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The sentences at the sides are the gloss; the middle, which is in a larger hand, is the text; and between the lines of that, is put the interlineary gloss, in which place a translation or version in some ancient MSS. in the Cottonian and other libraries, is sometimes inserted. The text here means the word of God, as opposed to the gloss, both the lateral and the interlineary, gloss; and because the text was usually written, as in this MS. in a very large and masterly hand, from thence, a large and strong hand of that sort came to be called text hand.—By gloss is meant a commentary or exposition, generally taken out of the Latin fathers, St. Hieronyme, St. Augustine, &c. It is originally a Greek word, and at first meant a single word put to explain another, as appears from the ancient Greek and Latin glossaries, but afterwards it came to signify any exposition or larger commentary. From hence are derived our English expressions, to put a gloss upon a thing, that is, a favourable interpretation or construction ; gloss, a fair shining outside; and to glose, to flatter.
Yours, &c. Whittington, Oct. 19, 1753.
VIII. On the ancient Syrinx as described in Virgil's Eclogues.
As I now and then peep into a classic, there occurs to me a difficulty in the perusal of Virgil's eclogues; and, being one of those who are desirous of understanding what they read, I beg leave to propose it in your Magazine.
It is not difficult at all to conceive; in what manner the ancients united the voice with the lyre or other string music, far the one could easily accompany the other, and consequently the same person might perform with both at the same time. The word fáarw signifies to sing to, or with, the lyre, and from thence comes psalmus, and psaltriu. When Horace, Lib. IV. Ode xiii. says,
Doctæ psallere Chiæ, Mons. Dacier writes upon it, Notre langue n'a point de mot qui explique le psallere des Grecs et des Latins, qui se dit proprement d'une personne qui chante, et qui joue en
même temps d'un instrument.' So Heliodorus, lib. 1. Θίσβην παιδισκάριον τη αυτή, ψάλλειν τε πρός Κιθάρας επισάμενον, κ, &c. But then how the same persons, amongst the ancient Greeks and Romans, both piped and sung together, is not so easy to determine, and yet we are very sure that the rustics, the shepherds and swains did this. They could not sing and play with the same breath, we are sensible, but the words nust either follow the music, or the music the words, which is the very question I desire to start; but before I deliver my own opinion upon it, I shall establish the fact, by shewing that amongst the old shepherds the pipe and the song were usually conjoined; for the doing of which I shall not need to go any farther than the five first eclogues, though the same kind of proofs may be drawn from the others, as will appear to the curious upon trial. Ecl. 1. 1. 2. Melibeus, says to Tityrus
Sylvestrem tenui musam meditaris avena. Avena here is the pipe; Montfaucon makes a difference between Avena and Fistula, but I take it that Avena, Calamus, Arundo, Cicuta, &c. all mean, by a common metonymy of the inatter for the instrument, the Fistula or the pipe; not the single but the compound one, or the Syrinx, which consisted of six or seven single pipes, and sometimes more, all fastened together. The Syrinx was the usual instrument of the shepherds, as appears from Ecl. II. 31. seq. 36. seq. Ovid. Metam. xiii. 784. Theocrit Idyll. viii. 18. Musa is the words or song, and it is evident that he sung words at the same time that he played, from what follows,
Formosam resonare doces Amaryllida sylvas. Where Melibæus informs us of the subject of Tityrus's song, namely, his mistress Amaryllis, whom yet he did not celebrate without his pipe, as is clear from his answer ;
Ille meas errare boves, ut cernis, et ipsum
Ludere quæ vellem calamo permisit agresti. Ecl. II. Corydon pours out his complaint, but he used the pipe with his voice, as is plain from the following passages;
Mecum una in sylvis imitabere Pana canendo.
Fistula, Damætas dono mihi quam dedit olim, Hæc eadem ut sciret-he means the tune, and not the words, which Amyotas, could have nothing to do with. Corydon must be supposed to use the pipe with his song, for Menalcas giving Mopsus a pipe, Ecl. V. says,
Hac te nos fragili donabimus ante cicuta.
