Imágenes de página
PDF
ePub

one to the classical critic; suggesting the foundation of a system of metre on the principle of pure feet. (For a fuller elucidation of this idea, see Agamemnon, 416. ; 1468.; and Choephoræ, 148.) To this we shall recur.

From the philological notes * to this play we could largely select, and we shall largely refer to them. Let our readers, then, examine the explanations affixed to lines 198.; 203. ; 365.; 380.; 435.; 500.; 509.; 551.; 609.; 613.; 792.; 912. ; 921.; and 968. Many interesting and difficult points of philological learning are concisely, clearly, and satisfactorily illustrated in passages included in the foregoing enumeration; and our countrymen are occasionally gratified with an apposite and just tribute of praise to Shakspeare or to Milton, when any similar display of genius in the great Grecian dramatist recalls their parallelisms or their imitations.

We now necessarily turn to the Agamemnon; and here we would principally rest the proofs of our favourable opinion of this edition of the play ( qui unus obscuritate superat quantum est librorum sacrorum cum suis Hebraismis et Syriasmis, et totá Hellenistica supellectile, vel farragine," Salmasius,) on the following passages in the critical and philological divisions of the work. In the former, we refer to the notes on lines 6.; 51.; 101.; 253.; 260. ; 265. ; (a very ingenious note, in which much ori. ginal matter is silently communicated, as we have observed on many other occasions ;) 294. ; 374.; 377. ; 389.; and 416. ; and here we shall introduce what we have to say on the subject of the critical note on line 958. of the Septem contra Thebas. In this note, the author makes a remark which,

at least, appears quite new; our own reading not having conveyed to us any hint of it elsewhere. It is that the Æschylean Antispast (as it is here called) requires to be followed by pure Iambics; or, if not pure, then the Tribrach only is admitted. It consists of the first Epitrite, followed by any number of pure Iambics, thus : u--- lu-loor any other length of them. If this canon be correct, the editor may well, on such an occasion, use the Bentleian “ corrige, meo periculo," fnavdisavles, because étaviūravles obviously violates it: but we conceive farther that this rule

to

us

* This division of particular criticism and more general philology is accurate and useful; and the only fault that we have heard alleged against it is, that it compels the reader to refer to more places than one in the book!! Whether such a complaint be worthy of the scholar, let him judge.

(which

name.

(which is very curious if correct) might be applicable not only to the antispast in question, but might extend to a variety of other metres, which require to be followed by pure Iambic or pure Trochaic feet, or to consist of them altogether, except, perhaps, in the first foot, or in the case of a proper

We shall probably have a better opportunity of dwelling a little longer on this question, in our notice of the Choephoræ.

The next critical notes on the Agamemnon, which we would mention, are to be found at verses 445.; 507.; 577.; 578. ; fa note of the same poetic taste that is apparent in many others ;) 587.; (in which a point of grammar is well contested with Valckenaër ;) 739.; 799.; 809.; (another specimen of happy emendation;) 946. ; 1031. ; 1081. ; 1431. ; and 1585. ; a most learned and laborious note, if taken into consideration with all the passages to which it requires reference in the critical and philological commentaries; and which the editor thus diffidently concludes ; Sic huic loco satisfacere conati sumus.' In the philological notes on the Agamemnon, we would call the attention of the reader to those which are given on lines 2.; 168.; (in which justice is done to one of the finest choruses in all the Grecian drama ;) 226.; (in which the merits of the passage are also pointed out with vivacity and discrimination, although we have a general remark to make on this head before the conclusion of our critique ;) 247.; 286.; 621.; 807. ; 907., and 1187. The last we shall cite as far as it is original; thus intending to illustrate the general style of the editor when he undertakes to direct the admiration of the student to any splendid passage of his author : as in the former selection it was our object to enable the reader to judge of his skill in the critical arrangement

of a very noble chorus: Sequitur dialogus, si quis alius apud Æschylum vere sublimis, eo verborum ornatu, imaginum varietate et copia, ardore dictionis, allegorie et tralationum dignitate instructus, ut poetæ animum ultra se terdentem, et ad sublimiora et prope divina assurgentem dixeris. Affirmare ausim, nihil esse apud scriptores Ethnicos quod cum Æschylea Cassandre persona conferri possit . Lycophrona qui comparaverit

