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of writing. Thus the Odyssey furnishing us with rules of morality, drawn from that course of life which the suitors lead in the palace of Ulysses, has in some degrees the air of a Comedy, where the various manners of men are ingeniously and faithfully described.
Let us consider next, whether we cannot find out some other means to infuse Sublimity into our writings. Now, as there are no subjects which are not attended by some adherent Circumstances, an accurate and judicious choice of the most suitable of these Circumstances, and an ingenious and skilful connexion of them into one body, must necessarily produce the Sublime. For what by the judicious choice, and what by the skilful connexion, they cannot but very much affect the imagination.
Sappho is an instance of this, who having observed the anxieties and tortures inseparable to jealous love, has collected and displayed them all with the most lively exact
But in what particular has she shewn her excellence? In selecting those circumstances which suit best with her subject, and
afterwards connecting them together with so much art.
Blest as th' immortal gods is he,
There is a line at the end of this Ode of Sappho in the original, which is taken no notice of in the translation, because the sense is complete without it, and if admitted, it would throw confusion on the whole.
The title of this Ode in Ursinus, in the fragments of Sappho, is, To the beloved Fair; and it is the right. For Plutarch (to omit the testimonies of many others) in his Eroticon, has these words: “ The beautiful “ Sappho says, that at sight of her beloved fair, her “ voice was suppressed,” &c. Besides, Strabo and Athenæus tell us, that the name of this fair one was Dorica, and that she was loved by Charaxus, Sappho’s
Are you not amazed, my friend, to find how in the same moment she is at a loss for her soul, her body, her ears, her tongue, her
brother. Let us then suppose that this Dorica, Sappho's infamous paramour, receives the addresses of Charaxus, and admits him into her company as her lover. This very moment Sappho unexpectedly enters, and stricken at what she sees, feels tormenting emotions. In this Ode therefore, she endeavours to express that wrath, jealousy, and anguish, which distracted her with such variety of torture. This, in my opinion, is the subject of the Ode. And whoeyer joins in my sentiments, cannot but disapprove the following verses in the French translation by Boileau :
--dans les doux transports où s'égare mon ame:
Je tombe dans des douces langueurs. The word doux will in no wise express the rage and distraction of Sappho's mind. It is always used in a contrary sense. Catullus has translated this Ode almost verbally, and Lucretius has imitated it in his third book.
DR. PEARCE. The English translation I have borrowed from the Spectator, No 229. It was done by Mr. Philips, and has been very much applauded, though the following line,
For while I gaz'd, in transport tost, and this,
My blood with gentle horrors thrill'd, will be liable to the same censure with Boileau's douces langueurs,
eyes, her colour, all of them as much absent from her, as if they had never belonged to her? And what contrary effects does she feel
A critique on this Ode may be seen in the same Spectator. It has been admired in all ages, and besides the imitation of it by Catullus and Lucretius, a great resemblance of it is easily perceivable in Horace's Ode to Lydia, l. 1. 0. 13. and in Virgil's Æneid, lib. 4.
Longinus attributes its beauty to the judicious choice of those circumstances which are the constant, though surprising attendants upon love. It is certainly a passion that has more prevalent sensations of pleasure and pain, and affects the mind with a greater diversity of impressions, than any other.
Love is a smoke, rais'd with the fume of sight;
SHAKESPEARE IN ROMEO AND JULIET. The qualities of love are certainly very proper for the management of a good poet. It is a subject on which many may shine in different lights, yet keep clear of all that whining and rant with which the stage is continually pestered. The ancients have scarcely meddled with it in any of their tragedies. Shakespeare has shewn it, in almost all its degrees, by different characters in one or other of his plays. Otway has wrought it up fincly in the Orphan, to raise our pity. Dryden expresses its thoughtless violence very well, in his All for Love. Mr. Addison has painted it both successful and unfortunate, with the highest judgment, in his Cato.
together? She glows, she chills, she raves, she reasons ; now she is in tumults, and now she is dying away. In a word, she seems not
But Adam and Eve, in Milton, are the finest picture of conjugal love that ever was drawn. In them it is true warmth of affection, without the violence or fury of passion; a sweet and reasonable tenderness, without any cloying or insipid fondness. In its serenity and sunshine, it is noble, amiable, endearing, and innocent. When it jars and goes out of tune, as on some occasions it will, there is anger and resentment. He is gloomy, she complains and weeps, yet love has still its force. Eve knows how to submit, and Adam to forgive. We are pleased that they have quarrelled, when we see the agreeable manner in which they are reconciled. They have enjoyed Prosperity, and will share Adversity together. And the last scene, in which we behold this unfortunate couple, is when
They hand in hand with wand'ring steps and slow Thro' Eden take their solitary way.
Tasso, in his Gierusalemme liberata, has lost no opportunity of embellishing his poem with some incidents of this passion. He even breaks in upon the rules of Epic, by introducing the episode of Olindo and Sophronia, in his 2d Canto: for they never appear again in the poem, and have no share in the action of it. Two of his great personages are a Husband and Wife, who fight always side by side, and die together. The power, the allurements, the tyranny of beauty is amply displayed in the coquettish character of Armida, in the 4th Canto. He indeed always shews the effects of the passion in true colours ; but then he does more, he re