Page images
PDF
EPUB

in a beautiful epithalamium.* Under the detestable vice, which infected the such patronage, and introduced into the age in which he lived.* bese circles of the capital, the native What rank Catullus held among the talent of Catullus could not fail of high wealthy, may admit of inquiry. In his and rapid improvement. The suavity earlier day, he might experience poof his manners, the brilliancy of his wit, verty; in later life, perhaps after his and a display of learning very rare among father's death, he appears to have been the poets of bis time, procured him affluent. On the one hand, he frankly many friends, among whom we must confesses the emptiness of his purse; distinguish Cornelius Nepos the histo- and he followed Memmius when Prætor rian. To bim Catullus dedicated his into Bithynia, it would seem, with the works. In the infinite variety of his hopes of gain. This employment, smaller poems, we may easily collect though probably creditable and importhe names of those with whom he was in tani, produced no profit, from the avithe habit of associating. Even Cicero dity of the Prætor, and his inattention is said to have highly valued him. That to the interest of ihose who accompanied he pleaded some cause for the poet, or him. So low was the condition of Ca. rendered him somé essential service in tullus, that in one place be says he could the forum, of which we are totally igno- not even afford the expence of bearers rant, is probable from the elegant to his old travelling coach: and in ano. Little epigram

which contains his ther, that he was obliged to mortgage bis thanks.t

country-seat. † Some critics, however, The loves of Catullus must necessarily have argued, that his having a countryforin a promir.ent part in every sketch seat implies that his poverty was not of his biography. His amatory produce inherited from his parents: he had a tions, equal in renown to the epic farm in the Tiburtine territory; he calls labours of the Mantuan bard, proclaim himself the lord of Sirmio;I he navigated his inconstancy and his successes. He the seas in his own vessel ; le gratified was chiefly attached to Clodia, I whom he his taste and inclinations, gave entertaincelebrates under the name of Lesbia, in ments, indulged in love, and einployed bonour perhaps of the Lesbian Sappho, numerous emissaries in the pursuit of his whose poems were his delight. Clodia was

amorous pleasures;s in short, he lived on frail, but possessed all the beauty of her terins of friendship with the great. This sex; probably of a gay and sprightly extravagant turn involved him in disa temper, from the comparison he draws tresses, and accounts, says Vulpius,l between her and the inanimate Quin- for his acquaintance with so many luw tilia, a celebrated beauty of a different characters. complexion. Some suppose Lesbia to, With these defects, his disposition have been sister to the infamous Clodi- was amiable, grateful, and affectionate.

Ilypsithillall and Aufilena, both The elegant composition on the nuptials Veronese ladies, also shared his affec- of his patron Manlius, is a proof of this. tions; but the latter, proving faith. In his epistle to the same, a strain of less, and being, besides, convicted of tenderness pervades the whole, that does incestuous pleasures, incurred the po- honour to his heart; he apologizes for etic castigation of the injured bard, his deficiency in friendly offices and whom the happier Quintius had li- poetical offerings, which he attributes to valled in her affections. ** Many other his grief for the loss of his brother; and females are mentioned in his poems; but his apostrophe to the memory of that these appear to have been his favourites. brother, is exquisite. The few lines he

It were to be wished, that the account composed on performing obsequies at his of liis amours ended here; but, from his tomb, on the Rbatian coast, breathe the on confession, we are compelled to purest fraternal regard. It appears that acknowledge that he was no stranger to wbile Catullus was on his expedition

with Memmius, his brother died prema• See Carm. 65.

turely in the Troad province; and was + Carm. 46. | Apuleius, Orat. Claud. Mac.

* Carm. 21, 45, 78, 94. Carm. 8S.

+ Carm. 23. | Carm, 29,

I C. 28.
Carm. 106.

