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la this delusive dream the sleeping maid Her mother saw, or though: sue saw, portray'd. /.bed (he ihriek'd distracted and amaz'd, And otter'd thus her anguish as Ihe gaz'd:
'Last night far distant from your daughter fled. 'Yen left me slumbering in my father's bed. 'U'hat dangerous steeps have not I strove to 'gain I
'And stroli'd o'er- hill* and dales for thee in vain?' "Condemn me not (replied the wandering "dams'): 460 "Wry my sufferings, nor augment my shame. "Me yesterday, a lawless guest beguil'd, "And distant tore me from my darling child. "At Cy therea'i high command t rove; "And once more revel in the wallu of love."
She (aid: her voice the sleeping maid alarms; -She springs to clasp her mother in her arms.
In vain: no mother meets her wistful eyes;
'Ye feathery race, inhabitants of light, 470 'To Crete's fam'd iile direct your rapid flight. 'There to my sire th' unwelcome truth proclaim, j' How yesterday a desperate vagrant came, • Tore all he dotes on from his bridal bed, 'And with his beauteous queen abruptly fled.'
The restless fair, her mother to regain, Thus to the winds bewail'd and wept in vain. The Thracian town diminished from their view, And fleet o'er Hclle's strait the vessel flew. The bridegroom now his natal coast descry'd, 480 And to the Trojan port conducts his bride. Cassandra from her tower beheld them fail. And tore her locks, and rent her golden veil. But hospitable Troy unbars her gate, Receives her citizen and seals her fate.
NOTES ON THE RAPE OF HELEN.
CoLUTHUS Ltcopolitis, aTheban poet, flourished in the reign of the emperor Anastasius, about five hundred years after Christ. He is said tn have»been the author of several poems; none of which have come down to us eicept this, which in many passages is corrupt and mutilated. There is an excellent edition of this poem by Lennen. There is also an old translation of it by Sir Edward Sherburne; to whom 1 acknowledge myself indebted for some of his useful annotation*.
Did the insertion of this little poem stand in need of an apology, it might be made by observing, that the subjects of the two poems are not wholly dissimilar. In the oue is celebrated the rape of Medea, in the other the rape of Helen; two event* of equal celebrity in ancient story.
On the title of this poem Sir Edward Sherburne makes the following not unpleasant remark :'« The word raft must not be taken in the common acceptation of the expression. For Paris was more courtly than to offer, and Helen more kind-hearted than to suffer such a violence. It mci be taken rather for a transporting of her with her consent from her own country to Troy: which Virgil seems to insinuate in the first book «s his Æneid, where, speaking of Helen, he says,
The word fttrret implies that the quitting of her country, and going along with Paris, was an act Ihe desired, as well as consented to; and thus ouch the ensuing poem makes good.
Ver. %. The most celebrated river in Troas : it derived its source from mount Ida.
Ver. 10. The ancients esteemed the art of husbandry to be os all others the most honourable. The hands of princes sustained at the same time the crook and the sceptre. Paris the son of Priam,
king of Troy, is represented in this poem under the character of a shepherd. In our time* the care of flocks and herds is committed to the lowest orders of the people. Shepherd and clown arc terms with us nearly synonymous. But we must endeavour to separate from them the ideas of churlishness and ill-breeding, when applied, as the ancients applied them, to heroes and kings.
Ver. 34. It was a fiction of the poets, that Pcleus, the son of Æacus, and pupil of Chiron, married Thetis the daughter of Nereus; and that all the geds attended at their nuptials on mount Pcl;<.n, except Kris or Discord, in whose presence agreement and harmony could not long subsist. See on this subject, Catullus er Nafl. Pel. V Tilt. and Valrrim Placcut, L. i. v. 119.
Ver. 41. The correspondent lines in the original ought to be placed after v. 33. as Lennep rightly observes: to that place (immediately aster the poet's mention of Diana) the translator has restored them.
Ver. j 6. The conjectural reading of Vosiius is here preferred; as it seems to contain more sense and more poetry than any other. He reads,
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"O* ii ri :-r tfi£1 x«i q'v ipvtiararo viTtnt.
Ver. 79. Apples were esteemed the symbol of love, and dedicated to Venus. They were also considered as allurements of love, and were distributed among lovers. Hence the expressions li*uZ \ui and mala fetere, in Theocritus and Virgil.
