« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »
Germany? But Luther did not wait for any change of 'narrow stereotyped formulae.' He convinced people first-in spite of * Establishment'-and then the congruous changes came naturally. There is really nothing to prevent Mr. Powell and the clergy who think with him from doing the same thing now. If they have a message for our day and generation, let them deliver it and face the consequences. That is what Albertus Magnus and St. Thomas did ; so did Luther, Zwingli, and Calvin ; so did Laud and Wesley; so did Venn, Romaine, and Newton; so did Newman, Pusey, and Keble. Nothing whatever can be done until they convince the existing clergy and lay members of the Church. Were the Church disestablished to-morrow, the same clergy and laity would be there to oppose and reject Mr. Powell's
restatement,' as they oppose and reject it now, if it be inconsistent with the historic Faith for which they are zealous. Before Mr. Powell asks for Disestablishment, in order to make this restatement he should tell us what it is. It may be Catholicism, it may be Modernism, it may be Evangelicalism, it may be Ritschlianism, it may be the New Theology. Obviously it is
. some kind of change in the Prayer Book and Articles that he desires, for anything else can perfectly well be done now. Revision of the Prayer Book is going on now in Convocation. If it comes to nothing, it will be because the rank and file of the Church--the very people who would have charge of a revision if the Church were disestablished—will have none of it. A revision opposed by such representative men as the Dean of Canterbury, Canon Newbolt and Lord Halifax would have even less chance then than now.
We must admit, sadly enough, that many fine young minds, as Mr. Powell says, 'go to the Universities with the intention of becoming ordinands who are repelled 'by present circumstances. Their doubts go down to the root of things : doubts concerning the Divinity of Christ, concerning miracles of any kind, concerning the Sacred Scriptures, concerning the supernatural. But the abolition of the old religion and the invention of a new one is a strange way of solving their doubts, even if the new one were falsely labelled “ Christianity.' But would Disestablishment lead earnest Churchmen to consent to this? Let Mr. Powell look round at those Churches in communion with the Church of England which are not established, and which are free to believe and do as they please. What have they done in the direction he appears to indicate ? Let us omit the Australian Church, parts of which seem to have bound themselves to make no change that has not been authorised by the Church of England. Has the Church in South Africa done anything towards the 'restating' of the whole Christian
position? The Episcopal Church in the United States is free enough; but neither has she committed herself to any religious revolutions; nor has the Church in Canada ; nor the disestablished Church in Ireland ; nor the Episcopal Church in Scotland We need not disestablish the Church either in Wales or England in order to enable her to do something that none of her disestablished or non-established sisters have done, and that it is morally certain she herself will not do.
What we have to do-it sorely needs doing-is to learn how best to commend the old Faith to those who at present do not see how to reconcile it with modern thought; not to offer them a new one of our devising, which will only go the way of all fancy religions.
In conclusion, it may be said-it ought to be said—that Mr. Powell is by no means without justification in the reproach (quoted from Bishop Gore) which he levels at the mass of Church people in regard to their 'blank and simply stupid refusal ... to recognise their social duties.' There are, of course, notable exceptions to be found, no doubt, in every diocese; but they are to the great mass rather as the pelican in the wilderness. But while acknowledging this to the full we may venture to suggest that there is some palliation for their attitude. We are bound to admit that, as Mr. W. S. Lilly tells us in the article immediately preceding Mr. Powell's, 'the great problem now before the world is the reorganisation of industry upon an ethical basis.' Church people are bound as members of the Kingdom of Christ to do all they can to contribute to its solution, and for past failure there is nothing left but confession and amendment. But their apathy has not always been due to selfishness or neglect of known duty. It is often the result of utter perplexity. Many of us do not see our way to accept State Socialism as the cure. The remedy appears worse than the disease. Syndicalism, again, seems a worse remedy still. The Liberal party, as such,
. does not appear to have any policy in this matter any more than the Unionists; although the latter do suggest Tariff Reform, which may possibly be of use, but in itself is mere tinkering. Most of us are without the time or means-possibly without the capacity--to dive right into the question for ourselves. We should, it may be hoped, recognise and support a good solution when it is offered, but it has not yet come. And so we sit still and wait. It is, no doubt, blameworthy, but is there not a cause?'
At least we may be excused for saying that Disestablishment has not the remotest bearing on the question.
A. ST. LEGER WESTALL.
METRICAL VERSIONS OF THE ODES OF
HORACE has with justice characterised Pindar as the great untranslateable. With still greater justice it may be said that his own Odes defy the translator's art. When the Dublin University Review was started under happy auspices more than half a century ago, the editor declared that there were two kinds of literary effort to which he would invariably refuse a place in his pages. These were Vice-Chancellor's prize poems, because they were immature, and renderings of the Odes of Horace, because they were impossible.
Even the great poets, Milton and Dryden, have not achieved absolute success in dealing with single odes, and we may fairly hold that of those (more than fifty in number) who have essayed a rendering of the whole body of the Odes few there are of whom it can be said that even half of their renderings read like English poems and at the same time recall the manner and art of the Roman lyrist. The Odes are exquisite exotics, miracles of diction and metre. It is hard to trace in them any ordered train of reflection or sincere vein of sentiment; but the easy handling of imported metres, new to Latin and invented by inspired Hellas, as well as the happy daintiness and dignity of language, undoubtedly comes as near to absolute perfection as it is given to human art to approach.
