Imágenes de páginas

extinguished in some great republic of the Danube which Slavonian democracy hopes some day to construct out of the ruins of surrounding nations. There certainly exists a party in England which desires the downfall of the Ottoman empire, and if the future should in any degree resemble the past, the total collapse of Turkey in Europe would seem to be only a question of time. From the day when the Osmanlis sustained their first great defeat on the plains of Hungary, the area of their empire has been gradually contracting. Hungary, Transylvania, Bukovina, Croatia, Bessarabia, the Crimea, and Greece have been successively wrested from their dominion; while Moldavia, Wallachia, and Servia have assumed the position of quasi-independent states, and there certainly has been manifested in some quarters a disposition to encourage these dependencies in their attitude of insubordination to their Suzerain, and to demand a formal independence. But since the Peace of Paris in 1856, the political position and prospects of Turkey must be admitted to have materially changed. Its Government has shown an anxious wish to rely once more upon the loyalty and support of all its Christian subjects, for even their military education has become an object of attention. Abuses of power in the provinces are becoming every year more rare, and in all the official reports of British Consuls residing in the interior of the empire there is a remarkable concurrence of testimony that the real oppressors of the Christian · population have been their co-religionists, farmers of the taxes, and too often the bishops and pastors of their own Church, who, under the form of ecclesiastical discipline have practised the most grinding extortion. The Government of Turkey is assuredly not wanting in some of those high moral attributes which are the true conservative element of States. An increasing commerce and an improving revenue are also steadily adding to its strength and consolidating its power. An intimate union of her dependent states with Turkey is called for by a community of interests and the necessities of mutual defence. It is manifestly the true policy of Servia to maintain its present connection with the Porte, and to contribute, when required, to the general defence of the empire. A true allegiance to their legitimate Sovereign is neither derogatory to the faith nor inconsistent with the historical antecedents of the Christian subjects of the Porte. Servia, as a vassal State, was certainly associated with the Ottoman arms at the period of their greatest renown; and the Sultan may again find in its vigorous dependency an auxiliary ready to bring to the assistance of its Suzerain in some hour of need all the traditional hardihood of its race.


Arr. VIII.-1. Anthologia Græca, ex Recensione Brunckii. Ed.

Fried. Jacobs. Lipsiæ, 1794. 2. Bland's Collections. By Merivale. London, 1833. 3. Anthologia Polyglotta. Ed. Henry Wellesley, D.D. London,

1849. 4. Epitaphs from the Greek Anthology. By Major R. G. Mac

gregor. London, 1857. 5. The Greek Anthology. Translated by G. Burges, M.A.

London, 1854. 6. Martialis Epigrammata. Schneidewin. Leipsic, 1853. 7. Martial and the Moderns. By Andrew Amos, Esq. Cam

bridge, 1858. 8. Delitiæ Delitiarum, sive Epigrammatum ex Optimis quibusque

hujus et Novissimi Sæculi Poetis . . . åvooroyla in unam corollam connexa. Op. Abr. Wright, A.B. Oxford,

1637. 9. Bernardi Bauhusii Epigrammatum Libri V. Antverpiæ,

1620. 10. Joannis Owen, Oxoniensis, Cambro Britanni, Epigrammatum

Liber Singularis. London, 1622. 11. Epigrammata Thomæ Mori, Angli. Londini, 1638. 12. Patersoni Niniani Glascuensis Epigrammatum Libri Octo.

Edinburgi, 1678. 13. Georgii Buchanani Scoti Poemata. Amstelædami, 1687. 14. The Festoon ; a Collection of Epigrams, Ancient and Modern.

London and Bath, 1766. 15. The Poetical Farrago; being a Miscellaneous Assemblage of

Epigrams and other Jeux d' Esprit. 2 Vols. London,

1794. 16. The Panorama of Wit, exhibiting at one view the Choicest

Epigrams in the English Language. London, 1809. 17. Epigrams, Ancient and Modern. Edited by the Rev. J.

Booth, B.A. London, 1863. 18. Greek Anthology. Translated by Major R. G. Macgregor.

London, 1864. T may seem a truism to set out with the statement that

truths are not seldom overlooked and lost sight of; and it is, indeed, owing to forgetfulness of the fact that the model of an epigram must be sought in the literature of its birthland, that so much latitude and discrepancy have marked the attempts of other countries to naturalize this species of poetry. In its home the epigram is distinguished by its sweet, direct, and frank simplicity. It is lively, without guile; and pointed, without intent


to vex or offend. But in its sojourns in foreign parts it will be found to have contracted more or less the prevailing vices of the atmosphere it has learned to breathe; and thus have arisen various types of epigram’so called, each approaching uncritical readers with plausible claims to acceptance, each contributing to confuse the superficial student as to the distinction between the epigram proper, and its inexact and irregular foreign imitations. For simplicity coarseness is too often substituted; liveliness degenerates into personality ; the point,' which is the prime ingredient of the genuine article, becomes, through a literal and narrow interpretation of the scanty recipes of antiquity, an unmistakeable and unmasked "sting' in the counterfeit. Not, indeed, that there are no cases of happy transplantation-not that it is to be supposed that among the Latins, Italians, French, Spanish, or ourselves, there have lacked epigrammatists who could catch up the refined spirit of the Greek muse; but it is only necessary to wade through a dozen pages of any collection of * Epigrams, ancient and modern,' in order to be convinced that what was in Greece a graceful sprightly nymph, 'a simple maiden in her flower,' is transformed, for the most part, through change of soil and climate, into a coarse and scurrilous harridan. Hence it is that we find distinguished writers, such as Dryden and Addison, holding the epigram in low esteem; hence, in the judgment of a not incompetent critic, “the dignity of a great poet is thought to be lowered by the writing of epigrams.' * Now, is there anything in the remains of Simonides, Callimachus, Leonidas of Tarentum, Meleager and others, which can justify a disparaging estimate of this class of poetry in its original growth? Is it not rather—when it has assumed the form which it wears in the sometimes fulsome, sometimes foul-mouthed epigrams of Martial; when it has put on the loose robes which our neighbours across the Channel have willed that it shail wear among themselves, because, forsooth, the Epigram à la Grecque' does not come up to the demand for piquancy, which is made with them upon every class of literature, and not this only; or when, again, it has chanced, as in our own land, upon coarser days, social and literary-that the epigram deserves to be esteemed lightly, as a composition in which bitterness and spleen play as large a part as wit or ingenuity ?

