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Not you, Torquatus, boast of Rome,
When Minos once has fixed your doom,
Or eloquence, or splendid birth,
Or virtue, shall restore to earth.
Hippolytus, unjustly slain,
Diana calls to life in vain;
Nor can the might of Theseus rend
The chains of hell that hold his friend.
The following translations, parodies, and burlesque verses,
most of them extempore, are taken from Anecdotes of Dr. Johnson, published by Mrs. Piozzi.
ANACREON, ODE IX.
LOVELY courier of the sky,
Whence and whither dost thou fly?
Scatt'ring, as thy pinions play,
Liquid fragrance all the way:
Is it business ? is it love?
Tell me, tell me, gentle dove.
Soft Anacreon's vows I bear,
Vows to Myrtale the fair ;
Grac'd with all that charms the heart,
Blushing nature, smiling art.
Venus, courted by an ode,
On the bard her dove bestow'd :
Vested with a master's right,
Now Anacreon rules my flight;
His the letters that you see,
Weighty charge, consign'd to me:
Think not yet my service hard,
Joyless task without reward ;
Smiling at my master's gates,
Freedom my return awaits ;
But the lib'ral grant in vain
Tempts me to be wild again.
Can a prudent dove decline
Blissful bondage such as mine?
Over hills and fields to roam,
Fortune's guest without a home;
Under leaves to hide one's head
Slightly shelter'd, coarsely fed:
Now my better lot bestows
Sweet repast and soft repose ;
Now the gen'rous bowl I sip,
As it leaves Anacreon's lip:
Void of care, and free from dread,
From his fingers snatch his bread;
Then, with luscious plenty gay,
Round his chamber dance and play;
Or from wine, as courage springs,
O’er his face extend my wings;
And when feast and frolick tire,
Drop asleep upon his lyre.
This is all, be quick and go,
More than all thou canst not know;
Let me now my pinions ply,
I have chatter'd like a pie.
WRITTEN IN RIDICULE OF CERTAIN POEMS
WHERESO E’ER I turn my view,
All is strange, yet nothing new;
Endless labour all along,
Endless labour to be wrong;
Phrase that time hath flung away,
Uncouth words in disarray,
Trick'd in antique ruff and bonnet,
Ode, and elegy, and sonnet.
FROM THE MEDEA OF EURIPIDES.
ERR shall they not, who resolute explore
Times gloomy backward with judicious eyes; And, scanning right the practices of yore,
Shall deem our hoar progenitors unwise.
They to the dome, where smoke, with curling play,
Announc'd the dinner to the regions round, Summon'd the singer blithe, and harper gay,
And aided wine with dulcet-streaming sound.
The better use of notes, or sweet or shrill,
By quiv'ring string or modulated wind; Trumpet or lyre—to their harsh bosoms chill
Admission ne'er had sought, or could not find.
Oh! send them to the sullen mansions dun,
Her baleful eyes where sorrow rolls around; Where gloom-enamour'd mischief loves to dwell,
And murder, all blood-bolter'd, schemes the wound.
When cates luxuriant pile the spacious dish,
And purple nectar glads the festive hour; The guest, without a want, without a wish,
Can yield no room to musick's soothing pow'r. ,
FROM THE MEDEA OF EURIPIDES, v, 1969,
THE rites deriv'd from ancient days,
With thoughtless reverence we praise ; 9 The classical reader will, doubtless, be pleased to see the exquisite original in immediate comparison with this translation ; we, therefore, subjoin it, and also Dr. J. Warton's imitation of the same passage.
The rites that taught us to combine
The joys of. musick and of wine, ,
And bade the feast, and song, and bowl
O'erfill the saturated soul :
But ne'er the flute or lyre applied
To cheer despair, or soften pride ;
Nor call'd them to the gloomy cells
Where want repines and vengeance swells;
Where hate sits musing to betray,
And murder meditates his prey.
To dens of guilt and shades of care,
Ye sons of melody repair,
Nor deign the festive dome to cloy
With superfluities of joy.
Ah! little needs the minstrel's power
To speed the light convivial hour.
σκάιούς δε λέγων, κουδέν τι σοφούς
τους πρόσθε βρoτους, ουκ άν αμάρτοις,
οίτινες ύμνους επί μέν θαλίαις,
επί δ' είλαπίναις, και παρά δείπνοις
εύροντο, βίου τερπνάς ακοάς:
στυγίους δε βροτών ουδείς λύπας
εύρετο μούση και πολυχόρδους
υδαϊς παύειν, εξ ών θάνατοι,
δειναι τε τύχαι σφάλλουσι δόμους.
καίτοι τάδε μεν κέρδος ακείσθαι
μολπαϊσι βρoτούς· ίνα δ' εύδειπνοι
δαϊτες, τί μάτην τείνουσι βοάν;
το παρόν γάρ έχει τέρψιν αφ' αυτού
δαιτός πλήρωμα βροτοίσιν.
MEDEA, 193-206. ED. PORS.
"Queen of every moving measure, ,
Sweetest source of purest pleasure,
Music! why thy pow'rs employ
Only for the sons of joy;
Only for the smiling guests,
At natal or at nuptial feasts ?
Rather thy lenient numbers pour
On those, whom secret griefs devour.
Bid be still the throbbing hearts
Of those whom death or absence parts,
And, with some softly whisper'd air,
Sooth the brow of dumb despair.
The board, with varied plenty crown'd,
May spare the luxuries of sound"
OF THE FIRST TWO STANZAS OF THE SONG “ RIO
VERDE, RIO VERDE,” PRINTED IN BISHOP PERCY'S RELIQUES OF ANCIENT ENGLISH POETRY.
GLASSY water, glassy water,
Down whose current, clear and strong,
Chiefs confused in mutual slaughter,
Moor and christian roll along.
IMITATION OF THE STYLE OF ****.
HERMIT hoar, in solemn cell
Wearing out life's ev’ning grey,
Strike thy bosom, sage, and tell
What is bliss, and which the way.
Thus I spoke, and speaking sigh’d,
Scarce repress'd the starting tear,
When the hoary sage reply'd,
Come, my lad, and drink some beer.
* This translation was written by Johnson for his friend Dr. Burney, and was inserted, as the work of "a learned friend,” in that gentleman's History of Musick, vol. ii. p. 340. It has always been ascribed to Johnson ; but, to put the matter beyond a doubt, Mr. Malone ascertained the fact by applying to Dr. Burney himself. J. B.