Page images
[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

cannot be doubted, since the latin pastoral, in which, as he expresses it, he laments his solitude," bears the impression of sorrow equally with that of poetry, and is as lonourable to his heart as to his talents.

This effusion of strong grief lowered into melancholy, and of power to incline without oppressing the fancy, is entitled to very high regard from every reader of taste. It has been censured, and has been defended; but the deed in either case will, perhaps, be viewed with indifference by the unprejudiced and able critic.

“ It is written,” as it has been dogmatically, and, I think, ignorantly observed, “ with the common but childish affectation of pastoral life;" ° and this has been excused - as the fault of the poet's age;" and as compensated by “ some passages in the poem, wandering far beyond the bounds of bucolic song."! Affectation is every where a just object of reprobation; but how a writer can, with propriety, be said to be guilty of it, for employing any allowed and established species of composition as the vehicle of his thoughts, is more than I can possibly comprehend. When Milton

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

Arg. E.D.

n Se suamq; solitudinem hoc carmine deplorat.
" See Johnson's Life of Milton.
! Warton's note at the end of the poem.


[ocr errors]

with exception to those in a very few lines, are, through the whole of the composition, strictly pastoral; and he never wanders sa far beyond the bounds of bucolic song, or rises. so high as Virgil in his Silenus, his Pollio, or, perhaps, his Gallus. His scene is determined, by the names of some places, to Britain; but it offends us with no incongruous or unpleasant images, and is made, in fact, of no consequence to the piece. A shepherd may utter his complaints for the loss of his friend in any country, if he be not stationed under an orange grove, where orange groves do not exist; or be made to pass the night in a field, where the rigour of the skies would make us feel more for his bodily than for his mental distress. The picture, in short, in this pastoral, is consistent, and neither extravagant nor horrid: it will justify, therefore, the art and the taste of its author, and be secure of acquittal before any just and intelligent tribunal.

I have said so much on the subject of this poem, that it may probably gratify my


is where the first four feet are not linked by a syllable to the fifth, as“ Non ;---verum Ægonis; nuper mihi | tradidit Ægon;" and not as “ Silvestrem tenui Musam meditaris avena."

* One slight incongruity occurs in the 41st verse of the poem; and it is remarked in the note on the translation of that passage.

[merged small][ocr errors]

readers to have the whole of it laid before them. Its beauties, indeed, will be only indistinctly seen in my translation: but to those, who are not conversant with the original, the inadequate copy may not, perhaps, be unacceptable.

[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]




Himerides nymphæ, (nam vos et Daphnin et Hylan,'
Et plorata diu meministis fata Bionis,)

[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]

• I am afraid that our poet has been guilty in this place of a false quantity. The first syllable of Hylas is unquestionably short.

His adjungit Hylan nautæ quo fonte relictum
Clamassent; ut littus Hyla, Hyla omne sonaret.

Virg. Ecl, vi.
Cui non dictus Hylas puer? ID. Geor. iii.

[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]
[blocks in formation]
[merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

Τώ χαρίεντος Ύλα, τα ταν πλοκαμίδα φορέυντος.

Theo. Idyl. xiii. This, however, was only a slip of Milton's pen : in his seventh elegy the quantity of Hylas is right

Thiodamantæus Naiade raptus Hylas. But I have an objection, on the ground of taste, to the opening passage of this


It presents us with an unwarrantable mixture of fable with trutlı; and brings the fictitious or fabulous personages of Daphnis and Hylas into union with Bion, the pastoral poet of Smyrna, whose death was lamented in the elegiac strains of Moschus of Syracuse.

[ocr errors][ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Dicite Sicelicum Thamesioa per oppida carmen;
Quas miser effudit voces, quæ murmura Thyrsís,
Et quibus assiduis exercuit antra querelis,
Fluminaque, fontesque vagos, nemorumque recessus;
Dum sibi præreptum queritur Damona, neque altam
Luctibus exemit noctem, loca sola pererrans.
Et jain bis viridi surgebat culmus aristâ,
Et totidem flavas pumerabant horrea messes,
Ex quo summa dies tulerat Damona sub umbras,
Nec dum aderat Thyrsis; pastoreni scilicèt illum
Dulcis amor Musæ Thuscâ retinebat in urbe.
Ast ubi mens expleta domum, pecorisque relicti
Cura vocat, simul assuetâ seditque sub ulmo,
Tum verò amissum tum denique sentit amicum,

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

Two rivers of Sicily bore the name of Himera, one of them dowing, with a northern course, into the Tuscan sea, and the other, which is the largest, with a southern, into the Lybian. On the banks of the former of these rivers, near its influx into the sea, stood the city of Himera, in the vicinity of which Gelon, the king of Syracuse, gained a memorable victory over the Carthaginians at the time of the invasion of Greece by Xerses. I am at a loss to discover why Mr. Warton should call the Himera “ the famous bucolic river of Theocritus." Not one of this sweet poet's scenes are placed upon this river: it is mentioned only twice (if my recollection be at all accurate) in the thirty idylliums, which have been ascribed to him; and he was a native, as Suidas informs us, according to some accounts, of Coös, and, according to others, of Syracuse, a city no otherwise connected with the Himera than as it is in Sicily. The two passages in which this river is named by Theocritus are the following:

Ιμέρα ανθ' ύδατος δείτω γάλα. Idyll. v. 124.
...... και ως δρύες αυτον εθρήνευν
Ιμέρα αίτε φύοντι παρ' όχθησιν ποταμοΐο.

Idyl. vii. 774.

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

Cæpit et immensum sic exonerare dolorem.

Ite domum impasti, domino jam non vacat, agoi.
Hei mihi! quæ terris, quæ dicam numina cælo,
Postquam te immiti rapuerunt funere, Damon!
Siccine nos linquis, tua sic sine nomine virtus
Ibit, et obscuris numero sociabitur umbris?
At non ille, animas virgâ qui dividit aureâ,
Ista velit, dignumque tui te ducat in agmen,
Ignayumque procul pecus arceat omne silentûm.

Ite domum impasti, domino jam non vacat, agni.
Quicquid erit, certè, nisi me lupus ante videbit,
Indeplorato non comminuere sepulchro,
Constabitque tuus tibi honos, longùmque vigebit
Inter pastores: illi tibi vota secundo
Solvere post Daphnin, post Daphnin dicere laudes
Gaudebunt, dum rura Pales, dum Faunus amabit :
Si quid id est, priscamque fidem coluisse, piumque,
Palladiasque artes, sociumque habuisse canorum.

Ite domum impasti, domino jam non vacat, agni.
Hæc tibi certa manent, tibi erunt hæc præmia, Damon.
At mibi quid tandem fiet modò ? quis mihi fidus
Hærebit lateri comes, ut tu sæpe solebas,
Frigoribus duris, et per loca feta pruinis,
Aut rapido sub sole, siti morientibus herbis ?
Sive opus in magnos fuit eminus ire leones,
Aut avidos terrere lupos præsepibus altis';
Quis fando sopire diem, cantuque solebit?,

Ite domum impasti, domino jam non vacat, agni.
Pectora cui credam? quis me lenire docebit
Mordaces curas ? quis longam fallere noctem
Dulcibus alloquiis, grato cùın sibilat igni
Molle pyrum, et nucibus strepitat focus, et malus Auster
Miscet cuncta foris, er desuper intonat ulmo?

Ite domum impasti, domino jam non vacat agni.
Aut æstate, dies medio dum vertitur axe,
Cùm Pan æsculea somnum capit abditus umbra,
Et repetunt sub aquis sibi nota sedilia nymphæ,
Pastoresque latent, stertit sub sepe colonus;

[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »