Instabile est regnum quod non dementia firmat. Incidis in Scyllam, cupiens vitare Charybdim.
HERE are two famous verses, both often quoted, and one a commonplace of literature. That they have passed into proverbs attests their merit both in substance and in form. Something more than truth is needed for a proverb. And so also something more than form is needed. Both must concur. The truth must be expressed in such a form as to satisfy the requirements of art.
Most persons whose attention has not been turned especially to such things, if asked where these verses are to be found, would say at once that it was in one of the familiar poets of school-boy days. Both have a sound as of something that has been heard in childhood. The latter is very Virgilian in its tone and movement. More than once I have heard it insisted that it was by Virgil. But nobody has been able to find it there, although the opposite dangers are well represented in the voyage of Æneas : 1 —
Thinking of the historical proverb, I am reminded ot the eminent character who first showed it to me in the heroic poem where it appears. I refer to the late Dr. Maltby, Bishop of Durham, who had been a favorite pupil of Dr. Parr, and was unquestionably one of the best scholars in England. His amenity was equal to his scholarship. I was his guest at Auckland Castle early in the autumn of 1838. Conversation turned much upon books and the curiosities of study. One morning after breakfast the learned Bishop came to me with a small volume in his hand, printed in the Italian character, and remarking, “You seem to be interested in such things,” he pointed to this much-quoted verse. It was in a Latin poem called “Alexandreïs, sive Gesta Alexandri Magni," by Philippus Gualterus, a mediæval poet of France.
Of course the fable of Scylla and Charybdis is ancient; but this verse cannot be traced to antiquity. For the fable Homer is our highest authority, and he represents the Sirens as playing their part to tempt the victim.
These opposite terrors belong to mythology and to geography. Mythologically, they were two voracious monsters, dwelling opposite to each other, — Charybdis on the coast of Sicily, and Scylla on the coast of Italy. Geographically, they were dangers to the navigator in the narrow strait between Sicily and Italy. Charybdis was a whirlpool, in which ships were often sucked to destruction ; Scylla was a rock, on which ships were often dashed to pieces.
Ulysses in his wanderings encountered these terrors, but by prudence and the counsels of Circe he was enabled to steer clear between them, although the Sirens strove to lure him on to the rock. The story is too long; but there are passages which are like pictures, and they have been illustrated by the genius of Flaxman. The first danger on the Sicilian side is thus described in the Odyssey: 2 —
'Midst roaring whirlpools, and absorbs the main ;
Thrice in her gulfs the boiling seas subside,
Thrice in dire thunders she refunds the tide.
Ah, shun the horrid gulf! by Scylla fly !
’T is better six to lose than all to die,”
But endeavoring to shun this peril, the navigator encounters the other : —
“ Here Scylla bellows from her dire abodes.
Tremendous pest, abhorred by men and gods !
Six horrid necks she rears, and six terrific heads ;
Her jaws grin dreadful with three rows of teeth ;
Jaggy they stand, the gaping den of death ;
Her parts obscene the raging billows hide ;
Her bosom terribly o’erlooks the tide.”
Near by were the Sirens, who strove by their music to draw the navigator to certain doom : —
Unblest the man whom music wins to stay
Nigh the cursed shore and listen to the lay :
No more the wretch shall view the joys of life,
His blooming offspring, or his beauteous wife ! ”
Forewarned is forearmed. Ulysses took all precautions against the opposite perils. Avoiding the Sicilian whirlpool, he did not run upon the Italian rock or yield to the voice of the charmer. And yet he could not renounce the opportunity of hearing the melody. Stuffing the ears of his companions with wax, so that they could not be entranced by the Sirens, or comprehend any countermanding order which his weakness might induce him to utter, he caused himself to be tied to the mast, — like another Farragut, — and directed that the ship should be steered straight on. It was steered straight on, although he cried out to stop. His deafened companions heard nothing of the song or the countermand, —
The dangers of both coasts were at length passed, not without the loss of six men, “ chiefs of renown,” who became the prey of Scylla. But the Sirens, humbled by defeat, dashed themselves upon the rocks and disappeared forever.
There are few stories which have been more popular. It was natural that it should enter into poetry and become a proverb. Milton more than once alludes to it. Thus, in the exquisite “ Comus,” he shows these opposite errors subdued by another power : —
And chid her barking waves into attention,
And fell Charybdis murmured soft applause.”
In the “Paradise Lost,” while portraying Sin. the terrible portress at the gates of Hell, the poet repairs to this story for illustration:3—-
Vexed Seylla, bathing in the sea that parts
Calabria from the hoarse Trinacrian shore.”
And then again, when picturing Satan escaping from pursuit, he shows him 4
Through Bosphorus betwixt the justling rocks,
Or when Ulysses on the larboard shunned
Charybdis and by the other whirlpool steered.”
Though thus frequently employing the story, Milton did not use the proverb.
Not only the story, but the proverb, was known to Shakspeare, who makes Launcelot use it in his plain talk with Jessica :5— “ Truly, then, I fear you are damned both by father and mother ; thus, when I shun Scylla, your father, I fall into Charybdis, your mother : well, you are gone both ways.” Malone, in his note to this passage, written in the last century, says, — “Alluding to the well-known line of a modern Latin poet, Philippe Gaultier, in his poem entitled ‘ Alexandraïs.’ ” To this note of Malone’s, another editor, George Steevens, whose early bibliographical tastes inspired the praise of Dibdin, adds as follows : — “ Shakspeare might have met with a translation of this line in many places ; among others in a Dialogue between Custom and Veretie, concerning the use and abuse of Dancing and Minstrelsie : —
In CharibJ they do fall.’ ”
But this proverb had already passed into tradition and speech. That Shakspeare should absorb and use it was natural. He was the universal absorbent.
The history of this verse seemed for a while to be forgotten. Like the Wandering Jew, it was a vagrant, unknown in origin, but having perpetual life. Frasmus, whose learning was so vast, quotes the verse in his great work on Proverbs, and owns that he does not know the author of it. Here is this confession: — “ Celebratur apud Latinos hic versiculus, quocunque natus auctore, nam in presentia non occurrit."6 It seems from these words that this profound scholar regarded the verse as belonging to antiquity: at least I so interpret the remark, that it was “celebrated among the Latins.” But though ignorant of its origin, it is clear that the idea which it embodies found much favor with this representative of moderation. He dwells on it with particular sympathy, and reproduces it in various forms. Here is the equivalent on which he hangs his commentary : Evitata Charybdi, in Scyllam incidi. It is easy to see how inferior in form this is to the much-quoted verse. It seems to be a literal translation of some Greek iambics, also of uncertain origin, although attributed to Apostolius, one of the learned Greeks scattered over Europe by the fall of Constantinople. There is also something like it in the Greek of Lucian.7 Erasmus quotes words of kindred sentiment from the “ Phormio ” of Terence : Ita fugias ne prater casam, which he tells us means that we should not so fly from any vice as to be carried into a greater. 8 He quotes also another proverb with the same signification : Fumum fugiens, in ignem incidi, which warns against running into the fire to avoid the smoke. In his letters the ancient fable recurs more than once. On one occasion he warns against the dangers of youth, and says that the ears must be stopped, not, as in the Homeric story, by wax, but “by the precepts of philosophy.”9 In another letter he avows a fear lest in shunning Scylla he may fall on Charybdis :—“Nunc vereor ne sic vitemus hanc Scyllam, ut incidamus in Charybdim multo perniciosiorem."10 Thus did his instinctive prudence find expression in this familiar illustration.
