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OVID feems to have had the merit," Dr. Warton obferves, "of inventing this beautiful fpecies of writing Epiftles under feigned names, although Propertius has one compofition of the fame fort, an Epiftle of Arethufa to Lycotas." In fact, Ovid's Heroic Epiftles were prior to that of Propertius, as it evidently appears from the notes in the quarto edition of Propertius; where it is faid expressly-Epiftola, &c. fcripta ad imitationem Heroidum Ovidianarum, ut recte obfervavit Nic. Heinfius, neque enim dubitari poteft quin incidat in idem tempus, quo Nafo artes fuas elucubrabat, tefte hoc loco, Ex. L. 1.

Ecce parat Cæfar domito quod deficit orbi,

Addere, nunc oriens ultime nofter eris.

Tunc vero jam evulgatæ erant et libri Amorum, et Heroidum Epiftolæ, fic enim ipfe, lib. 3. art. Aman.

Deve tribus libris titulus quos fignat amorum,

Elige, quod docili molliter ore legas,
Vel tibi compofitâ cantetur epiftola voce,

Ignotum hoc alias ille novavit opus !

The merit of the invention, therefore, of this fpecies of writing, appears folely to belong to Ovid-it is, as Warton observes, a high improvement on the Greek Elegy, on account of its dramatic form. He adds," The judgment of the writer must appear, by opening the complaint of the person introduced, juft at such a period of time as will give occafion for the most tender fentiments, and the most violent and fudden turns of paffion to be dif played." How beautifully is this displayed in Pope's Epistle to Abelard a poem that has another moft interefting circumftance, which Ovid appears, as well as our Drayton, to have neglected; I mean the introduction of appropriate and descriptive imagery, which relieves and recreates the fancy by the pictures and by the landfcapes which accompany the characters. Ovid, in this Epistle, feems not infenfible to the effect of the introduction of fuch scenes and "the Leucadian Rock," the "Antra, nemufque," "the aquatic Lotus," the "facred pellucid Fountain," and parti


cularly the Genius of the Place, the Naiad," addreffing the de fpairing Sappho, (which circumftance Pope has beautifully imitated and improved in Eloife,) are in the genuine spirit of poetical tafte. Drayton, though praised by Warton, has hardly ever attended to this fpecies of beauty-and his Epiftles are in general vapid and tame. There are, however, here and there intersperfed, fome traits of poetic feeling; and I infert as a fpecimen, a defcription which has great merit both in painting and verfification: As in September, when our year refigns

The glorious Sun to the cold watery figns,

(Which thro' the clouds, looks on the Earth in fcorn)
The little Bird, yet to falute the Morn,
Upon the naked branches fets her foot,
The leaves then lying on the moffy root,
And there a filly chiripping doth keep,

As tho' fhe fain would fing, yet fain would weep,
Praifing fair Summer, that too foon is gone,

Or fad for Winter, too faft coming on.

Lord Hervey's Epiftles are fcarcely worth mentioning. The Italians have a Writer of Heroical Epiftles, according to Warton, Antonio Bruni. I have not feen them-they were printed at Venice 1636, with prints from defigns of Guido and Dominichino.



ECQUID, ut infpecta est studiofæ littera dextræ,
Protinus eft oculis cognita noftra tuis?

An, nifi legiffes auctoris nomina Sapphûs,
Hoc breve nefcires unde movetur opus?
Forfitan et quare mea fint alterna requiras

Carmina, cum lyricis fim magis apta modis.
Flendus amor meus eft: elegeïa flebile carmen;
Non facit ad lacrymas barbitos ulla meas.
Uror, ut, indomitis ignem exercentibus Euris,
Fertilis accenfis meffibus ardet ager.
Arva Phaon celebrat diverfa Typhoïdos Ætnæ,
Me calor Ætnæo non minor igne coquit.
Nec mihi, difpofitis quae jungam carmina nervis,
Proveniunt; vacuæ carmina mentis opus.

Nec me Pyrrhiades Methymniadefve puellæ,
Nec me Lesbiadum cætera turba juvant.
Vilis Anactorie, vilis mihi candida Cydno:
Non oculis grata est Atthis, ut ante, meis;


VER. 2] The force of Protinus is loft in the tranflation.




VER. 9. Uror, The repetition of "I burn, I burn," and the whole tone of the lines in Pope, are evidently copied from Sir Carr. Scrope's tranflation of this Epiftle:

"I burn, I burn, like kindled fields of corn,

When by the driving winds the flames are born."



SAY, lovely youth, that doft my heart command,
Can Phaon's eyes forget his Sappho's hand?
Must then her name the wretched writer prove,
To thy remembrance loft, as to thy love?
Afk not the cause that I new numbers chufe,
The Lute neglected, and the Lyric mufe;
Love taught my tears in fadder notes to flow,
And tun'd my heart to Elegies of woe.

I burn, I burn, as when through ripen'd corn


By driving winds the spreading flames are borne! 10
Phaon to Ætna's scorching fields retires,

While I confume with more than Ætna's fires!
No more my foul a charm in mufic finds;
Mufic has charms alone for peaceful minds.
Soft fcenes of folitude no more can please,
Love enters there, and I'm my own disease.
No more the Lesbian dames my paffion move,
Once the dear objects of my guilty love;



VER. 17. No more] Grofs as these allufions are, the images of the original are softened in the translation.

[blocks in formation]

Atque aliæ centum, quas non fine crimine amavi:

Improbe, multarum quod fuit, unus habes. Eft in te facies, funt apti lufibus anni,

O facies oculis infidiofa meis!

Sume fidem et pharetram; fies manifeftus Apollo;
Accedant capiti cornua; Bacchus eris.

Et Phoebus Daphnen, et Gnofida Bacchus amavit;
Nec norat lyricos illa, vel illa modos.

At mihi Pegafides blandiffima carmina dictant;
Jam canitur toto nomen in orbe meum,
Nec plus Alcæus, confors patriæque lyræque,
Laudis habet, quamvis grandius ille fonet.
Si mihi difficilis formam natura negavit ;

Ingenio formæ damna rependo meæ.




Sum brevis; at nomen, quod terras impleat omnes,

Eft mihi; menfuram nominis ipfa fero.

Candida fi non fum, placuit Cepheïa Perfeo
Andromede, patriæ fufca colore fuæ ;



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