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THE LAST PARTING OF
FROM THE SIXTH BOOK OF THE ILIAD.
Has held thy ear so long, and begg'd so hard, All day I fell: my flight at morn begun,
Receiv'd my batter'd skull, the Sinthians heal'd
Then thus the sire of gods, and men below, And smiling took the cup the clown had fillid. * What I have hidden, hope uot thou to know. The reconciler-bowl went round the board, Evin goddesses are women: and no wife
Which empty'd, the rude skinker still restor'd. Has power to regulate her husband's life:
Loud fits of laughter seiz'd the guests, to see Counsel she may; and I will give thy ear The limping god so deft at his new ministry. The knowledge first, of what is fit to hear. The feast continued till declining light : What I transact with others, or alone,
They drank, they laugh’d, they lov'd, and then Beware to learn; nor press too near the throne.”
'twas night. To whom the goddess with the charming eyes, Nor wanted tuneful harp, nor vocal quire; “What hast thou said, O tyrant of the skies! The Muses sung ; Apollo touch'd the lyre. When did I search the secrets of thy reign,
Drunken at last, and drowsy they depart, Though privileg'd to know, but privileg'd in vain? Each to his hvuse; adorn'd with labour'd art But well thou do'st, to hide from common sight Of the lame architect: the thundering god Thy close intrigues, too bad to bear the light, Ev'n he withdrew to rest, and had his load. Nor doubt 1, but the silver-footed dame,
His swimming head to needful sleep apply'd ;
To whom the thunderer made this stern reply;
HECTOR AND AND ROMACHE.
THE ARGUMENT. Still watch'd, and importun'd, but worse for thee. Hector, returning from the field of battle, to visit Curb that impetuous tongue, before too late
Helen his sister-in-law, and his brother Paris, The gods behold, and tremble at thy fate.
who had fought unsuccessfully hand in hand Pitving, but daring not, in thy defence, To lift a hand against Omnipotence.” [fear:
with Menelaus, from thence goes to his own pa
lace to see his wife Andromache, and his infant This heard, th' imperious queen sate mute with
son Astyanax. The description of that interview Nor further durst incense the gloomy thunderer. Silence was in the court at this rebuke:
is the subject of this translation.
Thus having said, brave Hector went to see
He found her not at home; for she was gone,
From whence, with heavy heart, she might survey If gods of pleasure will for mortals jar?
The bloody business of the dreadful day. Such discord but disturbs our jovial feast;
Her mournful eyes she cast around the plain, One grain of bad, embitters all the best.
And sought the lord of her desires in vdin. Mother, though wise yourself, my counsel weigh; But he, who thought his peopled palace bare, 'Tis much unsafe my sire to disobey.
When she, his only comfort, was not there, Not only you provoke him to your cost,
Stood in the gate, and ask'd of every one,
If to the court, or, with his mother's train,
The servants answer'd, “ Neither to the court,
He said no more; but crown'd a bowl, unbid : Nor to the temple was she gone, to move
With prayers the blue-ey'd progeny of Jove;
Than all their safety, to the tower was gone, Be, as becomes a wife, obedient still;
There to survey the labours of the field, Though griev'd, yet subject to her husband's will. Where the Greeks conquer, and the Trojans yield; I would not see you beaten ; yet, afraid
Swiftly she pass'd, with fear and fury wild; Of Jore's superior force, I dare not aid.
The nurse went lagging after with the child." Too well I know him, since that hapless hour
This heard, the noble Hector made no stay; When I and all the gods employ'd our power
Th’admiring throng divide, to give him way; To break your bonds: me by the heel he drew, He pass'd through every street, by which he came, And o'er Heaven's battlements with fury threw. And at the gate he met the mournful dame.
His wife beheld him, and with eager pace Guard well that pass, secure of all beside." Flew to his arms, to meet a dear embrace:
To whom the noble Hector thus reply'd. His wife, who brought in dower Cilicia's crown,
“ That and the rest are in my daily care; And, in herself, a greater dower alone:
But should I shun tbe dangers of the war, Aetion's heir, who on the woody piaio
With scorn the Trojans would reward my pains, Of Hippoplacus did in Thebe reign.
