Imatges de pÓgina
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than conviction. The writers of the foregoing age had at least learning equal to their genius, and, being often more able to explain the sentiments and illustrate the allusions of the ancients, than to exhibit their graces and transfuse their spirit, were perhaps willing sometimes to conceal their want of poetry by profusion of literature, and therefore translated literally, that their fidelity might shelter their insipidity or harshness. The wits of Charles's time had seldom more than slight and superficial views, and their care was to hide their want of learning behind the colours of a gay imagination: they therefore translated always with freedom, sometimes with licentiousness, and perhaps expected that their readers should accept sprightliness for knowledge, and consider ignorance and mistake as the impatience and negligence of a mind too rapid to stop at difficulties, and too elevated to descend to minuteness.

Thus was translation made more easy to the writer, and more delightful to the reader; and there is no wonder if ease and pleasure have found their advocates. The paraphrastic liberties have been al most universally admitted: and Sherbourn, whose learning was eminent, and who had no need of any excuse to pass slightly over obscurities, is the only writer who, in later times, has attempted to justify or revive the ancient severity.

There is undoubtedly a mean to be observed. Dryden saw very early, that closeness best preserved an author's sense, and that freedom best exhibited his spirit: he therefore will deserve the highest praise who can give a representation at once faithful and pleasing; who can convey the same thoughts with the same graces, and who, when he translates, changes nothing but the language.


§ 81. What talents are requisite to form a good Translator.

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. "Tis one thing to draw the outlines true, the features like, the proportions exact, the colouring itself perhaps tolerable; and another thing to make all those graceful, by the posture, the shadow

ings, 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 behold 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, by a botching interpreter. What English readers, unaquainted 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 a 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: 'tis 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 inge. nious 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 the subject, or his expressions unworthy of his thoughts, or the turn of both is unharmonious. 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. Nei

ther is it enough to give his author's sense in good English, in poetical expressions, and in musical numbers; for, though all those are exceeding difficult to perform, there yet remains an harder task; and 'tis 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 alike. 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 in 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 apart 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 music 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 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 his sense in the middle of his verse. 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 him: for propriety of thoughts and words are only to be found in him; and where they are proper, they will be delightful. Pleasure follows of necessity, as the effect does the cause; and therefore is not to be put into the definition. This exact propriety of Virgil I particularly regarded as a great part of his character; but must confess, to my shame, that I have not been able to translate any part of him so well, as to make him appear wholly like himself: for where the original is close, no version can reach it in the same compass. Hannibal Caro's, in the Italian, is the nearest, the most poetical, and the most sonorous of any translation of the Eneid: yet though he takes the advantage of blank verse, he commonly allows two lines for one of Virgil, and does not always hit his sense. Tasso tell us, in his letters, that Sperone Speroni, a great Italian wit, who was his contemporary, observed of Virgil and Tully, that the Latin orator endeavoured to imitate the copiousness of Hoiner, the Greek poet; and that the Latin poet made it his business to reach the conciseness of Demosthenes, the Greek

orator. Virgil, therefore, being so very sparing of his words, and leaving so much to be imagined by the reader, can never be translated as he ought, in any modern tongue. To make him copious is to alter his character and to translate him line for line is impossible, because the Latin is naturally a more succinct language than either the Italian, Spanish, French, or even than the English, which, by reason of its monosyllables, is far the most compendious of them. Virgil is much the closest of any Roman poet, and the Latin hexameter has more feet than the English heroic. Dryden.

§ 82. The Nature of Wit in Writing. The composition of all poems is, or ought to be, of wit; and wit in poetry, or wit writing (if you will give me leave to use a school distinction) is no other than the faculty of imagination in the writer, which, like a nimble spaniel, beats over and ranges through the field of memory, till it springs the quarry it hunted after; or, without a metaphor, which searches over all the memory for the species or ideas of those things which it designs to represent. Wit written is that which is well defined, the happy result of thought, or product of imagination. But to proceed from wit, in the general notion of it, to the proper wit of an heroic or historical poem; I judge it chiefly to consist in the delightful imagination of persons, actions, passions, or things. 'Tis not the jerk or sting of an epigram, nor the seeming contradiction of a poor antithesis (the delight of an ill-judging audience in a play of rhyme) nor the jingle of a more poor paranomasia; neither is it so much the morality of a grave sentence affected by Lucan, but more sparingly used by Virgil; but it is some lively and apt description, dressed in such colours of speech that it sets before your eyes the absent object as perfectly and more delightfully than nature. So then the first happiness of a poet's imagination, is properly invention, or finding of the thought; the second is fancy, or the variation, dressing or moulding of that thought, as the judgment represents it, proper to the subject; the third is elocution, or the art of clothing and adorning that thought so found and varied, in apt, significant, and sounding words: the quickness of the imagination is seen in the invention, the fertility in the fancy, and accuracy in the expression. For the first of these, Ovid is famous

