« EdellinenJatka »
And lest the vales Co olive, corn, and vine,
Now kiss the tender roots with wanton play,
Of chirping birds; and try'd to frame their voice,
And thus 'he pipe was frani'd, and tuneful reed j
to please 14 70
V'htn feasts were done ; for then all seek for ease:
Ar.d sweetest roses grow around their head;
And with uneven steps they dane'd around;
And thus they pafs'd the day in g3y delight;
These now our wantons use; with toil and pain, 149° They learn to dance in measure: all in vain: for these can reap no joy, no more contenf, Than what those earth-born swains did first resent, for while we know no better, but possss A present good, it does extremely please;
The later good our various thoughts employs;
spread, JJOO They fcorn'd their skins of beasts, and grassy u; The (kins of beast» , which sure the first that
Not long enjoy'd, but by a treach'rous wound
But go!d and purple now are cause of wars:
Then wretched man's endeavours arc in vain;
This drives them on into a sea of cares,
Show'd all the seasons turn'd by constan
Then mighty- ships, driv'n by the lab'ring* wind.
Flew o'er the seas, and distant nations join'i VVhi.st leagues and bonds the neighb'ring towns I
'combin'd: Then letters found; and the poetic rage First told the noble actions of the age: But all beyond lies hid in dismal night, 1530 And only seen by searching reason's light.
Thus stiips, thus clothes, thus wine, and oil began;
And towns, the comforts and support os man; But better'd ail, to due perfection brought By searching win, from long experience taught. : hus time, aud thus sagacious men produce A thousand things, or for delight, or use: For one thing known does vig'rous light impart
For farther search, and leads to height or art.
NOTES ON BOOK V.
I.uoetids begins this bork with the praise of | fays he. his divine discoveries have been more Epirurm, an noi only makes him equal to th henefuial to mankind than the inventions of gods, but even j reclaims him a god; lecause, | Ceres, or os Bacchus, or than the many glorious
M m iiij
exploits of Hercules: since men might have lived . happily enough without them. But true wisdom, which Epicurus first discovered and taught, is of the greatest utility to mankind, because it chases away all uneasiness from the mind, and instructs ns aright in the nature of all thing-, aud concerning the immortal goda.
Ver. Id Lactantius, lib iii. cap. 14. " de falsa sapieDtia:" and many others, pretend from this expression of Lucretius, that he did not mean Epicurus, but one of the more ancient philosophers, aa Pyfhagoras, or Socrates, or TKalcs, or some other of che seven sages: But they are evidently mistaken, as appears by verse sixty of this book, where he fays, ,
Cujus ego ingressua vestigia
His sttps I trace
And Cicero certainly had his thoughts on this pass ge, when in Tufcul. 4. he says: " Qjœ quidem cogitans folco sa-pe mirari nonnullorum insoletitiqm philosophorum, qui Naturx cognitinnem admirantur, ejusque iuventori et principi gnuias cxultantes agt.nt, eumque venerantur ut Drur' : liberates enim fe per cos dicunt gravissini s Dbrninis." When I icficct on these things, I often wonder at the insolence of some philosophers who admire the knowledge r.f nature, and give thanks with transport of mind to the inventor and first author of natural philosophy; ownitjjr that he has delivered the m from most tyrarnou* I.-rds. Thus our grateful poet confesses' to whom he owes his knowledge in the Nature of I lut gi: And indeed, if Epicurus did deliver the minds of men from cares, and fears, and superstition, he justly deserved to be revered preferably to any oi the heathen gods. The words of this passage run thus 111 the original,
Qui prin:us vitac rarionem invenit cam, qux lNunc appeilatur lapicruia
For wisdom was the name which the Epicureans, who were a fort of men not burdened with too much modesty, gave only to their own philosophy. Iiorat. lib. 1. Od. 33.
Parcua Deorum cultor, et infrequens
But the other philosophers were content to call their doctrine by the name i f the love of wisdom: for so the word pl.iiciojhy signifies.
Ver. 15. The son ot Jupiter and Scmcle: He is said to have been the iirit that planted vines, and ma le wine of the grapes: For which reason the poets mai'c him the god of wine: He travelled over the whole earth, conquered the Indies, and was the first who tiiumphed, which he did, ridirg upon an elephant. The chief badges and emblems of his power were tygers and the thyrsus: The ty^tis wtre l anialled to his car; and thus ht \v„s wont to be earned about. Virg. ÆnJd. si. v. 804.
