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Tiresias: The Ancient Mediterranean Religions Source Database



10328
Sidonius Apollinaris, Letters, 9.15


nanXV To his friend Gelasius [c. 481 CE] You prove my offence against you, and I do not defend myself on the charge. In so far as no letter in this collection bears your name, I have indeed offended. But you write that you will regard the fault as venial, provided I send you something for recital at table, like the letter in prose and verse which I sent not long ago to my friend Tonantius for a similar purpose. You conclude by deploring that when I drop into poetry I never write anything but hendecasyllables, preferring that in the present case I should substitute for this trochaic facility something composed in verses of six feet. I acquiesce, only hoping that the enclosed will please you, whether you style it ode or eclogue. The composition was hard work, for when one is out of practice in a given metre, to write in it is far from easy. 'You wish, dear friend, the fierce iambic to echo through my pages with impetuous rhythm, as hitherto the trochee; the spondee with its two slow feet and its time of four, to hold the flighty dactyl in check awhile; you wish that other swiftest of all feet to resound with these, named fitly from the Pyrrhic dance, and always to be placed at the conclusion; you wish next the anapaest to bound the beginning or the end of the verse, which only in strictness deserves its name when a third long syllable follows upon two short. An ordinary poet — for such, you know, your Sollius is — has not the skill to manage all these measures. My note is uncertain, my wandering tongue has no art to unroll from echoing mouth the long-drawn epic. That skill is rather Leo's, or his who in Latin song follows in Leo's steps, and in the Greek stands first, who descends from the Sire of the Consentii; who with lyre and tone and measure has sung, men say, by the ford of Pegasus in every form we know, and in the Greek tongue has held the high stars by Pindar's side, and ranged victorious the twin-peaked hill, second to none among the caves of Delphi. But if either bard forsake the Doric speech, and sing to the poet's lyre a Latian strain, then, Flaccus, all too feebly shalt thou wield the plectrum of Venusia, and thou, O vanquished swan of Aufidus, shalt bow thy white and tuneful neck, moaning to hear the music of the swans of Atax. Nor these alone are skilled, albeit than the common skilled more skilful. For the rhetor Severianus had sung with a more transcending voice, and Domnulus, the subtle bard of Africa, with more elegance, and the learned Petrus with more harmonious strength, whose love of writing letters would never have stayed him from composing marvellous verse. And ever more masterly had been the melodious music of Proculus, him of Ligurian home and race, so finishing his graceful poems as to make his country rival in men's love Mantua of the Venetian land, and himself arise the peer of Homer in his glory, or drive abreast with Maro's car. But I, whose thought and style merit contempt, how should I raise my babbling voice among these, even for your pleasure, without proof of babbling unashamed and achievement falling ever short of my ambition? Yet if even this shame suffice not to deter me, how shall I deny you? Love knows not fear: 'tis therefore I obey.'


Intertexts (texts cited often on the same page as the searched text):

3 results
1. Sidonius Apollinaris, Letters, 1.2, 1.7, 2.1, 2.9, 3.2, 5.5, 7.9, 7.12, 8.9, 9.3, 9.12-9.14, 9.16 (5th cent. CE - 5th cent. CE)

2. Epigraphy, Seg, 54.214

3. Epigraphy, Ig, 12.4.278



Subjects of this text:

subject book bibliographic info
amicitia' Hitch, Animal sacrifice in the ancient Greek world (2017) 119
amicitia Hanghan, Lettered Christians: Christians, Letters, and Late Antique Oxyrhynchus (2019) 119
apollinaris (uncle) Hanghan, Lettered Christians: Christians, Letters, and Late Antique Oxyrhynchus (2019) 119; Hitch, Animal sacrifice in the ancient Greek world (2017) 119
constantius Hanghan, Lettered Christians: Christians, Letters, and Late Antique Oxyrhynchus (2019) 119; Hitch, Animal sacrifice in the ancient Greek world (2017) 119
proculus Hanghan, Lettered Christians: Christians, Letters, and Late Antique Oxyrhynchus (2019) 159; Hitch, Animal sacrifice in the ancient Greek world (2017) 159
seneca Hanghan, Lettered Christians: Christians, Letters, and Late Antique Oxyrhynchus (2019) 159; Hitch, Animal sacrifice in the ancient Greek world (2017) 159
sidonius, episcopacy Hanghan, Lettered Christians: Christians, Letters, and Late Antique Oxyrhynchus (2019) 119; Hitch, Animal sacrifice in the ancient Greek world (2017) 119
sidonius, persona Hanghan, Lettered Christians: Christians, Letters, and Late Antique Oxyrhynchus (2019) 119, 159; Hitch, Animal sacrifice in the ancient Greek world (2017) 119, 159
visigoths Hanghan, Lettered Christians: Christians, Letters, and Late Antique Oxyrhynchus (2019) 119; Hitch, Animal sacrifice in the ancient Greek world (2017) 119