« PreviousContinue »
See likewise a passage in Young's Night Thoughts, 1 Night, beginning with
'Tis past conjecture, all things rise in proof Drayton has the word touch, in the same sense Pope has used it, in the Invocation to his Muse-Polyolb.-
Touch my invention so with thy true genuine heat Had Pope been a reader of Quarles, which possibly, by the bye he might have been, notwithstanding he has given him a niche in the Dunciad, he would have taught him the art of reasoning in verse much better than Blackmore, whom Dr. Johnson has recommended for that purpose; there is an energy and compression in some of Quarles' lines, not to be found in any of his contemporaries; but, as to versification What could Dr. Johnson mean by supposing him to stand in need of any instruction on that head-There is a moral and philosophical cast in some passages of Quarles not unlike Pope, in his Essay on Man. See the whole of the 11th Meditation, Job Militant:
Since thou art dead (Lord), grant thy servant roome
Within bis breast to build thy heart a toornbe. These lines of Quarles, p. 75, edit. 1630, contain the same idea with that in Gay's Epitaph, upon which so inuch has been said:
But that the worthy and the good may say,
РОРЕ. , The thought is old; it is said of Sir P. Sidney, by Spencer,
In worthy hearts sorrow hath made thy tomb. Dr. Johnson's criticism on this line of Pope is equally as destitute of common sense as of common feeling.--See Dr. J. Warton, likewise, on Pope, vol. I. p. 95. who calls the idea forced and far-fetched-for which I see no tolerable reason.* 1786, April.
* We cannot help subscribing to Dr. Warton's opinion. E
XCII. Critique on a Passage in Virgil.
MR. URBAN, VIRGIL, in his praises and commendations of a country life, wath the following verse: Fundit humo facilem victum justissima tellus.
Georg. 2. V. 460. The peculiar epithet justissiina is, I apprehend, copied from the succeeding fragment of Philemon;* though it hath escaped the observation of Macrobius and Ursinus, and is not to be found in the literary dirt which Bentley and Le Clerc amused themselves with exchanging in their publications concerning Menander and Pnilemon.
ΔΙΚΑΙΟΤΑΤΟΝ Αθημ' εσιν ανθρωποις αγρος,
Ων η φυσις δείlαι γαρ επιμελως φερει, , " A field is the justest possession which a man can have, for it d: igently produces those things which nature requires.'
As the abovementioned dramatic writers were contempo, baries and competitors for theatrical fame, it is not improbable that the following passage of Menander was intended to ridicule the foregoing quotation from Philemon;
Αγρον ευσεσηςερον γεωργειν εδενα
καταβαλώ, « I am sure no one ever cultivated a more religious field than mine; for it bears beautiful flowers, ivy, and laurel, as if to adorn the altars of the Gods; but if I sow it with barley, this very just field is sure to return me exactly as much as I spwed."
There is a vein of elegant irony in this passage which makes us much regret, that we have not the works of this comic writer complete. We could well have spared all the coarse jests of Aristophanes, which degrade the Athenian audience who could endure them, for a few plays written with the same taste and spirit as this quotation. It is particularly unfortunate that Terence, who is said to have done
* " rýsoor dixesórxtov" occurs in Xenophon's Cyropæd. Es
little more than translate Menander, should have neglected and omitted eyery spark of his humour and pleasantry. As it is the distinguishing criterion of genuine wit to bear transferring from one language to another, what could induce Scipio and Lælius, when they assisted Terence, to patronize this defect, which Julius Cæsar, within a century afterward, in his well-known epigram, laments so emphatically?
Viş Comica - Unum hoc maceror et doleo tibi deesse, Terenti.
Yours, &c. 1786, June,
T. H. W.
XCIII. Strictures on Dr. Johnson's Criticism on Milton's Latinity,
Fragili querens illidere dentem
MILTON'S supreme pleasure, Dr. Johnson says, is to tax his adversary (Šalmasius), so renowned for criticism with vicious Latin. !! He opens his book with telling that he has used persona, which according to Milton signifies only a mask, in a sense not known to the Romans, by applying it as we apply person. But as Nemesis is always on the watch, it is memorable that he has enforced the charge of solecism by an expression in itself grossly solecistical, when for one of these supposed blunders he says, Propino te grammatistis tuis vapulundum. . From vapulo, which has a passive sense, vapulandus can never be derivedl." Lives of English Poets.
I will endeavour to shew that the Doctor's criticism is totally without foundation.
We find " vapulundo et somno pereo" at the conclusion of the first act of Plautus's Curculio. In the second scene of the fourth act of the Panulus, we have,
Ut enim mihi vapulandum est, tate corium sufferas. And in the Adelphi of Terence (act II. sc. 2.) we read, Ego vapulando, verberando ille, usque ambo defessi sumus.
This critic, finding the word gloriosissimus in a passage he quoted from Milton's Second Defence of the
People, tells us in a note, that “it may be doubted whether gtori sessimus be here used with Milton's boasted purity. Kes gloriosa is an illustrious thing*, but vir gloriosus iš com Ireonly a bruggart, as in miles gloriosus."
