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Immemor at juvenis fugiens pellit vada remis,
Saxea ut effigies bacchantis prospicit Evæ, &c.
There is some fine passionate painting in the second Choral Ode of the Agamemnon. The feeling of the passage, to which I allude, is perhaps conveyed in this free translation, which however departs far enough, I own, from the grand statue-like simplicity and severity of the original.
Πάρεστι σίγ' ἐς ἁτίμους ἀλοίδορος.
K. T. λ.
He comes and he casts not a curse on their head!
8 Nuptiæ Pelei et Thetidos, ver. 58.
9 I should prefer the old reading with Hermann's emendation of σiyacı, if scholars allowed it,
Πάρεστι σιγάς, ἄτιμος, ἀλοίδορος,
Αριστος αφεμένων ἰδεῖν.
and would render it thus,
He comes in silence, unavenged, unreviling,
as we might say, no other man was ever seen to take such a thing so sweetly and quietly. Passow gives the word atyás, and also suggests σiyās Doric for σιγῆς, σιγήεις: but ᾶσ would not correspond to the metre of the antistrophe. I cannot see why artpos is inapplicable to Menelaus, as Klausen intimates: to Helen it certainly is. Scholefield reads
Πάρεστι σῖγ' ἄτιμος, ἀλλ' ἀλοίδορος
my objection to which is that the first verse runs like prose: XX' anoídopos, would hardly do in the heart of a choral ode;-for the second line, that depévav does not properly mean gone away, but let go, and that it does not carry on the sense of the preceding line so directly and closely as that which I suggest.
10" And in the yearning sick for her
Who now beyond the sea doth roam,
A phantasm vain shall seem to sit as queen within his home."
"Avarca is Greek for a Queen, the feminine termination precluding all ambiguity; but would avoσew be used by a Greek writer to signify the mere
For he wastes, and his figure, so comely of yore,
As the full bright stream when a drought comes on
In the visions of night
He beholds the departed:
But she glides from his embrace
By a path he cannot trace,
And leaves him heavy-hearted;
Sadden'd by brief delight!
Frail pleasures that vanish when daylight appears,
As the light plumes of hoar-frost dissolve into tears,12
presiding of a queen consort? An English poet would not have used the term reign in such a case.
11 Consider the force of Eppe: is gone, perishes: ĕppet rà xaλú "her beauty is decayed," or "the luck is gone." How can beauty go away from the eyes of busts and statues where it never was?-not to speak of the anachronism of the notion, pointed out by Klausen. His interpretation is far better: "in the want, or loss, which his eyes sustain, all joy of love is lost to him." But I believe that 'Appodírn, by itself, oftener means beauty than the joys of love. Whether that be so or not, I believe that Eschylus meant simply to say, In the hollows of his eyes all beauty perishes his eye is consumed, like the Psalmist's, for very trouble.
"Man delights not me," says Hamlet," nor woman neither." A statue consoles not me, says Menelaus, for the loss of a handsome wife! Shade of Eschylus, is this, or is it not, a platitude? To say that the ancient chief took no pleasure in bright smiles of deep-zoned maids, or in flowing bowls of rich wine, would be worth saying; but to affirm that he cared little for stony images with eyes that see not, and limbs that move not, and bloodless cheeks, is not much in the spirit of those times, or perhaps of any times. Well! Pygmalion fell in love with a statue, but it was one of his own making; and most of us are apt to conceive a violent affection for our own works, whether they be statuary, poetry, or criticism. Perhaps I must "own the soft impeachment" with regard to myself.
12 I know what a host of authorities are against me, yet cannot help understanding verses 382-3-4-5-6, more simply than as the commentators, who are all divided one against another in regard to the exact sense of the passage, understand it. To me it seems a mere expansion of the Psalm ist's complaint, My beauty is gone, or mine eye is consumed, for very trouble. Compare with Isa. lii., 14, and Psalms xxii., 14-17-xxxi., 10, cii., 3-5, and Lam. iii., 4. The key of it is that expression Dúopa. Surely either xerat is corrupt, or it must admit the sense, is alienated from the man" it seems so plain that it is the state and appearance of Menelaus himself under the influence of sorrow that is described. How animated is
That noble ode of Klopstock's, so admired by Mr. Carlyle, Die beiden Musen, is finely painted: and the Alcaic metre, in which it is written,
the antithesis of spectre-its tenuity and impotence-with reigning!—of the statue-its changeless bulk and symmetry,-with the wasting mourner!-and how naturally follows upon this the description of the sunken eye! For a beautiful eye, in health and gladness, looks not only bright but full; it is like a lucid pool that rises to the edge of its banks, or a shining stream that fills its channel. In sickness and sorrow it seems to have shrunk, like the same pool when it has been drained or dried up, and shines feebly from the bottom of a darksome cavity. Mine eyes fail, says the Psalmist, waiting vainly for comfort from above. Such an interpretation is more simple, sensuous, and impassioned, than the forced thought that the wraith of Helen shall seem to reign in the Palace, which Helen herself never did; and the ineffably flat one, that Menelaus hates fine statues because she is absent, and gazes with disgust on their vacant eyesockets. Cannot some scholar suggest another reading for exocrat, or find out that it may mean what I suggest?
