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With regard to the authenticity of the two first books of this collection, no doubts have ever been entertained, and the whole of the third book was, until late years, received without suspicion, except the couplet, already noticed, referring to the birth of the author. In 1786, however, J. H. Voss, the German translator, published an ingenious dissertation, in which he maintained that the two lines in question were not an interpolation, but that the whole book was the work of a different poet, whom he supposes to have been the Lygdamus mentioned at the end of the second elegy, Lygdamus having been previously considered as a fictitious designation adopted by Tibullus to represent himself. This hypothesis has been keenly supported by recent editors, especially Lachmann and Dissen, but the arguments employed, although highly ingenious, are quite inconclusive. A similar controversy exists with regard to the fourth book. Many view the Panegyric, which is certainly a feeble performance, as the work of some young and inexperienced, but contemporaneous writer, while they hold the elegies which follow on the loves of Sulpicia and Cerinthus to be unquestionably from the pen of Tibullus; while others would reject these also on account of certain peculiarities of style and expression. To decide with certainty questions so delicate, seems at present impossible. We may remark, however, that since the four books, as they stand in the ordinary editions, appear in all the MSS. as the works of Tibullus alone, we are scarcely justified in making a change without evidence of a more satisfactory nature than any that has hitherto been adduced.





Ar the revival of letters in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, the Italian scholars devoted themselves with peculiar ardour to the study of the Latin Elegiac writers, Catullus, Tibullus, and Propertius, whose style has been closely imitated by Strozza, Sanazzarius, Pontanus, and many others, as may be clearly seen from the collections of their poems which are in the hands of every one. It would be injustice to these learned men to deny that much was done by them to awaken a general taste for the choicest productions of classical literature, and that by their efforts many of the fairest works of antiquity were rescued from oblivion. But unfortunately not contented with seeking out, studying and imitating these models, they occupied themselves with


alterations and what they considered improvements. They filled up blanks, they corrected corrupt passages from conjecture, and many difficult expressions, and obscure allusions, which from their imperfect scholarship they were unable to comprehend, were changed into more obvious and familiar forms. Nay, even where no difficulty nor doubt existed, they did not hesitate to substitute epithets and phrases of their own for such as, in their opinion, were less elegant or appropriate. This was sometimes done openly, the fabricator boldly claiming the merit of the innovation, but more frequently the alterations were tacitly introduced, were afterwards copied into other manuscripts, and gradually passed current as the actual words of the ancient writer. Thus the interpolated copies of learned men became each the parent of a family of MSS., which perpetuated the errors and corruptions of the stock from which they sprung. This occasions little embarassment in those classics of which very ancient MSS. still exist, since the interpolations can be easily detected by comparison, and removed. But where the older MSS. have been lost, it becomes a work of much greater difficulty to restore the genuine text, and the result is more doubtful. In this case we must compare many interpolated copies of different families, and by examining carefully these passages in which several agree, we may thus eliminate the supposititious portions. Hence it is to be borne in mind that little weight is to be attached to the mere coincidence of a multitude of MSS. of late date, unless we can ascertain that they have not been copied from each other; we must endeavour to arrange them in classes, and where it is possible, fix upon the original of the several classes, and then by instituting a strict examination and comparison in the manner described above, we may hope to arrive at the ancient reading.

No MS. of Tibullus is now known to exist older than the fifteenth century, and many believe that all which we now possess have been derived from one archetype, because they agree in passages which are manifestly corrupt or mutilated. Those most worthy of attention, according to Lachmann, who has published the best critical edition of Tibullus, are the following:

I. A MS. known as the Codex Archiepiscopi Eboracensis, written in the year 1425, and collated by N. Heinsius. This by Lachmann is marked (A,) and in the following extracts (I.)

II. A MS. known as the Codex Parisiensis, now in the Royal Library at Paris, written on paper in 1423. This by Lachmann is marked (B,) and in the following extracts (II.)

III. Besides these there are three MSS. to which much importance is attached, not individually, but collectively. They are all of recent date and full of interpolations, but having been altered by different

hands, although each in itself is worthless, yet when the whole agree, their combined testimony must be received as valuable evidence. The readings in which they coincide are marked (C) by Lachmann, and in the following extracts (III.)

The first of these, on parchment, was once in the possession of Joannes de Witt. Marked (c) by Lachmann.

The second, on paper, dated 1463, and very ill written, is now in the Royal Library at Berlin, it was once in the possession of N. Heinsius, who received it in a present from Carolus Datus. Marked (d) by Lachmann.

The third, also on paper, and ill written, is now in the Royal Library at Berlin. It was formerly in the Askew collection. Marked (e) by Lachmann.

The whole of the five MSS. mentioned above are not only recent in date, but are all interpolated, containing whole lines inserted by Thomas Seneca Camers, and Joannes Aurispa, but they are the best known to exist.

IV. No record even remains of any complete MS. of Tibullus older than the fifteenth century, and he seems to have been unknown, as a whole, until the latter end of the fourteenth century. Vincentius Bellovacensis, a writer of the thirteenth century, possessed only a few extracts from Books first and second, and a very ancient MS. of these extracts came into the hands of J. Scaliger, who noted the various readings which have been preserved. Marked (E) by Lachmann, and in the following extracts (IV.)

V. Scaliger was in possession of a MS. which he received from Cuiaccius, and which in age and authority seems to have been superior to any now existing. It was, however, a mere fragment, commencing with Lib. III. iv. 65. The readings afforded by this are of great value, are marked (F) by Lachmann, and in the following extracts (V.)

VI. There are also extant some various readings noted by Franciscus Puccius, who appears to have used a MS. older than any with which we are now acquainted. There is reason, however, to suspect that some of these were mere conjectures of Puccius himself. They are marked (P) by Lachmann, and in the following extracts (VI.)


1. HEYNE: Editio Quarta aucta notis et observationibus WUNDERLICHII: Leipsic, 1817.

2. DISSEN: Göttingen, 1835. With a very copious commentary.

THE BEST CRITICAL EDITIONS, that is, those in which the attention of the editor has been chiefly directed to the establishment of the text,


:: Leipsic, 1819.

2. LACHMANN: Berlin, 1829.




I. II. III. IV. V. VI. denote the different MSS. described in preliminary remarks.

H denotes the reading in the edition of Heyne, re-edited by Wunderlich, 1817.



The text followed is that of Lachmann, (L.)

Huscke, 1819.

....Dissen, 1835.

It is to be understood that every reading noticed is to be found in some MS., or MSS., unless where the contrary is directly specified.

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