Carm. 98. ** Carm. 95.

| See Vulp. in Vit. Catul.

us.

buried on the promontory of Rhætium, to write Latin jainbics.* Others have once celebrated for the sepulchre of considered him merely as a writer of Ajax Telamon. Returning from Bithy- epigrams; while a few have dignified bim nia into Italy, he necessarily passed with the title of a lyric poet. But,, Rhætium ; where, in love and.veneration perhaps, to neither of these in particular, * for the memory of his brother, * he does Catullus belong; it is probable, stopped at his comb, and offered a son

that he wrote

many poems whose lemn oblation.t

nature even is unknown to us, of which The learned character of Catullus is we have been deprived by time and acknowledged by writers, both ancient accident, and which very possibly con. and modern. "Tibullus, Ovid, and ferred upon him the distinction of Martial,ll give him the appellation of learned, which we have alluded to

Doctus. The elder Scaliger alone, 1 above. Speaking of himself when among the moderns, disputes his preten. young, he says, multa satis lusi;† from sions to that title, and asserts, on the which we may inser that his Muse exhicontrary, that his poems are vulgar, his bited herself in various kinds of poetry. thoughis low, and his expreşsions trivial. It may be collected from Pliny the elder, But he seems to bave shanged his opi- that he composed a something on incantanion, when he pronounces his galliambic tions, of which we have now no remains; poem a noble composition; and de- and according to Terentianus Maurus, clares, that the epithalamium on the he wrote an Ithyphallic poem, and marriage of Peleus and Thetis alınost there is still lett a specimen of the rivals ihe majesty of the Æneid. On Priapeian style in which it was written, what account he more . particularly Asit is, the poems transmitted to its, and obtained the epithet doctus, is uncertain; generally received as belonging to Caperhaps from being well versed in the tullus, though sone have doubted the Greek language, then considered a great originality of all, have been divided by accomplishment, and the proof of a many of his commentators into three learned education. We know how classes: the lyric, the heroic and elegiac, neatly he has imitated an ode of Sappho, and the epigrammatic. The volume, in and an elegy of Callimachus; indeed, general, includes a few others attributed all his compositions appear to be formed to the same poet, of a more suspicious on the Grecian model

. Perhaps the character. Of these, it may be doubted distinction arose from the various metres whether the Pervigilium Veneris be in which he wrote his poems; or else genuine. This beautiful piece, which from some peculiar literary talent, with ought rather to have been called A Hymn which we are unacquainted, or some to the Spring, has been attributed to a other works now lost. To those who variety of authors, whom it would be have been accustomed to consider him tedious to

Ausonius, I only as a trifling amatory poet, the know not how justly, puts in his claim epithet, no doubt, appears singularly to the honour of having composed it; applied.

but it is, most probably, the producủon Catullus died some years after the of some pen more modern than that of age of 40, as Vulpius has satisfactorily Catullus, or even of Ausonius. Gyraldus proved.*

asserts that he had never seen it, and Scholiasts have not agreed in what only heard that it was ain'ng the MSS. class the poet of Verona ought to be of Aldus Manutius. placed. Quintilian has placed him Whatever were the various walks in among the lambics; though Horace which Catullus exercised his mitise, he boasts of having himself been the first was succes ful in all. In the voluptui usa

ness of amatory, verse he exceiler; in Carm. 62 and 65.

the galliambict he was unique, and his Carm. 96. Eleg. 7, lib. 3.

* Epist. 19, lib. 1. Amor. Eleg. 9, lib. 3.

+ Carm. 65 Epig. 62, lib. 1.

| This was the metre in which the Galle, Poetices, cap. 6, lib. 6.

or priestesses of Cybele, are said to have sung ; ** See Vulp. Comment, on Carm. 50 and hence it received its name. 1. is composed 108; though Eusebius, in his Chronicle, of six feet.

of Carullu, which is . affirms that he died at the age of 30, about probably of Grecian origin, will give the the time that Virgil was a student at reader the best idea of this singular versifi. Cremona.

cation. MONTHLY MAG. No. 203.

E

satire

enumerate.

