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spears, to conceal the mystic rites of the genial bed. Thus were the ill-omened nuptials, of the hapless Modea, consummated. · When the Colchians, and the Minya, came to the presence of the blameless king, and respectively stated their pretensions and demands, the son of Æson obtained from Alcinous an award, that he should keep Medea as his wife. This having heard, the heroes quickly loosed the cables of the ship, and, by force of rowing, Argo, endowed with human speech, fled quickly over the deep, and ploughed her way through the gulf of Ambracia.
Now, O Museus, offspring of a goddess, I will res late to you all that the Minga endured after this, from stormy blasts, on the shores of the Syrtis; and how, at length, they were rescued from their course of weary wandering over the deeps; and what adversities they endured in Crele; when, wafted to that shore, they beheld the form terrific of the brazen giant, who prohibited all entrance within the harbour: and how, constrained by the roaring billows, and the sudden force of blackening tempests, we expected that our swift ship should be dashed on the gloomy and formidable rocks. But the far-shooting Pean was near, propitious to our call-he heard us—he sent a shaft from craggy Deloshe revealed himself from the midst of the Sporades.Hence, that island has been called Cranae, by all the men, who inhabit the circumjacent regions.— But it was not allowed wholly to prohibit the son of Æson, from Davigating the deep, for he bore with him the price of his ransom.- Pernicious fate recoiled from her attempt; for grievous was the wrath of Hyperion.-Soon as by force of rowing the Minge gained the promontory of Maleathen, by the suggestions of Circè, they proceeded to deliver themselves from the curses of Æetes,
and the persecuring fury'exacting punishment for sin.-Then, I performed, on behalf of the Minge, the sites that expiate sin, and supplicated Neptune, whose trident sliakes the earth, that he might grant a safe return, and the sight of our beloved native home, to the coil. worn train, and bless them in the embraces of their fond parents.
Again the Argonauts set their sails, and directed their course to the well-built Tolcos.-But I returned to the shady Tenarus, that I might perform sacrifices to the great and awful rulers, who preside over the shades, and hold the keys of the infernal prison house. Passing from thence, I directed my rapid course to snowy Thoraceta to the region of Jeibethrians, my native land and entered the far-famed cave, where the muse.my mothertbore-me to the divine Æggrus.
* So Virgil-Libetbrides noster amor,
ESSAY THE FIRST
THE LIFE AND WRITINGS
-- POET APOLLONIUS.
Apollonius, surnamed the Rhodian, from the place of his occasional residence, or, perhaps, so called after his mother, was a native of Alexandria, the son of Silleus, or Illeus, and Rhoda, of the tribe of Ptolemais. The genius of this fine poet was originally formed, by the precents and example of Callimuchus, who superintended his youthful studies. It will be seen, in the progress of this essay, that this early and amicable connexion, of the two great poets, degenerated, but, from what cause is not fully ascertained, into open hostility.
Our author was one, of that constellation of talent, which illuminated the polite and learned court of Alexandria, and consisted of seven poets, who were called the Pleiades, from the brilliancy of their genius, and the circumstance of their number, which was seven, corresponding with that of the stars called Pleiades, which are situated in the neck of the bull. The names of these writers' wereg Callimachus, Aralus, Theocritus,
Apollonius, Nicander, Lycophron, and Philicus ; or, according to some writers, Homer, the tragic poet. * But some other writers give their names differently. The Searned Canterus, in his Prolegomena to Lycophron, fol. lowing Hephestion the grammarian, as a better authority, asserts, that the following poets composed the PleiadesHomer the younger, Sositheus, Alexander, Philiscus, Sosiphanes, Lycophron. These poets were natives of different countries, some of them natives of countries distant from Egypt.—They were attracted, in common, to Alexandria, by the encouragements which genius and learning derived from taste and bounty. There is a considerable degree of resemblance, in the style and mander of most of the Pleiades; but, of that I shall speak more particularly, in another place.
The Ptolemies of Egypt, or Lagides, were a most extraordinary dynasty of princes, and the continuance of their power forms a distinguished æra, in the history of literature. Some of them were virtuous and accomplished princes, others disgraced themselves, by the most despicable vices, and odious crimes; all, in common, had a turn for magnificence, were themselves persons of taste and learning, and proved themselves munificent and judicious patrons of philosophy, letters, and the fine arts; as well as judicious and successful promoters of trade and commerce. The unbounded opulence, which they possessed, enabled them to consult the wishes of their taste and liberality, in the utmost extent. They collected the treasures of learning, and the rare and curious productions of nature and art, and fos
* This elegant and complimentary allusion, has pot been appropriated exclusively, to the Pleiades of Alexandria. --Seven eminent French cotemporary poets were also called the Pleiades.
tered genius and talent, with a splendour, expence, and zeal, which have not been equalled by any potentate, who has preceded or followed them. The first Ptolemy erected at Alexandria a museum or college, for the supe port of those who devoted their time to the study of the liberal arts; and adding to it a great library, for their use, drew, by that means, most of the learned men out of Greece to his metropolis. Ptolemy the second, and also the third, having herein followed the example of their predecessor, Alexandria became the place where the sciences flourished, when they were quite neglected elsewhere; most of the inhabitants of that city being bred up in the knowledge of some science or other. - Ptolemy Soter, the first of the race, who was a learned prince, and composed a history of Alexander, which was greatly esteemed by the ancients, but has not reached our times, founded an academy at Alexandria, or a society of learned men, who devoted themselves to the study of philosophy, and all other sciences. For the use of these, he made his collection of books, which, by degrees, grew under his successors to a prodigious bulk, and was reckoned the finest library in the world.- Ammianus Marcellinus relates, that, till the reign of Aurelian, the museum continued to be the habitation of excellent men, meaning the members of that society, which had been founded by Ptolemy Soter, for the improvement of all useful sciences. The members of this society were under the government of a president, whose station was so honourable, that, during the dominion of the Ptolemies, he was always nominated by those princes; and in the Roman times by the emperors. Within the museum was a very large hall, where they all met at their meals, for they were supplied plentifully with all sorts of provisions; the museum having been endowed, at its first