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evidenco. Plutarch addressed to Trnjnn his Book of Apophthegms, or Sayings of Kings and Commanders ;
this is all that is satisfactorily ascertained as to the connection between the Emporor and Philosopher. Trajan died A.D. 117.
"The plan of Plutarch's Biographies is briefly explained by himself in the introduction to the Life of Alexander the Great, where he makes an apology for the brevity with which ho is compelled to troat of tho Dumorous events in the Lives of Aloxander and Cresar. • For,' ho says, 'I do not writo llistories, but Lives; nor do the most conspicuous acts of necessity oxhibit a man's virtuo or his vice, but oftontimes como slight circum. stance, a word, or a jest, shows a man's charactor better than battles with the slaughter of tens of thousands, and tho greatest arrays of armies and sicges of citics. Now, as painters produco a likoness by a representation of the countenance and the expression of tho eyes, without troubling themselves about tho other parts of tho body, so I must be allowed to look rather into the signs of a man's character, and thus givo a portrait of his life, learing others to describo grcat ovents and battles.' Tho olject thon of Plutarch in his Biographios was a moral end, and the exhibition of tho principal ovents in a man's
was subordinato to this his main dosign; and though
may not always havo adhored to tho principlo which be laid down, it cannot be denied that his viow of what biography should
be, is much moro exact than that of most persons who have attempted this style of composition. The life of a statesman or of a goncral, when written with a view of giving a completo history of all the publio ovonts in which he was ongngod, is not biography, but history. This extract from Plutarch will historioal order observable in many of his Lives. Though
altogether doficiont in that critical signcity which discerns truth from fulschool, and distinguishes tho intricagics of confused and conflicting statoments, Plutarch his prescrved in his Lives a vast number of facts which would otherwise have boon unknown to us.
Ho was a grcat reader, and must have had access to large libraries. It is said that ho quotes two hundred and fifty writers, a great part of whose works are now entirely lost.” (I'enny Cyclopædia, art.“ Plutarch," by the writer of this Prefaco.)
Tho livoly portraituros of mon draw in Plutarch's Lives havo mado them favourito reading in all ages. Whether Plutarch has succeeded in drawing tho portraits truo, wo cannot always dotormino, bocauso tho materials for such a judgment aro sometimes wanting. But when wo can comparo his Lives with other extant authorities, we must ndmit, that thongh ho is by no mcans frco from error as to his facts, ho has gonerally selected those events in a man's lifo which most clearly show his temper, and that on the wholo, if we judge of a man by Plutarch's measuro, we shall form a just estimate of him. Ilo generally wroto without any predilections or any prejudlicus. IIo tolls us of a man's good and bad acts, of his good and bad qunlitics; ho makos no attempt to conceal tho ono or tho other; ho both praises and blames as tho occasion may ariso; and tho reader lcavos off with a mixed opinion about l’lutarch’s Grecks and Romans, though the favourablo or tho unfavourable sido always prodowinates. Tho benovolont disposition of Piutarch, and his noblo and olovated charactor, havo stampod thomselves on all that he has written. A man cannot read thoso Lives without being the bottor for it: his dotostation of all that is mean and disingenuous will be in. creased; his admiration of whatover is truthful and generous will be strengthened and exaltod.
The translation of theso Lives is dificult. Plutarch's text is occasionally corrupted; and whero it is not Corruptod, his meaning is sometimes olscuro. Many of the sentences are long and ill-constructed; tho metaphors often extravagant; and tho just connection of the parts is sometimes difficult to discover. Many single words which are or ought to be pertinent in Plutarch, and which go towards a description of character in general or of somo particular act, can hardly lo rendered by any English cquivalent; and a translator ofton searchos in vain for something which shall convoy to tho rcader the exact notion of tho original. Yet Plutarch's narrative is lively and animated; his anoc lotes aro appropriately introiluced and well told; and if his tasto is sometimes not tho purest, which in his ngo wo could not expect it to be, ho ninkes amends for this hy the fulness and vigour of his expression. Ilo is fond of poetical words, and they are often used with striking effect. Jis moral reflections, which are numerous, havo tho mcrit of not being unmeaning and tiresome, because ho is always in carnest and has got something to say, and docs not deal in commonplaces. When the reflection is not very profound, it is at least truo; and somo of his remarks show a deep insight into men's charncter.
