網頁圖片
PDF
ePub 版

embosoms himself into my acquaintance, upon a former consideration of my alluring faculty; and in the dusty terms of some cobweb eloquence, blunderingly stammered out his extreme, his extreme wants : for he had only so much enforced rhetoric, as to bring out those words twice, and so by chance light upon a sorry figure; then brutishly he expressed the rest, rather by crying than speaking ; (and indeed he had no more moisture else in him, than only to bewail his own misery) when asking what was his request, he answered, that I would turn his unpleasant rules into pleasant verse. I straight, out of the open freeness of my nature and an effuse goodness, prevented the repetition of his suit, by a quick consent; thereupon set myself a-work, and after some travel performed it:-some travel, I say; for, by the nine muses, I think I was above nine months in travel with that monstrous birth. If one but consider what splay-footed verses they were, a man would swear that some infernal hag, not a muse (though unwilling) had been the mother of them; which unhappy labour, when I had shewed unto him, the reviving wretch falls on his knees, admires the work, calls me the Æsculapius of his salvation, and, with hands lifted up, vows to pay his vows at the muses’ altar : that I now more admired at his admiration, than at the deformities of mine own work; for, by Jove, they are such unblest, such unlucky verses, that, besides the loss of custom, which they may justly procure the author, they are able to make a man be suspected for a conjuror; there wants nothing but a circle to make a complete conjuration. *** Well, he enjoys them; and upon the happiness of this success, came Grammaticus to me with the like suit : 'faith I did it, and cast most of his rules likewise into verse; but, by Jove, since the proud schoolmaster has showed himself thus ungracious and stiff-necked towards me, I'll be even with him; and now I think on't, there's all his Syntaxis yet to do; but by this hand, if ever I turn line of it into verse, let me hereafter be a mere Heteroclite, and the very Aptoton of a fool, per omnes casus.”

The description which Poeta gives of Astronomia is not only novel, but ingenious.

“ Her brow is like a brave heroic line,
That does a sacred majesty enshrine.
Her nose phaleuciake-like in comely sort
Ends in a trochee, or a long and short.
Her mouth is like a pretty dimeter,
Her eye-brows like a little-longer trimeter.
Her chin is an adonik; and her tongue
Is an hypermeter, somewhat too long.
Her eyes, I may compare them unto two
Quick-turning dactyls, for their nimble view.
Her neck, Asclepiad-like, turns round about,
Behind, before, a little bone stands out.
Her ribs, like staves of sapphics, do descend
Thither, which but to name were to offend.

Her arms, like two iambicks, rais'd on high,
Do with her brow bear equal majesty.
Her legs, like two straight spondees, keep a pace

Slow as two scazons, but with stately grace.” Ethicus invites Poeta, Grammaticus, and Logicus, to a feast, in order to make up their disagreement. The following extract will shew the more peculiar style of this drama.

Ethic. Here, Logicus, you shall drink to Poeta.

" Logic. I accept your proposition, sir; Poeta, to set a conclusion to our former dissentions, and to make a plain demonstration of reconcilement, I drink to you.

Poet. With the most ingenuous freedom of a poet, I accept it: Grammaticus, that our contention, ending in love, may make a tragiccomedy, I drink to you.

Gram. I protest to you, sir, I do put all former wrongs in the præter-plu-perfect tense, and am glad of this happy conjunction, and that we are all of us in such a merry mood : but by the way, my masters, these noun-adjectives of the feminine gender sit all this while un-drunk to : Astronomia

Astron. In truth, Grammaticus, I am not in case to pledge you : I pledg'd Astrologia even now, and I am not since half well.

« Gram. Arithmetica-
Arith. If you count again, you shall find that I drunk last.
Gram, Rhetorica-here's to moisten your eloquent tongue.

Rhet. An eloquent tongue is never dry; Astrologia will pledge. you for me.

Gram. Astrologia

Astrol. In troth I have been drinking my belly full of nectar; but just now, my thoughts were upon the present conjunction of Mars and Venus.

Poet. Why how now, Grammaticus! who do you drink to? faith thou art now a noun-substantive, indeed, for thou stand’st alone by thyself, without being join'd to any of these adjectives.

Gram. Nay, do not you jest.
Poet. What, dost thou make a jester of me?

Mag. Nay, I conjure you both, by our present meeting, that you go not out of the circle of harmless mirth.

* Poet. Methinks I see a direct line pass from the eye of Geometres to Astronomia's.

Mag. Nay, will you, Poeta ? you make Astronomia blush.
Poet. Some aqua-vitæ, I say, for Geometres.
Mag. Why, Poeta ?

Poet. Why, he's a dying I think, his eyes are fix'd in's head already.

Mag. It may be, Poeta, you measure Geometres his looks by your own.

