페이지 이미지
PDF
ePub

-κ. τ. λ.

Now Bacchylides, so far as we can judge from the scanty frag. ments remaining of him, and also from the opinions of some of the old critics, formed just that sort of contrast to Pindar, which would be likely to win favour with a luxurious prince and a careless court. He was as open and playful as Pindar was elaborate and serious; he wrote down to the precise level of the taste of his patrons, and it is deeply to be regretted that all patrons bare not possessed a taste equally elegant and pure. His Pythian Odes are lost; the freer and more sagacious judgment of subsequent times avenged the Theban bard by letting this part of his rival's works perish, and all that we now have are of a different description. There are two very sweet fragments of Bacchylides in the Anthology, which will serve as specimens of the simple and easy flowing of his muse. One of these,

γλυκεϊ” ανάγκα σευoμίνα κυλίκων, ,

θάλπησι θυμον Κύπριδος.-κ. is thus prettily, but rather too laxly, translated by Mr. Merivale's son, who has contributed not a few ornaments to this collection :

• Thirsty comrade! would'st thou know
All the raptures that do flow
From those sweet compulsive rules
Of our ancient drinking schools ?-
First, the precious draught shall raise
Amorous thoughts in giddy maze,
Mingling Bacchus' present treasure
With the hopes of higher pleasure.
Next, shall chase through empty air
All th' intolerant host of Care;
Give thee conquest, riches, power;
Bid thee scale the guarded tower;
Bid thee reign o'er land and sea
With unquestion'd sov'reignty.
Thou thy palace shalt behold,
Bright with ivory and gold;
While each ship that ploughs the main,
Filld with Egypt's choicest grain,
Shall unload her pond'rous store,

Thirsty comrade, at thy door.'—p. 76.
The other is better known, and was thus rendered by the late
Mr. Bland:

τίκτει δε θνατοϊσιν ειρήνα μεγάλα

πλούτον, και μιλιγλώσσων αοιδών άνθεα.-κ. τ. λ.
. For thee, sweet Peace, Abundance leads along
Her jovial train, and bards awake to song.

On

On many an altar, at thy glad return,
Pure victims bleed, and holy odours burn;
And frolic youth their happy age apply
To graceful movements, sports, and minstrelsy.
Dark spiders weave their webs within the shield;
Rust eats the spear, the terror of the field;
And brazen trumpets now no more affright
The silent slumber and repose of night.
Banquet, and song, and revel, fill the ways,

And youths, and maidens sing their roundelays.'-p.77. The early and original lyric poetry of Greece died away in the two unequally balanced forms of the scolium or song, and the scenic chorus. Some of the remaining specimens of the former have all the spirit and flow of the best of the beautiful songs of our good English literature, especially those in the Shakspearian dramatists, and by the old cavaliers, Lovelace, Suckling, Carew, and the like: other specimens are in a graver and more exalted tone, and make us doubt what the real limits of the scolium were supposed to be. Of this last class we instance the noble Hymn to Virtue-attributed, and properly attributed, as we believe, by Athenæus, to Aristotle :

'Αρετά, πολύμοχθι γίνει βρoτείων,

θήραμα κάλλιστον βίω.-και, τ. λ.
O sought with toil and mortal strife

By those of human birth,
Virtue, thou noblest end of life,

Thou goodliest gain on earth!
Thee, Maid, to win, our youth would bear,
Unwearied, fiery pains; and dare

Death for thy beauty's worth ;
So bright thy proffer'd honours shine,
Like clusters of a fruit divine.
Sweeter than slumber's boasted joys,

And more desir'd than gold,
Dearer than nature's dearest ties :

For thee those heroes old,
Herculean son of highest Jove,
And the twin-birth of Leda, strove

By perils manifold :
Pelides' son, with like desire,
And Ajax, sought the Stygian fire.
The bard shall crown with lasting bay,

And age immortal make
Atarna's sovereign, 'reft of day

For thy dear beauty's sake:
VOL. XLIX, NO. XCVIII,

Him,

Him, therefore, the recording Nine
In songs extol to heights divine,

And every chord awake;
Promoting still, with reverence due,
The meed of friendship, tried and true.'

Merivale, p. 91. Of that species of the scolium, which more exactly corresponds with our notion of a song, there are instances in abundance, from the Alcæus-like outburst of Callistratus

εν μύρτου κλαδί το ξίφος φορήσω.-κ. τ. λ.to the lover's wish—so oddly attributed to Alcæus :

είδε λύρη καλή γενοίμην ελεφαντίνη.-κ. τ. λ.
• I wish I were an ivory lyre-

A lyre of burnish'd ivory-
That to the Dionysian choir

Blooming boys might carry me!
Or would I were a chalice bright,

Of virgin gold by fire untried-
For virgin chaste as morning light

To bear me to the altar side.' — Merivale, p. 88. These few lines have set all poetical lovers a wishing, for ages since, even down to our I wish I were a Butterfly!' Take the prettiest of these wishes, all strung together in lines, which we doubt if any poet in Meleager's Garland could have mended:

No fairer maid does Love's wide empire know-
No fairer maid e'er heav'd the bosom's snow-
A thousand loves around her forehead fly ;
A thousand loves sit melting in her eye;
Love lights her smile-in Joy's red nectar dips
His myrtle flower, and plants it on her lips.
She speaks! and hark, that passion-warbled song-
Still, Fancy! still that voice, those notes prolong!
As sweet as when that voice with rapturous falls
Shall wake the softened echoes of heaven's halls
O (have I sighed) were mine the wizard's rod,
Or mine the power of Proteus, changeful god!
A flower-entangled ARBOUR I would seem,
To shield

my love from noon-tide's sultry beann :
Or bloom a MYRTLE, from whose odorous boughs
My love might weave gay garlands for her brows.
When twilighit stole across the fading vale,
To fan my love, I'd be the EVENING GALE ;
Mourn in the soft folds of her swelling vest,
And flutter my faint pinions on her breast !