That it is sometimes so ssed cannot be denied; but, if there is proper authority for its being used otherwise, Milton will be justified. In the Pseudolus of Plautus (act II, sc. 3.) thu Doctor might have found,
Atqixe ego nunc me gloriosuın faciam, &c. Anilin Valerius Maximus we read, “ Tarquinium Priscum ad R »nanum imperium occupandum fortuna in urbem nostram aivexit: alienum, quod ortum Carintho: fastidiendum, quod mercatore Damarato genitum: erubescendum, quod etiam exule. Ciecerun tam prospero conditionis suæ eventu industriosum pro ignominioso, pro inviso gloriosum reddidit. Dilatacit enim imperii fines, cultum deorum novis sacerdotiis ausit, numerum senatus amplificavit, equestrem ordinein uberiorem reliquit: queque laudum ejus consummatio est, præciaris virtutibus etfecit, ne hæc civitas pænitentiam ageret, quod regem a finitimis potius mutuasset, quam de suis legisset.” (Lib. III. cap. iv. ii.) " Quod si eum dii immortales victoriis suis perfrui passi essent, sospes glorwsior patriæ mænia non intrasset.” (Lib. III. cap. ii. 5.) " Conspicuæ felicitatis Arpivam imicum; sive literarum gloriosissimiona contemptorem, sive abundantissimum fontem intueri velis." (Lib. II. cap. ii. 3.
In the fragments (of Petronius found at Traw in Dalmatia, the word is twice used, as it seems, in a good sense. quia lana illæ nos gloriosos faciunt." (Ed. Bosch. Amsteloda 1677, p. 109.) “Ut totus nihi populus bene imprecetur, ego gloriosus volo efferri," p. 156. Tie philosophic Boethius gives us a passage that is directly in point. “Sed cum plures gentes esse necesse sit, ad quas unius fama hominis nequeat pervenire, fit, ut quem tu astimas gloriosum, proxima parte terrarum videatur inglorius.” (De Consol. Philosoph. lib. iii, pros. 6.) And gloriosa, gloriosun, gloriosissima, gloriosissia
“Oves, mus, and gloriosissime, occur in the Codex, lib. i. tit. 1. I cannot but think that these are sufficient authorities for Mil. 'ton's use of it. The word, as we have seen, was used in a good sense in the time of Tiberius, if not of Plautus; and it did not cease to be so used in the time of Justinian.
* Not always fur though we find, Populi noștri honores quondam fuerunt rari et tenues, ob earnque causam gloriosa; (Corn. Nepos, in vita Miltiad. cap. vi.) yet in the same author wę bave, (in rita Timol. cap. iv.) Nihil unquam neque insolens neqre gloriosum ex ore ejus exiit. And in Cicero wè read, Quæ est igitur causa istarum angustiarum? Gloriosa ostentatin constituendi, summum bonu.n. (De l'in. lib. iv. 25.) Primum genus quod risum pel maxime inovet, non est nostrum morosum, superstit.osum, suspiciosum, gloriosum, stultum, (De oratore, lib. in. 02.)
It seems not altogether impertinent to add, that Suetonius has, “Non minus gloriosi quam civilis animi" (in vita Claudii, sect
. i.); and Valerius Maximus, "Gloriosum militis spiritum” (lib. viii. c. 14.); and that it would be difficult, as I apprea hend, to give a solid reason why we may not say, vir glorio. sus, as well as gloriosus animus, or gloriosus spiritus viri.
Dr. Johnson has told us, that Salmasius, in his reply to Milton, (which was published by his son in the year of the Restoration) being probably most in pain for his Latinity, endeavours in the beginning to defend his use of the word persona: “But if I remember right,” says the Doctor, “he misses a better authority than any that he has found, that af Juvenal in his fourth satire:
--Quid agis cum dira et fædior omni
But the old scholiast has, “Non homo sed persona;" and he would not, I think, be much out of the way, who should assert, that the word persona, in this place, answers to our word character. « Qui de personis Horatianis scripserunt, aiunt Mæpium scurrilitate notissimum Romæ fuisse.” (Vet. Schol. in Hor. lib. i, sat. 3.) But the satire would, I think, be heightened, if we consider the word in Juvenal as ex pressive of rank and dignity:
Nil fuerit mf (inquit) cum uxoribus unquam alienis.
Hor. 1. Sat. ii. 57.
“ Persona dignitatis est nomen; sic et Cicero dicit esse qui sentiant philosophiam indignam esse persona. Cornelius Celsus plene splendidam dicit personam; modo matronam dicit personam, præsertim vero honoratiorem.” (Baxter, ad locum.) Hence undoubtedly the word parson; which is now (such is the mutability of language !) almost a term of reproach.
I have never seen Salmasius's Reply, and therefore do not know what authorities, for his use of persona, he may þave quoted; but, upon looking into Valerius Maximus on