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E. Ubi arina sunt Stratippocli?
For it is evident, from the passage in Homer here alluded to, that the arms in which Patroclus was equipped for the field and which Hector despoiled him of, were not made by Vulcan: it being in consequence of the loss of them, that Thetis procured from that God a new suit of armour for Achilles, of which we have so beautiful a description in the eighteenth book of the Iliad. It is not, however, clear, whether this mistake is to be imputed to Plautus himself, or was intended by that accurate painter of men and manners for a stroke of nature in the character of Epidicus; who, as a servant; might well be supposed to have but a superficial acquaintance with letters, and therefore, consistently enough, to make such a blunder. But this plea cannot be urged for that oversight of Catullus, which has been remarked by Strada, and before him by Scaliger. I mean that palpable one in his poem on the marriage of Peleas and Thetis; where he pronounces the ship that sailed upon the Argonautic expedition to be the first that ever put to sea.
Illa rudem cursu prima imbuit Amphitriten. And a few lines lower clearly confutes himself, in the Épisode of Ariadne, which constitutes the principal beauty of that poem:
Thesea cedentem celeri cum classe tuetur
Indomitos in corde gerens Ariadna furores. Another slip of the same nature, and on the same occasion too as this last, is one that we meet with in Valerius Flac
This author, towards the conclusion of his first book mentions Ægyptian and Tyrian Vessels as existing at the same time with that in which the Argonauts were embarked; for thus he makes Neptune speak, when going to allay the storm which Boreas had raiseda
Veniant Phariæ Tyriæque carinæ,
Argonaut I. v. 644. Though in the opening of it he had celebrated the voyage undertaken by those heroes, as the first that ever was made; and of course the fatidica ratis--the vessel that carried them as the first that had encountered the dangers of the ocean :
Prima deum magnis canimus freta pervia nautis,
Fatidicamque ratem Wigan, Nov. 19.
XLVII. Martial and Statius on the Bath of Claudius Etrascus.
MR. URBAN, THE critics* have remarked a strange disagreement between Martial and Statius, in the elegant descriptions which those authors have given of the Bath of Claudius Etruscus; but not one of them, as I can find, hath attempted to account for it. See the Epigram de Etrusci Thermis, Martial. lib. VI. 42; and the poem entitled Balneum Etrusci, Stat. Sylv. lib. I. 5. Martial mentions the Onyx, and that species of variegated marble, which, from the imaginary resemblance it bore to the spots of the serpent, was named Ophites, among the decorations of this Bath :
Siccos pinguis Onyx anhelat æstus--
Et Aamma tenui calent Ophitæ: Statius in express terms excludes them both.
Mæret Onyx longe, queriturque exclusus Ophites. Now, there appears to me no other way of clearing up this difference between the two poets, but by attending to the different nature of their compositions. That of Statius was an extempore production, thrown off hastily, during the course of an entertainment, at Etruscus's table, as we find by his appeal to Etruscus himself: “ Claudii Etrusci testimonium est, qui Balneolum a me suum intra moram cænæ recepit.” Præfat, ad Sylvar. lib. I. And it is evident from other passages of the Prefatory Epistles to the Sylvæ, that these sudden excursions were perfectly familiar to the muse of Statius; which, whatever honour they might reflect
* See Casper. Gevártii Papinianas Lectiones, and Thomæ Stephens Comment. in Statii Sylvas; at also, Vincent Collesno ad Martial. Epigram VI. 42.
on the poet's abilities, must necessarily subject him to frequent mistakes. Of this, the passage under consideration appears to be a remarkable instance: for I make no doubt, that Martial's little piece on the same subject, though it has infinitely less poetry, has abundantly more truth in it; not being like the other, an extempore effusion. For, that this poet had little or no turn for such sallies of genius, may fairly be presumed from the following distich, lib. XI. 91.