If Erasmus had been less illustrious for learning, — perhaps if his countenance were less interesting, as we now look upon it in the immortal portraits by two great artists, Hans Holbein and Albert Dürer,— I should not be tempted to dwell on this confession of ignorance. And yet it belongs to the history of this verse, which has had strange ups and downs in the world. The poem from which it is taken, after enjoying an early renown, was forgotten,— and then again, after a revival, was forgotten, again to enjoy another revival. The last time it was revived through this solitary verse, without which, I cannot doubt, it would have been extinguished in night.
Even before the days of Erasmus, who died in 1536, this verse had been lost and found. It was circulated as a proverb of unknown origin, when Galeotto Marzio, an Italian, of infinite wit and learning,11 who flourished in the latter half of the fifteenth century, and was for some time the instructor of the children of Matthias Corvinus, King of Hungary, pointed out its author. In a work of Ana, amusing and instructive, entitled “ De Doctrina Promiscua,” which first saw the light in Latin, and was afterwards translated into Italian, the learned author says, — “ Hoc carmen est Gualteri Galli de Gestis Alexandri, et non vagum proverbium, ut quidam non omnino indocti meminerint.” It was not a vague proverb, as some persons not entirely unlearned have supposed, but a verse of the “Alexandreïs.” And yet shortly afterwards the great master of proverbs, whose learning seemed to know no bounds, could not fix its origin. At a later day, Pasquier, in his “Recherches de la France,” 12 made substantially the same remark as Marzio. Alter alluding to the early fame of its author, he says, — “ C’est lui dans les oeuvres duquel nous trouvons un vers, souvent par nous allegué sans que plusieurs sachent qui en fut l'auteur.” In quoting this verse the French author uses Decidis instead of Incidis. The discovery by Marzio, and the repetition of this discovery by Pasquier, are chronicled at a later day in the Conversations of Ménage, who found a French Boswell before the Boswell of Dr. Johnson was born. 13 Jortin, in the elaborate notes to his Life of Erasmus, borrows from Ménage, and gives the same history. 14
When Galeotto Marzio made his discovery, this poem was still in manuscript ; but there were several editions before the “ Adagia ” of Erasmus. An eminent authority — the “ Histoire Littéraire de la France,” 15 that great work, commenced by the Benedictines, and continued by the French Academy — says that it was printed for the first time at Strasburg, in 1513. This is a mistake, which has been repeated by Warton. † Brunet, in his “ Manuel de Libraire, ” mentions an edition, without place or date, with the cipher of Guillaume Le Talleur, who was a printer at Rouen, in 1487. Panzer, in his “ Annales Typographici, ” 16 describes another edition, with the monogram of Richard Pynson, the London printer, at the close of the fifteenth century. Beloe, in his “Anecdotes of Literature, ” 17 also speaks of an edition with the imprint of R. Pynson. There appears to have been also an edition under date of 1496. Then came the Strasburg edition of 1513, by J. Adelphus. All these are in black letter. Then came the Ingolstadt edition, in 1541, in Italic, or, as it is called by the French, “ cursive characters,” with a brief life of the poet, by Sebastian Link. This was followed, in 1558, by an edition at Lyons, also in Italic, announced as now for the first time appearing in France, nunc primum in Gallia, which was a mistake. This edition seems to have enjoyed peculiar favor. It has been strangely confounded with imaginary editions which have never existed : thus, the Italian Quadrio assures us that the best was at London, in 1558;ǁ and the French Millin assures us that the best was at Leyden, in 1558.¶ No such editions appeared ; and the only edition of that year was at Lyons. After the lapse of a century, in 1659, there was another edition, by Athanasius Gugger, a monk of the Monastery of St. Gall, in France, published at the Monastery itself, according to manuscripts there, and irom its own types, formis ejusdem. The editor was ignorant of the previous editions, and in his preface announces the poem as a new work, although ancient ; according to his knowledge, never before printed ; impatiently regarded and desired by many ; and not less venerable for antiquity than for erudition: — “ En tibi, candide lector, opus novum, ut sic antiquum, nusquam quod sciam editum, a multis cupide inspectum et desideratum, non minus antiquitate quam eruditione venerabile."
This edition seems to have been repeated at St. Gall in 1693 ; and these two, which were the last, appear to have been the best. From that time this poem rested undisturbed until our own day, when an edition was published at Hanover, in Germany, by W. Muldener, after the Paris manuscripts, with the following title : —“Die zehn Gedichte des Walther von Lille, genannt von Châtillon. Nach der pariser Handschrift berichtigt, und zum ersten Male vollstãndig herausgegeben von W. Müldener. Hanover, 1859, 8vo. Such an edition ought to be useful in determining the text, for there must be numerous manuscripts in the Paris libraries. As long ago as 1795 there were no less than nineteen in the National Library, and also a manuscript at Tours, which had drawn forth a curious commentary by M. de Forcemagne.18
I ought not to forget here that in 1537 a passage from this poem was rendered into English blank verse, and is an early monument of our language. This was by Grimoald Nicholas, a native of Huntingdonshire, whose translation is entitled “ The Death of Zoroas, an Egyptian Astronomer, in the First Fight that Alexander had with the Persians. "19 This is not the only token of the attention it had awakened in England. Alexander Ross, the Scotch divine and author, made preparations for an edition. His dedicatory letter was written, bearing date 1644; also two different sets of dedicatory verses, and verses from his friend David Eclin, the scholarly physician to the king,20 who had given him this “great treasure.” But the work failed to appear. The identical copy presented by Eclin, with many marginal notes from Quintus Curtius and others, is mentioned as belonging to the Bishop of Ely at the beginning of the present century. 21 But the homage of the Scotchman still exists in his dedicatory letter : — “ Si materiam considers, elegantissimam utilissimamque historiam gestorum Alexandri magni continet ; certe sive stylum, sive subjectum inspicias, dignam invenies quæ omnium teratur manibus, quamque adolescentes nocturna versentque manu, versentque diurna.” 22 It will be observed that he does not hesitate to dwell on this poem as “ most elegant and most useful,” and by its style and subject worthy of the daily and nightly study of youth. In his verses Ross announces that Alexander was not less fortunate in his poet than the Greek chieftain in Homer : —
Felix nonne tuo est carmine dux Macedo?”
