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At length the news ran through the land
THE PRINCE had come again! That night the fiery cross was sped
“Hermotimus" is the tale of a husband of Clazomene, whose soul had acquired an inconvenient habit of quitting its earthly vesture, and visiting parts unknown. One day, during the temporary absence of the spirit, his wife burned the body, and thus effectually put a stop to such unconnubial conduct. On its return, of course his soul had no place to go to, and though ma:ters are afterwards very ingeniously accontbidated in the poem, yet, as our Author Dotes, his memory must “nevertheless remain as a terribie example and warning to all husbands who their scientific and spiritual pursuits so far as të neglect their duty to their wives.” The return of the Soul to the wife's mourning chamber is well told, and in an admirably suitable metre. that falls on the ear like the regular chime of 2 funeral knell.
O'er mountain and through glen;
Like a lion from his den,
With the valiant Scottish Cavaliers,
All of the olden time!
He was the first that bent the knee
When the STANDARD waved abroad,
On Preston's bloody sod;
The foremost still he trod,
All of the olden time!
Oh! never shall we know again
A heart so stout and true-
And weary are the new!
From the garden where it grew,
Of the last old Scottish Cavalier
All of the olden time!
Night again was come; but oh, how lonely
To the mourner did that night appear! Peace nor rest it brought, but sorrow only, Vain repinings and unwonted sear.
Dimly burned the lamp
Chill the air and damp-
Hush! a voice in solemn whispers speaking,
Breaks within the silence of the room; And lone, loud and wildly shrieking, Starts and gazes through the ghasily g'oon.
Nothing sees she there
All is empty air,
This closes the political series that has given a name to the volume; the Miscellaneous Poems, however, deinand a short notice at our hands. The one entitled “Blind Old Milton," is of considerable merit, and is sufficient to show how much the Author is inspired by poetic sympathy, and how little by the baser feelings of party politics. It paints the after life of him, of whom Gray has sang,
Once again the voice beside her sounded,
Low, and faint, and solemn was
They are passed away
Slowly a long. dark line uprose, * The Old Camp”—“Danube and the Euxine"
Frowning above the foe! and “Charon's Refusal" are capital, and will be
A light it seem'd to eyes of those favorites wherever they are read. But the
Who watch'd it from below! "Scheik of Sinai" and the “ Epitaph of Con
For there the hush'd beart's thousand ties stantine Kanaris” are worthless trash, insipid
In listening terror lay, and peurile to a degree. It is astonishing to
As Freedom's ranks beneath those skies, us that any man could confess himself the
Like lions stood at bay ! parent of such lamentable weaknesses—flatter by far than the smallest of small table beer. A schoolboy of the fourth form who brought for
* Bunker Hill and Fort Moultrie are remote topics. I ward such rhymes as these would richly deserve am not aware, however, of any attempt to do justice to to be birched. But in the quantity of wheat gar- them in numbers. My own attention was accidentally nered in the volume we have just laid down, drawn to the subject by the perusal, a short time since, of why murmur at the presence of a little chaff ? Headley's two volumes, “ Washington and his Generals.” Rarely have we risen from the perusal of a work that has afforded us a greaterintellectual treat than † At four o'clock in the morning the people of Boston this, and we hope that those of our readers who and the British officers were waked up by a heavy cannon. may not have the London edition within their ading from an English ship of war, whose commander first reach, may soon be gratified by seeing it issue perceived the position which the Americans had taken up from an American press.
I during the night.
The haughty soe was gath'ring fast,
Said Warren-" Mine where honor calls,
On came the Briton's firm array,
MOORE'S ANACREON. A very inadequate estimate has often bees made of the ability requisite to make a good translation from a great author. It has been supposed that all that is necessary is to manufacture sorgething in another language which sbould contain the words and phases of the original as nearly as possible in their identical order and disposition. To this we owe that barbarous jargon of bad Latin which is found in the "translation" columns of some old editions of Greek authors, translations which are incalculably more obseurs than the difficult passages they pretend to elucidate. The earliest English translations of classical authors are founded upon this idea and the consequence is, that most of them are stiff, barsb, and pedantic to an uncommon degree. The lasguage forced out of its natural shape, inserted and distorted, produces the same unpleasant effect upon our minds that arises from viewing those grotesque absurdities into which gardeners of the last century tortured the picturesque lurų riance of shrubbery.