Nec qui pampineis victor juga flectit habeui^
N'T Bacchus, turning from his Indian war,
The thyrsus, was a spear or javelin, wrapped about with vine branches and ivy; whose poise ended in the shape of a cone: Bacchus, and uV. mad drunken women, his companions who wcie called Baa ha;, always carried a thyrsus iu then hands: Moreover, Lucretius in this place, uiii Bacchus by the name of Liber:
Namque Ceres fertur fruges, Lihcrque licporii Vitigcni laticem niortalibus instituiftc.
Virg. Gcorg. i. v. c.
Vos, O clarissima mundi
Lumina, labentem ccelo qua: ducitis annum,
Upon which the interpreters fay, that the port calls Liber and Ceres the lights of the work), either because they were esteemed to be the inventors of, and- to preside over the harvest aal the vintage, which are the chief parts or leafoo of the year, and the chief ornaments of the worii, since they supply mankind with meat and drici: or because by them he means the fun and mooa. And indeed Prztcxtaus, in Macrobiut Sauna', lib. i. cap. 18. evideutly proves, that not only Liber and Dionyflus, which is another of lit names of Bacchus; but that Jupiter, and Man, and Mercury, and Hercules too, were the Hid; who was called Lib/r, fays he, " quod labeld n> getur." He adds, likewise, that Ceres wa« the moon, and that some derive her name *' i errando," because she conduces very much 10 lie production of things. Bacchus ».> called Li'tt, either because he made free, and restored ta liberty the country of Bceotia. where he »» born, as we learn from Fiut. in Qusest. Cert. * because wine delivers the mines from cares, i> spires with courage, and occasions a liberty or freeness ot lpcech. Thus Horace, Carm. lib- ;.Od. 21. speaking to a cask os wine:
Tu lene tormentum ingenio ad oiovcs
Curas, ct arcanum joe.lo
Consilium rcte I^is Lyaeo.
Poll te neque iratos trementi
RegUm apices, neque aiilitum arma.
Of Bacchus fee more, Book ii. v. 616. and Bosk iv. v. Il6j.
Ver. 16. Ctrtj.] She was daughter of Saturn m» Ops, and mother of Proserpine, She was beikseJ '• to be the first that sowed corn, and sound <fS I th.e art us using it Virgil, Gcorgic i, v. >47
Prima Ceres ferro mortales Tertere terrain
For which reason they made her the goddess of
Ver. 18. Diodorus Siculus, Book III., fays, That the inhabitants on the coast of the Gulf of! Arabia, and of the countries of Troglodytia and South Ethiopia, know not the use of corn or wine; but that some of them live upon fish and snail", others upon roots, others upon the leaves, feeds, and fruits of trees, and others upon locusts. Mela witnesses, that the Troglodytes live in dens, and feed upon serpents: some of which, fays Pliny, Nat. Hist. lib. xxxi. cap. 2. arc twenty cubits in length. And Fabcr, in his note on this passage of our author, says, that scarce the sixth part of mankind do yet know what wheat is. Therefore we may well, fays Lucretius, live without corn and wine, but not without wisdom: "Saytientia cnim,*' fays Cicero, lib. i. de Fin., " est una quæ mcestitiam pellat ex animis, qux nos exhorreiccre metu non linat, qua prxceptrici in cranquillitate vivi potest, omnium cuuieiitatum ardore restincto:" For wisdom only it is that drives away sorrow and uneasiness from the mind, that suffers us not to stand aghast with fear; and by whose advice we may extinguish the flame os all inordinate desire", and lives in tranquillity, and exempt from a!l manner of passion.
Ver. 10. Lucretius:
At bece non poterat Cue puro pectorc vivi.
Where by pun p:Corc the poet means a mind undisturbed by ignorance, anil not obnoxious to errors; a heart sincere, and free fiom all anxiety: for, as Horace fays,
Sincerum eft nisi vas, quod cunque infundis, acescit.