The

satire was keen, well-pointed, and vigo. the despoiling prætor Cn. Calpurnius rous. A vein of sharp and provoking Piso; the fetid Virro, if such be the real irony, sometimes smooth, and at otñers name of the person intended;* Rufus, caustic in the highest degree, runs through who had a siinilar infirmity, and was most of his smaller pieces; and we can. must probably M. Cælius Rufus the oranot but admire the perfect indifference tor; Šilo, a pander; Vibennius and bis with which he fearlessly applies it, with son, the one a thief, and the other unnaout distinction of persons. Even Cæsar curally infamous; the lascivious Aufiler himself felt the severity of his song, but nus, brother of Aufilena, the mistress of was too magnanimous to resent it. When Catullus; Rufa, of Bononia, wife of Meupon a visit at the house of Cicero, who nenus, and the mistress of Rufulus; Postrecords the circumstance in a letter to humia, a lady of bacchanalian fame; his friend Atticus, that poem,* an eternal Balbus, Posthrumius, and other obscure. stain upon his reputation, wherein the characters mentioned in the poem to a poet censures his ill-applied liberality harlot's door. All these were exposed towards the dissolute favourite Mamurra, to the lash of an injured, and sometimes was shewn to him while he was at the exasperated, poet; particularly those who bath, as the topic of public conversation. presumed to rival him in the affection ef Cæsar affected to disregard it,f and either his mistresses. He pursues them with to display an ostentacious moderation, keen and unremitting severity; he deor to conceal his indignation, he accepted rides their pretensions, and exposes their the submission of Catullus, and soon personal infirmities, with a freedom of after invited him to supper; he also con pencil and a broadness of expression, tinued to make a home of his father's which compel us to consider him as one house as usual.I Next to Cæsar, and of the wittiest, and, at the same time, one to Mamurra, whose sumptuous posses- of the inost indecent, poets of antiquity. sions proclaimed his ravages in Transalpine Gaul better than all the verse of To the Editor of the Monthly Magazine. Catullus, the principal objects of his

SIR, satire were Gellius, Gallus, Vectius, Ra

Cadiz, Nov. 1809. vidus, Cominius, Nonius Struma, and ARRIVED here after a passage of Vatinius; all of them men whom he ap

I

cighteen days from Falmouth, which, pears to have cordially hated. Meme at this season of the year, is not a long mius, the avaricious prætor whom he at one; while at sea we experienced fair tended into Bithynia, of course, does not and foul winds, calms and storins, “temescape it. He ridicules the incontinent pest o'er tempest rollid.” foul-breathedş Emilius. He plays upon I was comfortable on board the packet Volusius, a wretched writer of annals ;ll so far as related to sociability, there Egnatius, his execrable poetic rival; Sufo being above twenty passengers, some of fenus, a conceited scribbler, with whom whom are proceeding to different parts, be includes Cæsius and Aquinius, two of the Mediterranean; but the crowded literary pests; and lastly the weak orator state of “each in his narrow cell," was Sextius, at the recital of whose cold occasionally uncomfortable. compositions, he ludicrously says that he We were prevented froin making Cape took cold himself. Catullus also makes Finisterre by a strong easterly wind, satirical mention of other characters, less that blew just as we came into that latiimportant and less conspicuous in his

tude; but in a day or two the wind 'verses: such as Sulla, a grammarian; the changed, and light airs carried us gently pompous poet Antiinachus; Arrius, a along the coast of Portugal to the rock violent aspirator of words,** whose uncle of Lisbon, as we call it, but the Portu. Liber had the same defect; Fuffitius, an güése call it Serra de Cintia; for it is old secretary of Cæsar's, together with not an insulated rock, but a vast promon. Otho and Libo, whose dirty feet are no tory, “whose haughty brow" marks the ticed;tt Porcius and Socration, tools of

near

* Carm. 26.
+ Cic. epist. ad Attic. b. 52.
I Sueton, in Julio, cap. 73.

See Carm. 92.
Carm. 33.

Carm. 41. ** Carm. 81.

* Carm. 68.

