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To imagine any thing like a sympathy of this kind, it is of course necessary that the difference of form should consist in addition, and not in alteration. But the un-angel-like texture of the flying apparatus of fair Youwarkee (such, if we remember, ás her name) helps to shew us the main reason why we are able to receive pleasure from the histories of Greatures only half-human. The habit of reading prevents the first shock; but we are reconciled in proportion to their possession of what we are pleased to call human qualities. Kindness is the great elevator. The Centaurs may have killed all the Lapithæ, and shewn considerable generalship to boot, without reconciling us to the brute part of them; but the brutality melts away before the story of their two lovers in Ovid. Drunkenness and rapine made beasts of them ;-sentiment makes human beings. Polyphemus in Homer is a shocking monster, not because he has only one eye, but because ho murders and eats our fellow-creatures. But in Theocritus, where he is Galatea's lover, and sits hopelessly lamenting his passion, we only pity him. His deformity even increases our pity. We blink the question of beauty, and become one-eyed for his sake.
Nature seems to do him an injustice in gifting him with sympathies so human, and at the same time preventing them from being answered ; and we feel impatient with the all-beautiful Galatea, if we think she erer shewed him scorn as well as unwillingness. We insist upon her avoiding him with the greatest possible respect.
These fictions of the poets therefore, besides the mere excitement which they give the imagination, assist remotely to break the averseness and uncharitableness of human pride. And they may blunt the point of some fancies that are apt to come upon melancholy minds. When Sir Thomas Brown, in the infinite range of his metaphysical optics, turned his glass, as he no doubt often did, towards the inha. bitants of other worlds, the stories of angels and Centaurs would help his imaginative good nature to a more willing conception of creatures in other planets unlike those on earth; to other “ lords of creation;" and other, and perhaps nobler humanities, noble in spirit, though differing in form. If indeed there can be any thing in the starry endlessness of existence, nobler than what we can conceive of love and generosity.
But to our story. Ovid, in one of the finest parts of his Metamorphoses, has recounted the famous battle of the Centaurs and Lapithæ. Our countrymen have the happiness of possessing, in another shape, another sine poem on the same subject; we mean the divine sculptures of Phidias. * But Ovid is as powerful in his way, as the English reader may see in the versions of Dryden and Sandys. Pui. dias has relieved the ferocity of his story with some exquisite figures of women. One in particular, who seems fainting, is the very gentle essence of womenhood personified. Ovid, more exuberant, though not more touching in his imagination, has carried the refinement far. ther; and contradicting, or rather varying, with a solitary and striking exception, the general character given of Centaurs, has introduced two of them as lovers, remarkable for their gentleness and beauty, and dying side by side. The story is, that Pirithous having invited “ the half-horsie people” to his weddling-feast, when he married Hippodamia, cne of them was so inflamed with the beauty of the bride, that he started up in the midst of the drinking and carousing, and altempted to carry her off. Theseus, the friend of Pirithous, seized a great antique goblet, craggy with sculpture, and dashed his face to shatters with it, so that he died. The other Centaurs, seeing their brother killed, grew frantic with revenge; and a tremendous battle eusued. The whole account fills the ear and the imagination, like an enormous uproar. It is a gigantic hubbub, full of hugh' fists, hoops, weapons, and flying furniture, chandeliers torn down, and thbles snatched up, shrieks of females, and roarings and tramplings of men and half-men. One of the Lapithæ makes nothing of rending away a door-post that would load a waggon: and a Centaur tears up an altar with fire upon it, and sends it blazing among the enemy. The different modes in which the deaths are inflicted are as various as any in Homer; and the poet, with admirable propriety, has given his battle all the additional interest, which the novelty of the figures engaged in it could suggest.
* We never observed till the other day, that in these líarbles the Centaurs are no taller than the Lapithæ. Upon thinking of the matter, we beliere it is also the same in most engravings, where Centaurs are introduced; certainly iif some old ones. We are to imagine of course, not that the Centaurs were of the same height as wen of this
degenerate age, and ran about with Welch ponies behind them, but that they and the Lapitha were of gigantic stature, and the horse-part as large as the finest of our modern steeds. An awkward dificulty seeins still 10 remain; since the horse, horrerer large, must be comparatively small to # horso ft for a Lapishite to ride.
The episode of the two lovers comes out of all this hideous turhulence, like the dropping of rain from the eaves after a thunder-storm. If we are asked why we translate it after Dryden and Sandys, it will be sufficient to answer that it gave us some pleasant moments to do so; and that we would rather, on these occasions, furnish something original to the reader than translated. But our readers and we are not quarrelsome parties. With regard to the measure, we have chosen it as the most capable of expressing the alternate laxity and compression, for which Ovid's style is remarkable. We found the heroic couplet hamper us, tending either to too great length or the reverse of it. With the old ballad measure before us, one may do as one pleases; and there is something in it that suits the simplicity of the affections.
