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Colloquies with those done into English by Tom Brown is to measure the distance between the scholar and the bookseller's hack. When Brown put his hand to the Colloquies, he showed no respect for Erasmus, little for himself. He declares that he 'keeps his Author still in sight'; but he has no scruple in making his version 'palatable to the English reader.' So, he sprinkles the text with the expletives of the hour, deems no absurdity too bold, and hopes, for instance, to win readers by rendering nuptias Mortis, opinor, cum Marte, by 'not that of death and the Cobbler, I hope, nor of Bully-Bloody-Bones and Mother Damnable.' Thus, he too has produced, not a translation, but a travesty, and is guilty of the same outrage which John Phillips committed upon Don Quixote. L'Estrange had many faults; he never sank to the depth of Brown's ineptitude.

The work by which he is best known, and by which he best deserves to be remembered, is his version of Aesop's Fables. His language, here also, is the language of talk rather than of literature, yet, for the most part, he observes a strict economy of words, and seldom commits the blunder of making his fables diffuse. 'A daw that had a mind to be sparkish,' says he; 'I had much rather be knabbing of crusts,' his Country Mouse declares, 'without fear or danger in my own little hole, than be mistress of the whole world with perpetual cares and alarums.' In a sensible essay upon fables in general, he asserts that the foundations of knowledge and virtue are laid in childhood, and, presently, with an inapposite humour, makes his fables unfit for a child's comprehension. What child, we wonder, would read further after being confronted by such an opening as this: 'In days of old, when Horses spoke Greek and Latin, and Asses made syllogisms'? The fault of taste is doubled when it is committed in defiance of a necessary simplicity. Yet, he sins not always, and his Aesop, stripped of its 'reflexions,' still remains the best that we have. In Seneca's Morals and The Works of Josephus, he was less happily inspired. In the first place, he challenged comparison with the incomparably better versions of Lodge; in the second, neither Seneca nor Josephus gave the smallest scope for his peculiar humour: when he was most himself, in their case he was furthest from excellence. But, of his Josephus, it may, at least, be said that it was a marvellous achievement for a man of eighty-six, beset, as he tells us, by 'frequent troubles, and by ill-health.' Good or bad, it was a fitting conclusion to a career of rare vigour and energy, the crowning work of one whom Pepys found 'a man of fine conversation,' and

whom even the grave Evelyn pronounced 'a person of excellent parts.'

Charles Cotton, in his translations, set before himself the same ideal as Roger L'Estrange. He hoped that his versions might have the air of true originals. And certain it is that you may read them without any thought of his texts. Though his style, too, errs, now and again, on the side of the tavern, he sternly avoids the excesses of slang, which soil the works of his contemporaries. Moreover, he made a resolute attempt to keep close to the sense of the authors whom he translated, and, here again, he separated himself rigidly from the custom of his age. His versions are made one and all from the French, and, within the limits of this language, he permitted himself a great latitude of choice. Corneille's Horace is among his works, and Du Vair's Moral Philosophy of the Stoics. These he followed by Gerard's History of the Life of the Duke of Espernon, and the admirable Commentaries of Blaise de Montluc. In this last, perhaps, his talent found its worthiest expression. He had a natural sympathy with the original, and he translated it into an English that is both dignified and appropriate. Narrative was in closer accord with his temper than philosophical disquisition, and, though it is by his version of Montaigne's Essays that he is principally remembered today, his Commentaries of Montluc approach more nearly in style and quality to what a translation should be.

In translating Montaigne, Cotton was at a disadvantage, of which he himself was wholly unconscious. He followed in the footsteps of a far greater adept in the difficult art, John Florio. Florio had all the virtues, save accuracy. If his book fails to represent the style of Montaigne, and not infrequently distorts his meaning, it is none the less a piece of living prose. Perhaps, it tells you more of Florio than of Montaigne ; but it has that enduring quality, character, and it is unlikely that fashion will ever drive it from the minds of admiring scholars. Cotton's version is of other stuff. Though not always correct, though never close-knit as is the original, it is more easily intelligible than Florio's, and gives, may be, a clearer vision of the French. That, indeed, was Cotton's purpose. 'My design,' says he, 'in attempting this translation was to present my country with a true copy of a very brave original.' Both translators use too many words for their purpose, Florio because he delights in the mere sound of them, Cotton, because he had not acquired the gift of concise expression, because he did not always know how to discard the tiresome symbols which

encumber his sentences as with pack-thread. Florio, on the one hand, wrote like a fantastic, to whom embroideries were essential, Cotton, on the other, wrote like a country gentleman, who, after a day's fishing, turned an honest penny by the pursuits of scholarship. The one lacks precision, the other distinction, and each man will decide for himself which he prefers.

