7. Of PELLA or POENITENS, the PENITENT. A full account of the author may be gathered from his poem Eucharisticon de Vita Sua
, which is in hexameters, not, as has been incorrectly stated, in elegiac verse.
He was the son of Hesperius, proconsul of Africa, who was the son of the poet Ausonius. [AUSONIUS>; HESPERIUS.] He was born in A. D. 376, at Pella in Macedonia; and after being at Carthage, where he remained a year and a half during his father's proconsulship, he was taken at three years of age to Bourdeaux, where he appears to have been ediucated.
An illness at the age of fifteen interrupted his studies, and the indulgence of his parents allowed him to pursue a life of ease and pleasure, in the midst of which, however, he kept up a regard to appearances.
At the age of twenty he married a lady of ancient family, and of some property.
At thirty he lost his father, whose death was followed by a dispute between Paulinus and his brother, who wished to invalidate his father's will to deprive his mother of her dowry. In A. D. 414 he joined Attalus, who attempted to resume the purple in Gaul under the patronage of the Gothic prince Ataulphus [ATAULPHUS; ATTALUS], and from whom he accepted the title of Comes Rerum Privatarum, thinking thus to be secure from the hostiiity of the Goths.
He was, however, disappointed.
The city where he resided (apparently Bourdeaux) was taken, and his house plundered; and he was again in danger when Vasates (Bazas), to which he had retired, was besieged by the Goths and Alans.
He proposed now to retire to Greece, where his mother had good estates, but his wife could not make up her mind to go.
He then thought of becoming a monk, but his friends diverted him from this Plan. Misfortunes now thickened about him; he lost his mother, his mother-in-law, and his wife; his very children forsook him, with the exception of one, who was a priest, and who died soon after suddenly. His estates in Greece yielded him no revenue; and he retired to Massilia (Marseille), where he hired and farmed some land, but this resource failed him, and alone, destitute and in debt, he was reduced to live on the charity of others. During his residence at Massilia, he became acquainted with many religious persons, and their conversation combined with his sorrows and disappointments to impress his mind deeply with religious sentiments.
He was baptized in A. D. 422, in his forty-sixth year, and lived at least till his eighty-fourth year (A. D. 460), when he wrote his poem. Some have supposed, but without good reason, that he is the Benedictus Paulinus to whose questions of various points of theology and ethics Faustus Reiensis wrote an answer. [FAUSTUS REIENSIS.]
A poem entitled Eucharisticon de Vita Sua,
by a writer of the name of Paulinus, has been twice published. It appeared among the poems of Paulinus of Nola [see below] in the Appendix to the first edition of De la Bigne's Bibliotheca Patrum, which Appendix was published, fol. Paris, 1579
, but was omitted in the following editions of the Bibliotheca, whether published at Paris, Cologne, or Lyon, and also in the Bibliotheca
of Galland. It was again printed by Christianus Daumius, with the works of Paulinus Petrocorius [PETROCORIUS], 8vo, Leipzig, 1686.
Our authority for this article is the Histoire Littéraire de la France,
vol. ii. p. 343, &c, 461, &c., not having been able to get sight of the poem itself, which is very rare.
See also Fabric. Bililioth. Med. et Infim. Latinit
. vol. v. p. 206, ed. Mansi; and Cave, Hist. Litt.
vol. i. p. 290, in his article on Paulinus Nolanus.