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Seeking in the desert wood
Best of painters ! come, portray
ODE XVI. Thou, whose soft and rosy hues siimic form and soul infuse ;*
has ever been said. What an idea does it give of of excellence, from the association of beauty with the poetry of the man from whom Venus herself, that flower. Salvini has adopted this reading in the mother of the Graces and the Pleasures, pur- his literal translation : ehases a little hymn with one of her favourite
Della rosea arte signore. doves!
- Longepierre. De Paus objects to the authenticity of this
3 If the portrait of this beauty be not merely ode, because it makes Anacreon his own pane- ideal, the omission of her name is much to be gyrist; but poets have a licence for praising regretted. Meleager, in an epigram on Anathemselves, which with some indeed may be con. creon, mentions “the golden Eurypyle' as his sidered as comprisevi under their general privilege
mistress : of fiction. This ode and the next may be called compa
Βεβληκως χρυσεην χειρας επ’ Ευρυπυλην. nion pictures; they are highly finished, and
4 The ancients have been very enthusiastic in give us an excellent idea of the taste of the their praises of hair. Apuleius, in the second ancients in bauty. Franciscus Junius quotes book of his Milesiacs, says that Venus herself, if them in his third book, De Pictura Veterum, she were bald, though surrounded by the Graces
This ode has been imitated by Ronsard, and the Loves, could not be pleasing even to her Grullano Goselini, etc. etc. Scaliger alludes to husband Vulcan. is thas in his Anacreontica:
To this passage of our poet Selden alluded in
a note on the Polyolbion of Drayton, song the Olim lepore blando,
second; where, observing that the epithet 'blackLitis versibus
haired' was given by some of the ancients to the Candidas Anacreon
goddess Isis, he says: 'Nor will I swear but that Quam pingeret Amicus
Anacreon (a man very judicious in the provoking Descripsit Venerem suam.
motives of wanton love), intending to bestow on
his sweet mistress that one of the titles of The Teian bard, of former days,
woman's special ornament, well-haired, thought Attuned his sweet descriptive lays,
of this when he gave his painter direction to And taught the painter's hand to trace
make her black-haired.' His fair beloved's every grace!
5 Thus Philostratus, speaking of a picture: 'I In the dialogue of Caspar Barlæus, entitled An admire the dewiness of these roses, and could formosa, at ducenda, the reader will find many say that their very smell was painted." curiou, ideas and descriptions of beauty.
& Tasso has painted the eyes of Armida, as La • 1 bave followed the reading of the Vatican Fosse remarks: Ms. Painting is called 'the rosy art,' either in Qual raggio in onda le scintilla un riso reference to colouring, or as an indefinite epithet Negli umidi occhi tremulo e lascivo.
O'er her nose and cheek be shed Let his hair, in lapses bright,
The flowing of his locks confine;
To float upon the breeze's wing: Then beneath the velvet chin,
Beneath the front of polished glow, Whose dimple shades a Love within, Front as fair as mountain snow, Mould her neck with grace descending, And guileless as the dews of dawn, In a heaven of beauty ending ;
Let the majestic brows be drawn, While airy charms, above, below, Of ebon dyes, enriched by gold, Sport and flutter on its snow.
Such as the scaly snakes unfold. . Now let a floating, lucid veil
Mingle in his jetty glances Shadow her limbs, but not conceal ;3 Power that awes,
and love that A charm may peep, a hue may beam, trances ;? And leave the rest to Fancy's dream. Steal from Venus bland desire, Enough—'tis she ! 'tis all I seek ; Steal from Mars the look of fire, It glows, it lives, it soon will speak ! Blend them in such expression here,
That we, by turns, may hope and
fear; ODE XVII.4
Now from the sunny apple seek And now, with all thy pencil's truth, The velvet down that spreads his Portray Bathyllus, lovely youth !
Within her humid, melting eyes
There Softness, bewitchingly simple,
Has chosen her innocent Dest.