This is surely an interesting question, and, doubtless, it is one on which much may be urged on both sides. It will, perhaps, not be labour lost to search a little into the history of the epigram, with a view to ascertaining what is its original character, and

* W. S. Landor, Collected Works, i. 15,


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what are the merely adventitious accidents of its sojourn in foreign lands. No one would be so hardy as to maintain that no advantage is derived from travel; but it seems certain that, at all events in the case of the epigram, harm as well as good may accrue from the practice of peregrination.

It is not a little remarkable that we can arrive at no precise definition of the Greek epigram in the extant pages of its own literature. There is, no doubt, a floating rumour that it should have the qualities of a bee, “point, or sting, minuteness and honey ;' but we are unable to trace this dogma up to any Greek original. Nay, it does not even claim a distinguished Latin parentage, though we find with surprise the epigram

Omne epigramma sit instar apis : sit aculeus illi : *

Sint sua mella; sit et corporis exigui,' ascribed by Mr. Riley in ‘Bohn's Dictionary of Classical Quotations' to Martial himself. This is surely an inadvertency on the part of a generally painstaking scholar; for in no “index verborum' or epigrammatum,' and in no examination of the poet's books, have we been able to meet with these lines; which, moreover; are quoted by neither Gesner, Facciolati, nor Smith, under the word "epigramma,' in their dictionaries. The real parentage of these verses we have been unable to trace, nor are they worth much inquiry, except in so far as they seem to have influenced the modern manufacture of epigrams; and this, as is often the case, in a one-sided fashion. The fact of the sting' being a sine quâ non appears to have sunk deepest into the minds of imitators, and would-be epigrammatists. In p. 250 of The Panorama of Wit,' a collection published in 1809, we find what seems a free translation of the epigram given above :

'The qualities rare in a bee that we meet

In an epigram never should fail :
The body should always be little and sweet,

And a sting should be left in its tail.' And the same idea pervades the epigram of Lessing 'On a volume of epigrams,' which is thus translated in Booth's collection:

* Point in his foremost epigram is found,
Bee-like, he lost his sting at the first wound.'—p. 157.
* "Three things must epigrams, like bees, have all:

A sting and honey, and a body small.'-Riley.
* An epigram should be, if right,
Short, simple, pointed, keen, and bright,

A lively little thing;
Like wasp, with taper body-bound
By lines —not many-neat and round,
All ending in a sting.'


There are other English recipes for epigram-making, which account the kindred 'needle,' and the point that can wound and eye to look round' an essential ingredient in the composition. Yet no such idea is, we opine, traceable to the Greek precept or practice. In the best epigrams of their Anthology, sarcasm, even of the most polished kind, is exceedingly rare, that of Simonides on his rival Timocreon being one of the few instances (Jacobs, I. 70, lv.).

πολλά φαγών και πολλά πιών, και πολλά κακ' ειπών

ανθρώπους, κείμαι Τιμοκρέων Ρόδιος. An examination of the copious collections of Jacobs will convince the closest inquirer that there is little internal evidence of any absolute requirement for the epigram, save brevity, which, with Cyril, (Jacobs III. 194),* is synonymous with a distich, or three lines at the most, and by Parmenio, the Macedonian, (Jacobs II. 184) † is limited to a very few lines. In this respect the mother-country stands in very favourable contrast to the lands which have given welcome to the epigram on its travels, that its samples of this kind rarely exceed the measure which he, who runs, may read and retain. On the other hand, the chief of Latin epigrammatists has epigrams of thirty lines in length; and modern imitators, under cover of his example, have not unfrequently committed the error of which Cyril warns them; and by exceeding due limits produced rhapsodies, not epigrams.

But if the epigrammatists themselves are silent concerning the rules and prescriptions of their art, it is not difficult to gather some notion of its primary ideal by calling etymology, archæology, and history to our aid. The primary meaning of the word is simply "an inscription ;' that little note which of old explained to passers-by the object of a tomb, a cenotaph, a temple, a statue, or an arch. Now the note was a simple monogram ; now a single hexameter verse; and now, again, an elegiac couplet, conveying the object of the memorial, whereon it was writ. Tracing the word up to the father of history, Herodotus, we have two loci classici in the fifth and seventh books, which give us specimens of the single verse and of the couplet, as they were inscribed on tripods in Apollo's Temple at Thebes, and as old, in the historian's judgment, as Laius, the son of Labdacus; and of the famous distiches inscribed on the tomb of those who fell at

* Παγκαλόν εστεπίγραμμα το δίστιχον ήν δε παρέλθης

τους τρεις, ραψωδείς, κουκ επίγραμμα ποιείς.-Cyril. ap. Jacos. 1 φημί πολύστιχίην επιγράμματος ου κατά μόυσας

είναι. . K. T.1.--Parmenio, Maced., ii, 184, Jacobe, Herodot, v. 59; vii. 228.


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