Page:EB1911 - Volume 22.djvu/455

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440
PROPERTY

by the electric spark of an immediate inspiration. His vanity and egotism are undeniable, but they are redeemed by his fancy and his humour.

Two of his merits seem to have impressed the ancients themselves. The first is most obvious in the scenes of quiet description and emotion in whose presentation he particularly excels. Softness of outline, warmth of colouring, a fine and almost voluptuous feeling for beauty of every kind, and a pleading and melancholy tenderness-such were the elements of the spell which he threw round the sympathies of his reader, and which his compatriots expressed by the vague but expressive word blanditia. His poetic facundia, or command of striking and appropriate language, is more noticeable still. Not only is his vocabulary very extensive, but his employment of it extraordinarily bold and unconventional. New settings of use, idiom and construction continually surprise us, and, in spite of occasional harshness, secure for his style an unusual freshness and freedom. His handling of the elegiac couplet, and especially of its second line, deserves especial recognition. It is vigorous, varied and even picturesque. In the matter of the rhythms, caesuras and elisions which it allows, the metrical treatment is much more severe than that of Catullus, whose elegiacs are comparatively rude and barbarous; but it is not bound hand and foot, like the Ovidian distich, in a formal and conventional system. An elaborate symmetry is observable in the construction of many of his elegies, and this has tempted critics to divide a number of them into strophes.

Propertius's poems bear evident marks of the study of his predecessors, both Greek and Latin, and of the influence of his contemporaries. He tells us himself that Callimachus and Philetas were his masters (iii. 1, seq.), and that it was his ambition to be the Roman Callimachus (iv. 1, 64). But, as Teuffel has said, his debt to these writers is chiefly a formal one. Even into his mythological learning he breathes a life to which these dry scholars are strangers. We can trace obligations to Meleager, Theocritus, Apollonius Rhodius and other Alexandrines, and amongst earlier writers to Homer, Pindar, Aeschylus and others. Propertius's influence upon his successors was considerable. There is hardly a page of Ovid which does not show obligations to his poems, while other writers made a more sparing use of his stories.

A just appreciation of the genius and the writings of Propertius is made sensibly more difficult by the condition in which his works have come down to us. Some poems have been lost; others are fragmentary; and many are more or less disfigured by corruption and disarrangement. The manuscripts on which we have to rely are both late and deeply interpolated. Thus the restoration and interpretation of the poems is one of peculiar delicacy and difficulty.

