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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,
—« ■ ir,rev
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, false, ridiculous,and fabulous assertions; insomuch, that all our poets, orators, historians, and philosophers must be rejected and thrown away, as debauchers of youth, and corrupters of good manners, if their writings were once to be tried by the standard of our faith, and by the doctrine of Christianity; not to mention, I say, all this, I dare boldly affirm, that whatever propositions Lucretius advances, contrary to the Christian religion, are so visib y and notor oufly false, and consequently so easily answered, that they cannor in the least startle any one, who professes our holy belief: For instance, Lucretius, in his third book, after having, as he thinks, fully demonstrated the corporality of the human soul, brings no less than twenty-fix arguments to prove its mortality likewise: But all os them, when they come to be maturely considered, are os so little validity, and so obvious to be confuted, that, far from being able to stagger in the k ait the faith of a Christian, no man, I think, though but of mean capacity, can, on such slender and unconvincing proof-, believe, even if he would, that the soul dies with the bo tiy. Nor are his arguments, by which he labours to overthrow all belief of a divine Providence, and to wrest the power f creation out of the hands, even of Omnipotence itself, more cogent or persuasive, as will, I hope, be made appear in the following notes and animadversions; in which I have made it my chief study to show the weakness, and to expose to my readers the insufficiency of them. How well I have succeeded in my attempt must be lest to the judgment of the public; the design, I am sure, was well-meaning and honest; aud if the performance be answerable, it may justly challenge a savourab'e reception: For what Christian will not be p'ealed to see, that not even the most penetrating wit of Lucretius has been able to advance any thing fe lid against the power of that infinite God whom he adores; especially considering, that if any such impieties could have been defended, be certainly was capable of defending them:
-Si pergama dextra
Defendi polTcnt, certe hie defensa suissent. Virg.
^foreoyer, what danger can arise to any man, though b :t of common understanding, while he reads that ridiculous doctrine of the Epicurean philosophers concerning their atoms, or minute indivisible corpuscle?, which they held to be the first principles of all things? An opinion so absurd, that even the bare mentioning of it confutes it. So far, therefore, from being of dangerous consequence to us is the reading those absurdities of the ancients concerning the nature nf things, that, on the contrary, we may 'gain from thence the great advantage of acquiring a more perfect knowledge of nature, and of the wonderful work* of God: For nature has imprinted on all men an innate desire of truth ; and to know the false opinions of others, will excite and ir them up to be the more diligent in the inquiry and search of it will render them the more capable to judge and determine concerning it, and to retain in their
minds the more firmly the Convictions it imprints upon them. As light is then most beautiful when it first rises out of darkness, so truth is then most delightful when it first emerges out of errors. For as my lord Rofcommon finely expresses it,
Truth stamps conviction on your ravifh'd bread, And peace and joy attend the glorious guest.
F.Jsay tm TruifiaUd Past.
Nor it all that Lucretius has written, impious, false, or ridiculous: on the contrary, many excellent things arc contained in his poem; many that well deserve to be read and remembered even by Christians. How excellently does he declaim against ambition, and all manner of injustice tni cruelty; against superstition, and the fear of delta; against avarice, luxury, and lust; against all die other passions of the mind, and dishonest pleasure! of the body. Is he not continually exhorting his Memmius to sobriety, temperance, chastity, magnanimity, and all the rest of the moral virtues? Insomuch that what Diogenes writes of Epicurai seems to be true; that he was falsely accused by si me persons of indulging himself too much in pleasure, and that it was a mere calumny in them to wrest, as they did, to a wrong sense, tie meaning nf that philosopher, and to interpret what he said of the tranquillity of the mind, as if it huf been spoken os the sensual delights of the body. To the fame purpose Caffius, that great pnml of the Romans, after he had embraced the Eoicurean philosophy, writing to Cicero, explains this matter in the following words: They, fiyshe, whom we call lovers of pleasure, are indeed loren os goodness and of justice; and men who practise and cultivate all manner of virtues: fortnere'a no true pleasure without a good and virtuoas life: "ii, qui i nobis Qikaimi vocantur, sum fitKtXm xa) Qt\t&tniioi. omnesque virtutet et colunc et retinent: i Irinliuts «»(tf nmXif' ximt <;»." a- the fame Caffius there cites the very words of Epicurus, who himself takes notice of this calumny, and complains of the malice ani disingenuousness of his accusers, who, not sinder standing it aright, had misrepresented hi> doo trine concerning pleasure: When we assert, s»f he, that pleasure is the chief good and grestet felicity of man, we mean not the pleasures of Uv luxurious and libidinous; not the pleasures of tb taste, the touch, or any other sensual enjoyment! as some ignorant persons, or such as dissent frou our opinions, or as take them in a wrong fense maliciously give out: but what we call pleafar is, to be ixempt from pain of body, and to have mind serene and void of all cares and perturbs tions; for not the company of lascivious boys aw womca, not luxurious eating and drinking, not ti feed nn fish, and other delicious meats that load tb tables of the wealthy, nor any other sensual delight can procure a happy life; but a right and soul* reason, that searches into, and discern* the cause why seme things are to be desired, others tn avoids1; and that chases and expels those opini on-, bv means of which the mind is disquiets! and vexed with passions and anxieties. Thus •<