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SHELLEY’S ESSAYS AND LETTERS FROM ABROAD.
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The jocund rivers, rushing to the main,
First in her streets the Inachian city sees With quicken'd step Tirynthian Hercules : Him Hylas follows : easily he bore The Hero's bow and shafts, a venom'd store, Proud of the freight : the club he fain had grasp'd, But scarce his hand the unwieldy weapon clasp'd. Accustom'd fury kindles in the breast Of Juno, when she spies the unwelcome guest : « Oh that this novel labour did not ask The flower of Græcia’s youth : were this a task Set by Eurystheus, then mine eager hand Had snatch'd the unwilling thunderer's levin-brand ; With storm and darkness and sequacious fire, Already had I wreak’d my vengeful ire. Il can I brook this partner of our way ; Or owe to him our glory on the sea. Such shame be spared me. Never be it said That to Alcides Juno stoop'd for aid.” She spoke ; and on Hæmonia turn'd her view.
There swarm'd along the coast th’ impatient crew. The forest strews the shore : the woods resound, Smit by the glittering axe, and, crashing, nod around. The oars are shaped. The Thespian artist frames The yielding rafters in the tardy flames. With polished adze the pine another splits ; One, plank to plank, with art ingenious, fits. Minerva, from the main-mast bends the bow, Whence bellying ere long the snowy sail shall flow.
Soon as the subtle wax has closed the sides
Seeming as if she scorn'd a mortal's love,
Elsewhere the dread dissension might'st thou see
LITERARY JOURNAL, 1815.
To August 24. Began Pindar in Greek, accompanying it with an Italian translation in verse by different hands, and read to the end of Olymp. ix. The Phenissæ and Medea of Euripides in Porson's edition; and the Supplices, and the two Iphigenias in Markland's, re-edited by Gaisford. Roderic, a tragic poem by Southey, excellent (as that writer often is) in the descriptions of natural objects.
30. Finished the Heraclidæ of Euripides in Elmsley's Edition. The economy of this play is no better than the rest by this poet. After Macaria's noble resolution we hear no more of her except in
two lines, 821 and 822. The fidelity of old Iolaus is very striking. The choruses have less of poetry than we usually meet with in Euripides. In treating a subject somewhat similar in the Suppliants, Æschylus has exhibited a specimen of the severity and dryness of his manner as contrasted with the luxuriant workmanship of the younger tragedian.
To September 26. Read the Hercules Furens of Euripides, one of the finest plays of this poet. Indeed I think he has nothing finer than the last scene between Theseus and Hercules. Began the Sermons of Bishop Bull, 8vo. edit., 1713. In the second he says on the text in St. Peter concerning the Spirits in Prison*, “How and when Christ preached to those spirits in prison, is not my business at present to inquire; but the text plainly enough affirms, that the spirits of those wicked men that were destroyed by the flood, were then in being and in prison too, that is, in the sad place of Judas, in the place and state of miserable souls, reserved as in a jail or dungeon to the future judgment and execution.”— Vol. i., p.56. Towards the conclusion is this passage: “It is here, if anywhere, certain," he has been proving that the soul of men subsists after death, “ that vox populi (or rather populorum) est vox Dei, the voice of all people and nations, howsoever distant in place, however otherwise differing in religion from each other, yet all here singing the same song, must needs
* See before, June 25, 1811, p. 263.