Nor did this exhibit itself solely in their prose translations. Those scraps of antiquity that had the misfortune to be “done into verse," fared very little better. Old Sternhold and Hopkins version of the Psalms, is a lamentable illustration of the fact. True it is that there were glorious exceptions to this common practice; of these, the most admirable is the authorized translation of the Bible. That remarkable work is alike wonderful for its almost literal faithfulness and for its free and unconstrained style, two qualities, it is hardly necessary to say, scarcely ever found together. It is almost impossible for the reader to persuade himself that he is not perusing an original work, there is such a freshness and vigor in it. The various styles of the different authors are admirably preserved. The lyrie fervor of David and Isaiah, the elegiac pathos of Jeremiah, the glowing eloquence and eager argumentaties of St. Paul, the calm earnestness of Jobs, the
steady narrative of the historians, the epic majesty of the book of Job, and the tragie gorgeousness of that sublime and wonderful vision, the Apocalypse,—are all as vivid and distinct az though they had been originally written in the language in which we read them. With all these merits is combined a sober riebness and majesty of diction so admirably befitting the sot emn truths it conveys that we cannot groid acknowledging this the masterpiece of all the translations in our language.
Nearly at the same time with this appeared those other celebrated works, Fairfar's Taken and Chapman's Homer. Of these the formac:
Successive numbers o'er the slain
Now club your guns !" stout Prescott cried, “Our bnyonets are few; For mark! the foe in stubborn pride, Brings up his ranks anew !" With sabre flashing to the sun, The gallant Warren led; But, ere that stormy day was done, He slumbered with the dead !
The brave provincials with the night
was a task far more easy of accomplishment|nence in the pursuits of both are very much of than the latter. There is not that rigorous indi- the same nature. A translator must assume the viduality about the Italian. He wants the Ho- character of his author, as an actor does that of merie impetuosity and fire, the condensation in his part, must feel his sentiments, must think his sublime passages, the majestic calm of the more thoughts, must adopt his temperament. Then, delicate parts of the first great poem of Greece. and only then, can he hope to give to the world He has none of those vivid pictures painted by a something like a translation. Otherwise, he will single word which have stumbled all the transla- accomplish nothing better than a parapbrase, an tors of Homer except Chapman. These peculi- imitation, or perhaps a travestie. The same reaarities have rendered him more easily translate- son that accounts for the world's having seen but able than the blind old Greek. Besides, at that one Garrick, one Roscius, and one Siddons, will time, English literature was strongly tinctured also explain the rarity of such men as Chapman. with an Italian hue. The great master, Spenser, Even to a man of such rare talents as to be had constructed his exquisite poems on the Italian mentally qualified for such a task, many difficulmodel, and had given a direction to the English ties will occur. The very structure of language mind. This comparative assimilation smoothed is in his way. There are characteristic and exthe way to the translator of Tasso. But Chap-pressive idioms which are untranslateable, the man had great difficulties in his way. The or- meaning of which can only be conveyed by a nate style of the day, though natural, differed wide circumlocution which often destroys their from the severe simplicity of the antique as widely entire force. Then there are shades of meaning as did the rich and magnificent Gothic architec- in words which cannot be retained in a translature from the chaste models of the Grecian tem- tion. Thus, to use two very familiar examples, ples. He has nevertheless produced a translation the French cannot express our comfort, nor we far more acceptable to the readers of the original their ennui ; or, to take an illustration of our than Pope's, which is, as a cotemporary poet meaning from the very language of the poet justly said of it, “a very pretty poem, but not whose name heads our article, what a most inadeHomer."
quate idea do our English translations convey of The truth is that a good translation is a very the minute beauties of that fine passage of Hodifficult literary task to accomplish, and requires mer's Iliad describing the descent of Apollo, and talents of a high and peculiar order. These are the sending of the pestilence into the Grecian not of the same character as those that are requi- camp. site to produce a great original work, for it is notorious that excellent translators have gucceeded Ως εφατ' ευχομενος- του δ'εκλυε φοιβος Απολλων. κ. τ. λ. indifferently in their original efforts, and that nervous original writers have signally failed in their
Pope's translation, the only one we have, reads
thus : attempts to translate. Still, though we are compelled to rank translation far below creation, we “Thus Chryses pray'd: the favoring power attends, most confidently assert that it is no more possible And from Olympus' lofty top descends; for a man of merely moderate abilities to produce
Bent was his bow, the Grecian hearts to wound, a really good translation from a first-class author,
Fierce as he moved, his silver shalts resound.
Breathing revenge, a sudden night he spread, than it is for a common-place painter to make a
And gloomy darkness rollid around his head. successful copy of a master-piece from the hands
The fleet in view, he twanged his deadly bow, of Raphael or Rubens. Any laborious draughts- And bissing fly the feathered fates below. man may, indeed, transfer to his own canvass,
On mules and dogs the infection first began, the lines and the proportions of the master's work,
And last the vengeful arrows fixed on man.