Ver. 89. The ancients looked upon such eyebrows, which our poet rails £>.iplfu* rvM%if a' essential to form a beautiful face. See Anarreon's description os his mistress, and Tbncr. Id. viii. 71.
Ver. 99. They were supposed t^ he very numerous.
volncrumque excrcitus omnis amorutn.
Val. TUcc. vi. 457. Ver. 116. The cestus of Venus, of which Homer makes particular mention, II. xiv. 116. derives its name ur< ri ftttrur. To which stimulating quality our poet alludes in the following line.
And with this cestut I infix myJH*g. Ver. 405.
'Avr* ir*i-2&t i^xrZt
'a»t iy%i*t atrarrev. Anacr. Ode xi.
Ver. 167, 168. Ispitrui, Paagreea.] Mountains In Thrace. The former is allo the name of a lake.
Ver. 269. fcemophoon, son of Theseus, on his return from Troy, passed through Thrace, where lie was hospitably received by Phillis, its queen, who fell in love with and married him. He having expressed his desire to visit Athens, his native country, Phillis consented to his departure, upon condition that he would return on a certain day which he mould appoint. Demophooo promised to be with her on the appointed day. When the day came, Phillis, tortured with the pangs of an impatient lover, ran nine times to the more, which from this circumstance was called in Greek Emtaitii 1 but unable any longer to support bis absence, (he, in a fit os despair, hanged herself. See Ovifi Efist. ii. Phillit to Demosb.
Ver. 274. A province and city of Thessaly; the birth-place of Achilles. But, for a more particular account of Coluthus's geography, the reader may consult Lennep's note on ver. 215, where he shows (to make use of hia own words), " quam "fuerit in geographicis hofpes Coluthus."
Ver. 296. Hyacinthus was a young prince of the city Amychc in Laconia. He bad made so extraordinary a progress in literature, that he was considered as a favourite us Apollo. As he was playing with his fellows, he was unfortunately struck on the head by a quoit, and died of the blow. The poets have enlarged on this simple story in the following manner:
The wind which blew the quoit aside, and gave it the fatal direction, they have called Zephyrus; whom they have represented as the rival of Apollo. Zephyrus having received for his kindnesses to Hyacinthus, the most ungrateful returns, was resolved to punisli him for his insolence; and having challenged him one day to a game of quoits, he struck the unfortunate youth a blow on the temples.
The inhabitants of Amyclæ, lajs the poet,
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2£xt>£tytfMf, xa'i roZrot imyiytt. were displeased with the contest proposed by Zephyrus, and withdrew Hyacinthus from the fight; or, perhaps (still better to connect this with the
following sentence), they brought him out, ai.rj spirited him on to the fight, presuming that his favourite god would enable him to come off victorious—ii/T«( 'AtriAXvr, &C.
This is Lennep's conjectural reading; which, whether the true one or not, must be allowed to affix a tolerable meaning to a passage that was before very unintelligible.
Ver. 502. From the blood that was spilt on the ground, Apollo produced a slower, called after the name of his favourite youth. See Ovid. Africa. 11,
Ver. 331. Antilochus, mentioned frequently in Horn. II.
Ver. 333. The descendants of Æacus. He vns the son of Jupiter and Ægina: his offspring were Phocus, Peleus, Teucer, and Telamon.
Ver. 390. The fiction to which our author in this place, and Virgil, in Æneid vi. allude, is borrowed from B. xix. of Horn. Odyss. Itjis imagined, that this story of the gates of sleep may hate had a real foundation, and have been built upon the customs of the Egyptians. Set the note M ver. 656. Lcl xix. of Pope'1 Odyjs.. Our poet hasrrpre. rented these fanciful gates as opened by Night. and with great propriety.
"The ancients," fays Sir Edward Sherbornr, "painted Sleep like a man heavy with slumber; his undcr-garmenc white, his upper black , thereby expressing day and night; holding in his hand a horn j sometimes really such, sometimes of Wary, iu the likeness of one; through which, they feigned, that he conveyed dreams; true, when the fame was of horn, false when oT ivory." Some lure assigned, as a reason why true dreams pass through the gate of horn, and false ones through the gate of ivory—that horn is a fit emblem of truth, a being transparent, and ivory of falsehood, as beiig impenetrable.
Ver. 448. Virgil, Æn. vi. 278. calls sleep a* sangttineut tetbi.
Ver. 450. Hence, i. e. by reason os the Ukends there is betwixt these two affections.
