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think of the advocates of a pure religion having ever resorted to means so unworthy of its purity, and so unnecessary for its support. But, unless those books were written by Christians, it remains to be answered from whom they came. The Pagans certainly forged Sibylline verses, but none of this description. To call them genuinely inspired would be to place them blasphemously on a par with the Bible. That Paganism should have forged works against idolatry, is about as probable as that a man should forge a bill with a view to enrich his bitterest enemy, and get himself hanged. There are some things from the Old Testament in those fabrications, and it has therefore been alleged that the Jews may have got them up. But as the New Testament happens to be also pilfered, it would have been as wise to have suspected the Turks.
Elegiac and Lyric Poetry.
Poetry was much more universally and directly an enjoyment of the ear among the Greeks than it is with us. From the abundance of books, we can possess the poet's page in our retirement, and are therefore accustomed to follow his numbers with only a tacit and mental conception of their harmony. But the Greeks, even in the more cultivated state of their literature, seldom read poetry to themselves. They heard it publicly delivered either in song or recitation. In primitive times there seems to have been no recitation of poetry that was not musical to a certain degree, how rude soever the chaunt might be, and however short it might fall of perfect melody. The earliest appellation of the Greek bard was that of a singer (doidos), and he is always described by Homer as repeating his verses to the lyre. In a later state of the language, he is denominated a poet or maker (noinTs), and the term Ode, or sung poem, is applied not generically to poetry, but distinctively to strains of a particular structure and character. This shews, that, as music improved, and as poetry spread into various branches, some kinds of composition were found more expressly susceptible than others of musical accompaniment. Greek Poetry, no doubt, possessed, upon the whole, an eminent aptitude for musical expression; but all its branches were not equally allied to music.-Aristotle, for instance, discriminates Epic poetry from Tragic by this circumstance (among others), of music not being essential to the Epos as it was to Tragedy. And from this distinction it may surely be inferred, that, though the rhapsodists may have long retained their lyre and chaunt as ancient usages of their profession, an Epic poem in the time of Aristotle would not have been regarded as robbed of its due honours in delivery, if it had been simply read to an audience. When Cicero tells us of Antimachus, the last but one of the classic Epics, rehearsing his poetry to Plato and other less patient auditors, he expressly describes him in the anecdote as reading his verses (legentem suos versus); and nobody, I suppose, suspects the poet, on this occasion, to have had a lute in his hand. In the later classic ages of Greece, it was customary for poets to read their compositions aloud in public. They rehearsed them from an elevated seat to hearers placed on surrounding benches, who sometimes criticized the poet severely, but at other times were so warm in their admiration as to accompany him home with plaudits to his abode. The Greek word for elocution (s) has sometimes, though rarely, a meaning apparently corresponding with our term
recitative, but on those occasions the elocution was unquestionably mere declamation.
When we thus find Homer singing, or at least inviting his muse to sing, and Antimachus, at the close of the classic period, only reading his verses, it might appear from a hasty view of the subject, that Greek poetry was at first exceedingly musical, and that it grew less and less so as it descended downwards from Homer. It is certain, however, that this was not the fact, and that the age in which poetry and music were most intimately blended was considerably later than the Homeric. Yet, Homer and the Homeridæ, it will be said, were singers by their own declaration, as well as players upon the lyre; and why should they not be called Lyrical poets by as good a right as that subsequent dynasty to whom the appellation is assigned by distinction?
As poets, it will readily occur that the Greek Lyrics marked out a new era, by the novelty and variety of their metres, as well as by the matter and spirit of their compositions. But as composers blending music with poetry, how were they distinguished from their predecessors? To answer this question with perfect precision, would be, in other words, to state the exact difference in the state of music during the heroic and republican ages of Greece-a task which certainly has never been fulfilled by the most competent inquirers. It is certain, however, that there was a difference, which, perhaps, may be thus estimated in very general terms. The lyre was an exceedingly rude instrument in epic times*. The majority of the ancients agree that, until the time of Terpander, it had not more than three or four strings. Music, both vocal and instrumental, was, till his time, traditionary, unfixed, and wholly dependant on memory. Terpander first gave notation, or written marks, to melodyt. Professor Ilgen, in an elaborate disquisition on this subject, has collated several ancient authorities, tending to shew that Terpander was the first who substituted distinct air or song in public recitations of Greek poetry for simple chaunt or recitative, and the occasional touches of the lyre for a full and tuneful performance which made the instrument follow all the inflections of the voice in modulation. It is clear, to be sure, that even in the remotest times the Greeks had melo
The Greek word Aúga, from which our term lyre is derived, is not found in Homer; but the instruments which he calls póguys and kilaga, were certainly as nearly as possible the same with the lyre, only in a ruder state.
Among several passages in Plutarch's Dialogue on Music, in which Terpander is mentioned, the following is the one which points most decidedly at his character as an improver of the art:--“ καὶ γὰρ τὸν Τέρπανδρον ἔφη (ὁ Ἡρακλίδης) κιθαρῳδικῶν ποιητὴν ὄντα νόμων, κατὰ νόμον ἕκαστον τοῖς ἔπεσι τοῖς ἑαυτοῦ καὶ τοῖς ̔Ομήρου μέλη περιτιθέντα, ᾄδειν ἐν τοῖς ἀγῶσιν.
Mons. Burette, who gives a translation of Plutarch's Dialogue on Music in the 10th vol. of the Memoirs of the French Academy of Inscriptions, makes the following commentary on this passage. Translators, he says, have generally misunderstood it." Ils ont pris le terme Nóμot pour des loix ou des règles de composition musicale, et ont traduit sur ce pied- la, faute d'être instruits de la véritable signification de ce mot; et en cet endroit et dans tout ce dialogue, où Nouos n'est autre chose qu'un air ou un cantique. Voici donc ce que veut dire Plutarch: "Terpandre "composoit d'abord des poëmes lyriques d'une certaine mésure propres à être accom"pagnées de la cithare. Ensuite il mettoit ces poësies en musique, de façon que celle-ci "put s'accommoder au jeu de la cithare, qui alors ne rendoit précisament que les mêmes .88 sons chantés par la voix du musicien. Enfin, Terpandre notoit cette musique sur "les vers mêmes des cantiques de sa composition, et quelquefois il en faisoit autant "pour les poësies d'Homère, après quoi il étoit en état de les exécuter lui-même, ou ❝ de les faire exécuter dans les jeux publiques.” Ilgen, Disq. de Scol. Poesi
dies, or airs, which strongly affected themselves. But it is equally clear that their vocal melody must have been very imperfect, and their instrumental still more so. The age of Terpander, at least, possessed no traditional melodies that were thought worthy of the Homeric verses, for he is said to have first clothed them in melody.
Music was therefore obviously incapable, in that ancient period, of lending poetry that peculiar character which music, when established in definite beauty as an art, impresses on poetical composition. But when melody became noted and regulated, when the strings and compass of the lyre were increased, then the union between music and verse rose to reciprocal influence. Every syllable of the poet's numbers had its expression definitely adapted to the melody of the voice and string, and fixed beyond the reach of caprice. The consequence of poets addieting themselves to the composition of verse that should be best adapted for this intimate coalition with music was, that they studied more than their predecessors to give the pith of language, without its superfluities to support emotion more continuously-to strike the fancy with quicker images-to diversify rhythm, and at the same time to heighten its emphasis. These still continue to be the main characteristics of Lyric Poetry.
That the rude music of Greece had previously possessed no influence on its poetry, is certainly not to be imagined; but it was a comparatively feeble influence. If (as the best judges interpret) what Plutarch says of Terpander clearly implies his having been the inventor of musical notation, the rescuing of the art from dependence on vague caprice and memory, was something like giving it a new creation. On the Homeric state of instrumental music, Dr. Burney pronounces a very sweeping judgment.-" Singing, he says, there is in Homer, without instrumental music; but of instrumental music without cocal, there is not a trace to be found in the writings of Homer. Even the dance is never described as performed to the lyre alone, without the accompaniment of the voice." Either some passage of Homer on this subject has escaped me, or Dr. Burney's assertion is too unqualified. In the 18th book of the Iliad*, there is positively dancing to pipes and lyres, without a word about song; and the passage which Dr. B. quotes to prove that dance was struck up to the voice, is a mis-translation of Pope's.. Still I am inclined to believe the fact, that instrumental was never separated from vocal music in the Homeric times, and that the ballet itself was inspired by the singer's voice; for though there are no precise and equivocal proofs, there are symptoms of this in Homer. The musician who inspires the dance, is always called a singer, and song and dancing are for ever closely mentioned together. Many traits in Greek manners tend to confirm the supposition.
Terpander is said to have invented the Scolia, or convivial songs, of the Greeks, and is believed by Plutarch to have been older than even Archilochus, the commonly reputed father of Lyric Poetry+. As an inventor of songs, Terpander appears in the genuine light of a Lyric
* Κοῦροι δ ̓ ὀρχηστῆρες ἐδίνεον, ἐν δ ̓ ἄρα τοῖσιν
† Καὶ τοῖς χρόνοις δὲ σφόδρα παλαιός ἐστι (ὁ Τέρπανδρος). πρεσβύτερον γοῦν αὐτὸν ̓Αρχιλόχου ἀποφαίνει Γλαῦκος ὁ ἐξ Ιταλίας, ἐν συγγράμματί τινι τῷ περὶ τῶν dgxaiwv Ħointŵy kal μovojkŵv. Plutarch. Dial. de Musica.