+ Carm. 64. This singular piece is a dia. logue between a passenger and the door of a certain brothel; but as che name of the in. famous woman who kept it is not mentioned, and the various personages alluded to are unknown to us, the sting of the satire is quiter lost to us.

++ Carm. 51.

near approach to the Tagus. On the The intention of the other passengers top is a convent, whose white walls was to mount their inules, and make an glittered in the sun; and a few miles in excursion hither; but their disappointa railey to the lert, we plainly saw the ment was great when they learned that town of Cinira, so lately made famous to travel about seventy miles would cause by the convention between the British them a tiresome ride of three days, if it and French commanders,

were even possible for them to proceed Although this is a winter month, we at all, owing to the rains, and the conse already felc the delightful soft breezes of quent bad state of the roads. They, this climate. Ike setting sun formed a therefore, reluctantly relinquished their charong object, where we saw its gol- scheme, and had the morcifying fatigue den rays spreading over an horizon of un- of rocking two days and a night in an bounded extent on the "! vast Atlantic:" open dirty fishing-boat, 10 come here in it was an evening picture which may in time to look at the place for a few mie' sain be sought for in England.

autes, and then make sail after the pacWe continued our course in-shore, ket, which is allowed to wait only twenand soon came off Cape St. Vincent, ty-four hours, and had just weighed anwhere the rocks seem to protect the land clior to pursue her voyage. in a sort of defiance to the waves of the Immediately on our anchoring, we ocean. We stood in sufficiently close to were surrounded by boals with fruit, &c. see the inhabitants of the country walk. The men wore the national cockade, ing to the convent, it being on a Sun. (which I have already found requisite to day. This is a large irregular building, adopt, in order to avoid insult;) and we almost on the edge of a high range of soon landed at the quay, amid the noise, rocks: and the end of it towards the sea confusion, and curiosity, of hundreds of exhibits a large cross on the wails. Near dirty boatmen, porters, &c. which was it is a fort, where the Spanish colors were truly offensive. hosted to us: we, of course, returned the It was necessary that our baggage compliment.

should be examined, and for this purpose When we came near Ayamonte, some it was carried to an office; the inspectors of our passengers went ashore, in conse- 'appeared inclined to give the trouble of quence of the indisposition of a lady we opening every package: but a dollar ohhad on board, and whose life might have viated this ceremony. On coming howbeen endangered had she remained lon- ever to the Barrier, another exhibition was ger at sea. A Spanish boat came along. to take place; and here, each trunk was side iis; and on informing the sailors of opened and submitted to a search by the the objert wished for, they expressed band, before we were suffered to proa dislike to receive the invalid, and feared ceed. that their governor would not permit A porter then conducted me to the them to land her under the apprehension largest, and, as it is termed, ihe best inn that a contagious disorder might be in. in the place. I did not expect to meet troduced into the place.

with the comforts of an English inn, hut Ayamonte is a frontier-town of Spain, was much surprised to observe the absence on the river Guadiana; opposite to it is of almost every decent convenience. a frontier-town of Portugal, founded by My lodging-room resembles the cell of a the marquis de Pombal, during his prose prison; the floor is of brick, the window perity as minister of that country, in the small, with iron bars, and no glass, but a year 1752, and called Villa Real.' They wooden shutter closes it at night have both a handsome appearance from mattress of wool is lain on a weh, which is the sea.

stretched by a wooden frame, and a chair Much opposition was made to the serves for the wash-hand stand. I couid lady's landing. After this was overcome not refrain remarking the nature of our a mnost serious obstacle occurred, for no accommodation to the landlord, whose person was inclined to receive her into a reply was, “ Why, sir, this is the same house ; and two hours passed before they hotel that my lord and lady Hcould find a shelter, which was at last sided in while they were at Cadiz." in an uninhabited hovel. The object of The smell of tobacco smoke, oil, and ber landing was to procure medical as• garlick, is predominant in almost every sistance, however bad, rather than to re. thing; the oil is such as is used in manumain longer in the packet, which was factories in England, and the fish, poultry, unprovided with so requisite a part of its and beef, partake of it, unless it is hoiled. equipment.

