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Inde chelyn Phæbo communia munera ponam :
Et sub ea versus unus et alter erunt. “ Grata lyram posui tibi, Phæbe, poëtria Sappho :
“ Convenit illa mihi, convenit illa tibi.” Cur tamen Actiacas miseram me mittis ad oras,
Cum profugum possis ipse referre pedem? Tu mihi Leucadia potes esse salubrior unda : 220
Et forma et meritis tu mihi Phoebus eris. An potes, o scopulis undaque ferocior illa,
Si moriar, titulum mortis habere meæ ? At quanto melius jungi mea pectora tecum,
Quam poterant saxis præcipitanda dari ! 225 Hæc sunt illa, Phaon, quæ tu laudare solebas;
Visaque sunt toties ingeniosa tibi.
Ingeniumque meis substitit omne malis.
Plectra dolore tacent: muta dolore lyra est. Lesbides, æquoreæ, nupturaque nuptaque proles ;
Lesbides, Æolia nomina dicta lyra; Lesbides, infamem quæ me fecistis amatæ; Desinite ad citharas turba venire meas.
234 Abstulit omne Phaon, quod vobis ante placebat.
(Me miseram ! dixi quam modo pene, meus !) Efficite ut redeat: vates quoque vestra redibit. Ingenio vires ille dat, ille rapit.
Ver. 227.] Little can be added to the character that Addison has so elegantly drawn of Sappho in the 223rd and 229th numbers of the Spectator ; in which are inserted the translations which Philips, under Addison's eye, gave of the two only remaining of her exquisite odes; one preserved by Dionysius Halicarnassus, and the other by Longinus. To the remarks that Pearce has made on the latter, I cannot forbear subjoining a remark of Tanaquil Faber on a secret and almost unobserved beauty of this ode : that in the eight last lines, the particle dè, in the original, is repeated seven times, to represent the short breathings of a person in the act of fainting away, and pronouncing every syllable with difficulty. Two beautiful fragments are preserved; the first consisting only of four lines in Fulvius Ursinus, which Horace has imitated in the twelfth ode of the third book, Tibi qualum, &c. ; and the other the
On Phæbus' shrine my harp I'll then bestow,
215 " What suits with Sappho, Phæbus, suits with thee; “ The gift, the giver, and the God agree.”
But why, alas, relentless youth, ah! why To distant seas must tender Sappho fly? Thy charms than those may far more pow'rful be, 220 And Phoebus' self is less a God to me. Ah! canst thou doom me to the rocks and sea, Oh! far more faithless and more hard than they? Ah! canst thou rather see this tender breast Dash'd on these rocks, than to thy bosom prest? 225 This breast which once, in vain! you lik'd so well; Where the Loves play'd, and where the Muses dwell. Alas! the Muses now no more inspire, Untun'd my lute, and silent is my lyre. My languid numbers have forgot to flow,
230 And fancy sinks beneath the weight of woe. Ye Lesbian virgins, and ye Lesbian dames, Themes of my verse, and objects of No more your groves with my glad songs shall ring, No more these hands shall touch the trembling string :
235 My Phaon’s fled, and I those arts resign: (Wretch that I am, to call that Phaon mine!) Return, fair youth, return, and bring along Joy to my soul, and vigour to my song: Absent from thee, the poet's flame expires ; 240 But ah! how fiercely burn the Lover's fires ?
Ver. 236. My Phaon's] Fenton translated this epistle, but with a manifest inferiority to Pope. He added an original poem of his own, an epistle of Phaon to Sappho ; which appears to be one of the feeblest in the collection of his poems, among which some are truly excellent.Warton.
Ecquid ego precibus ? pectusne agreste movetur?
An riget? et Zephyri verba caduca ferunt? Qui mea verba ferunt, vellem tua vela referrent.
Hoc te, si saperes, lente, decebat opus. Sive redis, puppique tuæ votiva parantur
Munera; quid laceras pectora nostra mora? Solve ratem : Venus orta mari, mare præstet eunti.
Aura dabit cursum ; tu modo solve ratem. Ipse gubernabit residens in puppe Cupido:
Ipse dabit tenera vela legetque manu, Sive juvat longe fugisse Pelasgida Sappho;
(Non tamen invenies, cur ego digna fuga.) 255 O saltem miseræ, Crudelis, epistola dicat :
Ut mihi Leucadiæ fata petantur aquæ.
beginning of an ode addressed to Evening by Demetrius Phalereus, in the Oxford edition, by Gale, p. 104.
In one of Akenside's odes to lyric poetry, which have been too much depreciated, are two fine stanzas : one in the character of Alcæus, and the other on the character of Sappho :
Spirat adbuc Amor
Æoliæ fidibus puellæ !—Warton.
Gods! can no pray’rs, no sighs, no numbers move
Ver. 253. Cupid for thee] This image is very inferior to the original, as it is more vague and general : the picture in the original is strikingly beautiful. The circumstances which make it so, are omitted by Pope :
• Ipse gubernabit residens in puppe Cupido,
Ipse dabit tenera vela legetque manu.” This would form a beautiful subject for Mr. Flaxman, who has made such correct, elegant, and classical drawings for Homer.-Bowles.
This Epistle is translated by Pope with elegance, and much excels any Dryden translated in the volume he published ; several of which were done by some of the mob of gentlemen that wrote with ease ; that is, Sir C. Scroop, Caryl, Pooly, Wright, Tate, Buckinghamn, Cooper, and other careless rhymers. Lord Somers translated Dido to Æneas, and Ariadne to Theseus. A good translation of these Epistles is as much wanted as one of Juvenal ; for out of sixteen satires of that poet, Dryden himself translated but six. We can now boast of happy translations in verse of almost all the great poets of antiquity, whilst the French have been poorly contented with only prose translations of Homer and Horace ; which, says Cervantes, can no more resemble the original than the wrong side of tapestry can represent the right. The inability of the French tongue to express many Greek or Roman ideas with facility and grace is here visible; but the Italians have Horace translated by Pallavacini, Theocritus by Ricolotti and Salvini, Ovid by Anguillara, the Æncid
admirably well in blank verse, by Annibal Caro, and the Georgics, in blank verse also, by Daniello, and Lucretius by Marchetti.
One of the most learned commentaries on any classic is that of Mezeriac on the epistles of Ovid. It seems strange he should have employed so much labour on such a writer. The very best life of Æsop is also by Mezeriac ; a book so scarce, that neither Bentley nor Bayle had seen it when they first wrote on Æsop. It was reprinted in the Mémoires de Literature of M. de Sallengre, 1717, tom. i. p. 87. This is the author whom Malherbe, with his usual bluntness, asked, when he published his edition of Diophantus, “ If it would lessen the price of bread?”.
There was a very early translation of the epistles of Ovid ascribed to Shakespear, which error, like many others, has been rectified by that able and accurate inquirer, Dr. Farmer, who has shown that they were translated by Thomas Heywood, and inserted in his Britaine's Troy, 1609.
One of the best imitations of Ovid is a Latin epistle of the Count Balthasar Castiglione, author of the celebrated Courtier, addressed to his absent wife.-Warton.
Dr. Warton observes, that this Translation is superior to any of Dryden's. If, indeed, we compare Pope's Translations with those of any
other writer, their superiority must be strikingly apparent. There is a finish in them, a correctness, a natural flow, and a tone of originality, added to a wonderful propriety and beauty of expression and language. The literary world has of late been gratified by sonie excellent Translations from the Classics—of the Georgics, by Sotheby-Horace, by Boscawen-Juvenal, by Gifford—and Anacreon, by Moore ; whose version, though not always quite faithful, is truly spirited and elegant.
If Pope ever fails, it is where he generalises too much. This is particularly objectionable, where in the original there is any marked, distinct, and beautiful Picture : so, as it has been observed, Pope only says,
Cupid for thee shall spread the swelling sail ;" whereas, in Ovid, Cupid appears before us in the very act of guiding the vessel, seated as the pilot, and with his tender Hand, (tenerá manu,) contracting, or letting flow, the sail. I need not point out another beauty in the original, the repetition of the word “ Ipse."-Bowles.