* This delicate art of description, which leaves
imagination to complete the picture, has been The mingled expression of dignity and tender- seldom adopted in the imitations of this beautiness, which Anacreon requires the painter in ful poem. Ronsard is exceptionably minute; fuse into the eyes of his mistress, is more amply and Politianus, in his charming portrait of a girl, descríbed in the subsequent ode. Both descrip- full of rich and exquisite diction, has lifted the tions are so exquisitely touched, that the artist veil rather too much. The questo che tu must have been great indeed, if he did not yield m'intendo' should be always left to fancy. in painting to the poet.
4 The reader who wishes to acquire an accurate i Ths 'lip, provoking kisses,' in the original, idea of the judgment of the ancients in beauty, is a strong and beautiful expression. Achilles will be indulged by consulting Junius, De Picturd latius speaks of ' lips soft and delicate for kiss. Veterum, ninth chapter, third book, where he ing.' A grave old commentator, Dionysius will find a very curious selection of descriptions 1.ambinus, in his notes upon Lucretius, tells us, and epithets of personal perfections; he com. with all the authority of experience, that girls pares this ode with a description of Theodorie, who have large lips kiss infinitely sweeter than king of the Goths, in the second epistle, first others! 'Suavius viros osculantur puellæ labiosæ, book of Sidonius Apollinaris. quam quæ sunt brevibus labris. And Æneas 5 He here describes the sunny hair, the 'flava Sylvius, in his tedious, uninteresting story of the coma,' which the ancients so much admired. adulterous loves of Euryalus and Lucretia, where The Romans gave this colour artificially to their he particularizes the beauties of the heroine (in hair. See Stanisl. Kobiendyck de Luzu Romanoa very false and laboured style of latinity), de- rum. scribes her lips as exquisitely adapted for biting: 6 If the original here, which is particularly "Os parvum decensque, labia corallini coloris ad beautiful, can admit of any additional value, that morsum aptissima.' - Epist. 114, lib, i.
value is conferred by Gray's admiration of it. * Madame Dacier has quoted here two pretty See his Letters to West. lines of Varro:
Some annotators have quoted on this passage Sigilla in mento impressa Amoris digitulo
the description of Photis's hair in Apuleius; but Vestigio demonstrant mollitudinem.
nothing can be more distant from the simplicity
of our poet's manner than that affectation of In her chin is a delicate dimple,
richness which distinguisbesthe style of Apuleius. By the finger of Cupid imprest.
7 Tasso similarly describes the eyes of Clorinda: thinks that the hands of Mercury are selected by Whence in your little orbit lie
And there let Beauty's rosy ray Thy pencil, though divinely bright, In flying blushes richly play ;
Is envious of the
eye's delight, Blushes of that celestial flame
Or its enamoured touch would show Which lights the cheek of virgin His shoulder, fair as sunless snow, shame.
Which now in veiling shadow lies, Then for his lips, that ripely gem
Removed from all but Fancy's eyes.
Lampeggiar gli occhi, e folgorar gli sguardi Nor yet had fair Persuasion shone
In silver splendours, not her own.
2 In the original, darw own. The mistress
of Petrarch parla con silenzio,' which is perhaps The poetess Veronica Cambara is more diffuse the best method of female eloquence. upon this variety of expression :
3 In Shakspeare's Cyrbeline there is a similar Ocehi lucenti et belli
method of description : Come esser puo ch' in un medesmo istante
This is his hand, Nascan de voi si nove forme et tante ?
His foot Mercurial, his martial thigh, Lieti, mesti, superbi, humil' altieri Vi mostrate in un punto, ondi di speme,
The brawns of Hercules. E di cimor de empiete, etc. etc.
