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"Here the who fung, to him that did inspire, Sappho to Phoebus confecrates her Lyre; "What fuits with Sappho, Phoebus, fuits with thee; "The gift, the giver, and the God agree." But why, alas, relentless youth, ah why
To distant Seas muft tender Sappho fly?
Thy charms than those may far more pow'rful be, And Phoebus' felf is lefs a God to me.
Ah! canft thou doom me to the rocks and fea,
and the other the beginning of an ode addreffed to Evening, by Demetrius Phalareus, in the Oxford edition, by Gale, p. 104.
In one of Akenfide's odes to lyric poetry, which have been too much depreciated, are two fine ftanzas; one in the character of Alcæus, and the other on the character of Sappho :
Spirat adhuc Amor
Vivuntque commiffi calores
Eolie fidibus puellæ !
Lefbides aequoreae, nupturaque nuptaque proles;
Lesbides, Aeolia nomina dicta lyra;
Ecquid ago precibus? pectufne agreste movetur?
An riget? et Zephyri verba caduca ferunt ? Qui mea verba ferunt, vellem tua vela referrent. Hoc te, fi faperes, lente, decebat opus. Sive redis, puppique tuae votiva parantur Munera; quid laceras pectora nostra mora? Solve ratem: Venus orta mari, mare praeftet eunti. Aura dabit curfum; tu modo folve ratem, Ipfe gubernabit refidens in puppe Cupido: Ipfe dabit tenera vela legetque manu.
Sive juvat longe fugiffe Pelafgida Sappho ;
(Non tamen invenies, cur ego digna fuga.) 255
[O faltem miferae, Crudelis, epiftola dicat :
Ut mihi Leucadiae fata petantur aquae.]
My Phaon's fled, and I those arts refign
O launch the bark, nor fear the watʼry plain; 250
O launch thy bark, fecure of profp'rous gales;
If you will fly-(yet ah! what cause can be,
VER. 236. My Phaon] Fenton tranflated this epiftle, but with a manifeft inferiority to Pope. He added an original poem of his own, an epistle of Phaon to Sappho; which appears to be one of the feebleft in the collection of his poems, among which fome are truly excellent.
On the whole, the epiftle before us is tranflated by Pope with faithfulness and with elegance, and much excels any Dryden tranflated in the volume he published; feveral of which were done by fome "of the mob of gentlemen that wrote with ease;" that is, Sir C. Scroop, Caryl, Pooly, Wright, Tate, Buckingham, Cooper, and other carelefs rhymers. Lord Somers tranflated Dido to Æneas, and Ariadne to Thefeus. A good tranflation of these epiftles is as much wanted as one of Juvenal; for out of fixteen fatires of that poet Dryden himfelf tranflated but fix. We can now boast of happy trans lations in verfe of almost all the great poets of antiquity, whilst the French have been poorly contented with only profe translations of Homer and Horace; which, fays Cervantes, can no more refemble the original than the wrong fide of tapeftry can represent the right. The inability of the French tongue to exprefs many Greek or Roman ideas with facility and grace is here vifible; but the Italians have Horace tranflated by Pallavacini, Theocritus by Ricolotti and Salvini, Ovid by Anguillara, the Æneid, admirably well, in blank verfe, by Annibal Caro, and the Georgics, in blank verse alfo, by Daniello, and Lucretius by Marchetti.
One of the most learned commentaries on any claffic is that of Mezeriac on the epiftles of Ovid. It seems strange he should have employed fo much labour on fuch a writer. The very best life of fop is alfo by Mezeriac; a book fo fcarce, that neither Bentley nor Bayle had feen it when they firft wrote on Æfop. It was reprinted in the Memoires de Literature of M. De Sattengre 1717, t. i. p. 87. This is the author whom Malherbe, with his ufual bluntnefs, afked, when he publifhed his edition of Diophantus, "If it would leffen the price of bread ?"
There was a very early translation of the epiftles of Ovid afcribed to Shakespear, which error, like many others, has been rectified by that able and accurate enquirer, Dr Farmer, who has fhewn that they were tranflated by Thomas Heywood, and inferted in his Britaine's Troy, 1609.
One of the best imitations of Ovid is a Latin epistle of the Count Balthafar Caftiglione, author of the celebrated Courtier, addreffed to his abfent wife.