On the Propertii see Mommsen in Hermes, iv. 370; Haupt, Opusc. i. 282. Inscriptions of Propertii have been found at Assisi. Propertius's family was not “ noble, ” ii. 34, 55, 6, and ii. 24, 37 seq. Apart from the question of reading in 1v. 1, 125 (MSS. As1s.), “ the climbing walls of his town" (scandentes arces, scandens murus, iv. 1, 65 and loc.cit.), its nearness to Perugia, and its position close above the plain (i. 22, 9, 10) are decisive for Asisium as the birthplace of Propertius. Ovid thus assigns Propertius his place: successor fuit hic (Tibullus), tibi, Galle: Propertius illi (Tibullo): Quartus ab his serie temporis ipse fui (Tr. iv. 10, 53, 54) (cf. ib., ii. 467). For Ovid's friendship with Propertius see below-iv. i, 121 seqQ is the chief authority for the earlier events of his life, 127 seq.: “Ossaque legisti non illa aetate legenda Patris et in tenues cogeris ipse Lares. Nam tibi cum multi versarent rura iuvenci Abstulit excultas pertica tristis opes." Elsewhere he says that he is “ non ita dives ” ii. 24, loc. cit.) and that he had “ nulla domi fortuna relicta, " ii. 34, loc. cit. His living on the Fsquiline, iii. 23, 24, points to a competence. For the death of his kinsman, general y supposed to be the Gallus of 1. 21, see i. 22, 5-8. Propertius's mother is mentioned more than once, in very affectionate terms in i., ii. 21. She was dead when iii. 13 (I 1) was Written, i.e. six months after the publication of the first book. For the quality of Propertius's education, the poems themselves are the only, but a sufficient, testimony. For Lycinna see iii. 15, 3-10, 43. Cynthia (Hostia) was a native of Tibur (iv. 7, 85), and probably a granddaughter (iii. 20, 8) of L. Hostius, who wrote a poem on the lllyrian War of 178 B.C., of which some fragments are preserved. She was older than Propertius (ii. 18, 20). That she was a meretrix is clear from many indications-her special accomplishments, her house in the Subura, the occurrence of scenes like those ini. 3, ii. 29, the fact that Propertius could not marry her, &c. For re erences to her beauty see ii. 2, 5 sqq. and 3, 9 sqq.; ii. 13, 23, 24; to her poetry, ii. 3, 21; to other accomplishments, i. 2, 27 seq.; iii. 20, 7 seq. She was fickle (i. 15, ii. 6, &c.), avaricious (ii. 16, II, 12), fond of fmery (ii. 3, 15, 16), violent of temper (iii. 8; i. 4, 18 seq.). For the five years see iii. 25, 3, “ quinque tibi potui servire fideliter annos ”; and for the year of estrangement, iii. 16, 9, “ peccaram semel, et totum sum pulsus in annum." The second separation is vouched for by the two last elegies of book iii. For the evidence which iv. 7 furnishes in favour of a reconciliation see Postgate (Prop. lntrod. p. xxv. seq.); iv. 6 commemorates the celebration of the ludi guinquennales, in 16 B.C., and iv. 11, 66 alludes to the consulship of P. Scipio in the same year. For Passennus Paullus (or as an Assisi inscription calls him C. Passennus Sergius Paullus Propertius Blaesus), see Pliny (Ep. vi. 15), “ municeps Properti atque etiam inter maiores Propertium numerat”; (9, 22), “ in litteris veteres aemulatur exprimit reddit: Propertium in primis a quo genus ducit, vera suboles eoque simillima illi in quo ille praecipuus, si elegos eius in manum sumpseris, leges opus tersum molle iucundum et plane in Properti domo scriptum." ii. 1 and iii. 9 are addressed to Maecenas, ii. 10 to Augustus. Virgil is spoken of in the highest terms in ii. 34, 61 seq. Other poems are addressed to Ponticus (i. 7, 9), Bassus (i. 4), Lynceus, a tragic poet (i. 19, ii. 34). In ii. 2, 87 seq., Horace has been thought to make a direct attac on Propertius. On Propertius's personal appearance, see i. I, 22, 5, 21. A likeness of him has possibly been preserved in a double Hermes in the Villa Albani and the Vatican, which represents a young beardless Roman, of a nervous and somewhat sickly appearance, together with a Greek poet (Visconti, Iconograph. romana., pl. 14, 3, 4). Ill health is proved by i. 15 and the frequent references to death and burial-i. 19, ii. 1, 71 sqq., ii. 13, 17 sqq. For his care about dress and the like see ii. 4, 5, seq. For want of courage and energy see ii. 7, I4, ii. 19, I7-24; and for superstitious leanings, ii. 27, ii. 4, 15, iv. 5, 9 seq. The four-book numbering is now the current one and is adopted in this article though there is little doubt that there were originally four books besides the Cynthia. Few of the poems can be dated with certainty, but those that can, with the exception of iv. 6 and II, fall between the years 28 and 23 B.c. For ancient references to Propertius as a writer see Quint. x. 1, 93 (where it is stated that some (not Quintilian) preferred him to Tibullus), Ov. A. A. iii. 333; T r. iii. 465, v. 1, 17; Mart. xiv. 189, viii. 73; Pliny, loc. cit. above, Stat. Silv. i. 2, 253. There is no existing MS. of Propertius older than the 12th century. Up till the publication of B5.hrens's edition (1880), the oldest one, Neapolitanus (N., now at Wolfenbuttel), was universally regarded as the best, and even now critics are found to maintain its paramount claims. But the more judicious admit the value of the four MSS. collated by Biihrens. Vossianus, c. [300 (A); Laurentianus, end of 14th century (F); Ottoboniano-Vaticanus, 15th century (V); Daventriensis, 15th century (D), to which has to be added the Holkhamicus, 1421 (L), collated by Postgate, Cambridge Philological Transactions (1894) vol. iv.

The editio princeps of Propertius is that of 1472 (Venice). Among later editions we may mention the following, those with explanatory or critical notes being marked with an asterisk: *Scaliger (1577, &c.),

  • Broukhusius (2nd ed., 1577), *Passeratius (1608, with index

verborum), *Vulpius (1755, with index verborum), *P. Burmann (and Santen) (1780), *Lachmann (1816), *Hertzberg (1843-1845, L. Muller (1870), Haupt-Vahlen (last ed., 1904), *Bahrens (1880,

  • A. Palmer (1..8o), *Postgate (1881), selections with introduction

(text with critical notes in the Corpus poetarum latinorum, 1894, also issued separately), *Rothstein (1898), *H. E. Butler (1 05), index -verborum (to fic own te: 2), S. Phillimore (1906), E. Housman (without publishing an edition) has done much to im rove and explain the poems. For further information we ma refer to F. Plessis, Etudes critiques sur .Properce et ses élégies (1886)Q and the sections on the poet in Teuffel's and Schanz's Histories of Roman Literature.

The following translations into English verse are known: G. F. Nott (1Z,82), bk. i.; C. A. Alton, selections in his Specimens of the Classic oets (1814), ii. 215 seq.; C. R. Moore (1870); J. Cranstoun (1875); F. A. Paley (1866), verse translations from bk. v. with notes; also a few translations by the poet Gray, vol. i. (Gosse,

1834); S. G. Tremenheere (1899), bk. i. Prose translations: P. J. F. Gantillon (with Nott's and Elton's versions, Bohn, 1848); J. S. Phillimore (1906).


PROPERTY, that which is peculiarly one's own, that which belongs to or is characteristic of an individual. The Latin proprietas (formed from proprius, one's own, possibly derived from prope, near) in post-Augustan times was extended to ownership and rights of possession. It is thus, in law, the generic term for rights of ownership and for things subject to the rights of ownership. It is “ the most comprehensive of all terms which can be used, inasmuch as it is indicative and descriptive of every possible interest which the party can have” (see Langdale, M. R., in J ones V. Skinner, 183 5, 5 L. J. Ch. go).