, que sit imitatoris et grammatici jejunitas, obsoletis verborum ampullis et prolixa narrationis obscuritate ænigmata potius quam vaticinia involventis, facile sentiet. Apud Æschylum præter quem haud quisquam alius cujusvis gentis scriptor dramaticus hanc personam attingere ausus est, tanquam vero numinis aflatu correpta furibunda vates, ab obscuris verborum involucris ad clarum futuri casus vaticinium progreditur ; apud Lycophronem habes quidem webowToy Tuhanyes, sed ab exordio satis angmoso, ad languidiores verborum ambages et curiosam obscuritatem pro

cedis. ' Hic autem quanto cum ardore fervidus ille magni poeta animus in cumulatas allegorias quas non prolixe, sed breviter ac strictim persequitur, spiritu vere entheo incitatus ruit. In illis flammei, venti ac fluctuum metaphoris nihil habes humile, nibil languidum, nihil non orna. tum, splendidum, grave. Deinde v. 1193. quanta cum dignitate ex iis que supra memoraverat, iis etiam que dicenda sunt fidem facit. Tunc v. 1195. et seqq. quantus inest splendor et cum summo terrore conjuncta sublimitas. Postea a v. 1206. ad v. 1222. ubi de se loquitur defer, vescere orationem fateor, sed ex ipsa illa narratiuncula efficitur ut eorum qua

dixerat et dictura est veritas confirmetur ; et nescio an consulto hic se remiserit Æschylus quo ferventior videatur nobilis illa predictio in quam erumpit, v. 1223.. Certe renovatus ille furor buic remissioni preclare opponitur. Deinde quid gravius et ad terrorem incutiendum magis accommodatum quam simplex illa vaticinii sui expositio, O. 1255. 'Αγαμέμνονός σε φημεπόψεσθαι μόρον. Rursus cum ex furore animum parumper recepisset, suum ipsa interitum prædicit, et projectis sertis ad mortem generosa progreditur. Inest vero huic orationi verborum copia, sententiarum majestas, elatio animi ad terrorem simul et misericordiam admirabiliter composita! An vero quidquam illis, V. 1318, 1319, 1320. sublimius excogitari potest? Quam gravissima, quam terrore plena omnia. S. BUTLER.'

Our farther specifications of the philological remarks on this play shall be applied to lines 1226.; 1244.; 1586. ; 1611.; and the reference at that line to 1578.; where the editor's valuable correspondent, the learned historian of Swisserland * again makes his appearance, as he does on many other useful occasions throughout these observations, and always maintaining his established and high philosophical character.

We have thus enabled the student, with great facility, to form his own judgment on the value and serviceableness of the present edition of Æschylus. If the above-mentioned passages contain, as we think they do, much critical and philological knowlege and generally useful illustration, the point is settled; and, if they do not, it will be the laudable part of the scholar to point out the deficiencies. We confess that we have not discovered them; and, indeed, as most scholars must have observed, the few objections that have been made. to this edition principally rest on its redundancies, rather than its omissions. As to any really offensive classical errors, we have neither ourselves seen them nor heard of their detection by others. Of necessity, in such an extent and variety of annotation, we may discern corresponding shades of merit; and,

* Professor Muller, of whose honourably distinguished career in the republic of letters we gave an account in the Appendix to our laxist Volume, N. S.

