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Why should such things my mind employ,
One must pity the hoary-headed sinner. Alas! he knew not the consolations of the spring-water system! Spring-water! the refrigerator of the blood, the sworn enemy of the blue-devils!
But not only doth he confess his captivity to Bacchus, but complaineth likewise of the dominion of love.
Some may their strains on Thebes employ,
Or sing the fatal wars of Troy ;
But me no other scheme can move,
Than my captivity to Love.
Nor fleet, nor army conquered me,—
'Twas Love's insidious archery,
Who in malicious ambush lies,
And throws his darts from Beauty's eyes.
Yet hear how this victorious archer could, at another time, justify his conquests and soothe his victims:
Love, with hyacinthine stem,
No one, I should imagine, will dispute the poet's refined judgment and exquisite taste in beauty, after he shall have read the following description of
his mistress. If the painter were as skilful in his department as the poet in his, what an enchanting picture must they have produced between them!
Best of painters, skilled to trace
• With the Vatican MS. I read godins xoigavs sxing, not Poding, as Stephanus has The epithet "rosy" was applied by the ancients almost indiscriminately to any thing remarkably pleasing and agreeable. So goda μsignzag, literally, "You have spoken roses."-Suid. ex Aristoph.
And, if thine art so much can dare,
To pourtray her eye's bright gaze,
How fine her form, her limbs how fair.
You will find this piece well imitated in the Guardian (No. 168), with this exception, that the nose is omitted, which, it has been well remarked, renders the picture incomplete, and the
translation imperfect. Our poet's good taste in the arts also is admirable, as his directions to his silversmith for making a wine-bowl do indubitably testify.
Vulcan, make a bowl for me;
Chase it not with splendid arms—
Make for me a tender vine,
The boughs with luscious grapes entwine;
But here is another ode, which is an especial favourite with myself, whatever it may be with other folks.
is said of Dr. Parr, that whenever he
"Let sweet concealment's magic art
And while the sight unveils a part,
Let Fancy paint the rest."
+ Orion was supposed to portend storms and shipwreck to mariners. See Hor. carm. i. xxviii, and the notes thereon. Virgil calls it "nimbosus Orion." En, i. 539.
he could not refrain from an immoderate fit of laughter, although no one else could ever discover in what its great facetiousness consisted. But I do not think that my partiality for the
following ode is any such monomania; for the whole is so unique, natural, and witty, that it must highly raise one's opinion of Anacreon's refinement and ingenuity.
Vulcan, the spouse of Venus, once did frame
The reader may see from these few specimens, even through the medium of (we fear) a horrid translation, the sweetness and grace of Anacreon's muse. His poems bloom with a liveliness and gaiety that is enhanced by the sombre and melancholy reveries in which, even among his mirthful productions, he sometimes indulges, and which he in vain endeavours to dissipate by the excitements of revelry. But, at the same time, his muse is clad in nature's own simplicity; disdaining the trappings of art, she discloses more fully that native grace and loveliness which would be concealed or disfigured
by exterior ornament. Anacreon is almost always tender and elegant, sometimes lofty, always ingenious. He has been reproached for sensuality and libertinism, but the reprehension is undeserved. It is true, indeed, that outrageous indecencies have been discovered by certain eagle-eyed critics, where it would puzzle a pure-minded and unprejudiced man to find the least approach even to indelicacy. For instance, the following elegant and innocent little ode, inscribed to Bathyllus, is adduced as proof of his παιδεραστια ! Monstrous absurdity!
Bathyllus, sit beneath the shade,
This reminds me of a beautiful passage in an ode of Horace, carm. ii. iii. 8-16, addressed to Dellius:
Where lofty pines unite
With silvery poplars, in a shade benign
Bring unguents rare and wine,
And the sweet flow'rets of the short-lived rose,
Upon this passage a similar charge of indecency might, with as much propriety, be founded against Horace, VOL. XIV.
were not the other parts of the ode so entirely at variance with such a ridiculous opinion.
In drinking, Anacreon appears to have been decently moderate. For although he rejoiced in a cup of rich, glowing Chian, he many times expresses a dislike to excesses, and we no where find that he submitted his bright and poetic mind to gross and bestial drunkenness.
No. Anacreon was a gentleman and man of refinement. He but caught a fervid inspiration from the influences of Bacchus, whose gifts he disdained to abuse. And in such an use of wine he is supported by the universal voice of antiquity. When the ancients beheld a man duly love his goblet, they immediately set him down as a right good soul.
Ουδεις φιλοποτος εστιν άνθρωπος κακος. "No man who loves to drink is a bad one," shrewdly observes Alexis. We have the authority of Horace that even the grave and upright Cato was no stranger to the joys of wine, (carm. iii. xxi. 11,12.)
"Narratur et prisci Catonis
Sæpe mero caluisse virtus ;"
or, as Oldisworth quaintly translates it
"Wine kept old Cato's virtue warm."
