תמונות בעמוד
PDF
ePub

What can be more affected than the expression “ heralds of the soul,” applied to vessels passing and repassing the Hellespont? And it is the more inexcusable, since, on turning to the original, we find no trace of it whatever. The following stanzas have a tone of arch gallantry about them, which, at first sight, would lead us to attribute them to the romantic days of France, rather than to the sixth century: they have, however, the merit of being a very faithful translation.

Paulus, 8. iii. 78. (73.)
Love not extinguished by Age, B.
* For me thy wriokles have more charms,

Dear Lydia, than a smoother face!
I'd rather fold thee in my arms

Than younger, fairer nymphs embrace.
“ To me thy autumn is more sweet,

More precious than their veraal rose,
Their summer warms not with a heat

So potent as thy winter glows." P. 3. The following effusion has all the gallantry of Waller, with none of his conceits; and all the warmth and poetry of Moore, with none.of his indelicacy. The thoughts are borrowed with sufficient fidelity from the Greek, but the elegance and plaintiveness breathed over the whole belong exclusively to the translator. To our taste the original is meager and uninteresting.

AGATHIAS, 23. iii. 41.

Maiden Passion. M.
Go, idle, amorous boys,

What are your cares and joys,
To love, that swells the longing virgin's breast?

A flame half hid in doubt,

Soon kindled, soon burnt out,
A blaze of momentary heat at best!

Haply you well may find

(Proud privilege of your kind)
Some friend to share the secret of your heart;

Or, if your inbred grief

Admit of such relief,
The dance, the chase, the play, assuage your smart.

“Whilst we, poor hapless maids,

Condemn’d to pine in shades,
And to our dearest friends our thoughts deny,

Can only sit and weep,

While all around us sleep,

Unpitied languish, and unheeded die." P. 10. Vol. III. New Series.

35

[ocr errors]

We were much pleased with the translation of the well known stanza of Horace lamentiug “ the decay of his old flame.”

“Quo fugit Venus? Heu, quore color decens ?
Quo motus ? quid habes illius, illius

Quæ spirabat amores

Quæ me surpuerat mihi?
“ Where is the bloom, the power to move,
And warm a frozen heart to love?
O where those earlier graces, fraught

With all that could a lover sway,
That wakeu'd every tender thought,

And stole me from myself away?” B. P. 51.

Among those pieces to which the title of “Moral” is prefixed, are four from Palladas on the trite subject of “ the shortness and evils of life.” We were obliged to turn to the original to understand the last.

PALLADAS, 129. ii. 434. M.
“O transitory joys of life! ye mourn
Rightly those winged hours that ne'er retum.
We, let us sit, or lie, or toil, or feast,
Time ever runs, a persecuting guest,
His hateful race against our wretched state,
And bears the unconquerable will of fate." P. 108.

There appears to be something defective in the third line; but how tame and spiritless is the whole, compared with the original, which furnishes a beautiful specimen of that simple and touching harmony of expression by which the ancients recommended the commonest thoughts.

Ω της βραχειας ηδονης της τα βιε.
την οξυτητα 18 χρονο πευθησατε.
ημεις καθεζομεσθα και κοιμωμεθα, ,
μοχθέντες η τρυφωντες' ο δε χρονος τρεχει,
τρεχει καθ' ήμων των ταλαιπωρων βροτων,
φερων έκασ8 το βιω κατας ροφην.”

Dr. Johnson has pointed out in the Rambler the beauties of a short Hymn to Health, by Ariphron of Sicyon; "in which,” says he," the power of exalting the happiness of life, of heightening the gifts of fortune, and adding enjoyment to possession, is inculcated with so much force and beauty, that no one who has ever languished under the discomforts and infirmities of a lingering disease, can read it without feeling the images dance in his breast, and adding from his own experience new vigour to the wish, and

from his own imagination new colours to the picture." It loses nothing in its new poetical dress.

By ARIPHRON OF SICYON, 23 Scol. i. 159.

Address to Health. B.
“Health, brightest visitant from heaven,

Grant me with thee to rest !
For the short time by nature given,

Be thou my constant guest !
For all the pride that wealth bestows,
The pleasure that from children flows,
Whate'er we court in regal state
That makes men covet to be great;
" Whatever sweet we hope to find

In love's delightful snare,
Whatever good by heaven assign’d,

Whatever pause from care,
All flourish at thy smile divine;
The spring of loveliness is thine,
And every joy that warms our hearts
With thee approaches and departs." P. 120.

When will the danger of quoting from memory be sufficiently known? We find the following observation, p. 153. “Suavius est tui meminisse, quam cum aliis versari,' is, possibly, the very tenderest expression that ever heart conceived, or tongue ut. tered." How much stronger is the sentiment in its genuine form! “ Heu quanto minus est cum reliquis versari, quam tui meminisse !" It is correctly quoted by Lord Byron, and prefixed to some very beautiful stanzas nearly at the end of the volume wbich contains his Childe Harold. We wish we could make room for the three original pieces by a friend, “ To Estrella ;" there is a force and spirit in them which is the best charm of lyric poetry : the first and third appear to us decidedly superior to the second, which has less beauty and tenderness, and is little less exceptionable than Moore's poem on the same subject. We are always concerned to see warmth and indelicacy confounded; they are feelings as distinct as the love of Adam, and the passion of the Giaour for Leila.

We have already observed, that the commonest subjects are usually the most pleasing, when they are judiciously treated. Nothing can be more natural and interesting than the following little poem, though the subject is one of the most hackneyed on which verse is employed.

Paulus, 83. iii. 102.
On a Daughter who died young. B.
“Sweet maid, thy parents fondly thought

To strew thy bride-bed, not thy bier;
But thou hast lelt a being fraught

With wiles, and toils, and anxious fear.

For us remains a journey drear,
For thee a blest eternal prime,

Uniting, in thy short career,

Youth's blossom with the fruit of time.” P. 286. Bion and Shakspeare have immortalized the loves of Venus and Adonis, and we were, therefore, rather surprised to find this acknowledged favourite of the goddess omitted in the following stanza, which, in other respects, may be placed in the same page with Prior's numerous jeux d'esprits on the same subject. In the Greek, the “flint-hearted boy' takes his proper station with Anchises and Paris.

UNCERTAIN, 247. iii. 200. Exclamation of Venus on seeing her Statue by Praxiteles. M.

“My naked charms! The Phrygian swain,

And Dardan boy-to those I've shown them,
And only those, of mortal strain.

How should Praxiteles have known them ?" P. 372. At p. 403. is a note on the god of sleep, where the age, under which this divinity has been usually represented by the ancients, is discussed. The distinction made between Somnus and Morpheus seems rather fanciful.

It is supposed that Morpheus, always represented as an old man, “is alone the proper image of the sleep of the living;” and that Somnus, figured under the character “of a boy, or rather of a beautiful youth,” is “le sommeil éternel, image du sommeil, ou de la mort.” We cannot reconcile this appropriation of the duties assigned to the two deities with the following passage in the Metamorphoses of Ovid, where Morpheus is sent by Somnus, at the suggestion of Juno, to inform Halcyone of the fate of Ceyx.

“ Pater e populo natorum mille suorum
Excitat artificem simulatoremque figura
Morphea. Non illo jussos solertius alter
Exprimit incessus, vultumque modumque loquendi.
Adjicit et vestes, et consuetissima cuique
Verba, sed hic solos homines imitatur, &c.

Præterit hos senior: cunctisque e fratribus unum
Morphea, qui peragat Theumantidos edita, Somnus
Eligit.” Lib. i. 633.

Here Morpheus is distinctly described as acting under Somnus, and assuming different appearances as the occasion required. However this may be, there is a mistake in the punctuation of a passage quoted to show the youth of Somnus, of some importance, as it affects part of the proof adduced in support of the distinction, and entirely destroys the parallelism of the passage. After charging Addison with having fallen into “ an error from which his own reference to Statius ought to have secured him," the writer of the note thus quotes the lines alluded to.

« Crimine quo merui, juvenis placidissime Divum,
Quove errore, miser, donis ut solus egerem,
Somne, tuis ?”

We have always read the passage thus :

“ Crimine quo merui juvenis, placidissime Divum," &c.

By this punctuation juvenis acquires a very peculiar force, and the spirit of the passage is greatly improved. “What have I done, that I, though still young, at that season of life when cares are least likely to obstruct repose, am denied the gifts of sleep?" The beauties of this exquisite little poem are fresh in the memory of every classical reader, and we agree with the remark in the Illustrations, that Mr. Hodgson “ has, if possible, added to the calm repose and sweetness of the original description.”

“ Now every field, and every herd is thive,
And seeming slumbers bend the mountain pine;
Hush'd is the tempest's howl, the torrent's roar,
And the smooth wave lies pillow'd on the shore." P. 408.

It is thus we should wish to express our feelings on viewing the tranquillity and softness of one of Claude's night-pieces.

The least interesting division of the volume is the last, entitled “ Satirical and Humorous.” A part, at least, of the pleasure which we derive from humour, arises from the unexpected manner in which incongruous thoughts are combined by some apparent similarity. It follows that our pleasure is lessened in proportion to our surprise, and that which appears good on the first reading, loses something of its beauty at every succeeding perusal. Besides, the subjects which afforded matter of ridicule to the ancients are not altogether such as now strike us in the same light; and in general every age has its own objects of entertainment, its peculiar cast of humour, which will not be readily exchanged for any other. But this is a point on which we touch with considerable

« הקודםהמשך »