Poet. Methinks I see a direct line pass from the eye of Geometres to Astronomia's.”

Holiday's songs are so very good, that we think that the one sung by Phantastes ought not to be omitted.

“ O, happy state
'Bove pow'r of fate,

Which you, blest arts, enjoy!
You were little gods
If you fell not at odds,

And did not yourselves annoy.
But when pride does once tickle,
It makes us too fickle

And vain;
Till some good old men
Do temper us then,

And bring us in tune again.

Then learn of me
Thus wise to be,

To have a yielding mind;
With weather-cock art
To play well your part,

And turn with each strong wind.
So you shall by prevention
Escape all contention

And jars :
So you shall be secure,
And never endure

Th' affliction of learned wars.

0, harmless feast .
With mirth increas'd,

Where music and love do meet!
Where the piper does find
A more delicate wind

To make his pipe sound more sweet;
Whiles his stick does belabour
The head of his tabour

Amain:
Where the wine in the bowls,
And ev'ry tongue rolls,

Yet never disturbs the brain.”

Musica's whimsical description of the first invented instrument, will, with the other extracts, afford a good idea of the nature of this ingenious production, which the author says,

“ was but a five weeks birth.” Geographus says, that the first kind of instrument was a harp.

Mus. Aye, but you're deceived, I rather think 'twas a bagpipe. Geog. A bagpipe? why prithee?

Mus. Why? marry, first understand this reason, and then I'll shew you: you know every art both draws it's imitation from nature, and labours to perfect it, which it does by finding comforts to preserve it: musick then at the first was found out as an antidote against grief: and by this means, when men were grieved, they cried oh, and there was one note: then hey-ho, there were two notes more. So, when they laughed, they observed three more by ha, ha, he. These being first joined together, and afterwards variously intermixed, were the first harmony in voice; which being repeated unto grieved minds, were, as it were, a pretty deluding of their sorrows; and these, by observation, were afterwards reduced to instrument

Geog. I conceit it, Musica.

" Mus. Thus, men perceiving that these notes were conceived in the belly, and afterwards (as it were) formed in the passage of the throat, sowed leather in the form of a belly or bag; and with a reed made a long neck unto it, and a wind-pipe; which, when they blew full of wind, and perceived it gave no sound, they cut many holes in the reed to let it out, and then alternately stopping the holes, they found an admirable variety of harmony; and as the holes serve for distinction of notes in a wind-instrument, so do your frets on a stringedinstrument."

This drama contains two specimens of Holiday's skill in translation. They are both spirited versions from Anacreon.

To his Love.
Niobe, as they say, once stood
Turn’d to a stone by Phrygian flood;
Pandion's daughter (so fame sings)
Chang'd to a swallow had swift wings.
But I a looking-glass would be,
Still to be lookt upon by thee:
Or I (my love) would be thy gown,
By thee to be worn up and down.
Or a pure well full to the brims,
That I might wash thy purer limbs.
Or I'd be precious balm to 'noint
With choicest care each choicest joint."
Or, if I might, I would be (fain)
About thy neck thy happy chain.
Or would it were my blessed hap
To be the lawn o'er thy fair pap.
Or would I were thy shoe to be
Daily but trod upon by thee.”.

On Drinking.
“ The fruitful earth does drink the rain;
Trees drink the fruitful earth again.
The sea does drink the liquid air ;
By the sun's beams the sea-waves are
Drunk up; which is no sooner done,
But straight the moon drinks up the sun :
Why then, companions, do you think
I may not with like freedom drink ?"

Cowley's version of the last is more diffuse, but is neither so simple nor so faithful. It has, however, more the air of an original, struck off in the full tide of joviality-in the plenitude of good wine. Our readers will judge.

“ The thirsty earth soaks up the rain,
And drinks and gapes for drink again.
The plants suck in the earth, and are,
With constant drinking, fresh and fair.
The sea itself, which, one would think,
Should have but little need of drink,
Drinks ten thousand rivers up,
So fill’d, that they o'erflow the cup.
The busy sun (and one would guess,
By's drunken fiery face, no less)
Drinks up the sea; and when he's done,
The moon and stars drink up the sun.
They drink and dance by their own light,
They drink and revel all the night.
Nothing in nature's sober found,
But an eternal health goes round.
Fill up the bowl then, fill it high,
Fill all the glasses there, for why
Should every creature drink but I,
Why, man of mortals, tell me why ?"

ART.VIII.-Memoires sur l'Ancienne Chevalerie; considerée comme

un établissement politique et militaire. Par M. de la Curne de Sainte Palaye, de l'Académie Françoise, &c. 2 tom. 12mo. Paris, 1759.

“ Antiquity,” says my Lord Bacon, “ muffles up her head from our sight:" we allow the truth of the remark ; but, never

« 上一頁繼續 »