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de sa méprise à l'heure qu'il est. Tout ce que vous pouvez faire, c'est d'aller vous enquérir du monsieur qui lisait dans la chaise.”
§ 13. It sometimes happens that we are puzzled by a word which does not permit us to preserve the English construction. In such cases we must have recourse to an expedient which demands a profound knowledge of both languages. We substitute one part of speech for another, and either give an adjective for a noun, or a noun for an adjective. Example : How I love the fresh green fields and the shady trees! It would here be impossible to follow the order of the words and to translate literally, Combien j'aime les FRAIS VERTS champs et les OMBREUX arbres ! But, by means of the proceeding we have just indicated, we can say correctly, and even elegantly, without making any change in the order of the words : Combien j'aime la FRAÎCHE VERDURE des champs et L'OMBRE des arbres !
§ 14. Let us say, in conclusion, that accuracy must not be carried into singularity. Here, as in everything else, we must avoid exaggeration, and not sacrifice to the fidelity of the text, either the perspicuity of ideas or the genius of the French language. If the translator has at first difficulties to contend with, he should as soon as he has assured himself that it is impossible to retain the identity of the original and the translation, be satisfied with those turns of expression which best reproduce the English, and do so with as close analogies as he can find.
§ 15. One of our greatest prose writers, Chateaubriand, has attempted to translate Milton word for word, without paying any regard to the requirements of the French language. Notwithstanding all the resources of his great genius, he has completely failed; and his translation appears to have been undertaken merely to show what ought to have been avoided.
Three passages taken at random will supply striking examples :
1. Of man's first disobedience, and the fruit
Of that forbidden tree, whose mortal taste
(Paradise Lost, Book i.)
La première désobéissance de l'homme, et le fruit de cet arbre défendu, dont le mortel goût apporta la mort dans le monde et tous nos malheurs, et la perte d'Eden, jusqu'à ce qu'un homme plus grand nous rétablît et reconquît séjour bienheureux, chante, Muse céleste !
2. Half yet remains unsung, but narrower bound
Within the visible diurnal sphere :
(Paradise Lost, Book vii.) La moitié de mon sujet reste encore à chanter, mais dans les bornes plus étroites de la sphère diurne et visible. Arrêté sur la terre, non ravi au-dessus du pôle, je chanterai plus sûrement d'une voix mortelle ; elle n'est devenue ni enrouée ni muette, quoique je sois tombé dans de mauvais jours, dans de mauvais jours quoique je sois tombé parmi des langues mauvaises, parmi les ténèbres et la solitude, et en. touré de périls. Cependant je ne suis pas seul, lorsque la nuit tu visites mes sommeils, ou lorsque le matin empourpre l'orient. 3.
Me, of these
(Paradise Lost, Book ix.) Pour moi (de ces choses ni instruit ni studieux), un sujet plus haut me reste, suffisant de lui-même pour immortaliser mon nom, à moins qu'un siècle trop tardif, le froid climat ou les ans n'engourdissent mon aîle humiliée.
IV.--OF GRAMMATICAL CORRECTNESS.
§ 16. It is evident that, if the desire of accuracy ought not to allow the translator to forget the peculiarites and idioms of his own language, still less ought it to permit him to neglect grammatical correctness, from which no one can depart without offending common sense. Yet correctness is the chief stumbling-block in the way of those who practise translation. The habit of speaking their own language induces them to think, at first, that the forms which are so familiar to them are to be found in the syntax of another tongue also ; but this fallacy leads them to serious mistakes. To instance all these errors would demand a summary of the rules of French grammar, which does not come within the plan of these preliminary remarks. As our book is intended for those who are already acquainted with the whole syntax, we shall only call their attention to some general facts, and point out those differences in the two languages which chiefly lead to the greater number of mistakes.
As for the general facts, everybody knows that we should never, in writing French, lose sight of the Gender of Nouns; the placing of Adjectives, Adverbs, and Pronouns; the Negative and Interrogative forms; the Irregular Verbs ; the right use of the Preterite and Imperfect Tenses; and, finally, of the rules on the Subjunctive and the Participle. It is by the help of a good grammar that students must render themselves familiar with these principles.
