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CORRECT;' he has already said, that he addresses himself to THE LEARNED. To the mass of mankind, his inquiry is as incomprehensible as some parts of Pindar:
és Δε το πάν Ερμηνέων Χατίζει. .
VINDICATION OF VIRGIL, From the Charge of Puerility imputed to him by Dr. Pearce,
in his Notes on Longinus ;
Fragili quærens illidere dentem
In a passage of Longinus, where he is describing that fault in writing, which he calls a Puerility, Dr. Pearce, in his note to illustrate the definition, gives an example of one very palpable puerility, as he thinks, in Virgil.." Ni fallor, (says he) optimus ille Æneidos auctor semel hujus vitij arguendus est:
The passage in Virgil is to this purpose : the oracle had ordered Æneas to go and settle in the original mother-country of the Trojans
Antiquam exquirite matrem. Anchises understood that to be Crete, from whence their old king Teucer had come, with a colony, to Troy. Æneas sails to Crete,
There seems good reason to suspect that the mode of pronunciation adopted by the modern Jews, is widely different from that of the early ages. But the i modern method slould no more be considered as the criterion by which to judge of the old, than modern Greek can be considered, as deciding any question respecting the Greek of Thucydides or of Aristotle ; 'either
langnage has ander gone such changes, as entirely to destroy the original character of it; and eveu in living languages, in our own for instance, not only in the phraseology, but in s the sound also, such change has occurred, that, perhaps, if Chaucer could have
heard the language of Pope, it would have been unintelligible to him; and, most probably, the same may be said of the difference between the Hebrew of David and that of the Rabbis of the present day.
and begins a settlement there ; but being soon terrified by a pestilence and famine, resolves to consult the oracle again. Meantime, the Penates, or Tutelar Gods of Troy, explain to him, in a vision, that the oracle meant he should settle in Italy, the mother country of Dardanus, who was their first, and original, ancestor.
Genus a quo Principe nostrum; Teucer having come later than he, and united the two families by marriage. Upon this, 'Anchises acknowledges his mistake ;
Agnovit prolem ambiguam, geminosque Parentes;
Seque novo veterum deceptum errore locorum. On these two epithets, novo veterum, Dr. Pearce makes this remark : Präe nimio studio proferendi Antitheti, scripsit novo, nullo, opinor, sensu ; novo enim veterum respondet; sed nihil sententiæ addit ; imo puerilibus illam ingeniis quam virilibus aptiorem efficit.' Here, says he, Virgil joins the epithet novo to errore, without any meaning, (nullo sensu,) becausė, to wit, Anchises had made no second mistake, he had only once explained the oracle; and so, says the Doctor, novo, taken by itself, respondet, makes a see-saw with veterium ; butuntil you come to join it with its substantive, errore, it conveys no meaning at all : he might fairly have said, it conveys a false meaning, and probably would have said so, but that he is guided a little here, in his opinion, by Servius, who softens the matter thus; • sane aut per contrarietatem sermonis declaravit, aut novo pro magno posuit.' This criticism, when the import of it is fully considered, amounts to as heavy a charge upon Virgil, as ever, perhaps, was brought against any, even the most contemptible, writer; for though the circumstances of the thing to be told here, had really in themselves contained any such opposition,
opposition, as might present to the imagination of the poet some antithesis of expression, yet to have wrought that up, or even to have let it slip into such a see-saw as this, would have been a levity, utterly unworthy of Virgil, and altogether unbecoming the dignity and importance of the subject. But the case here is far worse ; Virgil has not even the excuse of inadvertency, no circumstance could give occasion to this antithesis ; for Anchises had made but one mistake. Yet right or wrong, it seems, the poet was determined to introduce it; and since it did not naturally grow out of the subject, he resolved to ingraft it upon it. Lastly, and to complete all, his genius is as barren as his taste is bad, he is not able to execute his intention, low as it is: he cannot even make out this same little small antithetical prettiness, which, as the Doctor says, he had set his heart upon, (nimio studio proferendi antitheti,) and it is, after all, but the embryo of an antithesis, no sooner conceived than dead. At the beginning of the verse, he makes you expect it, but before the end of it, he
fails; you are quite disappointed, and find it a mere abortion. The nivo veterum turns out a poor collision, withont one spark to follow from it. This, and nothing less than this, is implied in the Doctor's charge against the poet. Burman, in his edition of Virgil, mentions this remark of Doctor Pearce, and owns that Setrics says nothing to the purpose on the difficulty.• Servius etiam laborat in hoc epitheto explicando.' – Burman takes no notice, indeed, of one part of the criticism; the impropriety of using an antithesis of expression on such a sub ject, but he labots very hard to make out that the antithesis is a real one, and that Doctor Pearce is wrong in saying, that the epithet nooo is sine ullo sensu; and endeavours to give a sense to it, by imputing several different mistakes to Anchises; and to make way for our believing 50, he begins by telling us, that Anchises was but a doung sort of an old fellow, who had lost his memory;
credo, Anchisen, obliviosum senem, voluisse dicere, se olim quidem de Hesperia es monitu Cassandræ aliquid inaudivisse, sed nunc ex Apoiiinis oraculo obscuro et dubio, nome crrore fuisse deceptum, quum Antiquam Matrem interpretatus esset de Teucro, qui ex Creta coloniam duxerat in Troada, quum debuisset de Dardano explicare, qui ante Teucrum eo adpulerat, et Dardaniam condiderat: - Anchises had heard something, he says, of Italy, from Cassandra; but, by a new, or a second mistake, he had misunderstood Apolio. But where is the first mistake ? he had, indeed, never paid any regard at all to Cassandra's information ; but how can that be called error locorum ? — noro veterum deceptum errore locorum. But it is needless, indeed, to enter into the particulars of this kind of defence of Burman's; the whole passage in Virgil, when viewed together, plainly shows, that such à deier.ce can have no place ; for the Pinates inform Æneas, that Apollo had meant he should settie in Italy, as his mother country: they bid him rise, and tell his father this.
