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lation, and compare it with the original, stanza by
Drink to me only with thine eyes,
PHILOSTRATUs, Letter XXIV.
̓Ἐμοὶ δὲ μόνοις τρόπινε τοῖς ὄμμασιν Drink to me with thine eyes only.” Εἰ δὲ βούλει, τοῖς χείλεσι προσφέρουσα, πλήρου φιλημάτων τὸ ἔκπωμα καὶ οὕτως δίδου. Or if thou wilt, putting the cup to thy lips, fill it with kisses, and so bestow it upon me.'
The thirst that from the soul doth rise,
But might I of Jove's nectar sip,
I would not change for thine.
PHIL. Letter XXV.
Ἐγὼ ἐπειδὰν ἴδω σε, διψῶ, καὶ τὸ ἔκπωμα κατέχων, τὸ μὲν οὐ προσάγω τοῖς χέιλεσι, σοῦ δὲ οἶδα πίνων. I, as soon as I behold thee, thirst, and taking hold of the cup, do not indeed apply that to my lips for drink, but thee.'
I sent thee late a rosy wreath,
PHIL. Letter XXX.
Πέπομφά σοι στέφανον ῥόδων, οὐ σὲ τιμῶν (καὶ τοῦτο μὲν γὰς) ἀλλ ̓ αὐτοῖς τι χαριζόμενος τοῖς ῥόδοις, ἵνα μὴ μαρανθῆ. ‘I send thee arosy wreath, not so much honouring thee (though this also is in my thoughts) as bestowing favour upon the roses, that so they might not be withered.'
But thou thereon didst only breathe,
Since when it grows and smells, I swear,
PHIL. Letter XXXI.
Εἰ δὲ βούλει τί φίλῳ χαρίζεσθαι, τὰ λείψανα αὐτῶν ἀντίπεμψον, μηκέτι πνέοντα ῥόδον μόνον, ἀλλὰ καὶ σοῦ, If thou wou'dst do a kindness
to thy lover, send back the reliques of the roses (I gave thee), for they will smell no longer of themselves only, but of thee.
When the learned poet published this love-song without any acknowledgment to Philostratus, I hope the reason of his omitting it was because he did not choose to call the public curiosity to a perusal of such unseemly and unnatural rhapsodies, as he had condescended to copy from.
Now I am upon the subject of Ben Jonson, I shall take notice of two passages in The Induction on the Stage prefixed to his play of Bartholomew Fair, in which he gives a sly glance at Shakspeare- And then a substantial watch to have stolen in upon them, and taken them away with mistaking words, as the fashion is in the stage practice.' It is plain he has Dogberry and Verges in his eye, and no less so in the following, that he points his ridicule against Caliban and the romance of the Tempest — If there be never a servant monster in the fair who can help it (he says), nor a nest of antics? He is loath to make nature afraid of his plays, like those that beget tales, tempests, and such-like drolleries, to mix his head with other men's heels.' If any of our commentators upon Shakspeare have anticipated my remark upon these instances of Jonson's propensities to carp at their favourite poet, I have overlooked the annotation, but when I find him recommending to his audience such a farrago of vulgar ribaldry as Bartholomew Fair, by pretending to exalt it above such exquisite productions as The Tempest and Much Ado about Nothing, it is an act of warrantable retaliation to expose his vanity.
It is not always however that he betakes himself to these masked attacks upon that sublime genius which he professed to admire almost to idolatry, it must be owned he sometimes meets him upon equal ground, and nobly contends with laudable emulation
for the chaplet of victory: what I now particularly have in my eye is his Masque of the Queens.
Many ingenious observations have been given to the public upon Shakspeare's Imaginary Beings; his Caliban, Ariel, and all his family of witches, ghosts, and fairies, have been referred to as examples of his creative fancy, and with reason has his superiority been asserted in the fabrication of these preternatural machines; and as to the art with which he has woven them into the fables of his dramas, and the incidents he has produced by their agency, he is in these particulars still more indisputably unrivalled; the language he has given to Caliban, and no less characteristically to his Ariel, is so original, so inimitable, that it is more like magic than invention, and his fairy poetry is as happy as it can be: it were a jest to compare Eschylus's ghost of Darius, or any ghost that ever walked, with the perturbed spirit of Hamlet; great and merited encomiums have also been passed upon the weird sisters in that wonderful drama, and a decided preference given them over the famous Erichtho of Lucan: preferable they doubtless are, if we contemplate them in their dramatic characters, and take into our account the grand and awful commission, which they bear in that scene of tragic terror; but of their poetical superiority, simply considered, I have some doubts; let me add to this, that when the learned commentator was instancing Lucan's Erichtho, it is matter of some wonder with me, how he came to overlook Jonson's witches, in the Masque of the Queens.
As he has not however prevented me the honour of bringing these two poetic champions together into the lists, I will avail myself of the occasion, and leave it with the spectators to decide upon the contest. I will only, as their herald, give notice that the combatants are enchanters, and he that has no
taste for necromancy, nor any science in the terms of the art, has no right to give his voice upon the trial of skill.
1st Witch. Where hast thou been, sister?
A sailor's wife had chesnuts in her lap,
Aroint thee, witch, the rump-fed ronyon cries.
And like a cat without a tail,
I'll do-I'll do I'll do.
And the very points they blow,
2d Witch. Shew me, shew me.
All. The weird sisters hand in hand,
But first relate me what you have sought,
1st Hag. I have been all day looking after
2d Hag. I last night lay all alone
O' th' ground to hear the mandrake groan,
6th Hag. I had a dagger; what did I with that? Kill'd an infant to have his fat;
A piper it got at a church ale,
I bade him again blow wind in its tail.
7th Hag. A murderer yonder was hung in chains, The sun and the wind had shrunk his veins;
I bit off a sinew, I clipt his hair,
I brought off his rags that danc'd in the air.
8th Hug. The scrich-owl's eggs, and the feathers black, The blood of the frog, and the bone in his back, I have been getting, and made of his skin A purset to keep Sir Cranion in.
9th Hag. And I ha' been plucking (plants among)
Night-shade, moon-wort, libbard's bane,
11th Hag. I went to the toad, breeds under the wall, I charm'd him out, and he came at my call,
I scratcht out the eyes of the owl before,
I tore the bat's wing.-What would you have more?
1st Witch. Thrice the brinded cat hath mew'd.