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ΤΟΥ ΑΥΤΟΥ, ΕΙΣ ΤΟΝ ΑΥΤΟΝ. ΤΥΜΒΟΣ Ανακρείοντος. ὁ Τηΐος ενθαδε κυκνος Εύδει, χή παιδων ζωρότατη μανιη. Ακμης λειριοεντι μελίζεται αμφι Βαθυλλω
Ίμερα" και κισσου λευκος οδωδε λίθος. Ο δ' Αΐδης σοι ερωτας απέσβεσεν, εν δ' Αχεροντος Ως, όλος ωδινεις Κυπριδι θερμότερη.
HERE sleeps Anacreon, in this ivied shade;
All the sweet phrensy of love's passion felt.
1— the Teian swan is laid.] Thus Horace of Pindar:Multa Dircæum levat aura cycnum.
A swan was the hieroglyphical emblem of a poet. Anacreon has been called the swan of Teos by another of his eulogists.
Εν τοις μελιχροις Ίμεροισι συντροφον Λυαίος Ανακρέοντα, Τηΐον κυκνον, Εσφηλας ύγρη νεκταρος μεληδόνη.
God of the grape! thou hast betray'd
The fairest swan that ever play'd
The Teian, nursed with all those honey'd boys,
Still do we catch thy lyre's luxurious breath;] Thus Simonides, speaking of our poet:
Μολπης δ' ου λήθη μελιτερπεος αλλ' ετι κείνο
Nor yet are all his numbers mute,
But living still, his amorous lute
This is the famous Simonides, whom Plato styled “divine,” thongh Le Fevre, in his Poëtes Grecs, supposes that the epigrams under his name are all falsely imputed. The most considerable of his remains is a satirical poem upon women, preserved by Stobaeus, ψόγος γυναικων.
We may judge from the lines I have just quoted, and the import of the epigram before us, that the works of Anacreon were perfect in the times of Simonides and Antipater. Obsopeus, the commentator here, appears to exult in their destruction, and telling us they were burned by the bishops and patriarchs, he adds, “ nec sane id necquicquam fecerunt," attributing to this outrage an effect which it could not possibly have produced.
The spirit of Anacreon is supposed to utter these verses from the tomb,-somewhat "mutatus ab illo," at least in simplicity of expression.
ΤΟΥ ΑΥΤΟΥ, ΕΙΣ ΤΟΝ ΑΥΤΟΝ. ΞΕΙΝΕ, ταφον παρα λιτον Ανακρείοντος αμείβων, Ει τι τοι εκ βιβλων ηλθεν εμων οφελος, Σπεισον εμη σποδιη, σπεισον γανος, οφρα κεν οινω Οστεα γηθησε ταμα νοτιζομενα, Ως ὁ Διονυσου μεμελημένος ουασι κωμος, 'Ως ὁ φιλάκρητου συντροφος ἁρμονίης, Μηδε καταφθιμενος Βακχου διχα τοῦτον ὑποισω Τον γενεη μερόπων χωρον οφειλομενον.
On stranger! if Anacreon's shell
if Anacreon's shell
Has ever taught thy heart to swell, &c.] We may guess from the words εκ βιβλων εμων, that Anacreon was not merely a writer of billets-doux, as some French critics have called him. Among these Mr. Le Fevre, with all his professed admiration, has given our poet a character by no means of an elevated cast:
Anssi c'est pour cela que la postérité
L'a toujours justement d'age en age chanté Comme un franc goguenard, ami de goinfrerie, Ami de billets-doux et de badinerie.
This is unlike
See the verses prefixed to his Poëtes Grecs. the language of Theocritus, to whom Anacreon is indebted for the following simple eulogium:
ΕΙΣ ΑΝΑΚΡΕΟΝΤΟΣ ΑΝΔΡΙΑΝΤΑ. Θασαι τον ανδριαντα τουτον, ω ξενε, σπουδα, και λεγ', επαν ες οικον ενθης. Ανακρέωντος εικον' ειδον εν Τεω,
των προσθ' ει τι περισσον ωδοποιων. προσθείς δε χώτι τοις νέοισιν άδετο, ερεις ατρεκεως ολον τον ανδρα.
