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But see! the stars begin to steal away,
825 And shine more faintly at approaching day ; Now
pour the wine; and in your tuneful lays Once more resound the great Apollo's praise.
Oh father Phoebus ! whether Lycia’s coast 829 And snowy mountain, thy bright presence boast ! Whether to sweet Castalia thou repair, And bathe in silver dews thy yellow hair ; Or pleas'd to find fair Delos float no more, Delight in Cynthus, and the shady shore; Or choose thy seat in Ilion's proud abodes, 835 The shining structures rais'd by lab’ring Gods; By thee the bow and mortal shafts are borne; Eternal charms thy blooming youth adorn; Skill'd in the laws of secret fate above, And the dark counsels of almighty Jove, 840 'Tis thine the seeds of future war to know, The change of Sceptres, and impending woe; When direful meteors spread through glowing air Long trails of light, and shake their blazing hair. Thy rage the Phrygian felt, who durst aspire 845 T'excel the music of thy heav'nly lyre; Thy shafts aveng’d lewd Tityus' guilty flame, Th’immortal victim of my mother's fame;
Ver. 829. Some of the most finished lines he has ever written, down to verse 854.
Ver. 841. 'Tis thine] Far superior to the original are these four lines; and how mean is the Tityus of Statius, compared with the tremendous picture in Virgil! May I venture to add, that we have our language some translations that have excelled the originals; perhaps they are, Rowe's Lucan, Pitt's Vida, Hampton's Polybius, Melmoth's Pliny, and Carter's Epictetus.
Te viridis Python, Thebanaque mater ovantem
Ver. 850. tordu Megæra] This expression, and premit and instimulat, are weakened in the translation; but mista fastidia is a harsh expression; as also is a line above, 842, Tu Phryga submittis citharæ.
Thy hand slew Python, and the dame who lost
Propitious hear our pray'r, O Pow'r divine! 855
In order to give young readers a just notion of chasteness and simplicity of style, I have seen it of use to let them compare the mild majesty of Virgil and the violent exuberance of Statius, by reading ten lines of each immediately after one another. The motto for the style of the age of Augustus may be the “ Simplex Munditiis” of Horace ; for the age of Domitian and the succeeding ages, the “Cultuque laborat Multiplici” of Lucan. After this censure of Statius's manner, it is but justice to add, that in the Thebais there are many strokes of a strong imagination; and indeed the picture of Amphiaraus, swallowed up suddenly by a chasm that opened in the ground, is truly sublime :
“ Illum ingens haurit specus, et transire parantes
B. vii. v. 817.