Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

V. 631. ȧway λóy, "simplici narratione:"-the same as σapsĩ μú in v. 662.

V. 678. If Mr. Blomfield chose to retain the old reading Uztí Cora, we think he should at least have given it a place in his Glossary. For our own parts we should prefer the reading of the Codex Mediceus adopted by Robortello, waricavτa.

V. 698. Aépins тe xpvv. This is Canter's conjecture, in the place of Λέρνης ἄκρην τε. Mr. Blomfield subsequently proposes Ty Te Aépins, which is a change less violent; but as we are unwilling at all times to purchase any degree of elegance at the hazard of losing the words of schylus, we should be satisfied with transposing merely, and reading aupry tɛ Aépvns.

V. 699. anpaτos ópy is literally intemperate in rage.

V. 738. χρίμπτουσα ραχίαισιν. According to the rule which Dawes has inaccurately laid down, this reading introduces a spondee in the second place: for he asserts that an incipient necessarily lengthens the final vowel of the preceding word. His principle was right; but he did not discover its exceptions; and later scholars have given it the accuracy it wanted. We believe the rule was first marked with its proper precision in the Quarterly Review; and it is thus stated in a note of Professor Monk on v. 461 of the Hippolytus: "Si finalis syllaba naturâ brevis secunda pedis pars est, ut in eam ictus metricus cadat, tum ob consonantem in initio vocis sequentis producitur. Hæc autem vis EXTATIй non obstat, quo minus syllaba in pedis priore parte brevis maneat, ut in Prom. 738, xpintovca jaxíaow." The accuracy of this limitation is indisputably proved by the uniform practice of the Attic writers.

V. 795. οὐ δῆτα, πρὶν ἔγω ἂν ἐκ δεσμῶν λυθεὶς, manifestly wrong. Mr. Blomfield therefore in his first edition made out of some various readings πρὶν ἂν ἔγωγ ̓ ἂν -not remembering that the Attic writers never use the double & with a subjunctive mood; and a subjunctive mood was clearly required after piv v. In his second edition, therefore, he has adopted the easy correction of Pauw, piv y' ywy av. Other emendations have been proposed; but this appears to us the least objectionable.

V. 814. μνήμοσιν δέλτοις φρενῶν. Το the references illustrating this phrase is worthy to be added Shakspeare's expression, "the table of my memory." Hamlet, Act. I. Sc. 5.

V. 854. πρὸς Μολοσσε γάπεδα. All the MSS. and editions read danada, to which Porson prefixed his obelus as a suspected word, though in his edition of the Orestes, v. 234, dañedo remains in the text. The ground of objection against it is, that the first syllable would be short, as in Homer's “ χρυσέῳ ἐν δαπέδῳ, μετὰ δέ opics worvia "Hẞn." Mr. Blomfield, who is justly cautious in admitting any change into the text, proposes with tardy hesitation

[ocr errors]

to remedy the defect by a greater and more violent change, δάπεδα πρὸς Μολοσσικά. We would adhere to the univeral read ing of the former editions, πρὸς Μολοσσὰ δάπεδα. Nor are we at all staggered by the objection about the quantity, conceiving that dareda has the same right to an elongation of its first syllable as vánɛda, being derived from the same root; for as the tragedians are supposed to have used γάπεδα for γήπεδα, σε δωρίζοντες, 50 by the same Doric licence they might use daneda for it; γὰρ Δωριεῖς τὴν γὴν δᾶν λέγουσι.” See Mr. Blomfield's note on aneu', a da, V. 584.-But if damedov be the right word here, and its first syllable be long, how does Homer make it short? Just as he wrote, "Ανδρα μοι ἔννεπε, Μοϋσα, πολύτροπον—the Doric dialect changing into a, and the Æolic into a short.