Aud their proud ladies with their sweeping trains, Breathless she flew, with joy and passion wild ; The Grecian swords and lances I can bear: The nurse came lagging after with her child. But loss of honour is my only fear.
The royal babe upon her breast was laid ; Shall Hector, born to war, his birth-right yield, Who, like the morning star, his beams display'd. Belie his courage, and forsake the field? Scamandrius was his name, which Hector gave, Early in rugged arms I took delight, From that fair flood which llion's wall did lave: And still have been the foremost in the fight: But him Astyanax the Trojans call,
With dangers dearly have I bought renown, From his great father, who defends the wall. And am the champion of my father's crown. Hector beheld him with a silent smile:
And yet my mind forebodes, with sure presage, His tender wife stood weeping by the while : That Troy shall perish by the Grecian rage. Press'd in her own, his warlike hand she took, The fatal day draws on, when I must fall; Then sighd, and thus prophetically spoke: And universal ruin cover all.
“ Thy dauntless heart (which I foresee too late) Not Troy itself, though built by hands divine, Too daring man, will urge thee to thy fate: Nor Priam, nor his people, nor his line, Nor dost thou pity, with a parent's mind,
My mother, nor my brothers of renown,
Not these, nor all their fates which I foresee,
I see, I see thee, in that fatal hour, With many, will oppress thy single might: Subjected to the victor's cruel power; Better it were for miserable me
Led hence a slave to some insulting sword,
Forlorn, and trembling at a foreign lord;
Gracing with Trojan fights a Grecian room; “ Eternal sorrow and perpetual tears
Or from deep wells the living stream to take,
They insolently call thee Hector's wife;
And from my glory propagate thy shame. He slew Aetion, but despoil'd him not;
This when they say, thy sorrows will increase Nor in his hate the funeral rites forgot;
With anxious thoughts of former happiness; Arm'd as he was he sent bim whole below,
That he is dead who could thy wrongs redress. And reverenc'd thus the manes of his foe:
But I, oppress'd with iron sleep before,
The fearful infant turn'd his head away,
And on bis nurse's neck reclining lay,
And looking back on so uncouth a sight;
And his high plume that nodded o'er bis head. And but beheld: for soon Diana's dart
His sire and mother smild with silent joy; In an unhappy chase transfix'd her heart. And Hector hasten'd to relieve his boy;
“ But thou, my Hector, art thyself alone Dismiss'd his burnish'd helm, that shone afar, My parents, brothers, and my lord in one : The pride of warriors, and the pomp of war: O kill not all my kindred o'er again,
Th’illustrious babe, thus reconcil'd, he took: Nor tempt the dangers of the dusty plain; Hugg'd in his arms, and kiss'd, and thus he spoke: But in this tower, for our defence, remain. “ Parent of gods and men, propitious Jove, Thy wife and son are in thy ruin lost:
And you bright synod of the powers above; This is a husbaud's and a father's post.
On this my son your gracious gifts bestow; The Sexan gate commands the plains below; Grant him to live, and great in arms to grow, Here marshal all thy soldiers as they go;
To reign in Troy, to govern with renown, And hence with other hands repel the foe.
To shield the people, and assert the crown: By yon wild fig-tree lies their chief ascent, That, when hereafter he from war shall come, And thither all their powers are daily bent : And bring his Trojans peace and triumph home, The two Ajaces lave I often seen,
Some aged man, who lives this act to see, And the wrong'd husband of the Spartan queen : And who in former times remembird me, With him his greater brother; and with these May say, the son in fortitude and fame Fierce Diomede and hold Meriones:
Outgoes the mark, and drowns his father's name: Uncertain if by augury or chance,
That at these words his mother may rejoice, But by this easy rise they all advance;
And and her sutirage to the public voice.”
