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“ Faintlier heard ; when from within the and the eternal regions of the blessed
expand before him, and around him, A harp rang out ; a youth with hurried and all is love. tread
“ And one of roseate cheek and sunny hair, Sprang into day, and, gasping, turn'd his head.
With starr'd and azured vestments, lean'd
her head The very heart within me seem'd to break At the shrill sadness of that following
O'er a wan youth, who waked as from the
dead ; shriek."-P. 201.
Drew life and love like sun-light at his eyes, The shriek, and misty figure, “ veil- And held his breath in speechless ecstasies, ed in snowy white," melting into Then dove-like murmured, while delight “ blindest, blackest, shade,” is certain
grew pain, ly an improvement upon the too pal- • Eurydice ! thou then art mine again!'” pable and speech-making Eurydice of
P. 205, the older versions. The Pontiff youth, under the despairing passion of his
Nothing can be happier than this grief , tearing away his harp-strings, is been an interruption to that perfect
conclusion ; a word more would have finely conceived. The charm of the Lyre has departed happiness, his dream, and his belief!
bliss of reunion—at once the poet's from him.
Oh, that he should awake from this and “ The serpent cast
feel the chill of the gray morning cold Her venom on him, as he bounding pass'd
upon his widowed breast ! Beneath the gnarl'd o'erbranching oaks ;
Much as we admire the Orpheus, the glare of panthers met him from their briery mend Mr Elton to give a rifaci
are almost tempted to recomlair.”_P. 202.
mento of this fascinating poem. The The paths lead him by the loathed superiority of those portions that are image of the human Bacchus-he finds in blank verse will be striking to himself in the holiest place amongst every reader.
We do not object the slumbering Bacchants—he awakes to rhyme-we would not disenchant them and drags their idol of Bacchus the tale of rhyme—but we would ever from its base, and tramples in the have rhyme tell. When it comes not earth the “mortal-visaged God.” The with its due pause, it is trifling ; its Bacchants, infuriate, pour forth the beauty is that it gives precision to Dithyrambic rage, seize and tear him thought, and encloses it, supplying the in pieces. Mr Elion does not forget place of the more distinct ictus of the the bodiless head floating down the Greek and Latin prosody. When Hebrus, and the “ frigida lingua,” still rhyme terminates a sentiment or an crying “Ah, miseram Eurydicen!”- action it gives it the muse's stamp, nor is he deterred by the burlesque of securing it from addition or interrupGay in his Trivia.
tion as a poetic axiom: it has a final “Headless he sank; but woods, and glades,
value. We cannot approve of the and rocks,
innovation of ineffective rhyming by Told back the voice of his last agony
which the imitators of the Shelley • Eurydice ! ah, poor Eurydice !'
school make it a passing impertinence, The last, the only sounds his tongue had with no apparent object but an unneshaped,
cessary intrusion. The monotony of Still quiver'd on the lip when life escap'd. periodical termination may be better The stream, that his departed visage rollid avoided by transferring the rhymes, Along its ruddy tides, that echo told;
making their recurrence irregular, as And all the wild roar died along the steep, in Lycidas (but Milton's ear was perAnd those who wreaked the vengeance fect; his sense of hearing was propaused to weep."--P. 204.
