« PreviousContinue »
of Horace, is well pointed out by Mr. G. His notes, indeed, on every occasion of the kind, are equally creditable to his head and his heart.
The concluding stanza of the first Pythian Ode is excellently rendered; and the whole ode in the original is very properly recommended to the reader's attention:
The lips of eloquence, the Muse,
On glory show'r their sweetest dews;
The last line of the Pythian Ode 9. is mentioned as containing one of Pindar's bold and admirable figures: but surely this is too extravagant. The original is,
Πολλά δε πρόσθεν περὰ δέξατο νικῶν.
on which Heyne so flatly and tamely imagines that wings were given to Victory, "propter elatos Victoris spiritus," forgetful of Virgil,
"Victorque virum volitare per ora."
Mr. Girdlestone's translation,
Oft has the hero soar'd on Victory's bright wing,'
did not call for his defence of sublimity. Who,' he says, would attempt to analyze Virgil's thunderbolt?' We cannot say that we admire the said thunderbolt. As to the Scriptural phrase "cloathes the horse's neck in thunder," we dare not dissent from its sublimity;- but we must decline to harangue περί Υψ
We admire, equally with Mr. Girdlestone, the sentiments of Pindar in the 8th Nemean Ode. Alluding to the baseness of flattery, the poet says:
Ne'er, Father Jove, be such vile manners mine!
Truth, o'er my simple paths of life still shine!
So shall my memory ever-vernal bloom,
And o'er my sons breathe from the tomb
The fragrance of untainted fame.
Wealth, land, I ask not; but a name
Blest with my country's smile,
And a free voice to praise the good and boldly lash the vile.'
The inordinately long verse at the conclusion, rendered more offensive by the short line which precedes it, must provoke our censure; notwithstanding the author's plea that Dryden, in his Virgil, (that splendid but careless monument of suffering genius,) occasionally admitted this exploded liberty,
or rather licence, of Chapman. The verse also which we have marked is one out of too many instances of inharmonious rhythm, with which we have to reproach the present author; and he deserves the reproach, because he can write very har moniously. His note on the above passage demands transcription:
These noble sentiments in Pindar I admire more than his sublimest figures and images. When I turn my eyes from him upon his imitator Horace, how I pity him, cringing among the lacqueys of Augustus! How much more Virgil, a bard worthy of Rome in her highest grandeur,' (and was not Horace?) that he should deign to leave his laurel bower on the heights of Parnassus, where he sate in converse with Homer and the Muses, with Pythagoras and Apollo ! that he should descend to stand before a mortal throne; that he should stoop before the footstool of an emperor!'
It would be easy for the cautious and temporizing critic to represent these expressions as romantic and absurd: but we admire the generous glow of the feeling, and care not how it is expressed. The beginning of this Ŏde, as an address to Happy Love,' may be well contrasted, as Mr. G. has contrasted it, with the passage which he quotes from Euripides: but we would add a reference to the beautiful chorus in the Antigone of Sophocles on the same subject, in which Love is described as the delight" of men below and gods above," the hominum divumque voluptas; as both antient and modern poets, the plagiarists of nature, not of their predecessors, have expressed themselves.
The praises of Ajax, as recorded by Homer, shall conclude our extracts. The passage is one of Pindar's noblest allusions to the Father of Song, and forms a part of the 4th Isthmian Ode. • Him Homer's nectar-droppingt ongue
To the listn'ing nations sung;
And, as he breath'd his lays divine,
That bards unborn might catch the fire,
And with sweet phrenzy warm the echoing lyre.
Expanding pour the loud immortal strains!
O'er the blue deep, o'r corn-clad plains,
Here we take leave of our translator, having conscientiously endeavoured to do justice both to him and to our readers, in our account of this new version of Pindar. The book concludes with a concise but useful mythological, historical, and geographical index; and we again recommend it to the classical student.
De Motu per Britanniam Civico, Annis 1745 et 1746. Liber Unicus. Auctore T. D. Whitakero, LL. D. S.S. A. 18mo. 6s. Boards. Longman and Co. 1809.
FOR what good reason a history of the Scotch rebellion in 1745 should be written in Latin prose, any more than in Latin verse, we are at a loss to conceive. Dr. Whitaker, indeed, drops a quotation from Horace in a note, in which we are reminded of "treading over fires hidden under treacherous ashes:" but how this is applicable to an event which has now passed for above sixty years, we cannot immediately discern, since no clue is given by the Doctor. Considering, then, the attempt before us merely as an historical theme in Latin, imposed on the writer for a school or college exercise, and not as an endeavour to supply any supposed deficiencies in the records and memoirs of the event here again related, we are happy to be able to praise the clearness and simplicity of the style in general: although in some passages we were rather reminded of Eutropius than Livy, and in others we thought that Turcelin instead of Tacitus had been the model of the author. Throughout, we discovered no great energy of expression, and still less any thing like ornament or elegance. It displays, however, a fluency of language, and, with the exception of some licentious and barbarous phrases, a considerable command of pure and intelligible Latin.-Is explorata Pudicitia' (page 114.) a happy expression? Does it not suggest a jury of matrons ? but perhaps this phrase has good authority.
