Imágenes de páginas

These are points that second class poets, even poets 80 high in the second class as Molière, altogether miss, poets who looked on The Amphitruo as a mere farce. As a farce the play must simply have been perfection.

THE TEXT. The difficulties of restoring Plautus are caused by many things. In the first place, the language in the time of Plautus was in a state of rapid transition. Old forms were contending with new; and Plautus sometimes used the ancient, sometimes the modern form. The transcribers of the age of Hadrian effected much the same alteration of the text of Plautus as would now result if an editor were set the task of reproducing Chaucer in modern English. They abolished the old forms in most instances, but allowed them to remain when they misunderstood them for something else, sometimes when they saw that they were necessary to the metre. In metre they observed that Plautus allowed himself certain licenses, but misunderstanding these they thought themselves justified in permitting them to an extent which far transcended Plautus's limits and violated his rules. This especially applies to the case of hiatus. It would be very easy to admit hiatus wherever the MSS. exhibit it, provided that the verse will scan. It would, on the other hand, be very easy to deny

hiatus altogether with Mueller and Leo, and set about amending the text wherever hiatus occurs. Nothing could be more delightful. The critic would have a large and pleasant field for exhibiting his powers. But the real task of the Plautine critic is the difficult one of keeping the just mean between these two extremes ; to distinguish between the license of the transcribers, and the rules of the author himself: to lay down the latter as his guide; and to apply them with judgment and common sense to each instance as it occurs. It is only possible to lay down general laws for Plautus to a limited extent.

Mss. There was, in very early times, a double recension of the plays of Plautus: one, the Ambrosian recension, represented by the Ambrosian palimpsest of the fourth century in the Ambrosian library at Milan; the other, the Palatine recension, as represented by what are commonly called the Palatine MSS. BOD.

We are without the assistance of the Ambrosian palimpsest in The Amphitruo : an immense though not unmixed loss. We should have been glad to have had the utterances of that Sibylline book of criticism reported respecting such prodigious readings as 1. 1. 161 and 1. 3. 51, even though interpreted differently by German sages : but that was not to be. The folia containing The Amphitruo have been long since whirled out of mortal ken. We


F, are

are left, among good Mss., to B and D (M), for C, the Decurtatus of Camerarius, contains the last twelve plays only.

B, the Codex Vetus of Camerarius, & cursive Ms. of the 11th century, now in the Vatican library at Rome. The oldest ms. extant with the exception of the Ambrosian. It contains all the plays.

D, the Codex Ursinianus, having been the property of Cardinal Orsini, an excellent Ms. of the 12th century. It contains the last twelve plays, and prefixed to these The Amphitruo, Asinaria, Aulularia, and the Captiri, up to 2. 3. 4.

D is little if at all inferior to B : often in my judgment its tradition is preferable to that of B. See notes on 5. 1. 31; 1. 1. 80; 2. 2. 90; 2. 2. 39.

Of inferior Mss. (m) the chief are E, F, J.

Eis & Ms. of the 15th century, first collated by Ritschl, whose property E was. Ritschl attached too much weight to the readings of his Ms., and is followed in so doing by his successore Goetz and Loewe.

J, now in the British Museum, a MS. of the 11th or 12th century, the merits of which are not equal to its antiquity.

1 For a full account of these M88. the reader is referred to Ritschl, Prolegomena to the Trinummus, p. 27 seqq.: and his Oprocula, vol. č. p. 1-34.

'The character of J can be studied in Sonnenschein's collation of this Ms. in his edition of the Captivi, and in Wagner's edition of the Aulularia.

EJ are as inforior to B D as they are superior to FZ.

F, Lipsiensis, a Ms. of the 15th century, though it claims the respect due to a Ms., is as a critical authority not in any respect superior to an edition. It is full of conjectures, many of them unnecessary and bad.

Z is the editio princeps (Venice, 1472). Its readings, founded as they are uu a worthless Ms., quite devoid of critical value. I have called the attention of the reader to the process of corruption in our mss. at 1. 1. 141: and no single example can better illustrate the relative value of the MSS.

The characteristic errors of the MSS. have been classified by Tyrrell, Pref. p. xxxi., xxxi. I would add to his remarks that two remarkable features of Plautine mss. are (1) A proneness to insert or to omit some small word, the insertion or omission of which does not affect the sense. (2) A proneness to transpose pairs of words. The reader will find ample illustration of both of these tendencies in the play.

PROSODY AND METRE. The following remarks are not intended as a guide to the whole subject of Plautine versification, but only to such peculiarities as are exhibited in the Amphitruo.

TERMINATIONS. & It is a disputed point whether Plautus ever lengthened a in the nominative singular of the first declension. C. F. W. Mueller, Plaut. Pros. p. 1-10, denies this lengthening altogether, I believe rightly. - Ussing limits it to nominatives of Greek proper names.

In this play we have only two instances presented by the Mss., both of the proper name Sosia, 1. 1. 283, 284. In both passages emendation is easy, and in this edition this long a does not appear.

ita According to the Mss. of Plautus the last syllable of ita is often long. Mueller, p. 14, has collected the instances, twenty-two in number. Many

of these are only apparent instances : e.g. Cist. · 1. 3. 3:

ita properavit de puella proloqui, disappears, when we reflect that the whole speech in which it occurs is at least a generation later than Plautus. Some instances are from spurious prologues and arguments; others are of easy correction; as Asin. 1. 1. 18.

Three apparent instances are found in The Amphitruo: 2. 2. 3: 5. 1. 25: 5. 1. 29. These are all to be emended, or to be otherwise explained. I do not believe that Plautus ever lengthened the final syllable of ita : see note on 2. 2. 3.

frustra The last syllable of frustra is short in Plautus: frustra sis often ends an iambic or trochaic

verse. There is no crucial instance of this in The Amphitruo; see on 3. 3. 19.

contra. The last syllable of contra is apparently short, Pseud. 1. 2. 23: Adsistite omnes contra me et quae lóquor advertito ánimum, the fourth foot of an iambic septenarius being invariably an iambus when it ends with a word. This line indeed is condemned as spurious by Goetz with Lorenz, Brix, Mueller, and others. But as the analogy of frustra is in favour of contra, and as the verse

Quis pater aut cognatus volet nos contra tueri is ascribed to Ennius by Varro (L. L. 7. 12), to say nothing of a more doubtful line ascribed to the same author by Servius (Aen. 8. 361),

Contra carinantes verba atque obscena profatus; as in Lucilius, ap. Nonium, p. 153, 17, contra venis seems to begin a hexameter, I do not see sufficient reason for condemning the passage in the Pseudolus. Brix indeed condemns it on the ground that contra was never a preposition in Plautus : but this I am disposed to doubt. Accordingly I have adopted in 1. 1. 63 the reading Teleboae contra ex oppido with Leo against the Ms. order contra Teleboae.

-2. The termination of the ablative of the third declension is frequently long in Plautus. There is no

* All these passages are altered by L. Mueller to suit contra.

« AnteriorContinuar »