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My husband's a ftrange unaccountable man'-WARTON'S words-exactly correfponding with the metre the tranflator had adopted, before he had the fatisfaction of feeing WARTON'S edition.
To buy me fome nitre and paint, at a shop.
In the detail which POLLUX hath given us of the various apparatus that miniftered to the dress of the Grecian ladies, we meet with nitre and paints of various colors.
The Naxian women use a great deal of rouge, at the present day. And they have a custom (which is very common among the Eastern nations, though not known to the ancient Greeks) of blackening their eye-brows and eye-lids. For an illustration. of the modern manners of the Grecian ifles, fee the Comte de CHOISEUL'S Voyage Pittorefque.'
Well might it be faid, he was fleec'd of his money.
The tranflator thinks a pun is only admiffible amidst the flippancy of light and frivolous conversation. No one (he should imagine) will object to its introduction in this place. Neither the characters nor the discourse revolt from it. Befides, it appears to be in the manner of THEOCRITUS. Had the Sicilian written in the English language, the above pun would probably have occurred to him. And the most faftidious critic who confiders the πενθημα και ο Πένθηα of the twenty-fixth Idyllium, can fcarcely object to the tranflator's addition, as uncharacteristic of his original. The propriety, indeed, of introducing fuch a play upon words as πενθημα και ο Πενθηα, in the place where it occurs, is, by no means, unquestionable. The imagination hath been. previously agitated by the wildnefs of a bacchanal scene, in which frenzy and murder have appeared in their direst forms. The images of horror ftill preffing around us, we are abruptly told, that the frantic bacchanals bore from the mountain, not Pentheus,
Pentheus, but Penfiveness'. The English reader may conceive some faint idea of the pun from the last word, which, however, does not fufficiently exprefs the fenfe.
And faften your robes with its clafps, &c.
CATULLUS has finely touched on the feveral parts of a lady's drefs, where he defcribes the diftrefs of ARIADNE for the lofs of THESEUS:
Non flavo retinens fubtilem vertice mitram,
De Nuptiis Pelei, &c. 1. 63.
Here we have the head-dress-a fort of fash or mitre, the loofe robe, and the fcarf which covered the bofom. The fcarf fometimes defcended from the head and covered the neck. ANACREON wishes to be transformed into the scarf which spread itself over his miftrefs's bosom.
This fubject might be confiderably illuftrated from ARISTOPHANES, who often defcribes or alludes to the drefs of the female fex. From the relations of ATHENAEUS and TERENCE, we may collect, that tight-lacing is not merely a modern cuftom. The modish ladies of the present day may have recourse to the usages of antiquity, if they please, as a fanction for almost every fpecies. of vanity or folly. In TERENCE's Eunuch we are informed by CHEREA, that tight-lacing was much in fafhion; and that too, under the direction of mothers, who miferably tortured their daughters' bodies in order to give them a fine fall of the shoulders, and an eafy genteel fhape. Immediately after, is mentioned another practice, that of reducing the fhape, by denying the appetite, to the flenderness of a bulrufh. According to TERENCE, fpare diet was the ufual expedient.-There feems to
be a degree of viciousness in this fashion that cannot be confidered without deteftation: Yet is it so common in this country, that there is scarcely a person who hath not seen inftances of it— always injurious to health (to fay nothing of mental depravation) and frequently attended with fatality.
How dare you fo carelessly fpill, &c.
An exquifite painting of a female fluttering with various feelings, amidft her preparations for a public place, where she is going rather to be feen than to fee-more than ufually anxious about ornamenting her perfon-full of conceited airs and affected delicacy-chiding her maid without knowing why-and, in violent hafte, exhibiting all the marks of levity, caprice, and arrogance. This picture of the Syracufian women, though drawn two thousand years ago, hath its perfect resemblance at the prefent day, in real life, as well as on the stage.
WARTON, flightly altered.
And my life I'd near into the bargain laid down.
It cost me more than two minæ, and my life almost into the ⚫ bargain.' TOUPE.
Good heavens! what a tide! how or when fhall we ftem it?
Very poffibly this poem might have been a fort of interlude, intended for theatrical reprefentation. Admitting the conjecture, the tranfition before us, (which would otherwife appear abrupt) is agreeable and eafy. In the first act we have the converfation between PRAXINOE, GORGO, and EUNOE. This ends with PRAXINOE'S Ordering her fervant to call in the dog, and shut the door.
A new scene then commences; and the women enter, as PRAXINOE exclaims, no, &c. line 44th in the original.
Thus far Mr. WARTON.
The reader will fee that the tranflator hath attended to these hints. They fo exactly coincided with his preconceived ideas of this dramatic piece, that he hath ventured to print it, as an Interlude in three acts.
A thief or a robber how seldom we meet; Egypt was remarkable for theft and robberies..
Thus CICERO, in his Oration in Defence of RABIRIUS POST
Illinc (meaning at Alexandria) omnes præftigia-illinc, inquam, omnes fallacia, &c.-Hence the Chorus in Aristophanes, Nub. v. 1128.
Ως ιδίως βυλησεται
Καν εν Αιγύπτῳ τυχειν ων μελλον, η κρίνει κακώς.
Though pickpockets, &c.
A parcel of idle rafcals.'
Κακα παιγνια-παντες Αεργοι--for Ερειο.---amended by TourE, with a reference to the verfe in EPIMENIDES as quoted by Saint PAUL to TITUS.
Κακα θηρία, γαςερες αργοι
Man's indeed a wife animal!
Nil admirari fapientis-The admiration of these women is certainly connected with ignorance. But TELEMACHUS admires the rich furniture of MENELAUS's palace, with fimilar emotions. See Odyff. b. 4. 1. 71.
M. Guys informs us that the Grecian houses are divided into two parts by a great hall, which takes up the centre and whole width. In this hall (he adds) the Greeks give feasts, and perform all the ceremonies that require room. We may hence, perhaps,
conceive fome idea of the hall at Alexandria, where the festival of ADONIS was celebrated.
VENUS's beautiful lover.
The Adwa were celebrated in most of the cities of Greece, in honor of VENUS, and in memory of her beloved ADONIS. The folemnity continued two days; on the firft of which certain images or pictures of ADONIS and VENUS were brought forth with all the pomp and ceremonies practised at funerals: the women tore their hair, beat their breasts, and counterfeited all those postures and actions used in lamenting the dead. There were also carried along with them fhells filled with earth, in which grew feveral forts of herbs, especially lettuces, in memory that ADONIS was laid out by VENUS on a bed of lettuces. Thefe were called Κῆποι, or gardens; whence Αδωνιδος κῆποι are proverbially applied to things unfruitful or fading; because those herbs were only fown fo long before the feftival as to sprout forth and be green at that time—and then were presently caft out into the water. The following day was fpent in all poffible expreffions of mirth and joy, in memory of ADONIS's returning to life, and dwelling with VENUS one half of every year.
Ceafe, cease, idle dames, &c.
See the original, where the ftranger talks in the Doric dialect. It is the very dialect he ridicules: is this characteristic or natural? Perhaps (fays WARTON) he uses the Deric tongue in derifion.
Shall excel penfive SPERCHIS.
See the ftory of SPERCHIS in the feventh book of HERODOTUS, chap. 134.
With a languish so foft, fo delicious an air.