[ocr errors]

66

[ocr errors]

V. 875. We quote the following note as a good illustration of Mr. Blomfield's cautious and judicious principle of criticism: ysvμáтav omnes MSS. et Edd. veteres. Scaliger, e Peyraredi conjecura, ynμátov, probante Valcken. ad Phæniss. 639. Heysch. Dimμátov μαoμárov. Quam lectionem amplexi sunt Brunck. et Schutz. et certe probabilis est; non tamen ea auctoritate freta, ut in textum admitti debeat. Yevvnuáτav ferri posse observavit Butlerus....Scholiasta B. yevuάτwy Twν Tαidiwv. Hesych. Termux® Tadiov." Of all this we cordially approve, except the interpre tation of yea, which must be understood, like yua and placua, to refer to the act done, not to the thing produced; and then there is no difficulty at all.

παιδίον.”

V. 884. φθόνον δὲ σωμάτων ἕξει θεός. Mr. Blomfield is fond of giving an English version of a phrase, when he seems to have caught some peculiar felicity of expression; but we do not think he often succeeds. In the Addenda to his Glossary on this line he 66 says, Anglice verterim, Will be jealous over their persons." We would render it, Will grudge them their persons; i. e. will grudge giving them up to their possession. The word grudge will be found generally to express the force of poros, which is a word much in use with the tragedians. Compare together v. 604 and 649, and both of them with 647, in which Mayaipa has exactly the same force and construction.

V. 906. xpadía de Póßy OpÉva λanticel. Mr. Blomfield, after Dr. Butler and the scholiast, well explains opeva here by diaphragma: and the whole line is beautifully, though doubtless unconsciously, expressed by Shakspeare in his Macbeth,

-"makes my seated heart knock at my ribs Against the use of nature."

V. 981, 982. τὸν ἐξαμαρτόντ ̓ εἰς θεοὺς, τὸν ἐφημέροις πορόντα τιμὰς, τὸν πυρὸς κλεπτὴν λέγω,

This has been the reading of all the editions, retaining an anapæst in the fifth place. Porson proposed to omit Toy and read acupois. Mr. Blomfield omits to altogether on the authority of four MSS. and reads τὸν ἐξαμαρτόντ ̓ εἰς θεοὺς ἐφημέροις πορὸντα Tuas. "Verte," says his note most happily, " qui contra deos peccasti beneficia mortalibus prestando. We have not a moment's hesitation in receiving this improvement as the best restoration of a pure text in the whole play. The editors were misled, and Porson among them, by supposing that the crime of benefiting mortals was a distinct charge in this bitter taunt of Mercury: but if it were so, what an anti-climax of bitterness would it exhibit! It appears to us that the energy of the sense derives not less advantage than the purity of the metre from the reading Mr. Blomfield has adopted."

V. 1037. ὀχλεῖς μάτην με, κῦμ ̓ ὅπως, παρηγορῶν. We quite agree with Mr. Elmesley and Mr. Blomfield in applying the simile of

to Prometheus, and not to Mercury. Mr. Elmesley would place a comma after oxas, and then he renders it, "Molestus es, frustra me velut fluctum suadere conatus."

We have not stopped in our progress through this noble Tragedy to make any remarks on the geography of the author, exhibited in the wanderings of Iö: nor do we think it necessary now to say much. Some commentators have followed the unfortunate wanderer till their own heads have turned giddy in the pursuit. We have no desire to imitate them; and we are well satisfied with a sensible note of Mr. Blomfield's on v. 732.

"De Iûs erroribus multa multi, ut solent, scripserunt, quorum non nostrum est lites componere; neque id fecisse operæ pretium fuerit: satis enim manifestum est Eschylum suam geographiam, suam mythologiam, easque parum accuratas, habuisse."

We agree with Schutz and Mr. Blomfield in thinking that the river mentioned in v. 742 must have been one of the names of Hybrista; and neither the Araxes, nor the Ister, nor the Tanais, nor the Alazon, nor the Boristhenes. This supposition appears to us necessary to make sense of the line.