Many of the translators, in setting forth the principles which have guided them, have put forward views about the general character and salient attributes of these charming poems which are mainly just and reasonable. One, among the most recent and certainly the most eminent of them all, the Right Hon. W. E. Gladstone, lays down as an undoubted truth a proposition which is wholly untenable and absolutely misrepresents the character of the Odes. He thus writes in his Preface to the third edition (1895) :
There is, in my view, one special necessity of translation from Horace, which has, so far as I know, heretofore received in many quarters what seems to me a very inadequate share of attention: that is to say, the necessity of compression. ... Without compression, in my opinion, a translation from Horace, whatever its other merits may be, ceases to be Horatian, ceases, that is, to represent the original.
This is diametrically opposed to the true view of the case. Hear Sir Stephen De Vere, one of the very best of the translators, whose version appeared the year before Gladstone's :
No classical author is so difficult of translation as Horace.
His extraordinary condensation, so little in harmony with the English language or the usual current of English thought; his habit of embodying in one sequence a single idea connected through all its phases by an almost imperceptible thread; the 'curiosa felicitas ’ with which he draws a picture by a single epithet, such as 'fabulosus Hydaspes,' placens uxor'; his abrupt transitions; the frequent absence of a connecting link enabling the modern reader to track the pervading idea of the poet through the apparently disconnected passages of the poem ... these are a few of the
n obstacles with which a translator of Horace has to contend.
Having laid down an entirely unsound principle, the Right Honourable versifier proceeds to apply it—we will see with what result. It is excusable, perhaps, to dwell so much on what is certainly the least successful attempt to transplant the priceless exotics of the Latin lyrist. But the eminent name on the titlepage has carried into a third edition a book which without it would not have had half a dozen readers; and it is painful to think what an impression about Latin poetry will be conveyed by it to those who have no Latin, and cannot see for themselves that the volume has in it no trace either of poetry or of Horace. The book on its appearance was welcomed with eulogy quite undeserved by the English Press, receiving from the Quarterly Review a paean of laudation.
Let us examine a few examples of that compression' which is so indispensable. To take the first ode, the picturesque es. pression
Metaque fervidis evitata rotis,
The turning-point grazed by glowing wheels, appears as
The goal well shunn'd.
Is this compression, or is it mangling and mistranslation? Everything is omitted that is picturesque in the image of the chariot grazing the turning-point with glowing wheels. Meta is the turning-point which was at the end of the spina (or central ridge running the length of the oval racing-track) farthest from the winning-post. This turning-point the charioteers naturally tried to cut as fine as possible. The Gladstonian phrase, if it meant anything, ought to mean the prudent abandonment of chariot-racing.' Compression of this kind is characteristic of the
book throughout, but it reaches its climax in the story of the Danaids (III. xi.). Perhaps the most familiar phrase in Horace is splendide mendax.' How is it reproduced ? It is not reproduced at all. It is omitted, burked, doubtless in the interests of compression. Other choice phrases which have become household words are slurred and spoiled. “Sublimi feriam sidera vertice' is 'The stars to kiss my head will bow.' In no other version do the stars come down to the poet. Horace and all his other translators make the poet ascend to the stars. 'Dilapsam in cineres facem' (IV. xiii.) is 'Once a flambeau ; now an ash.' ‘Dulce est desipere in loco' is hardly suggested by “ 'Tis well
' to rave in time and place,' and still less can the fine phrase 'famosis laboribus,' so vigorous in Calverley's 'all thy studious infamies,' be recognised under the poor guise of ' All thy plots new scandal make,' which does not even give the meaning of the words. In the same ode (III. xv.) 'nequitia' is 'knavish tricks,' a damnosa hereditas' from the National Anthem. The word is a very strong one. “Harlotry’ would hardly exaggerate its force. The eminent statesman had forgotten the atmosphere which encompasses Latin words. We doubt if he ever felt it. The study of the Latin language was rudimentary in Oxford when Gladstone won his First. It has since advanced by leaps and bounds,' to use the statesman's own phrase. There are not a few serious misapprehensions of the meaning of the Latin text, but we will not advert to these. Our essay aims at estimating the literary qualities of the versions, not their scholarship or accuracy.
Gladstone in his preface lays down a law, as we have said, which is absolutely fatal for the rendering of Horace, in calling for compression while extreme condensation is the leading characteristic of the original; this law he obeys with disastrous results. He adds another admonition to translators, which is quite excellent (indeed, almost superfluous), but which he habitually violates. It is that the translator
should severely limit his use of licentious and imperfect rhymes, and should avoid those irregularities in the use of the English genitive which are so fatal to euphony.
Yet we have set rhyming with unbusièd (p. 33), wrecked and erect (p. 130), abyss and frees (p. 138). Of cacophonous inflexional forms we have such genitives as the Edons', clients'; such verbal inflexions as equipp'st, flung'st; and such rhythmical blots as Elian, Argian (dissyll.) and Patarean, Romulean, Anchisean (trisyll.). Moreover, such words as pate, nape, and such phrases as 'quitting earth for good,' 'the day's entire' for
VOL. LXXI_No. 424