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See ANACREON, Ode 40.
IDYLLIUM the TWENTIETH.
. . Whether it belongs to Moschus or Theocritus, it certainly poffeffes a high degree of poetical merit.
She spoke, and spitting thrice.
It was customary for the ancient Grecians to spit three times into their bosoms, at the fight of a madman, or one troubled with an epilepsy. This they did in defiance, as it were, of the omen; for spitting was a sign of the greatest detestation and contempt. Hence aluev ( to Spit) means to contemn.
23. Or, else, what God hath fashion'd me anew. Here the poet (fays Martyn) seems to allude to the sudden transformation of Ulysses in Homer's Odyff. xiii. 429.
like clasping ivy. Krooos. Pliny and THEOPHRASTUS (see note on first Idyll. 1.40 in trans.) have observed, that Kisoos was a species of ivy
that grew without support. If, however, the authority of THEOCRITUS have any weight in botany, this passage proves the direct contrary. Κισσος σοτι πρεμνον. The Greek and Latin poets have often used the ivy as an illustration, in their descrip
tions of personal beauty. Thus VIRGIL: Hedera formofior alba. : On which Spence remarks: · More beautiful than ivy to us
may seem but an odd fimile.' It might sound otherwise to an Italian, whose country abounds with evergreens, most of them of a rulty and disagreeable color ; whereas ivy is of a clean lively green. They used it, of old, in the most beautiful parts of their gardens. Pliny, speaking of his garden, and of the Hippodrome, (which seems to have been one of the prettiest things in it) says: • Platanis circuitur ; illa hedera veftiuntur; utque fummæ fuis, ita ima alienis frondibus virent.' HORACE compares young beauties to ivy, and old women to dead withered leaves.
feem to have different ideas of the blue eye from that of THEOCRITUS and Anacreon. The Circafian ladies have been celebrated for
Their eyes' blue languisn, and their golden hair.
Iliad xviii. 50.
Her eyes of dewy light-
Dropt music than the honey-comb more sweet.
Εκ Coματων δε
Thy lips, O my spouse, drop as the honey-comb; honey and milk are under thy tongue.
LINE 45 And was not sweet ENDYMION's self a swain The Sophift LONGUs who (not excepting Virgil) may be confidered as the most elegant imitator of Theocritus, hath plainly a view to these verses in the following passage: “If I • have been in love with a shepherd, I have but imitated the • Gods. ' ANCHISES was a herdsman, yet Venus delighted in his
perfon. Branchius fed his goats, and APOLLO was enamoured of the fwain. Ganymede was a fhepherd, yet JUPITER • snatched him to heaven.'
IDYLLIUM the TWENTY-FIRST.
the Ægyptian fishermen. He might with more propriety, perhaps, have entertained his own countrymen with this simple and pleasing tale. For Asphalion's allusion to the Prytaneum, a place (as the commentators say) on the coast of Sicily, proves the characters of this piece to be Sicilian.
'Tis penury, DIOPHANTUS, &c. . Tum variæ venere artes, &c.
And Persius Prol.
Quis expedivit pfittaco, &c.
Who taught the parrot human notes to try,
Want taught their masters, and their masters these. The introductory lines do not seem well adapted to the dialogue that follows. We find, that though indeed care might intrude on the fishermen during the period of rest, it was care of no very melancholy complexion. They were, on the whole, happy; being represented as content with their fituation. They deemed their cot a palace—and lived in glee.
Jam fragilem in ficco munibant faxa phaselum;
Not ev'n a dog or pot was theirs:
а Ou xuveman happy emendation of JOANNES AURATUS. It was before read 8% fyd
They pass’d their hours, with poverty their friend. The poverty, fimplicity, and contentment of these good old fishermen, are very pleasingly delineated. The African; 'who • lives upon his bow,' as described by Mr. ADDISON, here recurs to memory:
Coarse are his meals, the fortune of the chace;
Blesses his stars, and thinks ’tis luxury.
Ipsa fames jucunda venit venantibus; ullas
49. He seems, my friend, the shrewdest judge of dreams, &c.
Taken, probably, from a verse of Euripides, which we meet with in Plutarch.
Μαντις δ'αριςος οσις Ακαζει καλως" * Tully hath thus translated it:
Qui bene conjecit, vatem perhibebo optimum.
Indeed the living light