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ces, and kindled their poetical fires at thöfe then unextinguished lamps which burned within the tombs of oriental genius.
IT is evident that Homer bas availed himself of those magnificent images and descriptions fo frequently to be met with in the books of the Old Testament; and why may not beccritus, Moschus and Bion have found their archetypes in other eastern writers, whose names have perished with their works? yet, though it may not be illiberal to admit such a fuppofition, it would, certainly, be invidious to conclude what the malignity of cavillers alone could fuggest with regard to Homer, that they destroyed the fources from which they borrowed, and, as ic is fabled of the young of the pelican, drained their supporters to death.
As the septuagint-translation of the Old Testament was performed at the request, and under the patronage of Ptolemy Phliladelphus, it were not to be wondered if Theocritus, who was entertained at that prince's court, had borrowed some part of his pastoral imagery from the poetical passages of those books. I think it can hardly be doubted that the Sicilian poet had in his eye certain expressions of the prophet Isaiah, when he wrote the following lines.
Νυν τα μεν φορεοίίε βατοι, φορεοιτε δάκανθαι
και τως κυνας ωλαφος έλκος. .
Let vexing brambles the blue violet bear,
the cause, indeed, of these phoenomena is very different in the Greek from what it is in the Hebrew poet; the former employing them on the death, the latter on the Birth of an important perfon: but the marks of imitation are nevertheless obvious.
It might, however, be expected that if Theocritus had borrowed at all from the facred writers, the celebrated pastoral Epithalamium of Solomon, so much within his own walk of Poetry, would not certainly have escaped his notice. His Epithalamium on the marriage of Helena, moreover, gave him an open field for imitation; therefore, if he has any obligations to the royal bard, we may expect to find them there. The very opening of the poem is in the spirit of the Hebrew song:
Ουτω δε πρίζα κατεδραθες, ω φιλε γαμορε ;
The colour of imitation is still stronger in the following passage :
'Aως αντελλσισα καλον διεφαινε προσωπον,
αρματι Θεσσαλος ιππος.
This description of Helen is infinitely above the style and figure of the Sicilian pastoral. “ She is like the rising of the golden morning, «« when the night departeth, and when the 66 winter is over and gone.
She resembleth the “ cypress in the garden, the horse in the chariots o of Thessaly.” These figures plainly declare their origin, and others equally imitative might be pointed out in the fame idyllium.
This beautiful and luxuriant marriage.paftoral of Solomon is the only perfect form
of the oriental eclogue that has survived the ruins of time, a happiness for which it is, probably, more indebted to its sacred character than to its intrinsick merit. Not that it is by any means destitute of poetical excellence: like all the eastern poetry, it is bold, wild and unconnected in its figures, allusions and parts, and has all that graceful and magnificent daring which characterises its metaphorical and comparative imagery.
In consequence of these peculiarities, so ill adapted to the frigid genius of the north, Mr. COLLINS could make but little use of it as a precedent for his oriental eclogues, and even in his third eclogue, where the subject is of a fimilar nature, he has chosen rather to follow the mode of the Doric and the Latian pastoral.