Lege nimis dura convivam scribere versus
Čogis, Stella; licet scribere, nempe malos: : Which evidently implies a consciousness, that he could not attempt them with success. This will appear still more probable, if with some critics we suppose (what the subject seems to authorise) the following epigram to be pointed against Statius under the name of Sabellus :
Laudas Balnea versibus trecentis
Vis cænare, Sabelle, non lavari. Martial. lib. IX. 20. For then the ill-natured fling in the last line is easily explained by that mortifying truth, the versibus trecentis, in the first; and both together serve to intimate, in language more intelligible than a thousand words, the envied superiority of this same fictitious Sabellus in a talent, to which the Epigram writer was sensible that himself had not equal pretensions. Wigan, Dec. 17.
Q. 1771, Dec.
XLVIII. Greek Inscription to be read backwards as well as forwards.
MR. URBAN, HAVING seen a very extraordinary piece of music, composed by the famous Mr. William Byrd, (lately revived, and published by Dr. Alcock,) which is so contrived, that all the parts may be sung backwards, as well as forwards, it put me in mind of the following curious Greek inscription, round the font, in the church at Sandbach, in Cheshire; the inserting of which, in your useful and entertaining Magazine, will oblige many of your constant readers, and in particular, your humble servant, Litchfield Close, Dec. 1770.
J.A. NIYON ANOMHMA MH MONAN OYIN. Which may be thus translated. .
Wash the sin, not only the face.
MR. URBAN, THE inscription in Sandbach Church, in your Supplement, is, I believe, common on other fonts; I have seen it at Harlow in Essex; and I think elsewhere. From the form of the font, I believe the conceit is invented since the Reformation, and not Monkish.
The common adage about which your correspondent inquires in
last Magazine, Quem Jupiter vult perdere prius dementat, is supposed to be in Phædrus; but I have it from pretty good authority that it is not in any classic author, but a saying taken up and used at random.
MR. URBAN, THAT artificial Greek line, which is sometimes found written upon fonts, and will read the same, both backward and forward,
Νιψον ανομηματα μη μοναν όψιν, is a species of what I have seen called, on account of the difficulty of composing the like fantastical inscriptions, Devil's Verses. But the most extraordinary of those, and perhaps not possible to be imitated, is a verse I find in Misson's Voyage to Italy, vol. ii. part ii. p. 676. edit. 1714, 8vo.
Sacrum pinque dabo, non macrum sacrificabo. This, at the Old Cloister of S. Marca Novella, at Florence, was applied to the sacrifices of Abel and Cain. The above is adapted to Abel, but read backward, and altering the punctuation, it will produce a Pentameter applicable to Cain, thus
Sacrificabo macrum, non dabo pinque sacrum. This, as I said, appears to me to be inimitable, and one may challenge the whole world, I apprehend, to produce the like. In the first place, it is exceedingly difficult to form a Latin Hexameter, which, when read backward, will give us a Pentameter. It will be the more difficult to do this, and to exbibit at the same time a tolerable sense.
But what makes it most wonderful is, that in the third place, the sense is well adapted to the different characters
of the parties that are supposed to utter, one the Hexameter, and the other the Pentameter, viz. Abel and Cain.
Few persons, I believe, will chuse to spend their time in framing a like gimcrack upon any subject; but I am really of opinion a man might try a wliole year, before he would be able to succeed as well as the monk that composed the above line.
I am, Sir,
P. S. There is a further singularity in the verse above, which I was near omitting, and makes it still more arduous and remarkable. The Hexameter and Pentameter are both Leonine verses, the middle and the ending of each rhym-' ing to one another.
XLIX. The Adage, Quem Jupiter vult perdere, &c. illustrated.
MR. URBAN, THOUGH the trite adage, Quem Jupiter vult perdere, &c. concerning the author of which one of your correspondents inquires, cannot, I believe, be found verbatim in any ancient author, the sentiment it conveys appears to be commonly adopted both by the Greek and Latin writers. There is moreover a fragment of Publius Syrus the mimic, as I find it quoted by Grævius in his Lectiones Hesiodæ, which greatly resembles the proverb in question, “ Fortuna quem vult perdere stultum facit.” The same critic likewise quotes four lines from an anonymous Greek author which contain a similar sentiment.
Οταν γαρ οργή δαιμόνων βλάπτει τινά,
The fragment of Publius Syrus seems less chargeable with impiety than the proverb as it is commonly used; the word Fortuna being less offensive than Jupiter, supposing it