« PreviousContinue »
were not Pherecratian, he wonders that every body else is not as blind as himself. The lines occur in the Epithalamium of Catullus, which appears sadly to have puzzled the poor prosodian. He complains (p. 232)" that it is not entirely consistent with itself, the stanza being for the most part, but sometimes not, composed of five Pherecratic trimeters, of which the first four are irregular, having a dactylic cadence, and the fifth more exact." In reality the first four are Glyconics, and the fifth only Pherecratian.
Having so happily got through the dactylic verses, he next falls foul of Iambics. Here he lays down, that the Cretic, Amphibrach, and Bacchius, may be admitted into any place in the Iambic of comedy, which is just as true as if he had said they might be admitted into a place at the coronation. Every line in which they appear to exist, must of necessity be corrupt; but he is not satisfied even with these auxiliaries, for his first example (p. 208) of the comic tetrameter is
Quid est is ne ti- -bi vide- |-turdix- | -i ĕquidem ubi mi- | -hi osten- | -disti il--lico.
i équidem ŭbĭ mi! five short syllables in a foot. I recommend the discovery to the curious in strange scanning. Throw out mihi, and the line is right.
He then discovers that as a tribrach, or proceleusmatic, may follow a dactyl, (which by the way a proceleusmatic can never do, as it is confined to the first foot) and precedes an anapæst, there may be eight short syllables in succession in an iambic line. By the combination of these three feet we might have nine short successive syllables, thus oooo 1 1. But I doubt whether such a line exists. Hermann, I know, holds that an entire trimeter of tribrachs, except the last foot, is allowable; a. delicious combination, for which you may remember he was greeted with a smart line, constructed after his own model, by a Porsonian.
The dimeter and trimeter Iambics are fine classical verses, used by the first poets of Rome, and therefore we get as samples two bald affairs from the Romish Breviary, a beautiful Morning Hymn, and another on the conversion of Saint Paul, beginning with Egregie Doctor Paule mores instrue,
And so on, down to
Per universa æternitatis sæcula.
What taste! As for the beautiful Morning Hymn it is a poor thing, about as poetical as a Methodist canzonet, and what Lyne is ignorant of, written for rhyme.
Jam lucis orto side-ré Deum precemur suppli-cés Ut in diurnis acti-bus, Nos servet a nocenti-bus, Linguam refrænans tempe-ret, Ne litis horror inso-net, &c. The poets of the age, in which this hymn was committed, rhymed, as the Spaniards do, by a similarity of vowel. Thus sideré and supplicés, (the accent falling on the last syllable) rhyme just as bana and espada in
Rio verde, rio verde,
Quantos cuerpos en ti se bana
Pope Damasus, in his hymn on Saint Agatha's day,
Ethnica turba rogum fugiéns,
Hujus et ipsa meretur opem.
An attentive perusal of the Latin verses of that time, might, I think, throw some light on the origin of some of our metres, but this is no place for such a disquisition.
Our author is so enraptured, however, with the breviary, that we have it again as an example of the Iambic dimeter brachycatalectic. Listen to the sweet music.
1. Vitam præsta puram, 2. Iter para tutum, 3. Ut spectantes Jesum, 4. Semper collætemur. 5. Sit laus Deo patri; 6. Summo Christo decus; 7. Spiritui sancto
8. Tribus honor unus.
Lines 1, 3, 4, consist entirely of long syllables. Line 2 ends with a spondee. Line 6 has a spondee in even place, and 7 and 8 defy scansion; so that the fifth line is the only Iambic in this well chosen example! This stuff also was written without regard to ancient metres. The lines were probably intended for Trochaic and Spiri | tūi | Sancto, Vităm prestă purăm, and Tribus honor | unus were all excellent trochees in the mouths of the
singers. If meant for Iambic, all you have to do is to alter the arsis, and sing Spiri | tui | săncto | &c. But, in fact, the ancients had no such verse as the Iambic dimeter brachycatalectic. At least no example of it is extant in the classics that have come down to us.
This being so well dispatched, we next have an imperfect tetrameter Iambic acephalous, being a "noble hymn on the death of Christ."
