Romance in the Latin Elegiac Poets

By Elizabeth Hazelton Haight | Go to book overview

III
THE ELEGIES OF CATULLUS

Odi et amo. Quare id faciam, fortasse requiris.
Nescio, sed fieri sentio et excrucior
.

[Cat. LXXXV]

I hate and love. You ask perhaps why this is so.
I feel the change, am tortured, why I do not know.

No ONE who glances through a volume of Catullus' poetry can deny that he wrote elegy. Among his extant works are elegiac epigrams and five elegiac poems of considerable length. (LXV-LXVIII, LXXVI.) Yet from the Augustan Age on, his influence on the development of elegy has been slighted. Ovid set the fashion of disregarding him in his famous canon of elegists:

Successor fuit hic tibi, Galle, Propertius illi, quartus ab his serie temporis ipse fui.

(T. IV. 10, 53-4]

And, as if following Ovid, Quintilian in his discussion of Roman elegy (Quint. X. 1, 93), mentions only Gallus, Tibullus, Propertius and Ovid. Propertius, however, the most brilliant of all the Roman elegists, recognized Catullus as one of his predecessors in the writing of erotic elegy. And the discerning appraisement of many modern scholars, notably Professor A. L. Wheeler,* is now

____________________
*
"Catullus as an Elegist," in A. J. P. XXXVI ( 1915), pp. 155-184.

-16-

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Romance in the Latin Elegiac Poets
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Foreword vii
  • Contents xi
  • I - What is "Romance"? 1
  • II - Greek Elegiac Poetry Before Gallus 8
  • III - The Elegies of Catullus 16
  • IV - Gallus 26
  • VII - Publius Ovidius Naso 125
  • VIII - The Latin Novel and the End Of Romance 220
  • Bibliography 233
  • Index 239
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