In like manner, without sincerity of heart and purity os mind, it is impossible to lead a happy life, or to pal's our days in tranquillity: And Cicero teaches us, that the only way to acquire this purity of mind is by the help of wildom, which, by delivering us from all terrors and desires, and from the temerity of all salu: opinions, is the surest guide to pleasure. Mcntem autem puram ut habeas, adhibenda est sapientia; quie, et terroribus cupiuitatibusque detracts, et omniiim fa if arum opinionum temeritate direpta, certiflimam fe nobis duceni praibcat ad voluptatem," I. dc Fin.
Ver. 14. In these twenty-four verses the poet enumerates some of the labours of Hercules, which, he tells us, fall as lar short of the discoveries of wisdom, made by Epicurus, as the foul is more excellent than the booy#: For Hercules ditl indeed deliver men from monsters, that were destructive to the body; but Epicuius, who first instructed men in the art of wisdom, delivered
their minds.from all vain anxieties, and restless
'desires: He chased from our soul* the terrors at
ut duros mil!e hbores
Rege sub Euryslhco, satis Junonis iniquæ
Ver. 26. That is the Nemæan lion. "Nemærju) magnus hiatus leonis," fays Lucretius. This is the filth of the labours of Hercules, according to the order in which the chief of them, which arc thirty-four in number, are enumerated. Now there haunted; in the Nemæan wood, near Cleone. a city of Achaia, in the country of Peloponnesus, a vast and terrible lion, that did a world <>i mischief: Hercules not being able to kill him, cither with his club or with his darts, laid hold of him, and tore him to pieces with his nails; then took his«fkin, which neither stone nor iron could penetrate, and wore it on his shoulders, as a badge of honour. Diod. Sicul. lib. iii. Plaut in Pers. Virg. Æn. 8. This gave occasion to the institution of the Nemæan games, which were celebrated every third year, in honour of Hercules. But some, particularly Statius, will have this solemnity to have been firsjt instituted to celebrate the funeral of Opheltes, son of Lycurgus, and who was killed by an adder.
Ver. 27. This was his seventh labour; for Lucretius does not observe the order, and mentions only the chief of them. He speaks here of the dreadful boar that haunted upon the mountain Erymauthus in Arcadia, and laid waste all the country round. Hercules took him, and carried him to Eurystheus, king of Mycenæ.
Ver. 28. This was his ninth labour. A bull that infested the country about Crete: Hercules brought him alive likewise to Eurystheus. Some fay this bull jvas sent into Crete by Neptune, .whom Minos, king of Crete, had offended: others, that it was the fame bull which brought Europa, the mother of Minos, into Crete; and others, that it was the bull, for love of which, Paliphae, the wife of Minos, run mad.
Ibid. This was his third labour. It was a serpent that lived both upon land and in the water, aud was called Hydra, from water. It kept
for the most part in the lake Lerna, between Mycenæ and Argos; and was dreadful for having seTen heads; and Virgil fays, fifty, if, as many believe, it be the fame Hydra that Æneas saw when he descended into hell;
Quinquaginta atri- immanis hiatibus Hydra Sxvior intus habet sedem.—— Æn. vi. ver. 576.
and others an hundred; and no sooner was one of them cut off. than two sprouted out in its place; but Hercules killed him at length, by searing the wounds as fast as he cut < ss rach of his head*.
Ver. 30. This was the sixteenth labour of Hercules. Gtryon was a king of Spain, said to have three bodies, either because he governed three islands of Spaio. the Greater and Lesser Bah ares, cow called Majorca and Minorca. and Ebofus, now Ivica: or because he and his two brothers, who were united in the strictest ties of friendship, were all slain by Hercules, who took away their herds of cattle, and hruught them into Italy. Paufan. lib>. i. and Diodor. lib. 4. Virg. Æn. i ver. 201.
Nam maximus ultor,
Tcrgemini nece Geryonis, spoliifque superbus, Alcidcs aderat; 1 aurosque hac victor agebat lugentcs; vallenique boves amnemque tenebant.
Ver. 31. This was the sixth labour. Diomedes was a king of Thrace, who, to make his horses the more fierce aud wild, fed them* us the abovecited Diodorus fays, not with oats and barley, but with human flesli. Hercules took him, and gave him to his own horses to eat.
