Billeder på siden

latter part of it.' If, in the middle of the summer, their strain were found sweet and mufical, the inconfiftencies of the poets on this topic, might difappear. They fix (Mr. SPENCE Continues) on fome funny branch of a tree, and fing all day long. Hence this infect is oppofed to the ant, in the old fopian fables; which is as industrious and inoffenfive, as the other is idle and troublesome. Any one who has paffed a fummer in Italy, or the fouth of France, will not think MARTIAL'S epithet inhumanatoo fevere for thefe creatures.' The noife they make (the tranflator hath been informed) is occafioned by the friction, or percuffion of their thighs, against a fort of tympanum in their fides. ALIAN intimates fomething fimilar; but his authority is little to be depended on. This lively anecdotift tells us, that the female Cicada is mute; thinking, like a bafhful bride, that the ought, in propriety, to be filent. See ÆLIAN, b. i. c. 20.

ÆLIAN Concurs with THEOCRITUS, ANACREON, VIRGIL, and the poets in general, in affirming that the Cicada lives on dewprobably an erroneous notion, though SPENCE feems inclined to believe it, and FAWKES afferts it gravely. From ÆLIAN, b. 12, C. 6. and ANACREON, Od. 42, we may judge that this creature was held in great veneration by the ancients. The Athenians wore golden Cicada in their hair, as an emblem of national antiquity; fince, it feems, they derived their origin, like thofe infects, from the earth. Sacred to the Mufes, and the daughter of JUPITER, to eat a Cicada was deemed extreme impiety. Such, however, was no unfrequent practice. John the Baptift, we read, ate the locuft.

A harmless infect why purfue

That only fips the rofy dew?

See a beautiful Epigram in the Anthologia on this idea.

RAPIN'S ode to the Cicada is well known: The tranflator fhall conclude his notes with a verfion of it, performed at a very early age, as a school exercife.


[blocks in formation]

CICADA lov'd, whofe little limbs are Spread

On yonder foft luxuriant bed;
Who hopp' the lawns along,
Chaunting an idle fong:
Whether, amid full-blown flowers,

Blythe thou fipp'ft refreshing showers-
Drunk with heaven's fragrant tears;
Or where green waters glide,
Thou loveft to refide,

In the moift grafs of fhady plains ;
Or modulating dulcet ftrains

Thy emulative throat

Outvies the fhepherd's note,

Whilft all the village round thy accents bears.


Or when the fun darts down its fcorching ray

To vex the ruftic's weary way;

By a fweet murmuring rill,

Thou grateft, fhrieking frill: Or if the deities of heaven

Nectarian faveets to thee have giv'n

With minifterial rains:

And bounteously bestrew

Thy bed with pearly dew

Affift my fong; while skill'd in rhymes

Thy poet thro' all future times

To laft, a temple rears;

And thro' the liftening Spheres

Still more and more thy fame immortal honor gains.

LINE 196.

Where sport the HOURS!—

The daughters of JUPITER and THEMIS, according to ORPHEUS and HESIOD, the former of whom informs us that they were born in the spring.

Præfides foribus cæli cum mitibus HORIS,

fays OVID; making them the door-keepers of heaven. In this circumftance HOMER agrees with OVID; and also affigns to them the care of the aerial regions, Il. b. 5. They are again mentioned by our author, in the Syracufian Gofips.





HERE-where's the laurel pluck'd from yonder grove ?

Where the pale philtre that may charm my love?

Our fears are awakened for a moment at the abrupt appearance of the enchantress, as fhe invokes the pale moon, and begins her horrid rites. The character, however, of SIMOETHA is of the mixed kind. It was not the purpose of THEOCRITUS, to excite our fears, in a continued feries, by an uninterrupted representation of the magical procefs. Though in the piece before us, in the Pharmaceutria of VIRGIL, and a fimilar performance by SANNAZARIUS, we may fee the principal ceremonies—we must have recourfe to other authors, for the horrors of incantation. The Canidia of HORACE, and the Theffalian forceress ERICHTHO, in the 6th Book of LUCAN, will furnifh us with no inadequate ideas of ancient necromancy. We may remark, by the way, that LUCAN had, probably, the incident of SAUL and the Witch of Endor in view, while his ERICHTHO was raising up a dead body, to fatisfy the enquiries of SEXTUS, concerning the event of the civil war. APOLLONIUS RHODIUS hath also exhibited enchantment in all its terrors.

The practices of witchcraft have been remarkably fimilar in all ages and nations of the world. The magical ufe of amulets and charms was, doubtlefs, of very high antiquity; though Dr. WARBURTON hath referred its original to the age of the PTOLEMIES. Long before the times of Moses, the art of divination was practifed in Egypt and the land of Canaan. PHARAOH fent for all the magicians of Egypt to interpret his dream. The teraphim that RACHAEL ftole from her father LABAN were, moft likely, little magical images. The ear-rings which JACOB buried under the oak at Shechem, were no other than amulets.


ABRAHAM's fervant, (who was fent to look for a wife for his fon ISAAC) as foon as he found REBECCA, took a golden ear-ring (or jewel for the forehead) of half a fhekel weight, and put it on her face: this was probably a frontlet, with magical words engraved on it, like the Arabian talifman. See" CLOGHER'S Chronicle of the Hebrew Bible vindicated,' page 157.

As the world grew older, its fuperftitions increased. Egypt no longer preferved her fuperior pretenfions to magic, while Pontus, Affyria, (fee conclufion of this Idyllium) and many other nations, became equally celebrated for their enchanters; to whom the power was attributed of reverfing the order of nature, on the molt trivial occafions. The Romans were fubjected to perpetual alarms through the infernal rituals of HECATE; and fome thoufands at a time have been convicted of forcery, in the imagination of this credulous people. Nor was it the uninformed mind alone that gave way to fuch fanciful fuperftitions. The wife CICERO, and the no lefs philofophic AURELIUS, were, in this point, as undifcerning as the vulgar. And, in after times, the Apoftate JULIAN, who rejected Chriftianity, became a dupe to magical impofture. We are not to wonder, then, at the triumphs of forcery, at a fubfequent period, when ignorance and error had involved in darkness the European nations. In the fifth and fixth centuries it was a darknefs, indeed, that might be felt. The crufades were, afterwards, the means of introducing into Europe, a fpecies of necromancy, whose aspect was peculiarly captivating to poetic imagination. Afia had been long, indeed, the feat of enchantment. The Magi of Perfia and the Brahmins of India have, many ages, been famed for their deep researches in the occult fciences, and their reputed intercourfe with the invifible world.

The romantic invention of Genii and Faeries originated in the Eaft; and fuch may justly be confidered as a valuable acceffion to the lefs marvellous fictions of the claffic poet; though in fome of our modern poems, we have an injudicious mixture of the Gothic and claffical machinery.

« ForrigeFortsæt »