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rough music of the last age, than the refined harmony of this; and will not easily be persuaded, that modern improvements can produce any thing superior. However Creech may-have-approved himself in Lucretius, or Manilins, I shall venture ro pronounce this translation of Theocritus very bald and hard, and more rustic than any of the rustics in the Sicilian bard: he himself modestly intltles his hook, " 'he Idylliums of Theocritus "done into En^lijb:1* and they arc done as well as can be expected from Creech, who had neither an ear for numbers, nor the least delicacy A expression.

It will he incumbent upon me to make good tlii- bold assertion, which I can easily do by producing a few examples. In the first Id) Ilium, he calls that noble pastoral cup. ,l a sine two handled "pot;" and the iA«|. " the tendrils or claspers," with which seandent plants use to sustain themselves in climbing, he transforms into kids;— — "where kid- t"o seem ttybrouse" In the description of the fisherman, ver. 43. he lnc these line*;

The nerves in's neck arc swoln, look firm, and strong,

Although he's old, and sit for one that's young.

Ver. ill. He makes Daphnis sty to Venus:

Go now stout D:omed,gf soon pursue,
Go nose him now, aud boast, my arts

cdious paraphrase; for the original con-aim only fifty-four verses, which he ha* multiplied into no fewer than one hundred and twenty-seven; particularly there are three line?, beginning at the 18th.

li TO *<*>>«» TStii^OITCl' To m> ?.llof *i *vx

Nuf»^«. *. r. >.

Sweet black-eye'J maid, &c.

Which he has expanded into twelve. Now, though English heroic verse consists of no more than ten syllable*, and the Grcikhciameter sometimes lises to seventeen, but is, upon an average, we say fifteen, then two Greek verses i: cqtial.'in point of syllables, to three of English ; but is a translator is so extravagantly licentious, he must lose sight of his original, and by introducing new thoughts of his own, disguise his author, so that nobody can know him again. But Mr Drydcn has a far greater foible than this, which effectually prevents me from inserting any of his translations in this volume, which is, that whenever he meets with any sentiment in an author which has the least tendency to indecency, he always renders it worse; nay, even in these Idylliums. where the original has given him no handle at all, he has wrapt the simple meaning of Theocritus into obscenity. '* Sed * vitiis nemo fine nasciiur;" no man had more excellencies, as a poet than Mr. Drydcn, therefore the hand of candour should draw a veil over constitutional blemishes.

In Drydcn'* Miscellany Poems, there arc seven or eight translations of other Idylliums, viz. the ad. loth, 14th, and l«th, by W. Bowles; the nth by Duke, atid the 1st, and some other-, by d fsirent hands: but none of these, I found, would luit my purpose: there arc so many wild deviations from the original, such gros- mistakes, and so ma ny incorrect and empty lines, that they will found very h-i-ihly in the polished cars of the present age. Fully satisfied with this inquisition, I then determined to undertake the whole work myself; Co 'sidcring that every translation from an ancient author, as well as every original work, is g-nera'ly most agreeable to the reader which is finished by the same hand: because, in this cafe, there i* kept up a certaiu uniformity of style an idioniatical propriety of diction, which is infinitely more pleasing than if some different, though more able hand, had here and there interlarded it with a shining version than is

Purpureus.late qui spiendcar, unus et alter

Affuitur pannus.

I have been informed by some venerable critics, that Creech's translation of Theocritus was well done, and a hoc* of reputation : that he thoroughly understood the classics, and had a peculiar facility in unfolding their beauties, and that, if there was published a new edition of his translation, there would be no necessity for its being sopr-sedcd by another. I beg leave ro dissent entirely, from these gentlemen, who probably having read Creech when they were young, and having no ca for poetical numbers, are better pleased with th

3 o cr I


Young Daobnis, fight, for I'm a match for

T.xikus fm and* Aaea-*jtf«;4, he renders, u Hc-
Ikk's ciiff" and" '.icon s tomb" A little further
on and likewise in the 5th Idyll-ini, he turns
nightingales into thrushe-

Uiyllium III Where Olpis is looking oat for <unnie<. he makes him stand, "to snare histrouts." I'hr girl Erithacis he calls tawny Bess, and AlpliesibceaV mother. Alphisb's mother,

Idyl'ium V. ver. It. He translates Crocylu» into Dick, ami Idy Ilium XIV Argivus. Api» and Cleunicus, into Tom, Will and Dick. Near the end of the 5th,I.aeon fays:

1 love Eumedcs much, I gave my pipe,

UJw sweet a kiss he gave; ah charming lip!

