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especially needful, “the unfortunate ” in question is altogether silent. We allude to his translation of “ Unerhörtes hört sich nicht," (the Unheard of or Supernatural cannot be heard), as “the Unheard hears itself not.” The pomposity with which our Westminster friend expounded the passage was vastly amusing, as well as the virtuous indignation with which he chafed at Mr. Gurney's version, who, avoiding this rather extraordinary Germanism, had simply said, “Sight is blinded, hearing lost.” We observe, by the bye, that he is more literal in his new version of this scene, translating
“ List yon trumpets, elves astounded !
None the unearthly tones may hear." And now, to adopt a more serious tone-is it not a great misfortune for literary men, that such self-sufficient and ignorant critics as he of the Westminster should be enabled to lord it over unfortunate authors, and to crush their budding hopes by his inexorable fiat of doom? Ignorance should at least be charitable; it requires charity itself, and what it needs it should bestow. In this case we have a young writer bringing his first production before the public, in modest monthly Numbers—a production which has probably cost him much labour, and which has merit enough to draw forth the most enthusiastic encomiums from German critics—(for we see, from Mr. Gurney's advertisements, that the Berlinese Magazine has also most favourably noticed his work)—we see this production, I say, brought forward hy an author who has passed, as he has himself informed us, almost half his life in Germany; and yet he is told by a Quarterly Critic, who assumes a tone of the most arrogant superiority, that a few lessons in German would improve his knowledge of his author's meaning—that he is liable to the charge of perpetual misconception—that his poem is one of the most tedious the reviewer ever met with, and as unlike Goethe as it was possible to make it-and finally, that it was a “ distortion," which ought never to have been brought before the public. And all this, remember, in an article in which the reviewer contrives to expose his own ignorance of German by half a dozen grammatical errors within the space of two pages. This is really stupendous. We shall now leave the delinquent reviewer to his, we trust, repentant meditations, entreating him to abandon all German subjects to some one or other of his coadjutors, and find out some field for himself in which he may be more at home. And now we must proceed to give our readers some extracts from Mr. Gurney's translation before we conclude these remarks, which have stretched to far beyond their intended length, but have not been entirely thrown away, if they have tended to expose one of those abuses, which are, alas! but too common in the critical world—the condemnation, namely, of deserving authors by critics who are utterly incapacitated, by their own ignorance, from forming any opinion, whether for good or for evil, on the subject of the particular works which these authors may have produced. One of the most flagrant instances of this occurs when a translator is violently
condemned, and declared to be ignorant of the language he is trans-
Griffin (snarling as above, and so ever after).
Who grasps the foremost and who gripes the most.” We shall now pass to the Third Scene of the Third Act, the greater part of which, our readers will observe, is not rhymed. The passage we shall next quote is extremely beautiful in the original, and in a metre not easy to translate. A few explanatory observations will be needful to make what follows clearly intelligible. Faust, in this extraordinary work, is supposed to be united with Helen, and they are imagined to have dwelt for some time in a spacious cavern in Arcady with Phorcyas as their attendant, whilst Helen's maidens are slumbering at the mouth of the cavern. Phorcyas at last issues from it and awakes the sleepers. They start up and demand to know what things may have befallen their mistress whilst they were lost in their magic slumber. The ancient hag replies :
Highly honoured stood I near them, but, as confidantes beseemeth,
Helen and Faust.
Boy whom we cherish,
Or thou must perish I
Here I delay."
And then he entwines himself amongst the chorus, and draws them into the dance, singing, as they move in ever-changing circles-
Euphorion and Chorus.
Starlike thou shinest ;
Over the earth so fast,
Speeding now here, now there ;
O'er us, fair child i
Love thee at last." But all is in vain. These delights cannot detain the fugitive. The trump of glory calls him from afar. He mounts on high and sees Greece in the distance, a field of war and strife. He feels himself bound to aid its inhabitants in their conflict with their oppressors, and soars ever higher in order to pass the mountains which surround the vale. Till now he has only sprung from cliff to cliff, but at last he feels wings expanding, and resolves to fly. Alas ! his temerity leads but to his ruin, and he falls dead at his parents' feet. We wished to quote the entire of the mourning dirge which follows-and which would be the more interesting to the English reader, from its evident allusion to Byron's fate-but this our space forbids. Here, however, is an extract:
“ Born to cull earth's fairest blossoms,
Sprung from sires who high held sway,
Casted'st youth and love away.
For each sorrow pity mild,
And the song of genius wild." And here we must, at last, bring this article to a close, but without further apologizing for its length. All the hideous rudeness and repulsive ignorance exhibited in the Westminster arise from the fact that the Editor exercises no control over his attendant gnomes. We have heard that the present Editor is a very worthy cordwainer in Smithfield. If so, we entreat him to remember the adage, “ Ne sutor ultra crepidam,” and then we promise him that he shall have the last from us.
Art. XII.— The Despatches of Hernando Cortes, the Conqueror of
Mexico, addressed to the Emperor Charles the Fifth; written during the Conquest, and containing a Narrative of its Events. Now first translated from the original Spanish, by George Folum.
New York : Wiley & Putnam. COLUMBUS, Cortes, and Pizarro-discoverer of the New World, the conquerors of Mexico and Peru! Before these names how puny look the moderns- for what a confidence in their mission do these men exhibit! Cortes always surprised and took captive our imagination, but these Despatches certainly are well calculated to place him equally high in our judgment. We shall first give a slight sketch of the history of the present Letters--next the early circumstances of the life of Cortes—and then proceed to the very extraordinary Epistles themselves. The translation before us is made from an edition of the Correspondence published by Archbishop, afterwards Cardinal Lorenzana, in Mexico, in 1770. The original editions, probably manyfor the letters were published in Spain on their reception-have, we believe, all disappeared. Mr. Rich, the American bookseller, valued a copy of the original edition of the third letter, in his possession, given in the present translation, at ten guineas. Antonio de Solis, in 1684, confesses himself then indebted to an Italian translation for any knowledge of them. They were, however, republished in Spain, in 1749, in the “ Historiadores Primitivos.” No irace of the first letter is extant. The second was printed at Seville, in 1522; the third in 1523; the fourth at Toledo, in 1525.
We now proceed to the circumstances attendant on the early life of the conqueror of Mexico. It is scarce necessary for us here to advert, having in a previous article done so, to the history of Columbus, or that mistake which led him to suppose that he should arrive at the Indies by a western route; one curious point of which prepossession may, however, be noticed—that he took with him several persons skilled in Arabic, to serve as interpreters in Mahometan countries. In 1502 and 1504 he examined the coast of Central America, from the Bay of Honduras to the Spanish Main. Cuba naturally became the point whence, from its proximity, future adventurers sallied forth, to realise the mighty ideal of Columbus, and to explore his world. The governor of Cuba at this time was Diego Velasquez; in 1518 he equipped an expedition of discovery. This expedition determined Yucatan to be a portion of the main land, and not, as it had been previously considered, an island. The rumoured success of this expedition, which then had not returned, led to the projection of a second, in which the choice of Velasquez fell on his brother-in-law, Hernando Cortes, as the fittest person to conduct it. Educated in Spain, at the University of Salamanca, Cortes had caught the spirit of the hour, and even preferred the New World as a theatre for action to the victorious