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The watchman's carol echoed from the prows,
I shall close my remarks upon this excellent translation, with a fine example of the other kind of imitative harmony, which is produced by a proper choice of words expressive of the subject by their sound. Arms and armour are more fully represented to the imagination by terms of a bold and sonorous tone : accordingly the poet in the following description has selected such words as are composed of open and broad vowels, joined with the roughest consonants. The description in itself is picturesque and masterly,
Strait as he spoke, the magazines displayed
XLVI. On the Mistakes of eminent Authors. MR. URBAN, I HAVE often thought, that if a collection were made of the Mistakes of eminent Authors, proceeding merely from forgetfulness or inattention, it would fill a volame much larger than that of Sir Thomas Brown upon Vulgar Errors. A. Gellius has, in his agreeable manner, given us several oversights of this kind, from Varro, Cicero, Cornelius Nepos, Virgil, and others : to which inay be added, a similar one of Plautus in Epidico, A. 1. S. l.
-E. Ubi arma sunt Stratippocli?
For it is evident, from the passage in Homer here alluded to, that the arms in which Patroclus was equipped for the field, and which Hector despoiled him of, were not made by Vulcan: it being in consequence of the loss of them, that Thetis procured from that God a new suit of armour for Achilles, of which we have so beautiful a description in the eighteenth book of the Iliad. It is not, however, clear, whether this mistake is to be imputed to Plautus himself, or was intended by that accurate painter of men and manners for a stroke of nature in the character of Epidicus; who, as a servant, might well be supposed to have but a superficial acquaintance with letters, and therefore, consistently enough, to make such a blunder. But this plea cannot be urged for that oversight of Catullus, which has been remarked by Strada, and
before him by Scaliger. I mean that palpable one in his poem on the marriage of Peleus and Thetis; where he pronounces the ship that sailed upon the Argonautic expedition to be the first that ever put to sea.
Illa rudem cursu prima imbuit Amphitriten. And a few lines lower clearly confutes himself, in the Episode of Ariadne, which constitutes the principal beauty of
Indomitos in corde gerens Ariadna furores. Another slip of the same nature, and on the same occasion too as tliis last, is one that we meet with in Valerius Flac
This author, towards the conclusion of his first book mentions Ægyptian and Tyrian Vessels as existing at the same time with that in which the Argonauts were embarked; for thus he makes Neptune speak, when going to allay the storm which Boreas had raised:
Veniant Phariæ Tyria que carinæ,
Argonaut I. v. 644. though in the opening of it he had celebrated the
voyage undertaken by those herocs; as the first that ever was made; and of course the futidica ratis.-the vessel that carried them--as the first that had encountered the dangers of the
Prima dellm magnis canimus freta pervia nautis,
Fatidicamque ratem I'igun, Nov. 19. 1771, Nov.
XLVII. Martial and Statius on the Bath of Claudius Etruscis.
MR. URBAN, THE* critics have remarked a strange disagreement between Martial and Statius, in the elegant descriptions which those authors have given of the Bath of Claudius Etruscus; but not one of them, as I can find, hath attempted to account for it. See the Epigram de Etrusci Thermis, Martial. lib. VI. 42; and the poem entitled Balneum Etrusci, Stat. Sylv. lib. I. 5. Martial mentions the Onyx, and that species of variegated marble, which, from the imaginary resemblance it bore to the spots of the serpent, was named Ophites, among the decorations of this Bath:
Siccos pinguis Onyx anhelat astus
Et flamma tenui calent Ophitæ : Statius in express terms excludes them both.