Pange lingua gloriosi lauream certaminis. But heafterwards admits, that the verse may be a trochaic, (as indeed it is,) and divisible into two, (which also is true enough,) not, however, as he asserts, into a Trochaic and Iambic, but into Trochaics of different denominations. As the verse is classical, he might, I think, have taken an example from a Roman poet, (as, for instance, from Catullus,
Jussus est inermis ire, purus ire jussus
instead of this noble hymn, which is nothing but a string of barbarous Latinity, where a continual straining at final assonance is observable. I give the last line as a specimen of the barbarity of the hymn,
Unius trinique nomen laudet universitas ;
and then add Lyne's observation, (p. 214.)
"The author of this was Saint Ambrose, or Saint Austin, contemporaries in the fourth century, as some say; or Claudianus Mamercus, as Sidonius Apollinaris insists; it is quoted here from the Roman Breviary; and both this and those before, especially the Morning Hymn, written, I believe, by Saint Ambrose, the author of many hymns in that metre, are too beautiful to need commendation."
Too beautiful to need commendation! Why, they are scarcely common language. The sacredness of the subjects on which they treat, makes us feel some respect for them; but, considered in a literary point of view, they are neither grammar nor metre. So far from agreeing with Lyne, that their dignity is spoiled by the addition of rhyme, I am decidedly of opinion, that when the authors of the Hymns in the Breviary consulted their own ears, and did not endeavour to write in metres which they could not manage, they succeeded best; and those who read the
Pange lingua gloriosi corporis mysterium,
Tantum ergo sacramentum
Et antiquum documentum
sung to the divine music of Sebastian
We next get to Trochaics, in which department we have a clever, and unexpected discovery. "In Catullus," quoth our prosodian, (p. 216,)" we find two sorts of mixed trochaics-in the Epithalamiun of Julia and Manlius," a poem with which he has already shown such intimate acquaintance. Here they are, with his original scanning:
Flämmě- |-um vidě– | -Ō vě– | -nire.
Flamme--um video | veni- |-re
and the other line is of the same kind.
We then arrive at the lyric verses, and first of Choriambics. Here also he is a discoverer of a fact hitherto unsuspected. After counting up (p. 217.) six species of choriambic verse, he informs us that Prudentius has thrown all of them together into one ode or stanza in the order Lyne has arranged them. Now, no Latin poet has ever written an ode containing six varieties of metre, and, on turning to Prudentius, you will find that he has only three choriambics together, not six. In this department the choriambic tetrameter, (as
Omne nemus cum fluviis omne canat profundum, Claudian.) is omitted, though the Epichoriambic (No 5. in this arrangement) is only a
harsh variety of that metre. I was going to make some remarks on the structure of choriambics here, but I am unwilling to trespass too much on your
Then follows the class of Hendecasyllabics, where he is as luminous as in the former departments. Seneca, it appears, makes the second foot of the Sapphic, a dactyl: he might as well have said he made it a justice of peace. He cannot scan the line he quotes, Quæque ad hesperias jacet ora metas. Hesperias is a trissyllable, its two last vowels coalescing, as in omnia, alveo, &c. in Virgil. Why did not he tell us that Virgil concludes his lines with a dactyl, and quote
-Quin protinus omnia,
as proof? It would have been as wise. This section of Hendecasyllabics, i. e. verses of eleven syllables, he most appropriately concludes with the lesser alcaic, a line containing ten. For the honour of the Emerald Isle, I am happy to say, that this bull comes from England.
The Anapæstic is next on the carpet, and he takes care to shew, by his first sentence, that he knows nothing about it. He calls it a lyric verse, and says, that it at first consisted of four anapæsts, (p. 220.) Now, in fact, as I thought every dabbler in prosody knew, it consisted primarily of two anapests, which constitute the anapastic base, from which you can make dimeters, trimeters, tetrameters, metres of every co-efficient, taking care only of the synapheia, of which this learned Theban knows nothing. No Latin poet ever wrote lines necessarily consisting of four anapæsts; for the three or four exceptions in Seneca and Ausonius are not worth noticing; but, for the convenience of printing, they are so exhibited in editions. If it were equally convenient to the size of the page, they might have appeared as decameters, had that structure of verse pleased the eyes of the compositor.
