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Yet furious still, Parthenopaus flies ;
Th’ Arcadian youth a brass-hoof'd courser gain'd: Him step by step impatient Idas plies,
A buckler fraudful Idas next obtain'd: And pants alou), with vengeance in his eyes; But Lycian quivers for the rest remain'd. Now hanging o'er, his hos'ning shade is seen, Adrastus next demands what chiefs prepare That lengthens still, and floats along the green : To whirl the massy discus through the air. And sudden now, by unperceiv'd degrees
A herald, bending with the burthen, threw Full on his neck he blows the sultry breeze. Th' enormous circles down in public view. Next Phædimus and aged Dymes past
Starts ev'ry Grecian speechless with surprise; Along the circus, Alcon came the last.
Much wond'ring at the weight and shapeless As the fair offspring of the sylvan Grace
size. With matchless swiftness speeds along the race,
First two Achaians round the labour came, His golden tresses wav'd in curls, behind
With ardent Phlegyas, candidates for fame: Flow loosely down, and dance upon the wind : An Acarnanian next accepts the toil, (These from a child with pions hopes he bore, And three brave chieftains from Ephyre's soil, Sacred to her who treads the Delian shore 4;
With numbers more-but eager of renown, What time from Thebe's distant plains he came Sudden Hippoinedon Alings thund'ring down Renown'd for conquests of immortal fame: A disk of double weight; amaz'd they stand; Too fondly pious! in a Theban urn
The vast orb rings, and shakes the trembling Soon must thou sleep, ah, never to return!)
(nown'd, These vengeful Idas saw with ardent eyes : “ Warriors" (he cries) “in fighting fields reResolvid by force or fraud t'obtain the prize; Whose arms must strike Thebe's bulwarks to Sudden he stretch'd his impious arm, and drew
the ground: Supine on earth the stripling, as he few : On tasks like these your mighty prowess try :"Then starting reach'd the goal, and claim'd the Boastful he spoke, and whirl'd it up the sky. prize.
Amaz'd each chief the wond'rous cast admires, Arms! arms' aloud th’Arcadian nation cries: And conscious of th' event betimes retires, Vengeance at once they vow, or else prepare Pisæau Phlegyas only keeps the field, To leave the Circus and renovnce the war. With great Menestheus, yet untaught to yield : Tumultuous murmurs echo thro' the crowd, Brave warriors each, too noble to disgrace Those praise the fraud, and these detest aloud. By one mean act the glories of their race.
Slow-rising from the plains the youth appears, The rest inglorious leave the listed ground, His eyes half angry, and half drown'd with tears, And tremble to survey th' enormous round. He bends his head, the tears in silence tlow ; First Phlegyas rose the mighty toil to try : A mournful image, beautiful in woe!
Dumb was each voice, attentive ev'ry eye; Now beats his bosom, frantic with despair ; He rolls the quoit in dust with prudent care, And rends the ringlets of bis golden hair. And poises oft, and marks its course in air. A busy murmur deafens ev'ry ear,
Ev'n from a child, (where old Alphëus leads Nor yet the crowd the royal judgment hear. His mazy stream through Pisa's lowly meads) At last Adrastus rose with awful grace,
Not only when with mighty chiefs he strove And thus bespoke the rivals in the race.
At sacred games to please Olympian Jove : “ Cease, gen'rous youths ! once more your Thus with full force the massy weight be threw fortunes try,
Far o'er the stream, half shaded, as it flew. In sep'rate paths, each starting from the eye.” At first he marks the skies and distant plain,
So spake the king : and sudden from the view, Then summons all his strength from ev'ry vein. In sep'rate paths the ready racers few.
Couch'd on his knees the pond'rous orb he swung But first th’ Arcadian youth with lifted eyes High o'er his head, along the air it sung. Thus sent his soul in whispers to the skies.
