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poetry; but as they were necessary to his purpose, he would not omit them. Poetry was not then designed as the empty amusement only os an idle hour, consisting of wanton thoughts, or long and tedious descriptions of nothing, but, by the force of harmony and good sense, to purge the mind of its dregs, to give it a great and virtuous turn of thinking: in short, verse was then but the lure to what was useful; which indeed has been, and ever will be, the end pursued by all good poets; with this view, Hesiod seems to have writ, and must be allowed, by all true judges, to have wonderfully succeeded in the age in which he rose.
This advantage more arises to us from the Writings of so old an author: we are pleased wiih those monuments of antiqility, such parts of the ancient Grecian history, as we sind in them.
Sect. 4. A comparison Uttvint Htstod and Virgil, .
I shall now endeavour to show how far Virgii may properly be said to imitate our poet in his Georgic, and to point out some of those passages in which he has either paraphrased, or literally translated, from the Works and Days. It is plain he was a sincere admirer of our poet, and of this poem in particular, of which he twice makes honourable mention, and where it could be only to express the veneration that he bore to the author. The first is in his third pastoral. In medio duo signa, Conon, et quis suit alter, Descripsit, radio, tntum qui gentibus orbem, Tempora quæ messor, que curvus arator, haberet? Two figures on the sides emboss'd appear, Crcnn, and what's his name who made sphere,
And show'd the seasons of the sliding year
Notwithstanding the commentators have all disputed whom this interrogation should mean, I am convinced that Virgil had none but Hesiod in his eye. In the next passage I propose to quote the greatest honour that was ever paid by one poet to another is paid to ours. Virgil, in his sixth pastoral, makes Silenus, among other things, relate how Gallus was conducted by a muse to Helicon, where Apollo, and all the muses arose to welcome him; and Linus, approaching him, addressed him in this manner:
hos tibi dant calamos, en, accipe, muse,
Aserxa quos ante Seni; quibus illc solehac
The greatest compliment which Virgil thought Tie could pay his friend and patron, Gallus, was, after all that pompous introductim tothe choir of Apollo, to make the muses present him, from the Jiandt of Linus, with the pipe, or calomos, .'.sen3 A
qvoi ante seni, which they had formerly presented to Hesiod; which part of the compliment to our poet, Dryden has omitted in his translation.
To return to the Georgic. Virgil can be said to imitate Hesiod in his first and second books only: in the first is scarcely any thing relative to the Georgic itself, the hint of which is not taken from the Works and Days; nay more, in some places, whole lines are paraphrased, and some literally translated. It must indeed be acknowledged, that the Latin poet has sometimes explained, in his translation, what was difficult in the Greek, as where our poet gives directions for two ploughs:
Aeiec it '.}i'J:f.i aooToa. votntec/tltof xu ra omov
by avraytm he means that which grows naturally into the shape of a plough, and by a*xr«» that made by art. Virgil, in his advice to have two ploughs always at hand, has this explanation of mvroyun:
Continue') in sylvis magna vi flexa domatur In burim, ct cutvi formam accipit ulmus aratri.
Young elms, with early force, in copses bow,
Thus we find him imitating the Greek poet in the most minute precepts. Hesiod gives directions for making a plough; Virgil does the fame. Even that which has been the subject of ridicule to many critics, viz. " plnugh and sow naked," is translated in the Georgic; niJm arajere mini. Before I proceed any farther, I shall endeavour to obviate the objection which has been frequently made against this precept. Hesiod means to insinuate, that ploughing and sowing are labours which require much industry and application; ami he had doubtless this physical reason for his advice, (hat where such toil is required it is unhealthsul, as well as impossible, to go through with the fame quantity of clothes as in works of less satigne. Virgil doubtless saw this reason, or one of equal sorec, in this rule, or he would not have tranllated it. In short, we may find him a strict follower of our poet in most of the precepts of husbandry in the Works and Day*. I (hall give but one instance more, and that in hi> superstitious observance of days:
quintum fugse; pallidus Orcus,
Eumcnidcfque satx, &c.
quo, maxima, motu, Terra tremit, fngere ferac, &c.
and a Htrie lower in the same description:
Hntacsora, ingemi vento,nunc litora plarigunt:
wHkh ii lhnost literal from Hesiod, on the power of me nerth wind:
— fLlfJLlfa.1 61 ymt% ttftt p\n, &C.