But it is in the succeeding chapter, the miscellaneous department, he is most eminent. He is peculiarly ambitious to be able to exhibit a larger assortment of metres than any former prosodian; and, to effect this purpose, he has pressed lines of all shapes and sizes into his service. Falstaff never had a more heterogeneous body of raVOL. X.
gamuffins under his command than that which forms the elite of this chapter. Here we have an iambic monom. aceph, or, if you please, a trochaic monom. Cat. in Occidian iambic monom. Acat, in Quid illud esta trochaic monom. hypercat. in Hominem sta illico an anapæstic dipodia in Ad te ibam quidnam est-all fine names, but unfortunately mere fragments of comic verse. With the same judgment he raises an iambic trim. hypermeter -an iambic tetram. hypercat-a tro chaic trim. and tetram. hypercat. grand and learned titles for some corrupt lines extracted from a miserable edition of Terence, printed in 1560, Lugduni, apud Mathiam Bonhome, a most useful edition," says this great judge, with a most elegant phrase of panegyric, "which I advise him to make much whoever has it." (p. 227.) As every reader, of any prosodial knowledge, well knows that no such lines are in Terence, I shall not take the trouble of copying his examples; suffice it to say, that they are all mere corruptions of the text, and scanned most barbarously. For instance, we have, p. 226.
Age da věnĭām | nē grå- | -vere, &c. with a false quantity in it. Even for a trochaic tetrameter, (for which a good example might be given,) he contrives to blunder on a couple of corrupt readings, which are of course no examples at all.
Again, (p. 225,) we have another recruit in an anapastic tripodia. "Dicam | non ědě--pol scio." Ædepol! This is ignorance with a vengeance. And the Anapæstic Tripodia! Even by his own scanning it is a glyconic, and when scanned correctly, a Dimeter Iambic.
In the same spirit of enlistment, he divides the minor Ionic Tetrameter into two parts, and counts the fragment as one species, and the entire line itself as another, just to augment his list. For this division, he had, I confess, the authority of some unprosodial editors; but when he divides the Phalecian Pentameter (p. 225.) into three kinds of verse, the glory is entirely his own. It is a pity that he never read Boethius, whom he quotes, or he would have seen that Si quis Arcturi sidera nescit, and, Mergat que seras æquore flammas, are only two lines, not four-that they are of the same metre, the name
of which he did not know,-and that Boethian Iambic, and Boethian Trochaic, penthemimers, owe their origin to his own fertile imagination.
Nor can I allow him to pass the Molossic or Carcine, as distinct species of verse. The Molossic is only a species of Hexameter. Indeed he calls it Hexameter in p. 198; though in p. 228 he bids us scan it with four molossi ; that is, we have a six foot line, consisting of four feet. Again, I must congratulate Ireland on the English origin of our author. The carcine is only a foolery that can be applied to all kinds of verse, and is not worth enumerating. En passant, I may remark, that somebody has been writing, in a late number of the New Monthly Magazine, on the subject of Carcines most ignorantly, as I could demonstrate, if it were worth while to do so.
I am getting tired, like my readers, of exposing this ignorant farrago, so shall only cull a few more posies, and conclude. The third foot of the major ionic tetrameter, we are told, (p. 223,) may be a second epitrit, which is merely impossible. The example he quotes from J. C. Scaliger, gives us a dichoree in that place, though our worthy metrographer has been so unfortunate as to scan him wrong. But it is with Catullus's Galliambi, (the metre of that fine poem the Atys, which I perceive by your Magazine the Hon. Mr Lambe has so cruelly doggrelized,) that he makes the saddest work. He lays down, that it consists of half a dozen random feet, which happen to suit the first line; and soon finding that his ridiculous canon cannot proceed through three lines correctly, he flounders through a number of attempts at scanning, and then gives it up in despair, confessing that it contains still more varieties.This is pitiable. He has not an idea
how it should be scanned. But when he displays such astonishing ignorance as to exhibit
Ego mū-|-liĕr ē-|-go, &c.
with the first of mulier, and the first of ego long, I do not know what to say, and stop in amazement, though I still leave a fine harvest of blunders unnoticed.
And yet he is so well satisfied with himself, that it is a pity to laugh at him. It is manifest that he thinks himself a much deeper scholar in prosody than I. Vossius, (p. 231.) and and boasts most lustily of his superior diligence as a verse collector, (p. 195231.) But, of the seventy-five verses he has raked together, I must inform him twenty-nine are to be struck out," as being identical with other linesor wrong scanned-or corrupt-or nonsensical; and that, nevertheless, he has omitted at least a dozen legitimate species of verse.†
I have taken the trouble of examining this book, and pointing out its incredible errors, merely to shew, that if we wished to retort the sneers which some unfair critics in England heap upon us, we have ample means in our power. I confidently assert, that in Scotland there is no Latin teacher who could be so ignorant as to publish a book abounding with such mistakes and false quantities; or, if he did, that the Reviews of the country would not panegyrize it. Unfair, indeed, it would be to value the literature of England by the production of this unfortunate pedagogue. But is it not equally unfair in her critics not to extend to us a similar allowance?