Then come successively the following delicate rhymes, strains, swans; shame, lamb: piece, fees; joy, sky: afterwards he makes Comatcs fay

I'll toot at I.aeon. I have won the Iamb,
Go foolish shepherd, pine, and die for shame.

Idyllium VII. ver. I JO He renders ante, parsry thinking it the fame as nfhm, whereas it signifm a pear.

Idyllium XI. He makes Polyphemus fay of him. self;

-Sure I am somewhat, they my worth can see,
And I myself will now grow proud os me.

He says of Cyrisea, Idyl. XIV ver n.
That you might light a candle at her nose.

Idyllium XV. One of/he gossips seys to » stranger,

'■ Yon are a a saucy friend,

I œ ne'er beholding,t'ye, and there's an end.

/r,d so there's an end of my animadversions upon Mr Creech; were 1 to quote ail his dull insipid Ert*, I should quote abnve ha's his bw>k: thin

mwh was proper for me to fay in my own vindi

cuino; sod to add more, mi^ht, to some people,

stem nnri 'ton*.

!: has been hinted to me by more ingenious j*d,r"«. that if Theocritus was translated in the Ixc~:rife cf Spencer, he would appear to great jjTiirap, as such an antique style would be a prjp»-r leccedaneum to the Uoric idiom, slicre i^prjred to me »t first sumething plmsiblr in this scheme; tut hippenirrg to find part t.f VTnschus's 6rf! leyiiinm. which is a hue and cryaft-r Cupid, finrtr;2ical)y translated by Spenser himself I hii reason to alter my opinion. 1 shall transcribe

tre passage, that the reader may judge whe-her ifari: z TerSrin would be more agreeable than one "m modern Ur.guage.

It fortuned, fair Venus having lost H.-r littli son, the, winged god of li>vr, Who for some light displeasure, which him croft, Wi- from her fled, an Hit a* any dove, And 1'. ft her blis&ful bower of joy above; (So from her often he had fled away, Woen site for aught him sharply did reprove. And wander'd in the world in strange array, IVgwiYd io thousand shapes, that none might him bewray •

His for to seek, she !:st her heavenly house, Aid searched every way, through which his wir.g-i

Hid borne him, or his tract she mote detect: She promis'd k sscs s.vcet, and sweeter things, Ucco the man that of him Tidings to her brings.

Fairy i^/zee/i, B. 3. cb. 6.

Frmn thm specimen 1 could not he persuaded to thick, that a traeflalion of Theocritus, even in the purest language cf Speukr, would assord any pleaSure to art Enghlh reader: and therefore I have given him the dress which 1 apprehend would heft become him. How 1 have executed this work, I leave to tjie decision « f the candid and impartial, desiring they will allow me all the indulgence which the translator os so various and difficult an author can reasonably require; an author on whom • here are but few Greek scholia published, only to the 17th IdyIlium lnclisive, and these often extremely puerile; an author on whom fewer notes have been written than upon any other equally excellent. Scaliger, Casaubon, Hciiilins and MeurCos frequently leave the molt difficult passages t mooched ; then- observations are sometimes trifling and unsatisfactory, often repugnant to each other, and now and then learnedly obscure.: amidst these disadvantage*, 1 have endeavoured to conduct myself with the utmost caution; and if I may he allowed to speak of the following sheets, I will briefly explain what I have endeavoured to acomfbft. First, then, as to the tranii.itiqn; I have acticr followed my author too closely, nor aban

doned h'm too wantonly, but have endeavoured to keep the original in view, without too essentially deviating from the sense • no literal translation can he just; as to this point, Horace gives us au excellent caution:

Nec verbum verbo curabis reddere fidus

Nor word fur word too faithfully translate.

