The Ancient Library

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traduced him, and who some take to have been Hyginus, the mythologist. Caelius Rhodigimis (Antiq. Led. xiii. 1) says, on the authority of Caecilius Minutianus Apuleius, that it was Cor-vinus. Though the variety of Ovid's imprecations displays learning and fancy, the piece leaves the impression of an impotent explosion of rage. The title and plan were borrowed from Callimachus.

11. ConsolatioadLiviamAugustam. The authen­ticity of this elegiac poem has been the subject of much dispute among critics, the majority of whom are against it. The principal names on the other side are Barth, Passerat, and Amar, the recent French editor. However, it is allowed on all hands to be not unworthy of Ovid's genius. Sca-and others have attributed it to P. Albino-

van us.

12. The Medicamina Faciei and flalieuticon are mere fragments, and their genuineness not alto­gether certain. Yet Ovid in the Ars A m. (iii. 205) alludes to a poem which he had written in one book on the arb of heightening female charms, and which must, therefore, have been prior to the Ars ; and Pliny (//. JV. xxxii. 54) mentions a work of his on fishing, written towards the close of his life. Of his tragedy, Medea, only two lines re­main. Of this work Quintilian says, u Ovidii Medea videtur mihi ostendere quantum ille vir praestare potuent si ingenio suo temperare quam in-dulgere maluisset," x. 98. He seems to have written other works now lost : as, Metaphrasis Pliaenomenon Arati, Epigrammata, Liber in malos Poetas, or sort of Dunciad (Quintil. vi. 3), Trium-phus Tiberii de Illyriis, De Bella Aetiaco ad Tiberium, &c. Several spurious pieces have been attributed to him ; as the Elegia ad Philomelam, De Pulice, Priapeia, &c. That his poems in the Getic language have not been preserved is, per­haps, chiefly to be regretted on the score of their philological value.

That Ovid possessed a great poetical genius is unquestionable ; which makes it the more to be re­gretted that it was not always under the control of a sound judgment. Niebuhr, in his Lectures., edited by Dr. Schmitz (vol. ii. p. 166), calls him, next to Catullus, the most poetical amongst the Roman poets ; in allusion, perhaps, to the vigour of fancy and warmth of colouring displayed in some parts of his works. The same eminent scholar ranks him, in respect of his facility, among the very greatest poets. Of the truth of this remark no doubt can be entertained. Ovid has himself described how spontaneously his verses flowed ; and the fact is further attested by the bulk of his productions. But this was a dangerous gift. The facility of composition possessed more charms for him than the irksome, but indispensable labour of correction and retrenchment. ^Hence those prolix and puerile descriptions which led Quintilian (x. 88) to charac­terise him as minium amator ingenii sui, laudandus tamen in partibus ; and of which a notable instance has been pointed out by Seneca (N. Q. iii. 27) in the description of the flood (Metam. i. 262, &c.) ; which, though it commences with sublimity, is spoilt by the repetition of too many, and some of them trite and vulgar, images of the same thing. Nor was this his only fault. He was the first to depart from that pure and correct taste which characterises the Greek poets, and their earlier Latin imitators. His writings abound with those falae thoughts and frigid conceits which we find so



frequently in the Italian poets ; and in this respect he must be regarded as unantique. Dry den's in­dignation at these misplaced witticisms led him to rank Ovid amomg the second-rate poets (see his Life of Virgil, and Dedication of the Aeneis). But though a just criticism cannot allow these faults to pass without severe reprehension, there are nu­merous passages which show that Ovid was capable of better things.

The Amores, his earliest work, is less infected with concetti than some of his later ones ; and is marked by grossness and indecency, rather than by false wit or overwrought refinement. His fictitious love epistles, or Hero'ides, as, indeed, might be naturally expected, partake more of the latter qualities ; but they are remarkable for terse and polished versifications, and the turns of ex­pression are often highly effective. The Ars A ma-toria may be said to contain appropriate precepts, if that be any recommendation, or if love, in the proper sense of the term, requires them ; the little god himself being the best instructor, as Boccaccio has so well shown in the tale of Cymon and Iphi-genia. In a certain sense it may be styled a didactic poem, and, like most works of that nature, contains but little poetry, though the subject seems more than usually favourable to it. The first two or three books of the Metamorphoses, in spite of their faults, abound with poetical beauties ; nor are they wanting, though scattered with a more sparing hand, in the remaining ones ; as, among other in­stances, in the tale of P3rramus and Thisbe ; the charming rustic picture of the household of Baucis and Philemon ; and the description of the Cave of Sleep, in the eleventh book, which for vigour of fancy is" not perhaps surpassed by any thing in Spencer. In the Fasti Ovid found a favourable subject from the poetical nature of the mythology and early legends of Rome, which he has treated with great power and effect. His prolixity was here more restricted than in the Metamorphoses, partly by the nature of his plan, and partly, perhaps, by the metre ; and he has treated his subject in a severer taste. Schiller (Ueber naive und sentimen-talische Dichtung) will not allow the Tristia and Eao Ponto to be called poetry, from their being the offspring, not of inspiration but of necessity ; and it must be confessed that there is little except the versification to entitle them to the name. As, however, Gibbon has remarked {Decline and Fall, c. 18, note), they are valuable as presenting a picture of the human mind under very singular circumstances j and it may be added, as affording many particulars of the poet's life. But in forming an estimate of Ovid's poetical character, we must never forget that his great poem had not the benefit of his last corrections ; and that by the loss of his tragedy, the Medea, we are deprived, according to the testimony of antiquity, of his most perfect work ; and that, too, in a species of composition, which demands the highest powers of human genius. The loss which we have thus sustained may be in some measure inferred from the intimate knowledge which Ovid 'displays of the female heart; as in the story of Byblis in the Metamorphoses, and in the soliloquy of Medea in the same work, in which the alternations of hope and fear, reason and passion, are depicted with the greatest force.

The editions of Ovid's works are very nume­rous, and the following list contains only the more remarkable: —

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