There was also another edition planned in France, during the latter part of the last century, by M. Daire. the librarian of the Celestines in Paris, founded on the Latin text, according to the various manuscripts, with a French translation; but this never appeared. 23
Until the late appearance of an edition in Germany, it was only in editions shortly after the invention of printing that this poem could be found. Of course these are rare. The British Museum, in its immense treasurehouse, has the most important, one of which belonged to the invaluable legacy of the late Mr. Grenville. The copy in the library of Lord Spencer is the Lyons edition of 1558. By a singular fortune, this volume was missing some time ago from its place on the
shelves; but it has since been found; and I have now before me a tracing from its title-page. My own copy — and perhaps the only one this side of the Atlantic— is the Ingolstadt edition. It once belonged to John Mitford, and has on the fly-leaves some notes in the autograph of this honored lover of books.
Bibliography dwells with delight upon this poem, although latterly the interest centres in a single line. Brunet does full justice to it. So docs his jealous rival, Graesse, except where he blunders. Watt, in his “Bibliotheca Britannica,” mentions only the Lyons edition of 1558, on which he remarks, that “the typography is very singular.” Clarke, in his “ Repertorium Bibliographicum,” bearing date 1819, where he gives an account of the most celebrated British libraries, mentions a copy of the first edition in the library of Mr. Steevens, who showed his knowledge of the poem in his notes to Shakspeare ; 24 also a copy of the Lyons edition of 1558 in the library of the Marquis of Blandford, afterwards Duke of Marlborough. This learned bibliographer has a note calling attention to the fact that “there are variations in the famous disputed line in different editions of this poem”: that in the first edition the line begins Corruis in Scyllam, but in the Lyons edition, Incidis in Scyllam ; while, as we have already seen, Pasquier says, Decidis in Scyllam. Bohn, in his “ Bibliographer’s Manual,” after referring in general terms to the editions, says of the poem, “ In it will be found that trite verse so often repeated, Incidis, &c.,” — words which he seems to have borrowed from Beloe.25 “Trite ” seems to be hardly respectful.26
Very little is known of the author. He is called in Latin Philippus Gualterus or Galterus ; in French it is sometimes Gaultier and sometimes Gautier. The French biographical dictionaries, whether of Michaud or of Diclot, attest the number of persons who bore this name, of all degrees and professions. There was the Norman knight sans Avoir, who was one of the chiefs of the first Crusade. There also was another Gautier, known as the Sire d’Yvetot, stabbed to death by his sovereign, Clotaire, who afterwards in penitence erected the lordship of Yvetot into that kingdom which Béranger has immortalized. And there have been others of this name in every walk of life. Fabricius, in his “ Bibliotheca Latina Mediæ et Infimæ Ætatis,” 27 mentions no less than seventy-six Latin authors of this name. A single verse has saved one of these from the oblivion which has overtaken the multitude.
He was born at Lille, but at what precise date is uncertain. Speaking generally, it may be said that he lived and wrote during the last half of the twelfth century, while Philip Augustus was King of France, and Henry II. and Richard Cœur-de-Lion ruled England, one century after Abélard, and one century before Dante. After studying at Paris, he went to establish himself at Chatillon ; but it is not known at which of the three or four towns of this name in France. Here he was charged with the direction of schools, and became known by the name of this town, as appears in the epitaph, somewhat ambitiously Virgilian, which he wrote for himself: —
Perstrepuit modulis Gallia tola meis."
But he is known sometimes by his birthplace, and sometimes by his early residence. The highest French authority calls him Gaultier of Lille or of Châtillon. 28 He has been sometimes confounded with Gaultier of Coutances, Archbishop of Rouen, who was born in the island of Jersey ;29 and sometimes with the Bishop of Maguelonne of the same name, who was the author of an Exposition of the Psalter, and whose see was on an island in the Mediterranean, opposite the coast of France.30
Not content with his residence at Chatillon, he repaired to Bologna in Italy, where he studied the civil and canon law. On his return to France he became the secretary of two successive Archbishops of Rheims, the latter of whom, by the name of William, — a descendant by his grandmother from William the Conqueror, — occupied this place of power from 1176 to 1201. The secretary enjoyed the favor of the Archbishop, who seems to have been fond of letters. It was during this period that he composed, or at least finished, his poem. Its date is sometimes placed at 1180 ; and there is an allusion in its text which makes it near this time. Thomas à Becket was assassinated before the altar of Canterbury in 1170; and this event, so important in the history of the age, is mentioned as recent: “ Nuper — cœsum dolet Anglia Thomam." The poem was dedicated to the Archbishop, who was to live immortal in companionship with his secretary : 31 —
Gloria Guillermi nullum moritura per ævum.”
The Archbishop was not ungrateful, and he bestowed upon the poet a stall in the cathedral of Amiens, where he died of the plague at the commencement of the thirteenth century.32
This does not appear to have been his only work. Others are attributed to him. There are dialogues adversus Judœos, which Oudin publishes in his collection entitled "Veterum aliquot Galliæ et Belgii Scriptorum Opuscula Sacra nunquam edita." This same Oudin, in another publication, speaks of a collection, entitled “ Opuscula Varia,” preserved among the manuscripts in the Imperial Library of France, as by Gaultier, although the larger part of these Opuscula have been attributed to a very different person, Gaultier Mapes, chaplain to Henry II., King of England, and Archdeacon of Oxford.33 But more recent researches seem to restore them to Philip Gaultier. Among these are satirical songs in Latin on the world, and also on prelates, which, it is said, were sung in England as well as throughout France. Indeed, the second verse of the epitaph already quoted seems to point to these satires : —
In these pieces, as in the "Alexandreïs," we encounter the indignant sentiments inspired by the assassination of Becket. The victim is called “ the flower of priests,” and the king, Neronior est ipso Nerone.34 But these poems, whether by Walter Mapes or by Philip Gaultier, are now forgotten. The “Alexandreïs ” has had a different fortune.
The poem became at once famous. It had the success of Victor Hugo or Byron. Its author took rank, not only at the head of his contemporaries, but even among the classics of antiquity. Leyser chronicles no less than one hundred Latin poets in the twelfth century, 35 but we are assured that not one of them is comparable to Gaultier. 36 M. Édélestand du Méril, who has given especial attention to this period, speaks of the “Alexandreïs” as “a great poem,” and remarks that its “ Latinity is very elegant for the time.”37 Another authority calls him “the first of the modern Latin poets who appears to have had a spark of true poetic genius."38 And still another says, that. “ notwithstanding all its defects, we must regard this poem, and the ‘ Philippis ’ of William of Brittany, which appeared about sixty years later, as two brilliant phenomena in the midst of the thick darkness which covered Europe from the decline of the Roman Empire to the revival of letters in Italy.”39 Pasquier, to whom I have already referred, goes so far, in his chapter on the University of Paris, as to illustrate its founder, Peter Lombard, by saying that he had for a contemporary “one Galterus, an eminent poet, who wrote in Latin verses, under the title of the ‘ Alexandreïs,’ a great imitator of Lucan”; and the learned writer then adds, that it is in his work that we find a verse often quoted without knowing the author. 40 These testimonies show his position among his contemporaries ; but there is something more.
