Abbildungen der Seite

Cum bmentamur Bob Apparere labores
Nostros, et Tenui deducta poemata filo. *

It seems also to be another common mistake, that one of Horace's characteristics is the SubLime; of which, indeed, he has given a very few strokes, and those taken from Pindar, and, probably, from Alcasus.f His excellence lay in exquisite observations on human life, and in touching the foibles of mankind with delicacy and urbanity. Tis easy to perceive this moral J turn in

* Eplst. I. ver. 224. lib. 2.

f "De Horatio quidem ita sentimus; si Graecorum Lyrica • estarent, futurum, ut illius furta quamplurima deprehendercntur: qui tamen imitatores servum pecus appellare non dubitarit.——Ex Alcaao, utopinor, [Horatii] multa, &c." Scaliger. Poet. L. 5. c. 7. This is also the opinion of Heyne. Disquisit. jEneid.

J It was this turn of mind, which, if I am not deceived, made Horace more fond of Euripides than of Sophocles; at least if we may judge from his more frequent allusions to the works of the former than of the latter. The dispute about the burying of Ajax, is almost the only passage of Sophocles alluded to in his works. Sat. iii. b. ii. 187. But to the works of Euripides there are many: such as the sacrifice of Iphigenia in the same epistle; the dialogue between Bacchus and Pentheus, at the end of 16 epis. of the 1st book; and the allusion


all his compositions: the writer of the epistles is discerned in the odes. Elegance, not sublimity, was his grand characteristic. Horace is the most popular author of all antiquity; the reason is,

M 3 becausf

to the quarrel of Zethus anil Amphion, epis. 18. book i. In the Art of Poetry, the examples are chiefly taken from the pieces of Euripides; 1

Sit Medea ferox invictaqne, flebilis hto,
Perfidus lxion, lo vaga, tristis Orestes.

And again, . • .

Telephus et Peleus, &c.—and, Telephe, vel Peleu—

Perhaps he had his favourite Euripides in his head, when he mentioned a capital fault in the unravelling a just drama;

Nec Deus intersit, &c.

for Euripides is frequently censured for his conduct in this particular.

Rem tibi Socraticse poterunt ostendere chartae,

is also a line that puts one ip mind of the friend and companion whom Socrates is said even to have assisted in his plays. And if it were not too great a refinement, I would add, that this line, .•[,,, • . •, .

Non satis est pulckra esse poemata duhia sun to,

evidently points out the two known characteristics of the two great Tragedians, and gives the preference to his supposed favourite.

because he abounds in images drawn from fanailiar life, and in remarks, that "come home to mens busiheW and bosoms/' Hence he is more frequently quo'ted^ and'alluded'to,'than any poet #f antiquity. u

40-. See DiosYsrus Homer's thoughts refme,'
.• And e'alr new beauties-fbrth ftom ev'ry Jirie.*

These prosaic lines, this spiritless eulogy, are much below the merit of the critic whom they are intended to celebrate. Pope seems here rather.jto have considered Dionysius as the author only of reflections concerning Homer; and -to have in some measure overlooked, or at least not to have sufficiently insisted on, his most excellent book, nEPI STNeHSEnS ONOMATftN, in which he has unfolded all the secret arts that render composition harmonious. One part of this discourse, I mean from the beginning of the twenty-first to 1 the end of the twenty-fourth Section, is, perhaps, Que of the niosrt useful pieces; of criticism extant. He there discusses the three different species of composition; which he/divides

, into

• . , .' .. . : J i.] > c. ' . • . i' * ,

* Vcr. 665. •.i-•,, . into the Nervous and Austere, the Smooth and Florid, and the Middle, which partakes of the nature of the two others. As examples of the first species, he mentions An'timacnus and Empedbcles in lieroics', Pindar in lyric', iiEschylus in tragic poetry, and Thucydides in history. As examples of the second,' lie produces Hesiod as a writer in heroics'; Sappho, Anacreori, arid Simonides, in lyric; Euripides Only, among tragic writers; among the historians, Ephorus, arid Theopompus; and liberates, among the rhetoricians. All these, says he, have used words that are AEIA, ic«« MAAAKA, x«» nAP0ENniTA. The writers which he alleges as instances of the third species, who have happily blended the two'other species of composition, 'and who are the most complete models oi style, are HonW/'ih epic poetry; Stesichorus and Aicecus, in lyric; in tragic, Sophocles; in history, Herodotus; 'in elo-' qiience, l)embstrfenes; in philosophy, Democritus,' Plato, and Aristotle.* '*

I . . I 1 j, ! . I , •' >' '. * . - «

-'i .' . i ~ V . . A -■ — . i - .' ...... .' . 1

■• •...».. • • "v r.' ■'

M4'XJ" • 4IV Taney

•, i'i .: . . . • J:..'«* .'.'/ '.L. -•::"

* See also the elegant and useful treatise of Dionysms on the characters of all the principal orators, poets, and historians. Sylburgi edit. Lipsiae. Ib91, folio, page 68. vol. 2.

41. Fancy and art in gay Petronius please,

The scholar's learning with the courtier's ease.*

For what merit Petronius should be placed among useful critics, I could never discern. There are not above two or three pages containing critical remarks in his work; the chief merit of which is that of telling a story with grace and ease. His own style is more affected than even that of his contemporaries, when the Augustan simplicity was laid aside. Many of his metaphors are far-fetched, and mixed. His character of Horace, however celebrated, and so often quoted as to become nauseous, "Horatii curiosa fcelicitas," is surely a very unclassical inversion; for he ought to have called it the happy carefulness of Horace, rather than his careful happiness. I shall observe, by the way, that the copy of this author found some years ago, bears many signatures of its spuriousness, and particularly of its being forged by a Frenchman. For we have this expression, "ad Castella sese receperunt;" that is,." to their Chateaux," instead of " ad Villas." They who maintain the genuineness of these fragments

* Ver. 667. ,

« ZurückWeiter »