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refined and judicious Virgil having selected, and studied him, as the companion and guide of his muse, the model of his style, the constant object of his imitation. Unconquerable industry, and exquisite taste, in refining, correcting, and polishing their works, seem to have been peculiarly the gift of these two congenial poets. And the same happy result appears in both. Nothing can be more sweet, more refined, more perfect, than their versification; and their language every where bespeaks de. licacy, care, and choice. The genius of Homer is sublimely great, and irresistibly rapid—it is, indeed, a fire from Heaven-it strikes with the force of condensed lightning. His genius overawes and astonishes us, like the most sublime spectacles of nature. Apollonius and Virgil, though less vigorous and potent in their fire, are not less beautiful and resplendent in their lustre. They fill the hemisphere, with a diffusive glory, an expansive light, that kindles and flames in mild and lambent glory, over all the vaults of heaven, like the northern lights.
ESSAY THE FIFTH.
A TRANSLATOR is naturally led, to consider the character and talents of his author. In reviewing the production of Apollonius Rhodius, in order to ascertain the kind and degree of his genius, it would appear an unpardonable negligence, should I omit, or but slightly notice, one of the most striking circumstances, in his literary story, the share, which his poem had, in form. ing and guiding the genius of Virgil; and in furnishing materials, for the imitation and adoption of the great master of Latin song. Though the subject could not wholly escape the observation of the many editors, translators, and critics, who have bestowed their attention on Virgil; yet, it has been only casually introduced, and soon dismist. They have not attended sufficiently to the resources, which might be drawn from our author, in correcting the text, or illustrating the meaning, of his illustrious imitator. And while they have busied themselves, in drawing together parallel passages, from Homer, Hesiod, and Theocritus; they have scarcely looked into VOL, III.
the the copious storehouse of our author. The several points of resemblance, the unequivocal acts of imitation, the comparative merits of the two writers have not been made the direct theme of examination, or discussed as fully and minutely, as justice, and the claims and reputation of the Greek poet demand. I have adverted, in some measure, to this topic already, but, as the enquiry is peculiarly the province of a translator of Apollonius, it deserves to be pursued more extensively, and to occupy an entire essay, on this occasion.
There is an extraordinary degree of similarity, in the genius, talent, manner of thinking, style, and diction of these two writers, born in countries, and in ages, distant from each other, and composing their works in different languages. And, what is equally striking and remarkable, there seems to be a strong similitude in most of the circumstances of their lives and fortunes. Both these poets had the happiness of being born in a polite and literary age, when letters were cultivated, and learned men were favoured and encouraged. The muses flourished, under the favour and protection of wealthy, munificent, learned, and intelligent princes; who presided over opulent, polished, and well informed
subjects; and united taste with magnificence, in elegant - and voluptuous courts. Both writers had the advantages of a learned education. Their minds were alike filled with the treasures of various information. They were deeply tinctured with a knowledge and sense of religion, while, at the same time, their thoughts were expanded and raised, by the study of philosophy. Each of them lived in a brilliant ära of poetry, when a number of admirable cotemporary writers mutually excited a noble emulation. They both encountered envy, and opposition, and seem to have been engaged, in altercations, and literary warfare, with their coevals. Apollonius was
stigmatized, stigmatized, for his rancour, under the name of Ibis, by Callimachus, as has been already mentioned; and was, for a time, the victim of his conflict with him, who was first his preceptor and friend, afterward his rival and enemy. Virgil has immortalized Bavius and Mevius, by the slight notice, which is bestowed on them, in one of his eclogues. But these were not the only writers, whose malevolence contributed to adorn his triumph. As soon as his Bucolics appeared, an anonymous author produced Antibucolica, in which he poorly attempted to ridicule the style of Virgil, by a sort of parody-as
“ Tityre, si toga calida tibi est quo tegmine fagi." And
« Dic mihi, Damæta, cujum pecus, anne Latinum?
“ Non, verum Ægonis, nostri sic rure loquuntur." And
“ Nudus ara, sere nudus, habebis frigora-febrem." A writer, named Carvilius Pictor,* wrote Ænedo-mastix.-A writer, named Herennius, published a collection of the faults of Virgil; Perillius Faustinus, of his thefts; and Octavius Avitus composed eight volumes, entitled
Opovoleneulwr, in which he professed to point out what verses Virgil had borrowed, and from whence. Both Apollonius and Virgil seem to have encountered want, and difficulties, in their earlier days; they both surmounted them; and died in full possession of the honours and distinction due to their genius. • The circumstances of the times in which they lived; the course of education, and progress of the fortunes, of these two great poets, being thus similar, it is by no
* A worthy imitator of Zoilus, who wrote Homeromastix.
means extraordinary, that they should have displayed a similarity of genius, possessed similar endowments, and exhibited the same kind of beauties, the same peculiarities of manner. Nor is it surprising, that the latter poet should have been strongly impelled, to imitate his predecessor, who not only has resembled him, in genius, but in all the adventitious circumstances, which call forth genius, and determine exertions. Hence it comes, that Virgil has not merely imitated Apollonius Rhodius, in particular passages, or affected a general resemblance, . in style and manner; he has imbibed (if I'may so say) his very juices and substance; insomuch, that the vital blood of the Grecian poet, seems to flow and circulate, through the veins of his legitimate Latin descendant. Thus, they both exhibit, as the result of the circumstances of their education and fortunes, a display of various learning, a philosophical spirit, a serious and relie gious disposition, conceptions highly elevated, a tone of pomp and grandeur, with a politeness of manner, a courtly delicacy, and refinement of sentiment, lively perceptions of beauty and grace, with an uncommon talent for describing, os rather painting.-- While we remark, in both writers, the same majesty of thought, the same calm dignity, like the flowing of a smooth and deep river; we find, also, a clear and luminous imagi, nation. The forms and phantasms of natural external things, and the circumstances, symptoms, and concomitants, of human passion, are most clearly set out, and detailed. The happiest expressions wait, at their call, to clothe their conceptions in language. --We find the happiest propriety of language, the most exquisite aptitude of epithet, words that paint in a sentence, that comprise a description, or a character, in a single ex. pression. I have already remarked, that Apollonius is too minute and laborious in his paintings; but, this