An anonymous Latin poet of the next century, who has left a poem on the life and miracles of Saint Oswald, calls Homer, Gaultier, and Lucan the three capital heroic poets. Homer, he says, has celebrated Hercules, Gaultier the son of Philip, and Lucan has sung the praises of Cæsar ; but these heroes deserve to be immortalized in verse much less than the holy confessor Oswald. 41 In England, the Abbot of Peterborough transcribed Seneca, Terence, Martial, Claudian, and the “ Gesta Alexandri.” 42 In Denmark, Arnas Magnaeus made a version in Icelandic of the “ Alexandreis Gualteriana,” which has been called “ Incomparabile rnttiquitatis septentrional is monumentum.”43 It appears that the new poem was studied, even to the exclusion of ancient masters and of Virgil himself. Henry of Ghent, who wrote about 1280, says that it “was of such dignity in the schools, that for it the reading of the ancient poets was neglected.” 44" This testimony is curiously confirmed by the condition of the manuscripts which have come clown to us, most of which are loaded with glosses and interlinear explanations, doubtless for public use in the schools.45 It is sometimes supposed that Dante repaired to Paris. It is certain that his excellent master, Brunetto Latini, passed much time there. This must have been at the very period when the new poem was taught in the schools. Perhaps it may be traced in the “ Divina Commedia.”
Next after the tale of Troy, the career of Alexander was at this period the most popular subject for poetry, romance, or chronicle. The Grecian conqueror filled a vast space in the imagination. He was the centre of marvel and of history. Every modern literature, according to its development, testifies to this predominance. Even dialects testify. In France, the professors of grammar at Toulouse were directed by statutes of the University, dated 1328, to read to their pupils “ De Historiis Alexandre” 46 In England, during the reign of Henry I., the sheriff was ordered to procure the Queen’s chamber at Nottingham to be painted with the History of Alexander, — “ Depingi facias Historiam Alexandri undiquaque47 Chaucer, in his “ House of Fame,” places Alexander with Hercules, and then again shows the universality of his renown : —
That everle wight that hath discrecioune
Hath herde somewhat or al of his fortune.”
We have the excellent authority of the poet Gray for saying that the Alexandrine verse, which “ like a wounded snake drags its slow length along,” took its name from an early poem in this measure, called “ La Vie d’Alexandre.” There was also the “ Roman d’Alexandre,” contemporary with the “Alexandreïs,” which Gray thinks was borrowed from the latter poem, apparently because the authors say that they took it from the Latin. 48 There was also “The Life and Actions of Alexander the Macedonian,” originally written in Greek, by Simeon Seth, magister and protovestiary or wardrobe - keeper of the palace at Constantinople in 1070, and translated from Greek into Latin, and then into French, Italian, and German.49 Arabia also contributed her stories, and the Grecian conqueror became a hero of romance. Like Charlemagne, he had his twelve peers ; and he also had a horn, through which he gave the word of command, which took sixty men to blow it, and was heard sixty miles, — being the same horn which afterwards Orlando sounded at Roncesvalles. That great career which was one of the epochs of mankind, — which carried in its victorious march the Greek language and Greek civilization, — which at the time enlarged the geography of the world, and opened the way to India,— was overlaid by an incongruous mass of fable and anachronism, so that the real story was lost. Times, titles, and places were confounded. Monks and convents, churches and confessors, were mixed with the achievements of the hero ; and in an early Spanish History of Alexander, by John Lorenzo, we meet such characters as Don Phœbus, the Emperor Jupiter, and the Count Don Demosthenes ; and we are assured that the mother of Alexander fled to a convent of Benedictine nuns.
Philip Gaultier, with all his genius, has his Incongruities and anachronisms ; but his poem is founded substantially upon the History of Quintus Curtins, which he has done into Latin hexameters, with the addition of long speeches and some few inventions. Aristotle is represented with a hideous exterior, face and body lean, hair neglected, and the air of a pedant exhausted by study. The soldiers of Alexander are called Quirites, as if they were Romans. The month of June in Greece is described as if it were in Rome : —
Events connected with the passion of Jesus Christ are treated as having already passed in the time of Alexander.
The poem is divided into ten books,50 and the ten initial letters of these books, when put together like an acrostic, spell the name of the Archbishop, Guillermus, the equivalent for William at that time, who was the patron of the poet. Besides this conceit, there is a dedication both at the beginning and at the end. Quantity, especially in Greek or Asiatic words, is disregarded ; and there are affectations in style, of which the very beginning is an instance : —
In the same vein is the verse, —
and another verse, describing the violence of the soldiers after victory: —
A rapid analysis of the poem will at least exhibit the order of the events it narrates, and its topics, with something of its character.
Alexander appears, in the first book, a youth panting for combat with the Persians, enemies of his country and of his father. There also is his teacher, Aristotle. Philip dies, and the son repairs to Corinth to be crowned. Under the counsels of Demosthenes, the Athenians declare against him. The young King arrives under the walls of Athens. Demosthenes speaks for war ; Æschines for peace. The party of peace prevails ; and the Macedonian turns to Thebes, which he besieges and captures by assault. The poet Cloades, approaching the conqueror, chants in lyric verses an appeal for pardon, and reminds him that without clemency a kingdom is unstable : —
And the words of this chant are still resounding. But Alexander, angry and inexorable, refuses to relent. He levels the towers which had first risen to the music of Amphion, and delivers the city to the flames : thus adding a new act to that tragic history which made Dante select Thebes as the syuonyme of misfortune.51 Turning from these smoking ruins, he gathers men and ships for his expedition against Persia. Traversing the sea, he lands in Asia ; and here the poet describes geographically the different states of this continent,— Assyria, Media, Persia, Arabia, with its Sabæan frankincense and its single Phœnix, ending with Palestine and Jerusalem, where a God was born of a Virgin, at whose death the world shook with fear. Commencing his march through Cilicia and Phrygia, the ambitious youth stops at Troy, and visits the tomb of Achilles, where he makes a long speech.
The second book opens with the impression produced on the mind of Darius, menaced by his Macedonian enemy. He writes an insolent letter, which Alexander answers simply by advancing. At Sardes he cuts the Gordian knot, and then advances rapidly. Darius quits the Euphrates with his vast army, which is described. Alexander bathes in the cold waters of the Cydnus, is seized with illness, and shows his generous trust in the physician that attended him,—drinking the cup handed him, although it was said to be poisoned. Restored to health, he shows himself to his troops, who are transported with joy. Meanwhile the Persians advance. Darius harangues his soldiers. Alexander harangues his. The two armies prepare for battle.
The third book is of battle and victory at Issus, described with minuteness and warmth. Here is the death of Zoroas, the Egyptian astronomer, than whom nobody was more skilled in the stars, the origin of winter’s cold or summer's heat, or in the mystery of squaring the circle,—circulus an possit quadrati.52 The Persians are overcome. Darius seeks shelter in Babylon. His treasures are the prey of the conqueror. Horses are laden with spoils, and the sacks are so full that they cannot be tied. Rich ornaments are torn from the women, who are surrendered to the brutality of the soldiers. The royal family alone is spared. Conducted to the presence of Alexander, they are received with the regard due to their sex and misfortune. The siege and destruction of Tyre follow; then the expedition to Egypt and the temple of Jupiter Ammon. Here is a description of the desert, which is said, like the sea, to have its perils, with its Scylla and its Charybdis of sand : —
Scylla mari latrat; hic pulverulenta Charybdis." *
Meanwhile Darius assembles new forces. Alexander leaves Egypt and rushes to meet him. There is an eclipse of the moon, which causes a sedition among his soldiers, who dare to accuse their king. The phenomenon is explained by the soothsayers, and the sedition is appeased.
The fourth book opens with a funeral. It is of the queen of the Persian monarch. Alexander laments her with tears. Darius learns at the same time her death and the generosity of his enemy. He addresses prayers to the gods for the latter, and offers propositions of peace. Alexander refuses these, and proceeds to render funeral honors to the queen of the king he was about to meet in battle. Then comes an invention of the poet, which may have suggested afterwards to Dante that most beautiful passage of the “ Purgatorio,” where great scenes are sculptured on the walls. At the summit of a mountain a tomb is constructed by the skilful Hebrew Apelles, to receive the remains of the Persian queen ; and on this tomb are carved, not only kings and names of Greek renown, but histories from the beginning of the world : —
Sed generis notat historias, ab origins mundi
Here in breathing gold is the creation in six days ; the fall of man, seduced by
* There is a contemporary poem in leonine verses on the death of Thomas Becket, with the same allusion to opposite dangers : —
Flatibus et fluctibus transitis tranquille,
Tutum portus impulit in latratus Scyllæ.”
Du Me.'ih Pcijics Pojttlaircs I-atiut's, p. 82.
the serpent; Cain a wanderer ; the increase of the human race ; vice prevailing over virtue ; the deluge ; the intoxication of Noah ; the story of Esau, of Jacob, of Joseph ; the plagues of Egypt,—
“ Hic dolet Ægyptus denis percussa flagellis";
the flight of the Israelites, —-
“ et puro livcscit pontus in auro ” ;
the manna in the wilderness ; the giving of the law ; the gushing of water from the rock; and then the succession of Hebrew history, stretching through a hundred verses, to the reign of Esdras, —
“ Totaque picturæ series finitur in Esdra."
After these great obsequies Alexander marches at once against Darius. And here the poet dwells on the scene presented by the Persian army watching by its camp-fires. Helmets rival the stars ; the firmament is surprised to see fires like its own reflected from bucklers, and fears lest the earth be changed into sky and the night become day. Instead of the sun, there is the helmet of Darius, which shines like Phœbus himself, and at its top a stone of flame, obscuring the stars and yielding only to the rays of the sun : for, as much as it yields to the latter, so much does it prevail over the former. The youthful chieftain, under the protection of a benignant divinity, passes the night in profound repose. His army is all marshalled for the day, and he still sleeps. He is waked, gives the order for battle, and harangues his men. The victory of Arbela is at hand.
The fifth book is occupied by a description of this battle. Here are episodes in imitation of the ancients, with repetitions or parodies of Virgil. The poet apostrophizes the unhappy, defeated Darius, as he is about to flee, saying,— “ Whither do you go, O King, about to perish in useless flight ? You do not know, alas ! lost one, you do not know from whom you flee. While you flee from one enemy, you run upon other enemies. Desiring to escape Charybdis, you run upon Scylia.”
Rex, periture, fuga ? Nescis, heu ! perdite, nescis
Incidis in Scyllam, cupiens vitare Charrybdim,"53
The Persian monarch finds safety at last in Media, and Alexander enters Babylon in triumph, surpassing all other triumphs, even those of ancient Rome: and this is merited,—so sings the poet, — for his exploits are above those of the most celebrated warriors, whether sung by Lucan in his magnificent style, or by Claudian in his pompous verses. The poet closes this book by referring to the condition of Christianity in his own age, and exclaiming, that, if God, touched by the groans and the longings of his people, would accord to the French such a king, the true faith would soon shine throughout the universe.
The sixth book exhibits the luxury of Alexander at Babylon, the capture of Susa, the pillage of Persepolis. Here the poet forgets the recorded excesses of his hero with Thaïs by his side, and the final orgy when the celebrated city was given to the flames at the bidding of a courtesan ; but he dwells on an incident of his own invention, which is calculated to excite emotions of honor rather than of condemnation. Alexander meets three thousand Greek prisoners, wretchedly humiliated by the Persians, and delivers them. He leaves to them the choice of returning to Greece, or of fixing themselves in the country there on lands which he promises to distribute. Some propose to return. Others insist, that, in their hideous condition, they cannot return to the eyes of their families and friends, when an orator declares that it is always pleasant to see again one’s country, that there is nothing shameful in the condition caused by a barbarous enemy, and that it is unjust to those who love them to think that they will not be glad to see them. A few follow the orator ; but the larger part remain behind, and receive from their liberator the land which he had promised, also money, flocks, and all that was necessary for a farmer.
The seventh book exhibits the treason of Bessus substantially as in Quintus Curtius. Darius, with chains of gold on his feet, is carried in a covered carriage to be delivered up. Alexander, who was still in pursuit of his enemy, is horror-struck by the crime. He moves with more rapidity to deliver or to avenge the Persian monarch than he had ever moved to his defeat. He is aroused against the criminals, like Jupiter pursuing the giants with his thunder. Darius is found in his carriage covered with wounds and bathed in his blood. With the little breath that remains, and while yet struggling on the last confines of life, he makes a long speech, which the poet follows with bitter ejaculations ot his own against his own age, beginning with venal Simon and his followers, and ending with the assassins of Thomas à Becket : —
Jam vetus ille Simon, non incentiva malorum.
Pollueret sacras funesta pecunia stedus."
Thus here again the poet precedes Dante, whose terrible condemnation ui Simon has a kindred bitterness : —
Che le cose di Dio, che di bontnte
Denno essere spose, voi rapaci
Per ora c per argento adulterate."
These ejaculations are closed by an address to the manes of Darius, and a promise to immortalize him in the verse of the poet. The grief of Alexander for the Persian queen is now renewed for the sovereign. The Hebrew Apelles is charged to erect in his honor a lofty pyramid in white marble, with sculptures in gold. Four columns of silver, with base and capitals of gold, support with admirable art a concave vault where are represented the three continents of the terrestrial globe, with their rivers, forests, mountains, cities, and people. In the characteristic description of each nation, France has soldiers and Italy wine : —
“ Francia militibus, celebri Campania Bacco.
From funeral the poet passes to festival, and portrays the banquets and indulgence to which Alexander now invites his army. A sedition ensues. The soldiers ask to return to their country. Alexander makes an harangue, and awakens in them the love of glory. They swear to affront all dangers, and to follow him to the end of the world.
