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Scarron's remark may perhaps pass off well enough for a piece of buffoonery; but if intended for a serious argument, is inconclusive, as others have observed. I account it to be so, for the following reasons.


1. It is the objection of a man who applies his own Christian notions of hell to the poetical hell, which is ridiculous enough.


2. To preach to the damned, says he, is labour in vain. And what if it is? It might be part of his punishment to exhort himself and others, when exhortations were too late. The admonition, so far as it relates to himself and to his companions in misery, is to be looked upon not so much as an admonition to amend, but as a bitter sarcasm, and reproaching of past iniquities.

It is labour in vain. But in the poetical system, it seems to have been the occupation of the damned to labour in vain, to catch at meat and drink that fled from them, to fill a leaky vessel with water, to roll a stone up-hill that fell down again, &c.



3. According to Plato, there were shades in Tartarus which were capable of amendment; and to such Phlegyas might prove an useful monitor, if you will admit such into Virgil's Tartarus.

4. Phlegyas proclaims his doctrine with a very loud voice,

"66 -magna testatur voce per umbras."

He might then be heard in the infernal regions by

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some shades which were intended for transmigration and Virgil seems to have had some such thing in view, by taking notice of his most audible voice.

5. His instruction, like that of Ixion in Pindar, might be for the use of the living. You will say, "How can that be?" Surely nothing is more easy and intelligible. The Muses hear him;

Ὑμεῖς γὰρ θεαί ἐσε, πάμες έτε, ἴσε τε πάντα.

The Muses reveal it to the poet, and the inspired poet reveals it to mankind. And so much for Phlegyas, and Monsieur Scarron.

Virgil hath placed in his Elysium inhabitants worthy of the abodes, 660;

"Hic manus ob patriam pugnando vulnera passi, &c."

and amongst other excellent persons are,

"Quique sui memores alios fecere merendo."

And these are surely the most amiable and respectable part of mankind.

Yet in these happy regions the poet seemeth not to have introduced one female, though the Roman and Grecian history might have furnished him with several who deserved admittance as much as the best of his heroes. But it is an observation of Dryden, I think, that he hath been uncomplaisant to the fair sex.

The Arabian impostor had very different notions about Elysium or Paradise; and so had Tibullus,

i. 3;

"Hic chorea cantusque vigent, passimque vagantes
Dulce sonant tenui gutture carmen aves.-
Hic juvenum series teneris immixta puellis
Ludit, et assidue prelia miscet Amor."
And Propertius, iv. 7;

"Ecce coronato pars altera vecta phaselo,

Mulcet ubi Elysias aura beata rosas :

Qua numerosa fides, quaque æra rotunda Cybebes,
Mitratisque sonant Lydia plectra choris :

Andromedeque et Hypermnestre, sine fraude maritæ,
Narrant historiæ pectora nota suæ."

ccording to Ovid, the dead parrot of Corinna was there, amongst other birds of good reputation :

"Psittacus has inter, nemorali sede receptus,
Convertit volucres in sua verba pias."

Amor. ii. 6.

Virgil hath also introduced music, vocal and instrumental, into Elysium, having placed Orpheus in those happy regions, as Horace hath admitted Sappho and Alcæus, 645;

"Nec non Threicius longa cum veste sacerdos

Obloquitur numeris septem discrimina vocum,
Jamque eadem digitis, jam pectine pulsat eburno."

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In these lines, which I do not remember to have seen well explained, septem discrimina vocum are the seven notes of music, or musical sounds in general. Numeri are airs, or tunes, as in Ecl. ix. 45;

numeros memini, si verba tenerem."

"I remember the tune, if I could recollect the words."

Obloqui is to sing the same notes that the strings


Orpheus therefore accompanies his lyre with his voice, in his melodious airs; singing and striking the chords, now with his fingers, now with the plectrum, or pecten, or bow, or quill, or what you please to call it.

The sacrifice which Æneas offers to the infernal deities of a black sheep, and a virgin cow, and his drawing his sword to keep off the ghosts, Æn. vi. 243, 260, is copied from his master Homer, Odyss. K. 527, A. 30, &c.

That the subterraneous adventures of Eneas were intended by Virgil to represent the initiation of his hero, is an elegant conjecture, which hath been laid before the public, and set forth to the best advantage, by a learned friend. The observations which I shall offer, a few pages lower, upon magic arts, and upon the abomination in which they were held, may serve his purpose as well as mine.

Virgil might have drawn up a system of a future state not less poetical, and more pleasing, upon the supposition that, as far as human souls are concerned, all shall terminate in good. He might have supposed,

1. That even the punishments of vicious shades in Tartarus were purgatory, expiatory, and temporary.

2. That, souls, after death, entered immediately into a state of purgation, harsher or gentler, longer or short er, according to their respective deserts.

3. That the souls which had been virtuous entered, after a short and slight purification, into Ely, sium.

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4. That less accomplished shades, after their pur gations, transmigrated into new bodies; that then, if they acted well in the next trial, they should no more travel from body to body, but enter into Elysium; if they misbehaved themselves, and their evil deeds preponderated, then they must undergo another revolution of penance and transmigration.

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5. That when they were admitted into Elysium, they drank of the fountain of memory, and recovered their personal identity, so as to remember all the changes and purgations which they had undergone.

6. That virtuous love is immortal, and that death and time break not those amiable bonds, but that such persons are united in Elysium, and know no second separation.

7. That lest Elysium should be too full of inhabi tants, the souls should be removed from thence, according to merit and seniority, to the celestial mansions, and there be deified,and become Dii minorum gentium, inferior good dæmons, and tutelar spirits to the chil dren of men.

And so the moral and application of the whole would have been, according to the Golden Verses ascribed to

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