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The singular beauty of our poet's style, and perhaps the careless facility with which he appears to have trifled, have induced, as I remarked, a number of imitations. Some have succeeded with wonderful felicity, as may be rliscerned in the few odes which are attributed to writers of a later period. But none of his emulators have been so dangerous to his fame as those Greek ecclesiastics of the early ages, who, conscious of inferiority to their prototypes, determined on removing the possibility of comparison, and, under a semblance of moral zeal, destroyed the most exquisite treasures of antiquity. Sappho and Alcans were among the victims of this violation ; and the sweetest flowers of Grecian literature fell beneath the rude hand of ecclesiastical presumption. It is true they pretended that this sacrifice of genius was canonized by the interests of religion, but I have already assigned the most probable motive;' and if Gregorius Nazianzenus had not written Anacreontics, we might now perhaps have the works of the Teian unmutilated, and be empowered to say exultingly with Horace,
Nec si quid olim lusit Anacreon
Delevit ætas.' The zeal by which these bishops professed to be actuated gave birth more innocently, indeed, to an absurd species of parody, as repugnant to piety as it is to taste, where the poet of voluptuousness was made a preacher of the gospel, and his muse, like the Venus in armour at Lacedæmon, was arrayed in all the severities of priestly instruction. Such was the Anacreon Recanlatus, by Carolus de Aquino, a Jesuit, published 1701, which consisted of a series of palinodes to the several songs of our poet. Such, too, was the Christian Anacreon of Patrignanus, another Jesuit, who preposterously transferred to a most sacred subject all that Anacreon bad sung to festivity.
His metre has been very frequently adopted by the modern Latio poete. Scaliger, Taubman, Barthius," and others, have evinced that it is by no means uncongenial with that language.3 The Anacreontics of Scaliger, however, scarcely deserve the name: they are glittering with conceits, and, though often elegant, are always laboured. The beautiful fictions of Angerianus have preserved more happily than any the delicate turn of those allegorical fables which, frequently passing through the mediums of version and imitation, have generally lost their finest rays in the transmission. Many of the Italian poets have sported on the subjects and in the manner of Anacreon. Bernardo Tasso first introduced the metre which was afterwards polished and enriched by Chabriera and others. If we may judge by the references of Degen, the German language abounds in Anacreontic imitations; and Hagedorn is ong
rhetorician Julianus, as he says, but by the * Thus, too, Albertus, a Danish poet :
Fidii tui minister
Gaudebo semper esse first hymn of Bishop Synesius, that he made
Gaudebo semper illi Anacreon and Sappho his models of composi.
Litare thure mulso; tion:
Gaudebo semper illum
See the Danish Poets collected by Rostgaard. . Margunius and Damascenus were likewise authors of pious Anacreontics.
These pretty littlenesses defy translation I have seen somewhere an account of the There is a very beautiful Anacreontic by Hugo MSS. of Barthius, written just after his death, Grotius. See lib. i. Farraginis. which mentions many more Anacreontics of his • From Angerianus Prior has taken his most than I believe have ever been published.
elegant mythological subjects.
among many who have assumed him as a model. La Farre, Chaulieu, and the other light poets of France, have professed, too, to cultivate the muse of Téos ; but they have attained all her negligence, with little of the grace that embellishes it. In the delicate bard of Schirasl we find the kindred spirit of Anacreon : some of his gazelles, or songs, possess all the character of our poet.
We come now to a retrospect of the editions of Anacreon. To Henry Stephen we are indebted for having first recovered his remains from the obscurity in which they had reposed for so many ages. He found the seventb ode, as we are told, on the cover of an old book, and communicated it to Victorius, who mentions the circumstance in his Various Readings. Stephen was then very young, and this discovery was considered by some critics of that day as a literary imposition. In 1554, however, he gave Anacreon to the world, accompanied with Annotations and a Latin version of the greater part of the odes. The learned still hesitated to receive them as the relics of the Teian bard, and suspected them to be the fabrication of some monks of the sixteenth century. This was an idea from which the classic muse recoiled : and the Vatican manuscript, consulted by Scaliger and Salmasius, confirmed the antiquity of most of the poems. A very inaccurate copy of this MS. was taken by Isaac Vossius, and this is the authority which Barnes has followed in his collation ; accordingly, he misrepresents almost as often as he quotes ; and the subsequent editors, relying upon him, have spoken of the manuscript with not less confidence than ignorance. The literary world has at length been gratified with this curious memorial of the poet, by the industry of the Abbé Spaletti, who in 1781 published at Rome a fac-simile of the pages of the Vatican manuscript, which contained the odes of Anacreon.*
Monsieur Gail has given a catalogue of all the editions and translations of Anacreon. I find their number to be much greater than I could possibly have had an opportunity of consulting. I shali therefore content myself with enumerating those editions only which I have been able to collect; they are very few, but I believe they are the most important :
The edition by Henry Stephen, 1554, at Paris ; the Latin version is, by Colomesius, attributed to John Dorat.
The old French translations, by Ronsard and Belleau-the former pub. lished in 1555, the latter in 1556. It appears that Henry Stephen communicated his manuscript of Anacreon to Ronsard before he published it, by a note of Muretus upon one of the sonnets of that poet.
The edition by Le Fevre, 1660.
I See Toderini on the learning of the Turks, as I fill the bowl to Stephen's name, translated by De Cournard. Prince Cantemir Who rescued from the gloom of night has made the Russians acquainted with Anacreon. The Teian bard of festive fame, See his Life, prefixed to a translation of his And brought his living lyre to light, Satires, by the Abbé de Guasco.
