Billeder på siden
PDF
ePub

ECHENAIS, the mistress of DAPHNIS, upbraiding him with his incontinence and infidelity. In this light, the whole paffage is both striking and beautiful. There is a vein of pleasant raillery runs through it; nor can we help obferving its peculiar gracefulness and truly characteristic fimplicity.

HEINSIUS and WARTON.

Still, however, a difficulty remains. The poet observes, that DAPHNIS made no reply. True: for how could he reply to what he did not hear? The female perfonage, whoever she is, is represented as thus complaining at a diftance, amidst the groves and the fountains. A learned critic hath conjectured that a Kwga means the goddefs DIANA. It may be fo. But the only way perhaps of removing the difficulty, is to imagine PRIAPUS ftill continuing his addrefs, and repeating this paffage as the words of the flighted nymph.

LINE 107.

He views with leering eyes his
goats afkance.
VIRGIL alludes to this place-

Novimus et qui te-tranfverfa tuentibus hircis.

Tanɛxı olanμws feems to be a very bold expreffion, that will scarcely admit of a literal verfion. HORACE's intabuissent pupula expresses, with rather more energy, the effect produced in the eyes, by a vehement defire for an unattainable object.

LINE 123.

But he: Too true thou fay'st, that love hath won!
Too fure thy triumphs mark my setting fun!

6

This paffage hath been much perplexed by conjectural criticifm. In the opinion of fome, it means: Now all things fhew

that my fun is fet,' intimating, that he forefaw his death; or, that he should no more behold the light of the fun. Heios de Ουρανε εξαπολωλε the fun has perifhed from heaven’hath been cited as an illuftration from Homer's Odyssey. think, that the original fhould run

Others

Hon

Ήδη γαρ φρασδει πανθ' ΑΛΙΟΣ αμμι ΔΕΔΥΚΕΙ
Aaquis, &c.

Here the fenfe is rather obfcured than illuftrated.
Mr. WARTON determines to be the genuine reading:
ΦΡΑΣΔΗ πανθ' αλιον αμμι δεδώκειν.

Hồn
yog
Aaquis KEIN, &c.

Venus, you say that my fun [i.e. all my hopes] are fet, are vanished! Daphnis therefore, &c.' which reminds the tranflator of that fine hymn to Hope, the production of the elegant LANGHORNE:

[ocr errors]

Sun of the foul, whofe cheerful ray

Darts o'er this gloom of life a fmile;
Sweet HOPE, yet further gild my way;
Yet light my weary steps awhile,
Till thy fair lamp diffolve in endless day.

The following

LINE 131.

There the broad rufh, in matted verdure, thrives.

The KUTEgos is, moft probably, the three-cornered rush described by PLINY the naturaliit, (21, 18) white at bottom, and black at top. It occurs feveral times in THEOCRITUS. Some have imagined it to be a tree; perhaps from its affociation with oaks, as in this place, and the fifth Idyllium. But VIRGIL, in imitation of the paffage, affociates the oak and the reed :

Hic virides tenerâ prætexit arundine ripas
Mincius, èque facra refonant examina quercú.

Kuegos is evidently an aquatic plant in HOMER, Iliad b. 21. Yet POPE has tranflated it cyprefs. In the thirteenth Idyllium, the epithet Baos is attached to Kuegos-deep or lofty; which may imply its thick growth or its height. It grew perhaps confiderably high. There is no doubt but it must have been an object of some diftinction in the paftoral piece; otherwife THEOCRITUs would not have introduced it, (as in the first F 4 and

and fifth Idyllia) without a fingle epithet or adjunct. We may poffibly conceive fome idea of its growth in Sicily, from SWINBURNE's defcription of the fennel-giant. His route to Manfredonia was, thirty miles, through a flat paflure covered with afphodels, thiftles, wild artichokes, and fennel-giant. Of the laft he tells us are made bee-hives (xapidas μshitos, fee fifth Idyll.) and chair-bottoms. The leaves are given to affes, by way of a ftrengthener; and the tender buds are boiled and eaten as a delicacy, by the peasants. This plant covers half the plain, and rifes to fuch a height, that there is an inftance, in one of the wars between France and Spain, of the Spaniards having marched through it, undifcovered, close up to the French entrenchments.

-LINE 132.

There bees, in bufy fwarms, hum round their hives.

Ω δε καλον βομβευντι ποτι (μάνεσσι μελίσσαι·

We cannot repeat this verfe, without fancying we hear the buzzing of bees. It again occurs in the fifth Idyllium.

