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Yet then did Gildon draw his venal quill;-
Did some more sober critic come abroad;
Were others angry: I excused them too;
prose run mad:
He, who still wanting, though he lives on theft,
Peace to all such! but were there one whose fires
“Atticus” is Pope's fictitious name for Addison.
THE SYRACUSAN GOSSIPS
Gorgo, Praxinoe: the Gossips
Eunoe: servant of Praxinoe
Little Boy: her son
Scene: ALEXANDRIA IN EGYPT
ORGO. [At her friend's door.] Praxinoe within?
Why, Gorgo, dear,
What, no! And so you're come at last! A seat here, Eunoe; And set a cushion. Eunoe.
There is one. Prax.
Sit down. Gorgo.
Oh, what a thing's a spirit! Do you know, I've scarcely got alive to you, Praxinoe? 1 Idyll XV, translated by Leigh Hunt. Following is a
part of the translator's introductory commentary: “It is a poem on the Rites of i Adonis; or rather, on a couple of gossips, making holiday to enjoy the festival that formed a part of the rites. Adonis, the favorite of Venus, slain by the boar, and permitted by Jupiter to return to life every hali. year and enjoy her company, was annually commemorated by the heathen world for the space of two days, the first of which was passed in mourning for his death, and the second, in feasting and merriment for his coming to life. Arsinoe, the consort of the poet's patron, Ptolemy Philadelphus, celebrated these rites in the Egyptian capital, Alexandria; and Theo critus, in order to praise his royal friends, and at the same time give picture of his countrywomen, introduces two women who were born in Syracuse and settled in Alexandria, making holiday on the occasion, and going to see the show. The show was that of the second day, and prin cipally consisted of an image of Adonis laid in a bower of leaves and tapestry, and served with all the luxuries of the season, particularly flowers in pots.
He was attended by flying Cupids, and eulogized by singers in hymns, much in the manner of saints and angels in a modern Catholic fesye tival; and on the following morning, the image, with its flowers, was taken in procession to the seaside, and committed to the waters on its war to the other world. The whole proceeding is intimated in the poem, by n'eans of verses put into the mouth of the public singer, the Grisi o Malibran of the day; but the chief portion of it is assigned to the humon of the two gossips, who are precisely such as would be drawn at this moment on a similar occasion in any crowded city.”
There's such a crowd-such heaps of carriages,
Prax. Why, 'twas his shabby doing. He would take
there's a dear, Before the little one.
See how he looks at you. Prax. [To the little boy.] There, don't look grave, child;
cheer up, Zopy, sweet; It isn't your papa we're talking of.
Gorgo. [Aside.] He thinks it is, though.
Prax. Oh no—nice papa!
Gorgo. And there's my precious ninny, Dioclede:
Ay, luck has luck.
We haven't time.
Prax. Some water, Eunoe; and then, my fine one,
Look how she brings it! Now, then;-hold, hold, careless;
[Exit Eunoe. Gorgo. Praxinoe, that gown with the full skirts Becomes you mightily. What did it cost you?
Prax. Oh, don't remind me of it. More than one
Gorgo. All of which you had forgotten.
Ah, ha! True; That's good. You're quite right.
Come; my cloak, my cloak; And parasol. There—help it on now, properly. [To the little boy.] Child, child, you cannot go. The horse
will bite it; The Horrid Woman's coming. Well, well, simpleton, Cry, if you will; but you must not get lamed. Come, Gorgo.-Phrygia, take the child, and play with him; And call the dog indoors, and lock the gate. [They go out. Powers, what a crowd! how shall we get along? Why, they're like ants! countless! innumerable! Well, Ptolemy, you've done fine things, that's certain, Since the gods took your father. No one nowadays Does harm to trav'lers as they used to do, After the Egyptian fashion, lying in wait,Masters of nothing but detestable tricks; And all alike,-a set of cheats and brawlers. Gorgo, sweet friend, what will become of us? Here are the king's horse-guards! Pray, my good man, Don't tread upon us so. See the bay horse! Look how it rears! It's like a great mad dog. How you stand, Eunoe! It will throw him certainly.