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• The wind blew hard, the rough wave smote
Her cheeks all wet with tears and spray,
And, "Oh! what woes, my babe," she said,
'Sculptur'd in brass, a virgin bright,
On Midas' tomb I stand.
While water cools-while flow'rs delight-
While Ocean girds the earth around
While with returning day
Phoebus returns, and Night is crown'd
By Luna's glimmering ray
So long as these shall last, will I,
A monument of woe,
Declare to every passer-by
That Midas sleeps below.'-Merivale, p. 53.
We cannot refrain from adding Robert Smith's version-so famous in the me mory of his contemporaries at Eton:'Ventus quum fremeret, superque cymbam Horrentis furor immineret undæ, Non siccis Danaë genis, puellum Circumfusa suum; "Miselle," dixit, "O quæ sustineo! sopore dulci Dum tu solveris, insciaque dormis Securus requie; neque has per undas Illætabile, luce sub maligna, Formidas iter, impetumque fluctus
Supra cæsariem tuam profundam
To which Simonides made an answer, thus exquisitely rendered by the same hand :—
Who so bold
We close our hasty remarks on the lyric poets of Greece with the name of Bacchylides. He was nephew of Simonides, and native of the same island and town. He closes the lyric Ennead of the Alexandrian critics, and comes down recommended to our interest, or at least to our curiosity, by the reported fact that Hiero and his court preferred him to Pindar. That Bacchylides composed odes in honour of the winners at the Pythian games is undoubted, and we see no conclusive reason for discrediting the story that his poems were admired beyond those of his great contemporary. For although we were to assume, as we do assume, that the preference was grievously misplaced, we may well believe it was not the first, as we certainly know it has not been the last instance of poets, of comparatively small merit, carrying off the full prize of present popularity from their mightier but severer rivals. All ages and all countries have exhibited, and continue to exhibit, conspicuous examples of the fashionable postponement of the beautiful to the pretty, of the majestic to the showy; and we cannot but think, that Pindar must have put the finishing stroke to many of his subtle and deeply-wrought odes, with a feeling akin to that contained in Dante's solemn declaration to the Frivolous:
Now Bacchylides, so far as we can judge from the scanty frag ments remaining of him, and also from the opinions of some of the old critics, formed just that sort of contrast to Pindar, which would be likely to win favour with a luxurious prince and a careless court. He was as open and playful as Pindar was elaborate and serious; he wrote down to the precise level of the taste of his patrons, and it is deeply to be regretted that all patrons have not possessed a taste equally elegant and pure. His Pythian Odes are lost; the freer and more sagacious judgment of subsequent times avenged the Theban bard by letting this part of his rival's works perish, and all that we now have are of a different description. There are two very sweet fragments of Bacchylides in the Anthology, which will serve as specimens of the simple and easy flowing of his muse. One of these,
γλυκεῖ ἀνάγκα σευομένα κυλίκων,
θάλπησι θυμὸν Κύπριδος. κ. τ. λ.
is thus prettily, but rather too laxly, translated by Mr. Merivale's son, who has contributed not a few ornaments to this collection :
'Thirsty comrade! would'st thou know
All the raptures that do flow
From those sweet compulsive rules
While each ship that ploughs the main,
Thirsty comrade, at thy door.'-p. 76.
The other is better known, and was thus rendered by the late Mr. Bland:
τίκτει δὲ θνατοῖσιν εἰρήνα μεγάλα
πλοῦτον, καὶ μελιγλώσσων ἀοιδῶν ἄνθεα, ολο το λιο
On many an altar, at thy glad return,
To graceful movements, sports, and minstrelsy.
And youths, and maidens sing their roundelays.'-p. 77. The early and original lyric poetry of Greece died away in the two unequally balanced forms of the scolium or song, and the scenic chorus. Some of the remaining specimens of the former have all the spirit and flow of the best of the beautiful songs of our good English literature, especially those in the Shakspearian dramatists, and by the old cavaliers, Lovelace, Suckling, Carew, and the like other specimens are in a graver and more exalted tone, and make us doubt what the real limits of the scolium were supposed to be. Of this last class we instance the noble Hymn to Virtue-attributed, and properly attributed, as we believe, by Athenæus, to Aristotle :
Him, therefore, the recording Nine
Promoting still, with reverence due,
The meed of friendship, tried and true.’
Merivale, p. 91.
Of that species of the scolium, which more exactly corresponds with our notion of a song, there are instances in abundance, from the Alcæus-like outburst of Callistratus
ἐν μύρτου κλαδὶ τὸ ξίφος φορήσω.κ. Το λογα
to the lover's wish-so oddly attributed to Alcæus →→→
'I wish I were an ivory lyre-
To bear me to the altar side.'-Merivale, p. 88.
These few lines have set all poetical lovers a wishing, for ages since, even down to our I wish I were a Butterfly!' Take the prettiest of these wishes, all strung together in lines, which we doubt if any poet in Meleager's Garland could have mended:
No fairer maid does Love's wide empire know—