45. He studied with admiration both the Lesbian and the Alexandrian poets, though it is not easy to determine the precise limits of the influence of either school upon his genius. Part of this difficulty arise from the meagreness of the remains of these Greek writers that have survived the Middle Ages, andd part from the intense fire of his own personality that has metamorphosed into its own likeness all the material that came into contact with it. Even when he is professedly translating Sappho or Callimachus (cf. cc. 51, 66), his translation is full of original elements, and is worked out in a personal fashion. He is often Sapphic in his tendency to self-address, and in the warmth and tenderness of his emotions, and often Alexandrian in his liking for episode, for richness of mythological allusion, for striking turns of phrase (cf. especially cc. 63, 64, 68, passim); and yet he is, after all, never other than distinctively Roman.
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Friends and foes.
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