صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

« Quod ad Æschylum, Editionem Stanleianam nuper à Pauwia propriis additis annotationibus renovatam, et in Fragmentis Editionem itidem Grotianam. Cæterarum Æschyli Editionum, præter Turnebianam parvam, nullam oculis usurpare contigit ; cum igitur Aldinæ, Robortellianæ, Stephaniana, Scripturas varias in notis noftris allegavimus, id omne ex fide Stanleii et Pauwii pendere intelligendum est.”

We could not but smile at our Author's serious asseverations, towards the conclusion of his Preface, that, in his annotations, he has borrowed nothing but what he has acknowleged. Nay, as if it were a cafe of life and death, he produces the strongest and most incontestible instances of his honefty in in this respect. “ When Musgrave's edition of Euripides's Hippolytus came into my hands, and I found that many readings, of which I had given emendations, were confirmed by respectable copies, I struck out all my own alterations at one daih. Nay, when in rummaging my library, I met with a Basilian edition of Euripides, on the margin of which were several valuable notes, written by some ingenious gentleman unknown to me, though I could have put them off as my own, snug and safe, without the least danger of detection, I most religiously ascribed them to their Author.”

We think the Doctor has done extremely well to defend his readings by fimilar expressions taken from the same or different Authors; but sometirnes his quotations of this kind are superfiuous, particularly where the text he exhibits or maintains is sufficiently confirmed by the consistency of the sense, or a natural probability : as in the following instance in the Prometheus vinctus of Æfihylus, Act 1. v. 91. K20 TOV Tavorlov Xuxa ou roce zhw. Davonlnv (says he) should by all means be retained there is not the least doubt that it should; but then was it necessary to quote Sophocles to convince us that the epithet all-beholding may with propriety be applied to the fun! We are the more offended by these superfluous quotations, because it is usual with commentators to fill whole pages with them, while they answer no end but a vain display of erudition.

We cannot agree with our learned Critic in support of the following reading in the same play. Act 1. v. 157.

Νυν δ' αιθεριον κινιγμ’ ο ταλας. “ It is easy to believe (says he) that wilatever was elevated by way of spectacle, was called xivuyua, on account of its being exposed to the agitation of winds. Such are ale-house Y 2

signs,

signs, and rogues that are hung in chains among us. Pro-
metheus complains that he shall now be made fuch a fpectacle
to his enemies; and therefore without any impropriety, or
any violent catachresis, he ufes the word xuvugu.co to express
the cruelty of his punishment. For though his body, being
rivetted to a rock, could not in fact be agitated by the wind,
yet, as he was in an elevated situation, he had sufficiently
the appearance of a xovuyum. Besides, it is well known that
an exact resemblance of objects is not necessary in these kind
of figurative expressions. But in what sense Prometheus could
call himself xquugu.ch, that is, an empty shadow, a spectre,
or a phantom, I do not apprehend.”— Thus far the Doctor.
But neither do we apprehend how Prometheus, naked and
rivetted to a rock, could more properly call himself a dangling
obječt in the air, than a specire. Therefore read unuuypce;
nofiro periculo.
- With respect to the famous question, Whether lö appeared
on the stage in the real figure of a cow, as Dacier supposes,
or in her identical person without any brutal characteristics,
according to Father Brumoy, we think our Author's opinion,
which is a medium of the others, the least exceptionable.
He supposes that Iö retained her original form, but that her
head was distinguished by the horns of a heifer; which last
Supposition is justified by the following verse:
Τας βουκερω προσφθεγμα παρθενου κλυ:ις.

Prom. vinet. Act. 4. v. 599. It is observable that almost every Commentator, from flashing Bentley down to piddling 'sibbald, has had a strange antipathy to some particular name among his predecessors, which he has abused and persecuted with unremitting fury. We are sorry to say that this too is the case with our learned Doctor. Poor Pauwius, as he calls hiin, who published a new edition of Stanley's Æschylus with several annotations of his own, is the everlasting butt of the Doctor's rage, ridicule, and resentment. Scarce is there a page, nay scarce a column, through all these annotations on Æschylus, in which this unhappy Pauwius is not either whipped, or kicked, or cuffed, in a most unmierciful manner indeed. It is true he appears in some places to be ignorant, and in others impertinent; but, what is very hard upon a man who seldom happens to be right, the Doctor will rarely give him his due when he has made a good obfervation. For instance, in the. Prometheus vinsius. Act. iv, v. 718.

11.pís avis Kavruzu yenyes iper
ros.

Without

[ocr errors]

Without doubt ópor uifusor is a good emendation, being more easy and obvious than opwr wbosov ; yet the Doctor will not allow it, because it belongs to poor Pauwius.

It is with pleasure, however, we recollect that our Author seems to have had some little stings of conscience concerning his treatment of this unhappy victim ; for in his Preface he attempts to apologize for this conduct. But his apology is surely a most unfortunate one. The reason, he says, of his abusing Pauwius was, that Pauwius had been abusive. With the same propriety, therefore, may some future Critic fall upon the Doctor, quod Dii avertant !

Would these Commentators take it into their heads to enliven their works with sentimental as well as verbal observations, they would be more honourable and more useful; but it is all measuring lines, and weighing syllables. They content themselves with cleaning and scrubbing the picture, without once remarking its peculiar beauties, or teaching the less skilful beholder the criteria which he wants. These sentimental Cominerts would be extremely useful in forming the taste of the young Reader, who alone can be supposed to stand in need of a Cominentator. We cannot indeed but wonder that a person of Dr. Heath's erudition should pass silently over so many beautiful scenes without one euge Poeta! How could you, Doctor, over-look that animated scene in the first Act of the Septem apud Thebas, where the Spy describes the appearance and sacrifice of the enemy, without erecting 018 note of admiration ? Not so the acute Longinus !

