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iptam fu£e?: pillidus Orcus f luron: Jdcpe fat t.: turn pjrtu, terra, nefando, Ccan:^ Japetoniq. creat. favumq. Typhceum, £t orrjjraro*) caclum refeindcre lr..trcs: Ter fast coaati, &c.
the fifth? be sure to shun, Tfc* gave the furies, and pale Fluto, birth, And arai'd afrainli the skies the sons of earth; Wait awtaias pil'd on mountains thrice they
strove T» fnle the lleepy battlements of Jove; And thrice his light ning, and red thunder play'd, And xbcir demohfb'il works in ruin lay 'd.
A< I Bare fcowed where the Roman has fol
Jowed1 the Greek, I may he thought partial tomy
«»fh<v, if I lie not flww in what he has excelled
hurt : an J first, he has contributed to the Georgic
nv-fl nf •!-«. snbjects in his two last books; as, in
the third, the management of horses, dogs, &c.
auri, in the fourth, the management of the bees.
Us style, through the whole, is more poetical,
sære abcttf.cUng with cpirhet\ which are often of
xkesriiWes most beautiful metaphors. His invo
cart^c en the deities concerned in rural a/fairs, his
address as Augustus, his account of the prodigies
before rise death of Julius Cæsar, in the full book,
brsjra:'- of a country life, at the end of the se.
ostd. aed the force of love in beads, in the third,
are what were never excelled, and some parts of
then sever equalled, in any language.
Allr,wing ail rhe beiutics in the Gcorgic, these two poems interfere in the merit of each other so kule, that the Works and Days may be read with a* ssnxa pleasure a* if the Georgic had never been wrieen. This leads me into an examination of part of Mr. Addifon't Essay on the Georgic; in wfcch that ffreat writer, in some places, seems to speak (a muck at vesture, that I am afraid he did not rtsae:r.b?i enough of the two poems to enter on fata a task- Precepts, fays he, of morality, bc"airsthi natural corruption of onr tempers which Bakes ts averse to them, are so abstracted from ■seas offense, that they seldom give an opporruRC] for those beautiful descriptions and images wtith are the spirit and life of poetry. Had he tta' ?»rt of Hesiod in liii eye, where he mentions
the temporal Westings of the righteous, and the punishment of the wicked, he would have seen that our poet took an opportunity, from his precepts of morality, to give us those beautiful de. scriptions and images which are the spirit and life, of poetry. How lovely is the flourishing state of the land of the just there described, the increase of his slocks, and his own progeny ! The reason which Mr. Addison give* against rules of morality iu verse is to me a reason for them; for if our tempers are naturally so corrupt as to make us averse to them, we ought to try all the ways which we can to reconcile them, and verse among the rest; in which, as I have observed before, our poet has wonderfully succeeded.
rhe same author, speaking of Hesiod, says, the precepts he has given us are sown so very thick, that they clog the poem too much. The poet, to prevent this, quite through his Works and Days, has stayed so short a while on every head, that it is impossible to grow tiresome in either; the division of the work I have given at the beginning of this view, therefore, (hall not repeat it. Agriculture is but one subject, in many, of the work, and the reader is there relieved with several rural descriptions, as of the northwind, autumn, the country repast in the shades, &c. The rules for navigation are dispatched with the utmost brevity, in which the digression, concerning his victory at the funeral games of Amphidamas, is natural, and gives a grace to the poem.
I shaU mention but ope oversight more which Mr. Addison has made, in his Essay, and conclude this head : when he condemned that circumstance of the virgin being at home in the winter season, free from the inclemency of the weather, I believe he had for/ot that his own author had used almost the same image, and on almost the same occasion, though in other words:
Nee nocturna quidem carpentes pensa puellæ Ncscivere hyemem, Jcc. (iwai; I.
The difference of the manner in which the two poets use the image is this. Hefind makes her with her mother at home, eirher bathing, or doing what mast pleases her; and Virgil fays, as the young women are plying thejr evening talks, they are sensible os the winter season, from the oil sparkling in the lamp, and the snuff hardening. How properly it is introduced by our poet 1 have showed in my note to the passage.
The only apology I cm make for the liberty I have taken wirh the writings of so sine an author as Mr. AdJison, i-, that I thought it a part os my duty to our poet, to endeavour to free the reader from such errors as he might poslibly imbibe, When delivered under the sanction of so great a name.
Stfi. S- Of *** f*ril Eclogue of Firgil.
I mull not rnd this view without some observations on the fourth Eclogue of Virgil, since Probus, Grxvius, Fabricius, and other men of great learning, have thought fit to apply what hat there
been generally said to allude to the Cumœan sybil to our poet:
Ultima Cumcei venit jam carminis xtas.