Mæret Onyx longe, queriturque exclusus Ophites. Now, there appears to me no other way of clearing up this difference between the two poets, but by attending to the different nature of their compositions. That of Statius was an extempore production, thrown off hastily, during the course of an entertainment, at Etruscus's table, as we find by his appeal to Etruscus himself: “ Claudii Etrusci testimonium est, qui Balneolum a me suum intra moram cænæ recepit." Præfat. ad Sylvar. lib. I. And it is evident from other passages of the Prefatory Epistles to the Sylvæ, that these sudden excursions were perfectly familiar to the muse of Statius; which, whatever honour they miglit re
---* See ('asper. Gerartii Papinianas Lectior.es, and Thomæ Stephens Comment, in Statii Syiras; as also, Vincent Collesso ad Martial, ipigram 11. 12.
flect on the poet's abilities, must necessarily subject him to frequent mistakes. Of this, the passage under consideration appears to be a remarkable instance: for I make no doubt, that Martial's little piece on the same subject, though it has infinitely less poetry, has abundantly more truth in it; not being like the other, an extempore effusion. For, tirat this poet had little or no 'turn for such sallies of genius, may fairly be presumed from the following distich, Jib. XI. 91.
Lege nimis dura convivam scribere versus
Cogis, Stelia ; licet scribere, nempe malos : which evidently implies a consciousness, that he could not attempt them with success. This will appear still more probable, if with some critics we suppose (what the subject seems to authorise) the following epigram to be pointed against Statius under the name of Sabellus:
Laudas Balnea versibus trecentis
Martial. lib. IX. 20. For then the ill-natured fling in the last line is easily explained by that mortifying truth, the versibus trecentis, in the first; and both together serve to intimate, in language more intelligible than a thousand words, the envied 'superiority of this same fictitious Sabellus in a talent, to which the Epigranı writer was sensible that himself had not equal pretensions. Wigan, Dec. 17.
Q. 1771, Dec.
XLVIII. Greek Inscription to be read backwards as well as forwards.
MR. URBAN HAVING seen a very extraordinary piece of music, composed by the famous Mr. William Byrd; (lately revived, and published by Dr. Alcock :), which is so contrived, that all the parts may be sung backwards, as well as fcrwards, it put ine in mind of the following curious Greek. inscription, round the font, in the church at Sandbach, in Cheshire: the inserting of which, in your useful and entertaining Magazine, wili oblige many of your constant readers, and in particular, your humble servant, Lithfield Close, Dec. 1770.
J. A. NIYON ANOMHMA MH MONAN OYIN, Which may be thus translated.
Wash the sin, not only the face.
THE inscription in Sandbach Church in your Supplement, is, I believe, common on other fonts; I have seen it at Harlow in Essex; and I think elsewhere. From the form of the font, I believe the conceit is invented since the Reformation, and not Monkish.
The common adage about which your correspondent inquires in your last Magazine,
Quem Jupiter vult perdere prius dementat, is supposed to be in Phædrus; but I have it from pretty gcod authority that it is not in any classic author, but a saying taken up and used at random.
MR. URBAN, THAT artificial Greek line, which is sometimes found written upon fonts, and will read the same, both backward and forward, Νιψον ανομηματα μη μαναν όψιν,
, is a species of what I have seen called, on account of the difficulty of composing the like fantastical inscriptions, Devil's Verses. But the most extraordinary of those, and . perhaps not possible to be imitated, is a verse I find in Misson's Voyage to Italy, vol. ii. part ii. p. 676. edit. 1714, 8vo.
Sacrum pinque dabo, non macrum sacrificabo. This, at the Old Cloister of S. Marca Novella, at Florence, was applied to the sacrifices of Abel and Cain. The above , is adapted to Abel, but read backward, and altering the punctuation, it will produce a Pentameter applicable to Cain, thus
Sacrificabo macrum, non dabo pinque sacrum. This, as I said, appears to me to be inimitable, and one may challenge the whole world, I apprehend, to produce the like. In the first place, it is exceedingly difficult to form a Latin Hexameter, which, when read backward, will give us a Pentameter. It will be the more difficult to do this, and to exhibit at the same time a tolerable sense.
But what makes it most wonderful is, that in the third place, the sense is well adapted to the different characters