Charles Cotton, in truth, holds a place apart in the literary history of his time. Though L'Estrange was born to an ancient house in Norfolk, the strife of art and politics, the necessities of his journals had driven him to London and the taverns. Cotton, well as he knew London, remained still faithful to his dale in Derbyshire. In Lamb's phrase, he 'smacked of the rough magnanimity of the old English vein.' It was in all sincerity that he praised his beloved caves,

from Dog-star heats,

And hotter persecution safe retreats.

When poverty drove him to do the work of a hack, he did it with what skill and spirit he might. If The Compleat Gamester was unworthy his pen, his Planter's Manual is a pleasant and practical little treatise. His verses have won the approval of Coleridge and Lamb and Wordsworth, and his lines to his 'dear and most worthy Friend, Mr Isaac Walton' remind us of Horace and his Sabine farm:

A day without too bright a Beam,

A warm, but not a scorching Sun,
A Southern gale to curl the Stream,
And (master) half our work is done.

These four lines are worth the whole of Scarronides, and, doubtless, they will be remembered when the translation of Montaigne has faded utterly from the minds of men.

The most industrious and by no means the least distinguished of the translators of his time was captain John Stevens. Who and what he was we know not. There is no record of him or his achievements, save on the title-pages of his many books. There is no doubt that he did a signal service to English letters. It was through his skill and learning that the history of Spain and Spanish literature was made known to his countrymen. His mere industry appals us. He translated nothing save the works of Spaniards, and he accommodated his style to the style of his originals with a variety which no other of his contemporaries could match. Where a light and easy manner was required, as by Quevedo, he knew how to give it, and, when he brought

Mariana's History of Spain 'to speak English,' as he said, under the auspices of the earl of Dorset, to whom it is dedicated, he did it with a dignity and eloquence which befit the Muse of history. The one cause of complaint which we have against him is that he could not keep away from Shelton's Don Quixote, which he 'revised and corrected' with a lavish hand. Nor does his excuse better his ill-doing. He declares in a dedication that Cervantes's 'successful masterpiece has not prov'd happy in its translators, for though it has been made English twice the versions have neither time been proportionable to the Beauty of the Original.' As to Shelton's work, he pronounces it 'almost a literal version,' and then complains that it is 'in such unpolish'd language, and with so many Mistakes, that there seem'd to be nothing left but the outlines and rough Draught of this curious piece.' So Stevens took Shelton's masterpiece and amended it, bringing it, it is true, far nearer to the original, and robbing it of what is of far higher worth than accuracy, its style and character.

For the rest, Stevens touched nothing that he did not embellish. Though he did not disdain romance, though we owe to his pen Pablo de Segovia, the Spanish Sharper, and a collection of novels, with the title The Spanish Libertines, his preference, or the preference of his readers, was for history and travel. Sandoval's History of Charles V followed The Spanish Rule of Trade to the West Indies, written by Don Joseph de Veitia Linage. He took his share in the English of a series of voyages, published in monthly parts, thus making a link between the old method of publishing and the practice of today. So far as we know, he was a translator and a translator only. He seems to have played no part in the life of his time. His dedications, couched in the terms of the loftiest flattery, afford us little clue to his career. Perhaps, as he inscribes his translation of The Portuguese Asia, with humble adulation, to Catherine, queen dowager of England, he may have professed the Catholic faith. But, by his works we know him, and by his works alone, and they tell us that he did the journey-work of translation with a sounder scholarship and with a more various style than any of the men of letters, his contemporaries, could boast.

CHAPTER XI

BERKELEY AND CONTEMPORARY PHILOSOPHY

THE period of English thought which followed Locke's death was fruitful both in great writers and in important movements. Locke's own influence was felt everywhere. His new way of approaching the subject, his freedom from the traditional technicalities of the schools, and his application of his method to a wide range of human interests, made philosophy count for more with reflective writers generally, and determined the line of thought taken by greater minds. Speculation turned mainly upon three problems -the problem of knowledge, the problem of religion and the problem of morality. The treatment of each problem led to striking developments; and Locke's influence affected them all, though in unequal degrees. The idealism of Berkeley followed directly from his fundamental positions; the leaders of the deists professed themselves his disciples, though they arrived at conclusions different from his; the work of the moralists was less fully determined by his speculations, though his ethical views were, perhaps, seldom far from their minds. In the present chapter, this division of problems will be followed; it will treat, in succession, of the metaphysicians, the deists and the moralists. Most writers, indeed, did not limit their interests to a single problem; and their place here will have to be determined by a view of the permanent importance of their work in different departments. Strict chronological order, also, to some extent, will be sacrificed. In this way, consideration of the writings of Samuel Clarke, for instance-although he was a prominent figure in the whole philosophical movement, and one of the earliest to attain eminence-will be postponed till the last section of the chapter.

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