bably sharpened by the deprivation of The heathen poets here terminate sight), and also by the use of the tripthe story--but the immortality of the let, in which Dryden is so happy, and
art of the Orphic creed. so expressively and finally closes the Mr Elton, therefore, justly and with
sense of a passage. great beauty extends his vision. The But why may we not speak a few poet is again with Orpheus where, in words of Orpheus himself-Orpheus the cavern, the descent, the brazen the Poet! Who was Orpheus ? What door is passed. His footsteps are on did he do? The Poet, the modern the jasper floor ; all vanishes in mist; Sophist, the Utilitarian, will variously
soul was a
Some deny his existence, sters, we should be loth to trust to the and some read all poetry by the rule most concentrated extracts of his power of contrary. We envy not such, who from any of the works that bear his would too severely put poetry to the name. Repeat some of his best lines question, and who think they confer with the volume in hand in a pretty
a a benefit on mankind by stripping thick wood, and never suspect that the her more naked than ever she was trees will follow you, nor fear comborn, and subjecting her limbs to plaints before magistrates of your oral the torture to chronicle her miser- depredations ! able confessions as truth. We are There are some strong and pictucontent to know that trees followed resque passages in the Argonautics, for him, tigers danced and crouched instance, the Cave of Chiron; but, exbefore his lyre. Neither do we envy cepting some few isolated scenes, there the success of that exact enquiry by is little poetry in the work. There is which some have pretended to have a pretty story in the argument (why discovered, that the music of Orpheus so called we know not) to his Lithics, arose not from his lyre but from the which, though told with great simpestle and mortar! who resolve the plicity, shows a very successful atrecovery of Eurydice from Hades, tempt at descriptive precision and even or, according to the advertisements, studied sweetness and elegance of ver. " from under the ribs of death," into sification. the efficacy of medicine administered Orpheus, in his way to offer his anby the first Apothecary, Orpheus ! nual sacrifice to the Sun, meets Theo
The powers ascribed to Orpheus, damas, whom he persuades to accommaking every allowance for poetical pany him. He gives a very interestembellishments, are, indeed, extensive ing and graphic narrative of the cause enough; he asserts in the Argonautics, which led his father to offer sacrifice with sufficient gravity, that he had on the altar of that deity. This in"trod the dark way of Tanarus into troduces a discussion, and leads the Hell for the sake of his spouse, trust. way to the poems that follow, on the ing to his harp.” Certainly, nothing merits and powers of various stones, has come down to us indicative of his the possession of which will lead to wonderful charm. The most whimsi. the attainment of the owner's wishes, cal power ascribed to a verse of Or. and guard him from the dangers of pheus, “the wise mage,” is in the poison. The scenery of the place of Cyclops, where the coward Satyr pro- sacrifice, and the accompaniment of poses the repetition as a charm to bid the two dogs, who attend of their own the monster's eye walk out of his head accord, conclude the little narrative of its own accord. We are not likely with some exquisitely beautiful lines, to meet with panthers in our walks; as expressive as any in the range of but, if Mr Wombwell's van should pastoral poetry.
We offer a transbreak down and pour forth its mon. iation :
I love the converse of a man of sense,
But soon as I held out my hand to take him,
And he in his instinctive knowledge wise
The philosophy of Orpheus was the Phænician language. Origen brought from Egypt, where can be doubts not the personality of these, discovered a clue to the mythology but whether their books had been preof the Greeks and Romans. The served. Plato, however, speaks of veiled Isis was a symbol of the inner Orpheus as a real person, and refers or esoteric doctrine, that the world not merely to the Orphic writings, was Deity. Orpheus makes the Sun but to those of the individual Orpheus a type of the universe, and even its himself. He was supposed to have source. He seems to have inculcated lived before the Trojan era. Great a more material pantheism, whereas doubts exist whether the remains exthe Egyptians connected their solar tant are genuine. They were produand planetary worship with the sup- ced by Onomacutus, who lived in the posed transmission of the souls of the time of Xerxes and the Pisistratida, virtuous ancestors of mankind to the but it should be added, he was banishStars. Hesiod appears to glance ated on a charge of having issued forged this belief, though without the refer- oracles. It has been objected to the ence to a solar translation, in his good genuineness of the Argonautics, that demons. This may, however, have we have authority for Orpheus habeen a branch of the exoteric or out. ving used the Doric dialect ; but the ward doctrine promulgated to the objection is not valid, for Onomacutus people for social and political pur. may have changed it for the Homeric; poses, as the residence of the virtuous and it appears more probable that he souls in the stars meant probably no- should have been in possession of certhing more than a physical energy. tain fragments, which he made the
Having spoken thus of the works groundwork of the poems, than that and philosophy of Orpheus, it would he should have been their entire inseem very ungrateful, with Vossius ventor, as the name of Orpheus was and others, to deny his existence, and too well known, many of his tradiassert that Orpheus, Musæus, and Li. tionary verses being dispersed abroad, nus, were merely names deduced from to render such a forgery plausible.
VOL, XLIV, NO, CCLXXII.
But soon as I held out my hand to take him,