We are not less puzzled with the mythology, than with the geography, of this drama. We really do not comprehend it. We do not understand the distinct, deliberate, and fearless declarations of the approaching downfall of the tyranny of Jupiter, uttered on a public stage when that offscouring of a deity was in the height of his despotism; and we turn our thoughts with a hesitating and inquisitive anxiety to Him who was to come, not with the club of Hercules, but with the sceptre of righteousness, to deliver the nations from their blind idolatry of Jupiter and his brothel of divinities. We know, indeed, that those inconsistent

idolaters entertained very little respect for the gods they worshipped; but the language put into the mouth of Prometheus from v. 958 to 968 aims so directly at the foundation of the religion of the state then established, that we are inclined to address the poet as the chorus addresses Prometheus,

πῶς δ ̓ οὐχὶ ταρβεῖς, τοιάδ ̓ ἐκρίπτων ἔπη;

If he was too wise to fear the thunders of this Jupiter, he might reasonably have dreaded the infuriated superstition of his countrymen, who put to death the great Socrates about 70 years after the representation of this Tragedy.

It is unnecessary to say more than we have already said of the manner in which Mr. Blomfield has edited this first play of the great Father of Tragedy. The faults, as they appear to us, are soon enumerated. We think, consistently with the principle already laid down, that he has admitted too much extraneous discussion into his notes. In his Glossary he has omitted some words which certainly required explanation, and has explained several which scarcely presented any difficulty. Mr. Blomfield's Latin style is not entirely to our taste. He appears to us to be a better Greek, than Latin, scholar. The thing is, perhaps, scarcely worth mentioning; but in a follower of Porson it is impossible not to observe it. Mr. Blomfield, as well as the other editors of our day, is incomparably inferior to Porson in that ease and terseness, and classical elegance, and copious variety of Latin phraseology, which gave the late Professor the air of one who was writing in his own language. And it is no small compli ment to his acknowledged superiority, that all his successors have agreed in copying, sometimes very awkwardly, his manner and his expressions.

We have enlarged more than we had intended on Mr. Blomfield's Prometheus, but not more than it deserved as the first of so valuable a series of the remains of the Athenian stage; and there is so much interesting matter to be noticed in the other two tragedies already published, that we must defer our remarks upon them to a future Number. In the mean time, we hope that Mr. Blomfield will proceed with unabated diligence in preparing for the world the remaining dramas of the Attie Shakspeare.

325

ART. XV.-The Tragedies of Vittorio Alfieri, translated from the Italian by Charles Lloyd. In 3 Vols. 12mo. Longman and Co. London, 1815.

ALTHOUGH We do not believe that Alfieri will ever become a popular author in this country, or that the present translation of his works will extend the amusement they can afford much beyond the circle of those who are qualified to peruse them in the original language, yet from the great celebrity of his name, and the acknowledged reformation he has effected in one department of Italian literature, we are led to take an early notice of the first attempt that has been made to introduce his tragedies to the British public.

The reputation of Alfieri both at home and abroad, during his life and since his death, has been that of being the Father of Italian tragedy, and, in a certain sense and with certain limitations, he merits that title. But it must not be understood by this concession, that Italy, before his time, was deficient in works called Tragedies, or that it had no correct example of that species of composition according to the canons of criticism there established; or that he has produced and left the first and ultimate standard of excellence for future generations. He must not be considered as an inventor in the sense in which that term is applied to Æschylus or Shakspeare.

Long before the commencement of a correct dramatic style in any other country of Europe, long before the days of Shakspeare, the Italians had made some progress in this species of poetry. They had translated the greatest part of what the ancients had left us, entered into grave and weighty discussions concerning the rules derived from their practice, and composed plays of their own after their models, and often out of their materials. Literary historians, collectors, and catalogue hunters, can present us with a long list of nearly a hundred tragedies of some celebrity written between the date of Trissino's Sophonisba (* la première tragédie regulière que l'Europe ait vue après tant de siècles de barbarie), which was acted before Leo X. in 1515, and the commencement of the following century. Out of this list, there are, perhaps, upwards of a dozen which every Italian scholar has perused with interest and with pleasure. When we mention Tasso among the contributors to the stage at that early period, no other voucher will be required for the great talents which were then sometimes employed in its service.

Literature, upon its first awaking in Italy after the torpor of

* Voltaire.

« AnteriorContinuar »