« IndietroContinua »
circumcirca diffusa est racemosa cum capreolis Vitis
modulantur varie-Sonora carmina.
sibilis ex adverso canunt,-&c. We shall find the same happy choice of energetic and picturesque words and phrases in the Idyllia. Thus in the very beginning of the first Idyllium we find these beautiful words:
“Αδύ τι το ψιθύρισμα και α πίτυς, αιπόλε, τηνα
Quæ est juxta fontes, modulatur
Καλόν έθειράξοντες-pulchre comati.
bene compacta suaviter spirantem
+ άτρόπον ύπνον εαύων.4V, 49.
æternum somnum dormiens.
ύπνω μαλακώτερα.-ν. 31.
densarum caudarum vulpes.
έκνυξήτο ποτ' ισχία ρύγχος έχoισα.--V. 30.
ganniebat ad femora rostrum habens. This last verse is also pleasant for the small but agreeable and natural circumstance it describes.
Omnis lapis occursans ad soleas resonat. This last is å very striking verse: I fancy that I almost hear the tinkling of the little stones against his wooden shoes.
Τέττιγες λαλαγεύντες έχον πόνον-ν. 139.
– έστενε τρυγών
ω βάθος ύλας
O altitudo sylväe
Simul quæ pascuntur oves aspiciens.
sub dio cubare.
' . -- τον δ' αυ τρόπον ούκ έχω είπειν-v. 37.
Morem vero tuum non possum exprimere. This line is remarkable. As there are no words which can adequately paint the engaging manner of an agreeable person, the reaper says, I cannot describe your manner.”
υποκάρδιον έλκος-v. 13. in pectore vulnus.
vitis quæ dulces fructus habet.
. . διεξαίξε-ν. 23. The whole of the thirteenth Idyllium is written in a very fine style. The two following verses are remarkable.
Νύμφαι ακοίμητοι, δειναι θεαι αγροιώταις
! λευκαίνων ο χρόνος-v. 70. etas que canos facit.
Canebant autem omnes in unum carmen tripudiantes
Pedibus connexis, circum autem resonabat domus bymenæo. From the specimens here given, and from many others which will readily occur to a reader of taste, it appears that Theocritus labored his style, and selected his words with an exquisite choice. From many of his expressions one might ihink that he was skilled in music. It is this felicity of phrase, and the peculiarity of his air and manner, which renders it absolutely impossible to transfuse the Doric delicacy, wildness, and simplicity of his poems into a translation. It has been said that all poetry is untranslatable, as no translation can convey a proper idea of the air and manner of the original. The poetry of Theocritus is of all others the most untranslatable.
It has been said, that nothing can be more unlike a good original poem than a literal translation. Yet we must allow that our literal translation of the Psalms gives us a juster idea of the original thran the translations of Buchanan and Johnston in Latin, or Merrick's translation in English; though it must be owned that Mr. Merrick, in some places, has hit off the true sense of the Hebrew better than our old venerable translators. Bishop Lowth's translation of Isaiah, in like manner, is preferable to any poetical version that can ever be given of that sublime and poetical prophet.
He that does not understand Greek must for ever remain ignorant of the true air, manner, and genius of Homer," altho' Mr. Pope has given us so highly, finished and elegant a translation of him.
ON THE SCIENCE
OF THE EGYPTIANS AND CHALDEANS.
No. V.-[Continued from No. XXXV. p. 18.]
OF CHEMISTRY AND METALLURGY.
If we believe Zosimus of Panopolis, both the science and the name of chemistry existed before the flood. This Egyptian philosopher assures the women, that a race of demons had commerce with the sex. “ Hermes," says he, “relates this in his Physics; and nearly universal report, both public and private,
' I have read somewhere that a gentleman, who did not understand Greek, declared that he formed a juster idea of the characteristic manner and spirit of Homer, from the old rugged literal version in Latin, than from the most polished free translations.
records it.” “ The ancient and divine writings say," continues Zosimus," that the angels became enamoured of women ; and, descending, taught them all the works of nature. From them, therefore, is the first tradition, chema, concerning these arts; for they called this book chema, and hence the science of chemistry takes its name.” Φάσκουσιν αι Ιεραι γραφαί ήτοι βίβλοι, ώ .
, γύναι, ότι εστί τι δαιμόνων γένος, ο χρήται γυναιξίν. εμνημόνευσε και “Ερμής εν τοίς φυσικούς, και σχεδόν άπας λόγος φανερός και απόκρυφος τούτο εμνημόνευσεν. Τούτο ούν έφασαν αι αρχαίαι και θείαι γραφαι, ότι άγγελοι επεθύμησαν των γυναικών, και καθελθόντες εδίδαξαν αυτάς τα της φύσεως πάντα τα έργα. έστιν ούν αυτών η πρώτη παράδοσις, χημά, περί τούτων των τέχνων. εκάλεσαν δε ταύτην την βίβλον χημά. ένθεν και η τέχνη χημία καλείται. Zosimus alludes perhaps to the second
. verse of the sixth chapter of Genesis. It is remarkable that this verse has been misunderstood by all the translators. In the English Bible it is thus rendered :-"The sous of God saw the
. daughters of men that they were fair, and they took them wives, of all which they chose.” The Pseudo-Hermes and Zosimus had probably adopted a similar version. By Onb7 22 “sons of the gods," I understand, the followers of the false gods; and by OTX DUO “ daughters of man," I understand, women inheriting all the frailties of human nature. That men had fallen off from the worship of the only God, before the flood, may be safely conjectured and reasonably inferred from the punishment inflicted upon them. Every Hebraist knows that Elohim sometimes signifies the gods of idolators; and that beni often means disciples or followers. The word is indeed used with elegance in this sense. To those who read “the sons of God," the Egyptian tradition can scarcely appear absurd.
There is no reason to doubt that the arts were cultivated by the Antediluvians, and that the ancient Egyptians and Chaldeans preserved some traces of the primeval history of the world. These traces were not obliterated when the philosophers and historians of Greece visited Egypt and the East; and they are even now discernible, amidst the confusion of names and dates, and in spite of the clouds of fable with which they are enveloped. My present subject leads me particularly to observe, that Tubal Cain appears to have been the prototype of Ptha, or Pthas, the Egyptian Vulcan.