Xenophon, too, speaks with approving complacency of this beguiling sin : « Ο δε Κυαξάρης, ο TNY Mnow, Barides, μεν νύχτα, εν η εξήλθεν ο Κύρος, αυτος εμεθύσκετο μεθ' ωνπερ εσκηνού, ως επ' ευτυχία. "Now Cyaxares, the king of the Medes, got muzzy along with his chums, on the strength of his good fortune." And Philo Judæus, towards the close of his long and elaborate discussion on the drunkenness of Noah, (vol. i. p. 335, edit. 1742, Mangey,) thus sums up "Midvodnostaι Toiya To καὶ ὁ αστειος μηδεν της αρετης αποβαλών. "A polite and gentlemanly man, there fore, will get drunk without the slight est detraction from his virtue." Again, in his Dissertation on Drunkenness, (ib. 357,) he saith— Οι δε προς φερομενοι τον οινον μυριοι μαλιστα των επ' αρετη και παρα νομοθεση τεθαυμασμένων.” "Now thousands of those who have been admired, even by legislators, for their virtue, have been those who addicted themselves to wine." Now though we are by no means inclined to agree with all these bibulous opinions, yet they will serve to show that Anacreon was by no means worse than many of those who have seldom been upbraided for immorality. Some, however, were more temperate than our just quoted au
thorities. Mnesitheus, for instance, (Athen. Deipn. ii. 2,) after telling us that wine is the best gift of the gods, and the surest remedy for disease and pain, addeth that even half-and-half is much too strong. But our modern temperate men are far too sturdy to make any such compromise. We have actually been informed that, if a bottle of port were by any accident spilt into the New River, they could scarcely be prevailed upon to taste its waters again. To drink wine to excess is, to be sure, any thing but beneficial; yet to abjure all liquors on this account, reminds us of a hypochondriacal friend of ours, who would never permit us to take out our snuff-box in his presence, because he had heard that somebody once died of a fit of sneezing! Besides, to be consistent, my Lord Stanhope and Co. should never drink even water itself, because, if taken to excess, it may possibly bring on an attack of dropsy, which would be as dangerous as if it were produced by spirits!
Without any more examples to prove the opinions of the ancients upon this point, it must appear to every sensible person a great folly to abuse Anacreon for a failing which belongs to all antiquity. (For though Philo Judæus Caligula, Alexis was about contemlived so lately as in the reign of porary with Anacreon.) Anacreon's love of wine was not his individual fault, but that of the age in which he lived: for no very edifying examples of sobriety could be expected from those who acknowledged Bacchus to be a god. Amply, however, has he atoned for this error by the splendid poetry with which it inspired him. He would probably have sung no strains worthy of immortality, had he not ever and anon moistened his palate with a draught of the "liqueur celeste." And it were ingratitude to apply an undue severity to the failings of a man, who, by means of those very failings, has afforded us such exquisite gratification.
Having been so greatly abused and calumniated, Anacreon has been neglected and almost forgotten, (except by those whose neglect would have been more complimentary than their attention,) while his imitator Horace, who far exceeds him in licentiousness of sentiment, has been honoured with the supremest respect and veneration. This were enough to raise the sacred ashes of our poet into righteous indignation. But, methinks, were he to
THE village of Selworth is decidedly one of the prettiest spots in England. It stands at some distance from the high road, on the bank of a beautiful stream, a tributary to the noble river on which, some ten miles nearer to the metropolis, is situated the flourishing town of D―. There it was that I first saw the light, and there I trust my body shall at length_repose in peace beneath the fresh green sod of the old churchyard. I am, by profession, a portrait painter. My father was a respectable yeoman of Selworth, and intended that I, his only child, should inherit his fields, and pass my time in their cultivation. Fate decreed otherwise. My father, by unavoidable misfortune, was deprived of the bulk of his property, and the reverse in his affairs broke his heart. My mother survived, a sorrowful and saddened woman; but she struggled to live for my sake. I had no taste for rural pursuits, and that gentle mother never urged me to follow a walk of life which was distasteful to me. We had a pittance left, a trifling one, but it kept us above parochial charity, and enabled us to live in the small cottage, in which I am now writing. Ah! what a difference between the moonlight memories, the softened and subdued feelings which float over my mind, "like twilight and like dew," as I sit alone in my little chamber, and trace this faint sketch of my life, and the impetuous swelling of the heart, the feverish longings, the gorgeous dreams, which were mine, when, in the ardent days of boyhood, I paced this very room, and, in the vague and undefined visions of my hopes, saw a future before me, ever-changing, but ever-glorious! Am I, in truth, the same being? Have I the same heart, the same pulse? Is the Edmund Ashley of sixty-five one with the Edmund Ashley of sixteen? Even so. The same motive is here, but chastened and subdued. Does not this heart still gush over with unutterable tenderness when I listen to the low sweet breath of the wind, or the sweeter music of woman's voice? Does not mine eye still kindle, when I behold the relics of those master hands, which, though they have long mingled with the dust, have left in the marble or the canvas a pledge of the immortality of the soul which guided them? It is thus yet there is a change. I have lost and I have gained-something is added, and something has been taken away. The pulse throbs not so uncontrollably-the mind is not so entranced in its rapturous delight. I still gaze and admire, but I can also examine and criticize. I can praise as well as idolize now.
The noontide of my life, with its feverish heat and its passionate aspirations, has passed away, but its light still lingers on my mind, and the star of a better hope has arisen, and the quiet dew of heavenly peace has fallen on my spirit. I have said I am a painter. I am proud to avow it, though my name be not of those which shall win an immortality on earth. For though the captains of his army know him not-though his name shall pass away, whilst theirs shall be echoed from age to age, the private soldier may bear a heart as loyal as his general's and so have I been faithful in the ranks, and proud of the banner under which I have toiled. My hand may have failed me often-my heart never. None of the mighty masters of the pencil can have revelled in more delicious dreams, or held more rapturous converse with the ideal. My failures have been in person, not in enthusiasm.
My life may be called an uneventful one. I have never experienced the lowest depths of poverty, or known the temptations of riches. My mother's small income became mine after her decease, and my own exertions have always secured me a moderate competence. I have no tale of romantic passion to record, and yet I have loved, and that tenderly and truly. This feeling was awakened very in early youth, and it was one of my enthusiasms. She I loved is