I have attempted to givo I'lutarch's meaning in plain languago; to givo all his meaning, and neithor more nor less. If I have failcd in any caso, it is becauso I could do no better. But, though I havo not always succeeded in expressing exactly what I conceivo to be tho meaning of the original, I havo not intentionally added to it or detracted from it. It may bo that thoro aro passages in which I havo mistaken tho original; and thoso who have made the experiment of rendering from one languago into another, know that this will sometinies happen evon in an easy rassage. A difficult passage attracts more than
uaual of a translator's attention, and if ho fails thoro, it is either becauso tho difficulty cannot be overcomo, or because he cannot overcomo it. Mere inadvertence or sleepiness may sometimes causo a translator to blunder, when he would not have blundered if any friend had been by to keep him awako.
The best thing that a man can do to avoid theso and other crrors is to comparo his translation, whon ho has finished it, with some other. The translation which I have compared with mino is the German translation of Kaltwassor, Magrleburg, 1799, which is generally correct. Kaltwasser in his Profico speaks of the way in which ho used the German translations of two of his predecessors, J. Christopher Kind, Leipzig, 1745–1754, and I. v. Schiruch, 1770-1780, and homo others. llo snya, " Theso two translations, with the l'ronch translations abovo mentioned, I havo duly user, for it is tho duty of a translator to comparo himself with his prolecessors; but I lay my labour before the cyes of the public, without fearing that I shall bo accused of copying or of cluso imitation. First of all, I carefully studiсd the text of my anthor and translated him as well as I could: then, and not before, I compareil the labour of my predecessors, and where I found a more suitablo expression or a happier tumn, I madlo use of it without hesitation. In this way, vory fault, every deviation of the old translators must le apparent; tho most striking of thom I havo remarked on in the notes, but I have moro froquently amended such things silently, as a comparison will show tho reader." The translator has not compared his version with any English version. Tho translation of North, which has grcat merit in point of expression, is a version of Amyot's French verwion, from which, however, it differs in some passages, where it is decidedly wrong and Amyot's vorsion is right. Indeod, it is surprising to find how correct
PREFACE TO TIIE CIVIL WARS OF ROME.
this old French translation generally is. The translation of Plutarch's Lives from tho Greck by several handle,' was published at London in 1683–86. It was dedicated by Dryden to James Butler, the first Duke of Ormond, in a fulsomo panegyric. It is said that forty-ono translators labourel at tho work. Dryilen did not translato any of tho Liven; bout ho wroto tho Lifo of Plutarch which is prefixed to this translation. Tho ndvertisement prefixed to the translation passes under tho namo and character of the booksellor (Jacob Tonson), but, as Malone olycrvcs, it may from internal eviilenco be safely attributed to Dryden. Tho bookseller says, “You havo here the first volumo of Plutarch's Lives tirncıl from tho Greek into English ; and givo mo leave to say, the first attempt of doing it from tho originals." This is aimed at North's version, of which Dryilen remarks in his Lifo of Plutarch: "As that translation was only from the French, so it suffered this double disadvantage; first, that it was but a copy of a copy, and that too but lamely taken froin tho Greck original; secondly, that tho English langnngo wns then polislel, anıl far froin tho perfection which it long sinco attained; 60 that the first version is not only mmgrammatical and ungraceful, but in many placris almost unintelligible." There is another English version, by the Langhornes, which is often been reprinted; thoro is an cilition of it with notes ly Wrangham. I havo compareil my translation carefully with the German of Kaltwasser, and sometimes with the French of Amyot, and I havo thus avoidel somo crrors into which I should have fallen. Thero aro crrors both in the versions of Amyot and Kaltwasser which I havo avoided; but I may have fallen into others.
The translation of Kaltwasser contains some useful notes. Those which I have added to this translation aro intended to explain so much as needs explanation to a