Page images
PDF
EPUB

The doctor seems to have been in great distress for a proof 'ex hagiographis.' Surely he might have made a better choice.

In the question before us the learned are divided : on your side are Origen, Tertullian, Jerom, Petavius, Prideaux, &c. on my side, Jos. Scaliger, Pearson, Van Dale, Le Clerc, Samuel and James Basnage, &c.

The case I take to have been this : the Sadducees admitted the prophets, as sent from God to instruct and reform the nation, and to enforce the law; but they held that all articles of faith and fundamentals of religion were contained in the law, and were to be sought no where else. So that in reality they paid more regard to the prophets than did the Pharisees, who equalled their silly traditions to the sacred books. In preferring Moses to the prophets, the Jews seem to have been all pretty well agreed, and they made his superiority to consist in several things.

Thus you see, sir, that I am not willing to give up without a struggle. I have been pleading my cause again,

my own sake, lest I should seem to you to take up opinions at mere hazard, and lay them down as easily; and partly for your sake, that, if you should do me the favour to reply, you may not have a tame and passive antagonist to deal with, in conquering whom there would be no credit. If I fall, I could wish to fall like Hector in Homer, by an honourable hand, and after an honourable resistance :

Μη μαν άσπουδεί γε και ακλειώς απολοίμην,

'Αλλα μέγα ρέξας τι και εσσομένοισι πυθέσθαι. Il. x. 304.

the point

partly for

which, of all the fantastical titles that I can recollect, is one of the prettiest. It hath a double meaning, of which Schabtai was not aware; for most of his rabbinical brethren taļk very much like men in their sleep.

III.

AN ORACLE IN HERODOTUS.

VII. p. 483.

'Αλλ' όταν 'Αρτέμιδος χρυσάορον Γερον ακτών
Νηυσι γεφυρώσωσι, και είναλίην Κυνόσουραν,
' Έλπίδι μαινομένη λιπαρας πέρσαντες Αθήνας,
Δία δίκη σβέσσει κρατερον κορον, ύβριος υιον,
Δεινον μαιμώοντα, δοκεύντ' ανα πάντα πυθέσθαι.
Χαλκός γαρ χαλκώ συμμίξεται, αίματι δ' "Αρης
Πόντον φοινίξει» τότ' ελεύθερος Ελλάδος ήμαρ
Ευρύοπα Κρονίδης επάγει, και πότνια Νίκη.

Auricomæ densis ubi litora sacra Dianæ
Navibus insternent, et litoream Cynosuram,
Spe stolida fortes quod Athenas dilacerarunt,
Compescet juvenem meritissima pæna superbum,
Instinctum furiis, sibi cedere cuncta putantem.
Nam miscebitur æs æri, Mars sanguine pontum
Inficiet: Graiis tunc libera tempora reddet

Saturno genitus, simul et Victoria pollens.' This oracle was supposed to have been delivered by Bacis, before the battle of Salamis ; and to have been fulfilled in the signal victory which the Greeks then obtained over Xerxes.

On this oracle I received the following observation :

« Give me leave to propose to you this question, Whether in your Remarks, vol. i. p. 264. κρατερον κόρον ύβριος viov, be rightly translated juvenem superbum ? I apprehend that Gronovius has mistaken the word nópos, which signifies here, not juvenem, but fastum, or insolentiam. My reason for this opinion is, that I find Pindar uses the word in this sense, Olymp. xiii. 12. where also he gives insolence the same parentage which the oracle attributes to it, viz. pride, "Ύβριν. His words are these : speaking of the social virtues that dwell at Corinth, he

says, Έθέλοντι δ' αλεξεϊν ύβριν κόρου Ματέρα θρασύμυθον.

[ocr errors]

where it seems necessary that xópos must signify insolence, or some such concomitant of pride. In Olymp. A. 89. κόρω δ' έλεν.-The scholiast says, κόρη, τη ύβρει και αλαζοveía the words that follow indeed show that it was a metaphorical sense in which the word is here used, in the opi. nion of the scholiast: but this is not the case in Olymp. xii. nor is it the case in Olymp. ii

. aivov Ca nógos. which is thus explained: τον έπαινον, την δόξαν του Θήρωνος, κόρος δε ύβρις. The scholiast here plainly takes sópos to signify pride, or some of its malignant attendants. And as from these passages it seems that the word may have the meaning of insolence, so I fancy you will not think it an inconvenient sense in the oracle cited. The insolence of the Persians, confident in their immense superiority, in the number of their troops, and spreading desolation in their march, is nobly painted in the verses following that which you have quoted, and this insolence seems a very fit object of divine punishment. I need not add, that if this interpretation be the true one, the expression is not in the Oriental manner, but entirely Grecian.

