Imatges de pÓgina

Whose spear when orave Antilochus embrued,
By the dire news awoke, my fear renew'd.
Clad in dissembled arms Patroclus died :
And, "Oh the fate of stratagem!" I cried.
Tlepolemus, beneath the Lycian dart,

His breath resign'd, and roused afresh my smart.
Thus, when each Grecian press'd the bloody field,
Cold icy horrors my fond bosom chill'd. 5

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.


The reader may have already observed one or 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!

[ocr errors]

The Grecian chiefs return, each altar shines,
And spoils of Asia grace our native shrines.
Gifts, for their lords restored, the matrons bring;
The Trojan fates o'ercome, triumphant sing;
Old men and trembling maids admire the songs,

And wives hang, list'ning, on their husbands' tongues.7

5 Sive quis Antilochum narrabat ab Hectore victum,
Antilochus nostri causa timoris erat:

Sive Mencetiaden falsis cecidisse sub armis,

Flebam successu posse carere dolos :

Sanguine Tlepolemus Lyciam tepefecerat hastam,
Tlepolemi leto eura novata mea est.

Denique, quisquis erat castris jugulatus Achivis,
Frigidius glacie pectus amantis erat.

6 Sed bene consuluit casto Deus æquus amori :
Versa est in cinerem sospite Troja viro.

7 Argolici rediere duces; altaria fumant;
Ponitur ad patrios barbara præda Deos.
Grata ferunt nymphæ pro salvis dona maritis;
Illi victa suis Troia fata canunt.
Mirantur justique senes, trepidæque puellæ ;
Narrantis conjux pendet ab ore viri.


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
the force of the metaphor, and describes the wife as hanging
a lady hang on the looks of her lover. Ovid has increased
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,
And Ilion's towers in miniature arise:

There stretch'd Sigean plains, here Simoïs flow'd ;
And there old Priam's lofty palace stood.
Here Peleus' son encamp'd, Ulysses there;
Here Hector's corpse disdain'd the rapid car;
Of this the Pylian sage, in quest of thee
Embark'd, your son inform'd, his mother he.8

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,

And this prevented, a nocturnal spy!

Rash man! unmindful what your friends you owe,
Night's gloom to tempt, and brave a Thracian foe,
By one assisted in the doubtful strife;

To me how kind! how provident of life!

Still throbb'd my breast, till, victor, from the plain,
You join'd, on Thracian steeds, th' allies again.9

8 Atque aliquis posita monstrat fera prælia mensa

Pingit et exiguo Pergama tota mero.
Hac ibat Simois; hic est Sigeia tellus ;
Hic steterat Priami regia celsa senis.

Illic Eacides, illic tendebat Ulysses;

Hic lacer admissos terruit Hector equos.
Omnia namque tuo senior, te quærere misso,
Retulerat nato Nestor; at ille mihi.

9 Retulit et ferro Rhesumque Dolonaque casos;
Utque sit hic somno proditus, ille dolo.
Ausus es, o nimium nimiumque oblite tuorum,
Thracia nocturno tangere castra dolo;
Totque simul mactare viros, adjutus ab uno!
At bene cautus eras, et memor ante mei.
Usque metu micuere sinus; dum victor amicum
Dictus es Ismariis isse per agmen equis.

But what to me avails high Ilium's fall,
Or soil continued o'er its ruin'd wall;
If still, as when it stood, my wants remain ;
If still I wish you in these arms in vain ? 10

Troy, sack'd to others, yet to me remains,
Though Greeks, with captive oxen, till her plains,
Ripe harvests bend, where once her turrets stood;
Rank is her soil, manured with Phrygian blood;
Harsh on the ploughs, men's bones, half buried, sound,
And grass each ruin'd mansion hides around.
Yet, hid in distant climes, my conq'ror stays;
Unknown the cause of these severe delays !11

No foreign merchant to our isle resorts,
But question'd much of you, he leaves our ports;
Hence each departing sail a letter bears
To speak (if you are found) my anxious cares.

Our son to Pylos cut the briny wave;
But Nestor's self a dubious answer gave:
To Sparta next- nor even could Sparta tell


What seas you plough, or in what region dwell! 13

Better had stood Apollo's sacred wall;
Oh, could I now my former wish recall!
War my sole dread, the scene I then should know;
And thousands then would share the common wo:
But all things now, not knowing what to fear,
I dread; and give too large a field to care.
Whole lists of dangers, both by land and sea,
Are muster'd, to have caused so long delay. 14

10 Sed mihi quid prodest vestris disjecta lacertis
Ilios; et, murus quod fuit ante, solum ;
Si maneo, qualis Troja durante manebam;
Virque mihi, dempto fine carendus, abes?
11 Diruta sunt aliis, mihi Pergama restant ;
Incola captivo quæ bove victor arat.
Jam seges est, ubi Troja fuit; resecandaque falce
Luxuriat, Phrygio sanguine pinguis, humus.
Semisepulta virum curvis feriuntur aratris
Ossa: ruinosas occulit herba domos.

