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into a deerskin, and she and her nymphs hunt him through wood and dale. Fauns and Satyrs, it is to be observed, are represented as wise or foolish, according as the poet allegorizes the elements of a country life, and the reflections, or clownish impulses, of sequestered people. The Faun, in particular, who was the more oracular of the two, might be supposed either to speak from his own knowledge, or to be merely the channel of a higher one, and so to partake of that reverend character of fatuity, which is ascribed in some countries to idiots. The Satyr was more conscious and petulant: he waited more especially upon Bacchus; was loud and saucy; may easily be supposed to have been noisiest and most abusive at the time of grapes; and it is to him, we think, and him alone (whatever learned distinctions have been made between satyri and saturæ, or the fruit which he got together, and him who got them), that the origin of the word satire is to be traced ; that is to say, satire was such free and abusive speech, as the vintagers pelted people with, just as they might with the contents of their baskets.
To make Satyr, therefore, clever or clownish, or both, just as it suits the writer's purpose, is in good keeping. To make him revengeful for not having his will, is equally good, as Tasso has done in the “ Aminta.” To make him old, and scorned by a young mistress, is warrantable, as Guarini has done in the “ Pastor Fido ; ” and even a touch of sentiment may not be refused him, if visited by a painful sense of the difference of his shape; which is an imitation of the beautiful Polyphemic invention of Theocritus, and was introduced into modern poetry by the precursor of those poets, the inventor of the sylvan drama “Beccari.” But we cannot say so much for another great poet of ours, Fletcher, who, spoilt by his town breeding, and thinking he could not make out a case for chastity, and the admiration of it, but by carrying it to a pitch of the improbable, introduces into his “Faithful Shepherdess” a Satyr thoroughly divested of his nature, the most sentimental and Platonical of lovers, and absolute guardian of what he exists only to oppose. The clipping of hedges into peacocks was nothing to this. It was like changing warmth into cold, and taking the fertility out of the earth. Elegance was another affair. The rudest things natural contain a principle of that. You may show even a Satyr in his graces, as you may a goat in a graceful attitude, or the turns and blossoms of a thorn. But to make the shaggy and impetuous wood-god, with his veins full of the sap of the vine, a polished and retiring lover, all for the metaphysics of the passion, and bowing and backing himself out of doors like a “sweet signior," was to strike barrenness into the spring, and make the “swift and fiery sun,” which the poet so finely speaks of, halt and become a thing deliberate. Pan, at the sight, should have cut off his universal beard. Certainly, the Satyr ought to have clipped his coat, and withdrawn into the urbanities of a suit of clothes. He should have “walked gowned.”
However, there is a ruddy and rough side of the apple still left; and with this we proceed to indulge ourselves, cutting away the rest. Fletcher is a true poet, and could not speak of woods and wood-gods without finding means to give us a proper taste of them. His Satyr comes in well.
ENTER A SATYR WITH A BASKET OF FRUIT.
That Alings his arms down to the main,
Since the lusty spring began;
Here be grapes, whose lusty blood
(How much better than if he had said “some be red and some be green.” He is like a great boy, poking over the basket, and pointing out the finest things in it with rustic fervor.)
“ These are of that luscious meat,
The great god Pan himself doth eat:
In this passage, Mr. Seward, in his edition of “ Beaumont and Fletcher," has a note containing an extract from The
ocritus, so happily rendered that, as it suits our purpose, we will repeat it. It is seldom that a writer not professedly a poet, and an eminent one too, has struck forth so masterly a bit of translation. The verb in the last line even surpasses the original. We will put the Greek first, both in justice to it, and because (to own a whim of ours) the glimmering and thorny look of the Greek characters gives, in our eyes, something of a boskiness to one's pages. A page of a Greek pastoral is the next thing with us to a wood-side, or a landscape of Gasper Poussin :
Ου θεμις, ω ποιμαν, το μεσημβρινον, ου θεμις αμμιν
“ Shepherd, forbear: no song at noon's dread hour ;
Tir'd with the chase, Pan sleeps in yonder bower;
We must quote the Satyr's concluding speech, though it is not so much in character. The poet might have defended his straying in the air, but it must have been upon very abstract and ethereal grounds, foreign to the substantial part which he plays in this drama ; and the fine allusion to Orpheus' lute is equally learned and out of its place. However, the whole passage is so beautiful, that we cannot help repeating it. Our Platonical friend is
“Satyr. Thou divinest, fairest, brightest,
Thou most pow'rful maid, and whitest,
For the Satyr? Shall I stray
Or steal from heav'n old Orpheus' lute!” What a relic! The lute of Orpheus! and laid up in some corner of heaven! Doubtless in the thick of one of its grassiest nooks of asphodel; and the winds play upon it, of evenings, to the ear of Proserpine when she visits her mother, - giving her trembling memories to carry back to Eurydice.
THE NYMPHS OF ANTIQUITY AND OF
H E Nymphs of antiquity are the gentle powers
of the earth, and therefore figured under the
shape of beautiful females. A large or vioU N lent river had a god to it:— the nymph is
ever gentle and sweet. The word signifies a marriageable female. It is traced to a word signifying moisture ; and all the Nymphs, as a body, are said to have derived their origin from Neptune, or water — the first principle of all things.
Every fountain, every wood, many a single tree, had a nymph to it. An ancient could not stir out of doors, if he