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tions and incidents which have a like complexion may be found in the futile novels of Lodge and Lilly.
Fraunce is also the writer of a book, with the affected and unmeaning title of the "ARCADIAN RHETORIKE, or the preceptes of Rhetoricke made plaine by examples, Greeke, Latyne, Englisshe, Italyan, Frenche, and Spanishe." It was printed in 1588, and is valuable for its English examples 9.
In consequence of the versions of Virgil's Bucolics, a piece appeared in 1584, called "A Comoedie of Titerus and Galathea"." I suppose this to be Lilly's play called GALLATHEA, played before the queen at Greenwich on New Year's day by the choristers of saint Paul's.
It will perhaps be sufficient barely to mention Spenser's CULEx, which is a vague and arbitrary paraphrase of a poem not properly belonging to Virgil. From the testimony of many early Latin writers it may be justly concluded, that Virgil wrote an elegant poem with this title. Nor is it improbable that in the CULEX at present attributed to Virgil, some very few of the original phrases, and even verses, may remain, under the accumulated incrustation of critics, imitators, interpolators, and paraphrasts, which corrupts what it conceals. But the texture, the character, and substance of the genuine poem is almost entirely lost. The CEIRIS, or the fable of Nisus and Scylla, which follows, although never mentioned by any writer of antiquity, has much fairer pretensions to genuineness. At least, the CEIRIS, allowing for uncommon depravations of time and transcription, appears in its present state to be a poem of the Augustan age, and is perhaps the identical piece dedicated to the Messala whose patronage it solicits. It has that rotundity of versification, which seems to have been studied after the Roman poetry emerged from barbarism. It has a general simplicity, and often a native strength, of colouring; nor is it tinctured, except by the casual innovation of grammarians, with those sophistications both of sentiment and expression, which afterwards of course took place among the Roman poets, and which would have betrayed a recent forgery. It seems to be the work of a young poet: but its digressions and descriptions, which are often too prolix, are not only the marks of a young poet, but of early poetry. It is interspersed with many lines, now in the Eclogues, Georgics, and Eneid. Here is an argument which seems to assign it to Virgil. A cotemporary poet would not have ventured to steal from poems so well known. It was natural, at least allowable, for Virgil to steal from a performance of his youth, on which he did not set any great value, and which he did
Dowland to thee is dear, whose heavenly
Upon the lute doth ravish human sense; Spenser to me, whose deepe conceit is such,
As passing all conceit, needs no defence, &c.—PARK.]
Entered to T. Gubbyn and T. Newman, Jun. 11, 1588. Registr. Station. B. fol. 229 b.
Entered April 1, to Cawood. Ibid. fol. 203 b. Lilly's Galatea, however, appears to be entered as a new copy to T. Man, October 1, 1591. Ibid. fol. 280 b.
not scruple to rob of a few ornaments, deserving a better place. This consideration excludes Cornelius Gallus, to whom Fontanini, with much acute criticism, has ascribed the CEIRIS. Nor, for the reason given, would Virgil have stolen from Gallus. The writer has at least the art of Virgil, in either suppressing, or throwing into shade, the trite and uninteresting incidents of the common fabulous history of Scylla, which were incapable of decoration, or had been preoccupied by other poets. The dialogue between the young princess Scylla, who is deeply in love, and her nurse, has much of the pathos of Virgil. There are some traces which discover an imitation of Lucretius: but on the whole, the structure of the verses, and the predominant cast and manner of the composition, exactly resemble the ARGONAUTICA of Catullus, or the EPITHALAMIUM OF PELEUS AND THETIS. I will instance in the following passage, in which every thing is distinctly and circumstantially touched, and in an affected pomp of numbers. He is alluding to the stole of Minerva, interwoven with the battle of the giants, and exhibited at Athens in the magnificent Panathenaic festival. The classical reader will perceive one or two interpolations, and lament that this rich piece of embroidery has suffered a little from being unskilfully darned by another and a more modern artificer.
Sed magno intexens, si fas est dicere, peplo,
Felices qui talem annum videre, diemque !
The same stately march of hexameters is observable in Tibullus's tedious panegyric on Messala: a poem, which, if it should not be believed to be of Tibullus's hand, may at least from this reasoning be adjudged to his age. We are sure that Catullus could not have been the author of the CEIRIS, as Messala, to whom it is inscribed, was born but a very few years before the death of Catullus. One of the chief circumstances of the story is a purple lock of hair, which grew on the head of Nisus king of Megara, and on the preservation of which the
safety of that city, now besieged by Minos king of Crete, entirely de pended. Scylla, Nisus's daughter, falls in love with Minos, whom she sees from the walls of Megara: she finds means to cut off this sacred ringlet, the city is taken, and she is married to Minos. I am of opinion that Tibullus, in the following passage, alludes to the CEIRIS, then newly published, and which he points out by this leading and fundamental fiction of Nisus's purple lock.
