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ing to a corner of the chest, “is a collection of the most faithful and exact versions of the great poet Virgil. There you will see Trapp, Davison, Alexander, and others. I am engaged in a very important and arduous work,—no less than a prose translation of the Ænead; of which I execute, on an average, about four lines a day. I am now nearly in the middle of the third book ; so that some years must elapse before it is completed; for it is my maxim that great literary enterprises should never be executed in a hurry. My method is to place the original with the several translations before me, and then to select the rendering which, in my opinion, best expresses the sense of the original. In this way I combine the scattered beauties and excellencies of all the translations. A very happy idea, I think."

Here my friend paused, as I thought, for a compliment, and I administered one of as equivocal a nature as ordinary politeness would allow, which, however, he caught at with great apparent greediness. He then gave me a long history of a very perplexing dilemma, in which he was involved at the very outset of his great work. He was for a long time in doubt about the proper rendering of arma. virumque cano,—whether to translate it "arms and the man I sing,” according to Davison, or "I sing arms and the man,” according to Alexander. The former rendering preserved the order of the words in the original; the latter was most conformable to the idiom of our own language. What should he do? After much deliberation, he had fixed upon the fornier, and he now wished to know whether I thought he had done right.

I answered that I must beg leave to be excused from giving my judgment, on the sudden, in a matter that had occasioned so much doubt to a man of his learning and sagacity.

My friend said he thought that I was in the right of it; for that important questions ought never to be rashly decided : and then, turning suddenly, and looking me full in the face, he demanded whether I was fond of poetry. I suspected from his manner that he had some design upon me, and therefore cautiously answered, that I could not say that I was particularly so. My reserve, however, was of no avail, for my

host immediately complimented me on the delicacy of my taste, which was not to be satisfied with every thing that passed for poetry at the present day; and added, that since that was the case, he thought he could show me something that would give me pleasure ;-a little poem of his, on which he prided himself a good deal, entitled, the Loves of the Cats; in which he had described the characters, courtship, and marriage, of two of the feline species.

He went on to say, that he had made his tom cat a great Greek scholar, and his female an adept in music and drawing, and that if I had no objection he would do himself the honor of reading me the poem.

Saying this, he took, from a drawer in a cherry bureau, a manuscript of two or three sheets, and began reading a poem, of which I recollect little except that the execution was worthy of the subject. My memory, however, retains a single passage, to which he particularly requested my attention, as a happy specimen of the figure of alliteration :

“Oft, in the fragrant shade of catmint bowers,
The purring lovers passed the pleasant hours;
While, o'er their happy heads, the humble bee

Hummed round the humble blooms harmoniously.” Now that my friend was upon the subject of his manuscripts, it seemed as if he was determined to make me look at every thing he had written in the course of his life. He drew them forth, one after another, in all the changes of his hand-writing from his boyhood upwards, some yellow with age and some freshly written, till he had fairly emptied the contents of his magazine of papers at my feet. Among these, I recollect a large profusion of amatory poems, in which the usual changes were sung upon those novel images of roses and lilies, snows, pearls, stars, &c.--an elegy on an old negro domestic of his faTher; à metrical paraphrase of one of the chapters of Leviticus; and a tract against the doctrine of transubstantiation. He showed me a voluminous roll, which he said was the diary of an overland journey made by him to the Newport ruin; in which its exact measurement was recorded, and a description given of every brook, bridge, windmill, and other curiosity on the way, not forgetting the famous rock, down which Gen. Putnam leaped his horse in the revolutionary war. Another, of smaller size, contained a memoir, which he had lately prepared for the Journal of Science and Arts, on the subject of certain strange characters, discovered on some rocks in the neighborhood, and engraved, as he supposed, by the aboriginal inhabitants. He remarked, that this memoir was withheld, for the present, on account of a suggestion made by somebody, that the rocks were sost, and their tops nearly even with the soil, that the ground about them had been lately cleared of its wood, and that the farmer who owned it, had several times gone over it, in different directions, with a harrow, the teeth of which probably engraved the characters in question. My friend add

ed, that although he did not give much credit to this suggestion, coming as it did from a man of no taste for antiquities, he intended to examine the subject a little further before he gave his memoir to the world.

“ Now that we are upon the subject of my writings," continued he, “I think I may as well show you an article, written by me not many years since, and sent to the editor of the North American Review, for insertion in that work. By some strange whim of the editor, it was rejected. It is a review of the last edition of Webster's Spelling Book. I cannot for my life comprehend why the article was not printed;—for the book is certainly a very useful and valuable one, and well deserving of notice. I will read you the article, if you please, and you shall judge whether the editor was right in rejecting it."

