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mer has limited his Place to Troy, and the Fields about it ; his Action to Forty Eight Natural Days, whereof Twelve are Holy-days, or Cessation from Business, during the Funerals of Patroclus. To proceed, the Açtion of the Epique is greater : The Extention of Time enlarges the Pleasure of the Reader, and the Episodes give it more Ornament, and more Variety. The Instruction is equal; but the first is only Instructive, the latter forms a Heroe, and a Prince.
If it signifies any thing which of them is of the morė Ancient Family, the best and most absolute Heroique Poem was written by Homer long before Tragedy was invented : But, if we consider the natural Endowments, and acquir’d Parts, which are necessary to make an accomplish'd Writer in either Kind, Tragedy requires a less and more confin'd Knowledge: Moderate Learning, and Observation of the Rules is sufficient, if a Genius be not wanting. But in an Epique Poet, one who is worthy of that Name, besides an universal Genius, is requir'd universal Learning, together with all those Qualities and Acquisitions which I have nanı'd above, and as many more as I have through Halte or Negligence omitted. And after all, he must have exactly ftudy'd Homer and Virgil, as his Patterns, Aristotle and Horace, as his Guides, and Vida and Boffu, as their Commentators, with many others both Italian and French Criticks, which I want Leisure here to recommend.
In a Word, what I have to say, in relation to This Subject, which does not particularly concern Satyr, is, That the Greatness of an Heroique Poem, beyond that of a Tragedy, may easily be discover'd, by observing how few have attempted that Work, in Comparison of those who have written Drama's ; and of those few, how small a Number have succeeded. But leaving the Critiques on either side, to contend about the Preference due to this or that Sort of Poetry; I will hasten to my
present Business, which is the Antiquity and Origin of
There has been a long Dispute among the Modern
This Original, I confess, is not much to the Honour of Satyr; but here it was Nature, and that deprav'd: When it became an Art, it bore better Fruit. Only we have learnt thus much already, that Scoffs and Revilings are of the Growth of all Nations; and consequently that neither the Greek Poets borrow'd from other People their Art of Railing, neither needed the Romans to take it from them. But considering Satyr as a Species of Poetry; here the War begins among the Critiques. Scaliliger the Father will have it descend from Greece to Rome; and derives the Word Satyr from Satyrus, that mixt kind of Animal, or, as the Ancients thought him, Rural God, made up betwixt a Man and a Goat; with
a Human Head, hook'd Nose, powting Lips, a Bunch or Struma under the Chin, prick'd Ears, and upright Horns; the Body shagg‘d with Hair, especially from the Waist, and ending in a Goat, with the Legs and Feet of that Creature. But Casaubon, and his Followers, with Reason, condemn this Derivation ; and prove that from Satyrus, the Word Satira, as it signifies a Poem, cannot possibly descend. For Satira is not properly a Substantive, but an Adjective; to which the Word Lanx, in English a Charger, or large Platter, is understood : So that the Greek Poem made according to the Manner of a Satyr, and expressing his Qualities, must properly be calla Satyrical, and not Satyr. And thus far 'tis al. low'd that the Grecians had such Poems; but that they were wholly different in Specie, from that to which the Romans gave
the Name of Satyr. Aristotle divides all Poetry, in relation to the Progress of it, into Nature without Art, Art begun, and Art compleated. Mankind, even the most Barbarous, have the Seeds of Poetry implanted in them. The first Specimen of it was, certainly fewn in the Praises of the DEITY, and Prayers to Him: And as they are of of Natural Obligation, so they are likewise of Divine Institution. Which Milton observing, introduces Adam and Eve every Morning adoring GOD in Hymns and Prayers. The first Poetry was thus begun, in the wild Notes of Natural Poetry, before the Invention of Feet, and Measures. The Grecians and Romans had no other Original of their Poetry. Festivals and Holy-days foon succeeded to Private Worship, and we need not doubt but they were enjoin'd by the True GOD to his own People ; as they were afterwards imitated by the Heathens ; 'who by the Light of Reason knew they were to invoke fome Superior Being in their Necessities, and to thank Him for his Benefits. Thus the Grecian Holydays were celebrated with Offerings to Bacchus and Ce
res, and other Deities, to whose Bounty they suppos'd they were owing for their Corn and Wine, and other Helps of Life.
And the ancient Romans, Horace tells us, paid their Thanks to Mother Earth, or Vefta, to Silvanas, and their Genius, in the same manner. all Festivals have a double Reason of their Institution ; the first of Religion, the other of Recreation, for the unbending of our Minds : So both the Grecians and Re. mans agreed, after their Sacrifices were perform’d, to spend the Remainder of the Day in Sports and Merriments; amongst which, Songs and Dances, and that which they callid Wit (for want of knowing better) were the chiefest Entertainments. The Grecians had a Notion of Satires, whom I have already describd ; and taking them, and the Sileni, that is, the young Satires and the old, for the Tutors, Attendants, and humble Companions of their Bacchus, habited themselves like those Rural Deities, and imitated them in their Rustick Dances, to which they join'd Songs, with some sort of sude Harmony, but without certain Numbers ; and to these they added a kind of Chorus.
The Romans also (as Nature is the same in all Places) tho' they knew nothing of those Grecian Demi-Gods, nor had any Communication with Greece, yet had certain Young Men, who at their Festivals danc'd and sung after their uncouth manner, to a certain kind of Verse, which they callid Saturnian ; what it was, we have no certain Light from Antiquity to discover ; but we may conclude, that, like the Grecian, it was void of Art, or at least with very feeble Beginnings of it. Those anci. ent Romans, at these Holy days, which were a Mixture of Devotion and Debauchery, had a Custom of reproaching each other with their Faults, in a sort of ex. tempore Poetry, or rather of tunable hobling Verse ; and they answer'd in the same kind of gross Raillery ; their Wit and their Mufick being of a Piece. The Gre
tians, says Casaubon, had formerly done the same, in the Persons of their petulant Satires: But I am afraid he mistakes the Matter, and confounds the Singing and Dancing of the Satires, with the Rustical Entertainments of the firft Romans. The Reason of my Opinion is this; that Cafaubon finding little Light from Antiquity, of these Beginnings of Poetry, amongst the Grecians, but only these Representations of Satires, who carried Canisters and Cornucopias full of several Fruits in their Hands, and danc'd with them at their publick Feafts : And afterwards reading Horace, who makes mention of his homely Romans jesting at one another in the same Kind of Solemnities, might suppose those wanton Satires did the same. And especially because Horáce poffibly might seem to him, to have shewn the Original of all Poetry in general, including the Grecians as well as Romans. · Tho''tis plainly otherwise, that he only defcrib'd the Beginning, and first Rudiments of Poetry in his own Country. The Verses are these, which he cites from the First Epistle of the Second Book, which was written to Auguftus.
Agricola prisci, fortes, parvoque beati;'
Our brawny Clowns of old, who turn'd the Soil,