« PreviousContinue »
And they two went farther ben, (Scotice,) and the illustrious Ulysses led the way,
Through the still night they march, and hear the roar
On their high charge the delegated train
We have always thought this one barian, forsooth-but half-civilized, of the most beautiful pieces of poetry though Nereus himself was his grandin the whole world. It seems to us sire! There he sits, the bravest and indeed to be perfect. How solemn most beautiful of mortal men, a musithe Mission moving along the margin cian, perbaps a poet, for Homer tells of the sounding deep, preferring us not whether the Implacable is singprayers to Neptune that its issue ing his own songs, or those of the might be fortunate, for well they Aoidos. Yes, the Swift-footed is a man knew the character of fierce Æacides! of genius; and among all the spoils Not a word is said about the night; he won when he sacked the city of and that shews that Homer never Eëtion, most he prized that harp on repeats himself, except when he has which he is now playing—the harp some purpose to serve by the repe- with the silver cross-bar, and beauti. tition." A thousand Trojan watch- ful in its workmanship, as if formed fires were blazing; but Phönix, Ulys- by Dedalus, and fine-toned its strings, ses, and Ajax, all absorbed in their as if smitten by the Sun-god's hand. prayers to Neptune, saw them not- His proud soul would disdain to harp and Homer himself had forgotten even to princes. Patroclus alone, now the vision of the moon and still and mute, is listening, hero to stars. No time is lost, and we see hero. them already among the Myrmidons. But how have our translators acHad it been put beforehand to any quitted themselves here—let us see. person of loftiest temper, who,know- Chapman drops the epithet Forupao.o. ing the character of Achilles, had gono, and merely says the shore, which yet no knowledge of this interview, was wrong, the noise of the sea being how he might imagine the god- essential to a maritime night. dess-born would be found employed, god that earth doth bind in brackish think ye that he could ever have chains,” are poor words—sorry submade such a noble guess as the stitutes for those two extraordinary truth? Never. Homer alone could ones γαιηοχω 'Εννοσιγαιω. Better have have thus exalted his hero. Not said simply, Neptune. All the rest many suns have yet gone down on is very nobly done. The two lines his wrath, and you remember how about Patroclus are perfect, except at its first outburst it flamed like a the words, “ who now his song did volcano. It smoulders now in that end." He waited till the song should mighty bosom-but the son of Thetis end. And he would have been willis not sitting sullen in his tent-he ing to wait till midnight, had Achilles has forgotten the ungrateful, injuri- not started up on entrance of the ous, and insulting Agamemnon, and ambassadors.
“ Who with his harp all his slaves. His soul is with the and all arose,” is very majestic. beroes. Achilles is a savage-a bar- We have just been reading over
Pope for the tenth time this eveningin the depths, that mention of them and though we might not unjustly does not throw much new or old find some faint fault with a few par- light on the character of Neptune. ticular words, yet we should be asha, All the lines about the heroic Harpmed of ourselves were we to do so ; er are very fine--the pauses sofor he is Alexander the Great here, lemn-the repetition of the word 6 and is attired
“ soothe,” shews how deeply CowWith sudden brightness, like a man in
per felt for the sufferer; the close is spired."
full of elevation—"and glorious heThe versification is most harmonious; line we do not entirely like, is,
roes were his theme.”
The only and the lines might_themselves be chanted to the harp. Pope, when hap
“ Expecting still when he should cease py, had a heroic genius; and though
to sing." true it is that he too too often mise. It seems to intimate that Patroclus rably misrepresents Homer, it is, as
was impatient of the strain-a sad we have said, wilfully, and with ma
mistake. But perhaps Cowper uses lice aforethought-seldom in igno- the word " expecting” for waiting ; rance, and never in stupidity ; but and if so, it is all right. knowing that his strength lay in a
-“ At the sight, style essentially different from the
His harp still in his hand,” &c. old bard's, it was not to be expected, is a picture. It is better than Pope's perhaps not to be desired, that he should lay it aside, and endeavour Leapt from his seat, and laid the harp
“ Achilles, starting as the chiefs he spied, to adopt Homer's, or imitate it,
aside." which, to a poet who had attained consummate excellence of another
“ Leapt” is undignified-Achilles kind, would have been accompanied
started,” but Homer says “leaving with the perpetual constraint of dif- his seat.” The start was momentaficulty, nay, impossible. We must ry,- he walked towards Ulysses take it, then, as it is, and be thank- with the calm air and stately step of ful for another Iliad.
the Hero of Heroes. Only a great master could safely
Sotheby is not faultless—but his come after Pope in this passage, and beauties are pre-eminent. His
verCowper is a great master. How dif- sification, if inferior to Pope's, is flowferently, the two speak of the sea, ing and sonorous—and the diction yet both how finely! Pope brings glows like gold. Perhaps wisely, he the voice of the sea to our ears, by cling earth-shaker,” and calls him the
forbears to touch the « earth-enciralmost an accumulation of epithets -means legitimate, and dear to
ocean-monarch.” Kindling his “hemany delightful poets. We roic fire,” is fine and true. So is,
“ There as the hero feats of heroes “ hear the roar
sang.” Equally excellent is, “ Alone Of murmuring billows on the sounding Patroclus listening to the lay;" and shore.”
