Imágenes de páginas

that the copies had been wrong, and that Bentley's conjectural reading agreed in every particular with the marble itself. That marble is in the British Museum: it was found at the ancient Chalcedon on the Bosporus, opposite Constantinople, and had supported a statue of Zeus Ourios, i. e., “ Zeus the giver of fair winds.” He had a famous temple in that neighbourhood, at the mouth of the Black Sea, where voyagers through the straits were wont to make their vows. The inscription (3797 in the Corpus) consists of four elegiac couplets, of which the style would justify us in supposing that they were at least as old as the age of Alexander: I translate them :

“Zeus, the sure guide who sends the favouring gale,
Claims a last vow before ye spread the sail :
If to the Azure Rocks your course ye urge,
Where in the strait Poseidon lifts the surge,
Or through the broad Ægean seek your home,
Here lay your gift—and speed across the foam.
Behold the god, whose wafting breath divine
All mortals welcome: Philon raised the sign."

It was shortly before his death in 1742 that this proof of his acuteness was given to the world (by John Taylor), along with another. A Persian manuscript bore the date "Yonane (Ionian) 1504:" Bentley showed that this was reckoned from the foundation of the dynasty of Seleucidæ

-“ Ionian” being the general Oriental name for “Hellene”—and meant the year of 1193 of our era.

In 1724 an edition of Terence was published by Dr. Francis Hare. Bentley had long meditated such a work. He was never a jealous man. But he had a good deal of the feeling expressed by the verse, "Shame to be mute and let barbarians speak.” He put forth all his powers. At the beginning of 1726—that is, some eighteen months after the appearance of Hare's Terence–Bentley's came out. And it was not Terence only. Hare had promised the Fables of Phædrus, and Bentley forestalled him by giving these in the same volume; also the “Sentences” (273 lines) of the so-called Publius Syrus.

The Terence is one of Bentley's titles to fame. Any attempt to criticise such an author's text demands a knowledge of his metres. Bentley was the first modern who threw

any clear light on the metrical system of the Latin dramatists. Here, as in other cases, it is essential to remember the point at which he took up the work. Little or nothing of scientific value had been done before bim. The prevalent view had been based on that of Priscian, who recognised in Terence only two metres, the iambic and the trochaic- the metre of which the basis is and that of which it is Every verse was to be forced into one or other of these moulds, by assuming all manner of “licences” on the part of the poet. Nay, Priscian says that in his time some persons denied that there were any metres in Terence at all! (“Quosdam vel abnegare esse in Terentii comoediis metra.") In the preface to an cdition of Terence which appeared almost simultaneously with Bentley's, the Dutch editor, Westerhof, alludes ironically to a hint in Bentley's Horace (Sat. 11. v. 79) that it was possible to restore the Terentian metres; a sneer which it was Westerhof's fate to expiate by compiling the index for Bentley's second edition when it was published at Amsterdam in 1727. The scholars of the sixteenth century who had treated the subject-Glareanus, Erasmus, Faernus—had followed the “licence” theory. Bentley's object was to reclaim as much as possible from this supposed realm of “licence,” and enlarge the domain of law. He points out, first, the variety of Terence's metres, and illustrates each by an English verse.

He then defines certain metrical differences between Roman Comedy, as in Terence, and Roman epic poetry, as in Virgil. The characteristic of Bentley's views on Terentian metre consisted in taking account of accent (“prosody” in the proper sense), and not solely of quantity. To judge from some of Bentley's emendations in poetry, his ear for sound was not very fine; but his ear for rhythm was exact. Guided by this, he could see that the influence of accent in Roman Comedy sometimes overruled the epic and lyric canons of quantitative metre. In one case, however, his attention to accent led him into an erroneous refinement. In Latin, he says, no word of two or more syllables is accented on

last syllable: thus it is virum, not virúm. Comic poets, he urges, writing for popular audiences, bad to guard as much as possible against laying a metrical stress on these final syllables which could not support an accent. In the iambic trimeter they could not observe this rule everywhere. But Terence, said Bentley, always observes it in the third foot. As an example, I may take this


“Ultro ád | me ven ||it únicam | gnatám | suam :"

where the rule, though broken in the 5th foot, is kept in the 3rd. But Bentley seems not to have noticed that this is a result of metre, not of accent: it is due to the


Bentley corrected the text of Terence in about a thousand places (“mille, opinor, locis,” he says)-chiefly on metrical grounds. Yet in every scene of every play, according to Ritschl, he left serious blemishes. That only shows what was the state of the field in which Bentley broke new ground. His work must not be judged as if he propounded a complete metrical doctrine. Rather he threw out a series of original remarks, right in some points, wrong in others, pregnant in all. G. Hermann and Ritschl necessarily speak of Bentley's labours on Terence with mingled praise and censure; both, however, do full justice to the true instinct with which he led the attack on the problem. Modern studies in Latin metre and pronunciation have advanced the questions treated by Bentley to a new stage; but his merit remains. He was the pioneer of metrical knowledge in its application to the Latin drama.

A word of mention is due to the very curious Latin speech which Bentley bas printed in his Terence after the sketch of the metres. It was delivered by him on July 6, 1725, when, as Regius Professor of Divinity, he had occasion to present seven incepting doctors in that faculty. He interprets the old symbols of the doctoral degree—the cap—the book—the gold ring—the chair “believe those who have tried it-no bench is so hard ") —and congratulates the University on the beneficence of George I. It has been wondered why Bentley inserted this speech in his Terence. Surely the reason is evident. He had recently been restored to those degrees which had been taken from him by the Cambridge Senate in 1718. He seizes this opportunity of intimating to the world that he is once more in full exercise of his functions as Regius Professor of Divinity.

It was in his seventy-seventh year (1739) that Bentley fulfilled a project of his youth by publishing an edition of Manilius. At the age of twenty-nine (1691) he had been actively collecting materials, and had even made some progress with the text. In 1727 we find that this work, so long laid aside, stood first on the list of prom.

ises to be redeemed : and in 1736 it was ready for press. A proposal for publishing it was made to Bentley by a London “Society for the Encouragement of Learning," which aimed at protecting anthors from booksellers. Bentley declined. The Manilius was printed in 1739 by Henry Woodfall. It is a beautiful quarto; the frontispiece is Vertue's engraving of Thornhill's portrait of Bentley, aetat. 48 (1710); a good engraving, though a conventional benignity tames and spoils that peculiar expres, sion which is so striking in the picture at Trinity College.

Manilius is the author of an epic poem in five books, called Astronomica : but popular astronomy is subordinate, in his treatment, to astrology. Strangely enough, the poet's age was so open a question with the scholars of the seventeenth century that Gevärts actually identified him with Theodorus Mallius, consul in 399 A.D., whom Claudian panegyrises. The preface to Bentley's edition, written by his nephew Richard, rightly assigns Manilius to the age of Augustus, though without giving the internal proofs. These are plain. Book 1. was finished after the defeat of Varus (A.D. 9), and Book iv. before the death of Augustus (A.D. 14). F. Jacob, in his edition of the poet (rec. Berlin 1846), understands a verse in Book v. (512) as referring to the restoration by Tiberius of Pompey's Theatre, after it had been burnt down in 22

But, according to the marble of Ancyra, Augustus also had repaired that theatre at a great cost, and took credit for allowing the name of Pompey to remain in the dedicatory inscription, instead of replacing it by his own. Clearly it is to this that the words of Manilius allude"Hinc Pompeia manent veteris monimenta triumphi”-implying a compliment not only to the munificence, but to the magnanimity, of Augustus. There is no reason, then,


« AnteriorContinuar »