網頁圖片
PDF
ePub 版

FROM THE NINTH BOOK OF

OVID'S METAMORPHOSES.

« Illa vero

About this time it became fashionable among the wits at Button's, the mob of gentlemen that wrote with ease,” to translate Ovid. Their united performances were published in form by Garth, with a Preface written in a flowing and lively style, but full of strange opinions. He declares that none of the classic poets had the talent of expressing himself with more force and perspicuity than Ovid ; that the Fiat of the Hebrew Lawgiver is not more sublime than the “jussit et extendi campos” of the Latin Poet; that he excels in the propriety of his similes and epithets, the perspicuity of his allegories, and the instructive excellence of his morals. Above all, he commends him for his unforced transitions, and for the ease with which he slides into some new circumstances, without any violation of the unity of the story ; the texture, says he, is so artful, that it may

be compared to the work of his own Arachne, where the shade dies so gradually, and the light revives so imperceptibly, that it is hard to tell where the one ceases and the other begins. But it is remarkable that Quintilian thought very differently on this subject of the transitions ; and the admirers of Ovid would do well to consider his opinion : frigida et puerilis est in scholis affectatio, et hujus velut præstigiæ plausum petat.” Garth was a most amiable and benevolent man : it was said of him “that no physician knew his art more, nor his trade less.” Pope told Mr. Richardson, that there was hardly an alteration, of the innumerable corrections that were made throughout every edition of the Dispensary, that was not for the better. The vivacity of his conversation, the elegance of his manners, and the sweetness of his temper, made Garth an universal favourite, both with Whigs and Tories, when party-rage ran high.

The notes which Addison wrote on those parts of Ovid which he translated are full of good sense, candour, and instruction. Great is the change in passing from Statius to Ovid; from force to facility of style, from thoughts and images too much studied and unnatural, to such as are obvious, careless, and familiar.

Voltaire bas treated Augustus with pointed, but just severity, for banishing Ovid to Pontus, and assigning for a reason his having written The Art of Love; a work even of decency, compared with several parts of Horace, whom Augustus so much praised and patronized ; and which contained not a line at all comparable to some of the gross obscenities of Augustus's own verses. Laying many circumstances together, he thinks the real cause of this banishment was, that Ovid had seen and detected Augustus in some very criminal amour, and, in short, been witness to an act of incest. Ovid himself says,

“Cur aliquid vidi ?” And Minutianus Apuleius says, “ Pulsum quoque in exitium quod Augusti incestum vidisset.” Voltaire adds, “ That Ovid himself deserves almost equal reproaches for having so lavishly and nauseously Aattered both that emperor and his successor Tiberius.” Vol. v. p. 297.Warton.

DRYOPE IN ARBOREM.

Dixit: et, admonitu veteris commota ministræ,
Ingemuit; quam sic nurus est adfata dolentem :
Te tamen, o Genitrix, alienæ sanguine vestro
Rapta movet facies. quid si tibi mira sororis
Fata meæ referam ? quamquam lacrymæque dolorque
Impediunt, prohibentque loqui. Fuit unica matri
(Me pater ex alia genuit) notissima forma

10
Echalidum Dryope: quam virginitate carentem,
Vimque Dei passam, Delphos Delonque tenentis,
Excipit Andræmon; et habetur conjuge felix.
Est lacus, acclivi devexo margine formam

15 Littoris efficiens; summum myrteta coronant. Venerat huc Dryope fatorum nescia; quoque Indignere magis, Nymphis latura coronas. Inque sinu puerum, qui nondum impleverat annum, Dulce ferebat onus; tepidique ope lactis alebat. 20 Haud procul a stagno, Tyrios imitata colores, In spem baccarum florebat aquatica lotos.

24 THE FABLE OF DRYOPE.

5

10

She said, and for her lost Galanthis sighs,
When the fąir Consort of her son replies:
Since you a servant's ravish'd form bemoan,
And kindly sigh for sorrows not your own,
Let me (if tears and grief permit) relate
A nearer woe, a sister's stranger fate.
No nymph of all Echalia could compare
For beauteous form with Dryope the fair,
Her tender mother's only hope and pride,
(Myself the offspring of a second bride.)
This Nymph compress'd by him who rules the day,
Whom Delphi and the Delian isle obey,
Andræmon lov'd; and, bless'd in all those charms
That pleas'd a God, succeeded to her arms.

