Εικόνες σελίδας
PDF
Ηλεκτρ. έκδοση

the ocean.

duction of our fleet is not the most effectual mode of doing it. The saving of a million and a half annually, which is the utmost we should save by discharging 20,000 seamen, and laying up 60,000 tons of shipping to rot in ordinary, would prove but a poor compensation for giving to the enemy even a momentary superiority on

A far more important saving, as well as a more lasting benefit to the nation, would be effected by the adoption of a regular system of management in the civil departments of the navy; and by having recourse to those means of supply, and following up those improvements at which we have briefly ventured to glance. As attainable objects, we are willing to persuade ourselves, that their adoption would be productive of great present saving, and, what is of much more importance, would render us independent of foreign nations, and even of our own foreign possessions, which, in the course of events, may slip through our hands. In a communication from the Bishop of Landaff to the Board of Agriculture, on the subject of planting larch, the agricultural improvement of Great Britain and Ireland, by means of public money to be appropriated by the legislature, is strongly recommended, as the surest mode of securing the liberty and prosperity of the country. Its liberty,' says this ingenious prelate, is menaced by France, and its prosperity has, in my time, been twice assailed by the armed neutralities of other powers; but if we will in earnest set about improving our land to the utmost, as the most efficacious mean of increasing our population, we may long continue, under God's good providence, to be one of the strongest, as we are unquestionably one of the most enlightened and industrious and, as I really believe (though there is great room for amendment) we are one of the most beneficent, moral and religious nations in the world.'

ART. III. Specimens of a New Translation of Juvenal. Ox

ford. Newman and Baxter. 1812.

ANOTHER translation of Juvenal —.

• What! will the line stretch out to the crack o' doom ! This author, however, is so valuable, that we feel no extraordinary degree of surprize at the attention which he receives from the scholar; and, certainly, no inclination to blame the efforts now so generously and so frequently made to introduce him to the admiration of the English reader.

On opening the pages of this petty publication, however, we discovered that we had reasoned à pure perte on the present occasiou; and that the author, so far from proposing to himself the

gratification

gratification of the unlearned, began his translation with the persuasion that they would have nothing to do with it! I intend to print it,' he says, ' entirely without notes, as I cannot help thinking that Juvenal can scarcely be made interesting to a mere English reader. p. 4. In our younger days, we remember to have stumbled upon the works of one John Dryden, an obscure poet of the seventeenth century: this person, whose verses are still extant, seems to have formed an opinion diametrically opposite to that of the present writer, and not only to have thought that Juvenal might be rendered interesting to the English reader, but to have taken some pleasure in making him so. Be this as it may, the version before us, if the author reasons consequentially, must be intended principally for the learned, who will doubtless express their obligations to his gratuitous pains, though they may not very clearly comprehend the necessity of the undertaking.

The translator (like his predecessors) naturally conceives that he can improve upon those who have gone before him; and he therefore points out, with equal candour and modesty, the defects which he imagines himself competent to supply, and the advantages which his work may be expected to possess.

Notwithstanding (he says) the general repute which translations already in so many hands,'a strange proof, by the bye, that they' cannot be made interesting to the English reader - seem to enjoy, those who are familiar with this sententions and powerful Roman, may perhaps think, with the author, that future attempts are far from being superseded. p. 3. And he accordingly proposes to complete the undertaking, of which the present publication is a specimen, if he meets with encouragement. The parts translated are the whole of the first satire, and some favourite passages of the second and third. The tirst satire, he conceives to be peculiarly fit for his purpose, because it abounds in tine passages, and is not without difficulties.' Hor the fine passages are rendered, we may hereafter see; but the difficulties are got over, if we may so express ourselves, in a very profitable and pleasant way, namely, by evading them alto. gether.

-tæda lucebis in illa
Qua stantes ardent qui fixo gutture fumant,

Et latum media sulcum deducis arena.' is thus summarily disposed of

. Lest it be yours to join the hapless band,

Who melt in flanes, and trickle in the sand.'-p. 15. The qualities on which this writer chietly relies for success, appear to be those which Juvenal so eminently enjoyed, namely, i sententiousness and power.' • Closeness and strength of expression (he says) have been much more studied than harmony.' This,

however,

[ocr errors]

however, must be set down as a mere effusion of modesty; since it is apparent, in no small number of places, that they have all been studied alike. Quantas jaculetur Monychus ornos, for example, is thus vigorously and harmoniously rendered: • How Monychus the rooted ash would rend

From the deep earth, and through the air would send.-P. 5. Again :

to Sylla we
Once gave our school-boy counsel, how that he,

Would have much sounder sleep in privacy.'-p.6. We, too, have occasionally studied those qualities, and, though we pretend not to improve the first couplet, we are not quite sure that we could not add to the characteristic excellencies of the second. We propose,

-to Sylla we
Once gave our school-boy counsel, how that he
Would have much sounder slumbers, if so be

He would consent to live in privacy. • Closeness and strength' the author has avowedly studied in Juvenal; but we are utterly at a loss to discover in what school he learned plain sailing, and geography.