How any master of composition in this classical language could chuse to write in it respecting modern events and characters, is to us indeed a matter of surprize. When it was the only general language of civilized Europe, the case was different but the necessity for its use has long ceased; and to adopt it voluntarily, in the 19th century, instead of the writer's own tongue, or the French, is a species of pedantry which ought to be laughed out of countenance everywhere, except in schools and colleges. In those seminaries of learning, as a preparatory exercise, we repeat, or even in other scenes, as a private amusement, it may bring us more nearly acquainted with the perfect models of literary excellence which, in the compositions of antient Rome, contend for the prize of superiority even with their own Grecian originals : but to write English history in Latin may now be considered as a fit employment for one of the inhabitants of Laputa. What will a classical taste prompt the reader to feel, when he is perusing such a list of names as Thomas Coppock, pseudo-episcopus Carleolensis; Donaldus Macdonald de Kinloch Moydart; Donaldys Macdonald,
filius Rhonaldi Macdonald de Clanronald; (with half a score other Macdonalds ;) Evan Macpherson de Clunie; Lauchlan Maclauchlan de Castle Lauchlan! &c. Not to mention Alexander Macgillivrae de Drumnaglash, who was occisus apud Culloden.' Page 138.
We owe it to Dr. Whitaker, after this exposure of his rude catalogue of chieftains, (a catalogue of which the very necessity should have prevented him from recording the rebellion in Latin,) to select as favourable a specimen of his style as we can find. We think that the following short passage is as good as any in the book. It contains a description of Prince Charles in his squalid attire, after his flight from the field of Culloden, recognized by his devoted countrymen :
Hec inter, Carolum, quanquam inhonesto sordidoque cultu deformem, singuli agnoscunt, genibusque flexis omni officio atque obsequio colunt. Nempe regio juveni (ita in amplissimâ dignitate ludere gestit fortuna) toga rustica fuit, tunica lacera ac detrita, cervical pannosum, femoralia tunica similia, caliga corrigiis adstricta, pedibus ita per lacunas extantibus ut soleatus nudipésne incederet meritò dubitaretur: interula denique, que et unica misero fuit, illuvie ac squallore obsita. Enimverò negabant generosi latrones has sordes sese diù laturos: neque hominum fluxa fides, c. &c.
This account is simple and striking. Perhaps subucula might be well substituted for interula:'-but the whole is a good example of the narrative and descriptive style.
We cannot dismiss this little work without a remark on the passage and note which occur at page 5. In running over the names of the unfortunate house of Stuart, when the historian comes to Charles the Second, he says:
Mitto Carolum à Carolo, de quo nihil aqui mediive profari licet, quum et meliori sæculo patriis commendaretur virtutibus, et nostro fortasse propriâ ipsius nequitiâ.'
To the concluding member of this sentence, a reference is attached to the following note: .Vide sis nuperam Gentis Stuartæ Historiam à Carolo Jacobo Foxio conscriptam.'- We have printed the words nihil aqui' in a different character, because, although Dr. W. little intended it, he has confessed in them that he cannot write with justice of Charles the Second. We really believe him: for he certainly cannot write with justice even of Mr. Fox. To insinuate that the propria nequitia, the native wickedness of Charles the Second, as it is here opposed to his father's virtues, (which in better times, the author says, were the son's recommendation,) may have been his recommendation in our times, is to falsify historical quotation, and to calumniate exalted character. We attribute not REV. SEPT. 1810.
such evil intentions to the author: but he should have considered that Mr. Fox expressly says of Charles the Second, that he was a bad king, and a bad man; though he justly remarks that to paint him as a monster is to answer no purpose of truth or morality. That stoical confusion of vices, which is the surest destruction of all moral sense, cannot be too strongly reprobated: nor, on the other hand, can we too highly praise that discriminative justice which allots to every man his due; and which distingnishes between the various gradations of evil that are perceptible only by a philosophic observer, in his imperfect fellow-creatures.
ART. VI. A Supplementary Volume to the Works of Alexander Pope, Esq. Containing Pieces of Poetry not inserted in Warburton's and Warton's Editions; and a Collection of Letters now first published. 8vo. pp. 642. 10s. 6d. Boards. Johnson, &c.
GA ATHER up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost," is an order for which the editors of the works of deceased authors have the profoundest respect: but it may be believed that, if the authors themselves could transmit to us from the other world an opinion on the subject, they would, in most instances, condemn this editorial zeal as unkind officiousness. Pope has told us of "discreetly blotting" and this principle ought to be extended to the concealment from the public eye of those papers which departed genius never intended to transmit to posterity. A poet who is jealous of his fame would not wish. to have every bye-blow of his muse sworn to him; and a scribbler of letters is often brought into an aukward predicament, when his cabinet is ransacked for the sake of sending to the press every scrap of paper which has been scratched by his pen or those of his correspondents. How many cats are let out of the bag by this means! How many secrets, which the author never intended to divulge, are thus betrayed! It may be highly gratifying to the curiosity of some readers, to be thus taken behind the curtain: but it is not fair to give them this indulgence, when reputable authors thus lose more credit than the reader obtains pleasure.
We are disposed to think that several pieces of poetry, and several of the letters in this supplemental volume, would have been consigned by Pope himself emendaturis ignibus, rather than to the care of an editor; and that, had his suspicions been awake, he would have inscribed on them Dean Swift's PS. to one of his letters to Miss Blount, here inserted, (p. 466.) "Pray do not give a copy of this letter to Curl the Bookseller". Some of his splenetic effusions-as for instance, those on Curl