Sunday, May 09, 2010

cecini pascua, rura, duces.

Borde egentligen sitta och läsa om senantik Vergilius-reception, och fundera särskilt över allegori, men blicken vandrar ständigt till de medeltida kapitlen, med de snillrika och småvansinniga Vergilius-legenderna som florerade, och den uppfinningsrika poesin som beskriver intressanta, men i högsta grad fiktiva situationer. Som här, St Paul gråter vid Vergilius' grav:

Ad Maronis mausoleum
Ductus, fudit super eum
Piae rorem lacrimae:
Quem te inquit reddidissem,
Si te vivum invenissem,
Poetarum maxime!'

När jag googlade reda på versen i fråga, hittade jag denna fantastiska passage i en föreläsning av A. E. Housman (ni vet, kära Tartt-fans, han med With Rue My Heart Is Laden), där den travesteras for att, såsom vanligt är, hacka på Shakespeares "small Latin and less Greek":

I can imagine Virgil himself, in the year 1616, when he welcomed Shakespeare to the Elysian fields, I can imagine Virgil weeping and saying

`Quem te reddidissem,
Si te vivum invenissem,
Poetarum maxime!'

Virgil and the Greeks would have made Shakespeare not merely a great genius, which he was already, but, like Milton, a great artist, which he is not. He would have gained from the classics that virtue in which he and all his contemporaries are so wofully deficient, sobriety. He would have learnt to discriminate between what is permanently attractive and what is merely fashionable or popular. And perhaps it is not too much to hope that with the example of the classics before him he would have developed a literary conscience and taken a pride in doing his best, instead of scamping his work because he knew his audience would never find out how ill he was writing. But it was not to be; and there is only too much justice in the exclamation of that eminent Shakespearian critic King George III, `Was there every such stuff as great part of Shakespeare?' Shakespeare, who at his best is the best of all poets, at his worst is almost the worst. I take a specimen not from any youthful performance but from one of his maturest works, a play which contains perhaps the most beautiful poetry that Shakespeare ever wrote, The Winter's Tale. He desires to say that a lady shed tears; and thus he says it: `Her eyes became two spouts.' That was the sort of atrocity the Elizabethan audience liked, and Shakespeare gave it them to their hearts' content: sometimes, no doubt, with the full knowledge that it was detestable; sometimes, I greatly fear, in good faith, because he had no worthy model to guide him.

1 comment:

Gunnar Gällmo said...

Tja - franskklassicisterna _hade_ tillgång till greker och romare, men Racine är onjutbar i jämförelse med Schackspelarn.