A lake there was, with shelving banks around,
Whose verdant summit fragrant myrtles crown'd.
These shades, unknowing of the fates, she sought,
And to the Naiads flow'ry garlands brought;
Her smiling babe (a pleasing charge) she prest
Within her arms, and nourish'd at her breast.
Nor distant far a wat’ry Lotos grows,
The spring was new, and all the verdant boughs,
Adorn’d with blossoms, promis'd fruits that vie
In glowing colours with the Tyrian dye:

15

20

NOTES.

DRYOPE.] Upon occasion of the death of Hercules, his mother Alcmena recounts her misfortunes to Iole, who answers with a relation of those of her own family, in particular the transformation of her sister Dryope, which is the subject of the ensuing fable.—Pope.

Ver. 13.) This flowing couplet he has transferred into more places than one of his version of Homer. Many parts of this fable are indeed executed in his happiest manner, and would not have misbecome his powers in their maturity. An uncommon vein of tenderness and simplicity runs thro’a series of sweet and unaffected versification.—Wakefield.

Carpserat hinc Dryope, quo oblectamina nato
Porrigeret, flores : et idem factura videbar;
Namque aderam ; vidi guttas e flore cruentas
Decidere; et tremulo ramos horrore moveri. 30
Scilicet, ut referunt tardi nunc denique agrestes,
Lotis in hanc Nymphe, fugiens obscena Priapi,
Contulerat versos, servato nomine, vultus.

Nescierat soror hoc; quæ cum perterrita retro 35
Ire, et adoratis vellet discedere Nymphis
Hæserunt radice pedes ; convellere pugnat : 40
Nec quidquam, nisi summa, movet. Succrescit ab imo,
Totaque paulatim lentus premit inguina cortex.
Ut vidit, conata manu laniare capillos,
Fronde manum implevit, frondes caput omne tenebant.
At puer Amphissos (namque hoc avus Eurytus illi
Addiderat nomen) materna rigescere sentit
Ubera: nec sequitur ducentem lacteus humor. 50
Spectatrix aderam fati crudelis: opemque
Non poteram tibi ferre, soror : quantumque valebam,
Crescentem truncum ramosque amplexa, morabar:
Et (fateor) volui sub eodem cortice condi.
Ecce vir Andræmon, genitorque miserrimus, adsunt;
Et quærunt Dryopen: Dryopen quærentibus illis
Ostendi loton. tepido dant oscula ligno:

60

30

Of these she cropp'd to please her infant son, 25
And I myself the same rash act had done :
But lo! I saw (as near her side I stood,)
The violated blossoms drop with blood;
Upon the tree I cast a frightful look ;
The trembling tree with sudden horror shook.
Lotis the nymph (if rural tales be true)
As from Priapus' lawless lust she flew,
Forsook her form; and fixing here, became
A flow'ry plant, which still preserves her name.

This change unknown, astonish'd at the sight, 35
My trembling sister strove to urge her flight:
And first the pardon of the nymphs implor’d,
And those offended sylvan pow'rs ador'd :
But when she backward would have fled, she found
Her stiff'ning feet were rooted in the ground: 40
In vain to free her fasten'd feet she strove,
And, as she struggles, only moves above;
She feels th' encroaching bark around her grow
By quick degrees, and cover all below:
Surpriz'd at this, her trembling hand she heaves 45
To rend her hair; her hand is fill'd with leaves :
Where late was hair the shooting leaves are seen
To rise, and shade her with a sudden green.
The child Amphissus, to her bosom prest,
Perceiv'd a colder and a harder breast,

50 And found the springs, that ne'er till then deny'd Their milky moisture, on a sudden dry'd. I saw, unhappy! what I now relate, And stood the helpless witness of thy fate. Embrac'd thy boughs, thy rising bark delay'd, 55 There wish'd to grow, and mingle shade with shade.

Behold Andræmon and th' unhappy sire Appear, and for their Dryope inquire : A springing tree for Dryope they find, And print warm kisses on the panting rind; 60

« 上一頁繼續 »