This line, fay they, has an allusion to the golden age of Hcsiod : Virgil therefore is supposed to say, the last age of the CumcCan poet now approaches. By last, he means the most remote from his time; which Fahricius explains by antiqu'Jsima, and quotes an expression from Corneliui Smerui, in which he use»<he word in the same sense, ultima tertamir.a for antitjuijpma certamina. The only method by which we can add any weight to this reading, is by comparing the Eclogue of Virgil with some similar passages in Hesiod. To begin, let us therefore read the line before quoted with the two following:
Ultima Cumœi venit jam carmina etas;
Which will bear this paraphrase. The remotest age mentioned in the verse of the Cumœan poet now approaches; the great order, or round, of ages, as described in the said poet, revolves; now returns the virgin Justice, which, in his iron age, he tells us, left the earrh; and now the reign of Saturn, which is described in his golden age, is come again. If we turn to the golden and iron ages, in the Works and Days, we shall find this allusion very natural.
Let us proceed in our connection, and comparison, of the verses. Virgil goes on in his compliment to Follio on his new-born son:
Ille deum vitam accipict.
He shall receive, or lead, the life of gods, as the fame poet tells us they did in the reign of Saturn.
Us T» Stoi y i£«sv
They liv'd like gods, and entirely without labour.
fact omnia tcllus; Non rastros patietur humus, non vinca falcem: Robustus quoque jam tauris juga solvet aratur.
The earth shall bear all things; there (hall be no occasion for instruments of husbandry, to rake the ground, or prune the vine; the sturdy ploughman shall unyoke his oxen, and live in ease; as they did in the reign of Saturn, as we are told by the lame Cumœan poet.
The fertile earth bore its fruit spontaneously, and jn abundance.
Here we see several natural allusions to our port, whence it is not unreasonable, for such as mistake the country of Hcsiod, to imagine, that all Virgil would fay to compliment Pollio, on the birth us his son, is, that now such a son is born, the golden age, as described by Hcsiod, shall return; ami granting the word cunrai to carry this fense with it, there is nothing of a prophecy mentioned, or hinted at, in the whole eclogue, any more than Virgil'sown, by poetical licenle.
A learned prelate of our own church asserts something so very extraordinary on this head, that
I cannot avoid quoting it. and making some few remarks upon it: his words arc these, " Virgil "could not have Hesiod in his eye in speaking of "the four ages of the world, because Hesiod makes "five ages before the commencement of the "golden." And soon after, continues he, " the
II predictions in the prophet (meaning Daniel) of "sour successive empireb, that should arise in difM ferent ages of the world, gave occasion to the "poets, who had the knowledge of these things "only by report, to apply them to the state of"the world in so many ages, and to describe the "renovation of the golden age in the expressions "of the prophet concerning the future age »f the H Messiah, whicii in Daniel is the fifth kingdom." Up. Chandler towards the conclusion of his Vindication of his Defence of Christianity. What this learned parade was introduced for, I am at a loss to conceive! First, In that beautiful eclogue, Virgil speaks not of the sour ages of the world. Secondly, Hesiod, so far from making five ages before the oommencement of the golden, makes the golden age the first. Thirdly, Hesiod could not be one of the poets who applied the predictions in the prophet Daniel to the state of the wtrld in so many ages, because he happened to live some hundred years before the time of Daniel.
This great objection to their interpretation of curnai still remains, which cannot very easily be conquered, that Cuma was not the country of Hesiod, as I have proved in my Discourse on the life of our poet, but of his father; and, what will be a strong argument against it, all the ancient poets, who have used an epithet taken from his country, have chose that of Ascrœus. Ovid, who mentions him as often as any poet, never uses any other; and, what is the most remarkable, Virgil himself makes use of it in every passage in which he names him; and those monuments of him, exhibited by Ui sinus and Boissard, have this inscription:
I 2 I O A O 2
Ascr.-ean Hesiod, the son of Di»»,
INDEX TO THE WORKS AND DAYS.
Abeiscs, his cfTiy on the Georgic examined
View of the Works and Days, feet. 4.
to the I37th verfe.
note to ver. 94.
Chandler (BHhop)oo the ages mentioned in He£od,
Su. examined. View of the Works, &c. fed. 5.
D»v«,\ocky and nnlucky. All book ii!., and the
note to ver. 206.
Fame, book ii ver. 532.
Fcitl, a&ort rural defcription, book ii. ver. 27$.
Forges, where the idle people met, book ii. ver.
164, and note.
Judges (corrupt), book i. ver. 57. and 290.
honk i. ver. 298.
Liberality, book i. ver. 45*, 480,496, and note t»
MiXiat. See ix pi*.ie>, under the letter E.
and a table of it, following the 3d book.
ver. 316 to 416, and note to ver. 316,
to ver. 448. Hook ii. ver. 474, and note.
Pandora, the fable of her, book i. ver. 63. An ex-
Plough, book ii. ver. 6i. The ftmym and T**x-
Jige in the note.
Polypus, book ii. ver. 203, and note.
Prune the vine« (when to), book ii. ver. 150.
Righteous, their felicity, book i. ver. 304, 371,
i. ver. 67, and note.
Sloth, the effects of it, book i. ver. 400.
137, ami to ver. 2JO.
i. ver. 171, 294, 318, and note to ver. 173.
HaKt of the ancient Greeks, book ii. ver. 115, and
tfcv-2, book ii. ver. 156.
