صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

ginning os the Emperor Claudius's Reign. Those, who will have Tholouje in France, to be the Place of his Birth, might have been convinced of their Error, if they had attended to what he himself says in his Epithalamium of Stella and Violantilla.

At te nascentem gremio mea prima recepit Partbenope, dulcisque solo tu gloria nojlro . Reptajli.

Or in his Poem to Claudia.

Nojlra quoque et propriis tenuis, nee rara
. colonis

Parthenope,cui mite folum trans œquora vecJee
Ipfe Dionœa monstravit Apollo Columbd.

He was descended of a good Family by his Father's Side, who was born at Sella in Epirus, not far from the celebrated T>odoncean throve, and taught Rhetoric to the Nobility there with singular Applause, not only for his Skill in that Profession, but likewise for his Probity and extensive Learning. The Honours, he was distinguished with, bear Testimony to this Part of his Character: for aster having been made a Citizen of Naples, he was presented with the Laurel, and a Crown of Gold by Domitian; a Proof of his Favour with that Prince, as the former 'was was of his Interest with the People. He married Agylline,, of whom we have no farther mention, than that she died before him. See Sylvce, L. 3. It is remarkable (fays the Author of Polymetis) that Poetry ran more lineally in Statius's Family, than perhaps in any other. He received it from his Father, who had been an eminent Poet in his Time, and lived to fee his Son obtain the LaurelWreath at the Alban Games, as he had formerly done himself. —Thus far Mr. Spence: and it is among the Desiderata of the learned, that we have nothing extant, but what the Son wrote. The Epicedion, we find in his Miscellanea, is at once an Argument of his Father's Merit, and his own filial Piety.

Our Author discovered an early Bent to Poetry, which was so much cherished and improved by his Father's Instructions, that He soon became the public Talk, and was introduced to the first Wits of the Age, and afterwards to the Emperor himself, by his Friend Paris, the Player, at that Time one of the chief Court-Favourites. His literary Merit gained him so large a Share of the Emperor's Esteem, that he was permitted to sit at Table with him among his Ministers and Courtiers of the highest Quality, and was often crowned for his Verses, which were publickly recited in the Theatre.

a 2 ?er

*jl tr me nitidis Albana ferentem-
Dona comis, fan&oque indutum Ca/aris auro
Vifceribus complexa tuis, serf if que dedijli ■ •
Ofcula anliela meis.

Once however he last the- Prize in the Capitol.

—- cum Capitolia nojlra

Injiciata lyrœ; Javum, ingratumque dolebas

Mecum vifia Jovem.

The frequent Determination of the Judges in his Favour created him the Envy of Martial; who piqued himself much on his tempore Productions: insomuch that he has never mentioned Statius in his Account of the Poets, his Cotemporaries. The Tbebaid, finished at Naples, and dedicated to Domitian, was received at Rome with the greatest Applause, as "Juvenal has told us in the Passage, which I have chosen for my Motto. This is thought by some to have been nothing more than a Sneer. Mr. Dryden however in his Translation of it, and Dr. Crucius, in his Life of our Author, think otherwise. I (hall give the Reader the Words of the Latter. "To '« me the Occasion of his mentioning Statius seems to be this: he observes in his Satire "the low State, and small Encouragement "reduced to the hard Necessity of Writing "for Bread; and that notwithstanding the "World allowed their Merit, and admired "their Writings. Statins is brought in, as "an unhappy Example of this ill Usage.

Curritur ad vocem, &c.

"From this Passage we learn, that Statius "wrote a Tragedy, which Paris purchased, who from a Player, was become the Em** peror's Minion, the Poet being reduced to "fell it for his Subsistence. This Circum"stance perhaps might have introduced our "Poet to that Favourite, for I do not find, "that after his Admission to his Patronage, "he wanted the Conveniences of Life. How'* ever it does not appear from what has been "quoted, that "Juvenal has spoken reproachfully of him, but rather has given him "great and real Commendations, and has "particularly taken Notice of his noble Style; "the Translator has altogether favoured this "Sense. This Testimony deserves the more "to be considered, as coming from one, "whom both his Friendship to Martial, and "Hatred to the Court might reasonably be "presumed to have made our Author's

But to return to our Poet, he had no
sooner finished his Thebaid, than he formqd
his Plan of the Acbilleid, a Work, in which
he intended to take in the whole Life of his
Hero, and not one single Action, as Homer
has done in the Iliad. This he left imper-
fect, dying at Naples in the Reign of Trajan,
before he had well finished two Books of it.

Wh" E N he was young, he fell in Love
with, and married a Widow, Daughter of
Claudius Apollinaris, a Musician of Naples.
He describes her in his Poems, as a very
beautiful, learned, ingenious and virtuous.
Woman* and a great Proficient in his own
favorite Study of Poesy. Her Society was a
Solace to him in his heavy Hours, and her
Judgment of no small Use in his Poem, as
he himself has confessed to us in his Sylvce..

Longi tu sola Laboris
Qonfcia, cumque tuis crevit mea Tbebais amis.

A Woman of such Qualifications, as these
could not fail of commanding his warmest
Love and Respect. He inscribed several of
his Verses to her, and as a Mark of his Af-
fection behaved with singular Tenderness tp
a Daughter, which flie had by a former
Husband. During his Absence at Naples for
the Space of twenty Years, she behaved with
she strictest Fidelity, and at length followed

« السابقةمتابعة »