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IDYLLIUM the NINETEENTH.
THE tranflation here given was part of a school exercise.
See ANACREON, Ode 40.
IDYLLIUM the TWENTIETH.
ANIEL HEINSIUS afcribes this Idyllium to MOSCHUS. Whether it belongs to MOSCHUS or THEOCRITUs, it certainly poffeffes a high degree of poetical merit.
She fpoke, and spitting thrice.
This is ev ewoluσe noλπov-Literally, thrice fpit into her bosom.
It was customary for the ancient Grecians to spit three times into their bofoms, at the fight of a madman, or one troubled with an epilepfy. This they did in defiance, as it were, of the omen; for fpitting was a fign of the greatest deteftation and contempt. Hence alue (to Spit) means to contemn.
Or, elfe, what God hath fashion'd me anew.
Here the poet (fays MARTYN) seems to allude to the fudden transformation of ULYSSES in HOMER'S Ody ff. xiii. 429.
like clasping ivy.
Kiddos. PLINY and THEOPHRASTUS (fee note on firft Idyll. 1. 40 in tranf.) have obferved, that Kiddos was a fpecies of ivy
that grew without fupport. If, however, the authority of THEOCRITUS have any weight in botany, this paffage proves the direct contrary. Κίτσος ποτι πρέμνον. The Greek and Latin poets have often used the ivy as an illustration, in their descriptions of perfonal beauty. Thus VIRGIL: Hederâ fórmofior albá. On which SPENCE remarks: More beautiful than ivy to us
may feem but an odd fimile.' It might found otherwise to an Italian, whofe country abounds with evergreens, most of them of a rusty and disagreeable color; whereas ivy is of a clean lively green. They used it, of old, in the most beautiful parts of their gardens. PLINY, fpeaking of his garden, and of the Hippodrome, (which feems to have been one of the prettiest things in it) fays: Platanis circuitur; illa hedera veftiuntur; utque fumma fuis, ita ima alienis frondibus virent.' HORACE compares young beauties to ivy, and old women to dead withered leaves.
Ev'n as MINERVA's eyes more sweetly beam'd.
MINERVA's eyes were of a sparkling azure. ANACREON, fee Ode 28, opposes the vivid blue of MINERVA's eyes to the foft Janguifhing of thofe of VENUS. Naturalifts obferve, that the blue eye hath the most powerful effect in beauty, as it reflects the greatest variety of lights, being compofed of more various colors. Our poets feem to have different ideas of the blue eye from that of THEOCRITUS and ANACREON. The Circaffian ladies have been celebrated for
Their eyes' blue languish, and their golden hair.
So fings the sweetest of our modern bards-borrowing what hath been commonly thought original, from POPE:
Iliad xviii. 50.
And the blue languish of foft ALIA's eye.
Her eyes of dewy light
(applied to pity) boaft the originality generally attributed to it. ANACREON, in his portrait of BATHYLLUS, applies the epithet Δροσώδες to the eye.
Dropt music than the honey-comb more sweet.
Εξξεε μοι φωνα γλυκερώτερα η μελικηρω
Κηριον αποςαζουσι χειλη ζου, νυμφη· μελι και γαλα υπο την γλωσσ σαν (8.
Thy lips, O my spouse, drop as the honey-comb; honey and milk are under thy tongue.
And was not fweet ENDYMION's felf a fwain-
The Sophift LONGUS who (not excepting VIRGIL) may be confidered as the most elegant imitator of THEOCRITUS, hath plainly a view to these verses in the following paffage: If I have been in love with a fhepherd, I have but imitated the
Gods. ANCHISES was a herdsman, yet VENUS delighted in his perfon. BRANCHIUS fed his goats, and APOLLO was enamoured of the fwain. GANYMEDE was a fhepherd, yet JUPITER • fnatched him to heaven.'
IDYLLIUM the TWENTY-FIRST.
HERE is a tradition, that THEOCRITUS fung this story to the Egyptian fishermen. He might with more propriety, perhaps, have entertained his own countrymen with this fimple and pleafing tale. For ASPHALION's allufion to the Prytaneum, a place (as the commentators fay) on the coaft of Sicily, proves the characters of this piece to be Sicilian.
'Tis penury, DIOPHANTUS, &c.
Tum varia venere artes, c.
And PERSIUS Prol.
Quis expedivit pfittaco, &c.
Thus tranflated by DRYDEN:
Who taught the parrot human notes to try,
The introductory lines do not feem well adapted to the dialogue that follows. We find, that though indeed care might intrude on the fishermen during the period of rest, it was care of no very melancholy complexion. They were, on the whole, happy; being represented as content with their fituation. They deemed their cot a palace-and lived in glee.
Befide them many an inftrument of toil.
Jam fragilem in ficco munibant faxa phafelum;
Not ev❜n a dog or pot was theirs:
Ou zuva-an happy emendation of JOANNES AURATUS. It was before read 8χ ενα.
They pafs'd their hours, with poverty their friend.
The poverty, fimplicity, and contentment of these good old fishermen, are very pleasingly delineated. The African; ' who ⚫ lives upon his bow,' as described by Mr. ADDISON, here recurs
Coarfe are his meals, the fortune of the chace;
There is a fimilar painting, and equally beautiful, in Natalis Comes, De Venat. lib. i.
Ipfa fames jucunda venit venantibus; ullas
He seems, my friend, the fhrewdeft judge of dreams, &c. Taken, probably, from a verfe of EURIPIDES, which we meet with in PLUTArch.
Μαντίς δ'αξίζος στις εικάζει καλώς
TULLY hath thus tranflated it:
Qui bene conjecit, vatem perhibebo optimum.
Indeed the living light
In Prytaneum, burns both day and night.