Page images
PDF
EPUB

XVI.

MISCELLANIES.

ATTEMPT AT A TRANSLATION OF GREEK CHORICS.

[This attempt is intended to imitate, as nearly as possible, the responsive character of the Greek Chorus, as well as the irregularities of its metre, without deviating materially from literal translation.]

Edipus Coloneus, 667, &c. Chorus III. Εὐίππου, ξένε, τᾶσδε χώρας

K. T. X.

STROPHE A.

STRANGER, thy weary feet have strayed
To the fairest spot of our happy plains,
To bright Colonus' glowing mead,

O'er which war-steeds champ the burning reins;
Where far within each sunny glade,

The frequent nightingale

Pours forth her plaintive wail,

Deep in the flowering thicket's gloom embowered;
Nestling beneath the ivy's sombre leaf,

Or the fruit-laden tree,

That none may venture nigh,

Nor ever mortal eye

Rest on the plant that shades the Deity.

There never sunbeams fall,

Or stormy breezes blow,

To parch the rising bud,

Or lay its honours low;

There joyous Bacchus proudly treads,

Amidst the glorious mountain maids,

Who nursed, with ever-anxious care, his helpless infancy.

ANTISTROPHE A.

Light falls the heaven-springing dew
On the narcissus with its clusters fair,
Whose graceful flowers wreathe

The ancient garland for the yellow hair

Of the twain goddesses, and strew
Their temples-far away,

See where a golden ray

Shoots from the burnished crocus underneath
The sleepless founts, whose ceaseless flow
Fill bright Cephissus' stream-
Adown the teeming vale,

Where Plenty bids him hail,

His waters sparkle in the sunny beam—
Nor do the happy choirs,

The ever-tuneful Nine,

Disdain to raise the song

Within the woodland shrine ;

And Venus, with her gilded rein,

Glides lightly o'er the sacred plain,

And bathes her snowy doves in each pellucid stream.

STROPHE B.

But raise a higher strain to sing

The glory of our native land,
The plant that never deigned to spring

On glowing Asia's golden strand,

Nor in the mighty Dorian isle,

Old Pelops' boasted kingdom, ever cast its smile-
Unplanted by man,

Yet ever abounding,

With peace-giving bough,

Hostile armies confounding

Filling the wildest grove with sweet perfume,
The sacred olive's everlasting bloom-

Whose infant-shielding foliage green

Nor fiery youth nor time-worn chief
Shall dare to pluck in scorn, I ween,
For the all-seeing eye of Morian Jove
Looks down to guard it from above,
And azure-eyed Athenè loves the tender leaf-

ANTISTROPHE B.

Yet strike the sounding string once more,

A higher glory still remains,

Long hath this state in triumph wore

The double palm-and double strains

Should greet the victor in the race,

And conqueror on the sea, and double garlands grace—

O! son of old Saturn!

'Tis thou that hast given,

Great Ruler of Ocean,

This boon-we had striven

In vain, hadst not thou, with thy steed-taming rein,
Driven thy coursers o'er our natal plain-
See, the light bounding sea-dipt oar

Skims the smooth marble of the deep,
Plashing amidst its waters hoar,

Whilst round its track, by gulf and bay,
The hundred-footed Nereids play,

And joyous time to their unearthly music keep.

Sutton Coldfield.

J. ECCLESTON.

REMARKS ON A PASSAGE IN NIEBUHR'S LECTURES.

In the second volume of Niebuhr's Lectures on Roman History (by Dr. L. Schmitz p. 98), the following words are given as delivered in his Lecture: "The nearest relative of Cæsar was Antony, whose mother, Julia, was a sister of the deceased." The most obvious explanation that offers itself of the mistake here committed, is, that the youthful student who reported the lecture has misunderstood what was said. Yet the marks of faithfulness in the volume are too strong to allow us to adopt such a hypothesis without urgent cause. Another mode of accounting for the phenomenon may not be without interest.

In the Scholia Bobiensia, edited by Angelo Mai, upon the oration of Cicero in Vatinium (ch. 12, annot. 2), the commentator writes: "Quippe Antonius, qui postea triumvir fuit, matre Juliâ censebatur, C. Cæsaris sorore."

Mai has added to this his own remark: "En cur Antonius ob occisum Cæsarem tantas tragoedias fecerit."