2 Robertellus, in his work De Ratione corrigendi, pronounces these verses to be triflings of as the tenth century, was brought
from the Pala
*This manuscript, which Spaletti thinks as old some insipid Græcist.
tine into the Vatican Library; it is a kind of 3 Ronsard commemorates this event :
anthology of Greek epigrams. Je vay boire à Henri Etienne
5 The author of Nouvelles de la Repub, des Qui des enfers nous a rendu, Ďu vieil Anacreon perdu,
Lett. praises this translation very liberally. I La douce lyre Teienne. -Ode xv. book 6.
have always thought it vague and spiritless.
L'Histoire des Odes d'Anacreon, by Monsteur Gacon ; Rotterdam, 1712.
A translation in English verse, by several hands, 1713, in which the odes by Cowley are inserted.
The edition by Barnes; London, 1721.
A collection of Italian translations of Anacreon, published at Venice, 1736 consisting of those by Corsini, Regnier, Salvini, Marchetti, and one by several anonymous authors.
A translation in English verse, by Fawkes and Dr. Broome, 1760.2
The edition, by Spaletti, at Rome, 1781; with the fac-simile of the Vatican MS.
The edition by Degen, 1786, who published also a German translation of Anacreon, esteemed the best.
A translation in English verse, by Urquhart, 1787.
The edition by Citoyen Gail, at Paris, seventh year, 1799, with a prose translation.
1 This is the most complete of the English translations.
ODES OF ANACREON.
But tear away the sanguine string, I saw the smiling bard of pleasure,
For war is not the theme I sing. The minstrel of the Teian measure;
Proclaim the laws of festal rite, 'Twas in a vision of the night,
I'm monarch of the board to.night; He beamed upon my wandering sight. And quaff the tide as deep as !!
And all around shall brim as high, I heard his voice. and warmly pressed And when the cluster's mellowing dews The dear enthusiast to my breast. His tresses wore a silvery dye,
Their warm, enchanting balm infuse,
Our feet shall catch the elastic bound, But beauty sparkled in his eye; Sparkled in his eyes of fire,
And reel us through the dance's round.
Oh Bacchus ! we shall sing to thee, Through the mist of soft desire. 2 His lip exhaled, whene'er he sighed,
In wild but sweet ebriety!
And flash around such sparks of The fragrance of the racy tide; And, as with weak and reeling feet,
As Bacchus could alone have taught ! He came my cordial kiss to meet,
Then give the harp of epic song, An infant of the Cyprian band
Which Homer's finger thrilled along ;
For war is not the theme I sing !
Many a city first portray ;
Warm with loose festivity.
Picture then a rosy train.
1 This ode is the first of the series in the Vatican 3 This idea, as Longepierre remarks, is in an manuscript, which attributes it to no other poet epigram of the seventh book of the Anthologia : han Anacreon. They who assert that the manu
Εξοτε μοι πινoντι συνεσταουσα Χαρικλω zeript imputes it to Basilius have been misled by
Λαθρη τους ιδιους αμφεβαλε στεφανους, , "he words in the margin, which are merely in
Πυρ ολοον δαπτει με. . ended as a title to the following ode. Whether it te the production of Anacreon or not, it has all
While I unconscious quaffed my wine, the features of ancient simplicity, and is a beauti.
'Twas then thy fingers slyly stole ful imitation of the poet's happiest manner.
Upon my brow that wreath of thine, 2 The eyes that are humid and fluctuating show
Which since has maddened all my soul ! a propensity to pleasure and love; they bespeak, 4 The ancients prescribed certain laws of too, à mind of integrity and beneficence, a gene- drinking at their festivals, for an account of rosity of disposition, and a genius for poetry. which see the commentators. Anacreon here
Baptista Porta tells us soine strange opinions acts the symposiarch, or master of the festival. of the ancient physiognomists on this subject, 5 La Fosse has thought proper to lengthen their reasons for which were curious, and perhaps this poem by considerable interpolations of his not altogether fanciful.- Vide Physing nom. Jo- own, which he thinks are indispensably neceskan. Baptist. Porte.
sary to the completion of the description.
Roundelay or shepherd-song.
GRAVE me a cup with brilliant grace,
Deep as the rich and holy vase,
Which on the shrine of Spring reposes,
barbarous rites ODE IV.1
In which religious zeal delights ;
Nor any tale of tragic fate,
Which history trembles to relate !
No-cull thy fancies from above,
Themes of heaven and themes of love
Let Bacchus, Jove's ambrosial boy,
Distil the grape in drops of joy ;
And while he smiles at every tear,
Let warm-eyed Venus, dancing near,
With spirits of the genial bed,
The dewy herbage deftly tread.
Let Love be there, without his arms,
And all the Graces linked with Love,
Blushing through the shadowy grove, While many a rose-lipped bacchant In circlets trip the velvet ground; maid?
But ah ! if there Apollo toys,
I tremble for my rosy boys !*
1 This is the ode which Aulus Gellius tells us * An allusion to the fable that Apollo had was performed by minstrels at an entertainment killed his beloved boy Hyacinth while playing where he was present.
with him at quoits. *This,says La Fosse, - is 2 I have given this according to the Vatican assuredly the sense of the text, and it cannot manuscript, in which the ode 'ncludes with admit of any other.' the following lines, not inserted accurately in The Italian translators, to save themselves any of the editions :
the trouble of a note, have taken the liberty of Ποιησον αμπελους μοι
making Anacreon explain this table. Thus SalΚαι βοτρυας κατ' αντων
vini, the most literal of any of them :
Ma con lor non giuochi Apollo;
Che in fiero risco
Col duro disco
A Giacinto fiaccò il collo.
3 The Vatican MS. pronounces this beautiful Ερωτα κ’ Αφροδιτην.
fiction to be the genuine offspring of Anacreon.
It has all the features of the parent:
et facile insciis
Noscitetur ab omnibus.
The commentatore, however, have attributed it