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The precept that there is no cure for love is naturally connected with descriptions of the desperate plight of the lover. All the passages in which cures are rejected as useless are coupled with such descriptions,' but Propertius i. 1 is especially significant because this elegy was intended as a general introduction to Book I, if not a larger part of the elegies, and therefore presents the typical condition of the lover-poet. Both this elegy and ii. 4 are warnings to others to avoid the evils of such a state.2 It matters not what is the cause of her obduracy. The lover suffers in any case, but his woe is expected to arouse her pity.
The same desperate plight is pictured in Longus and in the Cistellaria, although in the former the lovers are still rudes, in the latter external circumstances have caused the trouble. The Cistellaria is indeed filled with elegiac sentiment and there are passages which recall more than one elegiac motif. Note the anguish of Alcesimarchus (203-30):
qui omnis homines. . antideo cruciabilitatibus animi
in amoris rota, etc.
Selenium is heartbroken in her fear that the youth, who has been ordered to marry another, will desert her in spite of his promises— apparently a foedus. Alcesimarchus, equally despondent, tries by means of oaths and protestations to secure Selenium, but is rebuffed by her supposed mother, the meretrix Melaenis. All these details may be paralleled in Roman elegy, but the happy ending of the play is ill adapted to elegiac treatment. The difficulties of your true elegist are never solved with such finality.
Another detail of the despairing lover's situation which is an echo of comedy is his involuntary return to the door of her who has rejected him (Prop. ii. 4, 4: dubio . . . . pede; ii. 25, 30; invitis ipse redit pedibus; Tib. ii. 5, 13: pes tamen ipse redit); cf. Terence, Eunuch. 46 ff. paraphrased by Horace (Sat. ii. 3, 260 ff.-here also love is a morbus, in the Stoic sense). It seems, therefore, that both
1 Cf. Tib. ii. 3, 78; ii. 4, 1 ff.
2ii. 4 is counter-didaxis to certain friends who had suggested remedies.
the figure of the despairing lover and his hopeless precept, the incurability of love, were developed in comedy.1
So much has been written on the possible sources of Propertius i. 2 that I hesitate to enter the discussion.2 Some points, however, may be urged. The thought of this graceful little elegy is in outline: Why seek adornment, my love? Your natural beauty needs no adornment (1-8). Behold the beauties of nature (9-14), and consider the heroines of old who, though seeking no adornment, won and were true to a single lover (15-24). Your charms will always hold me in thrall without any external aid (25-32). The doctrine "beauty unadorned" is not preached sincerely by Propertius, for he realizes the girl's purpose in adorning herself; cf. vss. 23-26 and the emphasis on illis, i.e., they did not seek crowds of lovers, but you do. This proves that the description is that of a meretrix, a fact which is enforced by iv. 5, 55-56 (lena's precepts) which repeat the two opening lines of this elegy as typical of the stuff poured into a girl's ears by the self-seeking lover). The girl is, therefore, practicing that attention to personal adornment which was taught by the lenae in comedy, and the closest parallels to the elegy are found in comedy or in literature which received the motif directly or indirectly from comedy, e.g., Plautus, Most. i. 3, the famous toilet scene, in which the old meretrix-servant, Scapha, at first urges upon the loyal Philematium that very pursuit of "crowds of lovers" against which Propertius is covertly preaching: cf. Most. 188-90 (matronae non meretricium est unum inservire amantem), 195–203, etc., but at last, finding the girl true to Philolaches, to save herself and to flatter her mistress, she preaches the doctrine of beauty unadorned; cf. 250-92. She closes this part of her advice
1 I have not dealt with other remedia-philters, magic, etc.-because they are not presented didactically except by Ovid. The sources of the Remedia amoris offer an interesting field of investigation. On the use of magic cf. Wilhelm Ph. LX (1901), 579 ff.
2 Cf. Leo Gött. Gelehrt. Anz. (1898), p. 726; Gollnisch Quaestt. elegiac., pp. 26-31; Wilhelm Phil. LX (1901), 579 ff. (on Tib. i. 8); Legrand Rev. des ét. grec., p. 202; Hoelzer op. cit.
3 Prop. ii. 186 has the same thought without, however, the implication of jealousy; cf. Tib. i. 8, 15 f. and the beautiful iv. 2 (not of a meretrix). Ovid A.A. iii. 257 ff. proceeds from the same thought-cultus is not necessary for the real beauties, though (ibid. 101-250) it is a very valuable aid to most meretrices, cf. medicamina faciei.
with a perfect broadside of sententiae (288-92) epitomizing the whole: purpura aetati occultandaest, aurum turpi mulieri . . . pulcra mulier nuda erit quam purpurata pulcrior . . . . poste nequiquam exornata est bene, si morata est male. pulcra est nimis ornatast; cf. Poen. 301-8.