A too faithful interpretation, Mr. Oryden says, must be a pedantic on;; an admirable pre. ept to this purprf* is contained in the compliment Sir John Uenham pays Sir Richard Fanfhaw on his version o! the Pastor l''ido:

Tliat servile path thou nobly dest decline,
Os tracing word by word, and Hue by line;
\ ntw mid nobler way thou do:l pursue,
T'o nude translations, and translator* too;
They but preserve the aslics, thou the flame,
True to his fense, but tiuer to his tame.

And as I have not endeavoured to give a verbal ttanflation {> neither have I indulged myself in a rash paraphrase, which always lose- the spirit <■' ,an ancient, by degenerati 'ginto th • modern manners of expression . and to the best of my recollection, I have taken no liberties but thi fe which ur<i necessary for exhibiting the graces of my author, transfusing the spirit os the original, and supporting the p .etical Kyle of the translation. This is the plan, and these are the rule* by wbich every translator should conduct himself: ho« 1 have acquitted myself in these p .it.ts, must be lest to the determination of superior j n iges. As to the Hote-t, which I found the nmst laborious part of my tail;, they are intended either to illustrate the most difficult, ar.d exemplify the beaut:ful t-iTiges; of else to exhibit the various itrita'ions of autlvM vi hich I look upon as an agreeable comment, for they not only show the manner in which the ancients copied each other's excellencies, but likewise often help to elucidate the passages that are quoted. Upon a review of my notes, I am afraid 1 have instanced too many pissages from Vir«ril as imita. tions of Theocritus: what I have to fay in my defence is, they appeared to me at the time to be, if they do not appear in the same light to the reader, they are easily overlooked: If t have in this respect cor-in.iucd a fault, this acknowledgement will plead in mitigation 'f it.

Besides th< fe errors and mistakes, I am conscious of many mere,.though I hope not very matcrial o:ie*; th. fe the learned- and judi-inufl, who are sensible of the d.ffuultyof thi- undertaking, will readily*. i'his work has already meC wnh trie approbation of the best critics of the a^e, Iherelcre what the worst may think or fay of iti will give me no concern. 1 must acknowledge a fault or two quat incuriafvdlii there are I believe two Op three proper names false accented :■ 1 havo also mistaken the sense of my author in the first Idyllium, ver. 31.

This goat with twins I'll give, &c. It should have been translated, " 1 will give yest ,' three milkings of this goat; n T»;j *fuX%*i, that

I you may milk her three times , not the goat "herself and twins," which would have been a most extravagant present from a poor goatherd. in return for a sung. I he reader, therefore, may correct the passage thus:

Thrice shall you milk this goat ; (he never fails Two kias to suckle, though she sills two pails; To this I'll add, &c.

This mistake was imparted to me by the ingenious and learned Dr. Jortin, together with the following emendation ; fee note on ver. 57,41 for x»utttx "you read, with Pierlon, Ksoitgio; which, as to "the fense, seems to be right. But, as the Ionic "dialect is not often used in a Doric song, I

II should prefer the adjective K^oinja, which is also 11 a smaller alteration. As from xtv,K comes 11 Xiv<r''et* so from Kfcifc;, K^Mttiff/' I am much obliged to the fame gentleman for the following short, but full account:


"Whosoever shall carefully examine in Theo"critus the composition of his verses, may per"ceive, that, in his opinion, the nature of bucolic "or pastoral metre, requires that the fourth foot "of the verse be a dactyl, and that the last fyl"lable of this dactyl be the end of a word, which "must not run into the next soot. The first foot "also should rather be a dactyl than a spondee, "and the cæsura is here likewise to be shunned. If "after the fourth foot there be a pause of a com"ma at least, the verse will be still more elegant; "as

