« AnteriorContinua »
.. where he strove With Philomelices, and obrezu him flat? Odyr. iv. 423. To enumerate expressions of this kind would be an endless Jabour. We shall therefore point out some other phraies, to whose
peculiarity we ojet rather than their vulgarity. Those which our following collection exhibits by way of pecimen, are not calculated, much more than the preceding ones, to inspire that reverence which is commonly supposed due to the Epic Muse. « The gume of rhetoric.' Of paule (i. e. of reft) impatient;'
was for beauty such ;''conlcious of both,’i. e. knowing both, (yeyvə) v rsv); fond for his herd,' i. e. defended; "forlorn (i. e. deprived) of thee;' aduli for blood;' 'play-thing walls ;' " wiped the rheums, i. e. tears; 'corfiets furbished bright;' "A spear acuminated sharp with brass ;' Scilla's fix necks
clubb’d into heads;' Diomede 'pursues the Cyprian goddess conscious whom ;' i. e. knowing who she was.
«Ulviles is daih'd into' a wreck ;' he might be shipwrecked, but the ship alone could become a wreck. Remembrance busilv* retrace ing themes' (antipathies); ' teeming with thoughts of Naughter;' and
- A cloud of dust Uplamp d into the brazen vault of heaver, Sound rather affestedly: as do,
* Our banded decads Mould (would) fo far exceed
Their units' i. e. they were teñ to one.
• Thou art my first and last, proem and close.'
Jl. ix. 105.
Thus the wife Nestor addresses his king of kings; Agamem
In Homer, he fays, he will begin and conclude his speech with talking about him. So, at least, we understand it; but we cannot conjecture how Mr. Cowper's line is meant to be understood. Neptune is mentioned as
* lifting bigb Æneas from the ground,
Of Neptune.' In the first line one hould naturally fuppofe, from the location of the words, that Eneas was high, or tall in ftature, not lifted on high. And, according to the last, he seems let offs like a paper kite or sky-rocket, from the hand of Neptune.
Juno difpleased at Hector's success,
-- pouddering on her throne
Rock'd the Olympian. Il. viii. 228. This bears a stronger resemblance to a perfon seized with a cold fit of the ague, than to the empress of heaven moving with indignation, not with fear, in her throne, and wide Olympus, trembling around her.
εμεσησε δε ποτιο Ηρη: Σεις και το δεινε. θρον, ελιλιξε δε μακρον ολυμπον. 1. viii. 198. The effect is awful, and similar to that caused by the sovereign nod of Jupiter; and her subsequent speech is full of violence and tary
Thund'ring, he downward hurled his candent bolt
Under the axle, belly to the ground.'
Βροντη:ας δ' αρα δεινον, αφηκ' αργητα κεραυνον,
Τω δ' ιππω δεισαντε καταπτητην υπ’ σχεσφιν 1!. viii. 133.
Nestor advises Telemachus, (Odyf. iii. 404. ) not to leave his treasures at the mercy of those proud; why not add men as in Homer? Wishing home ;'why not, withing to go home? Menelaus, talking of Ulysses, tells Telemachus,
• I purpos’d
As none besides.' Without recurring to the original (Odys. iv. 171.), we cannot be certain whether he means as none besides would have received him, or as he would have received no one besides.
As the last passages we quoted are rendered obfcure by the omiffion of fome esential words, others stand in the same predicament by a complicated location of them.
• Ye, then, with faces to the Trojans turnd,
Ceaseless retire.' Thus Diomede advises the Grecians; and it seems strange at first fight that fo gallant a warrior should direct his countrymen to retire without ceasing. But if we consult the originał fIlv. 605.), we shall find that he exhorts them to retire indeed, but with their faces constantly turned towards the enemy.
* Him never, while, alive myself, I mix
With living men and move, will I forget' Il. xxii. 447. 1. e. while I live I will never forget him. Many instances of obscurity, caused by an improper inverfion of words, have been given before. But it is not always to be referred to that cause. Helen tells Paris,
- Ah! would that thou hadit died By that heroic arm, mine husband's erit.' What does this expression imply,—the arm that was once her husband's? The original is perfectly plain: 'I wish you chad been killed by that brave man who was my former hulband.' -0, εμος προτερoς πoσις ηεν (II. iii. 429).
• Spurr'd thro' the portal flew her rapid steeds.' This is spoken of Juno's horses, as the drives them harnessed to her chariot.
An odd contrast occurs in the following description of a young warrior between the words starting and gliding : both applied to the fame action cannot be proper.
- in the vanity of youth,
Achilles with a javelin reach'd.'
* Earıh-making fovereign of the waves,' the contradictory terms produce likewise a bad effect.
Antique words and phrases, it is generally allowed, if cau. tiously introduced, have a good effect in an epic poem, but we ineet with some here, the instances are however not many, that no way tend to preserve the majesty or venerable simplicity of the original. Agnized' for known; kirtle for mantle,
convolu'd,'blurr'd the fight,''the field's bourn,' &c. are, probably, too obsolete. ( Orere that and or ere we pari' for before that, are phrases feldom to be found but in the sacred writings, or in Shakspeare, and have nothing but those respectable authorities to recommend them.
