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She has no friend but me to plead her cause!
Till thou hast given the word to spare Ismena.' Timanthes in the fourth act reveals his marriage to Demophoon, Ilmena's vindication of him, and his vindication of [linena, are happily imagined by Metastasio, and well expressed by Mr. Hoole.
• Ilm. O mighty king! before your facred feet
• Timan. Believe it not-Me did not-no, by heaven, .
A thousand times the banilh'd me her fight,
I menac'd with a desperate hand my life.'
In the fifth act the soliloquy of Timanthes in the prison is very moral and poetical : it is Metaftafio's. There is not a more nervous passage in the play.
• Timan. Why should we covet life? What are its charms,
With fraud and envy: all our schemes are shadow
Vain and illusive as a sick man's dream, - Mr. Hoole avails himself of Olinthus, and brings him upon
the stage. The sight of the child is undoubtedly a very natu. ral and Itrong persuasive to the reconciliation of the grand-father : but this part, we think, ought rather to have been related than represented. In the dignity of tragedy, nature is to be adhered to; but her operations are not indiscriminately to be exhibited. The mind, which, in its calmer state is highly pleased with the huınbler sweets of domestick life, is apt to find thein infipid, and impertinent, when it is actuated by strong pallions, elevated by important events, and only intent on great objects.
This circumstance, however, would not hurt Timanthes, the still state of mind considered in which the spectators nowa-days sit at a play. We frequent not the theatre to open our hearts to the author, but to see a favourite player. We are too diffipated even to be at the pains to feel. A pompous procession will atone for the want of invention; and the majeftic deportment of Mrs. Yates is a full substitute for the sublimity of Shakespeare.
What a pity it is that the divine Otway, who died for want, in the iron age of Charles II. had not lived now, to procure himself affluence in the golden days of George III.! .
IX. The Amyntas of Taflo. Translated from the original Ita
lian by Percival Stockdale. 8vo. Pri 35. 6d. Davies. IN pastoral poetry, an ideal representation of life has been
the favourite amufeinent of all ages and of all nations. The sentiments and manners of this species of writing are so far removed from reality, that pastoral life may be compared to a perfect character of the drama, which all admire, and all equally despair to attain. The picture is agreeable, not on account of exact resemblance, but because we wish to imitate it, and have some faint hopes of drawing near to the original. After the mind has been fatigued with the continual repetition of the same scenes of business or pleasure ; when it has been opprefied with the anxiety arising from the restless cares of ambition, or the more fordid pursuits of svarice; it willingly reposes it'elf on the softer pleasures of rural fimplicity, and harmless rustic mirth.
Homer represents Jupiter himself tired with looking down from Olympus on the dreadful carnage made by the Greeks and
Trojans. He turns his eyes from that horrid scene of blood and blaughier, to view with complacency a hármless 'race of
men, who delight in aets of justice, and who live with primaval innocence and temperance.
Jove turn’d to Thracia, from the field of fight,
To where the far-fam'd Hippomolgian strays,
Thrice happy race! that innocent of blood,
Pope's Homer. Thę great model of pastoral poetry, and which all succeed. ing poets are supposed to have imitated, is to be found in the writings of Theocritus.—His Doric muse pleases, from the great fimplicity of manners, and the easy and happy turn of expression to be found in his celebrated Idyllions. But if Arcadia be fairly pictured by Theocritus, we cannot fuppose its inhabitants very innocent or very happy ; since they are oftentimes described as full of obscene mirth, low fcurrility, and not feldom guilty of the most brutal lust.-In giving a review of the Amyntas of Tasso, it will not be expected we should write an elaborate essay on pastoral poetry, in general: we shall only observe, that among all the writers of eclogues, ancient and modern, Mr. Pope poffefies the first place for chastity of manners, elegance of expression, and harmonious versification. We fuppose with the criticks, that Spencer approaches nearer to the rustic fimplicity of Theocritus; but our old poet is in his eclogues still more obsolete than in his Fairy Queen, and we are not fond of poring over an author by the help of a glossary.
Gay has much fimplicity, and describes rural sports and rural love in an artless and happy manner.
From paftoral in general, we come to that species of writ. ing which is the business of this criticism.
The paftoral comedy is entirely of Italian growth: it was unknown to the Greeks and Romans. The marquis of Villa attributes to Torquato Talso the invention of this species of the drama. The author of Pastor Fido, under the feigned name of Verati, asserts, that Signior Becari, a citizen of Fere rara, was the first who gave to Italy the pastoral comedy. It is a question of no great importance ; for in all probability the Sacrificio of Becari was a contemptible performance ; as we know, from the annotations of the learned Menage upon the Amyntas of Taflo, that he could not, with the most diligent fearch, procure a light of it. So fond were the Italians of this
new comedy, that Clement Bartoli of Urbino is said to have no less than eighty of them in his possession.