"Thus the verso will abound with dactyls, which, "together with the broad Doric dialect, gives a "certain rustic vivacity and lightness to the poesy. *' But yet she above-mentioned rnles, if they were "constantly observed, would displease by a tirc"some uniformity, and confine the poet tot) much • 11 and therefore a variety is better, as in the line, Afjcft/if, ««n*£if, in y\v<px J Hi* troTorioi. 1' And it is sufficient if the other structure predot' minate. These rules Virgil hath quite neglects' ed, except in those verses of his eighth eclogue, i* which are ca'led versus imterealaru: "Incipe Mænalios niecum, mea | tibia, versus," And

"Ducite ab urbe donnm, mea carmina, | ducite "Daphnim,

"For a further account of this matter, the curious *' reader is referred to the Mcnioircs de L'Acad. "Tom. vi. p. 238."


It may be asked, why I have not acted the part

of a vertnl critic in this performance ? My reason was, tha; far more able men had considered Theocritus in that light. The late Mr. D'Orville, the

author of the Critics Van mil, and St'cula, daring his travels in Italy and Sicily, collated upwards of forty MSS. of Theocritus; his collation is now at Amsterdam. Mr. St. Amand, a few years ago, left to the University of Oxford, a large collection of collations, which Mr. Thomas Warton, who has prepared a noble edition of this author, has the use of. Mr. Taylor, late Greek professor of Cambridge, left likewise a Theocritus almost ready lor the press. In the public library at Cambridge, there are some notes on Theocritus by Isaac Casaubon, written in the margin of Henry Stephens'* Poetas Grxci; likewise manuscript notes in the edition of Cnmmclin, printed in quarto; and alfa some notes by Thomas Stanley, the author of the Lives of the Philosophers: all these, and likewise a MS. Theocritus are in the public library at Cambridge. There is also a MS. of the first eight Idylliums in Emanuel College library. Mr. Hob]yn, late member for the city of Bristol, left behind him many notes and observations for an edition of Theocritus. Besides these, there are great materials for illustrating this author in private libraries.

As to the editions of Theocritus, which are very numerous, I think proper to fay something; as we have but an imperfect account of them in Fabricius and Maittaire. Rei&ie, in the preface to his late edition of this Gteek poet, has given us an account of the various editions, but this account is far from being satisfactory. The first edition of Theocritus was printed at Milan in the year 1493, the letter is the fame with the Isocratcs of the fame place and date. See the catalogue of the Leyden library, page Iji. The second edition was printed-by Aldus Manutius at Venice, in the year 1495; this is the only edition Aldus ever printed; there are seme leaves cancelled in it, which is the reason why Reiflce and others have imagined that Aldus printed two editions. Mr. Maittaire, in the first volume of his Annalts Qyfiegrtfbici page 244, has given us an account of these differences. In the year we have an

edition by Philip Junta at Florence; and another in 1516, by Zachary Caliergus at Rome.

These are all the editions that came out before the year 1520. Besides these, and those mentioned by keiske, which I have seen, there are some curious editions, viz. that of Florence by Benedict Junta, printed in the year 1540 j the Basil edition of Ijj8, and the Paris edition of 1617, printed by John Libert. I have purposely omitted mentioning the others, as they are already taken notice of, either by Fabricius, Maittaire, or Reislce.

I cannot conclude this preface without paying; my acknowledgments to those gentlemen who have kindly assisted me in this undertaking. Dr. Pearce, the present Lord Bishop os Rochester, many years eminent for his critical disquisitions, has, in the friendliness of conversation, furnished me with several useful rules for conducting my translation. Dr. Jortin has savoured me with a concise, but full account of the old bucolic measure, and a few valuable note?. The celebrated Mr. Samuel Johnson hat corrected fart os this work, and furnished me with some judicious remark*. Io a short conversation with the ingenious Mr. Joseph Warton, I gathered several observation?, particularly in retard to the superiority of Theocritus to Virgil In pa&onl, which arc interspersed among the notes. The learned Dr. Plumptre, Archdeacon of Ely, kit, with great candour and accuracy, done me the hecosr to peruse and amend every sheet as it came from the press. Dr. Askew, so eminently t in hii profession, as well as for a large i collection of the classics, and an : knowledge of them, with the sincerity of as old acquaintance and a friend, gave me many vinous readings,showed me every valuable edition of Theocritus that is extant, and furnished me with the account of some! MSS. and scarce editions of It, which were never taken notice of by Swithin Adee, M. D. and the

