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ON LATE-ACQUIRED WEALTH (Jacobs IV. 210, ccccxxxv.).
Translated by Cowper.
Rich to no end, I curse my natal hour,
And nought when old enjoy'd, denied the power. This picture of discontent, displays a man who was dissatisfied in his youth, because luxuries were denied him, and in his old age, because his strength was abated. The constant craving of the discontented man for something unpossessed, is well expressed in a fragment of Theognis, translated by Hookham Frere (“Works of Hesiod,” &c., 1856, 438) :
Learning and wealth the wise and wealthy find
THE PORTENT (Jacobs IV. 216, cccclxiii.).
Translated by C.
No prayers can bring to pass, no human powers. Instances of portents of death abound in the literature of ancient and modern times. Those which preceded the murder of Cæsar are among the best authenticated. The hold, however, which these have gained on the popular mind, is probably due to Shakespeare's notice of them, who makes Cæsar himself to be so strongly influenced by his wife's dream (though he puts it upon affection for her) as to refuse to go to the senate-house, saying to Decius (“ Julius Cæsar,” Act II. SC. 2):
Calphurnia here, my wife, stays me at home:
Came smiling, and did bathe their hands in it.
Hath begg’d, that I will stay at home to-day. Many modern stories of such portents only arise from the superstition of the vulgar; but there are a few, for which the evidence is strong, and the good faith of the narrators unimpeachable. It is not for us to say, that warnings of death or calamity may not be in mercy given by Him, in whom we live and move and have our being; and it argues as little wisdom to scoff at every portent and every warning, which is claimed as supernatural, as it does to believe all the folk-lore and the ghost-stories, which the ignorant hold in reverence, and at which chil. dren tremble. All that from the experience of mankind can be absolutely asserted is, that, proceeding from natural or supernatural causes, Campbell's celebrated line is continually verified :
And coming events cast their shadows before.
GREEK MANNER OF MOURNING FOR THE DEAD
Translated by C.
Two stanzas by Byron, “ Bright be the place of thy soul,” breathe very much the same spirit as this beautiful epigram. It may suffice to quote the second :
Light be the turf of thy tomb!
May its verdure like emeralds be:
In aught that reminds us of thee.
May spring from the spot of thy rest :
For why should we mourn for the blest ?
ANCIENT LATIN EPIGRAMMATISTS.
B.C. 54-A.D. 370.
CATULLUS. Flourished B.c. 54. He was born at Verona, and in early life removed to Rome, where his poetry and wit caused him to be held in bigh estimation. With the exception of Martial, he is the most celebrated of the Latin Epigrammatists.
The numbering of the epigrams varies in different editions of Catullus. The one to which reference is made is that of Doering, Londini, 1820.
TO JUVENTIA (Ep. 48). Translated in “ The Works of Petronius Arbiter, &c., translated by
several hands." 1714.
That such becoming sweetness dart,
Yet be too few to satisfy my heart;
E'en though the harvest of our kisses were
And speaks the blessings of the fruitful year.
Thus Troilus full oft her eyen two
Gan for to kisse. Steevens, in his notes to Shakespeare's "Winter's Tale," mentions an old MS. play of “ Timon of Athens,” in which the same expression
O Juno! be not angry with thy Jove,
But let me kisse thine eyes, my sweete delight. There is another epigram by Catullus very similar to this, and Martial has closely imitated them in Book VI. Ep. 34.
ON THE INCONSTANCY OF WOMAN'S LOVE (Ep. 70).
Translated by George Lamb.
She says it: but I deem
Or in the running stream.
Ah, faithless women! when you swear
I register your oaths in air. There are many imitations of the epigram of Catullus. In the “Diana," a pastoral romance by George de Monte-Mayor, a Spanish writer, born in the early part of the 16th century, are some lines on a false mistress, who had deceived her lover after writing her eternal vows on the sandy margin of a river:
No prudent doubt fond love allows,
We act as he commands :
Though written on the sands. The old English poet, Sir Edward Sherburne, has an epigram called “ The Broken Faith":
Lately by clear Thames's side
And Mirtillo from thy breast. Phineas Fletcher, the author of the “Purple Island,” has some stanzas “On Woman's Lightness," of which the following is the first :
Who sows the sand ? or ploughs the easy shore ?
Fond, too fond thoughts, that thought in love to tie
One more inconstant than inconstancy! In “ Wit's Interpreter; the English Parnassus" (3rd edit. 1671, p. 275), there is an epigrain of similar character, but with the metaphor varied :
A woman may be fair, and her mind,
Yet she's a planet, and no fixed star. A curious allegorical description of the brevity of renown may be given here, as cognate to the preceding epigrams. Lord Chatham is believed to be the subject of the lines :
Let his monument be the world,
ON HIS OWN LOVE (Ep. 85).
Translated in “ Select Epigrams," 1797.
Impatient, thou bid’st me my reasons explain :
That I love thee, and hate thee—and tell it with pain. Martial has an epigram (Book I. 33) on dislike without reason, which is well known in the English parody by Tom Brown (Brown's Works, 1760, IV. 100):
I do not love thee, Dr. Fell,
I do not love thee, Dr. Fell. Dr. John Fell was Bishop of Oxford, and Dean of Christ Church in the reigns of Charles II, and James II. Tom Brown, of facetious memory, being sentenced to expulsion from Christ Church for some irregularity, was offered pardon by the Dean if he could translate extempore Martial's epigram, which he immediately did in the form given above, probably very much to the Dean's astonishment.
Another epigram by Martial (Book XII. 47), on the difficulty of arriving at a conclusion with respect to a companion, is translated by Addison, in the “ Spectator," No. 68:
In all thy humours, whether grave or mellow,