The eighth book chronicles the march into Hyrcania ; the visit of Talestris, queen of the Amazons, and her Amazonian life, with one breast burnt so as to accommodate the bent bow; then the voluntary sacrifice of all the immense booty of the conqueror, as an example for the troops ; then the conspiracy against Alexander in his own camp ; then the examination and torture of the son of Parmenio, suspected of complicity ; and then the doom of Bessus, the murderer of Darius, who is delivered by Alexander to the brother of his victim. Then comes the expedition to Scythia. The Macedonian, on the banks of the Tanaïs, receives an embassy. The ambassador fails to delay him: he crosses the river, and reduces the deserts and the mountains of Scythia to his dominion. And here the poet likens this people, which, after resisting so many powerful nations, now falls under the yoke, to a lofty, star-seeking Alpine fir, astra, petens adies, which, after resisting for ages all the winds of the east, of the west, and of the south, falls under the blows of Boreas. The name of the conqueror becomes a terror, and other nations in this distant region submit voluntarily, without a blow.
The ninth book commences with a mild allusion to the murder of Clitus, and other incidents, teaching that the friendships of kings are not perennial : —
Finis amicitias regum non esse perennes.”
Here comes the march upon India. Kings successively submit. Porus alone darcs to resist. With a numerous army he awaits the Macedonian on the Hydaspes. The two armies stand face to face on opposite banks. Then occurs the episode of two youthful Greeks, Nicanor and Symmachus, born the same day, and intimate, like Nisus and Euryalus. Their perilous expedition fails, under the pressure of numbers, and the two friends, cut off and wounded, after prodigies of valor, at last embrace, and die in each other’s arms. Then comes the great battle. Porus, vanquished, wounded, and a prisoner, is brought before Alexander. His noble spirit touches the generous heart of the conqueror, who returns to him his dominions, increases them, and places him in the number of friends,—
The gates of the East are now open. His movement has the terror of thunder breaking in the middle of the night,—
A single city arrests the triumphant march. Alexander besieges it, and himself mounts the first to the assault. His men are driven back. Then from the top of the ladder, instead of leaping back, he throws himself into the city, and alone confronts the enemy. Surrounded, belabored, wounded, he is about to perish, when his men, learning his peril, redouble their efforts, burst open the gates, inundate the place, and massacre the inhabitants. After a painful operation, Alexander is restored to his army and to his great plans of conquest. The joy of the soldiers, succeeding their sorrow, is likened to that of sailors, who, after seeing the pilot overboard, and ready to be ingulfed by the raging floods, as Boreas dances, Borea bacchante, at last behold him rescued from the abyss and again at the helm. But the army is disturbed by the preparation for distant maritime expeditions. Alexander avows that the world is too small for him ; that, when it is all conquered, he will push on to subjugate another universe ; that he will lead them to the Antipodes and to another Nature ; and that, if they refuse to accompany him, he will go forth alone and offer himself as chief to other people. The army is on fire with this answer, and vow again never to abandon their king.
The tenth book is the last. Nature, indignant that a mortal should venture to penetrate her hidden places, suspends her unfinished works, and descends to the world below for succor against the conqueror. Before the gates of Erebus, under the walls of the Stygian city, —
are sisters, monsters of the earth, representing every vice, — thirst of gold, drunkenness, gluttony, treachery, detraction, envy, hypocrisy, adulation. In a distant recess is a perpetual furnace, where crimes are punished, but not with equal flames, as some are tormented more lightly and others more severely. Leviathan was in the midst of his furnace, but he drops his serpent form and assumes that divine aspect which he had worn when he wished to share the high Olympus, —
Clarior intumuit, tantamque superbia mentem
Extulit, ut summum partiri vellet Olympum.”
To him the stranger appeals against the projects of Alexander, which extend on one side to the unknown sources of the Nile and the Garden of Paradise, and on the other to the Antipodes and ancient Chaos. The infernal monarch convenes his assembly. He calls the victims from their undying torments, —
Est non posse mori," —
where ice and snow are punishments, as well as fire. The satraps of Styx are collected, and the ancient serpent addresses sibilations from his hoarse throat:—
Consedere duces, et gutture sibila rauco
Edidit antiquus serpens,”
He commands the death of the Macedonian king before his plans can be executed. Treason rises and proposes poison. All Hell applauds ; and Treason, in disguise, fares forth to instruct the agent. The whole scene suggests sometimes Dante and sometimes Milton. Each was doubtless familiar with it Meanwhile Alexander returns to Babylon. The universe is in suspense, not knowing to which side he will direct his arms. Ambassadors from all quarters come to his feet. In the pride of power he seems to be universal lord. At a feast, surrounded by friends, he drinks the fatal cup. His end approaches, and he shows to the last his grandeur and his courage. The poet closes, as he began, with a salutation to his patron.
Such is the sketch of a curiosity of literature. It is interesting to look upon this little book, which for a time played so considerable a part; to imagine the youthful students who were once nurtured by it ; to recognize its relations to an age when darkness was slowly yielding to light; to note its possible suggestions to great poets who followed, especially to Dante ; and to behold it lost to human knowledge, and absolutely forgotten, until saved by a single verse, which, from its completeness of form and its proverbial character, must live as long as the Latin language endures. The verse does not occupy much room ; but it is a sure fee simple for the poet. And are we not told by an ancient, that it is something, in whatever place or recess you may be, to have made yourself master of a single lizard ?
Unius sese dominum fecisse lacertæ,”
A poem of ten books shrinks to a very petty space. There is a balm of a thousand flowers, and here is a single hexameter winch is the express essence of many times a thousand verses. It was the jest of the grave-digger, in “Hamlet,” that the noble Alexander, returning to dust and loam, had stopped a bunghole. But the memorable poem celebrating him is reduced as much, although it may be put to higher uses.
AT the conclusion of a fable there is a moral, or, as it is sometimes called, the application. There is also a moral now, or, if you please, the application. And, believe me, in these serious days, I should have little heart for any literary diversion, if I did not hope to make it contribute to those just principles which are essential to the well-being, if not the safety of the Republic. To this end I have now written. This article is only a long whip with a snapper to it.
Two verses saved from the wreck of a once popular poem have become proverbs, and one of these is very famous. They inculcate clemency, and that common sense which is found in not running into one danger to avoid another. Never was their lesson more needed than now, when, in the name of clemency to belligerent traitors, the National Government is preparing to abandon the freedmen, to whom it is bound by the most sacred ties ; is preparing to abandon the national creditor also, with whose security the national welfare is indissolubly associated ; and is even preparing, without any probation or trial, to invest belligerent traitors, who for four bloody years have murdered our fellow-citizens, with those Equal Rights in the Republic which are denied to friends and allies, so that the former shall rule over the latter. Verily, here is a case for common sense.
