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Ego aliud prorfus hic voluiffe Poetam exiftimo, et pro, ax' ἐμων όπλων, επ ̓ ἐμων όπλων reponendum, ut fenfus fit, non vt manuum arma mea alata occupans, fed, &c. ίσχων εφ' όπλων eft ETOV Onλwv, armis manus injiciens. Ita Ed. Colon. v. 903. ETIOXES AUTOU EEVE, in eum manus injice, O Hofpes. Cum ισχών autem fubaudiri debet εκράτησε μου, vel ώλεσε με, quod ex altero quidem fententiæ membro repetendum erit. Ut conftructio enim integra fit, fcribi illic oportuit pro medu, ὑποδύντα εκράτησε μου, fed Poeia orationem deflexit, et ea quæ pofteriori fententiæ membro neceffaria erant pofuiffe contentus, quæ ad prius membrum accommodari debebant, fubaudienda reliquit. Ponenda autem eft commatis nota post ολουμαι in v. 1134. Periodi nota poft προσφέρων ad finem v,. 1136, et commatis denique, non Coli nota poft xwv in v. 1139.
Ibid. 1199, &c.
Πάλιν παλιν παλαιον
Αλγημ υπ μνώσας με
Thus we conftrue the above verses, agreeably to Dr. Heath.
Iterum, iterum 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 us 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 difguft, we are ready to travel with him through the far more extenfive field of Euripides.
This amiable Poet employed his Mufe in the nobleft 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 Philofophy united their powers in accomplishing their original purpose, the establishment of TRUTH and HARMONY in the Society of Mankind. Euripides poffefied not the fire and force of Æfchylus, nor the glowing fancy of Sophocies; but he knew better than either of them how to addrefs himself to the heart. He was content to draw his images and fentiments from the fimplicity of nature, and thus to prefent 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, Oreftes, and Phanisse, Dr. Heath has made ufe of King's Edition. On the firft of thefe Plays we find no very important or remarkable Annotations in our Author. We cannot agree with him that Aiadenos, xxxwv xxxns, v. 586, fhould be read Asadono xxx xxxos; nor do we think the verfe, as it ftands at prefent, is either unintelligible or difficult. We must also take the liberty to differ from him in the interpretation of the following lines:
Barnes and King, by rendering τιθεμενος βασιν επι χειρα figens greffum fuper manus, or fuper manum, have indeed made ftrange confufion; but our Commentator, by correcting them, has totally perverted the fenfe of the paffage. Nothing more is neceffary than to place in before Barw in the construction, and not before χειρα ; i. c. τιθεμενος χειρα ἐπι βασι
Oreftes, v. 128-9.
Ειδη παρ' άκρας ὡς ἀπέθρισεν τρίχας,
Upon this paffage we have a curious inftance of the ftrenua Inertia, the laborious and infignificant trifling of Commentators. Nothing can be more plain or clear than the paffage 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 she cuts off as much as is thought fufficient, upon which Electra makes an obfervation truly female: "See, fays fhe, how carefully the cuts off the very ends of her hair; this is all to fave her beauty; fhe's the fame woman fill." Such is the literal rendering of the verfes above quoted; and could you, Reader, have imagined that they should have given birth to many grave difquifitions and remarks? Our Author's Note on this paffage is as follows:
"Victorius, in his Epistle to John Cafam, which is extant among his Epiftles, B. III. p. 59, infifts that by anpas Txas is not meant the extreme parts of the hair, but that part which joins to the head; and by the words is ʼn aas yun, is fignified that fo 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 fpoiled her beauty, it had not fuffered in the leaft. The fame Writer, in his various readings, B. XXXII. c. 6. attempts to support and confirm this interpretation by new and fpecious arguments; though, to own the truth, I am far from being perfuaded that his opinion is right. For this interpretation, which explains the words εσιν ἡ παλαι γυνη of the body and not of the mind, feems inconfiftent with thofe philofophical observations on the force of nature, which Electra had been making in the verfes immediately preceding. As to the reft, I prefer the reading which the Scholiaft has given us in fchyl. Agam. v. 545. that is idle, not idle; and instead of rap', which prepofition is here unneceffary, I am of Duport's opinion that we fhould read yup.”
