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and to remember that you live for your Friends as well as yourself : I take it for granted, that I shall never want a Friend in you, and after having done il so often already, I don't need to give you any further assurances that you'll always find the like in me.
Your most obedient llumble Servant, &c.
!. My dear Friend,
THE Observator sets out with Virgil and Minucius Felix, namely, the two authors to whom I proposed to confine my remarks; and I can. not but think, he has been a little unhappy in the opening of the scene; for tho’ these are both great names in the republic of Letters, both of them favorite writers, and above all praise, and so might possibly be thought by him to reflect a lustre upon the undertaking, yet standing at the head of this work, they rather bespeak the prejudice than the favor of a reader. The acknowledged correctness of the former makes us difficile and morose, superstitious and scrupulous, nice and suspicious; and that unbounded liberty, which his Editors from time to time have taken with the latter, has already so satiated and disgusted us, that conjectures upon him are little better than cabbage often heated.
But the allowed excellence of this noble brace of Authors, perhaps, appears in nothing so much, as in the large number of Editions, which the learned of all nations have procured of them since the restoration of learning ; and with regard to Minucius, a surprizing number indeed! considering, that they are all derived from a single fountain, that one copy presented by Leo X. to Francis the First. The faultiness of this copy, partly evinced by the frequent attempts of the Critics, but chiefly by Rigaltius's collation, has opened a large field to conjectural criticism in every age; and as the unflexiged critic generally tries his sykivoia in Hesychius, an Author of one exemplar likewise, and counts himself nothing, unless he has carried away some few baskets of dung out of that stable of Augeas : So here, there is scarce one Editor of Minucius that has not proceeded almost to licentiousness in altering, transposing, striking out, putting in ; in short, in every species of guesswork and hariolation. Insomuch, that tho' Virgil is the second in his kind, and perhaps, is second to none; and tho? Minucius be, if not the most ancient of the Latin Fathers, the next to Tertullian, and if not the most elegant of them, interior to Lactantius only: Yet notwithstanding these very great advantages, they do neither of them bring any recommendation to the present work.
Minuc. FEL. c. 2. Igitur post unum et alterum diem, cum jum et aviditatem desiderii frequens assiduitatis usus implesset, et quæ per absentiam mutuam de nobis nesciebamus, relatione alternd comperissemus, fc.
His reasoning here is very
wonderful. We are to read mutuo, because this would be better. Mutuam it seems is tolerable, but not quite so good as mutuo. There is no end of such refinements as these, and if the common reading is tolerable, this licence is far from being so. This is to correct the authors themselves, and not the corrupted copies of them. What think you of 'gaudere gaudium, ? ludere ludum, ' pugnare pugnam,
4 ultimus finis, and the like? Of Maritarum adultcri, Tertull. A polog. c. 11. Mira Miracula, Min. Fel. c. 20. and Not. per rices alternare, Cypr. Ep. 5. Ed. Ox.? Of s dvdgwe riçuwe, drogwx 1705yTwv, dvages dixactai,dvoces cínov, so frequent with the Athenian Orators, and the similar locution in the Acts, droges äden çoc? which, because our language would not receive the Letter, the Translators have rendered Men and Brethren, whereas in point of accuracy, they should have said Brethren. Of eandem cmensi viam rursus versis vestigiis tercbamus, Minuc. c. 3. ? But fullness or redundancy is a characteristic of this author. See Heraldus, Not. 10. pag. 28. of Daries's 2d Edition. So p. 3. Neque hoc obsequii fuit, aut ordinis, aut honoris. p. 31. Repudiaris alterum, alterum comprobaris; and again, Si mihi quasi novus aliquis, et quasi ignarus partis utriusque considas. See also Not. 5. p. 32. Not. 2. p. 64. Not. 6. p. 97. and forty other places. So Virgil,
Rursus ad vrac'lum Ortygia Phæbumque remenso
Hortatur pater ire mari Æn. 3. 143. 7 But to say all in a word, Mutuo makes as great a Tautology as mutuam. For Minucius and his friend, having been absent from each other for some time, were no doubt mutually ignorant of each other's
As to any cpistolary correspondence, 'tis plain there was none; every thing of this kind is excluded by what follows, Relatione alterná comperissemus : For then there had been no occasion for this mutual inquiry.
