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ter in the history of Vergilian scholarship merely, but because they have exerted effects of far-reaching importance on the history of biographical criticism. We must remind ourselves that the text of the Life, as we read it, is not the version which multitudes of editors and critics had before them during a period of over four hundred years, ranging from about the beginning of the second quarter of the fifteenth century to the middle of the last century. Those humanists of the fourteenth century that show familiarity with the Life, such as Benvenuto da Imola, Francesco Nelli, and, it would seem, Boccaccio,“ had before them, as have we, a text based on manuscripts of the ninth and tenth centuries. However, a generation before the Editio Princeps of Vergil saw the light, there was foisted on the world of humanism a text into which a quantum of legend and anecdote had been inserted. Whether this welding of apocryphal and authentic elements to form the interpolated Life, or the Donatus Auctus as it is sometimes technically designated, is due to one man and one time, or whether it is the product of gradual accretions to the ancient text, which began centuries before the Renaissance, is a point as to which the views of scholars have been at variance. The last word has not been said as to this and other problems suggested by the interpolated Life. Personally, I incline to Sabbadini's view that the interpolated text is a humanistic redaction of the original and that its genesis is to be placed not long after the year 1425.
Literary counterfeiting such as this was by no means contra bonos mores in the days of humanism; subsequent centuries have not been impeccable in these matters. And there is something to be said for the heart and for the head of the nameless perpetrator
*For the evidence, see Sabbadini, Studi Ital. di filol. class. XV (1907), pp. 242-44.
* The interpolated Life was used by Sicco Polenton in composing the life of Vergil included in the second edition of his De Illustribus Scriptoribus Linguae Latinae, issued in 1433; see Sabbadini, op. cit., p. 256 f. I shall speak of this biography on a subsequent page.
• The Donatus Auctus was ascribed by Roth, Germania IV (1859), p. 286 f. to a Neapolitan scholar of the 12th century. Reifferscheid, Suet. Relig. placed its origin in the early Renaissance; see p. 401. So Norden, R. M. LXI (1906), p. 166 f.
* The view of Comparetti, Virgilio nel medio evo, p. 186, n. 3, = Eng. Trans. by Benecke, p. 140, n. 11.
of this philological hoax, if thus, according to strict ethics, we have to characterize the liberties taken with the authentic text of the Life by Donatus. Ut temporibus illis, he was a person of considerable erudition. Although he delves most deeply into Servius for his materials, he could quote Euripides and Hesiod, apparently at first hand. He could glean from authors such isolated obiter dicta pertaining to Vergil as the apothegm, se aurum colligere de stercore Ennii,s which is related by Cassiodorus, and, as I believe that no one has hitherto pointed out, by John of Salisbury.10 Some of the modifications made in the original text are designed merely to expand the brevity or to elucidate fancied obscurities of certain passages. The outstanding tendency of the interpolations, however, is the desire to cast in higher relief the preternatural wisdom of Vergil, to endow him with surpassing qualities of mind and heart, and to clear his moral character of the aspersion, unconfuted in the authentic Life, which biographical interpretation of the Second Eclogue had for centuries promulgated. In a word, it is evident that, in the judgment of our humanistic redactor, the original version of the Life fell short of doing justice to the supermanhood and the quasi sanctity with which tradition had come to clothe the poet. But, wishful though the redactor was to exalt Vergil, he does not trick out the figure of the poet with the sort of trappings that the ambry of folk-tale and medieval lore could have furnished so richly. In the anecdotes which are inserted, his Vergil is generally the wise man and the gifted, if, at times, artful bard. In one passage only, to which I shall revert, do we find ourselves transported to the lower levels of occult cunning.
The interpolated Donatus speedily established a sway as the canonical life of Vergil. It was reprinted in dozens of editions of the works of the poet and became the accepted point of departure for criticism. The genuine Life vanished into an oblivion in which it remained for the greater part of two centuries, until, that is, Pierre Daniel of Orléans learned of the existence in Berne of the manuscript of the authentic Donatus now known as Bernensis 172 and regularly utilized as a part of our critical apparatus. This
$ Donatus Auctus, sect. 71, Diehl.
version of the Life was printed by Daniel in his edition of Vergil and the Commentary of Servius, Paris, 1600. Nevertheless the humanistic text was not dislodged from its traditional supremacy. The genuine Donatus was, of course, kept in the later editions of Daniel's work, and is to be found incorporated, with other material drawn from Daniel, in certain other editions.11 However, in general, editors and critics did not transfer their homage to the authentic version. Even the Heyne-Wagner of 1830-1816, out of deference to the tradition, retains the interpolated Life, although many of its supplements to the original are exposed in the notes and are branded as the vagaries of mendacious grammarians and monks. The latter-day supremacy of the true version is due mainly to Reifferscheid's rehabilitation of it in his Suetoni Reliquiae in 1860. One cannot but sympathize with his disgust at the “mira socordia” 12 which permitted the rank and file of editors through the seventeenth and the first half of the eighteenth centuries to disseminate an apocryphal text, notwithstanding the fact that Daniel had rendered the text of the Berne Codex so easily accessible.