Now wasting by degrees, with hollow sound “Queen of the silver bow, and wood-land Fell heavily, and sunk beneath the ground. glades;
[shades; Fond of his art and strength in days of yore, The Heav'ns fair light, and empress of the Well-pleas'd he stands, and waits th' event once Sacred to thee alone, with decent care I nurs'd these curls of long-descending hair: Loud sbout the Greeks, and dwell on Phleggas' At thy desires I fell; yet hear my pray’r!
praise. If e'er my mother pleas'd thee in the chase, Hippomedon with scorn the chief surveys. If e'er I pleas'd thee-banish my disgrace; Some nobler arm the pond'rous orb must throw Nor let these omens prophesy my fall
With care, directly in a line below. (Assure they must) beneath the Theban wall !” But fortune soon his mighty hopes withstood, So pray'd the youth. The goddess heard his Fortune still envious to the brave or good! pray'r,
Alas, can man confront the pow'rs on high? Rapid he shot along, half pois'd in air :
While distant fields are measur'd in his eye, Fast and more fast the Aying fields withdrew; Just when his arm he stretch'd at full extent, Scarce rose the dust beneath him as he few. Couch'd on one knee, his side obliquely bent; Shouting, he reach'd the goal: with transport Struck by some force unseen, th' enormous round fird,
Dropt from his band, and idly prints the ground. Soon sought Adrastus, and bis right requir'd. Much griev'd the pitying host, yet griev'd not all; Panting and pale he seiz'd the palm. At hand Some inly smil'd to see the discus fall. To close the game the ready prizes stand.
Next, sage Menestheus stands prepared to
fling 4 Diana.
The disk, and rolls it in the dusty ring: VOL. XVI.
Intent of mind he marks its airy way,
Now conscious fear succeeds. The chiefs essay And much implores the progeny of May. Their arms, and slowly first provoke the fray. Well-aim'd it tlew half o'er the cirque; at last This on nice art and diffidence relies, Heavy it fell. An arrow mark'd the cast. That on mere courage and stupendous size;
Slow rose Hippomedon, and e'er he rose Void of all fear, and without conduct brave, Much weigh'd the fate and fortune of his foes. He wastes that strength himself has pow'r to He pois'd, and reard the mighty orb on high ; Swung round his arm, and whirl'd it thro' the Still blindly drives where fury leads the way, sky,
Aud storms, and falls the victor and the prey. Forth-springing with the cast. Aloft it sung With stedfast glances this surveys his foe, Far o'er the mark where er’st Menestheus fung: And either shuns, or wards th' impending blow: And o'er those hills with grassy verdure crown'd, Now lowly bends (his elbow o'er him spread) Whose airy summits shade the circus round- The stroke impetuous sings above his head. There sunk, and sinking shook the trembling Now nearer draws, the more he seems to fly; ground.
So much his motion varies from his eye! So Polyphemus, more than mortal strong, Now with full force be aims a pond'rous blow, Hurl'd a huge rock to crush th'liyssean throng: And tow'ring high o'ershades his mighty foe. Blind as he was, the vengeful weight he threw, Thus in some storm the broken billows rise The vessel trembled, and the waters flew. Round the vast rock, and thunder to the skies. Soon good Adrastus rises, to repay
Once more with wary footsteps wheeling With sumptuous gifts the labours of the fray.
round, Safe for Hippomedon apart was roll'd
Full on his front he deals a mortal wound: A tiger's skin, the paws o'erwrought with gold. Crashing it falls--unfelt the trickling blood His Gnossian bows and darts Menestheus took; Spreads o'er his helmet in a crimson flood. Then thus to Phlegyas with a mournful look A sudden whisper murmurs round; alone He said. “ This sword, unhappy chicf, re- To Capanens the cause remains unknown. ceive;
At lasi be lifts his hand on high, the gore (A boon so just lippomedon might give :) Forth-welling fast distains his cæstirs o'er. This sword which once immortal honours gaind, Grief swells his heart, and vengeance and disWhich sav'd Pelasgiis, and his pow'r maintain'd."
dainA warlike toil Adrastus next demands, So foams the lion, monarch of the plain, In iron gloves to sheath their hardy hands : And loudly roaring with indignant pride, First Capaneus prepar'd for combat stands; Gnaws the barbid jav'lin griding in his side: A mighty giant, large, and tow'ring high, Now springs with rage ; supine along the ground Dreadful in tight, and hideous to the eye. Pants the bold youth whose hand infix'd the Around his wrists the hard bull-hides be binds,
wound. And raunts his strength, and deals his blows in Fast and more fast his lifted arms he throws winds :
[there be, Around his head, and doubles blows on blows. “ Stand forth some chief," he cries, “ (if such Part waste in air, part on the cæstus fall Who dares oppose an enemy like me!)
