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Milton, in “Comus," has an exquisite song to Echo, which oum
Sweet Echo, sweetest nymph, that liv'st unseen
Within thy aëry shell,
Where the love-lorn nightingale
UN BISSULA, A GERMAN CAPTIVE (Edyll. VII, 2).
Translated by Elton.
Ah, Bissula! it charms thy master's ear. Love, it appears, can make the harshest name agreeable ; but one of soft sound is generally thought to awake the gentler feelings. As in a passage in Otway's tragedy of “ Caius Marius":
Lavinia ! O there's music in the name,
Makes my heart spring like the first leap of life.
What's in a name? that which we call a rose,
ON DIDO (Epitaphia Heroum, 30).
Translated in “ Collection of Epigrams," 1735.
You fly the dying; for the flying die. There is an allusion to Dido's flight, on account of her husband's murder, in the first book of the Æneis, 310, which Dryden translates
Plienician Dido rules the growing State,
At length, in dead of night, the ghost appears
To seek a refuge in remote abodes. And in the fourth book, 630, her death, on account of Æneas' departure, is described:
This said, within her anxious mind she weighs
Thus will I pay my vows to Stygian Jove,
EPITAPH ON HIS SISTER, JULIA DRYADIA (Parentalia, 12).
Translated by Elton.
Of similar character is an epitaph on a maiden by Marvell, which, though rather long, is too beautiful to be omitted (“ Miscellane us Poems by Andrew Marvell,” 1681, 71):
Enough; and leave the rest to fame;
That her soul was on heaven so bent
A.D. 719-A.D. 988.
The following translations of Arabian epigrams are taken from a volume published in 1796, entitled, “Specimens of Arabian Poetry, from the earliest times to the extinction of the Khaliphat, with some account of the authors, by J. D. Carlyle, B.D., F.R.S.E., Chancellor of Carlisle, and Professor of Arabic in the University of Cambridge." The sentiments of many of the epigrams and poems are exceedingly beautiful, and the English dress in which they are clothed is very graceful.
IBRAHIM BEN ADHAM. A hermit of Syria, equally celebrated for his talents and piety, born about the 97th year of the Hegira, i.e., A.D. 719.
TO THE KHALIPH HAROUN ALRASHID,
peace and pleasure, in their God!
And grasp at bliss beyond the skies. The following, by an uncertain author of James I.'s reign, is taken from Ellis' “Specimens of the Early English Poets,” 1803, III, 143:
Happy, oh happy he who, not affecting
The endless toils attending worldly cares,
In silent peace his way to heaven prepares !
Deeming his life a scene, the world a stage,
Whereon man acts his weary pilgrimage. The danger and short-lived happiness of mere pleasure are as expressively as elegantly portrayed in Dr. Johnson's translation of soine French lines written under a print of persons skating:
O'er crackling ice, o'er gulphs profound,
With nimble glide the skaters play;
Thus lightly skim, and haste away. This translation, which was not the first he made, was repeated by Johnson extempore, after reading one by Mr. Pepys, a friend of Mrs. Piozzi, who tells us in her “ Anecdotes," that the Doctor was exceedingly angry when he found she had asked several of her acquaintances to translate the lines, declaring “it was a piece of trenchery, and done to make everyone else look little when compared to my favourite friends the Pepyses, whose translations were unquestionably the best," as the Doctor acknowledged. The following is the one upon which he founded his extempore :
Swift o'er the level how the skaters slide,
And skim the glittring surface as they go :
But pause not, press not on the gulph below. Though this surpassed Johnson's first translation, that it is not equal to his second all must acknowledge.
ALY BEN AHMED BEN MANSOUR.
ONE OF HIS SONS.
By destiny's decree;
To misery for thee.
The other was thy pest;
To snatch away the best?
Of such a child bereft;
For ah!-the other's left.