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they abound with striking beauties; and that, upon the whale, those critics do no great injury to Tibullus, who dill ascribe them to that poe.
As Sulpicia and Cerinthus perfectly understood cne another, we must not expect in their poems those sillies and transitions of passion, that frantic and despondent air, so observable in Tibullus : for
these are the natural emanations of a heated fancy and a distracted heart. But the poems before us abound in what the moderns denominate gallant flattery. Most of them show the poet and happy lover. They give us link anecdotes of their paslion, and make us regret we have- Bo more.
Great god of war ! Sulpicia, lovely maid,
To grace your calends, is in pomp array'J.
If beauty warms you, quit th' etherial height,
E'en Cytherea will indulge the sight:
Hut while you gaze o'er all her matchless charms,
Beware your hands should meanly drop your arms!
When Cupid would the gods with love surprise.
He lights his torches at her radiant eyes.
A secret fjrace her every act improves.
And pleasing follows wheresoe'er she moves: ici
If loose her hair upon her bosom plays;
Unnunmber'd charms that negligence betrays:
Or if 'tis plaited with a labour'd care,
Alike the labmir'd plaits become the fair.
Whether rich Tyrian robes her charms invest,
Or all in snowy white the nymph i- drest,
All, all she graces, still supremely fair,
Still charms spectators with a fond despair.
A thousand dresses thus Vertumnus wears,
And beauteous equally in each appears. 20
The richest tints and deepest Tyrian hue, To thee, O wonderous maid! are solely due: To thee th' Arabian husbandman should bring The spicy produce of his eastern spring: Whatever gems the swarthy Indians boast. Their shelly treasures, and their golden coast. Alone thou merit'st! come, ye tuneful choir \ And come, bright Phcebusl with thy plaufive lyre!
This solemn festival harmonious praise,
No theme so much deserves harmonious lays. 30
Whethch, fierce churning boars! in meads ye stray,
Or haunt the shady mountain's devious way;
O ! why to savage beasts your charms oppose?
Yet, yet could 1 with lov'd Cerinthus rove Through dreary desarts, and the thorny grove: The cumbrous meshes on my shoulders bear, And face the monsters with my barbed spear:
Could track the bounding stags through tainted grounds.
Beat up their cover, and unchain the hounds:
O ; without me ne'er taste the joys of love,
Come, Phccbus! with your loosely floating hair,
S'ill persevere to love th' inchanting maid:
O come! what honour will be yours, to save
On my account, to grief a ceaseless prey, Dost thou a sympathetic anguish prove 1 3*
1 would not wiih to live another day.
If my recovery did not charm my love: For what were life, and healrh, and bloom to me, Were they displeasing,beauteous youth! to thee.
With feasts I'll ever grace the sacred morn,
In secret my Cerinthus bc^s the fame,
POEM VI. Accept, O natal queen! with placent air, The incense offer'd by the learned fair. She's rob'd in cheerful pomp, O power divine! She'srob'd to decorate your matron-shrine; Such her pretence; but well her lover knows Whence her gay look, and whence her finery flows.
Thou, who dost o'er the nuptial bed preside,"j O! let not envious night their joys divide, J. But make the bridegroom amorous as the bride !j So shall they tally, matchless lovely pair! A youth all transport, and a melting fair? lo Then let no spies their secret haunts explore , Teach them thy wiles, O love' and guard the door.
Assent, chaste queen! in purple pomp appear; Thrice wine is pour'd and cakes await you, here. Her mother tells her for what boon to pray; Her heart denies it, though her lips obey. She burns, that altar as the flames devour; She burns, and flights the safety in her power. 19 So may the boy, whose chains you proudly wear, Through youth the soft indulgent anguish bear; And when old age has chill'd his every vein, The dear remembrance may he still retain '.
At last the natal odious morn draws nigh, When to your cold, cold villa 1 must go;
There, far, too far from my Cerinthus sigh: Oh why, Meffala! will you plague ine so?
Let studious mortals prite the sylvan scene;
And ancient maidens hide them in the shade; Green tree« perpetually give me the spleen;
For crowds, lor joy, for Rome, Sulpicia'scnadc' 111.
Your too officious kindness gives me pain.
flow fall the hailstone*! hark! how howls the wind! I? Then know, to grace your birth day should I deijt,
My soul, my all, I leave at Rome behind.
Ar last the fair'sdetermin'd not to go;
My Lord! you know the whimsies of the so. Then let us gay carouse, let odours flow;
Your mind no longer with her absence vei: For O! consider, time incessant flics; But evety day's a birth-day to the wife.!
