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tlie truth seems to be that she belonged, as Hertz-berg thinks, to that higher class of courtezans, or rather kept women, then sufficiently numerous at Rome. We cannot reconcile the whole tenor of the poems with any other supposition. Thus it appears that Propertius succeeded a lover who had gone to Africa for the purpose of gain (iii. 20), perhaps after having been well stripped by Cynthia. Propertius is in turn displaced by a stupid praetor, returning from Illyricum with a well-filled purse, and whom the poet advises his mistress to make the most of (ii. 16). We are led to the same conclusion by the fifth elegy of the fourth book, before alluded to, as written during his courtship, which is addressed to Acanthis, a lena, or procuress, who had done all she could to depreciate Propertius and his poems with Cynthia, on account of his want of wealth. Nor can we draw any other inference from the seventh elegy of the second book, which expresses the alarm felt by the lovers lest they should be separated by the Lex Julia de maritandis ordinibus, and the joy of Cynthia at its not having been passed. What should have prevented Propertius, then, apparently a bachelor, from marrying his mistress? It was because women who had exercised the profession of a courtezan were forbidden by that law to marry an ingenuus. There was no other disqualification, except that libertinae were not permitted to marry a man of senatorial dignity. The objection raised might, indeed, be solved if it could be shown that Cynthia was a married woman. But though Broukhusius (ad ii. 6. 1) has adopted that opinion, he is by no means borne out in it by the passages he adduces in its support. That she had a husband is nowhere mentioned by Propertius, which could hardly have been the case had such been the fact. The very elegy to which Broukhusius's note is appended, by comparing Cynthia to Lai's, and other celebrated Grecian courtezans, proves the reverse. Nor can the opinion of that critic be supported by the word nupta in the twenty-sixth line of the same piece. That term by no means excludes the notion of an illicit connection. Such an arrangement, or conditio (ii. 14. 18), as that between Propertius and his mistress, did not take place without some previous stipulations, and even solemnities, which the poet has described in the twentieth elegy of the third book (v. 15, &c.), and which he does not hesitate to call sacra marita.
The precise date and duration of this connection cannot be accurately determined. Propertius's first success with his mistress must have been after the battle of Actium, from ii. 15. 37 and 44 ; and as it was in the summer time (iii. 20. 11, &c.), it should probably be placed in b. c. 30. The seventh elegy of the fourth book seems to show that the lovers were separated only by the death of Cynthia. See especially the fifth and sixth verses: —
Cum mihi somnus ab exequiis penderet amoris, Et quererer lecti frigida regna mei.
That Propertius married, probably after Cynthia's death, and left legitimate issue, may be inferred from the younger Pliny twice mentioning Passienus Paulus, a splendidus eques Romanus, as descended from him. (Ep. vi. 15, and ix. 22.) This must have been through the female line. The year of Propertius's death is altogether unknown. Masson placed it in b.c. 15 ( Vit. Ovid. a.u.c. 739),
and he has been followed by Barth and other critics. Masson's reasons for fixing on that year are that none of his elegies can be assigned to a later date than b.c. 16 ; and that Ovid twice mentions him in his Ars Amatoria (iii. 333 and 536) in a way that shows him to have been dead. The first of these proves nothing. It does not follow that Propertius ceased to live because he ceased to write ; or that he ceased to write because nothing later has been preserved. The latter assertion, too, is not indisputable. There are no means of fixing the dates of several of his pieces ; and El. iv. 6, which alludes to Caius and Lucius, the grandsons of Augustus (1. 82), was probably written considerably after b. c. 15. (Clinton, F. H. B. c. 26.) With regard to Masson's second reason, the passages in the Ars Am. by no means show that Propertius was dead ; and even if they did, it would be a strange method of proving a man defunct in b. c. 15, because he was so in b. c. 2, Mas-son's own date for the publication of that poem !
Propertius resided on the Esquiline, near the gardens of Maecenas. He seems to have cultivated the friendship of his brother poets, as Pon-ticus, Bassus, Ovid, and others. He mentions Virgil (ii. 34. 63) in a way that shows he had heard parts of the Aeneid privately recited. But though he belonged to the circle of Maecenas, he never once mentions Horace. Pie is equally silent about Tibullus. His not mentioning Ovid is best explained by the difference in their ages; for Ovid alludes more than once to Propertius, and with evident affection.
In 1722, a stone, bearing a head and two inscriptions, one to Propertius, and one to a certain Cominius, was pretended to be discovered at Spello, the ancient Hispellum, in the palace of Theresa Grilli, Princess Pamphila. Though the genuineness of this monument was maintained by Mont-faucon and other antiquarians, as well as by several eminent critics, later researches have shown the inscription of Propertius's name to be a forgery. The same stone, discovered in the same place, was known to be extant in the previous century, but bearing only the inscription to Cominius. (See the authorities adduced by Hertzberg, Quaest. Proper L vol. i. p. 4.)
As an elegiac poet, a high rank must be awarded to Propertius, and among the ancients it was a moot point whether the preference should be given to him or to Tibnllus. (Quint, x. 1. § 93.) His genius, however, did not fit him for the sublimer flights of poetry, and he had the good sense to refrain from attempting them. (iii. 3. 15, &c.) Though he excels Ovid in warmth of passion, he never indulges in the grossness which disfigures some of the latter's compositions. It must, however, be confessed that, to the modern reader, the elegies of Propertius are not nearly so attractive as those of Tibullus. This arises partly from their obscurity, but in a great measure also from a certain want of nature in them. Muretus, in an admirable parallel of Tibullus and Propertius, in the preface to his Scholia on the latter, though he does not finally adjudicate the respective claims of the two poets, lias very happily expressed the difference between them in the following terms:— " Ilium (Tibullum) judices siioplicius scripsisse quae cogitaret: hunc (Propertium) diligentius co-gitasse quid scriberet. In illo plus naturae, in hoc plus curae atque industriae perspicias." The fault
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