Obrazy na stronie

cious, appears to have had this passage of the Roman lyrist immediately before him. He has adopted, however, a much wider canvass, and having brought his groups more minutely and distinctly on the fore-ground, the picture has, in consequence, become one of the most touching and interesting in the compass of modern poetry. We shall bring it forward here as an exquisite enlargement and illustration of the Horatian miniature.

Good Heav'n! what sorrows gloom'd that parting


That called them from their native walks away;
When the poor exiles, every pleasure past,

Hung round the bow'rs, and fondly look'd their


And took a long farewell, and wish'd in vain
For seats like these beyond the Western main;
And, shuddering still to face the distant deep,
Return'd and wept, and still returned to weep.
The good old sire the first prepar❜d to go
To new-found worlds, and wept for other's woe;
But for himself, in conscious virtue brave,
He only wish'd for worlds beyond the grave.

His lovely daughter, lovelier in her tears,
The fond companion of his helpless years,
Silent went next, neglectful of her charms,
And left a lover's for a father's arms.

With louder plaints the mother spoke her woes,
And bless'd the cot where every pleasure rose;
And kiss'd her thoughtless babes with many a tear,
And clasp'd them close, in sorrow doubly dear;
Whilst her fond husband strove to lend relief
In all the silent manliness of grief.

O luxury! thou curs'd by heaven's decree, How ill exchang'd are things like these for thee!

Reverting, however, to the more immediate subject of our paper, it may be remarked that Horace has not merely contented himself with the introduction of reflections on the proximity of death, and the short-lived tenure of sensual delights, as powerful correctives of luxury, dissipation, and vice; but he has taken a melancholy pleasure also in contrasting the innocent gratifications of life with imagery of this mournful and pathetic cast, fully aware how greatly our interest in these scenes is augmented by such a striking demonstration of the transitory

nature of all human enjoyment, even when most rational and pure.

It is in this spirit of subdued light and shade, of gently agitating the soul by opposed but not violent emotions, that many of the sweetest compositions of the Sabine bard have been conceived and finished, in colours, perhaps, less deep and contrasted than some of the pictures we have just been contemplating, but productive of a yet more tender and interesting impression. Let us select, for example, the following passage from his ode to Posthumus:

Eheu, fugaces, Posthume, Posthume,
Labuntur anni: nec pietas moram
Rugis et instanti senectæ

Afferet, indomitaque morti :

Linquenda tellus, et domus, et placens
Uxor: neque harum, quas colis, arborum
Te, præter invisas cupressos,

Ulla brevem dominum sequetur.

Ah, Posthumus, how flits away.

Lib. ii. Od. 14.

On rapid wings the transient hour!

No pious offerings can delay

Stern age, or death's all conquering power.

Thy lands, thy dome, thy pleasing wife,
These must thou quit; 'tis nature's doom:
No tree, whose culture charms thy life,
Save the sad cypress, waits thy tomb.


The effect thus produced by recalling the urn or the tomb with all their endearing associations amid scenes of rural happiness and domestic felicity, has been copied by a few master-minds thoroughly imbued with a taste for the genius of ancient poetry; and among these none has more happily caught and embodied the very spirit of the style we have been commenting upon, than the justly celebrated painter Poussin, who, in ⚫ one of the most beautiful of his landscapes, well known under the appellation of the Arcadia, has brought forward to the eye an incident whose influence over the mind and heart is precisely such as Horace has so often delighted to call forth. It would be injustice perhaps to the subject to omit in this place a description of this picture and its effects, or to give it in any other language than that of the eloquent Abbé "Le tableau dont je parle," he remarks, "représente le paysage d'une contrée

Du Bos.

riante. Au milieu l'on voit le monument d'une jeune fille morte à la fleur de son âge: c'est ce qu'on connoît par la statue de cette fille couchée sur le tombeau, à la maniere des anciens. L'inscription sépulcrale n'est que de quatre mots Latins: Je vivois cependant en Arcadie, Et in Arcadia ego. Mais cette inscription si courte fait faire les plus sérieuses réflexions à deux jeunes garçons et à deux jeunes filles parées de guirlandes de fleurs, et qui paroissent avoir rencontre ce monument si triste en des lieux où l'on devine bien qu'ils ne cherchoient pas un objet affligeant. Un d'entre eux fait remarquer aux autres cette inscription en la montrant du doigt, et l'on ne voit plus sur leurs visages, à travers l'affliction qui s'en empare, que les restes d'une joie expirante. On s'imagine entendre les réflexions de ces jeunes personnes sur la mort qui n'épargne ni l'âge, ni la beauté, et contre laquelle les plus heureux climats n'ont point d'azile. On se figure ce qu'elles vent se dire de touchant, lorsqu'elles seront revenues de la premiere surprise, et l'on l'applique à soi-même et a ceux à qui l'on s'intéresse." *

* Réflexions Critiques sur La Poesie et sur La Peinture. Sixième Edition. Premiere Partie, p. 55.

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