Pagina:Zibaldone di pensieri VII.djvu/394

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(4451-4452) pensieri 385

cantarent carmina antiqua, in quibus laudes erant majorum, assa voce, ei cum tibicine). The peculiar function of the Camenae was to sing the praise of the ancients; (not. 630. Fest. Epit. V. Camenae, musae, quod canunt antiquorum laudes). and among the rest those of the kings. For never did republican Rome strip herself of the recollection of them, any more than she removed their statues from the Capitol: in the best times of liberty their memory was revered and celebrated (not. 631. Ennius  (4452) sang of them, and Lucretius mentions them with the highest honour).

We are so thoroughly dependent on the age to which we belong, we subsist so much in and through it as parts of a whole, that the same thought is at one time sufficient to give us a measure for the acuteness, depth, and strength of the intellect which conceives it, while at another it suggests itself to all, and nothing but accident leads one to give it utterance before others. Perizonius knew of heroic lays only from books; that he should ever have heard of any then still current, or written down from the mouth of the common people, is not conceivable of his days: he lived long enough to hear, perhaps he heard, but not until a quarter of a century had passed since the appearance of his researches, how Addison (sic) roused the stupefied senses of his literary contemporaries, to join with the common people in recognizing the pure gold of poetry in Chevy-chase (Vedi the Speciator’s n. 70, 74). For us the heroic lays of Spain, Scotland, and Scandinavia, had long been a common stock: the lay of the Niebelungen had already returned and taken its place in literature: (l’autore, p. 196, the German national epic poem, the Niebelungen lay): and now that we listen to the Servian lays, and to those of Greece, (raccolti da Fauriel, che l’autore cita