The Gentle Shepherd of Allan Ramsey is the only pastoral comedy Great Britain has to boast of. That is indeed a marter piece in its kind. It has the true Doric fimplicity in manners, customs, language, and action.
Mr. Gay wrote a pastoral tragedy called Dione, formed upon the Amyntas of Taffo ; but he has had no successor in that way of writing. Many of the ballad operas lately exhibited at our theatres have had a very happy mixture of pastoral life, particularly Love in a Village, and the Maid of the Mill.
The translator of Amyntas appears to be a man of gepius and learning; his imagination is warm, and his expression vigorous. Tasso could not have wished for a better judge of his spirit, style, and taste.. In a very animated preface, he draws a very faithful and striking picture of his favourite author,
The poem is deemed, by all good judges, excellent in its kind. It was written by one of the greatest poets the world ever saw, when his mind was in the maturity of its vigour, He was well acquainted with the best models of pastoral writ, ing; his foul felt their beauties; and as his feelings were deli. cate and comprehensive, he was not a fervilę imitator ; he re, vered the laws of his predecessors, and he caught their beauties; but he enriched his work with sentiments and pictures of his own tender and warm imagination. The Amyntas, therefore, may, in just metaphor, be stiled, a garland composed of the choicest flowers of Arcadia.'
Mr. Stockdale's zeal for Taffo carries him to great lengths, We question whether the public will justify him in his con, temptuous behaviour to Boileau, who is characterised feverely by the title of contemptible French rhymer. This general charge will include the best of the French poets, whose power of versification is confessed to be inferior to Boileau's. The angry critic hinself, as if willing to make amends for this sudden Sally of ill humour, quotes Boileau's fine piąure of a pedant bristled all over with Greek, and full of Aristotelian criticism.
But the translator might have passed on quietly, perhaps, with his contempt of the Frenchmar, had he not thrown down his gauntlet, and boldly challenged the critics in two very extraordinary assertions, viz. that Pope's translation of Homer is of more value to an Englishman of taste, than the original itself; and that Taffo is a greater poet than Virgil. We give the reader the words of the translator.
• Taffo is a greater poet than Virgil. Pope will be ad. mired as ļong as the Englinh language is understood; and as
ļong long as the human breast glows, while it imbibes the sacred flame of poetry. An Englishınan, who is fenfible to the charms of the Muses, and free from prejudice, not bristled with Greek, however profound a Grecian he may be, would not so much regret the loss of the original Iliad, as of Pope's translation of that poem. .
His opinion of Pope's translation of Homer may be very just; but an examination of that poftulatum does not belong to our subject. We suppose Mr. Stockdale prefers Taffo to Virgil on account of his invention ; perhaps too he is more charmed with the fire of Tasso, than the correct spirit of Vir, gil. By fome the Roman poet is degraded to a mere com mentator upon Homer, but surely with very great injustice, The story of Dido is certainly his own; so are many noble parts of that divine poem. Virgil excels all authors in two things, in the pathetic, and in his power of language.
How beautifully are the horrors of any battle or circum, stance contrasted and softened by the most tender and familiar strokes! We shall mention only one instance out of many that might be produced. The harsh and dreadful sound of Alecto's trumpet strikes all that hear it with horror and astonishi. ment. The poet, to diversify the fcene, contrives to throw in that beautiful pi&ture of an affrighted mother prelling her in. fant to her bofom.
Et timida matres prefere ad ubera nalos. The utmost excellence that any author could arrive at in the power of language, has been given to Virgil. Language, without vigour of sentiment, would be mere found. Elegance, strength, propriety, and sublimity, unite in the composition of this excellent writer. We are afraid that here even Taflo himself would decline the contest, and modestly say, · Non ita certandi cupidus, quam propter amorem
Quod ue imitari aveo, After all, when we examine the merits of the two poets in point of invention, it may not be altogether so clear that Tasso bears away the palm. Has Mr. Stockdale visited the fountains from whose sources Tasso drew his poetical draughts? He that has read with care those authors, of whom Mr. Pope fays,
And all such writers as are never read,' can best tell how much Taffo has borrowed, and what is the just proportion of his own native stock..
The Knights of the Round Table, the Twelve Peers of France, and a thousand other volumes of chivalry and knighterrantry, were the grand stores from whence the epic Italians were continually borrowing. Nay, the very poets that preceded Taffo might, probably, hold the torch to him when he wrote his Jerusalem Delivered.
Jerusalem, probabi; Nay, in