Nor could thy beanty, Cyllarus,
Protect thice in ira fray;
After a luman way.
But the reader is to suppose, that there were no lorses in those days to provoke the comparison. The notion of the “half-horsie" people (as Spenser, in a true spirit of poetical composition, ventures to call them), originated in the wonder with which men on horse-back were first regarded. When the Mexicans first beheld Cortcs and lis "ay!ry, they were struc's with the same idea.
His beard was in the flowery bud
Touched, like his hair, with gold; And down beneath his shoulder blades
His tresses rar, and rolled.
An earnest sheer was in his look;
And every human part, His neck, his shoulders, hands, and breast,
Metched with the proudest art.
Such was his look and shape, to where
The nether form began;
Dishonoured he the man.
Er'n Castor might have ridden him,
But for his double make;
So rideable his back.
And blacker was his noble hue.
Than is the pitchy night; Only a snowy tail and feet
Finished his look with light.
Many fair ereatures of his kind
Besought his love; but he Was borpe away by only one,
The sole Hylonome.
No gentle woman-hearted thing
Of all the half-human race, Carried about the shady woods
A more becoming grace.
With pretty natural blandishments,
And loving, and at last Owning her love with rosy talk,
She bound the conqueror fast.
Her limbs, as much as in her lay,
She kept adorned with care, And took' especial pride to sleek
Her lightsome locks of hair.
With rosemary she wreathed them now,
With violets and the rose;
Sparkled the lily snows.
No vest but of the choicest skin,
And suiting her, she wore, About her shoulder crossing round
Beside ber and before
And twice a day, in lapsiag welle
That from the woods came down,
She bathed from sole to crowsi.
Equal alike the beauty was,
Equal the love in either;
And sheltered close together.
And thus did they attend that day
The Lapithean bride;
'Together, side by side.
A jarelio from an unknown band
Came with too sure a dart,
Right to the very heart.
He drew the bitter weapon out,
And shuddering all over,
Whose arms received her lover.
Abd with her hand she nursed the wound,
Of which he fast was dying,
To stop his soul from flying.
But when she found it all in vain,
And that her lord was dead,
Dealened about her head;
And falling with her wedded heart
On what had murdered his,
And smiled a dying kiss.
Printed by JOSEPH APPLEYARD, No. 19, Catherine-street, Strand.
No. XXVII. --WEDNESDAY, APRIL 12th, 1820.
THE ADVENTURES OF CÉPHALUS AND PROCRIS.
CEPHALUS, the son of Deioneus, king of Thessaly, married Procris, daughter of Pandion, king of Athens. They bound each other by a vow never to love any one else. Cephalus, who was fond of hunting, suffered the wood-nymphs to be charming to no purpose ; and Procris, waiting his return every day from the chace, scarcely had a civil answer for the most agreeable of the Wood-Gods.
Their security in each others exclusive attachment was increased, if possible, by a passion which was conceived for Cephalus by Aurora, the Goddess of Morning. To think that the beaming eyes and rosy blushes of so charming a deity were upon him every morning to no purpose, was å high exaltation to the proud confidence which each reposed in the other. Procris, whom the very particular vow which they had entered into had begun to render a little too apt to be jealous, concluded that if he could deny a goddess, she need have no fear of the nymphs. All that disturbed her was lest Aurora should grow angry: Cephalus, , on the other hand, whatever airs he inight occasionally give himself on the strength of his fidelity, held it to be utterly impossible, that his wife should for a moment forget the rejecter of a divinity.
Aurora however was not angry. She was too much in love. CephaJus began to feel a softer pride when he found that she still loved him secretly, and that she did all in her power to gratify him. The dawns in Thessaly had never been known to be so fine. Rosy little clouds, floating in yellow light, were sure to usher in the day, whatever it might turn out at noon. He had but to wish for more air, and it came streaming upon his face. Did he want light in a gloomy depth of the forest ? Beams' thrilled through the twisted thickets, and made the hunters start to see their faces so plainly. Some said,
a divine countenance was to be seen at these times, passing on the other side of the trees, and looking through. It is certain, that when Cephalus had lain down towards noon to rest himself in a solitary place, he would see, as he woke, a nymph suddenly departing from the spot, whosg háir shook out a kind of sunshine. He knew that this was Aurora, and could not help being touched by so delicate an affection.