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been equally, if not more successful ; but we must hasten to a more recent laborer in the same field.
A translation of Persius by Drummond* has excited attention, and acquired considerable celebrity.t On the first appearance of this work the author of the British Critic undertook an apology for Mr. Drummond, presuming that he had not seen Brewster's translation, I which, in the opinion of the critic, is executed with unparallelled success. But from the best evidence, we can obtain without access to the book, it must be ranked among the feeble and humble efforts of ordinary translators. Drummond has quoted several of his lines, which evince, that the British Critic supported a lame and helpless cause.
The following couplet among others he calls an example of « his usual style."
“A sample here of perfect freedom see,
“ Thanks to our caps, they make us charming free." If this be a fair sample of his manner, his cap ought to be a fool's cap.
We feel perplexed in entering on an examination of Drum
* The satires of Persius, translated by William Drummond, esq. F.R.s. &c. Lond. 1799. This is a second edition. We do not recollect in what year the first was published.
+ Harle ranks him below Dryden in vivacity, but gives him credit for fidelity. Drummond cannot thank him for his mistaken application of the word, “ fida,” to his translation, for he disclaims all close adherence to his author.
| Published in 1751.
§ “ Brewster's translation of Persius,” says Drummond in a subsequent edition,“ was not unknown to me, when I began mine. The truth is, I judg« ed very differently of Brewster from the author of the British Critic. I did “ not find out, that he united all the talents, required in a translator. I did s not discover, that his numbers were remarkable either for strength or har“ mony. On the contrary I fairly own, that I thought them, as I think them « still, feeble and prosaic. I nowhere see in his verses those flashes of genius, " which, amidst all the defects of Dryden's translation, occasionally shine “ through the gloom, and discover the poet." The author of the British Critic does not leave Mr. Drummond without praise ; and the Monthly Reviewers style his versification “ strong, flowing, and harmonious,"
when he dislikes his where Persius
he changes them; and
mond's translation of Persius. Our remarks must be very general, for he has secluded us from the critic's best ground.
His diction is studied, and well chosen. Where Persius is rough, he is polished; when he dislikes his author's figures, he changes them; and when he thinks Persius extravagant, he either labors to reduce him to his own standard, or passes to the next portion, that pleases him. It may be foreseen, that a translator, who thuş marks out his ground, can exhibit little of the genius and spirit of his author. Sometimes Mr, Drummond renders the sense of Persius in paraphrase, sometimes he is an imitator, and sometimes he takes a passage of his author for a motto, and gives a pleasing poetic dissertation.
The reader will see in the following passage how much Mr. Drummond has outshone his author, and how little he has regarded him in the praise of Ennius.
6 Mæonides, Quintus* pavone ex Pythagoreo."
“ Lives in thy verse, and transmigrates no more.” • The contrast, which Dryden's version of this passage affords to Drummond's, is certainly amusing.
“ Who in a drunken dream beheld his soul
fo And last of all the line did into Ennius pass.” Mr. Drummonds translation is a happy panegyric upon Ennius, without any countenance from Persius ; and Mr. Dryden's is a tolerably just paraphrase, abating for one vulgar epithet, wholly unauthorised, and one blunder, into which he could not be seduced by any copy of Persius, which we have seen.
* Dryden has committed a singular blunder in making Quintus a numeral adjective.
We select one passage, in which Mr. Drummond has pleasingly imitated Persius in describing the variety of the human character.
Sat. V. 52. .
“ Mille hominum species, et rerum discolor usus;
“ But each has otie, peculiarly his own."
“ How truly fair was bounteous nature's plan,” &c. for an example of pleasing description, founded on Persius, with little regard to his sentiment or language.
One passage more we select, and that merely for an example of Mr. Drummond's poetic excellence.
Sat. VI. 12.
“ Heic ego securus vulgi,” &c.
“ Nor hate not envy mingles in my cup.” On the whole there appears to be no interference between the versions of Dryden and Drummond. The characters of their works are very different, and Mr. Drummond appears wholly independent. Dryden is generally interesting, even when faulty ; and Drummond always satisfies by his beauty and accuracy. Dryden sometimes excels by his boldness and temerity, and Drummond generally pleases by his delicacy and caution. Dryden often disgusts by his caricature
copies, but Drummond is seldom unnatural, and never leaves his picture unvarnished. In Dryden it is difficult to select a faultless couplet, in Drummond a defective one seldom oca curs. In fine, Dryden, being a translator by trade, and wishing to amuse all, makes us laugh at his tricks; and Drummond, always aiming to be a good poet, secures attention by his evenness and suavity.
We find in the catalogue of the Priestleys mention of a translation of Persius by Sheridan in 1737, of which we know nothing but the price.
In 1752 a prose translation of Persius was published by Edmund Burton, chiefly commended for its notes and critical conjectures..
In 1779 there was a paraphrastic imitation of the same author by Edward Burnaby Greene, which the reviewers deride, and which has not found its way into our libraries.
It is by laborious study only, that a good latin scholar can understand Persius ; and, instead of calling in the aid of Casaubon and Stelluti, most students will resort to Dryden and Drummond. The style of Persius is so peculiar, that he seems almost to have used a vocabulary of his own. His language might have suited the taste of the learned in his own age, but it has ceased to be easily understood. “ Que “ nunc sunt in honore vocabula cadent.”
ADVICE TO A STUDENT OF HARVARD UNI
VERSITY IN A SERIES OF LETTERS.
AVING dissuaded you from seeking popularity by improper means, I shall next recommend independence of mind.
There is at the University, if I may so express it, an eddy of opinions, as it runs counter to the opinions of society in general. It is there esteemed honorable to engage in various kinds of riot. Opposition to the government, though by secret and mean arts of revenge, is accounted noble. The most regular and uniformly good conduct is represented, as briginating solely from the desire of College honors and distinctions. He, who disdains to join in disorderly projects and pursuits, is branded as a vile coward, who is afraid of incurring the displeasure of his instructers ; and he, who refuses to tell a lie to exculpate a fellow student from merited punishment, is considered a fit object of indignation and of contempt.
The prevalence of such opinions must surely indicate something highly erroneous and reprehensible.
It would however be wrong from this state of things to infer, that the students in general are more attached to confusion, than to order ; to immorality, thân to virtuous conduct.
The fact is, the disorderly are commonly the most influential. Unable to excel in science, yet ambitious of distinction, they seek an undue ascendency over their fellow students. From their intercourse with the world they become much better acquainted with the means of effecting their purpose, than those, who far exceed them in literature. By their overbearing influence they induce the studious and the regular to unite with them in many of their bad practices. Very few have the independence to remain unmoved by their arts. Those, who cannot be influenced by persuasion, are often overcome by dread of contempt. I have known students of eminent virtues and distinguished talents, who chose rather to “ follow the multitude to do evil,” than to encounter the sneers of the idle and the vicious.
If you reflect a moment, you cannot but see the absurdity of such an inglorious submission of your judgment to others. I would not have you punctillious in trifles. But surely in such important cases, as speaking the truth, being “ temperate in all things,” and using honest means of redressing grievances, you ought not to surrender your consciences to any, much less to the unprincipled and the irregular.
Vol. II. No. 3. Hh