That I, descended of Patrician race,
To prey on garbage, and a stave adore!
Beyond what fiction ever feign'd of yore. Her friends may think Sulpicia is dilgrac'd; No! no! (lie honours your transcendent ui-;-"
If from the bottom of my love-sick heart,
You grasp'd my knees, and yet to let yo« pit—
Fame fays, my mistress loves another swain;
Let other maids, whose eyes less proffcree
But stop, my hand! beware what loose you scrawl, I Know, with a youth of worth, the night I
No—the remembrance charms!—liogonc, gri - | And cannot, cannot, for my foul repent!
NOTES OX SULPICIA'S POEMS.
Ver. a. One of the critics has observed upon this passage, that Venus must either have had great confidence in her own charms; or have been little solicitous what became of her paramour Mirs, to indulge him in this interview.
Ver. 6. When Euryclea, in the Odyssey (lib.xix ) discovers Ulysses (whom she was battling) by the fear in his leg, her joyful surprise is finely imagined, by her being ready to faint, and her dropping the jar of water. Nor less beautiful is the surprise testified by Paris, when by chance he beheld the fair bosom of Helen: Dun stupco vi'us (nam pocula forte ter.ebam)
Tortihs e digitis excidit anfa meis.
£f. Her. I'm. 2tl.
Menage, in his Bird-Catcher and Adonis, gives a no less sine instance of astonishment; but Milton has surpassed them al!, in the picture he has drawn of Adam's consternation and horror, upon heiug told by Eve that Die had eaten of the forbidden fruit, which is a beautiful contrast to the joy which she snowed in narrating the fact:
Thus Eve, with count'nance blithe, her story told,
Sect ix. I. 886.
What the author of this po-m ascribes to the power of beauty, Pindar ascribe* (pcrlups no less truly) to the force of harmony.
X;vrict. f$9u*yZ AfiXAw, dtc. Pytlt. OJ. I.
which the Ute Mr. West has thus poetically rendered:
Hail, goldin lyre! whose heaven invented string
To Pku'ous and the black hair'd nine belongs, Who, in sweet chorus, round t^ieir tuneful king,
Mix v ith thy sounding chords their sacred songs. The darce, gay queen of pleasure '. thee attends;
Thy jocund strains her listening feet inspire: And cath melodious tongue it* v..ice suspend*.
Till thou, great leader of the heavenly choir! With wanton art preluding, viv*!t the si;*n— Swella the full concert then with harmony divine.
DECADE II. Then, of their streaming lightnings all disarm il,
The smouldering thunderbolts of Jove expire: Then, by the music of thy nnmbcrs charm'd,
The birds tierce monarch drops his vengeful ire; Pernh'd on the sceptre of th' Olympian king,
The thrilling darts of harmony he feels;
While gentle sleep his closing eye-iid seals;
But what gave rise to this quotation follows Decade HI.
Ev'n Mars, stern god of violence and war.
Sooths with thy lulling strains his furious breast,
And, driving from his heart each bloody care,
Which image, as well as that of the eagle, are thus imitated by two excellent poets of our own days.
O ! sovereign of the willing soul
And frantic passions hear thy soft controul.
Ode by Gray i
Whit follows, is from Er. Akenfide's Hymn to the Naiads:
With emulation all the sounding choir, And bright Apollo, leader of the song, Their voices through the liquid air exalt, And sweep their lusty wings: those awfal strings, That charm the mind of gods; that sill the courts Of wide Olympus with oblivion sweet Of evils, with immortal rest from cares; Assuage the terrors of the throne of Jove; And quench the formidable thunderbolt Of unrelenting fire, with slacken'd wings, While now the solemn concert breathes aro.ind, Incumbent o'er the sceptre of his lord Sleeps the stern eagle, by the number d notes Poslel's'd, and satiate with the melting tone; Sovereign of birds. The furious god of war, I His darts forgetting, and the rapid wheel*
Ver. 9. Hence Apollo, from the Greeks, had the appellation of Zhtt «>.i£tx«xc>f, (deus malorum dcpulsor ', bestowed an him , as the Latins called hlim jivertuitcui.
