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THEOCRITUS hath adorned it, in proportion to its fize, with an abundant variety of fculpture. In the formation and felection. of the paftoral imagery with which it is ornamented, the judgment of the poet is no lefs confpicuous than his invention: Though he has minutely defcribed every figure, he is no where tedious. His fancy is not caught by prettineffes, or occupied in a childlifh enumeration of trivial circumftances, like TRYPHIODORUS, in his defcription of the Trojan horfe; not to mention, that the principal value of the prize propofed by our shepherd, was to be estimated from the fplendor and elegance of the fculpture: So that the poet was almost neceffarily obliged to give a diftinct and accurate painting of it. No excufe, however, of this nature, will warrant that prolix defcription of the basket, in the Europa of MOSCHUS. And VIRGIL hath certainly been unfortunate in his imitation of the paffage before us. The truth is, he had no adequate idea of the cup which the Greek poet was defcribing. The cup of THEOCRITUS did not belong to VIRGIL'S age or country.
NONNUS, in his Dionyfiacs, (book xix. p. 516. v. 25. edit. Hanov.) hath imitated this, and many other paffages of THEOCRITUS, with fuccefs.
With Helichryfe entwin'd.
The Helichryfe was a plant much celebrated by the ancient poets-filed, according to MARTYN, Chryfocarpum, or Hedera baccis aureis, (with golden or faffron-coloured berries.) This might have been VIRGIL'S ivy. Vitrices hederam, &c. Its flower, ATHENAEUS tells us, was very fimilar to the Lotus; and it is faid to have taken its name from the nymph HELICHRYSE, who was the first that gathered it. In the fecond Idyllium SIMÆTHA obferves, that the beard of her DELPHIS was yellower than Helichryfus. Perhaps it may be the English Orpiment. PLINY and THEOPHRASTUS fay, that Kigos is a kind of ivy that grows without a fupport.
Brimful, through paffion, fwell their twinkling eyes;
Surely the art of the fculptor must have been wonderfully dif played in expreffing the motions of the eyes, and even the fenfations of the mind!
But defcriptions of this fort often occur in the Greek, and, more frequently, in the Hebrew poetry; though they will not easily ftand the teft of critical examination.
THEOCRITUS seems to have forgotten that he is describing the engraving of a cup. The poet hath the realities before his eyes; life and motion fire his fancy; and his painting correfponds with the warmth of his conceptions.
Amidft the scene, a fifher, grey with years,
Mr. WARTON intimates that THEOCRITUS hath fhewn his judgment in introducing the local circumftance of the fisherman drawing his net, fince the Sicilian fhore abounded with fisherBut as the cup was not fabricated at Sicily, there is furely no peculiar propriety in the representation, for the reason Mr. WARTON hath affigned: Though drawn from the immediate obfervation of the poet, it might not have been local to the engraver.
Next red ripe grapes in bending clusters glow.
Evidently in imitation of the vineyard in HOMER's Shield of ACHILLES.
Εν δ' ετίθει ςαφυλησι μεγα βρίθεσαν αλώην.
A boy, to watch the vineyard, fits below.
We are here reminded of MASON's much-admired defcription of the fhepherd-boys, amidst their ruftic occupations.
-Call the loiterers into use,
And form of these thy fence, the living fence
Swing at their fide.
In ruftic paftime, whilft that loveliest grace
Thus LONGUS, no unfrequent imitator of THEOCRITUS, defcribing the puerile fports of DAPHNIS and CHLOE: "While CHLOE was bufily employed in framing locuft-traps, fo intent was fhe on her amusement, that the forgot the care of her fheep.' And hence perhaps VIRGIL:
Viminibus mollique paras detextere junco.
From Calydon it cross'd the seas.
HOMER, in his catalogue of the fhips, reckons CALYDON among the Ætolian cities. It was likewife called ÆOLIS, according to TaucYDIDES--Την Αιολίδα την νυν καλεμενην Καλυδωνα.
For thy LoV'D HYMN
In the original, τον εφιμερον υμνον is the common reading confirmed by all the MSS. Mr. WARTON had an opportunity of collating. In THEOGNIs we find εφιμερον υμνον αειδειν. And in HORACE, feu condis amabile carmen. The long conjectural remarks
remarks of HEINSIUS on this topic (as Mr. WARTON properly obferves) are more ingenious than juft. He would read
A river in Sicily, the banks of which were the scene of DAPHNIS loves, as it appears from a pallage in the feventh Idyllium. The authority of ALIAN hath been confidently adduced, as decifive of the question. In the tenth book of his Miscellaneous Histories (chap. 18) ELIAN concludes his Anecdotes of DAPHNIS, with an intimation, that STESICHORUS the Himeraan bard, is reported to have been the inventor of the Bucolic. Mr. FAWKES, however, afferts, that we have the indifputable authority of ÆLIAN in favour of HEINSIUS's correction, which is undoubtedly genuine: For the hiftorian, fpeaking of DAPHNIS and this hymn, fays, "It is that which the goatherd calls TOV Ç' Imega τον εφ' Ιμερα vo; and that STESICHORUS, the Himeraan bard, first fung "this celebrated hymn.”
Τον εφ' Ιμεξα υμνον,
Mr. FAWKES hath mistaken HEINSIUS. The tranflator can find no fuch information in ÆLIAN.
Where ftray'd ye, nymphs, when DAPHNIS pin'd with love?
To this paffage (which, as it hath been obferved, VIRGIL, MILTON, POPE, and Lord LYTTLETON, have all imitated) the apoltrophe to the winds, in the opening of OSSIAN's Darthula, bears a very remarkable refemblance.
But the winds deceive thee, O Darthula! and deny the woody Etha to thy fails. Thefe are not thy mountains, Nathos; nor is that the roar of thy climbing waves. The halls of Cairbar are near, and the towers of the foe lift their head. Where have ye been, ye fouthern winds, when the fons of my love were deceived? But ye have been fporting on plains,
and purfuing the thifle's beard! O that ye had been rulling in the fails of Nathos, 'till the hills of Erba rofe; 'till they rofe in their clouds, and faw their coming chief!'
Who can recollect MILTON's imitation without enthufiafm?
Where were ye, nymphs, when the remorfelefs deep
And ev'n the foreft-lion mourn'd his death.
Thus VIRGIL, in his fifth Eclogue:
DAPHNI, tuum Panos etiam ingemuiffe leones, &c. The fcholiaft obferves, that there were no lions in Sicily. He would therefore read, av exλavos Even a lion could have la◄ mented his death.'-But these surely are difficiles nugæ.
Bulls, cows, and fteers, flood drooping at his fide.
How frigid in comparifon (fays Mr. WARTON) is that defcription of VIRGIL, who mentions only-the fhepherd's little flock standing melancholy around him!' It is with all diffidence that the tranflator diffents from the ingenious editor. Mr. WARTON thinks that the defcription of our Sicilian bard hath gained ftrength and pathos, in proportion to the multitude and variety of animals employed as mourners at the death of DAPHNIS. Yet his brother of Winchefter hath difcovered, perhaps, more genuine pathos in that fingle ftroke of VIRGIL Stare circum,' than in our Sicilian's aggregate of beafts collected indifcriminately from the meadows of Sicily, and the forefts of Africa.
"Hah, too thoughtlefs in thy loves!
The Greek fcholiaft fuppofes this to be a continuation of PRIAPUS's addrefs: It is rather, however, the fpeech of the nymph ECHENAIS,