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With equal zeal for victory they strove,
When gliding sudden from the roofs of Jove,
Pallas approach'd; behind a cloud conceal’d,
Ulysses only saw her form reveal’d.
Majestic by the hero's side she stood;
Her shining sandals press’d the trembling flood.
She whisper'd soft, as when the western breeze
Stirs the thick reeds, or shakes the rustling trees :
Still shall thy soul, with endless thirst of fame,
Aspire to victory in ev'ry game.
The honours which from bones and sinews rise,
Are lightly valu'd by the good and wise :
To envy still they rouse the human kind;
And oft, than courted, better far declin'd.
To brave Idomenëus yield the race,
Contented to obtain the second place.
The goddess thus : while, stretching to the land,
With joy the Cretan chief approach'd the strand;
Ulysses next arriv'd, and, spent with toil,
The weary Samian grasp'd the welcome soil.

“ But far behind, the Spartan warrior lay, Fatigu'd and fainting in the wat'ry way. Thrice struggling from the lake, his head he reard; And thrice imploring aid, his voice was heard. The Cretan monarch hastes the youth to save, And Ithacus again divides the wave : With force renew'd, their manly limbs they ply, And from their breasts the whitning billows fly. Full in the midst a rocky isle divides The liquid space, and parts the silver tides ; Once cultivated, now with thickets green O'erspread, two hillocks and a vale between. Here dwelt an aged swain; his cottage stood Under the cliffs, encompass'd by a wood. From poverty secure, he heard afar, In peace profound, the tumults of the war. Mending a net before his rural gate, From other toils repos'd, the peasant sat, When first the voice of Menelaus came, By ev'ning breezes wafted from the stream. He rose; and turning whence the voice was heard, Far struggling in the deep, the youth appear'd. Hast’ning, his skiff he loos’d, and spread the sail, Some present god supply'd a prosp'rous gale :

For as the Spartan chief, with toil subdu'd,
Hopeless of life, was sinking in the flood;
The swain approach’d, and in his barge receiv'd
Him safe, from danger imminent retriev'd.

Upon a willow's trunk Thersites sat,
Contempt and laughter fated to create,
Where, bending from a bollow bank, it hung,
And rooted to the mould’ring surface clung ;
He saw Atrides safe ; and thus aloud,
With leer malign, address'd the list’ning crowd :
Here on the flow'ry turf a hearth shall stand;
A hecatomb the fav’ring gods demand,
Who sav'd Atrides in this dire debate,
And snatch'd the hero from the jaws of fate.
Without his aid, we all might quit the field;
Ulysses, Ajax, and Tydides yield :
His mighty arm alone the host defends,
But dire disaster still the chief attends :
Last sun beheld him vanquishi'd on the plain;
Then warriors say'd him, now a shepherd swain.
Defend him still from persecuting fate !
Protect the hero who protects the state;
Guard bim amidst the dangers of the war;
And when he swims let aid be never far!
He said, and scorn and laughter to excite,
His features foul he writh’d, with envious spite,
Smiling contempt, and pleas'd his ranc'rous heart
With aiming thus oblique a venom’d dart.
But joy'd not long ; for soon the faithless wood,
Strain’d from the root, resign’d him to the flood.
Plunging and sputt'ring, as his arms he spread,
A load of soil came tlıund’ring on his head,
Slipt from the bank : along the winding shore,
With laughter loud he heard the echoes roar,
When from the lake his crooked form he rear'd,
With horror pale, with blotting clay besmeard:
Then clamb’ring by the trunk in sad dismay,
Which, half immers’d, with all its branches lay,
Confounded, to the tents he skulk'd along,
Amidst the shouts and insults of the throng."

If any should imagine that we have been rather severe upon this author, let it be observed in our excuse, that his presumptuous attack of so superior a character as that of the late Mr. Pope, has justly divested him of all title to favour : read the following extract from his preface. (!)

“ The language (of the Epigoniad] is simple and artless. This I take to be a beauty rather than a defect; for it gives an air of antiquity to the work, and makes the style more suitable to the subject. The quaintness of Mr. Pope's expression, in his translation of the Iliad and Odyssey, is not at all suitable either to the antiquity, or majestic gravity of his author, and contributes more to make his fable appear vain and absurd, than any circumstance that seems of so little moment could easily be supposed to do." (3)

(1) This preface however, upon the whole, shows the author to be a man of more reading and taste than his poem speaks him; and had he published that discourse without the Epigoniad, and committed the latter to the flames, his reputation would have sustained no loss on that account.