poet, which is more than can be said of him when regarded only as a musician, setting melody to the strains of Homer.-That he melodized entire rhapsodies of Homer, is much less probable than that he only selected impassioned and striking passages, and prefixed to them those lyrical proems or preludes which he is recorded to have composed. But the new impulse which poetry received from the improvement of music as an art, was not to be limited by the mere composition of melody for Homeric verse. The same progress of social life which improved music, also awoke new emulation in poetry, and pointed out to her a charm and resource of novelty, in substituting the concentrated eloquence of passion for the diffuse simplicity of the Epic style. The improvers of music, who wished to unite it with poetry, would soon find, that enthusiasm is the bond of union between the two arts, and that language is susceptible of musical expression, in proportion as it is the language of sustained emotion. The Muse of the Lyric age, therefore, quitted protracted legends and descriptions for the pure utterance of passions that came home to men's bosoms and business. Epic poetry has too large a compass to fulfil to be for ever impetuous and fervid in its course. It excites and gratifios a deliberate and circumstantial curiosity, and though it lifts up the passions at times, it relieves them with agreeable intervals of repose. But, continuous and supported excitement of feeling, whether grave or gay, is the characteristic of Lyric verse; and, accordingly, Poetry of this elastic nature sprang up abundantly in Greece in the age that thrilled with the first spell of complete melody. Poetry and music, at this epoch, mutually aided the progress of each other.-Music excited poetic enthusiasm, and the enthusiasm of the poet sought to vent itself in variety of versification. This variety of metre re-acted upon music, and enriched it. In the modern state of the art, it is true that music is, to a great degree, independent of the measure which it accompanies. But rhythm, as Burney (and Tartini before him) remarked, rigorously governed melody in the music of ancient Greece; so that new metres must have generated new airs. When we are told, therefore, that Archilochus first shewed the example of accompanying transitions from one rhythm to another with the music of the lyre, we may regard him, even if his date was later than Terpander's, as eminently sharing in the honour of lyrical invention.
The cultivation of Elegiac poetry commenced early in the Lyric period of Greece. Indeed, if it were not easier to offer conjectures than to settle dates, I should surmise that the earliest elegies probably preceded the earliest Greek lyrical poems. This idea, it is true, presupposes Callinus to have been earlier than either Terpander or Archilochus, and the date of all those three poets is still a debateable point in chronology. But in formerly mentioning Callinus, I had occasion to notice some grounds for supposing that he lived as early as the first Olympiads, and this would make him anterior to any of the dates assigned to Terpander, either by Athenæus or Eusebius, or the Oxford Marbles. If Callinus was so early a writer, the fragment of his War elegy must be held to exhibit a specimen of Greek poetry in its intermediate state between the Homerida and the Lyric poets. In these pentameters we see the first deviation that was made from the old Homeric metre-a change, it is true, not productive of livelier harmony, but still suggesting a hint for farther experiments in versifica
tion. Moreover, though the composition of the martial elegy did not at once lead the Greek Muse into the region of pure fancy and passion, it accustomed her to embody strong feelings in concise expression; it lopped the redundancy of epic diction, and prepared the Greek language for its forthcoming honours of lyric poetry.
Excepting Callinus, however, all the elegiac poets come unequivocally within the lyric period. The elegy was strictly a musical poem, and was sung to instrumental accompaniment. This will not seem so much at variance with our notions, as the fact of statutes and morals having been musically promulgated; for we attach to the term elegy the idea of profound, though not of impetuous feeling. It is therefore naturally congenial with music, and approaches, though it does not reach, the character of lyric poetry. To inquire whether the Greek elegy was sung to the lyre, or to any other instrument, and to determine from thence whether we should etymologically call it a lyric poem or not, would be to classify compositions not by nature, but by accident. The affinity between Elegiac and Lyric poetry lies in their being both the distinct effusions of the heart, more peculiarly couched than other poetry in the emphatic and harmonious language of supported sensibility. Their difference consists in elegiac sentiment being equable and deliberate, and in lyric feeling being lively, elate, and impassioned, and, from the alliance of fancy with enthusiasm, various and versatile in its range of associations.
The Elegy, therefore, marches to slow measure, and is not distinguished by rapidity of fancy. Whilst the Lyric poem may vary from rapid to slow movement, and is privileged to use either the tersest regularity, or the boldest variety of rhythm. It is the dream of genius in its most entranced and imaginative mood. There is this in common between the Greek ode and elegy, that both of them at times are solemn. Yet nothing can be well imagined more different than the simple and plain gravity of Tyrtæus, and the high-rapt and visionary solemnity of the Tragic Choral Odes.
The term Elegy is applied to Greek poems of sterner stuff than we should call Elegiac, with the soft and tender associations which we attach to the term. The so called Elegies of Tyrtæus and Callinus are purely martial. Mimnermus is the first elegiast whose style can be called plaintive. His fragments breathe the regrets of an eloquent though sensual genius for departed enjoyments. The elegies of Solon and Theognis lean to the Gnomic class of poetry, rather than to that of sensibility. Simonides wrote poems of this kind: and from the universal testimony of the ancients to his powers of pathos, we may believe them to have been excellent. But the choicest of his fragments is not elegiac. And time has revelled on the noble image of Simonides, so as to leave us but few lines of his symmetry, by which we can compute what it must have been. I submit a translation of one of the elegies of Tyrtæus, though I am conscious how faintly it represents the fine spirit of the original. It is the elegy generally placed first in the publication of his fragments; beginning—
Τεθνάμεναι γὰρ καλὸν ἐπι προμάχοισι πεσόντα.
How glorious fall the valiant, sword in hand,
But oh! what ills await the wretch, that yields