Ver. 32. This was the eighth labour. These birds were called Stymphalides, from Stymphalus, the name of a town, mountain, and lake, in Arcadia, where these birds haunted: they were of the size of cranes; in shape, like the bird called Ibis, which we generally interpret a snipe; and had beakt so hard, that they would enter into iron: These Hercules killed with his darts, as Paufanias and Catullus testify', but Diodorus Siculus, lib. 4. fays, he frighted them out of the country with a great brass rattle, .
Ver. 34. The fourteenth labour. Hesperus, the brother of Atlas, had three daughter", Ægle, Aretlmsa, and Htsperethufa. who are said to have had gardens planted with trees that bore golden fruit. These gardens were guarded by a vigilant dragon, whom Hercules flew by the command of Euiystheus, and took aveay the apple'. Besides the dragon, Virgil adds a priestess, and a temple, perhaps of Venus, to whom the apples were conseciated.
Hinc mihi Massy]* gentis monslrata Sacerdos,
Æntid. iv. ver. 483.
And the fame poet, according to the common opinion, describe! the situation of the gardens to be in the Mauritania Tingitana, now the kingdoms of Fez and Morocco, about the town of Lixa, in the extremest western part of Africa: According to some, they wer: iu the continent; according
to others, in an island. Others place these gardea of the Hrspendcs in the quite opposite partii Africa, that is to fay, in the very east of Afrio, and on the eastern shore of the Syrtes May?, near Cyreraica but this error is fully confute: by balrr.asius to Solinus Moreover, some have it, that the apple* of these gardens were wit sheep, whose fleece- are very valuable, and vrhid the Greeks call fixXz, as well as they do apples. Others believe them to have been nha: we call citrons or lemons, and that Hercults firu brought them from thence into Greece. They likewise believe the gardens to have been the Fortunate Island-, now the Canaries, .which he belov Lixui indeed, but very near to Mount Atlas, ad not far from the shore Lastly, Others will rate them to be the islands which the aucienu called Ht*fperides and Gorgades, o- Gorgones, now & islands of Cape Vtrd: but these lie more to tie south, at a great distance from Atlas, toward*:* mouths of the river Niger, and at least an hundred and fifty leagues distant from them. And tiiie last be'ieve the dragon to be the tortuous sea that divided the gardens from the continent. Miitca, describing the garden of Eden, gives it tiees,
Whose fruit, burnifli'd with golden rind,
Hung amiable: Hesperian sables true;
Ver. 38. The west of Mauritania, which ii wastied by the Atlantic Ocean, so called frea Mount Atlas, which, under several name, citends itself even to Egypt; and dividing all Ah> ca into north and south, that is to say, Mairtania from the Inner Libya, ends in the Wefiitf Ocean. For which reason, the ancient poetstt, prehended all the people that lay tn the footli i' Atlas, under the name of E- iupians, anddisi* guished them by Oriental and Occidental Hie .Spaniards call all this extent of mountains, M-^' Clarot Atlas, brother of Prometheus, fon'cfjipetus, and king of Mauritania, being admor ;'•.<: by Themis, that he was in danger of being ISM by a certain son of Jupiter, would, for that realot, receive no stfanger into his house: and bavi^ denied the rijjhts of hospitality to Perseus, thete of Jupiter by CUnae, daughter of AcriGus, kingef the Argive«, this Perseus, by showing h.m Mti>sa*s head, changed him into this mountain, whici bears hie name. This fable is related at large b» Ovid. Metam. iv. ver. 611. et stq. Now V'j was very skilful in astrology, which gave ocaii' to the fiction of supporting heaven on hi* food* ders And Virgil describes the mountain « M retaining the figure of a man, Æneid it. to-. 146. where speaking of Mercury, he says,
■ Jamque volans apicem et latera anluacercat Atlaritis duri, cceium qui vertice tulcit: Atlantis, cinctum assidue cui nubibus atris Piniferum caput et vetuo pulsatur i t inibri ■ Nix humcros infusa tegit: turn flumina rnento Præcipitant senis, et glacic riget honida barba.
Thus translated by Dryden.
