페이지 이미지

That I found humour in a pye-bald vest,




Or ever thought that jumping was a jest. [Takes off his mask.
Whence, and what art thou, visionary birth?
Nature disowns, and reason scorns thy mirth :
In thy black aspect every passion sleeps,
The joy that dimples, and the woe that weeps.
How hast thou fill'd the scene with all thy brood
Of fools pursuing, and of fools pursued!
Whose ins and outs no ray of sense discloses,
Whose only plot it is to break our noses;
Whilst from below the trap-door demons rise,
And from above the dangling deities:
And shall I mix in this unhallow'd crew?
May rosin'd lightning1 blast me if I do!
No-I will act-I'll vindicate the stage:
Shakespeare himself shall feel my tragic rage.
Off! off! vile trappings! a new passion reigns!
The madd'ning monarch revels in my veins.
Oh! for a Richard's voice to catch the theme,—
"Give me another horse! bind up my wounds !—soft-
'twas but a dream."


Ay, 'twas but a dream, for now there's no retreating, 25 If I cease Harlequin, I cease from eating.

'Twas thus that Esop's stag, a creature blameless,

Yet something vain, like one that shall be nameless,
Once on the margin of a fountain stood,

And cavill'd at his image in the flood:


"The deuce confound," he cries, "these drumstick shanks They never have my gratitude nor thanks;

They're perfectly disgraceful! strike me dead!

But for a head, yes, yes, I have a head :

How piercing is that eye! how sleek that brow!


My horns! I'm told horns are the fashion now."

Whilst thus he spoke, astonish'd, to his view,
Near, and more near, the hounds and huntsmen drew;
"Hoicks! hark forward!" came thund'ring from behind :
He bounds aloft, outstrips the fleeting wind;

He quits the woods, and tries the beaten ways;

1 Rosin'd lightning stage lightning.-BOLTON CORNEY.


He starts, he pants, he takes the circling maze :
At length, his silly head, so prized before,
Is taught his former folly to deplore;
Whilst his strong limbs conspire to set him free,
And at one bound he saves himself-like me.


[Taking a jump through the stage door.




[The MS. of the following translation in the handwriting of Goldsmith was one of the literary treasures of Mr. Bolton Corney, and the publishers have to thank him for permission to reprint it. Mr. Corney did not become possessed of it until after he had published his own edition of the Poems, and he first gave printed publicity to this before quite unknown work through Mr. Cunningham's edition, 1854. Mr. Forster, to whom Mr. B. Corney also lent the MS., concurs in believing it to be the work of Goldsmith. He describes the MS. as follows ('Life of Goldsmith,' 1854, v. ii., p. 265):-"It is a small quarto manuscript of thirty-four pages, containing 679 lines, to which a fly-leaf is appended, in which Goldsmith notes the differences of nomenclature between Vida's chessmen and our own. It has occasional interlineations and corrections, but rather such as would occur in transcription, than in a first or original copy. Sometimes, indeed, choice appears to have been made between two words equally suitable to the sense and verse, as 'to' for 'toward;' but the insertions and erasures refer almost wholly to words or lines accidentally omitted and replaced." From the evidences of extra care which the MS. discloses, as well as from the apparent effort at "taking up" (as Mr. Forster says) "the manner of the great master of translation, Dryden," the work may be viewed as belonging to the middle-period of Goldsmith's career, that is, to the time immediately subsequent to the publication of the Traveller,' 1765.

Marco Vida (b. about 1480; d. 1567), the Italian poet whom Clement VII. made Bishop of Alba, was but little known in England till Alexander Pope praised his work in his juvenile Essay on Criticism' (1709), thus:

[ocr errors]

"Immortal Vida! on whose honoured brow
The poet's bays and critic's ivy grow:
Cremona now shall ever boast thy name,
As next in place to Mantua, next in fame!"

Essay on Criticism, 11. 705-8.

Later, viz., in 1736, an English translation of the Scacchiæ Ludus ' (Game of Chess) was published by one George Jeffreys. It was Vida's Scacchiæ Ludus' which procured for its author the patronage of Pope Leo X., and subsequently advanced him in the Church and otherwise. He afterwards published the 'Christiad' and other works.-ED.]

ARMIES of box that sportively engage
And mimic real battles in their rage,

Pleased I recount; how, smit with glory's charms,
Two mighty Monarchs met in adverse arms,
Sable and white: assist me to explore,


Ye Serian Nymphs, what ne'er was sung before.
No path appears: yet resolute I stray
Where youth undaunted bids me force my way.
O'er rocks and cliffs while I the task pursue,
Guide me, ye Nymphs, with your unerring clue.
For you the rise of this diversion know,
You first were pleased in Italy to show


This studious sport; from Scacchis was its name,
The pleasing record of your Sister's fame.

