« הקודםהמשך »
rism. It has a general simplicity, and often a native strength, of colouring ; nor is it tinctured, except by the casual innovation of grammarians, with those sophistications both of sentiment and expression, which afterwards of course took place among the Roman poets, and which would have betrayed a recent forgery. It seems to be the work of a young poet : but its digressions and descriptions which are often too prolix, are not only the marks of a young poet, but of early poetry. It is interspersed with many lines, now in the Eclogues, Georgics, and Eneid. Here is an argument which seems to assign it to Virgil. A cotemporary poet would not have ventured to steal from
poems so well known. It was natural, at least allowable, for Virgil to steal from a performance of his youth, on which he did not set any great value, and which he did not scruple to rob of a few ornaments, deserving a better place. This consideration excludes Cornelius Gallus, to whom Fontanini, with much acute criticism, has ascribed the CEIris. Nor, for the reason given, would Virgil have stolen from Gallus. The writer has at least the art of Virgil, in either suppressing, or throwing into Thade, the trite and uninteresting incidents of the common fabulous history of Scylla, which were incapable of decoration, or had been preoccupied by other poets. The dialogue between the young princess Scylla, who is deeply in love, and her nurse, has much of the pathos of Virgil. There are some traces which discover an imitation of Lucretius : but on the whole, the structure of the verses, and the predominant cast and manner of the compofition, exactly resemble the ARGONAUTICA of Catullus, or the EPITHALAMIUM of PELEUS AND THETIS. I will instance. in the following passage, in which every thing is distin@ly and circumstantially touched, and in an affected pomp of numbers, He is alluding to the stole of Minerva, interwoven with the battle of the giants, and exhibited at Athens in the magnificent Panathenaic festival. The classical reader will perceive one or two interpolations: and lament, that this rich piece of embroi
dery has suffered a little from being unskilfully darned by another and a more modern artificer,
Sed magno intexens, fi fas eft dicere, peplo,
The same stately march of hexameters is observable in Tibullus's tedious panegyric on Messala : a poem, which, if it should not be believed to be of Tibullus's hand, may at least, from this reasoning be adjudged to his age. We are sure that Catullus could not have been the author of the CEIRIS, as Merfala, to whom it is inscribed, was born but a very few
before the death of Catullus. One of the chief circumstances of the story is a purple lock of hair, which grew on the head of Nisus king of Megara, and on the preservation of which the safety of that city, now besieged by Minos, king of Crete, entirely depended. Scylla, Nisus's daughter, falls in love with Minos, whom the sees from the walls of Megara : she finds mcans to cut off this facred ringlet, the city is taken, and she is married to Minos. I am of opinion that Tibullus, in the following passage, alludes to the Ceiris, then newly published,
and which he points out by this leading and fundamental fiction
Aurea nec superent munera Pieridas!
Ex humero Pelopis non nituisset ebur".
Spenser seems to have shewn a particular regard to these two little poems, supposed to be the work of Virgil's younger years. Of the Culex he has left a paraphrase, under the title of ViRGIL's GNAT, dedicated to lord Leicester, who died in 1588. It was printed without a title page at the end of the “ TEARES “ Of The Muses, by Ed. Sp. London, imprinted for Wil“ liam Ponsonbie dwelling in Paules church-yard at the sign of “ the bishops head, 1591 '." From the CeirIs he has copied a long paffage, which forms the first part of the legend of Britomart in the third book of the FAIRY QUEEN.
Although the story of Medea existed in Guido de Columna, and perhaps other modern writers in Latin, yet we seem to have had a version of Valerius Flaccus in 1565. For in that know not if in verse or prose, was entered to Purfoote, “ The “ story of Jafon, how he gotte the golden flece, and howe he “ did begyle Media [Medea], oute of Laten into Englisthe by “ Nycholas Whyte w.” Of the translator Whyte, I know nothing more.
Of Ovid's METAMORPHOSIS, the four first books were translated by Arthur Golding in 1565*. « The fyrst fower bookes “ of the Metamorphosis owte of Latin into English meter by
“ Arthur Golding, gentleman, &c. Imprinted at London by Wil
lyam Seres 1565'.” But soon afterwards he printed the whole, or,
“ The xv. Bookes of P. Ouidius Naso entytuled METAMOR“ PHOSIS, translated out of Latin into English meetre, by Ar“ thur Golding Gentleman. A worke uery pleasant and delec“ table. Lond. 1575.” William Seres was the printer, as before?. This work became a favorite, and was reprinted in 1587, 1603, and 1612'. The dedication, an epistle in verse, is to Robert earl of Leicester, and dated at Berwick, April 20, 1567. In the metrical Preface to the Reader, which immediately follows, he apologises for having named so many fictitious and heathen gods. This apology seems to be intended for the weaker puritans'. His style is poetical and spirited, and his versification clear : his manner ornamental and diffuse, yet with a sufficient observance of the original. On the whole, I think him a better poet and a better translator than Phaier. This will appear from a few of the first lines of the second book, which his readers took for a description of an enchanted castle.
The princely pallace of the Sun, stood gorgeous to behold, On stately pillars builded high, of yellow burnisht gold; Beset with sparkling carbuncles, that like to fire did shine, The roofe was framed curiously, of yuorie pure and fine. The two-doore-leves of filuer clere, a radiant light did cast: But
yet the cunning workemanship of thinges therein far past The stuffe whereof the doores were made: for there a perfect plat Had Vulcane drawne of all the world, both of the fourges that
It is entered “ A boke entituled Ovi. “ dii Metamorphoses." REGISTR. STATION. A. fol. 117. b.
z Bl. Lett. 4to. It is supposed that there were earlier editions, viz. 1567, and 1576. The last is mentioned in Coxeter's papers, who saw it in Dr. Rawlinson's collection,
* All in Bl. Lett. 4to. That of 1603,
by W. W. Of 1612, by Thomas Purfoot.
• Afterwards he says, of his author, And now I have him made so well ac.
quainted with our toong, As that he may in English verse as in his
owne be foong, Wherein although for plesant ftile, I can. not make account, &c.
Embrace the earth with winding waves, and of the stedfast
ground, And of the heauen itself also, that both encloseth round. And first and foremost of the sea, the gods thereof did stand, Loude-sounding Tryton, with his Thrill and writhen trumpe in
hand, Unstable Protew, changing aye his figure and his hue, , From shape to shape a thousand fights, as lift him to renue.-In purple robe, and royall throne of emerauds freshe and greene, Did Phæbus fit, and on each hand stood wayting well beseene, Dayes, Months, Yeeres, Ages, Seasons, Times, and eke the
equall Houres; There stood the SPRINGTIME, with a crowne of fresh and fra
grant floures : There wayted SUMMER naked starke, all faue a wheaten hat: And AUTUMNE smerde with treading grapes late at the pressing
vat: And lastly, quaking for the colde, stood WINTER all forlorne, With rugged head as white as doue, and garments al to torne ; Forladen with the isycles, that dangled vp and downe, Upon his gray and hoarie beard, and snowie frozen crowne. The Sunne thus fitting in the midst, did cast his piercing eye, &c.
But I cannot resist the pleasure of transcribing a few more lines, from the transformation of Athamas and Ino, in the fourth book. Tisiphone addresses Juno “. The hatefull hag Tisiphone, with hoarie ruffled heare', Remouing from her face the snakes, that loosely dangled thcare, Said thus, &c.
• Fol. 50. a. edit. 1603.
3 F 2