" Achilles, wondering, started from Cowper fills our ear with the same
his seat.” But we said the version voice at once,
is not faultless. Perhaps nothing in
this world is except a lily. “ Along the margin of the sounding deep.” legated train," is not to our mind. Pope calls Neptune
It is true but formal.
strain,” and “sounding lyre,” should -“ Ruler of the seas profound, not have been in one passage. Whose liquid arms the mighty globe sur
“ Eëtion's store,” smells of Boston. round,"
We are sorry for it, but we canwhich, though far from being in- not admire,
« Watched till the imtensely Homeric, is not without passioned rapture died away.” Imgrandeur. Cowper calls him, more passioned rapture, if we are not simply and Greekishly, “compasser much mistaken, is a very unhomeric of earth,” nor dreams of telling us form and spirit of speech. But that that his
arms are liquid,” or his is not our chief objection to the line. “ chains brackish,” liquidity and The impassioned rapture did not die brackishness being qualities lying away. We do not believe it would, so much on the surface, as well as even had Achilles not been inter
rupted. His lyrical poem and music Achaia ; Wordsworth-nobler even would have gone off in a tremendous than in the Song at the Feast of burst-it would have rolled away in Brougham Castle-will sanctify in very thunder. Such is our belief; dim religious light the roamings of but it was interrupted--on the ap- that sad Aleian field, and awaken pearance of Ulysses, Achilles stopt the whole world to ruth for furysuddenly, even as we have seen an haunted Bellerophon; Southey-in eagle do in the sky, when flying even loftier inspiration than that at the rate of a hundred miles an
“ Fill high the horn to hour. Sped forth,” gives us the Hirlas”—will celebrate Meleager and notion of covering more ground than
the Boar of Caledon; ColeridgeAchilles had to do ere he seized the wilder than in the Ancient Marinerhands of the chiefs. That is a trifle will rave gloriously of Jason and the -a speck--but the others are flaws. Golden Fleece, and Aling forth fiery So rare without them is
of fragments of argonautics ; Moorepurest ray serene.”
eclipsing the light of his own Loves What a glorious volume of odes, of the Angels, will breath Epithalaelegies, and hymns, would be“ The mia for Venus and Juno, and sighLays of Achilles !” But who could charged roundelays sung to his celeswrite it? Let all our poets form tial Leman by Endymion on Mount themselves into an association, to be Latmos; Crabbe-in vision more called the Achillean, and distribute terrible than the madness of Sir among themselves the subjects of Eustace Grey - will paint Hersong that bestrewed Greece, and the cules Furens, and call his pictureIsles of Greece, before the Trojan poem the Poison'd Shirt; Bowles
To prevent all wrangling, let -pathetic more than on the Grave us who do not belong to the Irritable, of the Last Saxon-will murmur mebe appointed Perpetual Prose-Presi- lody over Hyacinthus or Adonis ; dent. The Achillean Association, at Montgomery-already familiar with each celebration of the anniversay the world before the flood-will of its own birth, shall put into our darken the despair of Deucalionbands the poetry of the preceding and, illustrious above all, Campbell year, and we, like an old Grecian, but there is absolutely no end to ore rotundo, shall chant the Lays of the members of the Achillean AssoAchilles to the harp, an instrument ciation! To, eugete and valete, all ye on which the world acknowledges we bright sons of song, and starlike may excel. The ladies in the gallery- you shine in the “ high heaven of our Festival being in Freemasons' invention !” Hall-will “rain influence and dis- Was the tent of Achilles, think ye, pense the prize.” The prize-poems lighted with gas ? Unquestionably
? , shall all be engrossed in the Album The ages of old were wonderful old of the Achillean Association, and at ages. Not in blind caves sat Thethe end of ten years, a period taken tis below the sea-depths. Lustrous from the Trojan War, the Album shall were all her haunts in the groves of be printed by Ballantyne, and pub. coral; and as she could never have lished by Blackwood, under such stooped to burn oil-indeed too well auspices as never before launched did she love the phocæ--she must into light immortal songs.
have lighted her marine palaces with From the Achillean Association, aerial fire; nor can you doubt for a we prophesy the revival of Lyrical moment that she provided her son Poetry. “ The ancient spirit is not with the unmetered radiance. As the dead;" it but sleepeth, and will awake ambassadors entered, the night-tent as if startled by the sound of a trum- of Achilles was bright as day, and pet. Pindars will appear-and Co- he himself, harp in hand, rising from rinnas too—for the Hemans, and his seat, and advancing towards the Mitford, and the Landon must be them, stately as the beautiful Apollo. members-and the immortal Joanna. How courteous that princely greetSir Walter-more magnificent than in ing! No manners like those of the Marmion-will invent moving minstrelsies for the Mythic tales of Old
Χαίρετον και φίλοι άνδρες ικάνετον» ή τι μάλα χρεώ,
“Ως άρα φωνήσας προτέρω άγε δίoς 'Αχιλλεύς.
Μείζονα δη κρητηρα, Μενοιτίε νίε, καθίσα,
Achilles thus addresses the heroes. We adopt Heyne's punctuation in the first line, wbich is ren rom others, and best, ause most in character with the “ imperatoria brevitas” of Achilles.
NORTH, (literal prose.) Hail: you are indeed friends who have come : verily some necessity strongly (presses
on you) Who to me, angry though I be, are of the Greeks the most beloved. Thus indeed having spoken, the illustrious Achilles led them farther ben, (Scotice ut
supra,) And made them sit down on reclining seats, on purple cushions : And Patroclus, who was near him, he then quickly addressed. " A larger goblet, oh son of Menætius, set down, And more generous mix
t: and for each provide a drinking cup : Since men, by me, the most beloved, are under my roof.”
Princes, all hail! whatever brought you here,
Hail friends! ye come by strong compulsion moved