On

On seraph wing I'd float a DREAM by night,
To soothe my love with shadows of delight:
Or soar aloft to be the SPANGLED SKIES,

And gaze upon her with a thousand eyes !—COLERIDGE. It would lead us into another subject, if we were now to go on to distinguish, as we have it in our minds to do, between the lyric poetry proper of old Greece and the choric songs of the great dramatists. Another more fitting opportunity may be found; and enough of such old lore for the present. Pleasant, indeed very pleasant it is to us to recur for a brief hour to the themes of those sweet and silent studies in which we passed our youth, and to take a second draught at the fountains of almost all that is just and beautiful in human language. Such a momentary diversion must be delightful to every one who has within him any sense of the true and the pure in taste; but who can estimate the peculiar gust with which Reviewers turn to an old master, from the thousand-times-hashed novel, the lying memoir, or the brutal pamphlet?

Art. IV.-A Treatise on the Care, Treatment, and Training

of the English Race-horse. By R. Darvill, V. S., 7th Hussars.

London. 8vo. 1832. IN splendour of exhibition and multitude of attendants, New

market, Epsom, Ascot, or Doncaster would bear no comparison with the imposing spectacles of the Olympic Games ; and had not racing been considered in Greece a matter of the highest national importance, Sophocles would have been guilty of a great fault in his Electra, when he puts into the mouth of the messenger who comes to recount the death of Orestes, a long description of the above sports. Nor are these the only points of difference between the racing of Olympia and Newmarket. At the former, honour alone was the reward of the winner, and no man lost either his character or his money.* But still, great as must

have

Of the training and management of the Olympic race-horse we are unfortunately left in ignorance all that can be inferred being the fact, that the equestrian candidates were required to enter their names and send their horses to Elis at least thirty days before the celebration of the games commenced, and that the charioteers and riders, whether owners or proxies, went through a prescribed course of exercise during the intervening month.' In some respects, we can see, they closely resembled ourselves. They had their course for full-aged horses, and their course for colts; and their prize for which mares only started, corresponding with our Epsom Oaks-stakes. It is true, that the race with riding-horses was neither so magnificent nor so expensive, and consequently not considered so royal, as the race with chariots, yet they had their gentlemen-jockeys in those days, and noted ones too, for amongst the number were Philip, king of Macedon, and Hiero, king of Syracuse. The first Olympic ode of

2 D 2

Pindar

have been in those old days the passion for equestrian distinction, it
was left for later times to display, to perfection, the full powers of
the race-horse. The want of stirrups alone must have been a terrible
want. With the well-caparisoned war-horse, or the highly-finished
cheval d'école, even in his gallopade, capriole, or balotade, the rider
may sit down upon his twist, and secure himself in his saddle by the
clip which his thighs and knees will afford him ; but there is none
of that (obstando) resisting power about his seat which enables
him to contend with the race-horse in his gallop. We admit that
a very slight comparison can be drawn between the race-horse of
ancient and that of modern days ; but whoever has seen the print
of the celebrated jockey, John Oakley, on Eclipse—the only man,
by the way, who could ride him well-will be convinced that,
without the fulcrum of stirrups, he could not have ridden him at
all; as, from the style in which he ran, his nose alunost sweeping
the ground, he would very soon have been pulled from the saddle
over his head.
Cowper says, in bitter satire-

"We justly boast
At least superior jockeyship, and claim

The honours of the turf as all our own! The abuses of the turf we abhor, and shall in part expose ; let it not, however, be forgotten that, had we no racing, we should not be in possession of the noblest animal in the creation-the thorough-bred horse. Remember, too, that poor human nature cannot exist without some sort of recreation ; even the rigid Cato

says, the man who has no time to be idle is a slave.' Inclosures, and gradual refinement of manners, have already contracted the circle of rural sports for which England has been so celebrated ; and we confess we are sorry for this, for we certainly give many of them the preference over racing. Hawking has disappeared; shooting has lost the wild, sportsmanlike character of earlier days; and hare-hunting has fallen into disrepute. Foshunting, no doubt, stands its ground, but fears are entertained even for the king of sports. Fox-hunting suspends the cares of life, whilst the speculations of the race-course too generally increase them. The one steels the constitution, whilst the anxious cares of the other have a contrary effect. The love of the chase may be said to be screwed into the soul of man by the noble hand of Pindar, indeed, is inscribed to the latter sovereign, in which mention is made of his horse Phrenicus, on which he was the winner of the Olympic crown. Considerable obscurity, however, hangs over most of the details of the Olympic turf, and par. ticularly as regards the classing of the riders, and the weights the horses carried. It is generally supposed these points were left to the discretion of the judges, who were sworn to do justice; and here we have a faint resemblance to the modern handicap.

nature,

« 이전계속 »