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XI

[11arg] Words from the poems of Furius of Antium which were ignorantly criticised by Caesellius Vindex; a quotation of the very verses which include the words in question.


I CERTAINLY do not agree with Caesellius Vindex, the grammarian, though in my opinion he is by no means without learning. But yet this was a hasty and ignorant statement of his, that the ancient poet Furius of Antium had degraded the Latin language by forming words of a kind which to me did not seem inconsistent with a poet's license nor to be vulgar or unpleasant to speak and utter, as are some others which have been harshly and tastelessly fashioned by distinguished poets.

The expressions of Furius which Caesellius censures are these: that he uses lutescere of earth which has turned into mud, noctescere of darkness that has arisen like that of night, virescere of recovering former strength, describes the wind curling the blue sea and making it shine by purpurat, and uses opulescere for becoming rich.

[p. 337] I have added the very lines from the poems of Furius in which these words occur: 1

Blood floods the world, the deep earth turns to mud (lutescit),
All becomes night (noctescunt) with darkness of black gloom.
Their courage grows, valour 's renewed (virescit) by wounds.
The fleet, like sea-bird, lightly skims the deep,
The East Wind's breath empurples (purpurat) the green surge.
That on their native plains they may grow rich (opulescere).

1 Frag. 1–6, Bährens.

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