For nine long nights through all the dusky air, may superficially imitate his coloring, but the
The pyres thick-flaming, shot a dismal glare, &c. depth and transparency of the tints, the freedom of the touch, the feeling, to use an expressive Now, independently of the general inadequacy technical phrase, will be absent. So a laborious of this version, it fails (where indeed failure is scholar, by dint of turning over pages of lexicons unavoidable) in conveying the peculiar force of and grammars, and diving into learned annota- the different words used to express the arrows of tions, may produce for us a sort of copy of his the God. These are so admirably suited to the author, but it will convey no better idea of the position in which each is made to stand that we original than the dead, leaden stare of the early have often wondered how such rare beauty of Daguerreotypes of the sprightly faces they pre- adaptation could ever have escaped the keen eyes tended to represent. The meaning of an author of so many commentators. No one who has dimay be as thoroughly distorted by an inexpert rected his attention to them can fail to be detranslator as by a clumsy, ill-taught actor. In- lighted by their exact propriety. It will be obdeed, the mental qualifications requisite for emi- served that Pope alludes to them thrice, and that though he uses three different words in feeble and pot-house translations of Anacreon which apremote imitation of the great original, there is peared at the same time with Moore's, but a fair no peculiar propriety in this change of words on and just rendering of his work as it stands. The his part. Homer, on the other hand, uses four, one must be, as nearly as possible, an equivalent and these four substantives are so picturesque for the other. If the translator fall short of the that they almost tell the story of themselves. original, if he fail, for very weakness, to convey For example, while the arrows are shut up in an adequate idea of the thoughts and language the quiver on the God's shoulder, they receive a of the author, he has manifestly not given the name which etymologically denotes things car- world a translation. If, on the other hand, be ried.* When Apollo has reached the neighbor- has attempted to improve upon his author, even hood of the camp, he sends forth a dart to ascer- though he may have succeeded, he is guilty of tain whether he be within striking distance, and quite as palpable a failure. In either case, he is this is designated by a term denoting something quite as liable to censure as a portrait painter. sent.f This point being settled, he commences who, having before him a fine characteristic old operations in real earnest, and hurls among the head, powerful and intellectual, should copy only devoted Greeks his "feathered fates," which then the general outlines of the features, and giving us receive a new appellation signifying missiles either the drivelling imbecility of dotage, or the thrown with force. After they have been raging sprightly vivacity of youth, should endeavor to nine days through the invaders' camp, the un- persuade people that his picture was a true porhappy sufferers have had an opportunity to ex- trait of his sitter. amine them, and our poet therefore gives them We have tried to be explicit as to the requisites a new name indicating that their points have of a good translation. Hoping our readers unbeen hardened by burning.ll a well known ancient derstand our views, we shall now proceed to ersubstitute for metallic heads. It would have been amine by these tests, the celebrated translation manifestly impossible to transfer these beauties to of Anacreon by Thomas Moore. The work has a metrical translation without a tediousness and been so universally praised, and the translation prolixity wholly inadmissible ; yet difficulties of has justly attained so bigh a position among the this kind are perpetually occurring to perplex song-writers of the day, that we can hardly er. him who attempts to copy in one language the pect our opinions of this performance to meet glowing thoughts of great masters who have with general approbation. From this remark
, written in another.
our readers will already have inferred that we "Is it, then," it may be asked, "impossible are not disposed to pronounce a favorable judg. that a correct translation of any eminent author ment upon this much admired work. We cercan be obtained ?" Not precisely impossible, we tainly cannot accede to the general opinion of answer; but all scholars know that such things the excellence of this translation; and yet, we are exceedingly rare. An exact version, one we are by no means disposed, indiscriminately to which shall convey the precise ideas of the author condemn it. We hope to give sufficient reasons in the style in which he has written them, is a for the views we entertain in this matter, to satwork of great difficulty; but if to this be super- isfy our readers that they are at least not wholly added the task of imitating his imitations of na- without foundation. ture, of being full and sonorous, or thin and whis- Moore has been, by many, supposed the very pering, rapid or slow in unison with him, the ac- man of all others, adapted by constitution, taste, complishment of a translation becomes so nearly and habit, to be a translator of the "Teian bard an impossibility, that to call it such would be of pleasure.” We regard this notion as a mistasufficiently accurate for the purposes of ordinary ken one. Moore is indeed a man of pleasure
. conversation. Cowper, for example, is the only He loves, (or perhaps it would be more proper one of the numerous English translators of Ho- to say he loved) wine and its kindred gratificamer who has attempted to imitate the sonorous tions. His early poetry paints him an eager vomelody of that magnificent line which has been tary of pleasure, utterly regardless of the immorthe admiration of so many centuries.
al ty of his enjoyments. But over all such un
blushing acknowledgments he throws such a be “Βη δ'ακεων παρα θινα πολυφλοισβοιο θαλασσης." witching halo, such a beautiful play of the rain
bow glories of an exhaustless fancy, that many But letting this pass, as a perfection not to be are tempted to forget the moral deformity of expected—what are the requisites for a just trans- these seducing writings. He presents to 18 lation of a foreign author? Not a paraphrase on false and foul Duessa, tricked off in borrowed one hand, nor a violent distortion of English to bravery, but never hints at the cheat that is played suit the Procrustean bed of a foreign sentence on upon us.
His wit reminds us of the deluding the other, not an imitation like some of the coarsel meteor that hovers over grave-yards and fem