(c. 300 B.C.)
AN elegiac poet and grammarian, who was tutor to the children of Ptolemy I of Egypt and one of the poetic masters of Theócritus.
I mourn you not, best friend. Much good and fair
You knew. Of evil, too, God sent your share.
( Stobaeus, Florilegium, CXXIV, p. 616.).
(c. 315-c.240 B.C.)
J'ai l'esprit tout ennuyé,
D'avoir trop étudié
Les Phénomènes d'Arate;
Il est temps que je m'ébatte
Et que j'aille aux champs jouer.
Bons Dieux! qui voudrait louer
Ceux qui collés sur un livre
N'ont jamais souci de vivre.
Wordsworth looked forward to a poetry of science. But it has hardly arrived, though the idea of it was already known to the ancients. With his versified astronomy, the Phaenomena, Arãtus attained a reputation hard now to understand; he was imitated by Virgil, quoted by St. Paul, translated by Cicero, Germanicus Caesar, and the fourth-century Avienus. In a sense Arãtus, revives the didactic epic of Hēsiod, as Apollonius Rhodius the heroic epic of Homer. But where Hēsiod's work smells of rain-wet earth, that of Arãtus reeks of the lamp. He has none of the passion of Lucretius' De Rerum Natura, none of the charm of Fontenelle's prose in his Sur la Pluralité des Mondes. Alexandria, indeed, produced too much Professorenpoesie. Arãtus wrote also a poem on medicines, shorter pieces, an edition of the Odyssey, and a critical work on Homer; but these are lost.