Our charge against Mr. Cowper for using phrases of modern fashion, or allusive to modern manners, is much more heavy than in regard to those which are obsolete. He afferts indeed that he has cautiously avoided all terms of new invention :' But we fancy it would be no easy matter for him to trace the fol. lowing to any other source. A fathomer of defigns. The fatteft of the saginated charge,' i. e. the fattest of fatten'd pigs. A helmet quatre-crested. Mr. Cowper vindicates this epithet by 'the cowslip' (mole) cinque-Spotted in Shakspeare. We never before met with woman-mud,' 'Ipie-maiden,' misfortune-fiaw'd,''cross-coed,' and 'intellected;' with unfirew'd,' Sunflain, ' unvantag'd,' and suremasculared steeds. We are not so clear in regard to the ups as the uns, which are likewise pretty numerous. We have up/iampd, 'updarted,'upridg’d,'?updrawn,'' upbuilds,'' upwent,'' upioed,' and apran to manhood.' Sa-ward,' and even land-ward' we have feen before, but never file-tard, left ward,' or Troja ward.' If all these words are not absolutely new, we are certain that they are generally so; and others, either newly invented or newly compounded, will occur, when we more particularly consider the epithets. Many phrases likewise are adopted not in unison with the times in which the original was written. Neltor observes that the success or overthrow of the Greeks was poised on a razor's edge *' " Troy's reprieve' is not the exact fubftitute for Tρωσιν αναβλησις κακε: F the bardy clans of Hyrie' for 0. Tuprev EVELOUTO.--Penelope threatens her domeftics with being 'cashier'di Irus, struck down by Ulyfies, with his heels di umm’d the ground.' Ulyffes talks of being cajolid by a shrew'd Phænician.' A veslel of that country is mentioned, in another place, as being mann'd by sharpers ;' and Euineus says a woman of Phoenicia talked of him when a child, as “an urchin that foamper'd by her side.' He likewise informs us that in ancient Greece, as well as in modern Britain,
- perquisites are ev'ry servant's joy.' And Hector talks of exhibiting Patroclus' licad
impaled † on high,'This mode of punishment was, we believe, never heard of in the region of Troy till it became subject to the disciples of Mahomet.
This may be considered as a faithlul translation of
E 76 Gu8 152706 2M . ll. x. 173. But it gives a moriern idea. Pope has drupt the letter and retained the spirit.
Each fugle Greek, in this conc'ukve strie,
Stands on the skarpefi edge of death or life,' This phrase might possibly be borrowed from Milcon ;
"Ye fee our danger on the utmoft edge
Of hazard.' Par. Reg. i. 94. And Milton ni ghe have the preceding pasage of Homer in his contempla. tion when he writ it; or, indeed, the following one of Shakipeare; who haruly consulted Homer of the occasion, but derived his ideas from the same commun source with him, a bold and vivid imagination.
• We'll trive to hear it, Tor your worthy sake,
To th' extreme eure of bazard + Impoled, if Mr. Cowper would have ventured here to coin a new word, would have been more consonant to the original. Homer thșcaçčng to cut off (ugt. Lopp') his head, and fix it upon a pole. mean arc çxc1078501 Il. xviii. 176
The The translator says: those
- that would consent to an English form I have preserved as epithets; others that would not, I have melted into the context. There are none, I believe, which I have not translated in one way or oiher, though the reader will not find them repeated fo often as most of them are in Homer, for a realon that need not be mentioned.'
We frequently observe an omiffion of epithets, but canno affirm that they are not introduced in other places. To repeat them, whenever they occurred in the original, would, as Mr. C. observes, have produced a very unpleatant effect. In Homer, particular ones are often repeatedly applied to particular heroes without respect to their propriety as to fituation and circumstance. The godlike Patroclus kindles a fire to roast some mutton; and the divine Eumæus broils a pork-griskin, which the divine Ulyfies devours very greedily. So ludicrous an opposition, between the fituation and the expression, is commonly avoided : yet when
- divine Ulysses froni beneath
His thicket crept,' we could have wished for an epithet less close to the original. When Apollo inftigates Æneas to oppose Achiiles, Mr. C. properly drops the word Bonndage (Il. xx. 83.), for to address him by the name of counsellor, at such a time, would appear rather lúdicrous in our language. We will he had always omitted the words counsellors and fenators (however consonant to the original) when applied to the Trojan and Græcian leaders, exhorting one another to action, or engaging in battle.
• There, Neftor, brave Gerenian, with a voice
. assailed buttress and tower.' Il. xii. 456. • Huge Priam' enters unseen into the tent of Achilles, (I1. xxiv. 599.) We can scarcely conceive a more improper word: pesyas certainly signifies great, but it might be allufive to emi. nence of station, of power, or of mind, as well as body. A • blatant goať may, poliibly, be allowed; but we cannot approve of blatant appetite;' of 'triturated barley-grain ;' of the deep-fork'd Olympian, (TOXUA TUXOs); of birth-pang-dispensing llythia,' (uorosoros); of deep-bellied barks,' (yaapupas); of a stone angled sharp,' (Ipnyur); of glutinated portals ;' of • boorish-rough;' • brainless and big ;' earth-cumbrer (8yle) Ajax;' thy whole big promise ;' of a 'tripod ample-womb’d,' (opintoda meyav);' of an unrelenting spear," for ožen narxu; of beauteous Halia with eyes protuberant,' (Bowass); of purdy R94