(2) [“ Perhaps it is to a want of poetical sensibility that we may chiefly impute the inferior degree of interest excited by the Epigoniad, to that which its merits in other respects might excite. Perhaps it suffers also from its author having the Homeric imitation constantly in view, in which, however, he must be allowed, I think, to have been very successful,—so successful, that a person ignorant of Greek will, I believe, better conceive what Homer is in the original by perusing the Epigoniad than by reading over the excellent translation of Pope."-HENRY MACKENZIE, Life of Home.

“ If you meet with a metaphorical expression in Homer you meet with a rarity indeed. Pope is no where more figurative in his own pieces than in his translation of Homer. The Iliad and the Odyssey, in his hands, have no more of the air of antiquity than if he had himself invented them. Their simplicity is overwhelmed with a profusion of fine things, which, however they may strike the eye at first sight, make no amends for the greater beauties which they conceal. The venerable Grecian is as much the worse for his acquisitions of this kind, as a statue of Phydias or Praxiteles would be for the painter's brush.”—Cowper.]

(3) (“In the second edition of this poem, this passage was properly omitted. David Hume, in a letter to Adam Smith, dated April 12, 1759, gives the following account of its reception in London. * The Epigoniad, I hope, will do, but it is somewhat up-hill work. You will see in the Critical Review a letter upon that poem, and I desire you to employ your conjectures in finding out the author.' his letter was written by Hume himself to recommend the poem to the public, ‘as one of the ornaments of our language.' The success was not answerable to his expectations. Too antique to please

He must be a tasteless critic, indeed, who could remain unmoved, after perusing so dogmatical a sentence, pronounced by such a poet, upon such A GENIUS !

V.-HOME'S TRAGEDY OF DOUGLAS. O

[From the Monthly Review, 1757. Douglas, a Tragedy; as

it is acted at the Theatre Royal in Covent-Garden, 8vo.")

When the town, by a tedious succession of indifferent performances, has been long confined to censure, it will naturally wish for an opportunity of praise; and, like a losing gamester, vainly expect every last throw must retrieve the former. In this disposition, a performance with but the slightest share of merit is welcomed with no small share of applause : its prettinesses exalt us into rapture; and the production is compared, not with our idea of excellence, but of the exploded trash it succeeds. Add to this, that the least qualified to judge are ever foremost to obtrude their opinions : ignorance exclaims with excess of admiration ; party roars in its support ; and thus the trifle of the day is sure to have the loudest voices and the most votes in its favour; nor does it cease to be the finest piece in nature, till a newer, and consequently a finer, appears, to consign it to oblivion.

66

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the unlettered reader, and too modern for the scholar, it was neglected by both, read by few, and soon forgotten by all.”-- Anderson, British Poets, vol. xi., p. xii. ]

(1) [John Home was born at Leith in 1722, and died at Edinburgh in 1808, in his eighty-sixth year. Besides this tragedy, he wrote Agis," the

Siege of Aquileia,” the “ Fatal Discovery," Alonzo,” and “ Alfred ;" and also a “ History of the Rebellion of 1715.” Having passed some time as a volunteer in a royal corps raised to repel the attack of the Chevalier, he was, in 1716, presented to the church and parish of Athelstanesford, in East Lothian, vacant by the death of Robert Blair, author of “ The Grave." In 1756, he came up to London, and offered this tragedy to Garrick, but the English Roscius pronounced it totally unfit for the stage. The friends of the author being of a different opinion, the play was produced at Edinburgh, in December 1756, and met with a brilliant reception. In the following February, it was brought out at Covent Garden Theatre ; Garrick still persisting in not performing it at Drury-lane. ]

Do these men of applause, who can so easily be brought

“ To wonder with a foolish face of praise,”

deserve our envy, or our censure? If their raptures are real, none but the ill-natured would wish to damp them ; if fictitious, stupidity only can sympathize with their pretended felicity

As in company, the loudest laugh comes generally from the person least capable of relishing the conversation, so in criticism, those are often most easily pleased whose sensations are least exquisite in the perception of beauty. The glutton may like the feast, but the delicacy of the epicure alone can distinguish and enjoy the choice, the disposition, the flavours, that give elegance of spirit to the entertainment.

To direct our taste, and conduct the poet up to perfection, has ever been the true critic's province; and though it were to be wished that all who aim at excellence would endeavour to observe the rules he prescribes, yet a failure in this respect alone should never induce us to reject the performance.

A mechanically exact adherence to all the rules of the drama is more the business of industry than of genius. Theatrical lawgivers rather teach the ignorant where to censure, than the poet how to write. If sublimity, sentiment, and passion, give warmth and life and expression to the whole, we can the more easily dispense with the rules of the Stagyrite ; but if languor, affectation, and the false sublime, are substituted for these, an observance of all the precepts of the antients will prove but a poor compensation.

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