——And flying thence he spies
Quo ncquc noster adit quisquam, nec barbarus aucict. Lucrtt.
i. e. Whither none of us Romans go, nor any foreigners daresto go: Fortheancicnu, aswcll Greeks as Latins, called all that were not of their own country barbarians. But I think our translator can hardly justify this expression, untrod by the Moor, fiuce the Moors are the people that inhabit the country of which Lucretius is speaking, Be that as it will, Cicero asserts for cer:ain, that even in his days, there was no sailing practised any farther than from the mouths of the Euxinc Sea, to the Columns of Hercules: i. e. than Abayle, now Ceuta, on the African coast, and Calpe, now Gibraltar, on the coast of Spain. For Hercules, after he had laid waste the garden of the Hesperides, sized two pillars on the mountains Abayle and Cafpc, as the bounds of his travels: which two mountains were before contiguous; but he is said to have patted them .and by that mean* letting in the ocean, to have opened the sea os Cadiz, now Called the Straits of Gibraltar.
•Ver. 40. For many other notable exploits are recorded of Hercules. He killed Busyrts. the son of Neptune and Libya, an Egyptian tyrant, of si-ch incredible strength, that b.e cut Id draw an ox about at his pleasure: and who, as well as Di omedes of Thrace, fed his horse* with human flesh. And Antzus, the son of Neptune and Terra, a giant sixty-sour cubits hi^h; who, as often as he was faint or weary, if he hut touched the earth, recovered his full l»rtngth a(;ain. And Augeas the king of Elis, who refused to give him what he had agreed for cleansing his stables of the filth they had gathered in thirty years. And £ ryx, the son of Venus, with whom he fought at the Ccestus, or Hurl bats: besides, he slew several of the centaurs, &c. and was of signal service to the gods, in their wars with the giants, who durst attack their heaven . for the earth had pronounced an oracle, at Phlxgra, a town in Thrace, and the place of the battle, that the giants could not be destroyed, without the help of two heroes or ierxiigucui: Upon which the gods made choice of Hercules and Bacchus; and by their assistance got the victory: Thus Apollodorus. And hence we fee the vainness of the fables, in teaching that the fame Hercules who flourished about the age os Theseus and Eurysthcus, was already among the gods in the time of the giants war.
Ver. A a. Lucretius fays nothing of the death of Hercules, nor his rising a god from Oeta's flame; ut since our translator has thought fit to take noice of it, it will not be improper for us to explain r. TJeianira, growing jealous of her husband t lercule», who, she hcvcj, was fallen in lave with
Iole, sent him a garment that had been dipped in the poisonous blood of the Centaur NciTu< and which, she had been informed, had a virtue to make any one that wore it in love with her, Hercules had no sooner put it on, than all his limbs began to burn to that degree, by the force of the poisonous dye, that unable to resist the violence of the torment, he tore up tree- by the roots, andlitiilt himself a pile upon the mountain Octa in Theslaly, then having set fire to it, threw himself into the flames: and being thus purged from all the filth he had contracted here below, he was believed to go directly to heaven; aud thus, as Creech fays,
He rose a god from Oeta's flame.
Milton, in Paradise Lost, B. ii.
As when Alcides, from Œchalia crown'd
Ver. 5J. Epicurus, in his writings, treated not only of^hysics, but ethics likewise. The first by the care of Laertius have escaped, most of them, from the iage of time : but of his ethics, the little that r< mains, is in his three epistle's to Herodotus, Motnecxus and Pythodes.
Ver. 57. Fabcr fays, that Lucretius here speaks of the treatise that Epicurus composed xi*i iriijultf, os holiness.
Ver. 60. In these forty verses the poet gives us the argument of this book, in which he will endeavour to prove, that the world had once a beginning, and will one day have an end. Then he will describe the rise of the world, and of animals; will teach what animals were actually produced; and what the vainness of the poets, and the superstition of the generality of men have se gned and believed. He will tell how names co ne to be given to things, and how mutual society arose from speech; and whence first proceeded religion, and the sear of the gods. Lastly, He will explain the motion of the heavens, the courses and revolutions of the fun, the moon, and other planets and stars, and will demonstrate, thac they are whirled about by the force of nature only, without the help or assistance of Providence i For unless he can make out such a motion of the heavens, and prove it to be merely natural, he owns he shall not be able to take away all belief of Providence: For, as he observes in the first book, ver. 84
Long time man lay oppress'd with slavish sear;
Ver. 64. Which the ignorant vulgar mistake for fouls separated from the body; but Epicurus has shown them their error, by proving that the foal dies with the body. See Gaserellus, in his Collection, de Talismanni*.