-utere velis, Totos pande sinus: he translates,

- spread each flowing sail,

Sieer to the wind.'--p. 15. Steer to the wind ! 'Ah! G- help thee, Rory! more sail than ballast.' Satire would make but little progress in this

way : and the translator will probably hear, with some amazement, that when we' spread our flowing sails, and court the gale,' we steer fiom the wind, and not to it.

Omnis arena Tagi, quodque in mare volvitur aurum is thus rendered :

· 0! let not all the sand of glittering gold

By refluent Tagus back lo ocean roll’d-p. 19. It must be admitted, that the author has the authority of Horace for the possibility of streams returning to their springs;

quis neget arduis Pronos relabi posse rivos

Montibus ?but still he is wrong; for though the Tagus may unquestionably flow back to Castile, he certainly will not find the ocean on his arrival there. We have traversed that country in all directions with

out

out seeing it; nor do we believe that the oldest of its inhabitants ever heard of such a thing.

Though the author has honestly attempted to deter the unlearned from approaching his translation, yet, as he must be aware of the prying nature of mankind, and their unlucky propensity to look into forbidden things, we cannot but think him somewhat accountable, in foro conscientiæ, for the wrong impressions of Roman manners, &c. which they will undoubtedly receive from his representations. For example:

• Those slaves, whose feet make while our native plains.'—p. 12.

The English reader will naturally gather from this, that the Romans used the dried feet of slaves for scrubbing-brushes: but this, we can assure him, was by no means the case.

Again :-what will the English reader, tremblingly alive to the purity of election, think of the story of Marius, who was sentenced by a vote inane,' a bad vote, we presume! Assuredly, while he pities the innocent sufferer, he will feel great indignation at the person whose unauthorized voice decided his fate. And he will be wrong in both.

Instituitque rudes, melior Locusta, propinquas

Per famain et populum nigrus efferre maritos. · Better than fell Locusta, she can teach

Her rustic friends to bear far out of reach

Their husband's blacken'd corpse-despising vulgar speech.'--p. 10. The English reader will readily subscribe to the merits of this venerable old lady, in teaching her countrywomen to conceal such disagreeable objects. It is but fair, however, to observe that, in the original, she teaches then just the contrary. With respect to the little compliment paid to her taste in contemning vulgarity, and which is solely owing to the translator's good opinion of her, we shall not meddle with it.

He will also be charmed with the disinterested and facetious character of the Roman legacy hunters. When told that their old friend has been suddenly carried off by an apoplectic tit, without making a will, in their favour,

• No visage saddens, for none feels a wound,'--p. 10. his admiration may probably suffer some abatement when he learns that they do not bear their disappointment with quite so much composure in Juvenal, where they not only feel a wound, but carry their resentment of it so far as to insult his ashes.

But the translation is full of these pleasant misrepresentations : and we shall not be altogether easy, unless the author agrees to paint two snakes over the frontispiece of his next edition, to keep the unlearned completely out of his circle.

We

We must also intreat him to re-consider a few ideas which he appears to have somewhat hastily adopted, and which, to us, at least, savour greatly of singularity. Thus, if an epithet suits one object, he immediately concludes that it will fit every other : glowing, (for example,) which his predecessors apply to the wheels of a car, he applies to the reins, &c. If this be done to conceal his obligations, we can only say to him in the words of the original,

Tam jejuna fames, cum possis honestius illic

Et rapere! In another place he seems to think that filthiness is a cure for incredulity; at least, the English reader will discover no other meaning in the following exquisite couplet :

• Vain empty dreams! at which each boy will laugh,

Save those who wash not in the public buth.'—p. 17. But enough :- before we conclude, however, we would seriously ask the author what he really proposes to himself and the public, by this undertaking ? He admits that it cannot be made interesting to the mere English reader'; and how, without critical observations, it can be made either useful or agreeable to any other, we profess ourselves at a loss to conjecture. He is possessed of no new lights ---here is nothing, therefore, to attract the scholar. But we go farther. These Specimens' are not a translation--nor, if the writer possessed the qualities, of which we discover no traces, pathos, dignity and humour, could he make them such: for--we must be frank with him-he does not understand the original. In no instamce has he entered into the author's mind : he sees pot bis object; he feels not his energy; he , comprehends not his dignified sarcasm.

He begins,
A silent hearer must I yet remain
Of that hoarsc Codrus, and his croaking stra in?

Endure his Theseid still ?' Does this poor drawl (the produce of an after dinner's sleep') contain a single spark of the sense and spirit of the original ? The semper ego auditor tantum, and the numquamne reponam, are as if they had never been, Juvenal breaks silence in a burst of general impatience; the translator restricts bis somnolent interrogation to Codrus : Juvenal--but it is useless to waste another word on the matter.

If, however, the writer be determined to proceed, we would intreat him not to precipitate his work. Years must apparently pass away before he can gain a competent knowledge of his author. Meanwhile the English reader will manifest no signs of impatience for what is not, after all, to interest bim; and the scholar, if such a one can be supposed to waste a thought on the trauslator's pro

gress,

« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »