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219 pounded together, but can scarce attend to such a tells us how the King of France would have been complete image as is made out of all three. celebrated by his subjects, if he had ever gained
This way of mixing two different ideas toge- such an honourable wound as King William's at ther in one image, as it is a great surprise to the the fight of the Boyse : reader, is a great beauty in poetry, if there be sufficient ground for it in the nature of the thing “ His bleeding arm had furnish'd all their rooms, that is described. The Latin poets are very full of “ And run for ever purple in the looms." it, especially the worst of them ; for the more correct use it but sparingly, as inded the nature of things will seldom afford a just occasion for it.
F A B. II. When any thing we describe has accidentally in it fome quality that seems repugoant to its nature, P. 208. C. 2. 1. 1. Here Cadmus reign'd.] This or is very extraordinary and uncommon in things is a pretty solemn transition to the story of Acof that specics, such a compound image as we are tæon, which is all naturally told. The goddess now speaking of is made, by turning this quality and her maids undressing her, are described with into an epithet of what we describe. Thus Claus diverting circumstances. Adæon's fight, confudian, having got a hollow ball of crystal, with fion, and griefs, are passionately represented; but water in the midst of it, for his subject, takes the it is pity the whole narration thould be so care. advantage of considering the cryftal as hard, fto- lef-ly closed up.
. ny, precious water, and the water as soft, fluid,
6 Ut abeffe queruntur, imperfect crystal; and thus sports off above a do zen epigrams, in setting his words and ideas at “ Nec capere oblatæ fegnem fpe&acula prædæ. variance among one another.
He has a great
“ Vellet abesse quidem, sed adest, velletque videre, many beauties of this nature in him; but he gives
« Non etiam fentire, canum fera facta suorum." himself up so much to this way of writing, that a man may easily know where to meet with theni P. 209. c. 1. 1. 40. A generous pack, &c.] I when he sees his subject, and often strains so hard have not here troubled mylelf to call over Acfor them, that he many times makes his descrip- tæon's pack of dog's in rhyme: Spot and Whitetions bombastic and unnatural, What work would foot make but a mean figure in heroic verse; and he have made with Virgil's golden bough, had he the Greek names Ovid uses would found a great been to describe it? We should cercainly have
deal worfe. He closes' up his own catalogue seen the yellow bark, golden sprouts, radiant
with a kind of a jest on it :
Quosque referre leaves, blooming metal, branching gold, and all mora est”-which, by the way, is too light and the quarrels that could have been raised between
full of humour for the other serious parts of this words of such different natures: when we fee story. Virgil contented with his “ Auri frondentis;" This way of inserting catalngues of proper and
what is the same, though niuch finer express- names in their poems, the Latins took from the ed" Frondescit virga metallo.” This comsofi-| Greeks; but have made them more pleasing than cion of different ideas is often met with in a whole those they imitate, by adapting so many delightful sentence, where circumstances are happily recon
characters to their persons names; in which part ciled that seem wholly foreign to each other; and Ovid's copiousness of invention, and great insight is often found among the Latin poets (for the into naturc, has given him the precedence to all Greeks wanted art for it), in their descriptions of the poets that ever came before or after him. The pictures, images, dreams, apparitions, metamor- smoothness of our English verse is too much lost phoses, and the like; where they bring together by the repetition of proper names, which is othertwo such thwasting ideas, by making one part of
wife very natural, and absolutely necessary in some their descripcions relate to the representation, and cases; as before a battle to raise in our minds an the other to the thing that is represented. Of this answerable expectation of the events, and a lively nature is that verse, which, perhaps, is the wittiest
idea of the numbers that are engaged. For, had in Virgil; “ Atrollens humeris famamique et fata Homer or Virgil only cold us in two or three lines
nepotum," Æn, viii., where he describes Æneas before their fights, that there were forty thousand carrying on his shoulders the reputation and for- of each side, our imagination could not possibly tunes of his pofterity; which, though very odd have been so affected, as when we see every leader and surprising, is plainly made out, when we con- singled out, and every regiment in a manner drawą sider how these disagreeing ideas are reconciled, up before our eyes. and his pofterity's fame and fate niade portable by being engraven on the shield. Thus, when Ovid tells us that Pallas tore in pieces Arachne's work,
FAB. III. where she had embroidered all the rapes that the gods had committed, he says.-" Rupic cælestia
P.209.c. 2. 1. 24. How Semele, &c.] This is one * criniina." I shall conclude this tedious reflec
of Ovid's finished stories. The transition to it is tion with an excellent stroke of this nature out of proper and unforced : Juno, in her two speeches, Mr. Montague's * Poeni to the King: where he acts incomparably well the parts of a resenting
goddess and a tactling nurse : Jupiter makes a very # Afterwards Earl of Halifax.
majestic figure with his thunder and lightning, but
it is still such a one as shews who drew it; for who the Greek epigrammatist fell in love with one that does not plainly discover Ovid's hand in the flung a snow-ball at him, and therefore takes oco
calon to admire how fire could be thus concealed 6 Quà tamen usque potest, vires fibi demere tentat. in snow. In short, whenever the poet feels any “ Nec, quo centimanum dejicerit igne Typhea, ching in this love that resembles something in fire, 66 Nunc, armatur eo : nimium feritatis in illo. he carries on this agreement into a kind of allego« Eft aliud levius fulmen; cui dextra Cyclopum, ry; but if, as in the preceding instances, he finds & Sævitiæ flammæque minus, minus addidit iræ; any circumstances in his love contrary to the pa« Tela fecunda vocant superi.”
ture of fire, he calls his love a fire, and by joining
this circumstance to it, surprises his reader with a P. 209. C.2.1. 54. 'Tis well, says she, &c.]. Virgil seeming contradiction. I should not have dwelt so has made a Beroë of one of his goddesses in the long on this instance, had it not been so frequent fifth Æneid; but if we compare the speech she in Ovid, who is the greatest admirer of this mixt there makes with that of her name-fake in this wit of all the ancients, as our Cowley is among the story, we may find the genius of each poet disco- moderns. Homer, Virgil, Horace, and the greatest vering itself in the language of the nurse: Virgil's poets scorned it; as indeed it is only fit for epiIris could not have spoken more majestically in her gram, and little copies of verses : one would won. own shape; büt Juno is so much altered from her- der therefore how so sublime a genius as Milton self in Ovid, that the goddess is quite lost in the could sometimes fall into it, in such a work as an old woman.
epic poem. But we must attribute it to his humouring the vicious taste of the age he lived in,
and the false judgment of our unlearned English É A B. V.
readers in general, who have few of them a relish
of the niore masculine and noble beauties of P.211.c. L. 1. 13. She can't begin, &c.] If playing
Mr. Locke, in his Essay of Human Understand- Ovid seems particularly pleased with the subject ing, has given us the best account of wit, in short, of this story, but has notoriously fallen into a fault that can any where be met with. Wit," says he is often taxed with, of not knowing when he he, “ lies in the assemblage of ideas, and putting has said enough, by his endeavouring to excel. " those together with quickness and variety, | How has he turned and twisted that one thought « wherein can be found any resemblance or con- of Narcissus's being the person beloved, and the “ gruity, thereby to make up pleasant pictures and lover too?
agreeable visions in the fancy." Thus does true wit, as this inconiparable author observes, generally " Cunctaque miratur quibus eft mirabilis ipse. consist in the likeness of ideas, and is more or less --Qui probat, ipfe probatur. wit, as this likeness in ideas is more surprising and Dunique petit petitur, pariterque incendit et unexpected. But as true wit is nothing else but a fimilitude in ideas, so is falfe wit the fimilitude in Atque oculos idem qui decipit incitat error. words, whether it lies in the likeness of letters only, “ Perqué oculos perit iple suosas in anagram and acrostic; or of syllables, as in 66 Uror aniore mei, flammas moveoque ferodoggrel rhymes; or in whole words, as puns,
que," &c. echoes, and the like. Besides these two kinds of - false and true wit, there is another of a middle na- But we cannot meet with a better instance of the ture, that has something of both in it.-when in extravagance aod wantonness of Ovid's fancy, than two ideas that have some resemblance with each in that particular circumstance at the end of the other, and are both expressed by the same word, story, of Narcissus's gazing on his face after death we make use of the ambiguity of the word to speak in the Stygian waters. The design was very bold, that of one idea included under it, which is proper of making a boy fall in love with himself here on to the other. 'Thus, for example, most languages earth; but to torture him with the same passion have hit on the word, which properly signifies fire, after death, and not to let his ghost rest in quiet, to express love by (and therefore we may be sure was intolerably cruel and uncharitable. there is some resemblance in the ideas mankind F. 211. c. I. I. 42. But whilft within, &c.} have of them); froni hence the witty poets of all “ Dumque fitiin sedare cupit fitis altera crevit." languages, when they once have called love a fire, We have here a touch of that niixed wic I have consider it no longer as the passion, but speak of it before spoken of; but I think the measure of
pun under the notion of a real fire; and, as the turn in it out-weighs the true wit; for if we express the of wit requires, make the same word in the same thought in other words the turn is almost loft. This sentence stand for either of the ideas that is an- paffage of Narcissus probably gave Milton the hint nexed to it. When Ovid's Apollo falls in love, he of applying it to Eve, though I think her furprise, burns with a new flame; when the sea-nymphs at the light of her own face in the water, far more languish with this pasion, they kindle in the water; juft and natural than this of Narcissus. She was
TRANSLATIONS. a raw unexperienced being, just created, and there.