With mighty force; bis foe returns 'em all. Yet might some Theban sink beneath my blow; Still seems to fear him with dissembling eyes, Glorious and sweet is vengeance on a foe.” Yet still persists, and combats, while he fies.
So spake the chief. Half-trembling with amaze, Panting they reel; the youth retreats more slow, In speechless horrour all the circle gaze. The weary giant scarcely aims a blow, At last Alcidimas, with gen’rous ire
They sink at once-so sailors on the main Sprung forth, unask'd. The Doric bands admire. Who long have toil'd through adverse waves in All but his friends. They knew the daily care
(more, Which Pollux us'd, to train him to the war. All drop their hands. The signal sounds once (He taught himn first to bind the gauntlets round | Ayain they start, and stretch the lab'ring oar. Mis nervous wrists, and aim the crashing wound: Thus rose the chiefs, with recollected might Oppos’d in fight, he heav'd him high, or prest Rush'd Capaneus like thunder to the fight. The youth lond-pant.ng on his naked breast.) Low bends Alcidimas with watchful eyes:
Ilin Capaneus survey'd with scornful eyes, Short of his aim the giant o'er him fies; Insults his years, and claims a nobler prize. Up starts the youth, and as he stagger'd round, Provok’d, he turns to fight. Each warrior stands Clasp'd firm his neck, and bow'd him to the At full extent, and lifts his iron hands. [round,
ground. Well-tempor'd casques their hardy brows sur- As rising from th'inglorious plain contends To break at least the fury of the wound.
Fierce Capaneus, a second blow descends This towr'd like Tytius on the Stygian shore, Full on his head :. beneath the stroke he bent; When the fierce vultures cease to drink gore: The youth turn'd pale, and trembled at th' So high in air his spreading shoulders rise,
event. So swell his muscles, and so faine his eyes; Joud shout the Greeks: the shore and forest That at his side in blooming youth appears,
rings. Yet promis'd wonders from maturer years : Then thus in haste exclaims the king of kings 'The favours of the crowd alike succeed
(As from the ground the furious Argire rose, On either side: none wish'd the chiefs to bleed. And row'd, and aim'd intolerable blows):
Low'ring at first they met, nor silence broke, “ Seize bim, ye chiefs, his bloody hands restrain, Each lifts his arm, and only aims the stroke. Give all the palm, but lead him from the plain. Soine moments thus they gaz'd in wild surprise, Haste, see, he raves ! air, tear him from my eyes, A hasty fury sparkled in their eyes;
He lives, he rises, the Laconian dics !"
He said. Hippomedon, and Tydeus rose :
Thus Tydens storm'd; nor heats nor toils asScarce both their hands restrain his mighty
[give : His furious strength, or mitigate his rage. Then thus they spoke. “ The prize is thine, for- Agylleus pants aloud, nor scarce contends; 'Tis double fame to bid the vanquish'd live;
Black’ned with dust a stream of sweat descends. A friend, and our ally"-he storms the more, Tydeus press'd on, and seem'd to aiun a blow Rejects the prize, and thus devoutly swore :
Full at his neck: the force was meant below, “ By all this blood, at present iny disgrace,
Where well-knit nerves the knees firm strength These hands shall crush that more than female
(plain"- Short of their reach, his hands the blow deny. These hands shall dash him headlong to the He sinks; o'er him, like so:ne vast mountain fell To Pollux then he weeps, but weeps in rain. Agyllens, and half squeez'd his soul to Hell. He said. By force they turn'd his steps away.
So when th' Iberian swain in search of ore Stubborn he still persists, nor yields the day.
Descends, and views the light of Heav'n no more: far off in secret, the Laconian host
If some strong earthquake rocks the mould'ring Smile at his fury, and their hero boast.
ground, Mean while with conscious virtue Tydeus (High o'er him hung) down rush the ruins round, burns,
Deep under earth his batter'd carcase lies, Renown and praise inflame his heart by turns : Nor breathes its spirit to congenial skies. Swift in the race he still the guerdon bore,
Full of disdain (Etolian Tydeus rose; Now toss'd the discus, now the gauntlets wore; No peace, no bounds his fierce resen' ment But most for Pales' active arts renown'd,
[wi id, To hurl his foe supine along the ground.