if

if any pervading mistake occurs to which we may be inclined to affix any degree of consequence, it is that to which we have alluded above, when we promised to notice the editor's custom of pointing out fine passages to the reader; or, to speak more correctly, of dissecting the particular merits of the author in any chosen instance, and dwelling on each distinct manifestation of his skill. We are by no means prepared to say that this is not a judicious practice, if we consider it as adopted for the sake of the learner in the study of this poet ; and that few can be strictly called learned in his peculiar style is abundantly manifest: but those few are the most fastidious, as is ever the case, and they probably will, on some occasions, complain with justice. In truth, if the original observations here contributed to the general illustration of Æschylus had much less merit than to us and to a large proportion of literary men they appear to possess, still the double quantity of Stanley's excellent notes, which is here communicated to the classical reader, would be enough to render the edition highly valuable. Much more, however, must, in the commonest justice, be said of it; and we are indeed deceived if it will not, in due time, acquire the character of one of the most complete variorum editions of any classic, from the days of Aldus to our own. Making allowance for those blemishes which we noticed in our first survey of the work, (the compulsory adoption of Stanley's text * being the first and foremost, and some scattered « maculæ,” which it would be easy to magnify by the joint aid of microscopic dullness and fretful selfsufficiency, but on which manly criticism would disdain to dwell,) we have no hesitation in pronouncing this edition of Æschylus to be the very identical edition which, were he now living, and could he find it as portable as his friend the apothecary found the works of Galen, Parson Adams himself would carry in his pocket.

ART. V. Annotations on the Four Gospels, and the Acts of the

Apostles. Compiled and abridged for the Use of Students.

2d Edition. 8vo. 3 Vols. 1l. 4s. Boards. Payne and Foss. CH YHRISTIANITY is a learned religion. Though as a practical

system its rules are plain and simple, and though its moral essence consists in nothing more than love to God and man,

its history opens a wide field of inquiry; and the stores of antient literature must be explored before a critical knowlege of it can

* It may be necessary to remind some of our classical readers, that the University of Cambridge made this adoption indispensable.

be

be obtained. Ignorant enthusiasts may disclaim the aids of human learning, but at the sight of a Hebrew Bible and a Greek Testament they must be overwhelmed with confusion. Our religion having emanated from Judaism, having been originally preached in a country widely differing from our own, and having its antient records in languages which time has rendered obsolete, the theological student, who wishes thoroughly to qualify himself for a Christian divine, should turn over many musty volumes, and consume the midnight oil in researches which are beyond the scope of the vulgar, and the full value of which the vulgar cannot appreciate. To a knowlege of Hebrew theology and antiquities, he must add an acquaintance with Christian literature, including the history of the sacred text and of the first

ages

of the church. The New Testament is so intimately connected with the Old, and the language of the former is so full of Hebraisms, as they are termed,) that a knowlege of the Hebrew tongue is necessary towards a critical examination of the Greek Gospels, Acts, and Epistles. Mosheim's history of Christianity before the period of Constantine the Great; - Michaelis's Lectures, as edited by Dr. Marsh; Lardner's Credibility and Supplement ; — and, we may add, Priestley's History of Early Opinions, in which he has crossexamined the orthodox fathers on the subject of the antient heretics, whose writings, not having descended to us, cannot now speak for themselves; - should also be carefully read by those who desire to enter on the study of divinity with enlightened, correct, and expanded views. In recommending Dr. Priestley's History of Early Opinions concerning Christ, we mean not to sanction his peculiar sentiments : but we are per. suaded that the body of evidence, which he has collected from the Greek and Latin fathers, ought not to be overlooked by a person who would make himself master of the secrets of Christian antiquity. The value of the fathers, considered as commentators on the Scriptures, cannot be ascertained except by some such process; and we make this remark without reference to what inay be deemed an orthodox or a heterodox result: When the object is to acquire a thorough and accurate knowlege of the sacred writings, every assistance should be obtained; and prejudice should not be suffered to stand at our elbow while we are kneeling at the altar, and imploring the pure light of truth.

We have made these remarks preliminary to our notice of the present work, the first edition of which appeared so far back as the year 1799, and some strictures on which were given in M. R. Vol. xxx. N.S. p. 441. The Annotations then published merely contained notes on the four Gospels; and they betrayed some 14

inaccue

any

« AnteriorContinuar »