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“ Je fens de veine en veine une subtile flamme “ Courir par tout mon corps, fi-tôt que te vois : “ Et dans les doux transports, où s'egare mon ame, “ Je ne sçaurois trouver de langue, ni de voix. “ Un nuage confus fe répand sur ma vuë, “ Je n'entens plus, je tombe en de douces langueurs; “ Et påle, sans baleine, interdite éperduë,
The reader will see that this is rather an imitation than a translation. The circumstances do not lie so thick together, and follow one another with that vehemence and emotion as in the original. In short, monsieur Boileau has given us all the poetry, but not all the passion of this famous fragment. "I shall
, in the last place, present my reader with the English tranllation.
Softly speak and sweetly smile.
My ears with hollow murmurs rung..
Instead of giving any character of this last translation, I shall desire my learned reader to look into the criticisms which Longinus has made upon the original. .By that means he will know to which of the translations he ought to give the preference. I shall only add, that this translation is written in the very spirit of Sappho, and as near the Greek as the genius of our language will posfibly fuffer.
Longinus has observed, that this description of love in Sappho is an exact copy of nature, and that all the circumftances which follow one another in such an hurry of sentiments, notwithstanding they appear repugnant to each other, are really such as happen in the phrenzies of love.
I wonder that not one of the critics or editors, through whose hands this ode has passed, has taken occafion from it to mention a circumstance related by Plutarch. That author in the famous story of Antiochus, who fell in love with Stratonice, his mother-in-law, and not daring to discover his passion, pretended to be confined to his bed by fickness, tells us, that Era fiftratus, the physician, found out the nature of his distemper, by those symptoms of love which he had learnt from Sappho's writings. Stratonice was in the room of the love-sick prince, when - these symptoms discovered themselves to his physician and it is probable, that they were not very different from those which Sappho here defcribes in a lover fitting by his mistress. This story of Antiochus is so wellknown, that I need not add the fequel of it, which has no relation to my present subject.
Friday, November 23.
Homines ad Deos nulla re propiùs accedunt, quàm falutén bominibus dando.
Tull. Men resemble the gods in nothing so much, as in doing
good to their fellow-creatures. HUMAN
UMAN nature appears a very deformed, or a very beautiful object, according to the different lights in which it is viewed. When we see men of inflamed palsions, or of wicked designs, tearing one another to pieces by open violence, or undermining each other by secret treachery; when we observe base and narrow ends pursued by ignominious and dishoneft means ; when we behold men mixed in fociety as if it were for the destruction of it; we are even ashamed of our species, and out of humour with our own being; but in another light, when we behold them mild, good, and benevolent, full of a generous regard for the public profperity, compassionating each other's diftreffes, and relieving each other's wants, we can hardly believe they are creatures of the fame kind. In this view they appear gods to each other, in the exercise of the noblest power, that of doing good, and the greatest compliment we have ever been able to make to our own being, has been by calling this disposition of mind humanity. We cannot but observe a pleasure arising in our own
upon the seeing or hearing of a generous action, even when we are wholly disinterested in it. I cannot give a more proper instance of this, than by a letter from Pliny, in which he recomiends a friend in the most handsome manner ; and, methinks, it would be a great pleasure to know the success of this epistle, though each party concerned in it has been so many hundred years in his grave.
“To MA X I MU S. < WHAT I should gladly do for any friend of yours, I think I may now with confidence request for
a friend of mine. Arrianus Maturius is the most con• fiderable man of his country ; when I call him so, I do
not speak with relation to his fortune, though that is very plentiful, but to his integrity, justice, gravity and prudence ; his advice is useful to me in business, and
his judgment in matters of learning : his fidelity, truth, ' and good understanding, are very great; besides this, * he loves me as you do, than which I cannot fay any
thing that signifies a warıner affection. He has nothing that is aspiring; and though he might rise to the highest order of nobility, he keeps himself in an inferior rank; yet I think myself bound to use my endeavours to serve and promote him ; and would therefore find the means of adding something to his honours while he neither
expects nor knows it, nay, though he should refuse ' it. Something, in short, I would have for him that
may be honourable, but not troublesome; and I in• treat that you will procure him the first thing of this • kind that offers, by which you will not only oblige
me, but him also ; for though he does not covet it, I s know he will be as grateful in acknowledging your « favour as if he had asked it.'
" Mr. SPECTATOR, "THE reflections in some of your papers on the servile manner of education now in use, have given ' birth to an ambition, which, unless you discounte
nance it, will, I doubt, engage me in a very difficult, 'though not ungrateful adventure. I am about to un
dertake, for the sake of the British youth, to inftruct • them in such a manner, that the most dangerous page ' in Virgil or Homer may be read by them with much ' pleasure, and with perfect safety to their persons.
Could I prevail lo far as to be honoured with the protection of some few of them, for I am not hero
enough to rescue inany, my design is to retire with 'them to an agreeable solitude; though within the neigh. 'bourhood of a city, for the convenience of their being
• instructed in music, dancing, drawing, designing, or
any other such accomplishments, which it is con• ceived may make as proper diversions for them, and • almost as pleasant, as the little sordid games which ' dirty school-boys are so much delighted with. It may
easily be imagined, how such a pretty society, converf
ing with none beneath themselves, and sometimes ad'mitted as perhaps not unentertaining parties amongit ' better company, commended and carefied for their lit• tle performances, and turned by such conversations to
a certain gallantry of foul, inight be brought early acquainted with some of the most polite English wri
ters. This having given them some tolerable taste of "books, they would make themselves masters of the La
tin tongue by methods far easier than those in Lilly,
with as little difficulty or reluctance as young ladies • learn to speak French, or to fing Italian operas. When
they had advanced thus far, it would be time to form ' their taste something more exactly : one that had any
true relish of fine writing, might, with great pleasure, both to himself and them, run over together with them the best Roman historians, poets, and orators, and
point out their more remarkable beauties; give them a 'fhort scheme of chronology, a little view of geography,
medals, astronomy, or what else might best feed the busy inquisitive humour so natural to that age. Such of them as had the least spark of genius, when it was
once awakened by the shining thoughts and great sen• timents of those adinired writers, could not, I believe, • be easily withheld from attempting that more difficult • fifter language, whose exalted beauties they would have • beard so often celebrated as the pride and wonder of the • whole learned world. In the mean while, it would be * requisite to exercise their style in writing any light
pieces that ask more of fancy than of judginent : and • that frequently in their native language, which every
one methinks should be most concerned to cultivate, especially letters, in which a gentleman muft have fo
frequent occafions to distinguish himself. A set of gen• teel good-natured youths fallen into such a manner of • life, would form alınost a little academy, and doubtless
prove no such contemptible companions, as might not