UPON THE STATUE OF ANACREON. Stranger! who near this statue chance to roam, Let it awhile your studious eyes engage; That you may say, returning to your home,
“I've seen the image of the Teian sage,
Best of the bards who deck the Muse's page." Then, if you add, “That striplings loved him well," You tell them all he was, and aptly tell.
I have endeavored to do justice to the simplicity of this inscription by rendering it as literally, I believe, as a verse translation will allow.
5 and drop thy goblet's richest tear, &c.] Thus Simonides, in another of his epitaphs on ur poet:
Και μιν αει τεγγοι νοτερη όμυσος, ἧς ὁ γεραιος
BY THE EDITOR.*
THE Poems which I take the liberty of publishing, were never intended by the author to pass beyond the circle of his friends. He thought, with some justice, that what are called Occasional Poems must be always insipid and uninteresting to the greater part of their readers. The particular situations in which they were written; the character of the author and of his associates; all these peculiarities must be known and felt before we can enter into the spirit of such compositions. This consideration would have always, I believe, prevented the author himself from submitting these trifles to the eye of dispassionate criticism: and if their posthumous introduction to the world be injustice to his memory, or intrusion on the public, the error must be imputed to the injudicious partiality of friendship.
Mr. LITTLE died in his one and twentieth year; and most of these Poems were written at so early a period that their errors may lay claim to some indulgence from the critic. Their author, as unambitious as indolent, scarce ever looked beyond the moment of composition; but, in general, wrote as he pleased, careless whether he pleased as he wrote. It may likewise be remembered, that they were all the productions of an age when the passions very often give a coloring too warm to the imagination; and this may palliate, if it cannot excuse, that air of levity I which pervades so many of them. The "aurea legge, s'ei piace ei lice," he too much pursued, and too much inculcates. Few can regret this more sincerely than myself; and if my friend had lived, the judgment of riper years would have chastened his mind, and tempered the luxuriance of his fancy.
Mr. LITTLE gave much of his time to the study of the amatory writers. If ever he expected to find in the ancients that delicacy of sentiment, and variety of fancy, which are so necessary to refine and animate the poetry of love, he was much disappointed.
A portion of these Poems were published originally as the works of "the late Thomas Little," with the Preface here given prefixed to them.
I know not any one of them who can be regarded as a model in that style; Ovid made love like a rake, and Propertius like a schoolmaster. The mythological allusions of the latter are called erudition by his commentators; but such ostentatious display, upon a subject so simple as love, would be now esteemed vague and puerile, and was even in his own times pedantic. It is astonishing that so many critics should have preferred him to the gez tle and touching Tibullus; but those defects, I believe, which a common reader condemns, have been regarded rather as beauties by those erudite men, the commentators; who find a field for their ingenuity and research, in his Grecian learning and quaint obscurities.
Tibullus abounds with touches of fine and natural feeling. The idea of his unexpected return to Delia, "Tunc veniam subito,"* &c., is imagined with all the delicate ardor of a lover; and the sentiment of 'nec te posse carere velim," however colloquial the expression may have been, is natural, and from the heart. But the poet of Verona, in my opinion, possessed more genuine feeling than any of them. His life was, I believe, unfortunate; his associates were wild and abandoned; and the warmth of his nature took too much advantage of the latitude which the morals of those times so criminally allowed to the passions. All this depraved his imagination, and made it the slave of his senses. But still a native sensibility is often very warmly perceptible; and when he touches the chord of pathos, he reaches immediately the heart. They who have felt the sweets of return to a home from which they have long been absent, will confess the beauty of those simple, unaffected lines:
O quid solutis est beatius curis !