The lesson of clemency is of perpetual obligation. Thanks to the mediæval poet for teaching it. Harshness is bad. Cruelty is detestable. Even justice may relent at the prompting of mercy. Do not fail, then, to cultivate the grace of clemency. Perhaps no scene in history is more charming than that of Cæsar, who, after vows against an enemy, listened calmly to the appeal for pardon, and, as he listened, let the guilty papers fall from his hand. Early in life he had pleaded in the Senate for the lives of conspirators ; and afterwards, when supreme ruler of the Roman world, he practised the clemency he had once defended, unless where enemies were incorrigible, and then he knew how to be stern and positive. It is by example that we are instructed ; and we may well learn from the great master of clemency that the general welfare must not be sacrificed to this indulgence. And we may learn also from the Divine Teacher, that, even while forgiving enemies, there are Scribes and Pharisees who must be exposed, and money-changers who must be scourged from the temple. But with us there are Scribes and Pharisees, and there are also criminals, worse than any money-changers, who are now trying to establish themselves in the very temple of our government.
Cultivate clemency. But consider well what is embraced in this charity. It is not required that you should surrender the Republic into the hands of pardoned criminals. It is not required that you should surrender friends and allies to the tender mercies of these same pardoned criminals. Clearly not. Clemency has its limitations ; and when it transcends these, it ceases to be a virtue, and is only a mischievous indulgence. Of course, one of these limitations, never to be disregarded, is the general security, which is the first duty of government. No pardon can be allowed to imperil the nation ; nor can any pardon be allowed to imperil those who have a right to look to us for protection. There must be no vengeance upon enemies ; but there must be no sacrifice of friends. And here is the distinction which cannot be forgotten. Nothing for vengeance ; everything for justice. Follow this rule, and the Republic will be safe and glorious. Thus wrote Marcus Aurelius to his colleague and successor in empire, Lucius Verus. These words are worthy to be repeated now by the chief of the Republic : —
Placed me upon the throne, two aims have I
Kept fixed before my eyes ; and they are these,—
Not to revenge me on my enemies,
And not to be ungrateful to my friends. ’’
It is easy for the individual to forgive. It is easy also for the Republic to be generous. But forgiveness of offences must not be a letter of license to crime ; it must not be a recognition of an ancient tyranny, and it must not be a stupendous ingratitude. There is a familiar saying, with the salt of ages, which is addressed to us now: —“ Be just before you are generous.” Be just to all before you are generous to the few. Be just to the millions only half rescued from oppression, before you are generous to their cruel taskmasters. Do not imitate that precious character in the gallery of old Tallemant de Réaux, of whom it was said, that he built churches without paying his debts.54 Our foremost duties now are to pay our debts, and these are twofold : — first, to the national freedman ; and, secondly, to the national creditor.
Apply these obvious principles practically. A child can do it. No duty of clemency can justify injustice. Therefore, in exercising the beautiful power of pardon at this moment in our country, several conditions must be observed.
(1.) As a general rule, belligerent traitors, who have battled against the country, must not be permitted at once, without probation or trial, to resume their old places of trust and power. Such a concession would be clearly against every suggestion of common sense, and President Johnson clearly saw it so, when, addressing his fellowcitizens of Tennessee, 10th June, 1864, he said, — “I say that traitors should take a back seat in the work of restoration. If there be but five thousand men in Tennessee, koyal to the Constitution, loyal to freedom, loyal to justice, these true and faithful men should control the work of reorganization and reformation absolutely.”
(2.) Especially are we bound, by every obligation of justice and by every sentiment of honor, to see to it that belligerent traitors, who have battled against their country, are not allowed to rule the constant loyalists, whether white or black, embracing the recent freedmen, who have been our friends and allies.
(3.) Let belligerent traitors be received slowly and cautiously back into the sovereignty of citizenship. It is better that they should wait than that the general security be imperilled, or our solemn obligations, whether to the national freedman or the national creditor, be impaired.
(4.) Let pardons issue only on satisfactory assurance that the applicant, who has been engaged for four years in murdering our fellow-citizens, shall sustain the Equal Rights, civil and political, of all men, according to the principles of the Declaration of Independence; that he shall pledge himself to the support of the national debt; and, if he be among the large holders of land, that he shall set apart homesteads for all his freedmen.
Following these simple rules, clemency will be a Christian virtue, and not a perilous folly.
The other proverb has its voice also, saying plainly, Follow common sense, and do not, while escaping one danger, rush upon another. You are now escaping from the whirlpool of war, which has threatened to absorb and ingulf the Republic. Do not rush upon the opposite terror, where another shipwreck of a different kind awaits you, while Sirens tempt with their “ song of death.” Take warning; Seeking to escape from Charybdis, do not rush upon Scylla.
Alas ! the Scylla on which our Republic is now driving is that old rock of concession and compromise which from the beginning of our history has been a constant peril. It appeared in the convention which framed the National Constitution, and ever afterwards, from year to year, showed itself in Congress, until at last the Oligarchy, nursed by our indulgence, rebelled. And now that the war is over, it is proposed to invest this same Rebel Oligarchy with a new lease of immense power, involving the control over loyal citizens, whose fidelity to the Republic has been beyond question. Here, too, are Sirens, in the shape of belligerent traitors, suing softly that the Republic may be lured to the old concession and compromise. Alas ! that, escaping from Charybdis, we should rush upon Scylla !
The old Oligarchy conducted all its operations in the name of State Rights, and in this name it rebelled. And when the Republic sought to suppress the Rebellion, it was replied, that a State could not be coerced. Now that the Rebellion is overthrown, and a just effort is made to obtain that “security for the future” without which the war will have been in vain, the same cry of State Rights is raised, and we are told again that a State cannot be coerced, —as if the same mighty power which directed armies upon the Rebellion could be impotent to exact all needful safeguards. It was to overcome these pretensions, and stamp E Pluribus Unum upon the Republic, that we battled in war ; and now we surrender to these tyrannical pretensions again. Escaping from war,'we rush upon the opposite peril, — as from Charybdis to Scylla.
Again, we are told gravely, that the national power which decreed emancipation cannot maintain it by assuring universal enfranchisement, because an imperial government must be discountenanced, — as if the whole suggestion of “ imperialism ” or “ centralism ” were not out of place, until the national security is established, and our debts, whether to the national freedman or the national creditor, are placed where they cannot be repudiated. A phantom is created, and, to avoid this phantom, we rush towards concession and compromise, — as from Charybdis to Scylla.
Again, we are reminded that military power must yield to the civil power and to the rights of self-government. Therefore the Rebel States must be left to themselves, each with full control over all, whether white or black, within its borders, and empowered to keep alive a Black Code abhorrent to civilization and dangerous to liberty. Here, again, we rush from one peril upon another. Every exercise of military power is to be regretted, and yet there are occasions when it cannot be avoided. War itself is the transcendent example of this power. But the transition from war to peace must be assured by all possible safeguards. Civil power and self-government cannot be conceded to belligerent enemies until after the establishment of “ security for the future.” Such security is an indispensable safeguard, without which there will be new disaster to the country. Therefore, in escaping from military power, care must be taken that we do not run upon the opposite danger, — as from Charybdis to Scylla.
