« AnteriorContinua »
in Greece, roaming thro' the bounds of Asia ? What a voyage too is here mentioned-roaming thro' the bounds of Asia! 'Tis trifling to dwell on refuting such absurdities. The passage is translated from the Menæchmi of Plautus, Hic annus
sextus, poßquam rei buic operam damus. “ Ijtros, Hispaños, Maffylienfes, Ilurios, “ Mare superúm onine, Græciamque exoticam,
Orafque Italicas omnes, quà egreditur mare,
Sumus circumveeti." Who does not see therefore that ASIA is the transcriber's or press-Corrector's word instead of ITALY ?
" Roaming clean thro' the bounds of ITALY."
Thus all is easy and natural, and agreeable to the original. 'Tis well known Italy was called Græcia Magna : So Ovid,
Itala nam tellus Græcia magna fuit : Which I mention as a comment on this place of Plautus and our poet.
In King Lear, Act III.
Edg, Fraterretto calls me and tells me that “ Nero is an angler in the lake of darkness."
Nero was a fidler in hell, as Rabelais tells us, B.2. c. 30. And Trajan was an angler. Shakespeare was a reader of Rabelais, as may be proved from many imitations of him ; and here plainly he has that facerious Frenchman in his view. Trajan might have this office given him in hell, not only becaufe he was a persecutor of the Christians, but as he was a great drinker, and that he might have liquor enough in the next world, he was made a fisherman: Rabelais has as trifling reafons as this, for many of his witticisms : but whatever was Rabelais' reason is another question: this however was not Nero's office. But the players and editors, not willing that so good a prince as Trajan should have such a vile employment, substituted Nero in his room, without any sense or allusion at all. From Rabelais therefore the passage should be thus corrected, Trajan is an angler in the lake of darkness. For one cannot fay, I should think, with any propriety,
Nero is a fidler in the lake of darkness. I cannot pass over a most true correction, printed in the Oxford edition, of a faulty paffage in Antony and Cleopatra, Act III. which was originally corrupted by this change of the first editors,
“ Cleop. What shall we do, Enobarbus? “ Eno. Think, and die."
Drink and die ; This emendation is undoubtedly true. 'Tis spoken by * Enobarbus, in allusion to the fociety of the ΣΥΝΑΠΟΘΑΝΟΥΜΕΝΟΙ, mention'd in Plutarch, p.949. D. The hint was taken from a comedy of Diphilus, mention'd by Terence in his prologue to the Adelphi, « ΣΥΝΑΠΟΘΝΗΣΚΟΝΤΕΣ Diphili comoedia eft: « Eam commorientes Plautus fecit fabulam."
The same kind of blunders we have frequent in ancient books: I will mention one in those verses of Tyrtaeus, which Stobaeus has preserved.
Ξυνον δ' εσθλον τ8το σόλης τε πανί τε δήμο, "Οσις ΑΝΗΡ διαβας εν τρομάχοισι μένη.
The old reading, instead of ANHP, was AN ET, which the transcriber changed into ANHP.
*Οσις αν εύ διαβας εν τρομάχοισι μένη. .
2 So in Act I, Where the soothsayer is telling their fortunes, and they are made to speak something foreboding their destinies ; Ænobarbus says, “ Mine, and most of our fortunes to night shall be to drunk to bed.".
· This was an expression that Tyrtaeus was fond
of, and he repeats it again,
Σηριχθείς επί γης, χείλος οδεσι δακών. EU dabas, standing firm, one leg advanced before the other : the legs being severed and set asunder, each from the other. But he took the expression from Homer, Il. pé: 458. Σή δε μάλ' έβγυς ιών, και έρεισόμενο βάλε μέσσας, Ευ διαβάς. .
Which the translator renders, firmiter' divaricatis cruribus. stans : and the scholiast interprets by io Xupūs sás. which interpretation Milton follows: « 3 Stand firm, for in his look defiance lours." Notwithstanding Tyrtaeus. borrowed this from Homer, yet by laying so much stress on this posture of fighting, and by his often repeating it,
3 Par. L. IV, 873. Milton, in this whole episode, keeps close to his master Homer, who sends out Ulysses and Diomede into the Trojan camp as spies. Il. “'. 533. *sz piros,
“Ιππων μ' ώκυπόδων αμφί κίύπος Βαλα βάλλει.
Plato in his first book of laws makes no fcruple of calling it Tyrtaeus' own expression. A.dbávles δ' εύ και μαχόμενοι, εθέλουθες αποθνήσκειν εν τω πολέμη (Φράζει Τύριαι©) των μισθοφόρων εισί πάμπολλοι. “ There are many mercenaries, who firmly stand
ing their ground with one foot boldly advanc“ ed before the other, (for so Tyrtaeus expresses “ it) would gladly die fighting in battle."
SEC T. XI.
OTHING is more common than for
words to be transposed in hasty writing, and to change their places. This has happen'd in the Tempest. Act I. where Prospero speaks to Ariel.
« Profp. This blue-ey'd hag was hither brought
with child, “ And here was left by th’ Sailors; thou, my
Nave, “ As thou report'st thyself, waft then her
The reader will easily see how proper 'tis to the whole drift of this discourse, and to the character of the person speaking, as well as the person spoken to, that we should read,