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of the globe, is despised in another-that that which is luxurious or delicate to one nation, is elsewhere vulgar, oppressive, and disgusting. The breeze which carries a cooling delight to the Italian, brings frost or rain to the Englishman, who but too commonly places his happiness in swallowing liquid fire in the shape of cordials, while the former is ransacking the recesses of his mountains for ice. Man, too, is said to be as invariable as nature; and so he is in some sense. In all climates and in all ages he is animated by the same passions, touched by the same sorrows, elevated by the same joys, and endowed with the same natural appetites. Yet so modified is he by external circumstances, that the language of human sentiment is very far indeed from being an universal tongue. It is true, there are the same feelings in the human being in all lands, but it is by very different roads that access is found to them. It is not an uncommon thing to find that that which would be the most powerful appeal to the heart of an inhabitant of one land, is unintelligible to that of another. An Englishman cannot understand the effect, which the action of Themistocles would have upon the royal chief, at whose hearth he took refuge when pursued by his inveterate enemies, the Lacedemonians. To make a similar appeal, as was lately done by a fallen monarch, was cold and pedantic, savouring much of learning, but very little of feeling. The rite has lost its charmthe hearth is no longer the sacred emblem of hospitality, nor are its ornaments the solemn pledges by which to assure safety and protection. Poetry is the power which touches the various keys of association, as deposited in the cells of memory. These associations are the remains of experience,-like the latest and tenderest tints with which the setting sun streaks the horizon. An entirely different course of experience produces an entirely different train of association. What can be more foreign from each other than the objects and their associations which excited terror, compassion, or courage in the mind of a Greek; and those which now rouse, soften, or spur on the feelings of a modern. The Greek was a predestinarian, and awaited the day of fate he was deterred from the commission of evil through a superstitious dread of the sacred furies-his courage was animated by oracles, and confirmed by a strong persuasion that due sacrifice would secure to him the sure protection of some of the various gods who peopled his creed. It is needless to contrast the moral state of the man of the present day. But such considerations as these may serve to shew how improbable it is that a close version of poetry addressed to the ancients, should be felt in all its vigour by a modern. The truth is, that all translation to compass its end should become what is called imitation, and that every classical poem should not be turned into, but re-written in English. We venture to assert that the beauties of the

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Satires of Horace were never truly felt by a mere English reader, except in the imitations of Pope; and we fear that unless Homer has been or may be stripped of his Grecian costume, and assume a genuine English garb, to use the language of Dryden, that a translation of his poems will be no more like the original, than the dead carcase to the living body. This is the spirit in which Chapman is said to have performed his great task by an eminent living critic, whose words we cannot do better than quote before we proceed to give specimens of this excellent old poet, and compare him with more modern and better known authors who have followed him in the undertaking.

"He would have made a great epic poet, if indeed he has not abundantly shewn himself to be one; for his Homer is not so properly a translation, as the stories of Achilles and Ulysses re-written. The earnestness and passion which he has put into every part of these poems would be incredible to a reader of more modern translations. It is almost Greek zeal; for the honor of his heroes is only paralleled by that fierce spirit of Hebrew bigotry, with which Milton, as if personating one of the zealots of the old law, clothed himself when he sate down to paint the acts of Sampson against the uncircumcised. The great obstacle to Chapman's translations being read, is their unconquerable quaintness. He pours out in the same breath the most just and natural, and the most violent and forced expressions. He seems to grasp whatever words come first to hand during the impetus of inspiration, as if all other must be inadequate to the divine meaning. But passion, (the all in all in poetry) is every where present, raising the low, dignifying the mean, and putting sense into the absurd. He makes his readers glow, weep, tremble, take any affection which he pleases, be moved by words or in spite of them, be disgusted, and overcome their disgust."*

Were we to take the principles of translation, which we have thrown out in the commencement of this article, as a test to try the merits of the different versions of Homer, we should probably conclude, that no adequate idea of the real Homer could through any of them be conveyed to the English reader. If, however, there are any poems, which would not lose all or the greater part of their value in a close translation, they are the Iliad and Odyssey. In the case of these celebrated works, more has been lost than gained, such has been the character of their translators, and such is the character of the poetry, by a departure from a literal version. All has not been done, and the half measures which have been taken, have been more injurious than beneficial.

* Lamb's Specimens, p. 98.

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There is a heartiness and simplicity in the poems of Homer, which even a verbal translation must in some measure communicate; but which a periphrastic and laboured version might easily smother with a weight of extraneous sentiment, or drown in a sea of words. There is, moreover, such a quantity of individuality of character, of lively action, and of spirited debate in his poems, that a mere word-for-word translation would be read with interest, but which a ponderous mass of phrase would be very likely to overlay and destroy. And for this reason, though we in fact are of opinion that the Iliad and Odyssey have never yet been translated, we still think that such versions as exist, are able to convey a very fair idea of their true nature. Far before the rest in this respect, we place Chapman; and on the ground of the merits, which we find so ably stated to our hands, in the quotation already made from Mr. Lamb's excellent Specimens of the old drama.

To this extract, we will only add a caution, lest the reader, who might be, by such an eulogium, induced forthwith to betake himself to the perusal of Chapman's version, should find himself, at first, grievously disappointed. The truth is, that the study of our oldest and best writers requires a species of apprenticeship; and the inexperienced reader must be for some time inured to the rugged phrase, the uncouth spelling, and the inartificial and often prosaic metres of many of the most valuable and essentially poetical works in the language. It is thus, with Master Chapman.-His exterior is coarse and repelling; he speaks with a harsh though powerful voice, and his gait is none of the gentlest. They, however, who will have patience, and bear with him for a time, will find him prove a most valuable acquaintance. The rugged husk conceals a most sweet kernel. In the guise of a rude and unlettered clown, there lurks the spirit and fire of a hero, which, ever and anon, shew themselves in a speech of true nobleness, or act of dignified demeanour.

When Pope asked Dr. Bentley, "how he liked his Homer?” the Doctor said, "it is a very pretty poem, Mr. Pope; but do not call it Homer." Pope himself, who was indebted to Chapman's translation, observes, that it is "something like what Homer himself would have writ, before he arrived to years of discretion." Both of these judgments contain a good deal of truth; but who would not rather be like Homer in his youth, than unlike him altogether? The truth is, there is a quaintness and antique asperity about the metre of Chapman, which the ear of Pope could not be supposed to relish; and though he had sufficient discrimination to discover "the daring fiery spirit that animates his translation," the taste for genuine simplicity and undignified nature had not then begun to be duly

cultivated. The liberty, which Chapman was in the habit of taking with his original, both in contracting and expanding the text as suited his vein of feeling at the moment, was entirely in contradiction to the critical canons of the age. Chapman did not perform his task, as Pope was in the habit of doing, by small portions at a time, which were, each in order, burnished up to the highest polish by unremitting care and labour.-But, drinking in deep draughts of his author at a time, he became over-informed with his subject; and then breathed his spirit forth again, with the enthusiasm of an original creator. In short, had he not been also shackled by certain circumscribed rules of translation, he would have produced such a poem, as we have in the beginning of this article ventured to assert, is the only true copy of a classical author, and thus proved himself, to use his own language, a most desertful mover in the frame of our Homer.

It is said by Denham,

"Such is our pride, our folly, or our fate,

That few, but those who cannot write, translate."

Very different, however, has been the fate of Homer in this country. His three chief translators, Chapman, Pope, and Cowper, indeed the only three worth naming, were each of them three great original poets. Though, perhaps, the two latter mistook the nature of their powers in the attempt, yet the versions of all three are works of genius, of which our literature may be proud. The translation of Pope, from its smooth numbers and from the beauty of particular parts, has, probably, enjoyed a higher reputation than it really deserves. Its grand and irredeemable error is, that it refines away the hearty spirit of Homer: that, by what the translator conceived to be elevating the low and polishing the rude, he has deprived the ancient poet of those vigorous strokes of individuality and characteristic truth which always distinguish works of original genius. However highly this version has been applauded, we are convinced that it has done more to lower the fame of Homer in this country, than fifty such contemptible and worthless translations as those of Hobbes and Ogilby could ever have had the power to do. For through the faults just mentioned, and through the monotony of the metre and the immense portion of expletive matter which he has introduced, in order to preserve the balance of his lines, he has rendered these nervous and energetic productions, cold, tedious, weak, and diffusive. No one can estimate more highly the poetical powers of Pope, than we are disposed to do, when they were exerted on subjects for which he was by nature admirably adapted, the manners of the world, and the vices and

follies of mankind. And we consequently cannot but lament, that he as well as Cowper were led away by some strange delusion from their proper walk, to a task for which, to say the least, they were unfitted.

The translation of Cowper would have had infinitely more merit had he written it in prose, instead of the peculiar kind of blank verse, which he has selected for his purpose. It is true, that then, a bare prose version would have appeared to little advantage, by the side of the flowing and harmonious versification of the Greek, but the reader would have been able to have caught the admirable sense which the translator has given, and have proceeded with ease, if not with great satisfaction, to the end of his task. As it is, no mountainous journey can be more jolting, uneven, and uncertain, than the course of the reader through the translation of Cowper. Broken sentences, unexpected pauses, and abrupt terminations, constantly impede our progress, and the reading of the whole becomes an achievement, if not dangerous, certainly arduous *. Difficult to read as the version of the amiable Cowper undoubtedly is, it is full of high merit, and had he been more fortunate in the choice of his metre, and less scrupulous in translating literally, his version would have been worthy his original talent. It is a remarkable peculiarity in this translation, that we cannot approve it on the whole, yet we must admire it as eminently beautiful in detail: for every single expression, epithet, and phrase in Homer, finds in Cowper the exactest and most poetical translation.-His vocabulary is copious, harmonious, and picturesque; and he has, through the whole poems, most happily applied the compound words, in which our language is almost as rich as that of Homer himself. Such being the case, it is to be lamented, that in paying too great attention to words and phrases, he has suffered the volatile spirit of the original to evaporate, and so entirely disjointed its flowing harmony.

It is, however, time to return to Chapman, the staple of our article, and shew, that he is worthy of the encomiums which he has received, by specimens of his own native power, and by a comparison of his translation with that of Pope and Cowper in their most fortunate parts.

The first extract we shall give of Chapman is the fierce debate between Achilles and Agamemnon, in the first book of the Iliad, which ends in the former withdrawing himself and

*If the reader should accuse us of injustice, we need only instance, as a confirmation of our remarks, a celebrated part of the Iliad, in Cowper's translation. We allude to the petition of Priam to Achilles, begging the dead body of his son Hector.

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