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This species of cleverness, not very difficult, is very much despised, and, I believe, very deservedly

But it had many examples among the Latins, in particular the arguments to the comedies of Plautus, which were all of them made out after that fashion. A specimen may be given in that of Amphitryon, which stands first in the editions, and is selected for no other reason.

There is neither more nor less of merit in any of the others :

Amore captus Alcumenas Juppiter,
Mutavit sese in ejus formam conjugis.
Pro patria Amphitruo dum cernit cum hostibus,
Habitu Mercurius ei subservit Sosiæ:
Is advenienteis, servum ad dominum, frustra habet.
Turbas uxori ciet Amphitruo: atque invicem
Raptant pro mechis. Blepharo captus arbiter,
Uter sit non quit Amphitruo decernere.
Omnem rem noscunt : geminos Alcmena enititur.


Sex etiam, aut septem, loca vidi reddere voces.


There is an account of two remarkable echos in Pausanias : one near Corinth :- Tού δε της Χθονίας εςιν ιερού, σοα κατά την δεξιάν Ήχούς υπό των επιχωρίων καλουμένη: φθεγξαμένω δε ανδρι τα ολίγισα ες τρεις ανθιβοήσαι σέφυκεν. The other was in Elis :- Εισί δ' οι την σοάν ταύτην και Ήχούς ονομάζουσι βοήσαντι δε ανδρί επτάκις υπό της ηχούς η φωνή επί τάδε, και επί πλέον έτι αποδίδοται.

Plutarch, in his treatise Περί 'Aδολεσχίας, mentions a third: - Την μεν γαρ εν Ολυμπία σοαν από μιάς φωνής σολλάς ανθανακλάσεις σοιούσαν, επίάφωνον καλούσι της δ'Aδολεσχίας άν ελάχιστος άψηται λόγος, ευθύς αντιπεριηχεί,

Κινούσα χορδές τας ακινήτους φρενών.

The poetical fiction of Narcissus and the Nymph, and the compassion of the gods in transforming disappointed flesh and blood into a last syllable, could not possibly escape the prevailing taste of Ovid, and an ample description in his Metamorphoses. .


Tuis quaint style of composition, so justly decried as a specimen of ingenuity, seems to have derived its origin, not from bad taste, but naturally from the construction of the Latin language, in which, so far from any cleverness in the contrivance, the difficulty is to avoid jingle. The adjective and the substantive having most frequently the same termination in the same cases, and the places on which the cæsura falls in hexameter and pentameter verses favouring the position of the adjective in the middle, and the substantive at the end of the line, these circumstances render those measures more liable to this accident than any other. They are generally spoken of as monkish inventions, after the taste of the Latin language and the spirit of the Latin poetry had materially degenerated, and rhyme had begun to supplant the prosodial quantity of the Greek and Latin. This is a correct representation, if the Leonine verse be considered as a set form of composition. But the monks have the merit or demerit, not of originality, but of adoption and adaptation. Numerous examples are to be found in Virgil, Horace, Tibullus, Catullus, Propertius, Ovid, and others of the ancients. You can hardly open their works without stumbling upon them. Take for instance Virgil, lib. vii. :

Ecce autem Inachiis sese referebat ab Argis.

Ovid. Epist.:

Pingit et exiguo Pergama tota mero.

Traditur huic digitis charta notata meis.

And eight more instances within the space of seventy-six lines, or at the rate of one in eight lines. Ovid was not likely to have felt much objection to what a highly cultivated ear must feel as a cacophony; but Virgil's judgment and pure taste must have been betrayed into it only from the difficulty of escape : and had the Æneid received his finishing hand, he probably would, in most cases, have contrived to avoid it. Cicero, though considered as a divine orator, was not an excellent poet, though not so very bad a one as some persons have with little discrimination represented him. In the poems on his own times, quoted by Quinctilian, is the celebrated line,

O fortunatam natam me consule Romam !

There is extant an epitaph on Pope Benedict XII. who is said to have come into the popedom like a fox, to have reigned like a lion, and to have died like a dog. We must not be very particular about the Ne in Nero.

Hic suus est Nero, laicis mors, vipera clero,

Devius a vero, cupa repleta mero.

The following furnishes a specimen of middleage satire against the hierarchy :

Accipe, sume, cape, sunt verba placentia Papæ.

That on Bede is well known :

Continet hæc fossa Bedæ venerabilis ossa.

The ingenuity of the following consists in its being an epitaph for four persons, in one line:

Filius hic, pater hic, et avus, proavus jacet isthic.

The following couplet, it is to be hoped, is not so well founded in its ascriptions to certain extensive classes of the human, as in those to the brute creation:

Vulpes amat fraudem, lupus agnum, fæmina laudem,

Vulnus amat medicus, presbyter interitus.

The following, in addition to the profundity of the remark, will prevent us from slipping in our declensions:

Destruit os oris quicquid lucratur os ossis.

Sir Walter Scott quotes the following splendid specimen in his introduction to the Battle of Otterbourne :

Regibus et legibus Scotici constantes,
Vos clypeis et gladiis pro patria pugnantes,
Vestra est victoria, vestra est et gloria,
In cantu et historia, perpes est memoria !

This rhyming propensity, originating, as we have already observed, in the peculiar construction of the Latin language, is carried to the extravagance of quaint pathos in the following stanzas of Fair Helen, a Scottish ballad :

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