Swift from th' inglorious hold he springs like By Hermes tutord, on th' (Etolian plain, And circles round, then firmly fix'd behind. He made whole nations bite the dust in vain. His hand embrac'd his side, his knees surround
Full terrible he look’d. For arms he wore The giant's knees, and bend'em to the ground. The savage trophies of a mountain-boar,
Nought boots resistance now. Agylleus makes Once Calydonia's dread ! the bristly hide (pride. One more essay. That inoment Tydeus takes, Broad o'er his shoulders hung, with barb'rous And rears him high. The mingling shouts arise, Unbound, he flings it down, then waits bis And loud applause runs rattling thro' the skies. foes.
Su Hercules, who long had toil'd in vain, Besides him, tow'ring, huge Agylleus rose,
Heav'd huge Anthëns from the Lybian plain ; A monstrous giant, dreadful to mankind;
Erect in air th' expiring savage hung, Yet weak he seem'd, his limbs were loosely Nor touch'd the kindred earth, from whence he join'd.
sprung: Low Tydeus was. What Nature there deny'd, Long Tydens held him thus. At length he found Strong nerves, and mighty courage well supply'd; The point of time, and hurl'd him to the For Nature never since the world began
ground Lodg’d such a spirit in so small a man!
Side-long — Himself upon the giant lies, Soon as their shining limbs are bath'd in oil, And grasps his neck, and firmly locks his thighs. Dowit rush the heroes to the wrestling toil.
Prone o'er th' inglorious dust, Agylleus quakes Deform’d with dust (their arms at chistance Half-dead: his shame alone resistance makes: spread)
Then rose at last, and stagg'ring thro' the.. Each on his shoulder half reclines bis head.
thronz, Now bending 'till be almost touch'd the plain, Slowly he trail'd his fceble legs along. Tydeus the giant heav'd, but heav'd in vain. When Tydeus thus. (His nobler band sustain'd
The mountain-cypress thus, that firmly stood The palın, his left the warlike gifts he gain'd:) From age to age, the empress of the wood, “ What though my blood o'erflow'd yon guilty By some strong whirlwind's sudden blast declin'd,
(round; Bends arching down, and nods before the wind: Whan singly arm’d, whole numbers press'd me The deep roots tremble till the gust blows o'er, (So prov'd all contracts with the l'heban name, And then she rises, stately as before.
Their honour such) yet Tydeus lives the same.” So vast Agylleus scarcely mor'd below, He spoke, and speaking sent the prize away; Hangs imminent upon th' (Etolian foe.
Aside, a breast-plate for the vanquish'd lay. Breast, shoulders, thighs, with mighty strokes Others in arms their manly limbs enclose; resound,
To combat Epidaurian Agreus rose : And all appears an undistinguish'd wound. Hiin with his shining blade the Theban waits, On tiptoe rais'd, their heads obliquely bent, An exile still by unrelenting fates. Each hangs on each, stretch'd out at full ex- ThenthusAdrastus. "Gen'rous youths give o'er; tent.
Preserve all rage: and thirst for hostile gore. Not half so bloody, or with half such rage, Ye gods! what slaughter and what combats call! Two furious monarchs of the herd engage. Then waste your fury, Thebes demands it all. Apart the inilk-white heifer views the fight, But you, O prince! a kinsman, and our friend, And waits to crown the victor with delight. Whose cause such numbers with their lives defend; . Their chests they gore, the mighty shock re- For wbom, our native towns, and countries lay sounds;
[wounds. Unpeopled half, to other foes a prey; Love swells their hate, and heals the gaping Trust not th’ event of fight; nor bleed, to please
So shaggy bears in strict embraces roll, Th’inhaman hopes of base Etheocles. And from each corse squeeze forth th' unwilling Avert it Heav'n !” The ready chiefs obey'd: soul.
Their brave attempt a glittring helm repaid.