There is, however, one honorable exception. J. F. Gronov, 16111671, recognized the comparative values of the genuine and the vulgate texts. In a brief commentary, critical and exegetical, on the humanistic Life, Gronov spoke appreciatively of Daniel's text, and, repeating a view previously advanced by G. J. Voss, expressed the opinion that the shorter biography was founded on Suetonius, but interpolated by later scholars. In his notes Gronov points out various parallels to Suetonian usage and diction, a procedure which marked an important step in the progress of criticism. Reifferscheid, ex silentio at least, conveys the impression that Gronov's notes are found only in Burmann's great edition of Vergil, published at Amsterdam in 1746. A search through the Morgan Collection of Vergiliana in the Library of Princeton University taught
1 E. g., Opera ex bibl. P. Danielis, Colon. Allobr. excud. Steph. Gamonetus; Opera cum Servio Danielis, Geneva, 1620; Opera cum Comm. Servio P. Danielis, Geneva, apud Petr. et Iac. Chouet, 1636; Opera cum veterum omnium commentariis et seq. Inscripta V. Ampl. Gualtero Valkenier, Ex. offic. Abr. Commelini, Lugd. Batav. 1646; Vergilius Dan. Heinsii 1636 repetitus ex offic. Elz. 1652; Opera, cum notis opera Corn. Schrevel, apud Franc. Hackium, 1657, reprinted 1666.
Op. cit., p. 400.
me some years since that Burmann's edition was not the first to incorporate Gronov's commentary and thus tacitly to place the stamp of approval on his view as to the origin of the Life by Donatus and the superiority of Daniel's text. These notes had appeared over fifty years prior to the publication of Burmann's edition in the Vergil of Emmenessius, Amsterdam, 1680. They were afterwards reprinted in Maaswyck's editions, Leeuwarden, 1717, and Venice, 1736. Burmann treated Maaswyck to a shower of the vitriolic abuse characteristic of the scholarly amenities of those times, and accused him of having “pirated ” Emmenessius and Schrevel. See Heyne-Wagner iv, 731. Nevertheless, Burmann so far approved of Maaswyck’s insertion of Gronov's commentary as to follow his predecessor's example in this respect.
Though we may fairly censure the critics of the seventeenth, eighteenth, and early nineteenth centuries for their neglect of the authentic version of the Life and condemn them for their failure to follow the path of criticism marked out by Gronov, it would be unjust to demand a high degree of scientific fastidiousness of the humanist students of Vergil. Critical biography, as we understand it, is a relatively recent phenomenon in literature. If we are going to insist that a biography be “the faithful portraiture of a soul in its adventure through life,” we shall have to admit that no ancient and few modern biographies measure up to this ideal standard. For Petrarch and his age, “the world was so full of a number of things," the great worthies of antiquity so vividly incarnate, their wisdom 50 vocal with accents of reality, that the subtilities of biographical criticism seldom tempered acceptance of all that could be learned about the life of Vergil from ancient literary sources, or inferred therefrom. I have presented evidence elsewhere 18 to show that Petrarch was not familiar with the Life by Donatus, but gleaned from the Life by Servius, the Commentary of Servius, the works of Horace, Macrobius, Jerome, and from the Anthology the most of what he tells about the life and personality of Vergil. Vergil's appeal to Petrarch was as an aesthetic mentor, a moral and philosophical guide. Petrarch's Vergil had indeed come to earth from that qphere in which Dante and the medieval man had placed him.
18 The Sources and the Extent of Petrarch's Knowledge of the Life of Vergil, Class. Phil. XII (1917), pp. 365-404.
Nevertheless, as de Nolhac has well observed,14 Petrarch narrowly escaped reading Vergil all his life without understanding him. The Eclogues and the Aeneid were to him the allegorical expressions of esoteric wisdom. An adequate conception of the essential features of Petrarch's attitude may be formed by reading the Epistle to Vergil 15 and examining de Nolhac's reproduction 18 of a specimen of the symbolism which the humanist saw in the First Eclogue.
It is quite in conformity with such methods of interpretation, inherited by him from centuries of allegorical exegesis, that he should carry the identification of Vergil with Tity rus in the First Eclogue to its furthest possibilities, and hence assume that Vergil became prematurely gray because of the candidior barba ascribed to the shepherd in the poem. However, it is noteworthy that, to make good this theory, he did not hesitate to dissent from the note of Servius on the passage. Generally, he pays unquestioning homage to the literary tradition. Thus, to mention an instance more typical of his attitude, he left to a later and more captious age the task of questioning the probability of the pretty story, accepted implicitly by him, which recounts how Cicero, moved to enthusiasm by a recitation of the Sixth Eclogue, hailed the author with the words, afterwards inserted in Aeneid XII, 168: magnae spes altera Romae.” To the modern reader the chief beauty of this anecdote is, perhaps, the justice done by it to the Tullian egotism.
It has long been set down to the credit of Petrarch that he had divested his conception of Vergil of the legends still current in the fourteenth century concerning the doings of the Neapolitan Doctor Faustus. Vergil is the consummate poet, the venerated mystagogue, whose ideals of life, whose rise from low estate to intimate relationship with the great ones of his time, Petrarch never wearies of recounting. It is true, as I have pointed out elsewhere,17 that in De Remediis utriusque Fortunae 1, 32 Petrarch refers to one of the genre anecdotes of the Neapolitan cycle, according to which Vergil derided the passion of Marcellus for falconry. In its original form, this story contains an account of one of Vergil's achievements in the
14 P. de Nolhac, Pétrarque et l'Humanisme, (Paris, 1907), I, 137.
23 Trans. by Cosenza, Petrarch's Letters to Classical Authors, Ohicago, 1910, p. 136 f.
lo Op. cit. I, 146.