These striking agreements between Plautus and Propertius clearly indicate that the motif came to Roman elegy from comedy, whether directly or indirectly. In Philostratus Epp. 22 (40) we have a letter which has the same thought as Propertius i. 2-except that there is no clear hint of jealousy-cf. especially dè кaλǹ οὐδενὸς δεῖται τῶν ἐπικτήτων . . . . τὸ δ ̓ ἀκόσμητον ἀληθῶς καλόν. The letter emphasizes the point-found alike in the Mostellaria and Ovid-that adornment serves especially to hide blemishes; cf. 36 (67). In Lucian, Dialog. meretr. vi. 3 Crobyle, a lena, telling how Lyra, a model meretrix, has succeeded so well, gives as one of the items: κατακοσμοῦσα ἑαυτὴν εὐπρεπῶς. Again in the "Ερωτες (39–42) Lucian penetrates, like a second Ovid, into all the secrets of the feminine toilet, and the purpose of all this beautification is the same that is briefly hinted by Propertius. Lastly in Plautus, Poen. 210 ff., there is a long discussion of the same theme by Adelphasium and Anterastilis, who are about to go in search of lovers. A few quotations from this will suffice. Adelphasium professes to think that the toilet may be overdone and Anterastilis rejoins (233-35): miror equidem, soror, te istaec sic fabulari | quae tam callida et docta sis et faceta. nam quom sedulo munditer nos habemus, vix aegreque amatorculos invenimus, i.e., adornment is a necessary part of the art. Adelphasium agrees on the main point, but thinks that everything should have a limit: excess annoys men. This last recalls Scapha's remarks (Most. 168-70). Stephanium's soliloquy (Stich. 744-47) is briefer, but to the same effect.2
The theme of adornment is presented didactically by Tibullus i. 8, 9-16, but the application is different. The passage is addressed to a youth who is vainly trying to win the favor of a girl whose
1 Cf. Horace's simplex munditiis (i. 5).
2 Comedy naturally poked much fun at the feminine propensity for adornment; cf. Aristoph. fr. 320K; Antiphanes, 148; Alexis, 98; Euboulus, 98; Plautus Aulul. 507 ff.; Epid. 222 ff., etc.
fancy is directed elsewhere, and Tibullus asserts that all his care is useless, although she pleases even without adornment. The same application may be found in Anth. Pal. v. 298, and the simple thought of the effect produced by beauty unadorned (of a girl), ibid. v. 25 and 259; cf. also 298, 299, and Ovid A.A. iii. 433-38 (a warning to girls to beware of the male flirt with his fine toilets).
The evidence presented indicates at least that the ultimate sources of Propertius i. 2 are to be sought in comedy. In comedy we have found both the precept that adornment is essential to win lovers for the meretrix (this is the typical form) and also that real beauty accomplishes the same result without adornment. Both these principles appear in Ovid's Handbook and (also from comedy) the additional teaching that adornment is really meant for those who have some blemish to conceal. The epigrams of the Anthology contain the motif of beauty unadorned, but they do not combine it with its obvious purpose as we find it in comedy and in Propertius. In fact the epigrams have much closer connection with Tibullus i. 8 than with Propertius. Nowhere are the two motives connected with jealousy on the part of the writer as in Propertius. This is the chief elegiac touch-together with the assertion of devotion at the end of the poem. The list of heroines also (15-22) is a trait belonging rather to elegy. From the structural point of view the poem might very well be an expanded epigram. The first eight verses make a very pretty epigram as they stand, and the rest of the poem could very easily have grown out of such an epigrammatic suggestion.1 But although many a poem of Catullus, Propertius, and Ovid can be readily explained as a padded epigram, we ought not to adopt the explanation in a case which presents such striking agreements with another genre.2
1 This is the view of Leo Pl.F., pp. 129 ff.; G.G.A. (1898), p. 726, and of Jacoby op. cit.
2 Gollnisch (p. 31), while proving that Prop. i. 2 does not agree with epigram, nevertheless goes astray in pointing to Alexandrian elegy as the source. He compares Nonnus Dionys. 42, 74-88 (on Beroe who had a beauty dweρ púσis eupe and who rejects cosmetics). Since the rejection of cosmetics is a trait that does not fit the daughter of Venus, Nonnus must be following a poet who described a mortal in this way, i.e., expressed his own feeling; and the agreement with Prop. i. 2 and Most. i. 3 points to Alexandrian elegy. This is a characteristic argument and it can hardly be accepted unless it is proved that Nonnus never used the New Comedy-an assumption
Limits of space forbid the extension of this investigation to other cases in which the material is less full, but the evidence presented is sufficient to establish certain results which could hardly be modified in any essential way by the study of precepts for which few Greek parallels exist. Wherever the evidence is adequate it points to New Comedy as the ultimate source of the erotic teaching which appears in Roman elegy. Furthermore, there was often direct use of the New Comedy. The elegist assumes the rôle assigned in comedy to the lena, the meretrix, or the adulescens, and even the comic form of the rôle survives in Roman elegy (Prop. iv. 5; Ov. A. i. 8), where it is so presented that the poet represents the eavesdropping youth of the stage. The rôle therefore has two forms, of which one is merely the transfer of the comic form to an elegiac setting. The precepts also appear in two forms according as they represent the feminine attitude the original form of comedy-or the masculine, in which they are adapted more completely to elegiac requirements. The erotic teaching of the elegists is thus a system in process of adaptation. This indicates a direct use of comedy by the Romans, and the influence is strengthened in several instances by the closer agreement of Roman elegy with New Comedy than with other Greek parallels.
The same form of argument may be used with reference to the relation of the later Greek parallels to the New Comedy. It is certain, for example, that Lucian used the New Comedy directly; it is not certain in any case (Aristaenetus, Alciphron, Philostratus, etc.) that the influence of comedy came indirectly through the medium of Alexandrian elegy. In short the interposition of Alexandrian elegy is not only unnecessary in order to explain the influence of comedy but is often an improbable explanation.1
The evidence derived from a study of the parallels is strengthened by some facts of literary history and by certain general considerations. From the very beginnings of Roman attempts to naturalize
which lies at the basis of the argument. Gollnisch refers to F. Mallet, Quaestt. Propert., p. 36, Adn. 1, who infers from certain agreements between Nonnus and the epigrammatists that the former was a sectator of the Alexandrians. More proof is necessary.
1 Careful investigation will establish this, I believe, for Philostratus and Aristaenetus at least.