FAB. VI. fore might easily be subject to the delusion; but Narciffus had been in the world sixteen years, was brother and son to the water-nymphs, and there
P. 212. C.2. . 3. When Pentheus thus, &c.] fore to be supposed conversant with fountains long There is a great deal of spirit and fire in this before this fatal mistake.
speech of Pentheus, but I believe none beside Ovid P. 211. c. 2. 1. 1%. You trees, says he, &c.] would have thought of the transformation of the Ovid is very juftly celebrated for the passionate serpent's teeth for an incitement to the Thebans
They have generally abun- courage, when he desires them not to degenerate dance of nature in them, but I leave it to better from their great forefather the Dragon, and draw. judgments to consider whether they are not often a parallel between the behaviour of them both. too witty and too tedious. The poet never caręs for smothering a good thought that comes in his “ Efte, precor, memores, quâ fitis ftirpe creati, way, and never thinks he can draw tears enough
“ Illiusque animos, qui multos perdidit unus, from his reader: by which means our grief is
« Sumite serpentis : pro fontibus ille, lacuque either diverted or spent before we come to his con- " Interiit, at 'vos pro famâ vincite veftrâ. clufion; for we cannot at the same time be delight
« Ille dedit letho fortes, vos pellite molles, ed with the wit of the poet, and concerned for the “ Et patrium revocate decus." person that speaks it; and a great critic has admirably well obscrved, “ Lamentaciones debent effe
FAB. VIII. " breves et concilæ, nam lacryma subitò excrescit, et difficile et Auditorem vel Lectorem in summo
The story of Accetes has abundance of nature in 61 animi affectu diu tenere." Would any one in all the parts of it, as well in the description of his Narcissus's condition have cried out" Inopem me
own parentage and employment, as in that of the copia fecit ?" Or can any thing be more un- sailors characters and manners. But the short natural than to turn off from his sorrows for the speeches scattered up and down in it, which make fake of a pretty reflection?
the Latin very natural, cannot appear so well in “ O utinam noftro secedere corpore pofsem!
our langaage, which is much more stubborn and
unpliant; and therefore are but as so many rubs in “ Votum in amiante novum; vellen, quod ama
the story, that are still turning the narration out of its proper course. The transformation at the latter
end is wonderfully beautiful. None, I suppose, can be much grieved for one that is so witty on his own afiliations. But I think we may every where observe in Ovid, that he em
F.A B. IX. ploys his invention more than his judgment; and speaks all the ingenious things that can be said on
Ovid has two very good fimilies on Pentheus, the subjed, rather than those which are particu- where he compares him to a river in a former larly proper to the person and circumstances of the story, and to a war-horse in the present. fpeaker.
TO SIR GODFREY KNELLER,
ON HIS PICTURE OF THE KING.
Kneller, with silence and surprise
The magic of thy art calls forth
O may I live to hail the day,
The image on the medal placd,
Thou, Kneller, long with noble pride,
Thy pencil has, by monarchs sought,
And, in the robes of state array'd,
Here swarthy Charles appears, and there
fam'd Brunswick be the last, (Though heaven should with my wish agree, And long preserve thy art in thee) The last, the happiest British king, Whoni thou shalt paint, or I shall fing!
Wise Phidias thus, his skill to prove,
Great Pan, who wont to chace the fair,
This wonder of the sculptor's hand
And won't be blockheads in the common road.
-Here's still encouragement for those that write.
Stocks with varicty of fools his play;
And that there may be something gay and new,
Two ladies errant has expos'd to view;
The first a damsel, travelld in romance;
To your new taste the poet of this day Was by a friend advis'd to form his play;
LANSDOWNE'S BRITISH ENCHANTERS.
While listening foreits cover'd, as he play'd,
That this night's strains the same success may find,
The force of niusic is to music join'd:
On barren mountains, or a waste of fand;
The birds to warble, and the springs to flow.
The same dall sights in the same landskip mixte
A tedivus pleasure on the mind bestow,
But, as our two magicians try their skill, In the first rise and infancy of farce,
The vision varies, though the place stands fill; When fools were many, and when plays were While the same spot its gaudy form renews, scarce,
Shifting the prospect to a thousand views.
But howsoe'er, to please your wandering eyes,
There's none can make amends for loft delight,
While from that circle we divert your light.
Performed at Oxford, 1699.
Thy softest sounds and sweetest numbers choose;
In warbling words, and gliding verse,
And gently die away, and melt upon the tongue.
Howe'er, to do you right, the present age First let the sprightly violia Breeds very hopeful monsters for the stage; The joyful melody begin,
SET TO MUSIC BY MR. DANIEL PURCELL.