[ocr errors]

LINE 161.

Leave Lycaonian HELICAS' high tomb.

In the original, it should probably be read,
Ελικα δε λιπ ̓ Ηριον, αίτοτε σαμα

Τηνο λυκαονίδας

But leave the monument and that fublime fepulchre of HELICAS the fon of LYCAON.'

LINE 165.

O PAN, my reeds fo clofe compacted take,

Ο

And call forth all their tones for DAPHNIS' fake.

PAN primus calamos cera conjungere plures
Inftituit

From thefe paffages, as well as many others interspersed in the Greek and Latin poetry, it appears that PAN was highly ho

noured

noured as the inventor of the fhepherd's pipe. The musical inftruments used by the ancient fhepherds have various names, denoting the materials of which they were made-such as oat and wheat ftraw, reeds, and hollow pipes of box, leg-bones of cranes, horns of animals, and metals. The pipe commonly used was compofed of feven reeds, unequal in length, and of different tones, joined together with wax. In the eighth Idyllium, two pipes are mentioned compofed of nine reeds. The Fistula is ufed, to this day, in the Grecian iflands.

With respect to the manner of playing and finging among the fhepherds, we need not hesitate in determining, that their vocal and inftrumental mufic was alternate-the verfe they fung correfponding with the tune they played. It is impoffible that a fhepherd could fing and play at the fame moment. This mode of playing and finging is very common with the pipers and fidlers at our country wakes, fays Dr. PERCY. They probably borrowed the cuftom from the Romans during their refidence in Britain. Thus (adds he) the old English minstrels used to warble on their harps, and then fing.

171.

A

Ye thorns and brambles the pale vi'let bear

LINE

The poet hath here reverfed the order of nature, on the death of DAPHNIS. But the phænomena he hath exhibited are not the independent offspring of his own imagination. They are evidently imitated from ISAIAH. The defart fhall rejoice and

bloffom as the rofe-the glory of Lebanon fhall come unto thee the fir-tree, the pine-tree, and the box together-the wolf alfo fhall dwell with the lamb; and the leopard lie down ' with the kid: And the calf and the young lion, and the fatling

"

[ocr errors]

together; and a little child fhall lead them. And the cow and the bear fhall feed-their young ones fhall lie down together; and the lion fhall eat ftraw like an ox.'-These are paffages which THEOCRITUS had, certainly, in view-though the marks of imitation are by no means fo ftriking as in VIRGIL'S Pollio.

LINE

[ocr errors]

LINE 192.

For fweeter, fhepherd, is thy charming fong,

Than ev'n Cicadas fing the boughs among.

The Ter, or Cicada, occurs frequently in THEOCRITUS; an infect, which fome have mistaken for the locuft, and others for our English grafshopper. POPE hath confounded it with the latter; and FAWKES (though fenfible of his error) hath followed POPE-copying, in spite of HORACE's ridicule, a great man's imperfections. We meet also with the Angis, or locuft, in our author; it is confiderably larger than the Ter; which appears to be the principal point of diftinction between them.

According to Dr. MARTYN's accurate defcription, the Ter hath a shorter and rounder body than our common grasshopper, and is of a dark green colour. Its wings are beautiful, being · ftreaked with filver, and marked with brown spots. The outer wings are twice as long as the inner, and more variegated.' After the Latin term Cicada, the Italians call it Cicala, and the French Cigale.

With respect to its voice, it is characterifed (in the above place and most others of THEOCRITUS) as an infect, whofe fong is mufical and pleafing. Its notes are sometimes, however, reprefented as harsh and diffonant. Λειριοεσσαν is an epithet by which HOMER hath expreffed his idea of the voice of the Cicada. SPONDANUS and HESYCHIUS difagree as to the meaning of the word the former interpreting it fiveet, the latter feeble. VIRGIL'S Cicada are querule and rauce. MARTIAL's argutæ, and inhumane. The voice of the Cicada, according to ANTIPATER, (Anthologia book I.) is as mufical as the fwan's. On this question the moderns feem inclined to the unfavourable fide. SPENCE (who was certainly a pretty scholar, as Dr. JOHNSON ftiles him) remarks, that these infects make one uniform noise all day long in fummer time, which is extremely difagreeable, particularly in the great heats. Their note is fharp and fhrill in the beginning of the fummer; but hoarfe and harsh towards the

"

latter

« ForrigeFortsæt »