Rev. Mr. John Duncomhe of Canterbury, have, at my own request, sent me several notes and strictures upon my performance, which are candid and valuable. Mr. Burnaby Greene, author of Juvenal parai.hrastically imitated, very obligingly supplied the Essay on Pastoral, and some ingenious observations: and Dr. William Watson lent me his friendly assistance in the botanical part. I could mention other eminent names of gentlemen who have corrected and improved this work;

■ Each finding, like a friend,

Something to blame, and something to commend.

The list 1 have given, I am apprehensive, will appear ostentatious—however, I had rather be convicted of the foible of vanity, than thought guilty of the sin of ingratitude.



As the life of Theocritus has been several times wraten in English, I flattered myself that I might fugle out the account I liked best, and save myself rise trouble us compiling it afresh. 1 depended a good deal upon Kennet, but when I came to per»fe his account of Theocritus, I found it unsatisfactory, and no ways answerable to my purpose: he seems more solicitous, in an affected quaintness of style, to exhibit a display of his own learning, than studious, by the investigation of truth, to give information to his readers: bis thoughts lie loose and unconnected, and therefore are generally tc•ums and perplexing.

The account of our author in the Biographical Dictionary, published in twelve volumes octavo, is nothing but a servile epitome of Kennet, and, where the conciseness of it will allow, expressed in his very words. Thus dissatisfied with the rroderns, I had recourse to the ancients: in the life generally prefixed to his workt by Suidas, we arc told, ** 1 hat Thcccritus was aChian, a rheto** rician : but that there was another Theocritus, "the son os Praxagoras and Philina, though some "say os Shnichidas, a Syracusan;" others fay," he ** was bora at Cos, but lived at Syracuse;" now ribs was the cafe of Epicharmue, and might easily occasion the mistake. See the note on Epigram


In another Greek account in the front of his Works, we are told, that " Theocritus the Bucolic "poet was born at Syracuse, and that his father's * tame was Simicbidas." Gyraldus fays," some ** have thought him of Cos, some of China." From fetch a confused jumble of relations, what can with 'be made cut?

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Praxagoras* and famM Pbifitia's son; h\y laurels from uiiborrow'd verse are won. Aster this plain declaration, it is amazing that the old grammarians will not rest satisfied, but endeavour to rob him both of hi* parents and his country. The chief view which the poet had in writing this epigram| though perhaps it may not appear at first, sight, seems to be this; he had a namesake of Chios, a rhetorician, and pretender to poetry, who, according to Plutarch, suffered an ignominious dea'h, fur some crime committed against king Autigunua ; and therefore Theocntu* the pnet, by this epigram, took all possible precaution to be distinguished from his namesake the rhetorician. "The other Theocritus" fays he, " U u ot Chios; I that am the author of these poems, am u a Syracusian, the son os Praxagoras and the ce** Icbratcd Philioa: I never borrowed other peou pie's number*.** The last fed fence i> an honest, declaration, that the poet had not been a plagiary, like many of his predecessors and contemporaries.