Ver. 10. All expiations and ** purgamenta" were, by the ancients, performed either op the brink of a river, or on the sea shore this practice continued long after the introduction of Chrn'iattity, fur we arc informed by Petrarch, that he saw the women of Cologne, with garlands on their heads, warn their arm, in the Rhine, while they muttered some foreign charm. The poet, wondering both at the crowd and the action, inquired the reason, and was told, that it was a very ancient rite, the common people believing that all the calamities of the ensuing year were prevented by the sokmu ablution of that day. Vide lib. i. J- p 4
Petrarch flourished in the fourteenth century, and was no less eminent for his Latin (insomuch that he obtained the appellation of the restorer of that language), than for his Italian compositions. In propriety, exactness, elegance, and melody he surpassed all his poetic predecessors; and so much was he esteemed, that a man, for haviag sh it, out of wantonness, at his statue in Padua, and bt> ke its nose, was hanged by the Venetians. Vindelino Spira published the first edition of his Rime, at Venice, A. O. 1470.
Ver. 18. Some editions read " sedula ;" and indeed the epithet is more consonant to the interpretation which Broekhusiu* and the translator have given of the passage. Vulpius explains the ** credula turba" to be those, who, either about Sulpicia's bed, or in the temples of the gods, put up petitions for her recovery.
Ver. 27. This is an elegant compliment on the professors of medicine.
Ver. 19. In this manner he prayed, lest any of the auditors should envy him, say the commentators; or lest a fascinating tongue " (lingua fascinatrix)" should prevent the completion of his prayers. None, add they, chose iu an audible voice to lay open their real wants to the gods, lest the bystanders should overhear them; and therefore, all those, who desired of the god» what was extravagant, or what was immodest, or in short what they did not choose to own, either muttered their vows, or whispered them iu the tar of their deity. And thus the ancients, as Seneca expresses it, told that to God, which they were ashamed a mortal should be made privy to. "Quanta dementia esthominum? turpislima vota Dii» insusurrant: si quis admoverit aurem contiscefeent; et quod scirc hominem nolunt, Deo natrant." Ep. 10. See this impiety severely treated by Vcrsius, in his second satire.
Ver. a. Sulpicia had a good title to that epithet; far in the following line, she said no more
of her poetical endowments, than she modestly might,
Primaque R -manc-t docui contendere graiis.
That the Romans should have produced not one poetess before Supicia, to put them more upon a level with the Greeks, is matter of no small astonishment; since, as Cato observed, the Romans governed the world, but the women governed the Romans. How many fair poetesses has this island produced? and in particular, how many does Britain at present boast os, whose writings, both in prose and verse, may be compared, much to their advantage, with all the female productions of antiquity?
Besides Sulpicia, the poets mention Perilla and Theophila. Perilla lived in the Augustan age, and is praised by Ovid, Trist. lib. iii. el. 7. The other was a cotemporary of Martial's, who celebrates her, lib. 7. ep. 68. Their works, if ever they published any, are now lost. But we have a Virgilian canto on the life of our Saviour, written in the reign of Theodofms and Honorius, by Proba Falconia. This poetess, who was married to a petson of proconsular dignity, is accused by some of having betrayed Rome into the hands-of Alaric the Goth; but Cæsar Baronius has fully cleared her from that disloyal imputation.
Juvenal, Boileau, and others, have expressed, in their writings, a vast aversion to learned women; and indeed were all of the sex, who have learning, to be such as they represent them, the translator would heartily join with the satirists: but how can he do it, whilst he has the honour to know some ladies, who possess as great a fund of erudition, as most men arc enriched with, and who, nevertheless, are entirely free from all those disagreeable concomitants, with which those poets have loaded their armed women? In short, when we consider in what manner the welfare of society depends upon the fair sex, we cannot but own, that their understandings ought to be cultivated with much assiduity; a fine woman, with a good heart, and an impruved head, is the loveliest objtct in the creation.
Ver. 9. The word compatere, in the otiginal, is a metaphor taken from gladiators, who were then said compoti, when they fought together, and were well matched. Vulpius.
Ver. 3. ia purple pomp appear."\ That is,.in a
palla of purple; which not unty Apollo and his votaries, with Osiris, wore, but in which also Bacchus, Mercury, Pallas, Night, the Furies, Discord, and even rivers were habited. "Adeo semper," says Macrobius," ita se et feiri et coli minima malucrunt, qualiter in vulpus antiquitaa fabulata est; qux et imagines et simulacra formarum talium prorsus alicnis, et ætates tarn increment! quam tbniinutiouis ignaris, et amictus ornatusque varios corpus non habentibus adsignavit."
Ver. 16. Vulpius retains the old reading, jam sua mente rogat, aud explains it, as if Sulpicii were now " sui juris