Howe'er in sign of conquest and renown,
It must certainly be an inanite pleasure to (So will'd the Sisters) prophesy'd th' event. peruse the most ancient piece of history now ex
Him too the chiefs with kind persuasions pray tant, excepting that in holy scripture. This To rise, and close the honours of the day:
remark must be understood of the action of the (And lest one victory be lost) to throw
Thebaid only, which Statius, without question, The missile lance, or bend the Lycian bow. faithfully recited from the most authentic chroWell-pleas'd Adrastus to the plain descends
nicles in his own age. The action of the Iliad In pomp, his steps a youthful crowd attends, and Odyssey happened several years after. This Behind, a squire the royal quiver bore,
is evident from Homer's own words. AgamemnDeep fill'd with sbafis, a formidable store. non, in the 4th Iliad, recites with great transport 'Tis plain (Shall man deny ?) each human the expedition of Tydeus: and Ulysses mentions
the story of Jocasta (or Epicaste, as he calls her) Proceeds, unseen, from Hear'n's eternal laws. in a very particular manner. It is in his descent - All fäte appeard: the chiefs perversely blind to Hell, Odyssey the eleventh : Neglect the sign, nor see th' event behind.
Μητέρα δ' Οιδιπόδαο ίδoν, καλών Επικάρην,
By this the monarch strain'd the bending yew: rñusy.
3. These think the shaft rebounded from the tree; And those, that wiods with unresisted force The antiquity of the Thebaid may be conDrove clouds on clouds, to intercept its course. sidered also in another view. As the poet was Mean while th' event and dreadful omen lies obliged to conform the manners of his heroes to Deep wrapt in night, nor seen by human eyes. the time of action, we in justice ought not to (ne chief in saiety must return alone,
be so much shock'd with those insults over the Through woes, and blood, and dangers yet un- dead which run through all the battles. This known.
softens a little the barbarity of Tydeus, who expired gnawing the head of his enemy; and the
impiety of Capaneus, who was thunderstruck NOTES
while he blasphemed Jupiter. Whoever reads the books of Joshua and Judges will find about
those times the same savage spirit of insolence SIXTH THEBAID OF STATIUS. and fiertè. NOTE 1.
4. Mr. Dryden, in his excellent preface to the
The Nemexan games.
V. 4. Eneid, takes occasion to quarrel with Statius, and calls the present book an ill-timed, and injudi. of the Nemeæan games.
I beg to be excused from giving a long account
What the world calls cious episode. I wonder so serere a remark could pass from that gentleman, who was an ad-learning, differs very little from pedantry; and
I am sensible many an honest man may deserve mirer of our author even to superstition. I own I can scarce forgive myself, to contradict so great harm: so much harder 'tis to conceal knowledge,
that imputation when he means no manner of a poet, and so good a critic ; talium enim virorum ut admiratio maxima, ita censura difficilis. How- information now extant is to be collected from
than first get it. The best and most ancient erer the present case may admit of very allevi-Pindar's odes in general. However I must just ating circumstances. It may be replied in gene- take notice of a funeral oration spoken in honour ral, that the design of this book was to give a
of Archemorus, as it is mentioned by Clemens respite to the main action, introducing a mournful, but pleasing variation from terrour to pity.
Alexandrinus, in his adınonit, ad Gentes. It is also highly probable, that Statius had an eye
5. to the funeral obsequies of Polydore, and Anchi- The youthful sailors thus with early care ses, mentioned in the 3d and 5th books of Virgil. Their arms experience
v. 23. Wemay also look upon them as a prelude, opening the mind by degrees to receive the miseries
'Tis worth while here to take notice of Stati. and horrour of a future war. This is intimated
us's similies in general. They are sometimes in some measure by the derivation of the word proper, but not often : a common fault with most Archeinorus.
young authors, who can reject nothing; though Besides the reasons above mentioned, we have either suppress the thought, or at most content
a more judicious writer at the same time would a fine opportunity of remarking upon chief of himself with a metaphor. I am apt to think the heroes who must make a figure hereafter; similies must seldom be used, except they conthis is represented to the eye in a lively sketch that distributes to each person his proper lights, vey to the mind some very pleasing, or strong with great advantage.
piece of painting. For all similies are descrip.
tions (or pictures) whose only beauty proceeds. He mixes with the bleating lambs his cries; from an excellence in the imagery. In these While the rude swain his rural music tries, cases, painting must always be consulted. To call soft slumbers on bis infant eyes.
Another oversight in Statius is want of pa- | Yet ev’n in those obscure abodes to live, rity in the circumstances: but this is owing to Was more, alas! than cruel fate would give ! the irregularity of his genius, which was above For on the grassy verdure as he lay insisting upon particulars, and gave only some And breath'd the freshness of the rising day; bold strokes of likeness.