Pieridas, pueri, doctos et amate poetas ;
CARMINE PURPUREA est Nisi coma: carmina ni sint,
Ex humero Pelopis non nituisset ebur.t
Tibullus here, in recommending the study of the poets to the Roman youth, illustrates the power of poetry; and, for this purpose, with much address he selects a familiar instance from a piece recently written, perhaps by one of his friends.
Spenser seems to have shown a particular regard to these two little poems, supposed to be the work of Virgil's younger years. Of the CULEX he has left a paraphrase, under the title of VIRGIL'S GNAT, dedicated to lord Leicester, who died in 1588. It was printed without a title page at the end of the "TEARES OF THE MUSES, by Ed. Sp. London, imprinted for William Ponsonbie dwelling in Paules churchyard at the sign of the bishops head, 1591 "." From the CEIRIS he has copied a long passage, which forms the first part of the legend of Britomart in the third book of the FAIRY QUEEN.
Although the story of MEDEA existed in Guido de Columna, and perhaps other modern writers in Latin, yet we seem to have had a version of Valerius Flaccus in 1565: for in that year, I know not if in verse or prose, was entered to Purfoote, "The story of Jason, how he gotte the golden flece, and howe he did begyle Media [Medea], oute of Laten into Englisshe by Nycholas Whyte"." Of the translator Whyte, I know nothing more.
Of Ovid's METAMORPHOSIS, the four first books were translated by Arthur Golding in 1565*. "The fyrst fower bookes of the Metamorphosis owte of Latin into English meter by Arthur Golding, gentleman, &c. Imprinted at London by William Seres 1565." But soon afterwards he printed the whole, or, "The xv. Bookes of P. Ouidius Naso entytuled METAMORPHOSIS, translated out of Latin into English meetre, by Arthur Golding Gentleman. A worke uery pleasant and delectable. Lond. 1575." William Seres was the printer, as before". This work
Eleg. lib. i. iv. 62.
"In quarto. White lett. Containing twenty-four leaves.
Registr. Station. A. fol. 134 a.
* Lond. bl. lett. 4to.
y It is entered "A boke entituled
Ovidii Metamorphoses." Registr. Station.
Bl. lett. 4to. It is supposed that there were earlier editions, viz. 1567, and 1576 The last is mentioned in Coxeter's papers, who saw it in Dr. Rawlinson's collection.
became a favorite, and was reprinted in 1587, 1603, and 1612a. The dedication, an epistle in verse, is to Robert earl of Leicester, and dated at Berwick, April 20, 1567. In the metrical Preface to the Reader, which immediately follows, he apologises for having named so many fictitious and heathen gods. This apology seems to be intended for the weaker puritans". His style is poetical and spirited, and his versification clear; his manner ornamental and diffuse, yet with a sufficient observance of the original. On the whole, I think him a better poet and a better translator than Phaier. This will appear from a few of the first lines of the second book, which his readers took for a description of an enchanted castle.
The princely pallace of the Sun stood gorgeous to behold,
From shape to shape a thousand sights, as list him to renue.—
There stoode the SFRINGTIME, with a crowne of fresh and fragrant floures:
There wayted SUMMER naked starke, all saue a wheaten hat:
And AUTUMNE smerde with treading grapes late at the pressing-vat:
But I cannot resist the pleasure of transcribing a few more lines,
a All in bl. lett. 4to. That of 1603 by W. W. of 1612 by Thomas Purfoot.
b Afterwards he says of his author, And now I have him made so well acquainted with our toong,
As that he may in English verse as in his
Wherein although for plesant stile, I can-
from the transformation of Athamas and Ino, in the fourth book. Tisiphone addresses Junod:
The hatefull hag Tisiphone, with hoarie ruffled heare,
Remouing from her face the snakes, that loosely dangled theare,
Said thus, &c.
The furious fiend Tisiphone, doth cloth her out of hand,
But that the postes began to quake, and doores looke blacke as iet.
They would have fled. There stood the fiend, and stopt their passage
And splaying foorth her filthy armes beknit with snakes about,
Did tosse and waue her hatefull head. The swarme of scaled snakes