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Ego aliud prorsus hic voluise Poetam existimo, et pro, an'
Παλια παλιν παλαιον
Ω λωσε των πριν εντοπων. .
Iterum, iteruin veterem injuriam in memoriam revocafli, o optime, ab iis mihi factum qui huc olim appulerunt. That is, by the Greeks, and particularly Agamemnon, Menelaus, and Ulyffes. But, in v. 1200, the word pe should be omitted, which is not in the edition of Aldus.
We have now arrived with our Commentator at the end of his annotations on Sophocles; and we own that, without either weariness or disguft, we are ready to travel with him through the far more extensive field of Euripides.
This amiable Poet employed his Mufe in the noblest province of virtue, to correct the manners and humanize the temper of his fellow citizens. This great work he attempted in conjunction with the divine Socrates ; and Poetry and Philosophy united their powers in accomplishing their original purpose, the establishment of Truth and HARMONY in the Society of Mankind. Euripides possessed not the fire and force of Æschylus, nor the glowing fancy of Sophocles; but he knew better than either of them how to address himself to the heart. He was content to draw his images and sentiments from the fimplicity of nature, and thus to present them to the conceptions of his audience. Hence he became the favourite Poet of the people; who, while they
admired the towering genius of Sophocles, gave up all their affections to the more tender, more natural Euripides.
In Hecuba, Orejtes, and Pheniljee, Dr. Heath has made use of King's Edition. On the first of these Plays we find no very important or remarkable Annotations in our Author. We cannot agree with him that Anadoxos, xxxww XxxNs, v. 586, should be read Ascooxov xxxov xax015 ; nor do we think the verse, as it stands at present, is either unintelligible or difficult. We must also take the liberty to differ from him in the interpretation of the following lines : Hecub. v. 1056-7-8.
Πα βω; πα πα και τα κελσι,
Τιθεμενος επι χειρα, και ίχνος. Barnes and King, by rendering τιθεμενος βασιν επι χειρα figens greffum fuper manus, or super mani.m, have indeed made strange confusion; but our Commentator, by correcting them, has totally perverted the sense of the pasiage. Nothing more is necessary than to place to before Brow in the construction, and not before χειρα και 1. ε. τιθεμενος χειρα επι βασιν, Dreftes, v. 128---9.
Ε7παρ' άκρας ως απιθρισεν τριχας,
Σωζουσα καλλος έσιν ή παλαι γυνη. Upon this passage we have a curious instance of the strenua Inertia, the laborious and insignificant trifling of Commentators. Nothing can be more plain or clear than the passage itself. Helena fends her daughter Hermione to facrifice to manes of Clytemnestra; her own hair is to make a part of the offering, for which purpose the cuts off as much as is thought sufficient, upon which Electra makes an observation truly female : “ See, says she, how carefully she cuts off the very ends of her hair; this is all to save her beauty; she's the fame woman All.” Such is the literal rendering of the verses above quoted; and could you, Reader, have imagined that they should have given birth to many grave disquisitions and remarks ? Our Author's Note on this passage is as follows:
“ Victorius, in his Epistle to John Caram, which is extant among his Epiftles, B. lil. p. 59, infifts that by expas Tpixas is not meant the extreme parts of the hair, but that part which joins to the head; and by the words isiv in taas quun, is fignified that so great was the beauty of Helen, that even when this was done, when her hair was cut up by the very roots, a thing which of all others fhould have spoiled her beauty, it had not suffered in the least. The same Writer, in his various readings, B. XXXII. c. 6. attempts to support and confirm this interpretation by new and specious arguments; though, to own the truth, I am far from being persuaded that his opinion is right. For this interpretation, which explains the words εσιν ή παλαι γυνη of the body and not of the mind, seems inconsistent with thofe philosophical observations on the force of nature, which Electra had been making in the verses immediately preceding. As to the rest, I prefer the reading which the Scholiaft has given us in Æschyl. Agam. v. 545. that is id:ls, not érdéle; and instead of map, which preposition is here unnecessary, I am of Duport's opinion that we should read
yapo" Now, good Reader, what do you think? Do you apprehend that this absurd and ridiculous cavilling of Victorius, about a passage which is as clear as the day, should or should not have been brought before us ? O Doctor! happy had it been for us had you remembered that excellent axiom of Hefiod, πλεον ημισυ πανloς, and happy would it be for your future Readers, would you yet attend to it, and reduce your book to one fourth of its present fize! It is really not without reason we recommend this to you, for, consider the thing in a moral light, how many precious moments may be saved by that means, in the life of man who is born to die !