Thus having said,
Return, and, to divert thy thoughts at home, Ile first with suppliant' hands the gods arlord: There task thy maids, and exercise the loom, Then to the mother's arms the child restord: Employ'd in works that womankind become. With tears and smiles she took her son, and press'd The toils of war and feats of chivalry Th' illustrious infant to her fragrant breast. Belong to men, and most of all to me.” He, wiping her fair eyes, indulg'd her grief,
At this, for new replies he did not stay, And eas'd her sorrows with this last relief.
But lac'd his crested helm, and strode away. “My wife and mistress, drive thy fears away, His lovely consort to her house return'd, Nor give so bad an omen to the day;
And looking often back in silenc“ mouru'd : Think not it lies in any Grecian's power,
Home when she came, her secret woe she vents, To take my life before the fatal hour.
And fills the palace with her loud laments; When that arrives, nor good nor bad can fly
Those loud laments her echoing maids restore, Th'irrevocable doom of Destiny.
And Hector, yet alive, as dead deplore.
THEOCRITUS, LUCRETIUS, AND HORACE.
CONCERNING MR. DRYDEN'S TRANSLATIONS.
For this last half-year I have been troubled with the disease (as I may call it) of translation: the cold prose fits of it, which are always the most tedious with me, were spent in the history of the League ; the hot, which succeeded them, in verse miscellanies. The truth is, I fancied to myself a kind of ease in the change of the paroxysm; never suspecting but the humour would bave wasted itself in two or three pastorals of Theocritus, and as many odes of Horace. But finding, or at least thinking I found, something that was more pleasing in them than my ordinary productions, I encouraged myself to renew my old acquaintance with Lucretius and Virgil; and immediately fixed upon some parts of them, which had most affected me in the reading. These were my natural impulses for the undertaking. But there was an accidental motive which was full as forcible. It was my lord Ros. common's Essay on Translated Verse; which made me uneasy till I tried whether or no I was capable of following his rules, and of reducing the speculation into practice. For many a fair precept in poetry is, like a seeming demonstration in the mathematics, very specious in the diagram, but failing in the mechanic operation. I think I have generally observed his instructions; I am sure my reason is sufficiently convinced both of their truth and usefulness; which, in other words, is to confess no less a vanity, than to pretend that I have at least in some places made examples to his rules. Yet, withal, I must acknowledge, that I have many times exceeded my commission: for I have both added and omitted, and even sometimes very boldly made such expositions of my authors, as no Dutch commentator will forgive me. Perhaps, in such particular passages, I have thought that I discovered some beauty yet undiscovered by those pedants, which none but a poet could have found. Where I have taken away some of their expressions, and cut them shorter, it may possibly be on this consideration, that what was beautiful in the Greek or Latin, would not appear so shining in the English. And where I have enlarged them, 1 desire the false critics would not always think, that those thoughts are wholly mine, but that either they are secretly in the poet, or may be fairly deduced from him; or at least, if both those considerations should fail, that my own is of a piece with his, and that if he were living, and an Englishman, they are such as he would probably have written.
