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other. They did not pursue the forms of beauty into leaf and flower; into the cheerful culture of the field, or the brown tinges of the desert. They did not watch the growing, or fading lights of the sky, and the colours, as they lived or died on the distant mountain tops ; – the passing of light and shadow over earth and ocean. Their acquaintance with the subtle spirit of the universe had not become so intimate. They abode most in the general; they admired in the mass; for they had not arrived at the refinement of very delicate, or extensive analysis; and they did not go out to admire as the moderns; their admiration of nature was not advanced, as with us, into an art and a passion. Beauty rather fell upon their senses than was inquired after. They were pleased, and did not always seek out the operative causes of their sensations. Their mention of their delight was, therefore, generally incidental. They were in the condition and state of mind of the old man in Wordsworth's ballad,

who says

Think you, mid all this mighty sum

Of things for ever speaking,
That nothing of itself will come,

But we must still be seeking ?

That Homer had an eye for the sublime features of earth, the nobler forms of animal life, and phenomena of nature, his bold and beautiful similies, scattered all through the Iliad, of storms, of overflowing rivers, of forests on flame, of the lion, the horse, and others, sufficiently testify; that he had a most exquisite sense of the picturesque, is slewn in almost every page of the Odyssey; in the cave of Polypheme, in good old king Laertes occupied in his farm; and in the whole episode of Ulysses at the lodge of Eumeus, the goatherd.

But yet it is, after all, only in contemplating some scene of delicious rural beauty, something akin to Arcadian sweetness, that he breaks out into anything like a rapture.

The abode of Calypso, as seen by Hermes on his approach to it, is an exact instance.

Then, swift ascending from the azure wave,
He took the path that winded to the cave.
Large was the grot in which the nymph he found,
The fair-haired nymph, with every beauty crowned.
She sate and sung; the rocks resound the lays ;
The cave was brightened with the rising blaze;
Cedar and frankincense, an odorous pile,
Flamed on the hearth, and wide perfumed the isle,
While she with work and song the time divides
And through the loom the golden shuttle guides.
Without the grot a various sylvan scene
Appeared around, and groves of living green ;
Poplars and alders, ever quivering, played,
And nodding cypress formed a grateful shade ;
On whose high branches, waving with the storm,
The birds of broadest wing their mansion form ;
The chough, the sea-mew, and loquacious crow,
And scream aloft, and skim the deeps below.
Depending vines the delving caverns screen,
With purple clusters blushing through the green.
Four limpid fountains from the clefts distil ;
And every fountain forms a separate rill,
In mazy, winding wanderings down the hill:
Where bloomy meads with vivid greens were crowned,
And glowing violets threw odours round-
A scene, where if a god should cast his sight,
A god might gaze and wander with delight !
Joy touched the messenger of heaven; he stayed
Entranced, and all the blissful haunt surveyed.

Odyssey, B. v.

In Hesiod, the perception of even the delights of the summer field were far fainter. Though he fed his flock at the foot of Mount Helicon, he has little to say in praise of its aspect; and though he gives you great insight into the state of agriculture, and the simple mode of life of the country people, a very few verses furnish almost all the praise of nature which he had to bestow. His mind seemed occupied in tracing the genealogy of the gods, and framing grave maxims for the regulation of human conduct.

Of all the Greek writers, Theocritus is the one that luxuriates most in natural beauty. His sense of the picturesque is keen, and his pencilling of such subjects is most vigorous and graphic.

His two fishermen remind us of Crabbe; nothing can be more exquisite.

Two ancient fishers in a straw-thatched shed-
Leaves were their walls, and sea-weed was their bed,
Reclined their weary limbs; hard by were laid
Baskets and all their implements of trade;
Rods, hooks, and lines composed of stout horse-hairs,
And nets of various sorts, and various snares,
The seine, the cast-net, and the wicker maze,
To waste the watery tribe a thousand ways ;
A crazy boat was drawn upon a plank ;
Mats were their pillow, wove of osiers dank ;
Skins, caps, and coats, a rugged covering made;
This was their wealth, their labour and their trade.
No pot to boil, no watch-dog to defend,
Yet blessed they lived with penury their friend;
None visited their shed, save, every tide,
The wanton waves that washed its tottering side.

Idyl. xxi.

Then again, nothing can be more picturesque, nothing more boldly graphic and solemnly poetical, than the situation in which he makes Castor and Pollux find Anycus, the king of Bebrycia; nothing more striking than the image of that chief.

Meanwhile, the royal brothers devious strayed
Far from the shore, and sought the cooling shade.
Hard by, a hill with waving forests crowned,
Their eyes attracted; in the dale they found
A spring perennial in a rocky cave :
Full to the margin flowed the lucid wave ;
Below small fountains gushed, and murmuring near,
Sparkled like silver, and as silver clear.
Above, tall pines and poplars quivering played,
And planes and cypress in dark greens arrayed ;
Around balm-breathing flowers of every hue,
The bees' ambrosia, in the meadows grew.
There sate a chief, tremendous to the eye,
His couch the rock, his canopy the sky;
The gauntlet's strokes his cheeks and ears around,
Had marked his face with many a desperate wound.
Round as a globe, and prominent his chest,
Broad was his back, but broader was his breast;
Firm was his flesh, with iron sinews fraught,
Like some Colossus on an anvil wrought:

Id. xxii. His description of an ancient drinking-cup appears to me to have no rival in all the round of literature, ancient or modern, except Keats’ description of an antique vase. It is life and beauty itself. The figures stand out in bold relief, cut with an energy and precision most wonderful, and with a grace that makes itself felt to the very depths of the spirit.

A deep, two-handled cup, whose brim is crowned
With ivy, joined with helichryse around;
Small tendrils with close-clasping arms uphold
The fruit rich speckled with the seeds of gold.
Within, a woman's well-wrought image shines,
A vest her limbs, her locks a cawl confines;
And near, two neat-curled youths in amorous strains,
With fruitless strife communicate their pains;

Smiling, by turns she views the rival pair ;
Grief swells their eyes, their heavy hearts despair.

Hard by, a fisherman, advanced in years,
On the rough margin of a rock appears ;
Intent he stands to enclose the fish below,
Lifts a large net, and labours with the throw;
Such strong expression rises on the sight,
You'd swear the man exerted all his might;
For his round neck with turgid veins appears-
In years he seems, yet not impaired by years.

A vineyard next with intersected lines,
And red, ripe clusters load the bending vines.
To guard the fruit a boy sits idly by,
In ambush near, two skulking foxes lie;
This, plots the branches of ripe grapes to strip,
And that, more daring, meditates the scrip;
Resolved, ere long, to seize the savoury prey,
And send the youngster dinnerless away;
Meanwhile on rushes all his art he plies,
In framing traps for grashoppers and Alies ;
And earnest only on his own designs,
Forgets his satchel, and neglects his vines.

Id. i.

What a glorious subject would this be for one of our modern sculptors. Were I one, I would not lose an hour ere I attempted it.

But in Theocritus, as in Homer, they are Arcadian amenities that engross almost all his passion for nature. They are flowery fields, running waters, summer shades, and the hum of bees; all the elements of voluptuous dreaming and indolent entrancement; the most delicious of all idleness, lying abroad with the blue sky above you, and the mossy turf beneath you, and the bubble of running waters, and the whisper of forest branches near, to lull you to repose. Is it not so ? When is it that he invites you to outof-door enjoyment?

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