A great scholar and commentator is quite against me, I find, in this matter. Klausen calls it ridiculous, though without showing why, to apply paopa to Menelaus. What thin partitions must divide the ridiculous and the reasonable, if critics can differ as they do on this passage!—for v. 383 has been very often applied to Menelaus. Klausen applies the whole description to Helen: verses 380-81, he reads thus: " She comes in silence to those that have not obtained vengeance (i. e. the Atrida), unreproached, most agreeable of dismissed wives to behold." In justification of She comes, he refers to v. 358 πάρεισιν δόξαι κ. T. A. This seems to me, I own, very forced. To say that appearances, visions of Helen come to Menelaus in sleep, the most natural thing in the world, is very different from saying, without preparation or explanation,- for the notion of a phantom(pácμa) is not expressed till afterwards in v. 383—" She comes," meaning that the slowdov of Helen, after she has eloped bodily with Paris, makes its appearance. Secondly, even if αλοίδορος can mean the same as ἀλοιδόρητος, of which Klausen gives no other instance, and if adiros can be feminine, which seems less unlikely, what sense is there in saying that Helen, thus vividly imaged and unreproached, comes to the Atridæ, to both the brother chiefs, one of whom, Agamemnon, neither loved her person nor tolerated her conduct? It would not be inconsonant with what we read of Menelaus, on the other hand, if we suppose him to be styled "gentlest of deserted husbands." All this is very bold-perhaps the boldness of ignorance-but I merely venture to say what seems to me to give the best sense, and the truest poetry to the passage, aware how mistaken I may be even on these points. Bishop Blomfield, am told, is of opinion, that some particular tradition concerning an eldwλov of Helen is referred to. This would justify the application of piopa to Helen of course; yet to bring her in, first as a day spectre and then as a night one, seems to me poetically clumsy. Paley's Agamemnon I have not seen.
forces the author into a succinctness, and consequent distinctness, wanting, I believe, in his hexameter style. Here are the 4th, 5th, and 12th stanzas attempted in the metre of the original:
She views the young, the trembling competitress,
Her cheek with glowing roses spread, while
The straitened breath her bosom that palpitates,
His trump and in transport her eyes are floating.
Ah! how I tremble !-O ye undying ones,
My light-flowing locks as they stream behind me!
Now Mr. L. Hunt, in his Imagination and Fancy, presents us with a beautiful set of "pictures" selected from the writings of Spenser; especially The Faery Queen, and assigns each to the master among material painters, to whose style it has most analogy. That these may not be called pictures it would be pedantic, perhaps inaccurate, to deny; but if we enter this Spenserian picture-gallery we shall find that, at all events, every piece it contains belongs to a different kind of painting from that of which I have given instances. There is eye-painting in them; but they are made up, in part, of non-sensuous attributes, and they contain images which cannot be assembled together in space and time. Hence their slow, dreamy, faery-like, unreal character. They have, as my father says, "an exceeding vividness:" so have dreams; but dreams disregard time and space, and bring objects together from all quarters and in dreams too we have a feeling of endless multiplicity with an infinite expansion of time; and just the same feeling is excited by the descriptions of the Faery Queen. Let us examine them. The first picture in the Spenser Gallery is that of Charissa or Charity, contained in two stanzas. Now in this description part is mere generalizing. "She was a woman in her freshest age," " of wondrous beauty," "goodly grace and comely personage; "-how much here is left indefinite, for the imagination to fill up! Part of it refers to qualities of the mind: she was " of bounty rare "-" full of great love"-" chaste in work and will"-" Cupid's wanton snare as hell she hated." We cannot paint all this even mentally. "A multitude of babes about her hung," who
"joyed to behold her," whom she "feeds while they are weak and young," and "thrusts forth when they are waxed old: "-a very wise and kind proceeding, but matter of time; not to be depictured so much as to be thought of and moralized upon. Doubtless the two stanzas give us a picture of Charissa sitting in her ivory chair, open-necked, arrayed in yellow, a tire of gold upon her head, and a pair of doves by her side, children sporting about her, and one sucking in her arms; but how slowly and interruptedly is it wrought out!—how differently does Spenser paint from Dante and Pindar, who flash out a picture, and then proceed, leaving it to tell its own tale. The Catullian picture of Ariadne is interrupted by one touch of mental description:
Prospicit, et magnis curarum fluctuat undis,—
but this refers so directly to the visual object of the sea, the waves of which are washing her outer garment, head-gear, and girdle fallen at her feet, that it seems scarcely an interruption-seems one with those sensuous objects. The remarks which I have made on Spenser's Charissa may be applied to every other picture in Mr. Hunt's collection; they are all medleys. I may mention another character of visionary multiplicity and complexity in Spenser's pictures: he breaks into them with similes, and thus splits the image and sends the mind wandering in various directions. The passage quoted by my Father in illustration of his view, the comparison of Prince Arthur's crest with the Almond tree, is not "particular" I think, but quite characteristic of Spenser's manner.13
Her angel's face,
As the great eye of heaven shined bright
Here we scarcely see the eye for the sunshine; we glance from earth to heaven, from the shady covert to the flaming sky-and the sun itself is likened to the eye of man, and we think of a sunbeam penetrating a leafy grove. We are surrounded with images of shade and sunshine, but rather feel the beauty of Una's eye than see it. The descriptions of Britomart's hair are just of the same character: in one of them it is said to be wound about her body
Like as the shining skie in summer's night,
What time the dayes with scorching heat abound,
That it prodigious seemes in common people's sight.
13 See Book iii., canto ix., st. xx., and Book iv., canto i., st