Carm. xxix. His sorrows on the death of his brother are the very tears of poesy; and when he complains of the ingratitude of mankind, even the inexperienced cannot but sympathize with him. I wish I were
* Lib. i. Eleg. 3.
a poet; I should then endeavor to catch, by translation, the spirit of those beauties which I have always so warmly admired.*
It seems to have been peculiarly the fate of Catullus, that the better and more valuable part of his poetry has not reached us; for there is confessedly nothing in his extant works to authorize the epithet "doctus,” so universally bestowed upon him by the ancients. If time had suffered his other writings to escape, we perhaps should have found among them some more purely amatory; but of those we possess, can there be a sweeter specimen of warm, yet chastened description, than his loves of Acme and Septimius? and the few little songs of dalliance to Lesbia are distinguished by such an exquisite playfulness, that they have always been assumed as models by the most elegant modern Latinists. Still, it must be confessed, in the midst of all these beauties,
-Medio de fonte leporum
Surgit amari aliquid, quod in ipsis floribus angat.t
It has often been remarked, that the ancients knew nothing of gallantry; and we are sometimes told there was too much sincerity in their love to allow them to trifle thus with the semblance of passion. But I cannot perceive that they were any thing more constant than the moderns: they felt all the same dissipation of the heart, though they knew not those seductive graces by which gallantry almost teaches it to be amiable. Wotton, the learned advocate for the moderns, deserts them in considering this point of comparison, and praises the ancients for their ignorance of such refinements. But he seems to have collected his notions of gallantry from the insipid fadeurs of the French romances, which have nothing congenial with the graceful levity, the grata protervitas," of a Rochester or a Sedley.
an imperfect state, which, as soon as I have ar ranged and collected it, shall be submitted to the public eye.
Where Mr. LITTLE was born, or what is the genealogy of his parents, are points in which very few readers can be interested. His life was one of those humble streams which have scarcely a name in the map of life, and the traveller may pass it by without inquiring its source or direction. His character was well known to all who were acquainted with him; for he had to: much vanity to hide its virtues, and not enough of art to conceal its defects. The lighter traits of his mind may be traced perhaps in his writings; but the few for which he was valued live only in the remembrance of his friends.
As far as I can judge, the early poets of our own language were the models which Mr. LITTLE selected for imitation. To attain their simplicity ("ævo rarissima nostro simplicitas") was his fondest ambition. He could not have aimed at a grace more difficult of attainment; and his life was of too short a date to allow him to perfect such a taste; but how far he was likely to have succeeded, the critic may judge from his productions.
I have found among his papers a novel, in rather
JOSEPH ATKINSON, ESQ.
MY DEAR SIR,
I FEEL a very sincere pleasure in dedicating to you the Second Edition of our friend LITTLE'S Poems. I am not unconscious that there are many in the collection which perhaps it would be prudent to have altered or omitted; and, to say the truth, I more than once revised them for that purpose; but, I know not why, I distrusted either my heart or my judgment; and the consequence is, you have them in their original form:
Non possunt nostros multæ, Faustine, lituræ Emendare jocos; una litura potest.
I am convinced, however, that, though not quite a casuiste relâché, you have charity enough to forgive such inoffensive follies: you know that the pious Beza was not the less revered for those sportive Juvenilia which he published under a fictitious name; nor did the levity of Bembo's poems prevent him from making a very good cardinal. Believe me, my dear Friend,
With the truest esteem,
* In the following Poems, will be found a translation of one of his finest Carmina; but I fancy it is only a mere schoolboy's essay, and deserves to be praised for little more than the attempt. † Lucretius. It is a curious illustration of the labor which simplicity sentence.
requires, that the Ramblers of Johnson, elaborate as they appear, were written with fluency, and seldom required revision: while the simple-language of Rousseau, which seems to come flowing from the heart, was the slow production of painful labor, pausing on every word, and balancing every