Victor abes; nec scire mihi, quæ causa morandi,
Aut in quo lateas ferreus orbe licet.

12 Quisquis ad hæc vertit peregrinam littora puppim,
Ille mihi de te multa rogatus abit.

Quamque tibi reddat, si te modo viderit usquam,
Traditur huic digitis charta notata meis.

13 Nos Pylon, antiqui Neleia Nestoris arva,

Misimus: incerta est fama remissa Pylo.
Misimus et Sparten: Sparte quoque nescia veri,
Quas habitas terras, aut ubi lentus abes.

14 Utilius starent etiam nunc monia Phobi,
Irascor votis heu levis ipsa meis !

Scirem, ubi pugnares; et tantum bella timerem ;
Et mea cum multis juncta querela foret.

Quid timeam ignoro; timeo tamen omnia demens ;
Et patet in curas area lata meas.

Quæcunque æquor habet, quæcunque pericula tellus,
Tam longe causas suspicor esse more.

But while your conduct thus I fondly clear,
Perhaps (true man!) you court some foreign fair;
Perhaps you rally your domestic loves,

Whose art the snowy fleece alone improves.


may I err, and start at false alarms;
May nought but force detain you from my arms. 15

Urged by a father's right again to wed,
Firm I refuse, still faithful to your bed!
Still let him urge the fruitless, vain design;
I am - I must be-and I will be thine.
Though melted by my chaste desires, of late
His rig'rous importunities abate. 16

Of teasing suitors a luxurious train,

From neighbouring isles, have cross'd the liquid plain.
Here uncontroll'd th' audacious crews resort,

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.
Melanthius add, and Irus, hated name!

A beggar rival to complete our shame. 17

Three, helpless three! are here: a wife not strong,
A sire too aged, and a son too young.

He late, by fraud, embark'd for Pylos' shore,
Nigh from my arms for ever had been tore. 18

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 ;
Quæ tantum lanus non sinat esse rudes.

Fallar; et hoc crimen tenues vanescat in auras :
Neve, revertendi liber, abesse velis.

16 Me pater Icarius viduo discedere lecto

Cogit, et immensas increpat usque moras.

Increpet usque licet: tua sum; tua dicar oportet:
Penelope conjux semper Ulyssis ero.

Ille tamen pietate mea precibusque pudicis
Frangitur, et vires temperat ipse suas.

17 Dulichii, Samiique, et quos tulit alta Zacynthos,
Turba ruunt in me luxuriosa, proci ;

Inque tua regnant, nullis prohibentibus, aula:
Viscera nostra, tuæ dilaniantur opes.

Quid tibi Pisandrum, Polybumque, Medontaque dirum,
Eurymachique avidas Antinoíque manus,

Atque alios referam, quos omnes turpiter absens
Ipse tuo partis sanguine rebus alis?

Irus egens, pecorisque Melanthius actor edendi,
Ultimus accedunt in tua damna pudor.

18 Tres sumus imbelles numero; sine viribus uxor,
Laertesque senex, Telemachusque puer.
Ille per insidias pene est mihi nuper ademptus,
Dum parat, invitis omnibus, ire Pylon.

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,
And no cross chance reverse the course of fate.
Your nurse and herdsman join this wish of mine,
And the just keeper of your bristly swine. 19

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,
The helm resigns, amidst surrounding foes.
This may your son resume, (when years allow,)
But oh! a father's aid is wanted now.

Nor have I strength his title to maintain,
Haste, then, our only refuge, o'er the main. 20

A son- - and long may Heaven the blessing grant !
You have, whose years a sire's instructions want.
Think how Laërtes drags an age of woes,
In hope that you his dying eyes may close;
And I, left youthful in my early bloom,
Shall aged seem, how soon soe'er you come. 21

19 Di, precor, hoc jubeant, ut, euntibus ordine fatis,
Ille meos oculos comprimat, ille tuos.

Hoc faciunt custosque boum, longævaque nutrix ;
Tertius, immundæ cura fidelis hare.

20 Sed neque Laertes, ut qui sit inutilis armis,
Hostibus in mediis regna tenere valet,
Telemacho veniet (vivat modo) fortior ætas :
Nunc erat auxiliis illa tuenda patris.
Nec mihi sunt vires inimicos pellere tectis
Tu citius venias, portus et ara tuis !

21 Est tibi, sitque pecor, natus ; que mollibus annis
In patrias artes erudiendus erat.

Respice Laerten, ut jam sua lumina condas:
Extremum fati sutinet ille diem.

Certe ego, quæ fueram, te discedente, puella,
Protinus ut redeas, facta videbor anus.

« AnteriorContinua »