Αισχύλο φανασίαις επιλολμωλος ηρωϊκώλαίαις. ώσπερ άι Επία επί Θήβαις παρ αυλω,

Aydpes, Qrew, 7?e! Şepoor nogezerétau,
Ταυροσφαγείες εις μελάνδετον σάκος,
Και 9γάνοντες χερσί ταυρέια φοι8,
Αρην τ' Ενυω, Και φιλαίμαίον Φύσαν
OpuwuOTNJAV,

Longin. de Jub. Sec. 15. But though our Commentator has seldom taken notice of the defects or beauties of his Authors, he has been industriously attentive to the minutice of the reading and construction; sometimes, perhaps, unnecessarily. Thus, in the following line, Ζυγοίσι δελίοισι μήποτε σκίζειν" Septem ap. Theb. A. i. v. 75.

What

Y 3

What can be more obvious than that the infinitivę mood is here put imperatively; and who can want to be informed that the Greeks use this enallage modi very frequently?

Of that difficult passage in the Septem ad Thebas, v. 167, &c. the Doctor has, in our opinion, given the most rational expofition; and, instead of xau diot Ev, we would by all means read w dianter. This and many more of our Author's most valuable observations Dr. Burton has taken into his Pentalogia, published in the year 1758. To convince Dr. Heath that we would do every thing to place his reputation, as a Commentator, in the fairest point of view, we shall here quote the testimony which Dr. Burton has given of him in his Preface to the Pentalogia,

66 Mecum adeo intelligat [Lector] viro in literis huma.nioribus universis, et præcipue in Græcorum re metricâ, ver

satisfimo Binjam. Heath Exonienfi quantæ et à me, et à republica literariâ gratiæ debeantur ; quem virum negotiis publicis curisque forensibus usque districtum quis non jure miretur ita ftudiis liberalioribus vacare potuiffe, ut [nequid hic loci de scriptionibus cæteris commemorem] Æschyli, Sophoclis, et Euripidis Tragaedias omnes continuo justoque Commentario illuftraverit ? A nobis certè pro merito vix fatis prædicari poteft illa animi benevolentia et liberalitas, quæ pretiosam hanc suppellectilis literariæ copiam desiderantibus adeo non invidit, ut etiam publicos in usus libenter communicaverit; unde quæcunque ad rem noftram maxime pertinerent, five ad metra reftituenda, sive ad verborum, sententiarum, rerumq; memorabilium explicationem, excerpta depromsimus.”

In the following passage of the Septem ad Thebas, v. 225,

&c.

periode zidovet tar Δαγιδρομεμεναν πολιν, και τραβευμ' α

Πτομενον πυρι δαιω--We cannot by any means agree with the Doctor that spaleuri' ádlouevov should be rendered hoftem invadentem. Spaleure here signifies the people of the city, as the word spülas does, v. 308.

- %258 Xot spalov Kadoyerñ pu:s&c. i.e. Deliver the city and the offspring of Cadmus. So spaleupi örlousvou should, without doubt, be rendered populum incendendum, by which means arlouevov will be taken as a passive

participle

the gates of battle. Hehree thadowa

his head. ay: He taktie. He crieindigna

participle in conjunction with asud pou sleevQV; and the construction of the whole passage will be much easier. This is so very obvious that we are surprized Dr. Burton should adopt Hoftem invadentem, or incendentem.

The animated and picturesque description of Tydeus in the second scene of the third act, (Sept. ad Theb.) puts us in mind of the Scout's account of Swaran, in Fingal. (See Review, Vol. XXV. p. 50.) Thus the reconnoitring messenger informs Eteocles of what he had seen :

“ Tydeus rages before the gates of Prætus. His indignation is roused. He burneth for the battle. He crieth aloud like the dragon at noon-day. He shaketh the three shadowy crests that adorn his head. Terrible is the clang of the brazen bells of his shield. Great are the figures on his shield. There burn the stars in the vault of heaven. The full moon blazeth on the centre of the snield. Brightest of planets is she, the eye of the night. On the banks of the river he shouteth for the war; like the warrior horse that despiseth the rein, when he heareth the trumpet of the battle blown. Whom wilt thou oppose to him, son of dipus? Who shal} go to the gates of Præetus ?"

There is something supremely grand in the above passage, to which the elegant simplicity of the answer of Eteocles is a fine contrast.

" I fear not (faid the prince) the trappings of a man. It is not the engraving on his shield that can wound : and what are his crests and bells without a spear? As lightly do I think of that image of night blazing with the stars of heaven, which, thou fayest, is upon his shield.” . * * * * * * * *

* * * « To Tydeus I will oppose, the illustrious son of Astacus. He shall defend the gates. He is nobly born. He reveres the throne of modesty, and despiseth proud words. He is virtuous, and cannot do a base act. Menalippus is a branch of those illustrious Spartans whom the sword of Mars has spared. He will fight to defend her that bore him, from the spear of the enemy."

If we have any Readers that are as yet strangers to Æschylus, we hope these quotations will make them solicit his acquaintance. Yet, whether they may answer that end or not, we must acknowlege that we could not pass them without notice.

« السابقةمتابعة »