As it cannot be doubted that Mai intended to say that the new scholiast has revealed to us what was before unknown, it is not too much to suppose that Niebuhr, like Mai, was carried away by the authority of this unknown writer, and forgot the far more decisive testimony of Cicero himself (in Catil. iv. ch. 6, § 13), which justifies the common statement that Julia, the mother of Antony, was sister to Lucius, not to Caius Cæsar. Had it been otherwise, Antony would surely have been preferred by Caius Cæsar to young Octavius.

F. W. N.

ON THE METHODS OF STATING THE DATE OF AN HISTORICAL

EVENT.

It seems to me exceedingly absurd and inconvenient, that the events of history should be reckoned on two opposite principles, and that without any reason for fixing on the point at which one of those principles is changed into the other. I say without any reason at all; for the only class or portion of history, with a view to which the fixing on that point might have been convenient, viz. Ecclesiastical History, is actually injured by it, owing to the vulgar æra of Christ's birth being erroneous. For any other purpose, how inconvenient it is! If the change had taken place at any time that might have been considered a division between ancient and modern history, there would have been somewhat less inconvenience in it. We should have used the one reckoning in one part of our studies of history, and the other in the other. But the change comes in the midst of a most important and frequently considered period. Part of the events of Augustus's reign are reckoned backward and part forward. "Tiberius retires to Rhodes in the year 6"-"Returns to Rome in the year 2." It is like the sudden change that Dante mentions in the centre of the earth, when part of the figure of Satan seemed suddenly to be inverted, and his feet to be where his head was. It is the more inconvenient because (unavoidably no doubt) there are two years "one," in contact with one another.

Rational chronologers complain of the number of æras which were adopted, and the (unnecessary, as some of them think) trouble of setting them all out in their tables. But at least they all are consistentthey run the same way; whereas they cut this knot by using a reckoning which goes against all the others, and introduces a constant contradiction whenever we have to resolve it into any one of them. Rapido contrarius evehor orbi. It must be so; no real contemporaneous way of reckoning ever can be backwards, from a future and therefore unknown point.

The Olympiads are always troublesome and puzzling to reckon, especially as the number of the Olympiads is the number of the first year, so that though four years make an Olympiad, we are at the twenty-fifth Olympiad before we are at the hundreth year. But it is much more oppressive to have to couple this difficulty with the retrograde reckoning B.C. As to common sense, and the natural and invincible impression we have of the order of events, it is constantly at variance with them, and consequently we cannot but be always forgetting, that a town is to be taken under a smaller figure than it was besieged; that a man is to die (as it were) younger than he was born.

The Julian Period may be used to mend this, but it is too cumbersome, and quite unmeaning. The A.M. is too high a number too, and worse than unmeaning, delusive; since the age of the world is quite unknown, and was reckoned different ways in different periods, or in different editions of the Hebrew Scriptures. Besides, we cannot possibly alter the modern reckoning A.D., and must build our reckoning before the Christian æra on the reckoning after it, so as to connect with the present time. But what more easy than to establish a Millennium before Christ, and reckon forwards in it; the last year of it, 1000, would be what is now 1 B.C.: then 1 A.D. would follow in natural course; and earlier events might be reckoned in another Millennium in the same way, but in profane history this would be seldom wanted.

All difficulties in chronology, or any other science, that are not necessary, are material evils. They disgust mere learners, or those who have no great inclination or time for the pursuit, from making any progress in it: and to more complete scholars, though they are got over, they are got over by a constant waste of trouble, which would be better employed by such minds in adding to their more useful labours.

66

I cannot but wish that the constantly puzzling practice of speaking of the fifteenth century, the sixteenth century, meaning 14... and 15..., were left off; and that we might say, as the Italians do, the fourteen hundred, the fifteen hundred, &c. The article, with them, distinguishes this expression from what is meant to denote the single year; that is "1400" alone; or the year 1400." The contradiction which follows from our manner of describing the century, greatly prevents our having clear single images, as it were, of dates in our memory, and must often be the cause of positive mistakes and confusion. We should still want to speak of the "first" or "second" century, and particularly in Church History: so, "the three" or "four first centuries" is of course an unobjectionable, and necessary expression on occasion.

C. B.

ON A PASSAGE IN ST. PAUL'S EPISTLE TO THE COLOSSIANS.

66

In Col. III. 5 we find, “ Νεκρώσατε οὖν τὰ μέλη ὑμῶν τὰ ἐπὶ τῆς Yйs, ToрVEÍαν, K. T. A.:" which in the Latin Vulgate is rendered, "Mortificate igitur membra vestra, quæ sunt super terram, fornicationem, &c. ;" and in the English Vulgate, "Mortify therefore your members, the earth, fornication, &c."

which

are upon

« PreviousContinue »