The coffee at breakfast is excellent, but

A

re

it is brought to us in a kettle from a theatre, or at the card-table; the actors neiglıbouring coffee house.

and music are tolerably good, the house I shall change my residence so soon as is spacious, and has three tier of boxes, I can meet with a more comfortable one; but they are all private; so that unless a but furnished lodgings, such as are in friend is known who rents one of them, England, cannot be procured easily; the there is no getting a seat. The pit is Spaniards are not partial to this kind of then only open, or a hench which is in accommodation, and every article of front of the first tier of boxes, and con. furniture must be purchased, or hired tains about a hundred persons. separately from the apartments.

To enter the theatre the expence is December 1, 1809. trifling, but troublesome; having to pay Ilaving been here a few days, I have at two doors for tickets of admission, at length found out a French hotel, where where you are pestered by persons the table is chiefly surrounded by Eng- stationed to solicit money for charries; lishinen. The expences of board and these tickets, being delivered at the enlodging are two dollars a day, for which trance, another inust be procured in order we have a breakfast of tea, coffee, and to get a sitting; this will cost one or two chocolate, a dinner, and supper. The shillings; it has the number of the seat you hour of dinner is generally two o'clock, can occupy and no other; the pit will conamong persons of all ranks; but the tain only a certain number of persons, so Spaniarus begin to complain of an en- that without having such ticket you have croachment in this regulation, in con no claim to a seat. The pit is appropriated sequence of so many English being here, exclusively for men; sone of them rent who rather extend, or wish to extend, the their places for a certain tiine, to which time.

they have a lock and key; the gallery The heat of the climate is the reason over the boxes, is filled entirely by fe, for adopting this custom; in the suminer males, and guards are stationed in the season, the scorching sun does not allow passages leading to it to prevent improper people to take much exercise in the

access to them. alternoon: they commonly recline on the A ludicrous circumstance occurred the sofa, and enjoy the siesta or nap, and night I was there; in the midst of the pers do not walk out until the evening breeze formance of a comedy, I was surprised to springs up.

observe on a sudden a profound silence, Our dinner usually consists of a great while the actors and the audience fell on number of dishes, the Spaniards liking their knees, remaining in this posture a to please the palate with every variety of few minutes! I was naturally desirous cookery. Soup is always at table, inade to know the cause, and was informed either of pulse or animal food, which is that the "host" was carrying to the house boiled so long as not to retain any flavor of a dying person, in order to administer of the meat; ibis is eaten with vegetables, the sacrament, such as cauliflower, cabbages, &c. which The procession on these occasions is is plentifully seasoned with rancid oil

, former of a great number of clergy, garlick, &c. and is called an olio; a dish preceded by a warning bell, and a blaze inuch esteemed. Poultry, wild fowl, fish, of torches at night; the "holy wafer" and game, forin the remainder of the cour. being borne by a priest, who sits in a ses; fruit, of various şorts, succeed before chair. On their approach every one the cloth is removed. Water or sherry- within sight or hearing falls on his knees, wine is taken with the dinner, and with whether in the street or in a house, and moderation afterwards; coffee is then pre. remains, or is supposed to remain, in pared in an adjoining room; soinctimes prayer while the procession passes. The a glass of liqueur finishes the ceremony, weather or the place does not excuse and is a signal for withdrawing. At the omission of this duty; the posters dinner, each person is furnished with a with a load on their backs will stand still, napkin, and a roll of bread; one knife and a regiment of soldiers will fall on will otien serve for several persons, the their knees on the parade, on these occafork and the spoon being mostly used by sions. In fact no one is exempt from the right hand, while the left holds a crust this obeisance, and þeretics commit an of bread, which is continually soaked in open offence if they do not passively conthe gravy; a Spaniard not eating in a form to it. very delicate manner at table,

But among the public acts of Catholic The evening is generally spent at the devotivi, none is certainly so apparently

Peligious

« PreviousContinue »