Hæc eadem docuit, Cujum pecus? an Melibæi? These being the first lines of the 2d and 3d Eclogues, and consequently denoting those Eclogues, this passage imports, that these very Eclogues of Virgil, and I presume the Idyllia of Theocritus in like manner, are to be understood as learnt by the shepherds, and sung to the pipe; that the shepherds are not to be imagined to sing always extempore, but some times to make use of compositions, and even tunes, previously composed; sometimes the compositions of others, and sometimes their own, as Ecl. V.
Immo hæc, in viridi nuper quæ cortice fagi
ista Jam pridem Stimicon laudavit carmina nobis. The particular tune appropriate to a piece, you find mena tioned, Ecl. ix. 45.
Numeros memini, si verba tenerem, Ecl. III. Damoetas intimates that in his contest with Damon he had sung and played together.
An mihi cantando victus non redderet ille,
Quem mea carminibus meruisset fistula, caprum? And Menalcas speaking of the same contest, joins singing and playing
Cantando tu illum? aut unquam tibi fistula cera
Non tu in triviis, indocte, solebas Stridenti miserum stipula disperdere carmen? where the pipe and the verse occur united again, and he sneers at his playing as well as his composition. I conceive that the Amcebæa which follows in that Eclogue between these two antagonists, was sung by them to the pipe ; for Damætas upon this sneer immediately challenges Menalcas, and consequently intended to dispute the prize with him in both respects.
Ecl. IV. and V. Mopsus was excellent at piping, Menalcas at singing ; but it does not follow that the first did not sing, and the other did not play; all that can be said, is that Mopsus was not so good at singing, as he was at playing; nor Menalcas so good at playing, as he was at singing. This I say is all that is intended by the two first lines of this Eclogue.
Cur non, Mopse, boni quoniam convenimus ambo,
Tu calamos infiare levis, ego dicere versus, &c. for Menalcas expressly calls upon Mopsus for a song;
Incipe, Mopse, prior; si quos aut Phyllidis ignes,
. and Mopsus answers,
Immo hæc, in viridi nuper quæ cortice fagi
Experiar. And then follows the monody upon Daphnis. Mopsus both sung and played, for Menalcas says at the conclusion of his performance,
Tele tuum carmen nobis, divine poëta,
Nec calamis solum æquiperas, sed voce magistrum. The fact I think is clear; and since it is impossible to blow and sing at the same time, the question arises, whether the yoice went first, or the tune? It is certainly most natural that the strain should be played first, but I know of no positive uthofity for it. However, I shall content myself with think
ing so, till I see some proof of the contrary. Some perhaps may fancy, that the words were not adapted to the tune, but that the music came in independently, by way of interlude, between every verse, or every distich, &c. but the words in the 5th Ecl.
Immo hæc, in viridi nuper quæ cortice fagi
- Numeros memini, si verba tenerem shew evidently, that the words were modulated to a tune, were set, and that the inusic was not interposed only at certain breaks, or at the ends of the stanza.
I am, Sir,
Your humble servant, Nov. 17, 1753.
MR. URBAN, IN your last Supplement, the irigenious Mr. Gemisege has started a difficulty in Virgil's Eclogues, where the shepherds are described as piping and singing at the same time. If their pipes were blown with the mouth, as Menalcas, in the third Eclogue seems to intimate, they could not possibly sing and play with the same breath therefore I am of opinion that in such a case, they first played over the tune, and then sung a verse, or stanza of the song answering thereto; and so played and sung alternately; which manner of playing and singing is very common with the pipers and fiddlers at our country wakes, &c. who might perhaps originally borrow the custom from the Romans, during their residence in Britain.
But Mr. Gemsege observes, that the Syrinx, which was the usual instrument of the shepherds, was not a single pipe, but a compound one which consisted of six or seven single pipes, and sometimes more, all fastened together: and Corydon, in the second Eclogue says, thát Pan first taught to join several reeds together with wax; or, as Dryden has translated it,— Pan taught to join with wax unequal reeds,'—or reeds of different tones. From whence I conjecture, that the Syrinx was an instrument somewhat like the bagpipe, and was blown with bellows, or something of that kind; if so, the music might easily accompany the song, and the same person perform both together.