St Andrews, Sept. 13, 1821. J
I am, Sir,
*He has, for instance, no less than 8 trimeter Iambics, given as varieties, on account of their containing different feet. By following this plan to its extent, he would have beaten out all competitors in number, for the comic tetrameter would have given him 98,750 varieties; and, if his own rule (p. 230,) was right, over half a million. This would be a fine body to march into the field.
+ Carey has 58, exactly a dozen more than Lyne's real metres. I cannot mention Dr Carey's prosody without strongly recommending it. No scholar, in fact, should be without it. But it would be much improved if a less egotistical style were adopted, if the barefaced puffing of his own books were suppressed, and his own good-for-nothing poetry struck out. They who take the trouble of turning in his third edition. (London, 1819,) to pp. x. xiv. xix. 31. 37. 52. 55. 113. 140. 148. 150. 172. 187. 207. 222. 223. 227. 297. (one of the grandest specimens extant of the puff-direct,) 355. 557 or any Jedediah Buxton, who will count how often the pronoun I occurs in the book will be satisfied that I do not recommend an unnecessary alteration.
THE VOYAGES AND TRAVELS OF COLUMBUS SECUNDUS.
To whisky plooks, that brunt for ouks
O, YE inhabitants of Leith!-ye bailie-admirals and admiral-bailies!-ye maltmen and skippers,-merchants and traffickers of every description! -and, chief of all, ye change-keepers, and dealers in porter, ale, and British spirits, wholesale and retail! -why did you allow the honest town of Musselburgh to run away with your Races, and transport all the wealth and beauty which annually decorated your barren sands, to the Links of these cunning provincials? No more shall the sweet sounds of the drum and fife,-the charming noise of the rowley-powley,-the roar of animals wilder than yourselves, the tambour of the ground and lofty tumbler, and the organ of the ropedancer, draw your attention from prices-current, the scarcity or plenty of pot-ashes or linseed, and the course exchange! No more shall the flavour of aquavitæ and ale from a thousand bottles, sweeten your tarry and oily atmosphere, and make your publicans glad! Your races are for ever run; you must give up all pretensions to the science of horse-flesh, and in
ROBERT FERGUSON. place of docking the tails of horses, confine yourselves to your own docks, wet and dry, and be content to travel six miles with your superiors, the good town of Edinburgh, to see the fun which was formerly at your doors.*
Leith Races were (I am sorry I cannot use the present tense) held annually in the month of July, on the seashore, to the eastward of the town, the time of running being accommodated to the recess of the tide. They lasted a week, and Edinburgh on these occasions was very full of company. The splendour of the equipages sported at this time, and the number of vehicles of every description called into requisition for Leith Races, gave the streets an unusually gay appearance. Almost every citizen who could ride, on that week exhibited his horsemanship; and every animal who had the slightest claim to the character of a horse, was obliged to shew his paces on the Sands of Leith. Farm-horses, brewers'-horses, and even those unfortunate creatures whose destiny it is to drag coals to the city, were required to act as saddle-horses for their mas
Why is the town of Edinburgh called good, the burgh of Linlithgow termed faithful, and Musselburgh denominated honest, in their public deeds, as if these qua. lities were single and incompatible with one another? Does not goodness imply the possession of honesty and faithfulness; and do not honesty and faithfulness entitle to he appellation of good? It is so in general society, and with regard to individual moals; but perhaps our ancestors, in characterizing the population of cities or towns, hought that apparent goodness did not require the nice observance of honesty,—that downright honesty made professions of good quite unnecessary, and that faithfulness o engagements superseded both the one and the other. Or, (but I merely throw it out s a conjecture,) may not some of our witty princes have thus titled the places above. entioned sarcastically, to notify that they were miserably deficient in the qualification nplied in the name ?That is, that Edinburgh was the reverse of good, the Musselurghers the antipodes of honesty,-and the burgh of Linlithgow every thing but faithI must write a Dissertation on this subject.