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Ων η φυσις
June, 13. VIRGIL, in his praises and commendations of a country life, hath the following verse: Fundit humo facilem victum justissima tellus.
Georg. 2. V. 460. The peculiar epithet justissima is, I apprehend, copied from the succeeding fragment of Philemon:* though it hath escaped the observation of Macrobius and Ursinus, and is not to be found in the literary dirt which Bentley and Le Clerc amused themselves with exchanging in their publications concerning Menander and Philemon. ΔΙΚΑΙΟΤΑΤΟΝ κλημ' εσιν ανθρωπους αγρος. .
γαρ επιμελως φερει. “ A field is the justest possession which a man can have, for it diligently produces those things wbich nature requires."
As the above-mentioned dramatic writers were contemporaries and competitors for theatrical fame, it is not improbable that the following passage of Menander was intended to ridicule the foregoing quotation from Philemon :
Αγρον ευσεβηςερον γεωργειν εσενα
ΔΙΚΑΙΟΣ απεδωκεν τοσ οσσ’ αν καταβαλω, “I am sure no one ever cultivated a more religious field that mine; for it bears beautiful flowers, ivy, and laurel, as if to adorn the altars of the Gods; but if I sow it with barley, this very just field is sure to return me exactly as much as I sowed." .. There is a vein of elegant irony in this passage which makes us inuch regret, that we have not the works of this comic writer complete. We could well have spared all the coarse jests of Aristophanes, which degrade the Athenian audience who could endure them, for a few plays written with the same taste and spirit as this quotation. It is particularly unfortunate that Terence, who is said to have done
(* “ südsey dizajáraton," occurs in Senophon's Clyropæd. E.]
-little more than translate Menander, should have neglected and omitted every spark of his humour and pleasantry. As it is the distinguishing criterion of genuine wit to bear transferring from one language to another, what could induce Scipio and Lælius, when they assisted Terence, to patronize this defect, which Julius Cæsar, within a century afterward, in his well-known epigram, laments so emphatically?
Yours, &c. 1786, June,
XCIII. Strictures on Dr. Johnson's Criticism on Milton's Latinity.
Fragili querens illidere denten
MILTON'S supreme pleasure, Dr. Johnson says, is to tax his adversary (Salmasius), so renowned for criticism, with vicious Latin. “ He opens his book with telling that he has used persona, which, according to Milton, signifies only a mask, in a sense not known to the Romans, by applying it as we apply person. But as Nemesis is always on the watch, it is memorable that he has enforced the charge of solecism by an expression in itself grossly solecistical, when for one of these supposed blunders he says, Propino te grammatistis tuis vapulundum. From vapulo, which has a passive sense, vapulandus can never be derived." Lives of English Poets.
I will endeavour to shew that the Doctor's criticism is totally without foundation.
We find "vapulando et somno pereo" at the conclusion of the first act of Plautus's Curculio. In the second scene of the fourth act of the Pænulus, we have,
Ut enim mihi vapulandum est, tute corium sufferas. And in the Adelphi of Terence (act II. sc. 2.) we read, Ego vapulando, verberando ille, usque ambo defessi sumus.
This critic, finding the word gloriosissimus in a passage he quoted from Milton's Second Defence of the
People, tells us in a note, that " it may be doubted whether gloriosissimus be here used with Milton's boasted parity. Res gloriosa is an illustrious thing*, but vir gloriosus is commonly braggart, as in miles gloriosus.'
That it is sometimes so used cannot be denied; but, it there is proper authority for its being used otherwise, Milton will be justified. In the Pseudolus of Plautus (act II. sc. 3.) the Doctor might have found.
Atque ego nunc me gloriosum faciam, &c. And in Valerius Maximus we read, “Tarquinium Priscum ad Romanum imperium occupandam fortuna in urbem nostram advexit; alienum, quod ortum Corintho; fastidiendum, quod mercatore Damarato genitum; erubescendum, quod etiam exule. Cæterum tam prospero conditionis suæ eventu industriosum pro ignominioso, pro inviso gloriosum reddidit. Dilatavit enim imperii fines, cultum deorum novis sacerdotiis auxit, numerum senatus amplificavit, equestrem ordinem uberiorem reliquit : quæque laudum ejus consummatio est, præclaris virtutibus effecit, ne hæc civitas poenitentiam ageret, quod regem a finitimis potius mutuasset, quam de suis legisset.” (Lib. II. cap. iv. ii.) “ Quod si eum dii immortales victoriis suis perfrui passi essent, sospes gloriosior patriæ månia non intrasset.” (Lib. III. cap. ii. 5.) Conspicuæ felicitatis Arpinam unicum; sive literarum gloriosissimum contemptorem, sive abundantissimum fontém intueri velis." (Lib. II. cap. ii. 3.)