Theocritus is said to have been the scholar of Philetas, and Asclepiades, or Sicclidas: Philctas was an elegiac poet of the island of Cos, had the honour to be preceptor to Ptolemy Philadelphus, and U celebrated by Ovid and Propertius: Sicelidas was a Samian, a writer of epigrams: he mentions both these with honour in his seventh IdyIlium, see ver. s 'S

As to the age in which he flourished, it seems indisputably to be ascertained by two Idylliums that remain, one ib addressed to Micro king of Syracuse, and the other to Ptolemy Philadelphus, the Egyptian monarch. Hiero began his reign, as Causabon aflerta in his observations on Polyhius, in the second year of the 126th Olympiad, or about 275 years before Christ; and Ptolemy in the fourth year of the I 23d Olympiad. 4 hough the exploits of Hiero are recorded greatly to his advantage by Polybius, in the first book of his history; though he had many virtues, had frequently signalized his courage and conduct, 3nd distinguished himself by several achievement* in * war ; yet he seems, or at least in the early part cf his reign, to have expressed no great assection for learning or men of letters: and this is suppose-d to have given occasion to the 16th Idyllium,inscribed with the name of Hiero; where the poet asserts the dignity of his profession, complains that it met vith neither favour nor protection, and in a very artful manner, touches upon some cf the virtue* of this prince, and insinuates what an illustrious figure he would have made in poetry, had he been as noble a patron, as he wag an argument for the muses.

His not meeting with the encouragement he expected in his own country, was in all probability the reason- that induced Theocritus to have Syracuse for the more friendly climate of Alexandria, where Ptolemy Philadelphus then reigned in unrivalled splendour, the great encourager of arts and sciences, and the patron of learned men. In his voyage to Egypt he touched at Cos, an island in the Archipelago not far from Rhodes, where he was honourably entertained by Phratdaxiui

and Vtigenes, who invited him into the country to celebrate the festival of Ceres, as appeara by the seventh idyllium.

We have ail the reason in the world to imagine that he met with a more favourable reception at Alexandria, tiian he had experienced at Syracuse, from bil encomium on Ptolemy, contained in the 17th Idyllium, where he rises above his pastoral style, and shows, that he could, upon occasion (as Virgil did afterwards), exalt his Sicilian muse to a suUimer strain, fnuta mmjtra: he derives the race of P;olcmy from Hercules, he enumerates his many cities, he describes his great power and immense riches, but above all» he commemorates his royal munificence to the sons of the muses. Towards the conclusion of the 14th Idyllium, there is a short, hut very noble panegyric on Ptolemy: in the 13th Idyllium, he celebrates Berenice, the mother, and Axsinoe, the wife of Ptolemy.

1 do not recollect any more memorials of this poet's life, which can be gathered from his works, except his-friendship with Aratus, the famous author of the Phenomena-, to whom he addresses his sixth Idyllium,and whose amours he describes in the seventh.

There is one circumstance more in regard to Theocritus, which is so improbable, that 1 should ntit have thought it wurth while to have troubled the reader with it, if it had not been mentioned by ail his biographers, vt;:. that he Iiet. usder the suspicion of having suffered an ignominious death: tins takes its rife from a distich of Ovid in his Ibis

Utquc Syracosio pricstricta fiuce poets,
Sic anims laqueo sit via clausa tux.

But it does not appear, that by the Syracusan poet Ovid means Theocritus; more probably, as some commentators on the pastbge have supposed, Empedocles, who was a poet and philosopher of Sicily, is the person pointed at: others think that Ovid, by a small mistake or siip of his memory, might confound Theocritus therhetofieian ofChios, who was executed by crder of King Antigonus, with Theocritus the poet of Syracuse; and the epigram quoted above very strongly indicates how apprehensive cur poet was of being confounded with that peison it lecms, indeed, as I hinted before, composed on purpose to manifest the distinction.

After this short account of our author, it will be proper to say something of his works; for to write the life of a poet, without spe-king 01 his compositions, would be as absurd as to pretend to pu. blifb the memoirs cf a hero, and omit the relation of his most material expUits.

All the writings of Theocritus that now rcmim are his Idylliums and hpi^rami; in regard to the word Idylliums, D. Heiosius tells us, that the grammarians termed all those smaller composition! E.Ssj (a species of poetry), which could not be defined from their subjects, which arc various: thus the Sylvx of Statius, had they been writtea iu Greek, would have been called Km* and EiivX.Xia ; even the Roman peets make u!e of this term; thus Ausoujus styles one of his books of poems •■

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