But, besides these general facts, there are certain difficulties which often present themselves, and upon which we feel compelled to dwell a little longer.
We shall class them according to the parts of speech.
$ 17. We cannot make use in French as in English of the ellipsis of the adjective, when the subject and verb are expressed. We must not, therefore, translate, Our cousins are rich, but we are not, by Nos cousins sont riches, mais nous ne sommes pas. It is necessary to recall the notion of the adjective by the invariable pronoun le, which answers to the English it, and in this case stands nearly for so. We must therefore say, Nos cousins sont riches, mais nous ne LE sommes pas.
§ 18. The pronoun cela is never used before an adjective followed by a verb in the infinitive mood. Do not then translate, We have found it necessary to put off the meeting, by Nous avons jugé CELA nécessaire de remettre la réunion, but simply say, Nous avons jugé nécessaire de remettre la réunion.
* Messrs Trübner & Co. have published a Grammar of the French language, written by Mons. Henri van Laun, French master at Cheltenham College, which has been adopted in many of the large educational establishments in England.
§ 19. At the beginning of a sentence, before the verb être followed by an adjective, it is translated by il, if the adjective is followed by the preposition de, or by the conjunction que.
It would be a great mistake to say, C'est juste de payer vos dettes ; or, C'est juste QUE vous le payiez.
But, if the adjective stands alone, then translate it by ce.
§ 20. If a Cardinal number, an Adverb of quantity, or an Indefinite pronoun stand by themselves in English, never translate them without preceding the verb in the sentence by the pro
Do not therefore say :
1. You have five apples, but SHE HAS TWENTY.
Vous avez cinq pommes, mais ELLE A VINGT.
Neither say :
2. I received the peaches, but yoC SENT TOO MANY ; it would have been su fficient to HAVE SENT A FEW. J'ai reçu les pêches, mais vous AVEZ ENVOYÉ TROP; il su firait d'ENVOYER QUELQUES-UNES.
But translate thus :
1. Vous avez cinq pommes, mais elle EN A VINGT.
2. J'ai reçu les pêches, mais vous en avez envoyé TROP; il suffisait d'en envoyer QUELQUES-UNES.
§ 21. In English, the antecedent of the Relative pronoun is often preceded by the Demonstrative pronoun that, those. In French, the Article alone is sufficient. This
passage in Shakspeare, Cheris! THOSE hearts that hate thee, ought not to be translated, Chéris ces cours qui te haïssent, but Chéris Les caurs qui te haïssent.
Translate in the same way the following sentence :
They pray to THESE idols which can neither hear, nor see, nor give them any help.
Ils prient des idoles que ne peuvent ni les entendre, ni les voir, ni leur donner aucun secours.
§ 22. The suppression of the Demonstrative ce before qui and que is impossible in French. Translate then-You must do WHAT is right, and He did what I told him, by Vous devez faire CE QUI est bien; Il a fait CE QUE je lui ai dit. § 23. Do not say : A friend OF MINE, Un ami DES MIENS ;
but say, Un DE MES AMIS.
Translate in the same way: A cousin OF OURS, UN DE NOS COUSINS ; Two relations OF YOURS, Deux DE VOS PARENTS, &.
§ 24. In English, an adjective is never used by itself in the vocative; it always follows the pronoun. Example: YE, WICKED, fear the last day. In French we cannot say, Vous MÉCHANTS, craignez le dernier jour. The pronoun is always suppressed, as the adjective acquires the power of a substantive; and we say, MÉCHANTS, craignez le dernier jour.
§ 25. Do not translate, Such a bad man, by Un TEL méchant homme, because an indefinite adjective cannot modify an adjective of quality, as that is the office of the adverb. Say, therefore, with an adverb, Un si méchant homme.
§ 26. Some verbs which are active in English, are neuter in French. In such cases it would be a great mistake to translate their passive form literally.
Do not therefore say:
1. I was very much PLEASED with that pupil.
Je fus très-Plu avec cet élève.
2. My letter Has not BEEN ANSWERED.
Ma lettre n'a pas été répondue.
But say :
1. Cet élève m'a beaucoup PLU.