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vantageously, than it is in her epistle to Jason, one may venture to declare, that the Romans would not yet have been vindicated from their inferiority to the Greeks in tragic poesy.
The Epistle before us is translated by Pope, with faithfulness, and with elegance, and much excels any that Dryden translated in the volume he published; several of which were done by some "of the mob of gentlemen that wrote Avith ease;" that is, Sir C. Scroop, Caryl, Pooly, Wright, Tate, Buckingham, Cooper, and other careless rhymers. A good translation of these epistles is as much wanted as one of Juvenal; for, out of sixteen satires of that poet, Dryden himself translated but six. We can now boast of happy translations in verse, of almost all the great poets of antiquity; whilst the French have been poorly contented with only prose translations of Homer and Horace, which, says Cervantes, can no more resemble the original, than the wrong side of tapestry can represent the right. The inability of the French tongue to express many Greek or Roman ideas with facility and grace, is here
visible j visible; but the Italians have Horace translated * by Pallavacini; Theocritus, by Ricolotti and Salvini; Ovid, by Anguillara; the Mneid, admirably well, in blank verse, by Annibal Caro; and the Georgics, in blank verse also, by Daniello; and Lucretius, by Marchetti.
I return to Ovid, by observing, that he has put into the mouth of his heroine, a greater number of pretty panegyrical epigrams, than of those tender and passionate sentiments which suited her character, and made her sensibility in amours so famous. What can be more elegantly gallant than this compliment to Phaon?
Sume fklem & pharetram; fies manifestos Apollo;
This thought seems indisputably to have been imitated in that most justly celebrated of modern epigrams,
* The Spaniards have the Odyssey of Homer translated in verse by G. Perez. The Medea of Euripides by P. Abril. Parts of Pindar by L. de Leon, and of Theocritus by Villegas. The Eclogues of Virgil by I. Encina. The Georgics, in blank verse, by I. de Guzman. The ^Eneid by L. de Leon, published by Quevedo, 1631.
Lumine Aeon dextro, capta est Leonilla sinistra,
Blaude puer, lumen quod habes, concede sorori,
My chief reason for quoting these delicate lines, was to point out the occasion of them, which seems not to be sufficiently known. They were made on Louis de Maguiron, the most beautiful man of his time, and the great favourite of Henry III. of France, who lost an eye at the siege of Issoire; and on the Princess of Eboli, a great beauty, but who was deprived of the sight of one of her eyes, and who was at the same time mistress of Philip II. King of Spain.
It was happily imagined, to write an epistle in the character of Sappho, who had spoken of love with more warmth and feeling than any writer of antiquity; and who described the violent symptoms attending this passion, in so strong and lively a manner, that the physician Erasistratus is said to have discovered the secret malady of the Prince Antiochus, who was in love with his mother-in-law Stratonice, merely by 1 examining
examining the symptoms of his patient's distem-
rXtouia paltp, ou rot
* No. 223—229.
f Inter novem illustr. fcemin. fragmenta. Edit, a Fulrio Ursino, Antwerp.
Dulcis mater! non
The other fragment is of the descriptive kind, and seems to be the beginning of an Ode addressed to Evening: it is quoted by Demetriu* Phalereus,*
EoTrifi itaila tptftis.
Vesper omnia fers;
From these little fragments, the first of which is an example of the pathetic, and the second of the picturesque, the manner of Sappho might have been gathered, if the two longer odes had not been preserved in the treatises of Dionysius, and of Longinus. I cannot help adopting the application Addison has made of two lines of Phaedrus to these remains of our poetess, which is, • v peihaps,
* Edit. Oxon. p. 104.