We have certainly in this case a right to complain, for the fwelling and spinnin' out of useless Comments is an iniquity to be punished by the judges. One single Note of Dr. Heath on a paisage in the Phæniffæ, v. 218–222--Were we to transcribe it, would fill five pages of our Review.
With respect to the speech of Medea, in the beginning of the second Act, the opening of which our Author declares to be Interpretationis difficilima, et variis variorum Criticorum, Politinni, Victorii, Mureti, Manutii, Columna, Disputationil us vexatisinius,—that it has been vexed and puzzled by Critics and Commentators, we can readily believe; but should never have suspected that there was any difficulty in it, had not Dr. Heath told us fo. From this we take occasion to advise every Reader sufficiently to examine the fense and connection of the text, before he consults any Scholiaft, as he may otherwise be puzzled with difficulties that the text itself would never have suggested to him. If we may be allowed to add one
axion more to the wisdom of nations, it fall be this, that
Το δ έργον ήδειν, την νοσον 7ε δυσκλέα,
Μισημα πασιν---Neither Barnes, Markland, Musgrave, nor even our Dactor, have hit upon the right construction of this paffage. It was referved for the Authors of the Monthly Review to develope that meaning which has lain hid through revolving ages, and to bear away the palm of profound criticism. Here, gentle Reader, is the interpretation; and, with a decent com placency, we congratulate thee thereupon. “ I knew (fays Phædra) that my passion for Hippolytus was an infamous thing; and, particularly, as I was a wife, I was well convinced that it would be deteftable to all.” Barnes, like all his brother Scholiasts, has dreamed over this passage; Markland has blundered, Dr. Heath has been in the dark, but Musgrave has been pleasant :- for he has made out from it, by what means we do not know- -that women are creatures universally hated! Upon which our Doctor has made the following grave remark
" That women are creatures universally hated (says he) which is Musgrave's opinion, I cannot suppose that even Euripides himself would have had the hardiness to affert, though he has fometimes spoken disrespectfully of the Ladies, by which means he has got the surname of Misugunes.”
Nothing can be more just and pertinent than our Author's observation in this place. It is impossible that Euripides could have so little politeness as to make any such assertion, which has no foundation in truth or nature. Mn dieu ! quelle Idée sauvage! Surely this Dr. Musgrave must have been fome antiquated Fellow of a College, in whom every gentle sensation had been long worn out by academic rust! Ibid. 1268-9.
Συ Ιαν θεων ακαμπτον Φρενα
Και βραίων αγεις. We cannot but observe with some surprize that the learned, Father Brumoy, whose Differtations on the Greek Theatre have been read and received with universal approbation, bas been very unsuccessful in his Interpretation of Euripides. Befide a hundred more passages that have occurred to us, his Interpretation of the above verses is false and absurd. eyes a'xxporlov, he renders reddis immifericordem; whereas nothing can be more clear than that it ihould be ducis inflexibilem, as it is in Barnes, and as Dr. Heath understands it. Alcestis. v. 202.
Παρειμενη δι, χιρος άθλιον βαρος. . Dr. Heath has rightly observed that this verse has not been understood by any of the Interpreters. Barnes has rendered it Jam enim soluta sunt miferæ Vires manuum. Our Commentator seems to have hit upon the right construction ;-thus he translates it, Corpore autem resoluta, miferum scilicet onus manus Admeti. Thus the construction is easier, there being no ellipfis, as χειρος αθλιον βαρος is fubjoined by appofition to παρειμενη,
and the sense is more natural and obvious. We have frequently had occasion to mention the peculiar tenderness and pathetic powers of Euripides; we shall therefore lay before our Readers a proof of it in the following passage, quoted from that affecting scene in Alcestis, where, when dying to save her husband, Admetus, according to the decree of the Fates, she is supported by him in her last agonies; and, while the unhappy husband is conjuring her to live, takes leave of her children.
Α Λ Κ Η Σ Τ Ι Σ.
Α Δ Μ Η Τ Ο Σ.