We find it likewise in Hamlet longepierre Oh! tell me, brightly-beaming eye,
Anacreon on account of the graceful gestures So many different traits of fire,
which were supposed to characterize the god of Expressing each a new desire ?
eloquence; but Mercury was also the patron of Now with angry scorn you darkle,
thieves, and may perhaps be praiscd as a lightXow with tender anguish sparkle.
fingered deity. And we, who view the various mirro Feel at once both hope and terror.
* I have taken the liberty here of somewhat
veiling the original. Madame Dacier, in her Chesreau, citing the lines of our poet, in his translation, has hung out lights (as Sterne would critique on the poems of Malherbe, produces a call it) at this passage. It is very much to be reLatin version of thern from a manuscript which gretted that this substitution of asterisks has De had seen, entitled Joan. Falconis Anacreontici been so much adopted in the popular interpretaLaus.
tions of the Classics; it serves but to bring what. It was worthy of the delicate imagination of ever is exceptionable into notice, 'claramque the Greeks to deify Persuasion, and give her the facem præferre pudendis.' lps for her throne. We are here reminded of a sery interesting fragment of Anacreon, preserved tion. While the artist'is pursuing the portrait
5 This is very spirited, but it requires explanaby the scholiast upon Pindar, and supposed to of Bathyllus, Anacreon, we must suppose, turus belong to a poem reflecting with some severity round and 'sees a picture of Apollo, which was on Simonides, who was the first, we are told, that intended for an altar at Samos: he instantly ever made a hireling of his muse:
tells the painter to cease his work; that this Ovå' coyunen Kot' captuse llelow. picture will serve for Bathyllus; and that, when
Sunned by the meridian fire,
Sweet the young, the modest trees,
he goes to Samos, he may make an Apollo of Comc, sit by the shadowy pine the portrait of the boy which he had begun.
That covers my sylvan retreat, * Bathyllus (says Madame Dacier) could not be And see how the branches incline more elegantly praised, and this one passage
The breathing of Zephyr to meet. does him more honour than the statue, how- See the fountain, that, flowing, diffuses ever beautiful it might be, which Polycrates Around me a glittering spray; raised to him.'
By its brink, as the traveller muses, 1 There are some beautiful lines, by Angerianus, I soothe him to sleep with my lay! upon a garland, which I cannot resist quoting here :
4 What a finish he gives to the picture by the
simple exclamation of the original! In those Ante fores madidæ síc sic pendete corolla, delicate turns he is inimitable; and yet hear what
Mane orto imponet Cælia vos capiti; a French translator says on the passage: 'This At quum per niveam cervicem influxerit humor, conclusion appeared to me too trifling after such
Dicite, non roris sed pluvis hæc lacrimi, a description, and I thought proper to add some. By Celia's arbour all the night
what to the strength of the original.' Hang, humid wreath, the lover's vow;
5 By this allegory of the Muses making Cupid And haply, at the morning light,
the prisoner of Beauty, Anacreon seems to inMy love shall twine thee round her brow. sinuate the softening influence which a cultivation Then, if upon her bosom bright,
of poetry has over the mind, in making it pecuSome drops of dew shall fall from the?,
liarly susceptible to the impressions of beauty; Tell her, they are not drops of night,
though in the following epigram, by the philosoBut tears of sorrow shed by me!
pher Plato, which is found in the third book of
Diogenes Laertius, the Muses are made to disIn the poem of Mr. Sheridan, “Upcouth is this avow all the influence of Love: moss-covered grotto of stone, there is an idea | Α Κυπρις Μουσαισι, κορασια ταν Αφροδιταν very singularly coincident with this of Angeria
Τιματ’ η τον Ερωτα ύμμιν εφοπλισομαι. . Dus, in the stanza which begins,
Αι Μοισαι ποτι Κυπριν. Αρει τα στωμυλα ταυτα And thou, stony grot, in thy arch may'st preserve. “Ημιν ου πεταται τουτο το παιδαριον.