By this time, the addition of fuel, which my hospitable entertainer had made to the fire at my entrance, was nearly consumed; the air of the apartment was growing chilly; the old housekeeper drew her chair close to the fireplace, and crouched over the little piles of white ashes that covered the dying embers, as if she meant that no particle of heat should escape her, I saw before me only the prospect of a long half hour of shivering, and a catarrh the next day, if I sat out the reading of the voluminous manuscript which my friend was preparing to inflict upon me. I therefore pleaded the urgency of business, which obliged me to decline the pleasure he intended for me, and bidding him good morning, was shown out through the dark passage by which I entered.

To

; On receiving from her a leaf, taken from a wreath which had

graced one of the triumphs of the
66 NATION'S GUEST.

.."
[A Fragment.]

Oh! this—it is a charmed thing,

And, trust me, shall be cherished,
When flowers of fairest bloom have fallen,

And proudest wreaths have perished:
Dear to my heart it still shall be,
The wild-wood leaf you gave to me.

Dear-for it tells of by-past years,

Long years of war and bravery;
Of toils and watchings, wants and wounds,

Preferred to peace and slavery;
Of freeman's swords in battle bared,
Of tyrant hosts in battle dared.
Dear-for it whispers me of one,

Of countless wealth, and noble name,
Who left his home, his friends, his love,

And to the rescue bravely came;
And, freely as the mountain flood,
Poured out his treasure, and his blood.
Dear-for it budded greenly forth

On Freedom's soil, neath Freedom's sun,
And threw its shadow on the land

Which Freemen's swords had drenched and won,
And turned its bright cheek to the sky,
And owned no king but God on high.
Dear—for when He, whose youthful veins

Were drained for priceless liberty,
Came, in his “green old age,”* to greet

The sires and sons he fought to free,
This leaflet in its pride was there,
The wild-wood's homages to bear.
The wild-wood's welcome-see! it spreads

From rock to rock, from shore to shore,
Resistless as the tempest's wing,

Untiring as old ocean's roar;
The noblest offering of the land-
The freeman's heart, the freeman's hand!

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*“If I have any where said, a green old age, I have Virgil's authority ; Sed cruda Deo viridisque senectus.”—Dryden.

CRITIQUE ON A PASSAGE IN DANTE. (We recommend to the curious in Italian literature, and particularly to the admirers of the Divina Commedia, the following proposed interpretations of several very difficult passages in the Inferno of Dante.* They are decidedly the best explanations we have seen, of the passages referred to, on which, by the way, whole volumes have been written. With regard to the new reading of che i for ch'ei, the merest novice in Italian, will acknowledge the improvement ; and it is really surprising, that a correction so simple, and so perfectly satisfactory, should not have been suggested by any of the Dantesque commentators, who for five hundred years have been striving to outdo each other in variæ lectiones and new interpretations. The other explanations are ingenious, and most probably correct.]

To the Editors of the Atheneum Magazine. GENTLEMEN, - In the course of my investigations of the difficulties which the language and manner of Dante occasionally present, I have been led to believe, that in ten or twelve instances at least, in the Inferno alone, modes of interpretation might be offered, which would reconcile the objections of the critics, and remove all doubts of the meaning of the author. Of these, I now subjoin the first, reserving the others for another opportunity. Inf. Cant. I. v. 29, 30.

Ripresi via per la piaggia deserta

Sicchè il piè fermo sempre era il più basso. In order to ascertain the actual situation, position, and movement of Dante, we ought to go back to verse 13.

Ma poi ch' io fui appie del colle giunto

Là ove terminava quella valleand give to the expression appie del colle, a signification, similar to that conveyed by the following line from one of Petrach's sonnets:

Appie de' colli ove la bella vesta. Here every one will admit that the poet does not speak of a place actually adjoining, but merely of a place very near the foot of the bills, in which place Laura was born, and where too the five pernici, supposed to be referred to by the poet, ranged while they lived“ unhindered and unhurt.'

There appear to me to be two good reasons for this interpretation. First, Dante in order to express perfect contact, makes use, elsewhere, of a much stronger expression. I refer to the 134th verse, of the 17th canto of the Inferno:

Appiè appie della stagliata rocca * We have room only for the discussion of one of these passages in this pumber.

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