Now, good Reader, what do you think? Do you apprehend that this abfurd and ridiculous cavilling of Victorius, about a paffage which is as clear as the day, fhould or should not have been brought before us? O Doctor! happy had it been for us had you remembered that excellent axiom of Hefiod, πλέον ήμισυ πανος, and happy would it be for your future Readers, would you yet attend to it, and reduce your book to one fourth of its prefent fize! It is really not without reafon we recommend this to you, for, confider the thing in a moral light, how many precious moments may be faved by that means, in the life of man who is born to die!
We have certainly in this cafe a right to complain, for the fwelling and spinning out of useless Comments is an iniquity to be punished by the judges. One fingle Note of Dr. Heath on a pallage in the Phæniffe, v. 218-222-were we to tranfcribe it, would fill five pages of our Review.
With respect to the speech of Medea, in the beginning of the fecond Act, the opening of which our Author declares to be Interpretationis difficillima, et variis variorum Criticorum, Politiani, Victorii, Mureti, Manutii, Columnæ, Difputationibus vexatiffimus,—that it has been vexed and puzzled by Critics and Commentators, we can readily believe; but should never have fufpected that there was any difficulty in it, had not Dr. Heath told us fo. From this we take occafion to advise every Reader fufficiently to examine the fenfe and connection of the text, before he confults any Scholiaft, as he may otherwife be puzzled with difficulties that the text itfelf would never have fuggefted to him. If we may be allowed to add one
axiom more to the wifdom of nations, it shall be this, that 411 Common Senfe is the best Commentator.
Hippol. v. 405-6—7.
Το δ' έργον ήδειν, την νόσον Ίε δυσκλέα,
Neither Barnes, Markland, Musgrave, nor even our Doctor, have hit upon the right conftruction 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 criticifm. Here, gentle Reader, is the interpretation; and, with a decent complacency, we congratulate thee thereupon. Phaedra) that my paffion for Hippolytus was an infamous "I knew (fays thing; and, particularly, as I was a wife, I was well convinced that it would be deteftable to all." his brother Scholiafts, has dreamed over this paffage; MarkBarnes, like all land has blundered, Dr. Heath has been in the dark, but Mufgrave has been pleafant: for he has made out from it, by what means we do not knowthat women are creatures univerfally hated! Upon which our Doctor has made the following grave remark "That women are creatures univerfally hated (fays he) which is Mufgrave's opinion, I cannot fuppofe 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 furname of Mifegunes."
Nothing can be more just and pertinent than our Author's obfervation in this place. It is impoffible that Euripides could have fo little politenefs as to make any fuch affertion, which has no foundation in truth or nature. quelle Idée fauvage! Surely this Dr. Musgrave must have been Mn dieu! fome antiquated Fellow of a College, in whom every gentle fenfation had been long worn out by academic ruft!
Συ Παν θεων ἀκαμπίον Φρενα
We cannot but obferve with fome furprize that the learned. Father Brumoy, whofe Differtations on the Greek Theatre have been read and received with univerfal approbation, has been very unsuccessful in his Interpretation of Euripides. Befide a hundred more paffages that have occurred to us, his
Interpretation of the above verfes is falfe and abfurd. άγεις ἀκαμπίον, he renders reddis immifericordem; whereas nothing can be more clear than that it fhould be ducis inflexibilem, as it is in Barnes, and as Dr. Heath underftands it.
Alceftis. v. 202.
Παρειμένη δε, χειρος άθλιος βαρος.
Dr. Heath has rightly observed that this verse has not been understood by any of the Interpreters. Barnes has rendered Our Commenit Jam enim folutæ funt mifera Vires manuum. tator feems to have hit upon the right conftruction ;-thus he tranflates it, Corpore autem refoluta, miferum fcilicet onus manus Admeti. Thus the conftruction is easier, there being no ellipfis, as χειρος αθλιον βαρος is fubjoined by appofition to παρειμενη, and the fenfe is more natural and obvious.
We have frequently had occafion to mention the peculiar tenderness and pathetic powers of Euripides; we shall therefore lay before our Readers a proof of it in the following paffage, quoted from that affecting scene in Alceftis, where, when dying to fave her husband, Admetus, according to the decree of the Fates, fhe is fupported by him in her laft agonies; and, while the unhappy husband is conjuring her to live, takes leave of her children.
Withdraw, withdraw thy dear fupporting arm,
And night, dark night fwims o'er my clouded eye.