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From the manner of the head being cracked off from the lower part, which has some of the hair behind, it appears that both the parts are of the same work and date.]
15. His Character.
For his character we need go no further than his Works and Days.' With what a dutiful affection he speaks of his father, when he proposes him as a pattern to his brother. His behaviour, after the unjust treatment from Perses and the judges, proves him both a philosopher and a good man. His moral precepts, in the first book, seem to be as much the dictates of his heart as the fruits of his genius; there we behold a man of the chastest manners, and the best disposition.
He was undoubtedly a great lover of retirement and contemplation, and seems to have had no ambition but that of acting well. I shall conclude my character of him with that part of it which Paterculus so justly thought his due: Perelegantis ingenii, et molissimâ dulcedine carminum memorabilis; otii quietisque cupidissimus:
of a truly elegant genius, and memorable for his most easy sweetness of verse; most fond of leisure and quietude.'
Discourse on the Writings of Hesiod.
SECTION 1. The Introduction.
Of all the authors who have given any account of the writings of our poet, I find none so perfect as the learned Fabricius, in his • Bibliotheca Græca.' He there seems to have left unread no work that might in the least contribute to the completing his design: him I shall follow in the succeeding discourse, so far as relates to the titles of the poems, and the authorities for them.
2. The Theogony.
I shall begin with the Theogony,' or Generation of the Gods, which Fabricius puts out of dispute to be of Hesiod: nor is it doubted (says he) that Pythagoras took it for his, who feigned he saw the soul of our poet in hell chained to a brazen pillar; a punishment inflicted upon him for the stories which he invented of the gods. This doubtless is the poem that gave Herodotus occasion to say that Hesiod, with Homer, was the first who introduced a theogony among the Grecians; the first who gave names to the gods, ascribed to them honours and arts, giving particular descriptions of their persons. The first hundred and fifteen lines of this poem have been disputed; but I am inclined to believe them genuine; because Pausanias takes notice of the sceptre of
laurel, which the poet says, in those verses, was a present to him from the Muses; and Ovid, in the beginning of his Art of Love,' alludes to that passage of the Muses appearing to him; and Hesiod himself, in the second book of his Works and Days,' has an allusion to these verses.
3. The Works and Days.
The Works and Days' is the first poem of its kind, if we may rely on the testimony of Pliny; it being very uncertain, says Fabricius, whether the poems attributed to Orpheus were older than Hesiod; among which the critics and commentators mention one of the same title with this of our poet. Pausanias, in his Boeotics,' tells us he saw a copy of this wrote in plates of lead, but without the first ten verses with which it now begins. The only dispute about this piece has been concerning the title, and the division into books. Some make it two poems: the first they call Epya, works, and the second Huɛga, days; others call the first Eyga naι Huɛga, works and days, and the second Huega only, which part consists of but sixty-four lines. Where I mention the number of verses in this discourse, I speak of them as they stand in the original. We find, in some editions, the division beginning at the end of the moral and religious precepts; but Grævius denies such distinctions being in any of the old manuscripts. Whether these divisions were in the first copies signifies little; for as we find them in several late editions, they are very natural, and contribute something to the ease of the reader, without the least detriment to the original text. I
am ready to imagine we have not this work delivered down to us so perfect as it came from the hands of the poet, which I shall endeavour to show in the next section. This poem, as Plutarch in his Symposiacs assures us, was sung to the harp.
4. The Theogony, and Works and Days, the only undoubted Poems of Hesiod now extant.
The Theogony,' and ' Works and Days,' are the only undoubted pieces of our poet now extant; the Ασπις Ηρακλεες, the “ Shield of Hercules,' is always printed with these two, but has not one convincing argument in its favour by which we may positively declare it a genuine work of Hesiod. We have great reason to believe those two poems only were remaining in the reign of Augustus. Manilius (who was an author of the Augustan age), in the second book of his Astronomy, takes notice, in his commendation of our poet and his writings, of no other than the 'Theogony,' and 'Works and Days.' The verses of Manilius are these:
Hesiodus memorat divos, div'umque parentes,
1 Dr. Bentley, whose Manilius was published ten years after the first edition of this discourse, gives primos titubantia sidera partus: the old copies, he says, have primos, and partus is supplied by his own judgment; but primos partus for titubantia sidera is not consistent with the genealogy of these natural bodies in the Theogony of Hesiod: an exact genealogical table to which I have given at the end of my notes to that poem. I must (with great deference to the superior knowledge of that learned critic) prefer the common reading
Et sub fratre viri nomen, sine fratre parentis,
Thus translated by Mr. Creech:
-Hesiod sings the gods' immortal race;
How twice born Bacchus burst the thunderer's thigh,
primum corpus. Dr. Bentley's chief objection to this reading is founded on making primum to be understood first, in point of time; therefore, says he, quomodo vero sidera primum erant corpus, cum ante ille extiterint chaos, terræ, orbis? Very true; but primum must be taken as I have used it my explanation of it.
2 For legesque rogavit Dr. Bentley gives legesque novandi, on the authority of no copy, but from a dislike to the expression of rogavit cultus and rogavit militiam; but, as the old reading rogavit is agreeable to my construction of it, I am for keeping it in.
3 For Bacchus utrumque Dr. Bentley gives Pallas utrumque; and in that sense Mr. Creech has translated it: which would be the more elegible reading, if Hesiod had treated of Olives. Bacchus utrumque is a foolish repetition as Dr. Bentley observes.