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The rocks of Hernicus-besides a band,
But to proceed:
Earl Douglas on a milk-white steed,
Rode foremost of the company,
Turnus ut antevolans tardum præcesserat agmen, &c.
Our English archers bent their bows,
Full threescore Scots they slew.
No slackness there was found;
Lay gasping on the ground.
With that there came an arrow keen
Which struck Earl Douglas to the heart,
Eneas was wounded after the same manner by an unknown hand in the midst of a parley.
Has inter voces, media inter talia verba,
EN. xii. 318.
Thus, while he spake, unmindful of defence,
But of all the descriptive parts of this song, none more beautiful than the four following stanzas, which have a great force and spirit in them, and are filled with very natural circumstances. The thought in the third stanza was never touched by any other poet, and is such an one as would have shined in Homer or in Virgil:
So thus did both these nobles die,
Whose courage none could stain;
The noble Earl was slain.
He had a bow bent in his hand,
Against Sir Hugh Montgomery
This fight did last from break of day
For when they rung the ev'ning bell
One may observe, likewise, that in the catalogue of the slain, the author has followed the example of the great ancient poets, not only in giving a long list of the dead, but by diversifying it with little characters of particular persons.
And with Earl Douglas there was slain
Sir Charles Carrel, that from the field
Sir Charles Murrel of Ratcliff too,
Sir David Lamb so well esteem'd,
The familiar sound in these names destroys the ma
jesty of the description; for this reason I do not mention this part of the poem but to shew the natu̟ral cast of thought which appears in it, as the two last verses look almost like a translation of Virgil.
·Cadit et Ripheus justissimus unus Qui fuit in Teucris et servantissimus æqui. Diis aliter visum
N. ii. 426.
Then Ripheus fell in the unequal fight,
In the catalogue of the English who fell, Witherington's behaviour is in the same manner particularized very artfully, as the reader is prepared for it by that account which is given of him in the beginning of the battle; though I am satisfied your little buffoon readers (who have seen that passage ridiculed in Hudibras) will not be able to take the beauty of it: for which reason I dare not so much as quote it.
Then stept a gallant 'squire forth,
That e'er my captain fought on foot,
We meet with the same heroic sentiment in Virgil.
Non pudet, O Rutuli, cunctis pro talibus unam
EN. xii. 229.
For shame, Rutilians, can you bear the sight
What can be more natural, or more moving, than the circumstances in which he describes the behaviour of those women who had lost their husbands on this fatal day?
Next day did many widows come
They wash'd their wounds in brinish tears,
Their bodies bath'd in purple blood,
They kiss'd them dead a thousand times,
Thus we see how the thoughts of this poem, which naturally arise from the subject, are always simple, and sometimes exquisitely noble; that the language is often very sounding, and that the whole is written with a true poetical spirit.
If this song had been written in the Gothic manner, which is the delight of all our little wits, whether writers or readers, it would not have hit the taste of so many ages, and have pleased the readers of all ranks and conditions. I shall only beg pardon for such a profusion of Latin quotations; which I should not have made use of, but that I feared my own judgment would have looked too singular on such a subject, had not I supported it by the practice and authority of Virgil. C.
N° 75. SATURDAY, MAY 26, 1711.
Omnis Aristippum decuit color, et status, et res.
All fortune fitted Aristippus well.
IT is with some mortification that I suffered the raillery of a fine lady of my acquaintance, for calling, in one of my papers *, Dorimant a clown. She was so unmerciful as to take advantage of my invincible taciturnity, and on that occasion with great freedom to consider the air, the height, the face, the gesture of him, who could pretend to judge so arrogantly of gallantry. She is full of motion, janty and lively in her impertinence, and one of those that commonly pass, among the ignorant, for persons who have a great deal of humour. She had the play of Sir Fopling in her hand, and after she had said it was happy for her there was not so charming a creature as Dorimant now living, she began with a theatrical air and tone of voice to read, by way of triumph over me, some of his speeches. 'Tis she! that lovely hair, that easy shape, those wanton eyes, and all those melting charms about her mouth, which Medley spoke of; I'll follow the lottery, and put in for a prize with my friend Bellair.'
In love the victors from the vanquish'd fly;
*Spect. No. 65.