Ep. iv. 18 ; Tac. Dial, de Orat. 23.) The editio Princeps of Lucretius was printed at Brescia, in fol., by "Thomas Ferandus, about 1473, and is of such excessive rarity that three copies only are known to exist. It has been fully .described by Dibdin in the BibL Spencer, vol. ii. p. 149—153. The second edition, much less rare, and taken from an inferior MS., appeared at Verona, fol. 1486, ftoin the press of Paul Friedenberger. The text was corrected from MSS. by Jo. Baptista Pius, fol. Bonon. 1511, by Petrus Candidus, Florent. Phil. Giunta. 8vo. 1512, and by Lambinus, whose two editions 4to. 1563, 1570, especially the second, are most valuable, and are accompanied by an excellent commentary. Considerable praise is due to Gifa-nius, 8vo. Antw. 1566, to Pareus, 2 vol. 8vo. Francf, 1631, to Craech, 8yo. Oxqn. 1695, and

LUCULLUS..

especially to the comprehensive labours of Haver-camp, whose bulky volumes (2 vols. 4to. Lug. Bat. 1725, forming a portion of the series of Dutch Variorum Classics, in 4to.) contain everything that is valuable in preceding editions. The text of Lambinus, however, underwent few changes until it assumed its present form in the hands of the celebrated Gilbert Wakefield, whose recension, founded upon the best English MSS., was published in three volumes, 4to. Lond. 1796, and reprinted at Glasgow, 4 vols. 8vo. 1813. We must not omit to mention with respect the edition of Albert Forbiger, 12mo. Lips. 1828, who has shown great taste and judgment in selecting the best readings, and has added short but useful notes. For practical purposes the edition of Lambinus, 1570, that of Havercamp, 1725, that of Creech, as reprinted, Oxon. 1818, exhibiting Wakefield's text, and that of Forbiger, will be found the most serviceable, but any one who can procure the second and fourth of these may dispense with the rest.

We have complete metrical translations into English by Creech, 8vo. Oxford, 1682, very fre­ quently reprinted ; by John Mason Goode (blank verse), accompanied by a most elaborate series of annotations, 2 vols. 4to. Lond. 1805 ; and by Thomas Busby, 2 vols. 4to. Lond. 1813. We have translations also of the first" book alone by John Evelyn, 8vo. Lond. 1656 ; by an anonymous writer, 8vo. Lond. 1799 ; and by W. H. Drum- mond, 8vo. Lond. 1809: but, excepting some de­ tached passages rendered by Dryden, with all his won-ted fire and inaccuracy, we possess nothing in. our language which can be regarded as even a tolerable representation of the original. The best translation into French is that by J. B. S. de Pon- gerville, Paris, 1823, 182j8 ; the best into Ita­ lian, that by Alessandro Marchetti, Lond. 1717, frequently reprinted ; the best into German^ that by Knebel, Leipzig, 1821, and improved, Leipzig, 1831. [W. R.]

LUCRINA, a surname of Venus, who had a temple at Baiae, near the Lucrine lake. (Stat. Silv. iii. 1. 150 ; Martial, xi. 81.) [L. S.]

LUCTERIUS, the Cadurcan, described by Caesar as a man of the greatest daring, was sent into the country of the Ruteni, by Vercingetorix, on the breaking out of the great Gallic insurrection in b. c. 52. Lucterius met with great success, col­lected a large force, and was on the point of invading the Roman province in Gaul, in the direction of Narbo, when the arrival of Caesar obliged him to retire. In the following year Luc­terius again formed the design of invading the Ronlan province along with Drappes, the Senonian,, but was defeated by the Roman legate C. Caninius Rebilus, not far from Uxellodunum. (Caes. JB. G, vii. 5, 7, 8 ; viii. 30—35.)

LUCTUS, a personification of grief or mourning, is described as a son of Aether and Terra. (Hygin., Praef.} This being, who wasted (edaai) the energies of man, is placed by the poets together with other tiorrible creatures, at the entrance of the lower world. (Virg. Aen. vi. 274; Sil. Ital. xiii. 581.) [L.S.]

LUCULLUS, the surname of a plebeian family of the Licinia gens. It does not appear, in history until the close of the second Punic war. The an­nexed genealogy exhibits those members only of the family whose descent and connection, can be traced with reasonable certainty :'•—

Pages
About | First

829

830

831
letter/word  
volume
page #  
Search this site
Google


ancientlibrary.com
WWW
All non-public domain material, including introductions, markup, and OCR © 2005 Tim Spalding.
Ancient Library was developed and hosted by Tim Spalding of Isidore-of-Seville.com.