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seen a noble Venetian, named Andreas Naugerius, who had an exquisite Discernment, and who by a natural Antipathy against all that which is called Point, which he judged to be of an ill Relish, facrificed every Year in Ceremony a Volume of Martial's Epigrams to the Manes of Catullus, in honour to his Character.
THIS Poet has been cenfured for the Lewdo ness of some of his Pieces; the Looseness of his Thoughts, and his fulsome Expressions have given great Offence, and obliged his Judges to conclude that he must have been a profligate Debauchee. But Bayle makes an Apology for him; he fays, that the ancient Romans had not laid down those Rules of Politeness, which at prefent make those who compose obscene Verses fall into publick Contempt. Catullus therefore did his Character no great Harm by the gross, Obscenities and infamous Impurities with which he poison'd many of his Poems. Pliny the Younger is of the fame Opinion: It seems Obscenity, according to the Ancients, was not only allowable in these fort of Compositions, but when artfully drefled up was esteemed one of its greatest Beauties. Catullus wrote by this Rule,
Nam caftum effe decet, &c. Lyric. 17. The Poet, I confess, should chaste appear, Then may his luscious Lines affect the Ear, Divert with wanton Pleasantry the Mind; Not over-modeft, but to Love inclin'd.
We are told by Crinitus, that Catullus had so great a Reputation for Learning, that by the Consent of the best Judges, the Epithet of
Dostus was affixed to his Name. Cvid thought that for Majesty and Loftiness of Verse, he was no way inferiour to Virgil himself; and tho' both the Plinys have condemned Catullus's Verse as harsh and unpleasant, yet he has generally been
accounted a most elegant Poet, and has had fe· veral who have copied after him. The sweetest
and most polite of all the Poets, if he appears
at any time hard and rough, especially in his : Epicks, yet he has made sufficient amends by
his wonderful pleasant Wit, and by his pure Elegancy in the Roman Language. His Co
temporaries called him the Learned, because he I knew how to translate into Latin Verfe the
most beautiful and delicate Pieces in the Greek | Poets, which before him was thought impossible 5 to be done..
The Reputation of Catullus sinks very low in the Opinion of Julius Scaliger,; he can up
on no account imagine the Reason, why this * Poet was distinguish'd by the Ancients with the 5 Title of the Learned; he does not see any thing e in his Pieces but what is common and ordi
nary. His Style, he says, is generally hard and unpolished, though indeed sometimes it Aows like Water, but has no Strength. He is often very immodest, and puts him out of countenance ; sometimes he is so very languid and faint, that he cannot but pity him; and he is often under such Difficulties and Constraint, that he is exceedingly troubled and concerned for him.
Editions of CATULLUS.
Can Tio Prstetig atatz: ef. Nitis d is Picrimi elez. Typis. Patris, 1604, Folio.
Cam. iz üzm Poeti, elegazti Cera , pait accarat Ema catis. Typis decer. Cansab. 1702, 4to.
Cum Tib. Prop. Vitis Maricras cue Joh. Geo. Gizvii, 2 vol.
L. Bat. 1689, 8vo. Catullus in Exo. Obrationes Isaaci Veffii. 4*.. parvo.
L. Bat. 1684. Cum Tiburo & Propertia, rectis Ant. Valpii.
Patav. 1710, 4to. L'aria editiones horam Autorum extant. 24to.
most excellent of all the ancient Roman Poets, Aourish'd in the Time of Augustus; he was born on the fifteenth of OEtober, in the Year of Rome Six hundred eighty-three, in a Village called Andes, about three Miles from Mantua. His Father was a Man of low Fortune, his Name is unknown, but it is said he was by Trade a Basket-maker ; his Mother's Name was Maja. A Poet of his extraordinary Character must not be born without some extraordinary Circumstances attending upon his Nativity. His Mother therefore dream'd that she was deliverd of an Olive-branch, which was no sooner set in the Ground, but it took
root, and sprung up into a Tree, abounding with Fruit and Blossoms; and going out next Day to a neighbouring Village with her Husband, she was obliged to stop by the way, and was deliver'd of him in a Ditch. The Child is said not to have cried upon his first coming into the World like other Infants, but shew'd such a siniling Countenance, as promised something extraordinary. A Branch of
Poplar (according to the Custom of the Couni try) was planted where his Mother was deliver'd
of him, which sprung up and grew so fast, that iit foon came up to the Size of the other Trees
set thereabouts long before it. This Tree was called after his Name and consecrated to him, which gave occasion to a great deal of Superstition in the neighbouring Parts, especially among the Tuscans.
AT seven Years of Age he was sent by some Friends he found to study at Cremona, a Rom man Colony; after which he made some stay at Milan, and then went to Naples, where he studied with the greatest Diligence the Latin and Greek Literature, as he did afterwards the Mathematicks and Natural Philosophy. He learned Greek under Parthenius of Nicæa, and his Mafter for Philosophy was Syro, one of the greatest Men of the Epicurean Sect, tho' Virgil, upon maturer Judgment, became a Follower of the Platonic System.
Afteå some Time spent in his Studies, his Curiosity and Defire of Knowledge led him to travel through Italy, when it is supposed he went to Rome. Then we are told he published his sixth Eclogue, which Rofcius rehearsing up
on the Roman Theatre, Cicero in admiration called him,
Magna fpes altera Romæ.
His Pastorals, says Donatus, were so well received by the Publick, that they were frequently fung on the Stage. Now when Cicero had heard some of the Verses, presently discovering by his acute Penetration that the Author was no ordinary Genius, he ordered the whole Eclogue to be rehearsed from the beginning, which having strictly attended to, he said at the Conclusion The Other Hope of mighty Rome; as if he himself were the first Hope of the Latin Tongue, and Virgil would be the second. These Words were afterwards inserted in the Æneis. The Truth of this Account is justly disputed. Mr. Bayle obferves, that here is an Error in Chronology; for it is certain, that Virgil did not write his Eclogues till after the Triumvirate of Ostavius, Mark Anthony, and Lepidus, during which, it is well known, Cicero was barbarously murdered.
The small Patrimony that Virgil had in Italy, he lost by a Decree of Augustus, who divided that Part of the Country among his Soldiers : and our young Poet was here involved in the common Calamity. He applied himself upon this Occafion to Varusy with whom he had studied and contracted a close Friendship. He recommended him to Pollio, then Governour of the Province, whose Favour introduced him into the Court of Auguftus. From this Prince and Prótector of Learning, he obtained a Grant, by which his Lands were exempt from the general Division, as he declares in the first Eclogue,