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Children were his delight ;-they ran to meet
in heart a child among the rest :
As if he fell from innocence again.'-p. 63. On the anniversary of his fall he instructs Enoch to offer an annual sacrifice. On that same day he is struck for death. Eve, and Seth, and Enoch bear him to his home, and endeavour vainly to administer relief.
• Yet while his pangs grew sharper, more résign'd,
But that which feels them most, and yet sustains.
My God! my God! support me, or I fall!") At this time the sun sets amid crimson clouds. The winds rise, and a storm comes on accompanied with such convulsions of the earth as if the world were about to perish with the first man. Amidst this general sympathy of nature the sufferer continues to wrestle in prayer. What follows is the finest part of the whole poem.
Thou, of my faith the Author and the End!
«« He closed his eye-lids with a tranquil smile,
His countenance was lightning, and his vest
6 « Our Mother first beheld him, sore amazed,
«« Eve's faithful arm still clasp'd her lifeless Spouse ;
Love bound their lives, and Death could not divide." ? The poem is dedicated to the spirit of a departed friend in stanzas which have the peculiar characteristics of Mr. Montgomery's happiest pieces. In these, as in the preface, he expresses that feeling of dissatisfaction which it is the fate of most poets to feel when they compare the execution of their work with their previous idea, and he tells us that he appears before the public with many apprehensions, and with small hopes. There is no reason for this distrust; he may appeal with confidence to his peers, from whom, sooner or later, the true poet receives his award, when the decrees of those who have intruded themselves into their places are forgotten.
ART. VII. The Nature of Things, a Didascalic Poem, trans
lated from the Latin of Titus Lucretius Carus, accompanied with Commentaries, comparative, illustrative, and scientific, and the Life of Epicurus. By Thomas Busby, Mus. Doc. Cantab. 2 vols. 4to. 1813.
gizing objects, they will do prodigies.' In literature these objects, whether originality or plagiarism be employed upon them, are generally developed in a quarto.
Our ancestors, for the most part, were content with prefixing a few copies of commendatory verses to their translations; but Doctor Busby's preliminaries are far more substantial. We are presented with nineteen pages of subscribers, from ‘Princes of the Blood Royal,' down to plain Young, Charles George, Esq.' Each rank has its appropriate head in black letter ;-Princes, Dukes, Marquisses, Earls, Viscounts, Barons, Privy Counsellors, &c. As such an assemblage will no doubt dazzle the reader at his entrance on the work, we are inclined to leave him for a short time in this goodly company, and to descant to the few who may attend to us, on the present state of our poetical translations.
Virgil, with the exception of his Eclogues, Terence, Tibullus, Juvenal, Manilius, and parts of Ovid, have been well and fairly translated. The other writers of Roman poetry have either not been attempted, or not adequately rendered. As we are not aware of any author who has generally treated this subject, we shall hazard a few remarks upon it, since it naturally leads to our examination of Dr. Busby's Didascalic Poem.
The great difficulty which, without sufficient reason, has been attributed to Plautus, was the probable cause why no translation of him appeared when his wit would have been most congenial to the play-wrights of the day: for if we except an ancient translation of the Menachmi, by W. W. 1595, and an abortive attempt by Echard and Cooke, the Plautini sales were not naturalized till the middle of the last century by Bonnell Thornton and Co. The recommendation of George Colman, Senior, to whom the comedies were dedicated, and whose success in Terence was generally allowed, influenced for a time the public voice in favour of this imitation of his plan. But the work is now almost forgotten; nor indeed can a good translation of Plautus be expected until he is freed, in some measure, from the numberless specks which still disfigure his text.
Although there are passages in Catullus which delicacy must decm untranslatable, yet it is surprising that his beauties have never
(but in one solitary and imperfect instance) been rendered accessible to English readers. The Acme and the Atys may vie in pathos with any poems of the same cast ancient or modern. The Epithalamium, the favourite of Sir William Jones, the Peleus and Thetis, the burst of feeling on the death of his brother, and the minor poems, with a few exceptions, loudly call for poetical competition.
It may be deemed almost a disgrace to our national taste that Horace should be still buffeted between Holyday and Creech, Francis and Clubbe, Boscawen and Duncombe. Francis bas partially succeeded in some of the odes; and many of them are occasionally to be met with in our fugitive poetry, extremely well rendered. These are naturally the most popular; while the rest, with the epodes, satires and epistles, have little claim to attention in their new dresses.
Among the amatory poets of the day, Propertius, the most polished and refined of elegiac writers, has not yet found one to redeem his beauties from the transpositions of Broukhusius, and the more than German assaults of Kuinoel. He has been said, indeed, to make love like a schoolmaster; and this, no doubt, has prevented tbe fastidious from turning over his pages; but if he did so, Orbilius was an accomplished gentleman. No classic, of the Augustan age, is less read and less understood than Propertius; bis indelicacies have been enlarged on, his-hellenisms have been criticised, bis heartlessness bas been ridiculed; but the fact is, he bas bitherto met with bad editors, prejudiced readers, and no adequate translators.
To infuse the strength, warmth, and bold conciseness of Persius into our language, was a labour of no common exertion, and in the prosecution of it, we find Dryden fail from vulgarity, Brewster from plagiarism, and Sir William Drummond from an endeavour to grind the fruges Cleantheas into vers de société. :)
A selection from Martial, by different hands, would make not an unamusing volume. Few of his epigrams are correetly rendered, or boast any of the naïveté of the original. The pseudotragedies of Seneca, and the Latin anthologies, are undeserving the time which their translation would exact.
Next to Virgil, as an epic poet, Lucan confessedly takes his rank. He is the only bard who has made a catalogue poetical. The whole of the first book is inimitable. The Sacred Grove, the Marriage of Cato, the Apotheosis of Pompey, and other splendid passages, bespeak a mind, not as Quintilian chuses to assert, oratorical merely, but capable of the highest flights of poetry. Yetto May and Rowe alone is Lucan indebted for any knowledge which the English reader can obtain of him. May ihus renders one of the finest passages in the poem,
• At non in Pharià Manes jacuere favilla,
Where with black ayre the starry poles doe meet.'-B.IX. 1. Rowe undertook his translation more in the spirit of party than of poetry; and the best portions of it are those which are least worthy of attention in the original. He has chiefly succeeded in the argumentative and sarcastic parts. In the tender and descriptive he has generally failed; it is scarcely credible that the author of Jane Shore should thus give Cornelia’s griefs to his Countrymen :
• Ah! my once greatest Lord! ah! cruel hour ;
Thy kings be faithful, and the world obey.'-B.VIII. 127. On the whole, Lucan calls for a new translation more than any writer after the golden age of Roman verse; and we have dwelt on this subject longer, perhaps, than Dr. Busby may think fair, because we are convinced that the public acquiesce in Rowe, more from the nominis umbra, than from any real excellencies of his version.
Statius is wretchedly handled by Lewis. Dr. Busby informs us, that his son the reciter, is at present employed on a new translation—we wish bim success, and shall hail the moment,
- lætam faciet cum Statius urbem, Indicetque diem. After all, it is a dull study; and we should be well content to leave him, with Silius Italicus, to mere scholars. They will not prosper in our soil; even the translation of a book of Statius by Pope led to little praise and to no imitation. We speak of the Thebaid alone. The Sylvc, which Jeremy Markland proudly pro