Again, it is said solemnly, that “we must trust each other ”; which, being interpreted, means, that the Republic must proceed at once to trust the belligerent enemies who have for four years murdered our fellow-citizens. Of course, this is only another form of concession. In trusting them, we give them political power, including the license to oppress loyal persons, whether white or black, and especially the freedmen. For four years we have met them in battle ; and now we rush to trust them, and to commit into their keeping the happiness and well-being of others. There is peril in trusting such an enemy, more even than in meeting him on the field. God forbid that we rush now upon this peril, — as from Charybdis to Scylla !
The true way is easy. Follow common sense. Seeking to avoid one peril, do not rush upon another. Consider how everything of worth or honor is bound up with the national security and the national faith ; and that until these are fixed beyond change, agriculture; commerce, and industry of all kinds must suffer. Capital cannot stay where justice is denied. Emigration must avoid a land blasted by the spirit of caste. Cotton itself will refuse to grow until labor is assured its just reward. By natural consequence, that same Barbarism which has drenched the land in blood will continue to prevail, with wrong, outrage, and the insurrections of an oppressed race ; the national name will be dishonored, and the national power will be weakened. But the way is plain to avoid these calamities. Follow common sense ; and obtain guaranties commensurate with the danger. Do this without delay, so that security and reconciliation may not be postponed. Every day’s delay is a loss to the national wealth and an injury to the national treasury. But if adequate guaranties cannot be obtained at once, then at least postpoyie all present surrender to the Oligarchy, trusting meanwhile to Providence for protection, and to time for that awakened sense of justice and humanity which must in the end prevail. And finally, take care not to rush from Charybdis to Scylla.
- Æneis, Lib. III. v. 420.↩
- Book XII.↩
- Book II. v. 660.↩
- Ibid. v. 1016.↩
- Merchant of Venice, Act III. Sc. 5.↩
- Erasmi Opera, Tom. II. p. 183 ; A. dagiorum Chil. I. cent. v. prov. 4.↩
- Erasmi Adagio, ubi supra.↩
- Jortin’s Erasmus, Vol. II. p. 163, note.↩
- Opera, Tom. II. p. 645; Epist. 574.↩
- For a glimpse at this interesting character, see Tiraboschi, Staria della Letteratura Italiana, Tom. VI. pp. 289—294 ; Michaud, Biographie Universelle, noniem Galeotto Marzio.↩
- Tom. I. p. 276, Liv. III. cap. 29.↩
- Ménagiana, Tom. I, p. 177.↩
- Vol. II. 285.↩
- Tom. XV. p. 117.↩
- History of English Poetry, Vol. I. p. clxviii.↩
- Vol. I. p. 510.↩
- Vol. V. p. 256.↩
- Della Storia e della Ragione d' ogni Poesia, Tom. VI. p. 480.↩
- Magasin Encyclopédique, Tom. II. p. 52.↩
- Millin, Magasin Encyclopédique, Tom. III. p. 181 ; Journal des Savans, Avril, 1760.↩
- Ritson's Bibliographia Poetica, p. 228.↩
- For a list of his works see Watt’s Bibliotheca Britannisa, nomen Echlin.↩
- Beloe’s Anecdotes of Literature, Vol. V, pp. 255 - 260.↩
- ‡ Ibid. p. 256.↩
- Millin, Magasin Encyclop. Tom. III. p. 181.↩
- From a priced catalogue of Mr. Steevens’s sale it appears that his copy, which was the edition of Lyons, brought £2 2s. in 1800. Cat. No, 514.↩
- Anecdotes of Literature, Vol. V, p. 258.↩
- See also Graesse, Trésor de Livres rares et précieux, on Nouveau Dictionnaire Bibliographique. nomen Galterus ; Millin, Mag. Encye. Tom. III. p. 181; Senebier, MSS. Franc, de la Bibliothèque de Genève, p, 235 ; Allg. Lit. Anz. 1799, pp. 84, 263, 1233, 1858 ; Sitzungsber. der Wien. Acad, T. XIII. p, 314; Giesebreeht, Allg. Zeits. für Wiss, and Lit. 1853, p, 344.↩
- Tom. VI. p. 328.↩
- † Histoire Littéraire, Tom. XV. p. 100.↩
- Ibid., Tom. XVI. p. 537.↩
- The latter mistake is gravely made by Quadrio. in his great jumble of literary history, Tom. VI. p. 480; also by Peerlkamp, De Poetis Latinis Nederlandorum, p. 15. See also Édélestand du Méril, Poésies Populaires Latines, p. 149.↩
- † Alexandreïs, Lib. X. ad finem.↩
- Graesse, in his Trésor de Livres Rares, which ought to be accurate, makes a strange mistake in calling Gualterus Episcopus Insulanus. He was never more than a canon, and held no post at Lille. Fabricius entitles him simply Magister Philippus Gualterus de Castellione, Insulamis. Bibliotheca Lat. Med. et Inf. Ætatis, Tom. VI. p. 328. See also Wright’s Latin Poems, Preface, xviii.↩
- Histoire Littéraire, Tom. XV. p. 101.↩
- † Edélestand du Méril, Poésies Populaires Latines, pp. 144-163; Wright, Latin Poems commonly attributed to Walter Mapes.↩
- Historia Poematum Medii Ævi.↩
- Histoire Littéraire, Tom. XVI. p. 183.↩
- Poésies Latines Populaires, p. 149.↩
- Millin, Magasin Encyclop. Tom. II. p. 52.↩
- Michaud,Biographic Universelle, nomen Gaultier.↩
- Recherches dc la France. Cap. 29, Tom. I. p. 276.↩
- Wart on, English Poetry, Vol. I. p. clxix. ; Dissertation II.↩
- Fabricius, Bibliotheca, Tom. IV. c. 2.↩
- Ibid. Tom, VI. p. 328. See also Leyser, Historia Poematum Medii Ævi, nomeu Galterus.↩
- Hisioire Littéraire, Tom, XV, p. 118.↩
- Warton, History of English Poetry, VOL. I. p. clxix. ; also p. 132.↩
- Madox, Hist. Exchequer, pp, 249 — 259.↩
- Gray, Observations on English Metre.↩
- Warton, History of English Poetry, Vol. I. P 133.↩
- Vassius, De Poetis Latinis, p. 74, is mistaken in saying that it had nine books instead of ten. See also Ménagiana, Tom. I. p. 177.↩
- Inferno, Canto XXXII.↩
- This is the passage translated into blank verse by the early English poet, Grimoald Nicholas.↩
- Some of the expressions; of this passage may be compared with other writers. See Burmnnni A nthologia Latina, Vol. I. pp. 152, 163 ; Ovidii Metam. Lib. I. 514.↩
- “ C’était up homme qui batiait des églises sans payer ses dettes."↩