Ver. 464. The line in the original is obfcnrr, aud usually misplaced. It is given to Hermionc, but without the least reason. It is here restored to its proper place; and is an observation which comesnaturally enough from the mouth of He. See Lennep's note on the passage.
Ver. 482 Cassandra was the daughter of Priam, and priestess of Apollo. Apollo gave her the gift of prophecy ; but on her refusing to comply with the conditions on which it was given her, he rendered it ineffectual, by ordaining that her predictions should never be believed. Hence it was, that, when Paris set fail for Greece in pursuit ol Helen, her prophecy, that he should bring home a flame, which should consume his country, was not regarded. Her appearance, therefore, 00 the present occasion is quite in character; and our poet has shown, his judgment by the represent* tion he has given us her.
The poems of the ancients, translated into modern languages, arc justly compared to flowers, of the growth of warmer regions, transplanted thence into oar colder climates: They often die in the raising; but, if with difficulty they are brought to bear, the flowers they produce, wanting the indulgent warmth of their native fun, degsnerate from their ancient stock; they impair in liveliness of colonr, and lose their fragrancy of smell, or retain at best but a faint odour. Verse, in like manner, when transplanted from the language of one country into that of another, participates of all the defects of the air and foil; and when ancient wit comes to be taught and confined in modan numbers, the noble spirit, for want of the warmth with which the original was written, evape rates in transfusing, and often becomes little better than a dead and senseless image. Hence we fee, that though composing be indeed the nobler part of poetry, yet to translate well is scarce a Uss difficult talk. The materials, 1 grant, are foend to the translator's hands; but then his fancy is honnd up and confined; for he must bnild according to his model; and though his invention toil the less, his judgment must labour the more; otherwise he wiil never copy his original, nor do justice to his author.
I wist not presume to give my opinion, cither in praise or dispraise, of die following translation u general; the many testimonies, given in hehalf of it, by the translator's learned and ingenious friends, in tjieir commendatory verses, which, as they were to all the former editions of this work, are likewise prefixed to this, render all that can be said in praise of it superfluous, and in blame of it ineffectual; for who will dare to censure a work, that has deservedly found so favourable a reception, and gained such a general approbation and 'pplause f What Mr. Waller writes to Mr. £ve'n on his translation of the first book of Lucretius only, may with greater justice be applied to °tir translator:
for here JLacretiui whole we find,
Hit words, his music, and his mind:
*hy art has to our country brought
All that he writ, and all he thought. Waller
Now all translated books, whatever subjects they t*eat of, ate, or ought to be, intended for the be
nefit and instruction of such as understand not the languages in which the originals are written, and if they fail of that end, they arc always, and at best, but-useless amusements: But if they assert principles, and advance maxims and propositions, that are repugnant to the doctrine of the Christian faith, or to the precepts of morality and good manner-, they may prove of ill consequence to some, particularly to the unwary or less intelligent readers. It were better that books of that nature (and most of the writings of the ancient Heathens are such, in a less or greater degree) were never translated at all, than that, by being rendered into modern languages, they should fall into the hands of all sorts of readers; many of whom, not being capable to judge of the strength or weakness of the arguments they find in them, are often seduced into errors. Such books are a sort of edged tools, that cither ought to be kept from the weak, and the illiterate j or, when they are put into their hands, they ought to be instructed how to use them without danger. This being granted in general, is sufficient to justify my undertaking, and to prove the usefulness of it, in writing the following notes and animadversions on this English Lucretius.
I foresee, nevertheless, that some will blame, and perhaps censure me severely, for having bestowed so much time and labour on an impious poet: For this, will they fay, is that very Lucretius, who believes, and endeavours all he can to prove, the human soul to be corporeal and mortal; and who, by so doing, denies a suture state, either of happiness or misery, and takes away all hopes of our salvation in a blessed and eternal futurity: This is he, who flatly denies the Providence of God, which is the chief basis and support os the Christian religion: And, lastly, this is he who teaches, and asserts to be <rue, that Atheistical hypothesis of Dcmocritus and Epicurus, concerning the indivisible principles, and the nature of all things. This, I confess, seems at first sight to be a grievous accusation; but yet, if duly considered, it will appear to be of little moment: For not to mention that, for the same reason that we ought not, as seme pretend, to read Lucretius, we ought likewise to abstain from reading all, at least most of the authors of antiquity, since in their writings are contained many impious, profane,