Helicoo tad Pieria, the diftinclioj],book i. note to
]<ne, his power, hook i. ver. i, and 350.
Threlaing the corn, the feafbn.book ii. ver. ?"*.
verfcn 60 and 76.
Tripod, hook ii. ver 365, and note. •
ii. note* to verfei 137 and 3,50,
To the Most
The reverence t bear to the memory of your late grandfather, with whom I had the honour to be particularly acquainted, and the obligations I have received from the incomparable lady your mother, would make it a duty in me to continue my regard to their heir ; but stronger than those are the motives of this address; since I have had the happiness to know you, which has been as long as jou have been capable of distinguishing persons, I have often discovered something in you that surpasses your years, and which gives fair promises of an early great man; this has converted what would otherwise be but gratitude to them to a real esteem for yourself. Proceed, my Lord, to make glad the heart of an indulgent mother with your daily progress in learning, wildom, and virtue. Your friends, in thoir different sphere, are all solicitous to form you; and among them, permit me to offer my tribute, which may be no small means to the bringing you more readily to an understanding of the dailies: for on the theology of the most ancient Greeks, which is the subject of the following
* Lord George 'Jobnjlen, tvben this "was Jirjt sub' lijbcd in the y dr J 728.
poem, much of succeeding authors depend*. Few*
arc the writers, either Urcek or Roman, Who have not made use of the fables of antiquity ; historian! have frequent allusions to them; and they arc sometimes the very foul of poetry : for these reasons let me admonish you to become loon familiar with Homer and Hesiod, by translations of them: you will perceive the advantage in your future studies; nor will you repent of it when you read the great originals. I have, in my note', spared no pain* to let yeu into the nature ot the Thcogony, and to explain the allegories to you; and, indeed, I have been more elaborate for your fake than I should otherwise h2ve been. While I am paying my respect to your Lordship, I would net be thought forgetful of your brother, directing what I have here said, at the same time, to him. Co on, n-y Lord, to answer the great expectations which your friends have from you; and be your chief ambition to deserve the praise of all wise and good men — I am, my Lord, with the greatest respect, and most sincere affection, your most obedient and most humble tervant,
Attek the proposition and invocation, the poet begins the generation of the gods. This poem, besides the genealogy of the deities and heroes, contains the story of Heaven, and the conspiracy of his wife and sons against him, the story of Styx and her offsprings, of Saturn and his sons, and of Prometheus and Pandora: hence the poet proceeds to relate the war of the gods, which is the subject of above three hundred verses. The reader is often relieved, from the narrative part of the 'sheogony, with several beautiful descriptions, and other poetical embellishments.
J3egin my song, with the melodious nine
Now round the sable font in order move, Now rcund the altar as Saturnian Jove; Or if the cooling streams to bathe invite. In thee, Permcffus, they awhile delight y
Or now to Hjppoercne resort the fair,
Shepherds, attend, your happiness who place
So spoke the maids of Jove, the sacred nine,
Makes their great sire, Olympian Jove> rejoice;
And then to Jove again returns the song,
Mnemosyne, in the Pierian grove, 81
Can banish cares, and ease the painful heart. Absent from heav'n, to quench his am'rous flame, Nine nights the god of gods comprefs'd the dame. Now thrice three times the moon concludes her race,
And shows the produce of the god's embrace, 00 Fair daughters, pledges of immortal Jove, In number equal to the nights of love; Blefs'd maids, by harmony of temper join'd; And verse, their only care, employs their mind. The virgin songsters first beheld the light Near where Olympus rears his snowy height; Where to the maids fair stately domes ascend. Whose steps a constant beauteous choir attend. Not far from hence the Graces keep their court, And with the god of love in banquets sport; 100 Meanwhile the nine their heav'nly voices raise To the immortal pow'rs, the song of praise; They tune their voices in a sacred cause, Their theme the manners of the gods, and laws: When to Olympus they pursue their way, Sweet warbling, as they go, the deathless lay, Meas'ring to Jove, with gentle steps, the ground) The fable earth returns the joyful found. Great Jove, their sire, who rules th' ethereal plains, Confirm'd in pow'r, of gods the monarch reigns; His father Saturn hurl'd from his command 111 He grasps the thunder with his conqu'ring hand, He gives the bolts their vigour as they fly, And bids the red-hot lightning pierce the Iky: His subject deities obey his nod, All honours flow from him, of gods the god; From him the muses sprung, no lels their sire, Whose attributes the heav'nly maids inspire: Clio begins the lovely tuneful race, Melpomene which, and Euterpe, grace, xae Terpsichore all joyful in the choir. And Erato to love whose lays inspire; To these Thalia and Poly mi)ia join, Urania, and Calliope divine, The first, in honour, of the tuneful nine; She the great acts of virtuous monarchs sings, Companion only for the best of kings. Happy of princes,, foster sons of Jove, Whom at his birth the nine with eyes of love Behold; to honours they his days design: 130 He first among the feepter'd hands stiall shine; Him they adorn with cv'ry grace of song, And soft persuasion dwells upon his tongue; To him, their judge, the people turn their eye. On him for justice it their cause rely, 1 C iiij ■