In the fragments of Petronius found at Traw in Dalmatia, the word is twice used, as it seems, in a good sense. “Oves, quia lana illæ nos gloriosos faciunt.” (Ed. Bosch. Amstelod. 1677, p. 109.)." Ut totus mihi populus bene imprecetur, ego gloriosus volo efferri," p. 156. The philosophic Boethius gives us a passage that is directly in point. “ Sed cum plures gentes esse necesse sit, ad quas unius fama hominis nequeat pervenire, fit, ut quem tu æstimas gloriosum, proxima parte terrarum videatur inglorius.” (De Consol. Philosoph. lib. iii. pros. 6.) And gloriosa, gloriosum, gloriosissima, gloriosissiinus,
* Not always-for thongli we find, Populi nostri honores quondam fuerunt rari et tenues, ob eamque causam gloriosi ; (Corn. Nepos, in vita Miltiad. cap, vi.) yet in the same author we have, (in vita Timol. cap. iv.) Nihil unquam neque insolens neque gloriosum ex ore ejus exiit. And in Cicero we read, Quæ est igitur causa istarum angustiarum? Gloriosa ostentatio constituendi suminum bonum. (De Fin. lib. iv. 25.) Primum genus qnod risum vel maxime piovet, non est nostrum morosum, superstitiosum, suspiciosum, gloripsumy Stultura. (De oratore, lib. ii, 62.)
and gloriosissime, occur in the Codex, lib. i. tit. 1. I cannot but think that these are sufficient authorities for Mil. ton's use of it. The word, as we have seen, was used in a good sense in the time of Tiberius, if not of Plautus; and it did not cease to be so used in the time of Justinian.
It seems not altogether impertinent to add, that Suetonius has, “Non minus gloriosi quam civilis animi” (in vita Claudii, sect.i.); and Valerius Maximus, “Gloriosum militis spiritum” (lib. viii. e. 14.); and that it would be difficult, as I apprehend, to give a solid reason why we may not say, vir gloriosus, as well as gloriosus animus, or gloriosus spiritus viri
. Dr. Johnson has told us, that Salmasius, in his reply to Milton, (which was published by his son in the year of the Restoration) being probably most in pain for his Latinity, endeavours in the beginning to defend his use of the word persona : “ But if I remember right,” says the Doctor, “he misses a better authority than any that he has found, that of Juvenal in his fourth satire :
-Quid agas, cum dira et fædior omni
Crimine persona est ?” But the old scholiast has, “Non horno sed persona ;” and he would not, I think, be much out of the way, who should as-sert, that the word persona, in this place, answers to our word character. « Qui de personis Horatianis scripserunt, aiunt Mænium scurrilitate notissimum Romæ fuisse." (Vet. Schol. in Hor. lib. i. sat. 3.) But the satire would, I think, be heightened, if we consider the word in Juvenal as expressive of rank and dignity:
Nil fuerit mî, inquit, cum uxoribus unquam alienis;
Hor. 1. Sat. ii. 57.
“ Persona dignitatis est nomen; sic et Cicero dicit esse qui sentiant philosophiam indignam esse persona. Cornelius Celsus plene splendidam dicit personam ; modo matronam dicit personam ; præsertim vero honoratiorem.” (Baxter, ad locum.) Hence undoubtedly the word parson ; which is now (such is the mutability of language!) almost a term of reproach.
I have never seen Salmasius's Reply, and therefore do not know what authorities, for his use of persona, he may have quoted; but, upon looking into Valerius Maximus on
this occasion, I have met with four passages which an, ipattentive reader might think much to his purpose; which, however, in my judgment, do not come up to the point.
Suspecta matris familiæ persona.” lib. viii. c. 1. Here the word signifies character.-m“Neque haustum sui cum aliquo personarum discrimine largum malignumve præbet, &c.” lib. jii
. cap. 3, ad fin. Here it means rank or condition.--" Neego in tuam personam et accusatoris, et testis, et judicis partes egisse videar.” lib. iv. c. 1. Here also it seems to signify rank or condition. “Ac ne quid in persona sua novaretur, ibid. And here it may very properly be translated, one of his rank and quality.
Ainsworth has given two instances in which he thonght persona was used for person ; and yet it may be questioned whether either of them fully answers his purpose. Prospicias-ecqua pacifica persona desideretur, an in bellatore sint omnia.” (Cic. ad Attic. viii. 12.) “ Heroicæ personæ Me. dea et Atreus.” (Cic. de Nat. Deor. lib. iii. 29.). I see no reason why the word may not be interpreted character in both places.
At first sight one is struck with the following passage as an unexceptionable proof of this word in Salmasius's sense:
Qui illam Persam, atque omnes Persas, atque omnes per
Male dii omnes perdant.
And yet it is possible, after all, that the author meant no more than the dramatis persona.
Seneca will, however, furnish us with a passage that will undeniably prove that Milton was mistaken if he meant to insinuate that persona was never applied as we apply the word person. “In mea tamen persona non prote dolet.” Consol. ad Helviam, c. xvii.
It is clear that Milton has not said that persona signifies only a mask. His words are, “Quid enim, quæso, est parricidium in persona regis admittere, quid in persona regis ? quæ unquam Latinitas sic locuta est ? nisi aliquem nobis forte Pseudophilippum narras, qui personam regis indutus nescio quid parricidii apud Anglos patraverit; quod verbum verius opinione tua ex ore tibi excidisse puto. Tyrannus enim quasi histrionalis quidam rex, larva tantum et persona regis,
(Præf.) In persona regis does not necessarily signify in the king's person. Salmasius might have defended himself by saying, he only meant in one of royal rank. And Milton may possibly have intended no more than
non verus rex est.'