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FROM THE MEDEA OF EURIPIDES, v. 190. [This Translation was written by Johnson for his friend Dr. Burney. It was inserted as the work of “ a learned friend,” in the Gentleman's History of Musick, vol. II. p. 340. It has always been ascribed to Johnson ; but, to put the matter beyond a doubt, Mr. Malone ascertained the fact by applying to Dr. Bumey himself. J. B.]
The rites deriv'd from ancient days,
With thoughtless reverence we praise,
The rites that taught us to combine
The joys of musick and of wine,
And bade the feast, and
O'erfill the saturated soul :
But ne'er the flute or lyre applied
To cheer Despair, or soften Pride;
Nor call’d them to the gloomy cells
Where Want repines and Vengeance swells;
Where Hate sits musing to betray,
And Murder meditates his prey.
To dens of guilt and shades of care,
Ye sons of Melody repair,
Nor deign the festive dome to cloy
With superfluities of joy.
Ah! little needs the Minstrel's power
To speed the light convivial hour.
The board with varied plenty crown'd
May spare the luxuries of sound.
Of the two First Stanzas of the Song “Rio verde, Rio
verde,” printed in Bishop Percy's Reliques of Ancient English Poetry
GLASSY water, glassy water,
Down whose current, clear and strong,
Chiefs confusd in mutual slaughter,
Moor and Christian roll along.
IMITATION OF THE STYLE OF ****.
HERMIT hoar, in solemn cell
Wearing out life's evening grey,
Strike thy bosom, sage, and tell
What is bliss, and which the way.
Thus I spoke, and speaking sigh’d,
Scarce repress'd the starting tear,
When the hoary sage reply'd,
Come, my lad, and drink some beer.
OF THE FOLLOWING LINES OF LOPEZ DE VEGA.
SE acquien los leones vence
Vence una muger hermosa
O el de flaco
O ella di ser mas furiosa.
If the man who turnips cries,
Cry not when his father dies,
'Tis a proof that he had rather
Have a turnip than his father.
OF THE FOLLOWING LINES AT THE END OF BARETTi's
EASY PHRASEOLOGY. AN IMPROMPTU.
Viva viva la padrona !
Tutta bella, e tutta buona,
La padrona è un angiolella
Tutta buona e tutta bella;
Tutta bella e tutta buona;
Viva! viva la padrona!
Long may live my lovely Hetty
Always young, and always pretty;
Always pretty, always young,
Live my lovely Hetty long!
Always young, and always pretty,
Long may live my lovely Hetty!
OF THE FOLLOWING DISTICH ON THE DUKE OF
MODENA'S RUNNING AWAY FROM THE
COMET IN 1742 OR 1743.
Se al venir vostro i principi se n' vanno
Deh venga ogni dì— durate un anno.
If at your coming princes disappear,
Comets ! come ev'ry day--and stay a year.
OF THE FOLLOWING LINES OF M. BENSERADE
A SON LIT.
THEATRE des ris, et des pleurs,
Lit! où je nais, et où je meurs,
Tu nous fais voir comment voisins
Sont nos plaisirs, et nos chagrins.
In bed we laugh, in bed we cry,
And born in bed, in bed we die;
The near approach a bed may
Of human bliss to human woe.
EPITAPH FOR MR. HOGARTH.
The hand of him here torpid lies,
That drew th' essential form of grace ;
Here clos'd in death th' attentive eyes,
That saw the manners in the face.
OF THE FOLLOWING LINES WRITTEN UNDER A
PRINT REPRESENTING PERSONS SKAITING.
Sur un mince chrystal l'hyver conduit leurs pas,
Le précipice est sous la glace:
Telle est de nos plaisirs la legere surface:
Glissez, mortels ; n'appuyez pas.
O’Er ice the rapid skaiter flies,
With sport above, and death below;
Where mischief lurks in gay disguise,
Thus lightly touch and quickly go.
IMPROMPTU TRANSLATION OF THE SAME.
O'er crackling ice, o'er gulphs profound,
With nimble glide the skaiters play;
O'er treach'rous Pleasure's flow'ry ground
Thus lightly skim, and haste away.,
For, howe'er we boast and strive,
Life declines from thirty-five.
He that ever hopes to thrive
Must begin by thirty-five;
And all who wisely wish to wive
Must look on Thrale at thirty-five.
OF AN AIR IN THE CLEMENZA DE TITO OF
BEGINNING “Deh se piacermi vuoi.”
Would you hope to gain my heart,
Bid your teasing doubts depart;
He, who blindly trusts, will find
Faith from ev'ry gen'rous mind :
He, who still expects deceit,
Only teaches how to cheat.
TRANSLATION OF A SPEECH OF AQUILEIO IN THE ADRIANO OF
BEGINNING “ Tu che in Corte invechiasti."
Grown old in courts, thou surely art not one
Who keeps the rigid rules of ancient honour;
Well skili'd to soothe a foe with looks of kindness,
To sink the fatal precipice before him,
And then lament his fall with seeming friendship;
Open to all, true only to thyself,
Thou know'st those arts which blast with envious praise,
aggravate a fault with feign'd excuses,
And drive discountenanc'd virtue from the throne;
That leave the blame of rigour to the prince,
And of his ev'ry gift usurp the merit;
That hide in seeming zeal a wicked purpose,
And only build upon another’s ruin.