The transition here is peculiarly delicate and Yield to my gentle power, Parnassian maids ;' impassioned; but the commentators have per- Thus to the Muses spoke the Queen of Charmsplesed the sentiment by a variety of readings and 'Or Love shall flutter in your classic shades, conjectures.
And make your grove the camp of Paphian arms! 3 The description of this bower is 80 natural No,' said the virgins of the tuneful bower, and animated, that we cann t help feeling a de- 'We scorn thine own and all thy urchin's art; gree of coolness and freshness while we read it. Though Mars has trembled at the infant's power, Longepierre has quoted from the first book of the
His shaft is pointless o'er a Muse's heart!' Anthologia the following epigram, as somewhat There is a sonnet by Benedetto Guidi, the thought resembling this ode :
of which was suggested by this ode. Ερχεο, και κατ' εμαν ζευ πίτυν, α το μελιχρον Love, wandering through the golden maze Προς μαλακους ηχει κεκλιμενα ζεφυρους.
Of my beloved's hair, Ηνιδε και κρουνισμα μελισταγες, ενθα μελισδων Traced every lock with fond delays, “Ηδυν ερημαιαις ύπνον αγω καλαμοις,
And, doting, lingered there.
His mother comes with many a toy,
And when the rosy sun appears, To ransom her beloved boy;
He drinks the ocean s misty tears.
I'll make the laws of Nature mine,
And soon he found 'twere vain to fly, One of the Capilupi has imitated this ode in an
epitaph on a drunkard :
Dum vixi sine fine bibi, sic imbrifer arcus
Sic tellus pluvias sole perusta bibit.
Sic bibit assidue fontes et flumina Pontus,
Sic semper sitiens Soi maris haurit aquas.
Ne te igitur jactes plus me, Silene, bibisse;
Et mihi da victas tu quoque, Bacche, manus.
Hippolytus Capilupus. " Venus thus proclaims the reward for her
While life was mine, the little hour fagitive child in the first idyl of Moschus :
In drinking still unvaried flew;
I drank as earth imbibes the shower, "Ο μανντας γερας εξει,
Or as the rainbow drinks the dew; Μισθος του, το φιλαρα το Κυπριδος, ην 8
As ocean quaffs the rivers up,
Or flushing sun inhales the sea ;
Silenus trembled at my cup,
3 Ogilvie, in his Essay on the Lyric Poetry of Shall have something more rapturous, something Anacreon, says: 'In some of his pieces there is
the Ancients, in remarking upon the Odes of more dear.
exuberance and even wildness of imagination ; This something more' is the 'quidquid post in that particularly which is addressed to a young oscula dulce of Secundus.
girl, where he wishes alternately to be transAfter this ode, there follow in the Vatican Ms. formed to a mirror, a coat, a stream, a bracelet, these extraordinary lines:
and a pair of shoes, for the different purposes
which he recites; this is mere sport and waliton“Ηδυμελης Ανακρεων
ness.' "Ηδυμελης δε Σαπφω
It is the wantonness, however, of a very graceful Πινδαρικον το δε μοι μελος
muse; ludit umubiliter. The compliment of this Συγκερασας τις εγχεοι
ode is exquisitely delicate, and so singular for the Τα τρια ταυτα μοι δοκει
period in which Anacreon lived, when the scale Και Διονυσος εισελθων
of love had not yet been graduated into all its Και Ταφιη παραχρους
little progressive refinements, that if we were Και αντος Ερως καν επιειν. .
inclined to question the authenticity of the poem, These lines, which appear to me to have as little we should find a much more plausible argument reuse as metre, are most probably the interpola- in the features of modern gallantry which it tion of the transcriber.
bears, than in any of those fastidious conjectures 2 The commentators who have endeavoured to upou which some commentators have presumed throw the chains of precision over the spirit of so far. Degen thinks it spurious, and De Pauw this beautiful trifle, require too much from Ana- pronounces it to be miserable. Longepierre and Creontic philo-oohy.
Barnes refer us to several imitations of this ode