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seems to be designed to characterize, in a sarcastic
"10 p.'ATON Ér' ya?oc nadere ditev
Hymnus in Apollinem. But secret envy, in Apollo's ear, . Insidious whispers " Humble is the bard, “ Of praise unworthy, who in short excursion “ Exhausts his strength. The genuine bard is he" Who flows abundant, as the mighty ocean, “ Magnificent and vast.”—The god replied Resentful, and the canker'd slander spurn’d. “ Deep is th’ Assyrian torrent, but it flows “ With mud and filth discolor'd-who from thence 6 Would draw libation for the holy altar, “ Of Ceres pure!--No, from the limpid spring, . “ That pours the small but unpolluted stream, “ The gods accept their tribute.”-Hail, O king, Of strains melodious! may an evil doom On envy wait, and the calumnious tongue.
Though Callimachus declaims thus warmly against envy, it does not follow, that he was free from its influence. We know, how poets are apt to talk, and shift the faults from themselves on their rivals; it is very likely, that he viewed Apollonius with secret envy, and that the young poet suffered considerably, by the pre
valence of this hateful passion in the bosom of his guide, philosopher, and friend. And he, in return, might have been provoked to express some degree of contempt, for the lighter and occasional productions of his master.
Certain it is, that Apollonius early recited some pora tion of his poem on the Argonauts at Alexandria, but the success of this first essay of his talents did not correspond with his expectations, or with the perfection, which he afterwards attained; for, instead of gaining applause, he was received with contempt and ridicule. It is likely, that his audience might have been composed of severe and fastidious critics. The poet, perhaps, began to write at an immature age, and before his judgment was formed, or he had acquired the useful art of blotting; and the rash presumption of youth might have impelled him to obtrude on the world, the crude and hasty productions of a boy's muse.
Certainly, it was not the fault of Callimachus, that Apollonius made this unpromising attempt. We are told, that the latter, after he had composed his poem of the Argonautics, showed it to the former, for his opinion and corrections. Whether Callimachus spoke the language of sincerity and sound criticism, or was actuated by the jealousy of old established reputation, that
Bears, like the Turk, no brother near the throne. But it is said, that he treated this production with contempt, and gave its author no encouragement to prosecute his poetical studies. The author ventured to appeal from his private judgment, to the public, and disappointment was the portion of his temerity.
A poet, with all the superciliousness of established fame and fashion about him, tremblingly alive to fears, and solicitude, for the continuance of his poetical super
eminence, and apprehensive, in the extreme, lest some
The indisposition of Callimachus, towards the literary success of Apollonius, might have conduced to the unfavourable manner, in which the specimen of the Argonautics was received, when recited by its author in public h e, perhaps, damned with faint praise--and, without sneering, taught the crowd to sneer.—The preceding hypothesis is supported, by the account of the transaction, which has been transmitted to us, by the author of a short account of Apollonius, which has reached our times. From this relation, succinct as it is, we may collect, that the foregoing statement, of the grounds of enmity between the illustrious tutor, and his
no less illustrious scholar is founded in truth.—These are the words of the anonymous writer-" "Oula tua« 9ηίευσε ΚαλλιμαχG- και συναξας ταυλα ποιηματα επεδει« ξαιο, σφοδρα δε απολυχων και ερυθριασας, παρεγενετο εν τη “ Podn."
It is probable, that Callimachus exprest his mean opinion of the poetry of Apollonius, with little reserve, or management, or care not to wound the feelings of a young adventurer. It may be, that the pupil, in the sanguine spirit of youth, might have built too much on the good offices of his preceptor; and expected, through his countenance, and established credit, to have been introduced into public notice, and to have been received, as a fashionable poet, at the court of the Ptolemies.Whatever might have been his expectations, or their foundation, certain it is, that he was wofully disappointed; and felt his disappointment, with all the keen sensibility, natural to a poetic mind. He prepared for revenge of the injury, whether real or imaginary, with the weapons, which genius had given him. Nor was Callimachus slow, to retaliate; he paid back the invectives of Apollonius with interest; and lacerated his former friend, with much detail of invective, and, as it should seem, with considerable effect, in a satirical poem, which was entitled Ibis--a name, probably adopted by the author, on account of some fanciful resemblance, which he though he could discover between the Egyptian bird called Ibis, and the person against whom his severity was directed. - -Micyllus says, the name was adopted, not only as being expressive of impurity, baseness, and depraved appetites; the Ibis being a bird, that preyed on rats and other vermin-but, also, as denoting, that the person in question was a native Egyptian; the Ibis being a bird peculiar to Egypt.-The Ibis of Callimachus must, certainly, have been a production of very considerable merit, in its kind; since, though written on a private, personal, and local subject, it retained such a degree of celebrity, in the time of Ovid, that the Roman poet was induced to propose it to himself, as an object of imitation, and even to borrow the title for his own poem, as one which was generally known, and likely to excite public curiosity. A convincing proof of its popularity.
It appears, that Apollonius must have been foiled in this poetical warfare, as well as in his attempt to appeal from the contemptuous judgment of a rival poet, to the tribunal of an impartial public, by a recital of his produce tions, according to the custom, which then prevailed; his works were received with scorn and ridicule. One great advantage Callimachus possest over his antagonist, in this controversy. His fame was more fully established ; his person better known at court; he had the countenance of the great, and the cry of fashion, in his favour. Opprest by an'unequal competition, filled with the consciousness of neglected worth, fired with indignation, the victim of his own sensibility, Apollonius, unable to bear the contempt of his fellow citizens, the contumely of his brother poet, full of shame, disgust, and vexation, left Alexandria, the place of his nativity, and retired to Rhodes, which then Aourished in commerce, and had ever been distinguished, for a love of literature, and the arts.
Our poet seems to have experienced such a reception at Rhodes, as was due to his genius and learning. He was domiciliated there, and established himself, as a 'teacher of logic and rhetoric. From his residence in this island, Apollonius may have obtained the sirname of the Rhodian. Here he employed his leisure moments, in revising and polishing his works. This he appears, from the result, to have done with full success. For having - D3 ;