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In glory of my (a) Kinsman Hercules,
An allufion to the story of Orpheus, who was said to have been torn in pieces by women, at the time of facrificing to Bacchus, because, out of sorrow for the loss of his wife; he abandoned the company of all other women.
Rabelais ludicrously obferves upon it, [Works book iv. chap. 55-)
" That when the Thra“ cian women had torn him to pieces, they threw “his head and lyre into the river Hebrus, down " which they floated to the Euxine Sea, as far “ as the island Lesbos, the head continually
uttering a doleful fong, as it were lamenting “ the death of Orpheus ; and the lyre with the “wind's impulfe moving it's strings, harmo
niously accompanying the voice."
Mr. Somervile beautifully defcribes his distress in the following lines. [Chace book 2. 273, &c.] “ So when the furious Bacchanaks affaild “Tbreician Orpbeus, poor ill-fated bard! “Loud was the cry, hills, woods, and Hebrus'
(a) Plutarch in the life of Thefeus, obferves, that he and Hercules were nearly related, being born of cousin germans: for Ethra the mother of Theseus, was the daughter of Pitheus, and Alcmena, of Lycidice; and Lycidice and Pittbeus brothers and fifters by Hippodamia and Pelops.
“ Return'd their clam'rous rage ; distress'd he
Shifting from place to place, but Aies in vain ; “For eager they pursue, till panting, faint,
By noisy multitudes o’erpower'd, he sinks " To the relentless crowd a bleeding prey.
Act. v. fc. 1. p. 159.
Theseus. What are they that do play it ? Philoft. Hard handed men that work in Athens here.]
These two verses seem to hint at the following lines in a poem of Spenser's, intitl'd, The Tears of the Muses, [Works, Hughes's edit. p. 1376.]
Whilom in ages paft none might profess “ But princes, and high-priests that secret skill, " The facred laws therein they wont express, “ And with deep oracles their verses fill; “ Then was she held in sovereign dignity, “ And made the noursling of nobility..
“But now nor prince nor priest doth her main,
“ But suffer her profaned for to be. “Of the base vulgar, that with hands unclean " Pares to pollute her hidden mystery : “ And treadeth underfoot her holy things.. “ Which was the care of Kefars, and of Kings.
Sc. 2. p. 161. Enter Pyramus and Thisay, wall, moonshine, and lion as in dumb few.)
Dumb new, not in the folio of 1632. Sc. ib. This man is Pyramus, if you would knotar This beauteous lady, Thisbe is certain. This man with lime, and rough cast doth present Wall, the vile wall, which did lovers sunder,
And through walls chink, poor souls they are content To whisper, at which let no man wonder.]
A good part of this scene is taken from Chaucer's legend of Thise of Babylon. “ This wal, which that betwixt them both
yftode “ Was cloven atwo, right fro the top
adoun, “ Of oldè time, of his foundacioun ; “ But yet this clifte was so narrow and lite, “ It was not seen (dear inough a mite) “ But what is that, that love can not espie? “ Ye lovirs two, if that I shal not lie 156 Ye foundin first this little narrow clifte “And with a founde, as fofte as any sorifté, “ Thei let their wordis through the clifté pace " And toldin while that thei ftoden in the place “ Al ther complaints of love, and al ther wo, " At every time when thei darstin fo.
Upon that one side of the wal ftode he, 5 And on that other side stode Thise.
Legende of Thisbe of Babylon. 33. &c. Id. ib. For if you will know By moonshine did these lovers think no fcorn To meet at Ninus - Tomb, there there to woo.] Thei fettin markes ther metingis should be, There king Ninus was graven undir á trę. Id. ib
... And as the fled," ber mantle she let fall, Which lion vite with blody mouth did stain.] “ Alas! then cometh a wild lionefs “Out of the wode, withoutin more arest, " With blody mouth of strangling of a best,
4 To drinkin of the wel, there as the far. “ And when that Tbifbe had efpied that " She rifte her up with a ful drery hert, " And in a cave with dredful fote the sterte, "For by the mone she faw it wel wichall, “ And as she ran her wimple let she fall, “ And toke none hede fo fore she was awhaped, " And eke fo glad for that she was efcaped : " And thus fhe fat, and lurkith wonder still 66 Whan that this lioness had drunk her fill, “ Aboutin the wel gan fhe for to winde, “ And right anon the wimple gan she finde, “ And with her blody mouth it al to rente, “ When this was done, no lengir she ne ftente, " But to the wode her way than hath the nome.
Id. ib. 100. &c. Id. ib.
Thef. I wonder if the lion be to speak ? Demet. No wonder my lord, one lion may, when many asses do.) Alluding 'tis likely, to the following fable intit'led, The Affes made Justices. [See L'Estrange's Fables ad part fab. 38.] “A “ Doktor of Divinity, and a Justice of the Peace,
met upon the road; the former excellently “ well mounted, and the other upon
merry pin it feems, and in humour to make fport “ with him. Doctor, says he, your Great Maf" ter bad ibe humility to ride upon an afs; and one “ would bave thought that an afs might have d'en " contented you too. Alafs! alafs ! Sir, says the “ Doctor, the alles, they say, are all made Juf“ tices, and chere are none to be gotten."
Or to the ftory of Balaam's afs, which was as humorously applied by a Divine to a stammering Lord who was no friend to the clergy, and had a mind to set it in a ridiculous light at his table, observing, that Balaam's ass spoke bebe --because he was prie-prie-prie
-ftPrief rid, Sir, faid a valet de chambre (who food behind his char) my lord would fay; No friend, replied the clergyman, Balaam could not speak himfelf, and fo his ass fpoke for him.
Pyr. But what fee I, no Thisbe do 1 fee, O wicked wall, through whom I see no bliss, Curj be thy Bones för tbus deceiving me.] " And every daie this wal thei would it threte, “ And wish to God, that it were doune ibete, “ Thus would thei faine alas ! thou wicked wal, “ Through thine envie thou us lettist al."
Pyramus. I see a voice, now will I to the chink,
In folio 1632. it stands thus.
The alteration is Mr. Warburton's, of which every reader must judge as he thinks proper.
Sc. 2. p. 164.
Demet. No remedy my lord, when walls are fo Waful to bear without warning:) - Mr. Warburton's emendation, to reary is propably right;