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forte erit, qui dicat imitationem Homeri esse, ubi Irin Junonis õnedor vocat, tum ego locum Aristidis proferam, in quo nil est, quo de dubitetur : legitur is in Oratione sis 'Abnvãy : Pindarus ait Minervam sedere ad dextram patris, mandata diis perferenda accipientem ; est enim ipsa Angelis major, quippe quae iis imperet, quæ a patre prius acceperit, Πίνδαρος δ' αν φησί δεξιάν κατά χείρα του πατρός αυτών καθεζομένην, τας εντολές τους θεούς αποδέχεσθαι· αγγέλου δεν γάρ έστι μείζων ήδε, και των αγγέλων άλλοις άλλα επιτάττει, πρώτη παρά του πατρός παραλαμβάνουσα.” Epist. Crit. LXIV. D. D. Chotardo Tanaquilli Fabri, p. 216.
EXTRACT OF 4 LETTER
Am at present employed in turning over the very curious mand. script,
, (Almakhzun Jamia alfenun,) belonging to that collection of the late Baron Jenisch, which I have purchased. In the Catalogue of his books, it was de scribed as coder unicus, and not without reason, for no other copy is found in any European library. This manuscript, which was composed about the time of the Crusade of St. Louis, treats of the art of war, and of all that relates to it, of horses, carousals, fire-works, &c.
“ It mentions particularly two articles extremely important in the history of discoveries ; one is the composition of gun-powder, nearly the same as that which we now use; it appears incontestable that the Arabs were acquainted with this invention before us, although it is probable that they borrowed it from the Persians, or Chinese. The other article is that inextinguishable fire, commonly called the Greek fire, and lately revived in the Congreve rockets. All that is mentioned respect. ing it in this manuscript, corresponds exactly with the descriptions of Joinville and the Byzantine writers. I propose at some future time to publish a translation of this manuscript, which is an undertaking not free from difficulties, as it abounds in technical terms, of which our dictionaries furnish no explanations. It seems that this book was not known to the celebrated Hadji Khalfa, as its title cannot be found in his Bibliographical work.”
To this extract the following observations are added (we believe) by Mr. Hammer :
“ If the Eastern nations have reason to dispute with us the invention of gun-powder, they perhaps have a still better claim to that of the Greek fire. This name argues nothing in favor of the Greeks ; it was so called by the Crusaders, because they first became acquainted with it through the Greeks, who themselves had adopted the use of it, when Constantinople was first besieged by the Saracens. It is pro
bable that they were indebted for their knowledge of this means of defence to the besiegers, a deserter from whom may have disclosed the secret to the besieged, in the same manner as, seven hundred years after, during the last siege of Constantinople by the Turks, an artillery man, who deserted from the city to the enemy's camp, supplied them with a new instrument of attack, by casting for them a cannon of immense size. Another proof that the Arabs, or Persians, have a stronger claim than the Greeks to the invention of this inextinguishable fire, is, that the principal ingredients named in the directions for composing it, are not originally from Europe, but from the interior provinces of Persia and Arabia.
On the Composition of the Greek Sapphic Ode.
The fulfilment” in part of my promise regarding the composition of the Greek Sapphic Ode,” Class. Journ. No. IX. Pp. 120—124. was in the first instance “ imperfect:" and the remainder now must be as hasty in execution, as it is in appearing “ tardy.”
Thus stands the QUINQUARTICULAR CONTROVERSY. I. The scansion of the sapphic verse, as to the feet composing it. II. The structure of it, in the arrangement and division of
words. III. The prosody, to determine the long and short of single
syllables. IV. The style, and sort of words, of which the language
should consist. V. The dialect, or forms, flexions, &c. in the words admitted.
In endeavouring to sketch, however rudely, what should seem to be the law on the first, second, and third, of these heads, it was impossible for me not to be aware, that gleanings were left almost as ample as the harvest gathered in.
To glean therefore in my own field, I recur to what is said at p. 123.
“ May a long vowel ad finem vocis, supported by the ictus, form a long syllable before another word beginning with a vowel ? That is to say, would the following words”--taken at random-φαίνεται κείνω" ισόκληρος έμμεν, « form a legitimate verse ? It might be difficult to disprove it."
I am not ignorant, that in the very first OLYMPIAN Qde of Pindar the following verses occur, exhibiting a long syllable formed under circumstances very like to those in the false verse proposed.
V. 41. Κλωθώ, ελέφαντι φαίδιμον
VV. 85, 6, 7. Ει δε δή τιν' άν | δρα θνατόν 'Ολύμπου σκοπού ετίμα | σαν, κ. τ. λ. VV. 180, 1.
βέλος αλκά τρέφει. 'Επ’ άλλοι σι δ' άλλοι “ Still” however, considering the settled and uniform rhythm of the sapphic verse, with the entanglement of lines and variety in the metres of Pindar, “ the safer and easier way,” as well in this as in other very nice points of prosody, is “ to avoid the occasion of doubt, rather than incur what at best seems doubtful."
Those scholars, who would reduce the sapphic of modern composition to certain severer canons observed in the tragic chorus, will not want authority for rejecting as illegitimate the false verse which follows, though somewhat more defensible perhaps than that first proposed. σχήμα σεμνόν καλλιδίφρου 'Αθάνας.
Hecub. 465. τάς καλλιδίφροι' 'Αθαν | αίας .
« Pro καλλιδίφρου scripsi Ionice καλλιδίφροιο, ut hiatum vitarem,” R. P. ad locum.
Even in the Anapæstic system, where the ictus is the strongest, no such hiatus is allowed. R.P. ad Med. 1393.