But this Observation is quite unlucky; for upon his own principles, remensi cannot stand.
Min. FEL. c. 3. Sed uti eundi spatium satis justum cum sermone consumpsimus, eandem emensi viam rursus versis vestigiis terebamus.
Nay, Remensi makes a must insufferable tautology; The passage produced above out of the 3d En. is nothing like this. It will indeed justify eandem viam rursus versis vestigiis terebamus, but not eandem remensi viam rursus versis vestigiis terebamus. But Virgil, it seems, has used the word remensus Æn. 3. 143.
Well, and so he has elsewhere, and so have other Authors; but what then ? The truth is, that neither emensi nor remensi have any
" Cic. Ep. Famil. 2 Terent. Boeth. 3 Nep. Hannib.
4 Hor. Od s Erasm. Adag. årdswy niçow Tímyce Túpaceta.
6 Aristoph. 7 Is mutua absentia a greater Pleonasm than that of Isocr. Panegyr. Towg πριν τους των λόγων αρχομένους ? Or than that of a contemporary Orator, βούλοντο v å xorta doxiij AUTÒV and ran ixórna Myvúrry. See also Blackw. S. S. Classic. Vol. I. p. 18.
thing to do here. Emensi is either by some blunder repeated from above, or is a gloss upon the less frequent expression terebamus riam. 'This latter I am the mure persuaded of, because real glossæ are often found in our Authors, Dav. ad Cic. N. D. p. 33. Maurs, et Herald. ad Minuc. p. 94. But, perhaps, at the time of writing this, the Observator might have an eye to that passage in the inimitable Scriblerus,
Divide and part the sever'd World in two. But the Observator is again unfortunate in having made this emendation ; because allowing this way of arguing, prospectus inanis cannus subsist.
Georg. II. 285.
Terra Every Prospect is inanis, from whence the Expression arises. impe. dire prospectum, Cæs. B. Gall. II. 22. Inanis animus, on the contrary, is animus curis solutus. But the context implies a regular open prospect without an epithet ; and the passage admits of his version without his emendation : A certain sign, methinks, that there is no occasion for it. ”Tis true, Virgil has said pictura inanis emphatically and beautifully, but he has no where said, prospectus inanis. And the two cases are far from being parallel, for neither are the circumstances the same, vor does inunis in both places convey the same idea.
But at last you'll say, perhaps, that all this is unfair, and that I have used all along the same argument against his emendations, which I before condemlied in him against Minucius. It is true I have; for tho' this kind of reasoning will not support a conjecture against a Ms. yet it will defend a ls. (and in Virgil's case a number of MSS.) against a conjecture ; and this the Observator himself must allow for the sake of his own annotation on
Æn. XI, 405. Amnis et Hadriacas retro fugit Aufidus undas, where he defends the reading against Tanaquil Faber upon this very principle ; and where, by the way, please 10 observe, that his Amnis Tiberinus, Nilus amnis, Indus flumen, &c. do all corroborate absentiam mutuam : Insomuch, that his remark here upon Faber, howsoever just, is intirely mal à propos, considering that the very next he makes, is that upon Absentiam mutuam.
And upon this footing of rejecting conjectural emendations, incumbered with tautology, I cannot but think that a most monstrous alteration, which I meet with in the new Horace.
Od. I. 2, 31.
Nude candentis humeros amictus. The Editor asks,“ Quis augur iste Apollo nici Sol?” Why the Deity himselt. The Poet did not think that the Sun would be seen
from his chariot, and assume the person of Augustus. Again, he asks, “ Quare tandem ?” and replies, “ Quia scilicet jam totum istum annum, Cæsaris mortem insecutum, non nisi perpetuis nebulis Sol amictus tenerat;” still alluding to the sun in the Heavens, and forgetting the drift of the author, who is not desiring the sun to break out in bis former splendor, but to come amongst them in Augustus's form; and otherwise the compliment would be lost. Tandem therefore is, Now at length, after the civil combustions are ceased.