When Jove through Ethiopia's parch'd extent


To grace the nuptials of old Ocean went,
Each god was there; and mirth and joy around
To shores remote diffused their happy sound.
Then when their hunger and their thirst no more
Claim'd their attention, and the feast was o'er;
Ocean, with pastime to divert the thought,
Commands a painted table to be brought.
Sixty-four spaces fill the chequer'd square;
Eight in each rank eight equal limits share.
Alike their form, but diff'rent are their dyes,
They fade alternate, and alternate rise,



White after black; such various stains as those
The shelving backs of tortoises disclose.

Then to the Gods, that mute and wondering sate,

You see (says he) the field prepared for fate.
Here will the little armies please your sight,


With adverse colours hurrying to the fight:

On which so oft, with silent sweet surprise,

The Nymphs and Nereids used to feast their eyes,
And all the neighbours of the hoary deep,


When calm the sea, and winds were lull'd asleep.
But see, the mimic heroes tread the board;
He said, and straightway from an urn he pour'd
The sculptured box, that neatly seem'd to ape
The graceful figure of a human shape:-
Equal the strength and number of each foe,
Sixteen appear'd like jet, sixteen like snow.
As their shape varies various is the name,


Different their posts, nor is their strength the same.
There might you see two Kings with equal pride
Gird on their arms, their Consorts by their side;
Here the Foot-warriors glowing after fame,


There prancing Knights and dexterous Archers came,

And Elephants that on their backs sustain

Vast towers of war, and fill and shake the plain.
And now both hosts, preparing for the storm


Of adverse battle, their encampments form.
In the fourth space, and on the farthest line,
Directly opposite the Monarchs shine;
The swarthy on white ground, on sable stands
The silver King; and thence they send commands.
Nearest to these the Queens exert their might;
One the left side, and t'other guards the right:
Where each, by her respective armour known,
Chooses the colour that is like her own.
Then the young Archers,' two, that, snowy-white,
Bend the tough yew, and two, as black as night;
(Greece call'd them Mars's favourites heretofore,
From their delight in war, and thirst of gore).
These on each side the Monarch and his Queen
Surround obedient; next to these are seen
The crested Knights in golden armour gay;




Their steeds by turns curvet, or snort, or neigh.
In either army on each distant wing

Two mighty Elephants their castles bring,
Bulwarks immense! and then at last combine


1 Goldsmith notes in the MS. that he adheres to Vida's chess terms and other arrangements in the mimic war thus-" Archers are what we call Bishops; Horse are what we call Knights; Elephants are what we call Towers, Castles, or Rooks. Apollo has the White men, Mercury the Black."-ED.

Eight of the Foot to form the second line,

The vanguard to the King and Queen; from far
Prepared to open all the fate of war.

So moved the boxen hosts, each double-lined,
Their different colours floating in the wind:
As if an army of the Gauls should go,


With their white standards, o'er the Alpine snow
To meet in rigid fight on scorching sands

The sun-burnt Moors and Memnon's swarthy bands.
Then Father Ocean thus: You see them here,
Celestial Powers, what troops, what camps appear.
Learn now the sev'ral orders of the fray,


For ev'n these arms their stated laws obey.

To lead the fight, the Kings from all their bands


Choose whom they please to bear their great commands. Should a black hero first to battle go,

Instant a white one guards against the blow;

But only one at once can charge or shun the foe.

Their gen'ral purpose on one scheme is bent,


So to besiege the King within the tent,
That there remains no place by subtle flight
From danger free; and that decides the fight.
Meanwhile, howe'er, the sooner to destroy
Th' imperial Prince, remorseless they employ
Their swords in blood; and whosoever dare
Oppose their vengeance, in the ruin share.
Fate thins their camp; the parti-coloured field
Widens apace, as they o'ercome or yield,


But the proud victor takes the captive's post;


There fronts the fury of th' avenging host

One single shock; and (should he ward the blow),

May then retire at pleasure from the foe.

The Foot alone (so their harsh laws ordain)

When they proceed can ne'er return again.
But neither all rush on alike to prove


The terror of their arms: the Foot must move

Directly on, and but a single square;

Yet may these heroes, when they first prepare

To mix in combat on the bloody mead,


Double their sally, and two steps proceed;

But when they wound, their swords they subtly guide

« 이전계속 »