The sameness of expression in Pindar and in the Oracle is very well observed by this gentleman; and these two writers were contemporaries : but the passage in Pindar, Olymp. xiii. is obscure, and has perplexed his commentators.

• Abundance begets insolence:' so says Theognis, and so says all the world; Τίκτει τοι

κόρος ύβριν, όταν κακώ όλος έποιτο. But Pindar, if the passage be not corrupted, inverts the proverb, and says, 'rges Tízter nógov.

Έβέλοντι δ' αλεξειν ύβριν κόρου
Ματέρα θρασύμυθον. .
Volunt autem arcere injuriam, satietatis

Matrem audaciloquam. The scholiast censures the bold poet" for the impropriety of the expression; for putting the cart before the horse. H. Stephen, for κόρου conjectures φθόρου. The Oxford editor retains zópov, and admits the hypallage, and construes it back

wards. If it be supposed that xópos here is insolence, it is hard to conceive how ügis can produce it, because there is too much identity between κόρος and ύβρις. .

Pindar often uses the word sópos, commonly in the sense of nimia satietas and saturitas, and of dislike and loathing, and sometimes for insolence, or envy. Pyth. i. 160.

'Από γαρ κόρος αμβλύνει

Αιανής ταχείας απάδις.

nimia satietas, fastidium.' And so Nem. x. 37.

"Έστι δε και κόρος αν

θρώπων βαρυς αντιάσαι. And Pyth. viii. 43.

μη κόρος έλθων

Κνίση. And Nem. vii. 77.

κόρον δ' έχει

Και μέλι. Olymp. ii. 173.

'Αλλ' αίνον έβα κόρος. kópos in this place may mean envy, excited by the glory and reputation of Theron, which was so great that his enemies could not bear it: and the word retains some idea of overabundance.

Neum. 1. 97.

συν πλαγίω

'Ανδρών κόρω στείχοντα. Here xópos seems to mean oppressive insolence. Olymp. i. 89.

κόρω δ' έλεν *Απαν.

κόρω, that is, πλησμονή, as the scholiast rightly interprets t. Too much affluence and prosperity ruined him.

Isthm. üi. 4.

κατέχει

Φρασίν αιανη κόρον. . i. e. 'petulantiam ex satietate provenientem.'

But, to come to the Oracle, If we should suppose that xópos there means fulness, or insolence, or pride, yet the author made a person of it; and by that person he meant Xerxes, as it appears, I think, from the fifth verse---sópora.

Δεινον μαιμώοντα, δοκεύντ’ ανα πάντα πυθέσθαι. which I translate,

· Vehementer furentem, putantein se omnia rescivisse.' • imagining that he had good intelligence, and knew all that passed amongst the Greeks.' He alludes to the stratagem of Themistocles, who sent word to Xerxes that the Greeks were in confusion, and preparing to run away; and advised him to seize the opportunity of inclosing and cutting them to pieces. By this trick the Athenian general, who had in him as much of the fox as of the lion, brought on a battle, which was what he wanted.

Who can tell whether the priest who composed this oracle might not use on purpose the ambiguous word κόρος, which may mean either a young man, or fulness and satiely, and so denote Xerxes, a young prince swelled with pride, and glutted with ravage ? Ambiguity suits an oracle, and a little jargon is not amiss.

The translator of Herodotus rendered xófov, juvenem, and Gale and Gronovius let it stand, and adopted it: and if it means a person, the phrase u pros viòv, may be accounted oriental and scriptural.

IV.

IN p. 244 mention is made of a dream related by Gro. tius. The story is to be found in the life of Jacobus Guionius. Cum Philibertus De La Mare, senator Divionensis, vitam Jacobi Guionii describeret, non indignum sua narra.

« PreviousContinue »