burge, age, et hac lata iongaro dicta parente
Hlous dubitanda rejer. He does so :
Anchisem faci certum, remque ordine pando. Upon which Anchises 1
Agnucit prolem ambiguam, geminosque parentes,
Etque noto zuerum deceptum errore locurum. It is plain, then, that what Anchises says here, refers solely to his mistake of the meaning of Apollo, and has nothing at all to do with what Cassandra had told him of old; nay, what is much more, when he was making this confession of his mistake, he had not 50 much as recollected yet Cassandra's former prophecy; he does not do that till afterwards, as is manifest from the words Dext following:
Tum memorat : Nate, Iliacis exércite fatis,
Crederet; uut quem tum vates Cassandra moveret? Where the tum memorat, and the nunc repeto, now I recollect, make it perfectly evident, that in what he had said before, Cassandra was not yet in his thoughts ; besides, from the last verse,
Quem tum vates Cassandra moveret ? it is plain, that he paid no regard at all to what Cassandra told him, and so it cannot be said that she had led him into any mis. take about the place destined for their settlement. Burman tries farther to make out another mistake of Anchises, but either I de not understand him, or he contradicts himself: his words, which follow immediately after what was already quoted from him, are these : « Et quia etiam quidam Dardanum ex Cretâ deduxerunt, inde
errorem deductum. Nimirum, Anchises de Cretâ accipiebat, Dardano omisso, de Teucro cogitans ; et quia Trojani, et Teucri et Dardanidæ dicuntur, proles erat ambigua, et geminus Parens! In the first of these two sentences, if I understand them, he means, some maintained that Dardanus had come from Crete; and that led Anchises to take Crete for their mother country. In the next sentence, which is to explain the former, he says : Anchises took Crete for their mother country; because he forgot Dardanus, and thought only of Teucer ; ( nimirum, Anchises de Cretâ accipiebat, Dardano omisso, de Teucro cogitans. But if he were ever so consistent with himself here, the whole makes nothing to the purpose, for still Anchises makes but one mistake of Crete for Italy; were there ever so many concurring causes which had led him into that mistake, and though it were granted that one of these causes was this particular opinion, which some held; that Dardanus had come originally from Crete; but there is not indeed any ground for the supposition, as Anchises makes no mention of it, when he interprets the oracle, and enumerates very fully the several causes which made himn think that by their mother-country Apollo meant Crete, viz. mount Ida had its
name from the Cretan Ida; King Teucer their ancestor had come from thence; and from thence they had got their religion, the rites of Cybele, the ceremonies of the Corybantes, the grove of Ida, the mysteries of the Magna Mater; and the procession of her chariot drawn by
Tum Genitor, veterum volgens monumenta virorum,
Maximus unde Pater, si rite audita recordor,
Et juncti currum Dominæ subiere leones. Among all which circumstances of their origin from Crete, there is not the least mention of Dardanus. After what I have just observed, it is scarce worth while to take notice of the third and last
Burman takes, to find a meaning to the novus error, if it were not just to show how much he must have been graveled in this passage: «deinde,' says he, quia error locorum, non virorum dicitur, posset dici Anchises errâsse de monte Idâ, qui quum æquè in Cretá esset, atque in Troade, hinc cunabula gentis inde credebat repetenda,' he means, I suppose, that Anchises had both made a mistake of persons and of places; he had thought of Teucer when he should have thought of Dardanus'; and he had made a second mistake, a novus error, about the two mount Idas. This might give a sort of meaning to the epithet novus, which he is łaboring for ; but it would give a very sorry meaning to the passage in general; if, to wit, by the veterum locorum were meant the two mountains, but it is needless to enter into particulars here; as it is, I think, self-evident, that veterum locorum must undoubtedly be meant of Crete and Italy. For the sense is evidently this; that Anchises acknowledged the Trojans had two several Ancestors, who came from these two different mother countries. So that, notwithstanding all Burman's well-meant pains to vindicate the poet from at least one part of the censure, Dr. Pearce, it would seem, has reason to think, that, his criticism, severe as it is, remains in its full force; and that Virgil is guilty of a premeditated, and yet a meaningless, puerility. But, can one really believe, that Virgil could be, deliberately, guilty, of affecting such a pitiful, still-born conceit? Is it not in writing as in life? there are, in both, some characters far beyond the imputation of being capable of a gross violation of the Kalon : such a character, if any, is Virgil ; and such an imputation, surely, is this. Is it not far better for a critic, when he meets, in a first rate writer, a passage which suggests to him an apprehension of this kind, to distrust himself, and suspect he does not understand the passage ; and much more so, in a work, where several difficulties confessedly occur; especially with respect to the uncommon turns of expression? For, though the general run of Virgil's language is more easy, as well as it is more musical, than that of any other Roman poet, or, indeed, of any poet who has written in Latin ; yet, at times, we find in him some very uncommon turns of expression, which have not been always equally well attended to by his commentators. And, there