Devouring dogs the helpless infant tore, If a translator can leave out such similies (or Fed on his trembling limbs, and lapt the gore. other passages) in Statius as are not proper, with
9. out violating the context : or if he can supply any of their defects in a very short compass, I
The pious mother thus, deceiv'd too late thiok he ought. Though these liberties are not
Like her fond spouse
v. 90. to be taken with more correct writers.
I scarce ever met with a more incoherent pas6.
sage than this, in any author. The sense is fine, Swift from mankind the Pow'r of slumbers and easily apprehended by the context: the flew. v. 31.
words are obscure to a fault, and the transition
too sudden and violent : This place is not translated exactly to the letter, nor indeed would our language bear it. The
Namque illi & pharetras, brevioraque tela
dicarat original is extremely poetical, and correspondent to the best paintings in those times :
Festinus voti pater, insontesque sagittas.
Jam tunc & notâ stabulis de gente probatos -cornu fugiebat somnus inani.
In nomen pascebat equos, cinctusque sonantes, For Somnus (or sleep) was represented as a deity
Armaque majores expectatura lacertospouring dews out of a horn, over the temples of
Spes avide ! quas non in nomen credula vestes the sleeping person. Statius allades to this in Urgebat studio ? &c. another passage, upon the same occasion ; Spes avidæ, must certainly be spoken of the -cornu perfuderat omni.
mother, or else credula has nothing to agree with.
In short, it must never be defended, but by one This remark I owe to Lactantius, who has given of these two excuses, either that Statius left his us the only tolerable comment upon Statius. poem unfinished, or that the verse immediately Care has been taken to read him entirely over, preceding, is now lost. It might mean perhaps though to little purpose. His notes are learned,
no more than this, “ thus too was the unhappy short, and clear, but seldom poetical. Most of mother deceived ! with what care-&c.” This them are like the old Scholia upon Homer, ex- consideration clears the sense, and solves all obplaining one word by another. He is full of jections at once. However 'tis a mere conjecture, apostrophes and exclamations, yet gives no rea- and may be truer to the author's reputation, than SONS. Such as, exquisitè dictum! pictum egre- his first meaning. giè! &c.
All grave readers will reject this as a whimsi7.
cal young man's notion ; nor do I lay any stress Mean while Adrastus bears the friendly part,
upon it. To show I can be serious on occasion, And with kind words consoles, &c. v, 51.
I shall just refer them to Virgil's third Georgic,
where will be found a transition from horses to Chaucer, who was perhaps the greatest poet cows, as obscure almost as this in Statius. among the moderns, has translated these verses Gronovius (without any authority) thinks we almost word for word in his Knight's Tale. I shall should read spes avidi, instead of avidæ, still make this remark once for all: as nothing parti- preserving the context, and referring credula to cularises the fine passages in Homer more than
spes. I cannot approve of this emendation for that Virgil vouchsafed to imitate them : so scarce
many reasons; we at once lose balf the beauty. any thing can exalt the reputation of Statius Besides, the repetition of in nomen would be tau. higher, than the verbal imitations of our great tology, if it did not refer to another person : nor countryman. I prefer this to a volume of criti
can urgere vestes be so properly applied to the cisms; no man would imitate what he could father. exceed.
Whoever reads this positive Dutchman's pre8.
face to Ammianus Marcellinus, will never think Inwoven on the pall, young Linus lay
him to be a man of sense, or candour, In lonely woods- v. 70.
10. Linus was the son of Apollo, and the nymph Stretch'd o'er the ground the tow'ring oaks Psamathe. No picture could be introduced with
were seen, &c. v. 108. more propriety; his death was almost exactly the same with that of Archemorus. The story is
This description is inimitably beautiful, and I related at large by Adrastus in the first Thebaid; might spend a whole page in admirations. 'Twere and admirably translated by Mr. Pope :
easy also, by drawing parallel places, (a com
mon, but unfair practice) to prefer Statius to all How mean a fate, unhappy child! is thine ? the ancients, and moderns. Most of the poets Ah how unworthy those of race divine ? have exercised their genius upon this occasion; On flow'ry herbs in some green covert laid, particularly Ovid in the 10th book of his MetaHis bed the ground, his canopy the shade,