Nudus is unquestionably the same as nudus amictus. And therefore, whether the Editor can support nudus amictus by any authorities, or not, I cannot assent to it, because it makes a tautology; and for the same reason I am equally averse to what the Observator offers on
Virg. Georg. IV. 405. Verùm ubi correptum manibus vinclisque tenebis ; where even allowing that the common reading may do very well, he is yet so unreasonable as to put manicis upon us, and to persist in it. See p. 126. Manicis, he alledges, is used on the same occasion, v. 439.
Ipse viro primus manicas atque arta levari
Vincla jubet Priamus As also in Ovid are laqueis vincloque, where a story is told just like this in Virgil. I answer, that vinculum is a general word, including in it every kind of fetters, manicæ, pedicæ, laquei ; and this ! n't need to prove. Manicis therefore, 439, is explanatory of rinclis here, according to that of Ovid upon this occasion ;
Decipiat ne te versis tamen ille figuris,
Impediant yeminus vincula firma manus. Ovid, Fast. J. 369.
Id. ib. v. 371. on the same occasion still. Consequently where vinculum is, there is no occasion for any other word; at least conjecture cannot support any other, ev'n tho' manicis and rincula, laqueis vincloque, may subsist in the authors. And for my part, I cannot apprehend how Proteus could be bound well without hands. The author joins vis with vircula, v. 399.
vim duram et vincula cupto
mugis contende tenacia vincla.
-κάρτος τε βίη τε, and 422,
Και τότε δή σχέσθαι τε βίης, λύσαι τε γέροντα.
Ημείς δ' αίψ' άχοντες 'πεσσύμεθ' άμφί δε χείρας
But unless the Observator will allow of manibus here, I don't see how his animadversions upon Servius Georg. IV. 415. can possibly stand. Where he writes, “ it should be, I think, vincendi, or vinciendi numinis capar. She anointed him to give him strength to struggle with Proteus," and which he then confirms by v. 418.
Atque habilis membris venit vigor. But to conclude this tedious Epistle, I am very shy on this account likewise of admitting that Criticism produced in p. 113. of these observations ; but as I propose to give you my thoughts at large in a subsequent Letter, I shall take leave of you for this time, by only subscribing myself,
Your most assured Friend, &c.
I shall make no manner of apology for keeping my word, but without any more to do shall enter upon the Defence of
Georg. III. 37.
Immanemque rotam, et non exsuperabile sarum. An eminent hand has attempted this place, and is so sanguine in the matter, and so conscious of the infallibility of his remark, that he proposes it as a test, and as an undoubted specimen of the faultiness of Virgil's copies; as a clencher, and a capiial observation, which shall singly convince the world, that there are incorrect places in Virgil, and that even though all the other the many Essays of these Observators should prove in vain; he reads,
- tortosque Irionis orbes, The reading of the Roman Code, in spite of fifty other manuscripts, and as many Editors. His reasons are, that no Mythologer, Poet, or Scholiast ever mentions angues as part of Ixion's punishment ; that. all they say is, that he was fastened to a wheel which was perpetually in motion ; and then he produces sixteen passages to prove this.
As to orbes making an hendiadis here, orbis and rota, he says, are different things, for rota is the machine, and orbis the volutus or motion thereof; that Virgil, even supposing the tautology, would yet bear it out himself, saying in another place,
Atque Irionii vento rota constitit orbis. Georg. IV. 484. And as to
torlosque sinistra Intentans angues
Æn. VI. 570. there Ixion is not mentioned.
And as to
Exsurgitque fucem altoliens, atque intonat ore. En. VI. 606. though Ixion be mentioned, yet angues is not.
And so he inost triumphanıly concludes, And thus we are got rid of a blunder of 1500 years standing VOL. IX. Cl. Jl. NO. XVII,