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Borrowed probably from the Canticles, viii. 6, 7. The ori ginal is:
Ξυνον τοισιν ερωσι το φαρμακον ενθα το λάθο
Κραταια ως θανατα αγαπη, (κληςαι ως αδης ζηλθε περίπτερα αυτής περιπτερα τους, φλογες αυτής.
Υδωρ πολυ ε δυνήσεται σβεσαι την αγαπην καὶ πολαμοι 8 ζυγκλυα
• Love is ftrong as death; Jealoufy is cruel as the grave: The coals thereof are coals of fire, which hath a moft vehement flame. Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the • floods drown it.'
Fair is the rose, yet foon its beauty flies.
Thus VIRGIL-Alba liguftra, &c.
And NEMESIANUS, Ecl. 4:
Refpice me tandem, puer O crudelis, Iola!
He fell, and crush'd her in the fountain wave.
There is fome refemblance in the fate of CALLIMACHUS'S youth, Epig. 11.
DUNCOMBE hath thus tranflated the epigram;
A youth who thought his father's wife
When falling, fudden, on his head,
IDYLLIUM the TWENTY-FOURTH.
"HIS Idyllium hath been attributed to MoscHUS or BION. But it certainly contains imagery and fentiment, which have not a feature of their genius, and far, indeed, surpass their powers. There is furely no reason for refufing it a place among the Idyllia of our poet. In fome parts THEOCRITUS rifes above his ufual tenor, and foars to the heights of epic poetry. PHILOSTRATUS the younger hath drawn a fine picture of this story, where the artist had, probably, a view to the poem before us. Thus too the painter of POLYPHEMUS and GALATEA might have copied, in a great degree, the Cyclops of THEOCRITUS. There is no doubt, indeed, but the ancient painters were much indebted to poetry, for the subjects and embellishments of their art. HOMER himself hath been ftyled by LUCIAN the "firft of painters." If we confider his shield of ACHILLES, we may be inclined to think, that he borrowed his ideas from picture; fo perfpicuous and beautiful is the aisposition of his imagery: But we are well affured, that ZEUXIS, POLYGNOTUS, and Apelles, were very affiduous in translating his beauties into colors.
Soon as ALCMENA bade her pleasing care,
Wash'd, and with milk well fed, for reft prepare.
We see the first ladies among the ancients-even princeffes, by no means fuperior to nature. They were not placed in so elevated a fituation, as to license their contempt of humanity.
But our modern ladies may view themselves (enviable pre-eminence indeed!) above life's comforts-shall we add its failings too? The tranflator, however, begs he may not be misunderftood. He is not influenced by a blind veneration for the ancients; nor would he infinuate a diflike to modern usages or manners. Though, in the times of primitive fimplicity, the Princess ALCMENA might wash her children with, propriety and decorum, fuch an office in a lady of distinction, might poffibly at the present day, be unbecoming and revolting. Yet are the great lines of parental duty indelible, either by cuftom or fafhion. They are equally vifible to the unjaundiced eye, in every age and country. Through the false media, indeed, of corruption and luxury, these lines have been dimly feen by the ancients as well as ourselves. A CORNELIA, an AURELIA, or an ATTIA, might have adorned their diftinguished stations by an unremitted attention to the education of their children: But we have on record many unamiable examples of females, who, corrupted by the vitiating fashions, had little claim to the name of mothers. The philofopher PHAVORINUS (as AULUS GELLIUS informs us) reprimanded the wife of a fenator, for making the unnatural refolution-not to nurfe her own child. From this facred duty, prompted by inftinct, and enforced by reason, no ftation, however eminent, can exempt the parent. It is a duty whofe obligation is indifpenfable from the wife of a peasant to the confort of a king-though more meritorious in a perfonage of high rank, while opposed by fashionable folly, than in the mother of an infant HERCULES, while according with primæval implicity.
Briftled their azure fcales o'er many a fold.
The appearance of the serpent hath been a noble subject for poetic description, among the Greek authors, from the Argonautics of ORPHEUS, to the Herculifcus of THEOCRITUS. ORPHEUS finely paints the ferpent that guarded the golden fleece. (Argon, 1. 925.) PINDAR, in his first Nemean ode, relates the story M 4
before us in a very animating manner. The ferpents of VIRGIL, that devoured LAOCOON's fons, are more ftriking than any other which the Roman writers have presented to us.
And through the room a steady splendor broke—
Perhaps (fays Mr. WARTON) the fiery eyes of the serpents may be supposed to be the cause of this light. But he prefers, with the tranflator, the idea of a fupernatural illumination. See Differtation. Such imagery hath a strong effect on the fancy— not unlike the horror we feel amidst the enchanted scenes of TASSO OF ARIOSTO.
And see what light o'er all the chamber falls.
Does not this appear to be imitated from HOMER-where TELEMACHUS and ULYSSES are furveying by night the armoury of of the Royal palace? See Odyffey, b. xix. 1. 37. Compare SOPHOCLES, Trachin. 1. 880. WARTON.
Flung the dead monfters at his father's feet.
This is a fine ftroke of the poet. We have been terrified at the marvellous atchievements of the infant HERCULES. But here our fenfations become mixed. While he throws the ferpents at his father's feet, we have still a fhade of terror on our minds; but his engaging manner, so natural to his age, recalls our preconceptions of the child; and tempers our fear with the feelings of affection. WARTON.
The days fhall come, when many a maid of Greece, &c.
The predictions of the feers were, in general, no better than cafual conjectures. Such venerable personages, indeed, as TIRESIAS, might have poffeffed, from long experience and obfervation,
a degree of fagacity and forefight, very nearly approaching the prophetic fpirit. But of all the heathen writers of antiquity, who have affumed the ftyle and manner of the prophet, the poet SENECA is the most happy in his oracles. The following prediction is clear and beautiful: it is free from all oracular ambiguity:
Sæcula Seris, quibus Oceanus
MEDEA, A&t. 2.
No one will hesitate in the application of these lines to the discovery of America. Yet they were written near fifteen hundred years before the event took place.
With respect to the particular paffage before us in the prophecy of TIRESIAS, we may remark, that the Greeks not only celebrated their heroes and heroines in popular fongs (which hath been common enough in all countries) but were probably accuftomed to recite and fing, at their feftivals, thofe long heroic poems, the compofitions of their first-rate writers. APOLLONIUS RHODIUS, Argon. 4. very plainly alludes to this ufage, while he predicts, in triumph, the fate of his poems, to be fung at each fucceeding festival, with increafing pleafure and applause. HOMER is faid to have chaunted his own verfes-which, perhaps, may be collected from himself. Hymn to Apollo, 1. 169.
The modern Greek ladies are faid to be equally as much attached to historic fongs or tales as the ancient. They love ⚫ fables and romances: the matrons are fond of relating, and the
young women plume themselves on their adroitnefs in repeating those they have learnt, or can compofe from fuch incidents as happen within their knowledge. These ftories are told, and ditties chaunted, during the occupation of spinning or embroidery. The latter, indeed, is the chief employment of