Por, after all, a translator is to make his author appear as charming as possibly he can, provided he maintains his character, and makes him not unlike himself. Translation is a kind of drawing after the life: where every one will acknowledge there is a double sort of likeness, a good one and a bad. It is one thing to draw the out-lines true, the features like, the proportions exact, the colouring itself perhaps tolerable; and another thing to make all these graceful, by the posture, the shadowings, and chiefly by the spirit which animates the whole. I cannot, without some indignation, look on an ill copy of an excellent original. Much less can I bebold with patience Virgil, Homer, and some others, whose beauties I have been endeavouring all my life to imitate, so abused, as I may say, to their faces, vy a botching interpreter. What English readers, unacquainted with Greek or Latin, will believe me
or any other man, when we commend those authors, and confess we derive all that is pardonable in us from their fountains, if they take those to be the same poets whom our Ogilbys have translated ? But I dare assure them, that a good poet is no more like himself, in a dull translation, than his carcase would be to his living body. There are many, who understand Greek and Latin, and yet are ignorant of their mother tongue. The proprieties and delicacies of the English are known to few: it is impossible even for a good wit to understand and practise them, without the help of a liberal education, long reading, and digesting of those few good authors we have amongst us, the knowledge of men and manners, the freedom of habitudes and conversation with the best of company of both sexes; and, in short, without wearing off the rust, which he contracted while he was laying-in a stock of learning. Thus difficult it is to understand the purity of English, and critically to discern not only good writers from bad, and a proper style from a corrupt, but also to distinguish that which is pure in a good author, from that which is vicious and corrupt in him. And for want of all these requisites, or the greatest part of them, most of our ingenious young men take up some cry'd-up English poet for their model, adore him, and imitate him, as they think, without knowing wherein he is defective, where he is boyish and trifling, wherein either his thoughts are improper to his subject, or his expressions unworthy of his thoughts, or the turn of both is unbarmonious. Thus it appears necessary, that a man should be a nice critic in his mother-tongue, before he attempts to translate a foreign language. Neither is it sufficient that he be able to judge of words and style; but he must be a master of them too: he must perfectly understand his author's tongue, and absolutely command his own. So that, to be a thorough translator, he must be a thorough poet. Neither is it enough to give his author's sense in good English, in poetical expressions, and in musical numbers : for, though all these are exceeding difficult to perform, there yet remains a harder task; and it is a secret of which few translators have sufficiently thought. I have already hinted a word or two concerning it; that is, the maintaining the character of an author, which distinguishes him from all others, and makes him appear that individual poet whom you would interpret. For example, not only the thoughts, but the style and versification, of Virgil and Ovid are very different. Yet I see, even in our best poets, who have translated some parts of them, that they have confounded their several talents; and, by endeavouring only at the sweetness and harmony of numbers, have made them both so much alike, that if I did not know the originals, I should never be able to judge by the copies, which was Virgil, and which was Ovid. It was objected against a late noble painter (Sir P. Lely), that he drew many graceful pictures, but few of them were like. And this happened to him, because he always studied himself more than those who sat to him. In such translators I can easily distinguish the hand which performed the work, but I cannot distinguish their poet from another. Suppose two authors are equally sweet, yet there is a great distinction to be made in sweetness; as in that of sugar, and that of honey. I can make the difference more plain, by giving you (if it be worth knowing) my own method of proceeding, in my translations out of four several poets; Virgil, Theocritus, Lucretius, and Horace. In each of these, before I undertook them, I considered the genius and distinguishing character of my author. I looked on Virgil as a succinct, grave, and majestic writer; one who weighed, not only every thought, but every word and syllable: who was still aiming to crowd his sense into as narrow a compass as possibly he could; for which reason he is so very figurative, that he requires (I may almost say) a grammar a part to construe him. His verse is every where sounding the very thing in your ears whose sense it bears: yet the numbers are perpetually varied, to increase the delight of the reader ; so that the same sounds are never repeated twice together. On the contrary, Ovid and Claudian, though they write in styles differing from each other, yet have each of them but one sort of musie in their verses. All the versification and little variety of Claudian is included within the compass of four or five lines, and then he begins again in the same tenour; perpetually closing his sense at the end of a verse, and that verse commonly which they call golden, or two substantives and two adjectives, with a verb betwixt them to keep the peace. Ovid, with all his sweetness, has as little variety of numbers and sound as he : he is always, as it were, upon the hand-gallop, and his verse runs upon carpet-ground. He avoids, like the other, all synalæphas, or cutting-off one vowel when it comes before another, in the following word. But to return to Virgil, though he is smooth where smoothness is required, yet he is so far from affecting it, that he seems rather to disdain it; frequently makes use of synalæphas, and concludes bis sense in the middle of his Ferse. He is every where above conceits of epigrammatic wit, and gross hyperboles : he maintains majesty in the midst of plainness; he shines, but glares not; and is stately without ambition, which is the vice of Lucan. I drew my definition of poetical wit from my particular consideration of bim :