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PAULUS, 83. iij. 102.
To strew thy bride-bed, not thy bier ;
With wiles, and toils, and anxious fear.
For us remains a journey drear,
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,
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 More pheus 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
Præterit hos senior : cunctisque e fratribus unum
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,
We have always read the
“ 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 thine,
It is thus we should wish to express our feelings on viewing the tranquility 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, ils peculiar cast of humour, which will not be readily exchanged for any other. But this is a point on which we touch with considerable tenderness for the feelings and opinions of others. We may, however, venture to observe, that true wit has no more connexion with extravagant images, than the comedy of Terence, of Fontenelle, and occasionally of Molière, has with plays of character, in which simple avarice or extravagance are drawn, instead of the covetous, or the extravagant man; or with Spanish plots, which deceive a man through his senses, not through his passions and affections. The emotion of pleasure must be retained, as well as excited; the gratified feeling must be as inseparable from the idea which gave rise to it, when it is familiar, as when it was new. Notwithstanding what we have said on this point, we will still venture to quote one specimen of this part of the work, in which a favourite subject of all epigrammatists is well displayed.
AGATHIAS, 67. iii. 56.
On a Lawyer. M.
We are not much dissatisfied with the following observations prefixed to some “ extracts from the Grecian drama.”
“ Notwithstanding the success with which Potter's faithful and animated translations of the great fathers of the Grecian drama have deservedly been attended, it has always appeared to me that the true spirit of their poetry might he more nearly attained, by adopting the sonorous and majestic couplet, which Dryden wished to introduce on the English stage, in imitation of Corneille and Racine; and which, however ud
suitable to the purpose of representing violent and sudden emotions, is peculiarly well adapted as the vehicle both of declamatory passion, and of pathetic sweetness."
The extracts which follow are from the most touching and tender scenes of the Greek tragedy; the thoughts such as are most in unison with those domestic feelings which come home to every heart, and the classical allusions so natural and intelligible as not to be displeasing even to the English reader who seeks only for beauty of poetry, and has no additional source of gratification in meeting with a spirited version of his favourite passages; yet we should say that the attempt had decidedly failed, if the truth of the doctrine depended on the detached specimens before us. We must, however, make two exceptions; the first in favour of the translation of a chorus in the Alcestis of Euripides, the other the address of a daughter to her father, conjuring him to spare her life ; and both of singular beauty.
ADDRESS OF THE CHORUS TO Alcestis. M.
Where the bright sun can enter never!
No spirit half so lovely ever,
Bedews with April showers
Oa Athens' heav'n-loved towers.
"O! could the power of verse recall
And dark Cocytus' spectred wave!
And break the darkness of the grave!
“ Most lov’d, most honour'd shade, farewell!
We know not what the gods below
Will measure out of bliss or wo;
And which we all are cloom'd to try :
And undistinguish'd die. " But she who pobly died, to save A husband from the cheerless grave, Though seen no more by mortal eye, Shines, a bright power, above the sky. Hail, lovely light of Phera's vale ! Blest guardian of the wandering stranger, hail !-P. 243.
FROM THE IPHIGENIA IN AULIS OF EURIPIDES.
Iphigenia to Agamemnon.
And shall I see my daughter,' wouldst thou say,