IV. I proceed now to throw out a few hints on the style and diction most congenial to the character of the sapphic ode.
" Descriptas servare rices, operumane colores,
“ Cur ego, si nequeo ignoroque, Poeta salutor?" Every lover of Greek literature and sound learning has treasured up the criticisms on poor Mr. Glasse's Greek version of the SAMPSON AGONISTES; with which a most eminent living scholar in the year 1789 enriched the eighty-first volume of the Monthly Review.
July. p. 8. “We earnestly recommend those, who are led by their genius or fancy to compose Greek verses, to remember and mark the striking differences of style, which are observable in comparing the lambics and Trochaics of the tragic writers with their choruses."
Sept. p. 256. “ All Greek is not Attic Greek, and all Attic Greek is not suited to Attic poetry.”
Much less is all the Greek of Attic poetry fit to be inserted in professed imitations of the Ionian, Epic, or of the Æolian lyric song. While Æschylus, even in his dramatic parts, often elabo. rates a grand, stately, swelling, language, and bold enough for the Dithyrambic itself: in the lambics of Euripides, again, the diction, generally, is so neat, though simple, and though polished, so plain, that to adopt it in the higher poetry, would be somewhat like exchanging the scarlet of the soldier for the drab of the friend.
The spirit of discrimination, in which the whole critique, above referred to, is conceived and executed, may readily be transferred to the subject before us. Many a sapphic ode, though successful in the competition of the year, has yet displayed a very “motley appearance,” from the confusion of poetic, comie, familiar, prosaic, and recent words” in the texture of its garment.
Even in the odes selected for the Muse Cantabrigienses, no small confusion of phraseology, as well as of dialect, may be remarked : and from Homer at one end, without descending below the later doric of Theocritus at the other, we see numerous colors of diction from Greek poets of every denomination, often harshly and disagreeably combined.
Surely, some limit ought to be prescribed to the wanderings of style; in a composition, which so clearly belongs to the highest and purest class of Grecian poesy, and which therefore in the rich and abundant remains of that very class, ought to seek as in a quarry the materials of its own lofty rhyme.
On this idea, the general style and manner of Pindar might be considered as a kind of meridian line, or as a line of reference and convergency; around which every thing drawn from one side and from the other, from the heroic of Homer extending only to the choral song of Euripides, should play in unison. Thus might a treasure-house, large though limited, of lyric materials be formed , sufficiently extensive and varied for every range of occasion which awakens the sapphic ode, and yet in good taste and keeping so managed as to exclude every thing particolored, everỳ thing offensive to real harmony.
V. What remains, must be dispatched in very few words.
The subject of dialect, as far as I have had opportunity to observe, seems to have been unfortunately handled. Let me endeavour to explain my meaning.
When a man asks me, what is the Ionic dialect as found in Herodotus and Hippocrates ? I understand his question, and can give him a very distinct and intelligible answer. If he inquires after the Attic dialect as it appears in Aristophanes, with some pains that question also may be solved. Should he interrogate me thus; what are the principal differences in Homer betwixt the Ionic and Eolic forms of nouns and verbs ? to that demand too I think it is in my power to reply in a satisfactory manner. What is the later Doric of Theocritus, as compared with the Æolic of Pindar ? may be answered by half an hour's labor.
B.ut error latet in generalibus, is an admirable maxim of the schools. And when therefore the question is put, indeterminate as to regions or periods, what the Ionic, what the Attic, what the Æolic, and what the Doric, dialects are ; I turn away from
the Diophantine problem ; and “O te, Bolane, cerebri Felicem" is all the response I can give.
I am now asked, or rather I have asked myself : what ought to be the dialect, or forms, flexions, &c. of the Greek words in the sapphic ode, annually offered at Cambridge for the medal of Sir William Browne's institution ?
The best answer which I can make on this head, is already delivered, mutatis mutandis, in what I have ventured to recommend on that of style. As much as ever you can, my dear friend, contrive that all be of a piece.
" Servetur ad imum “ Qualis ab incepto processerit, et sibi constet.” For instance, do not write in the same ode, içável, & FOTÓT EI ; νοστεύσιν, & οκχέοντι, ύμμες & υμείς : and so in a dozen other things of the like kind.
Again, rather use the form μουσάν, and if you will, μουσάων also, than muncr and audéww: and the same of many other things.
Homer, in his dialectic forms, is much more Ionic than Æolic: Pindar, like many other poets, generally following the great father of song, is yet decisively and palpably more Æolic than Ionic, rejecting indeed some Ionic forms intirely. In the sapphic stanza, therefore, if good-nature may overlook the lyric and epic dialects sometimes blended beyond the mark with each other; still there can be no excuse for Theocritus conflicting with Pindar, and dark fragments of Alcman jostling with reliques of Menander in the very same line. But I am weary, if my readers are not.
And heartily wishing both them and you, Mr. Editor, farewell for the present, I remain, Sir, faithfully yours, 27 Feb. 1813.
ON A WORD IN ÆSCHYLUS. Permit me, through the medium of your publication, to point out an observation to the notice of Mr. Blomfield, the learned editor of Æschylus. In v. 123 of the Septem contra Thebas, the word toutouầwy occurs, which Mr. Blomfield has marked with an asterisk, the meaning of which mark he has thus explained, Vuces, quæ asterisco notantur, non nisi apud Æschylum reperire potui. The following passage from the Hippolytus of Euripides will sufficiently prove that the word is not Æschylean alone :
ν' ο ποντομέδων πορφυρέας λίμνας
ναύταις ουκ εξ' οδόν νέμει. . Cambridge, Feb. 26, 1813.