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Whose spear when orave Antilochus embrued,
His breath resign'd, and roused afresh my smart.
Here we may observe how epithets tend to strengthen the force of expression. First her horrors are cold, and so far Ovid seems to think also; but the translator adds, from himself, the epithet icy, to shew that they are still colder,a fine climax of frigidity!
But Heaven, indulgent to my chaste desire,
Has wrapp'd (my husband safe) proud Troy in fire.6
The reader may have already observed one or two instances of our translator's skill, in parenthetically clapping one sentence within another. This contributes not a little to obscurity; and obscurity, we all know, is nearly allied to admiration. Thus, when the reader begins a sentence which he finds pregnant with another, which still teems with a third, and so on, he feels the same surprise which a countryman does at Bartholomew Fair. Hocus shews a bag in appearance empty; slap, and out come a dozen new laid eggs; slap again, and the number is doubled: but what is his amazement, when it swells with the hen that laid them!
The Grecian chiefs return, each altar shines,
Critics have expatiated, in raptures, on the delicate use the ancients have made of the verb pendere. Virgil's goats are described as hanging on the mountain side; the eyes of a lady hang on the looks of her lover. Ovid has increased the force of the metaphor, and describes the wife as hanging on the lips of her husband. Our translator has gone still farther and described the lady as pendent from his tongue,a fine picture!
Now, drawn in wine, fierce battles meet their eyes,
There stretch'd Sigean plains, here Simoïs flow'd;
If we were permitted to offer a correction upon the two last lines, we would translate them into plain English thus, still preserving the rhyme entire.
The Pylian sage inform'd your son, embark'd in quest of thee,
Of this, and he his mother, that is me.
He told how Rhesus and how Dolon fell,
By your wise conduct and Tydides' steel;
That doom'd, by heavy sleep oppress'd, to die,
Rash man! unmindful what your friends you owe,
To me how kind! how provident of life!
Still throbb'd my breast, till, victor, from the plain,
8 Atque aliquis posita monstrat fera prælia mensa▾
Illic Eacides, illic tendebat Ulysses;
Hic lacer admissos terruit Hector equos.
9 Retulit et ferro Rhesumque Dolonaque casos;
But what to me avails high Ilium's fall,
Troy, sack'd to others, yet to me remains,
No foreign merchant to our isle resorts,
Our son to Pylos cut the briny wave;
Better had stood Apollo's sacred wall;
War my sole dread, the scene I then should know ;
But while your conduct thus I fondly clear,
Whose art the snowy fleece alone improves.
Urged by a father's right again to wed,
Of teasing suitors a luxurious train,
From neighbouring isles, have cross'd the liquid plain.
Rifle your wealth, and revel in your court.
Pisander, Polybus, and Medon, lead,
Antinous and Eurymachus succeed,
With others, whose rapacious throats devour
The wealth you purchased once, distain'd with gore.
A beggar rival to complete our shame. 17
Three, helpless three! are here: a wife not strong,
He late, by fraud, embark'd for Pylos' shore,
These two lines are replete with beauty: nigh, which implies approximation, and from, which implies distance,
15 Hæc ego dum stulte meditor (quæ vestra libido est,)
Esse peregrino captus amore potes.
Forsitan et narres, quam sit tibi rustica conjux ;
Fallar; et hoc crimen tenues vanescat in auras :
16 Me pater Icarius viduo discedere lecto
Cogit, et immensas increpat usque moras.
Increpet usque licet: tua sum; tua dicar oportet:
Ille tamen pietate mea precibusque pudicis
17 Dulichii, Samiique, et quos tulit alta Zacynthos,
Inque tua regnant, nullis prohibentibus, aula:
Quid tibi Pisandrum, Polybumque, Medontaque dirum,
Atque alios referam, quos omnes turpiter absens
Irus egens, pecorisque Melanthius actor edendi,
18 Tres sumus imbelles numero; sine viribus uxor,
are, to use our translator's expressions, drawn as it were up in line of battle. Tore is put for torn, that is, torn by fraud from her arms; not that her son played truant, and embarked by fraud, as a reader who does not understand Latin might be apt to fancy.
Heaven grant the youth survive each parent's date,
Our translator observes in a note, that "the simplicity expressed in these lines is so far from being a blemish, that it is, in fact, a very great beauty and the modern critic, who is offended with the mention of a sty, however he may pride himself upon his false delicacy, is either too shortsighted to penetrate into real nature, or has a stomach too nice to digest the noblest relics of antiquity." He means, no doubt, to digest a hog-sty; but, antiquity apart, we doubt if even Powel the fire-eater himself could bring his appetite to relish so unsavoury a repast.
By age your sire disarm'd, and wasting woes,
A son-and long may Heaven the blessing grant!