Loud groans the earth, and all the forests roar.
( cannot leave tin* head, without injustice to tke Roman poet, before I take notice of the manner in winch he vies that superstitious precept •attn • igs>.i«S<u. &c. what in the Greek is Uc^aui, it by him made brilliant:
—ernictnm fuge: pallidus Orcus,
iuman&eSque fat e: turn parru, terra, nefando, Gzuœq. Jipetumci. creat. savumq. Typhceum, ftoxijjratm coclum reseinderesratres: Ter font conati, &c.
— the fifths be sure to shun,
That gave the furies, and pale Pluto, birth,
To sole the steepy battlements of Jove;
And thrice his lightning, and red thunder play'd,
And their deniobfh'd works in ruin lay'd.
A> 1 hare (bowed where the Roman has folJo»M the Greek, 1 may be thought partial to my nrhor, if I do not (how in what he has excelled hisi: and first, he has contributed to the Georgic mnst of tlic subjects in his two last books; as, in the third, the management of horses, dogs, S:c. aDii, in the fourth, the management of the bees. Hn style, through the whole, is mi re poetical, taere abounding wi;h epithet", which are often of sees-selves most beautiful metaphors. His invoari?3 on the deities concerned in rural affairs, his address to Augustus, his account of the prodigies ktfore the death of Julius Cæsar, in the first book, V« praise of a country life, at the end of the se. coed, and the force of love in beasts, in the third, are what were never excelled, aud some parts of then never equalled, in any language.
Allowing all the beauties in the Georgic, these two poems interfere in the merit of each other so •sole, that the Works and Days may he read with as aach pleasure as if the Georgic had never been written. This leads me into an examination of pm of Mr. Addifon's iffay on the Georgic; in which that great writer, in some places, seems to speak so much at vesture, that I am afraid he did not tnaecbtr enough of the two poems to enter on fid a taslo Precepts, fays he, of morality, bctsnthe natural corruption of our tempers which itakrs ts averse to them, are so abstracted from feat of sense, that they seldom give an oppottuaitjfor those beautiful descriptions and images *f«h are the spirit and life of poetry. Had he *at pirt of Hesiod in his eye, where he mentions
the temporal blessings of the righteous, and the
puhishment of the wicked, he w ould have seen that our poet took an opportunity, from his precept< of morality, to give us those beautiful descriptions and images which are the spirit and life of poetry. How lovely is the nourishing state of the land of the just there described, the increase of his stocks, and his own progeny ! The reason which Mr. Addison give* against rules of morality in verse is to me a reas on for them; for if our tempers are naturally so corrupt as to make us averse to them, we ought to try all th« ways which we can to reconcile them, and verse among the rest; in which, as I have observed before, our poet has wonderfully succeeded.
she/same author, speaking os Hesiod, says, the precepts he ha^ 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 flayed 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, shall 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.
t shall mention but one 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, ! believe he had forgot that his own author had used almost the same image, and on almost the fame occasion, though in other words:
Nec nocturna quidem carpentes penfa puellx
Nescivere hyemcni, Ac. Gkokg. I.
The difference of the manner in which the two poets use the image is this. Hesiod makes her wish her mother at home, either bathing, or doing what most pleases her; and Virgil fays, as the young women are plying their evening tasks, they are sensible of the winter season, from the oij sparkling in the lamp, and the snuff hardening. How properly it is introduced by our poet I have showed in my note to the passage.
The only apology I can make for the liberty I have taken with the writings of so fine an author as Mr. Addison, i--, that I thought it a part of my duty to our poet, to endeavour to free the reader from such errors as he might possibly imbibe, when delivered under the sanction of so great » name.
Sta. 5. Of tic fowtl Etlogue of Firgil.
I must not end 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 has there been generally said to allude to the Cumcean sybil to our poet:
Ultima Cumcei venit jam carminis xtas.
This line, fay they, has an allusion to the golden age of Hesiod ; Virgil therefore is supposed to say, the last age of the Cumcean poet now approaches. By last, he means the most remote from his time; which Fabricius explains by dntiquijima, and quotes ah expression from Cornelius Scvcrui, in which he uses-she word in the same lcnse, ultima ctrtamina for antiquijfima ccrfumina. 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 Cumcei venit jam carmina etas;
Which will bear this paraphrase. The remotest age mentioned in the verse os the Cumcean 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 earth; 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 Pollio on his new-born son:
llle deum vitam accipict.
He shall receive, or lead, the life of gods, as the (ame poet tells us they did in the reign of Saturn.
fit Ti 9i« V i£«ai> ■
Ntrf tr «tij Ti xrnmi. <
They liv'd like gods, and entirely without labour.
————feret omnia tellus;
TJon rastros patietur humus, non vinea falcem:
Robustus quoque jam tauris juga solvct arator.
The earth shall bear all things; there (hall be no occasion for inst turner, ts 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 fame Cumeean poet.
The fertile earth bore itl fruit spontaneously, and in 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 of his son, is, that now such a son is born, the golden age, as described by Hesiod, sliall return; and granting the word cumxi to carry this fense with it, there is nothing of a prophecy mentioned, or hinted at, in the whole eclogue, any more than Virgil's own, by poetical license.
A learned prelate of our own church assert! something so very extraordinary oh this head, that I cannot avoid quoting it, and making some fevr rematks upon it: his words are these, " Virgil "could Cot have Hesiod in his eye in speaking of "the four ages of the world, because Hesiod makea "five ages before the commencement of the "golden." And soon after, continues he, " the "predictions in the prophet (meaning Daniel) of "four successive empires, that Ihould arise in dif"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 mauy ages, and to describe the "renovation of the golden age in the expression! "of the prophet concerning the future age os the "Messiah, which in Daniel is the fifth kingdom." Bp. 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 four 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 world in so many ages, because he happened to live some hundred years before the time of Daniel.
This great objection to their interpretation of cumai still remains, which cannot very easily be conquered, that Cuma was not the country of Hesiod, as I have proved in my Discoutse 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 name* him; and those monuments of him, exhibited by Uisinusand Boissard, have this inscription:
I 2 I O A O 2
Ascrstin Hcfiod, the son of Din.
INDEX TO THE WORKS AND DAYS.
Aboiics, his cffay on the Georgic examined.
View of the Works and Days, sect. 4.
to the 137th verse.
Byblian wine, book ii. ver. 3^4.
Chastity in love, and inducements to it, book i.
Crane, and signs from her, book ii. ver. 93, and
cote to ver. 94.
itc examined. View of the Works, &c. sect. 5.
Day*, locky and unlucky. All book iii., and the
Dew, book ii. Ttr. 333, and note.
Azp*fi &c- A criticism on the passage, book i.
Ex aiXjat, eke. A criticism on the passage, book i,
note to ver. 306.
Fœe. book ii ver. 533.
Feaft, a&ort rural description, book ii. ver. 276.
104, and note.
Gra&opper, book ii. ver. 368, and note to ver.
KaVit of the ancient Greeks, book ii. ver. 315, and
Bar»!&, book ii. ver. 2.56.
Hawk and nightingale, a fable, book i. ver. 368,
d Picria, the distinction,book i. note to
y, the effects of it, book i. ver. 404, and
Jove, his power, book i. ver. 1, and 350.
Judges (corrupt), brok i. ver. 57. and 290.
hook i. ver. 398.
Liberality, book i. ver. 45*, 480,496, and note to
Marriage, book ii. ver. 41;, and 486, and note to
M>Xi«. See i» <tsXwr, under the letter E.
Month (the ancient Greek), observations on it,
and a table of it, following the 3d book.
Navigation of the ancient Greeks, book ii. from
ver. 316 to 416, and note to ver. 316,
Offerings to the gods, book i. ver. 444, and note
to ver. 448. Book ii. ver. 474, and note.
Pandora, the fable of her, book i. ver. 63. An ex-.
planation ot it in the notes.
Plough, book ii. ver. 62. The murtyv** and
Pluto, book ii. ver. 114. A criticism on the pas-
Polypus, book ii. ver. 303, and note.
Proverbial sayings, what construction to be made
Prune the vines (when to), book ii. ver. 350.
Righteous, their felicity, book i. ver. 304, 373,
Rudder, the fense in which the word is used, book
Sloth, the effects of it, book i. ver. 400.
Solitice, winter and summer, book li. note to ver.
137, anil to ver. 250.
i. ver. 173, 294, 32S, and note to ver. 173.
Threshing the corn, the se .son,bock ii. ver. 284.
verse* 60 and 76.
ii. notes to verses X37 and 3to.
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