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amongst the poets; for the latter, Virgil. Ovid imagines more often the movements and affections of the mind, either combating between two contrary passions, or, extremely discomposed by one. His words therefore are the least part of his care; for he pictures nature in disorder, with which the study and choice of words is inconsistent. This is the proper wit of dialogue or discourse, and consequently of the drama, where all that is said is to be supposed the effect of sudden thought; which, though it excludes not the quickness of wit in repartees, yet admits not a too curious election of words, too frequent allusions or use of tropes, or, in fine, any thing that shews remoteness of thought or labour in the writer. On the other side, Virgil speaks not so often to us in the person of another, like Ovid, but in his own: he relates almost all things as from himself, and therefore gains more liberty than the other to express his thoughts with all the graces of elocution, to write more figuratively, and to confess as well the labour as the force of his imagination. Though he describes his Dido well and naturally, in the violence of her, passions, yet he must yield in that to the Myrrha, the Biblis, the Althæa, of Ovid: for as great an admirer of him as I am, I must acknowledge, that if I see not more of their souls than I see of Dido's, at least I have a greater concernment for them; and that convinces me, that Ovid has touched those tender strokes more delicately than Virgil could. But when actions or persons are to be described, when any such image is to be set before us, how bold, how masterly are the strokes of Virgil! We see the objects he presents us with in their native figures, in their proper motions; but so we see them, as our own eyes could never have beheld them so beautiful in themselves. We see the soul of the poet, like that universal one of which he speaks, informing and moving through all his pictures:

-Totamque infusa per artus Mens agitat molein, et magno se corpore miscet.

We behold him embellishing his images, as he makes Venus breathing beauty upon her son Æneas:

-lumenque inventa Purpureum, et lætos oculis afflårat honores:

Quale manus addunt ebori decus, aut ubi flavo

Argentum Pariusve lapis circumdatur auro.
See his tempest, his funeral sports, his

combats of Turnus and Encas; and in his Georgics, which I esteem the divinest part of all his writings, the plague, the country, the battle of the bulls, the labour of the bees, and those many other excellent images of nature, most of which are neither great in themselves, nor have any natural ornament to bear them up; but the words wherewith he describes them are so excellent, that it might be well applied to him, which was said by Ovid, Materiam superabat opus: the very sound of his words has often somewhat that is connatural to the subject; and while we read him, we sit, as in a play, beholding the scenes of what he represents. To perform this, he made frequent use of tropes, which you know change the nature of a known word, by applying it to some other signification and this is it which Horace means in his epistle to the Pisos.

Dixeris egregið notum si callida verbum
Reddiderat junctura novum-


$83. Examples that Words may affect without ruising Images.

I find it very hard to persuade several, that their passions are affected by words from whence they have no ideas; and yet harder to convince them, that in the ordinary course of conversation, we are sufficiently understood without raising any images of the things concerning which we speak, It seems to be an odd subject of dispute with any man, whether he has ideas in his mind or not. Of this, at first view, every man in his own forum ought to judge without appeal. But strange as it may appear, we are often at a loss to know what ideas we have of things, or whether we have any ideas at all upon some subjects, It even requires some attention to be thoroughly satisfied on this head. Since I wrote these papers I found two very striking instances of the possibility there is, that a man may hear words without having any idea of the things which they represent, and yet afterwards be capable of returning them to others, combined in a new way, and with great propriety, energy, and instruction. The first instance is that of Mr. Blacklock, a poet blind from his birth, Few men blessed with the most perfect sight can describe visual objects with more spirit and justness than this blind man; which cannot possibly be owing to his having a

clearer conception of the things he de scribes than is common to other persons. Mr. Spence, in an elegant preface which he has written to the works of this poet, reasons very ingeniously, and, I imagine, for the most part very rightly, upon the cause of this extraordinary phenomenon; but I cannot altogether agree with him, that some improprieties in language and thought which occur in these poems, have arisen from the blind poet's imperfect conception of visual objects, since such improprieties, and much greater, may be found in writers even of an higher class than Mr. Blacklock, and who, notwithstanding, possessed the faculty of seeing in its full perfection. Here is a poet doubtless as much affected by his own descriptions as any that reads them can be; and yet he is affected with this strong enthusiasm by things of which he neither has, nor can possibly have any idea, further than that of a bare sound; and why may not those who read his works be affected in the same manner that he was, with as little of any real ideas of the things described? The second instance is of Mr. Saunderson, professor of mathematics in the university of Cambridge. This learned man had acquired great knowledge in natural philosophy, in astronomy, and whatever sciences depend upon mathema

tical skill. What was the most extraordinary, and the most to my purpose, he gave excellent lectures upon light and colours; and this man taught others the theory of those ideas which they had, and which he himself undoubtedly had not. But the truth is, that the words red, blue, green, answered to him as well as the ideas of the colours themselves; for the ideas of greater or lesser degrees of refrangibility being applied to these words, and the blind man being instructed in what other respects they were found to agree or to disagree, it was as easy for him to reason upon the words, as if he had been fully master of the ideas. Indeed, it must be owned, he could make no new discoveries in the way of experiment. He did nothing but what we do every day in common discourse. When I wrote this last sentence, and used the words every day, and common discourse, I had no images in my mind of any succession of time: nor of men in conference with each other: nor do I imagine that the reader will have any such ideas on reading it. Neither when I spoke of red, blue, and

green, as well as of refrangibility, had I
these several colours, or the rays of light
passing into a different medium, and there
diverted from their course, painted before
me in the way of images. I know very
well that the mind possesses a faculty of
raising such images at pleasure; but then
an act of the will is necessary to this; and
in ordinary conversation, or reading, it is
very rarely that any image at all is ex-
cited in the mind. If I say, "I shall go
to Italy next summer," I am well under-
stood. Yet I believe nobody has by this
painted in his imagination the exact figure
of the speaker passing by land or by wa-
ter, or both; sometimes on horseback,
sometimes in a carriage; with all the par-
ticulars of the journey. Still less has he
any idea of Italy, the country to which I
proposed to go; or of the greenness of
the fields, the ripening of the fruits, and
the warmth of the air, with the change to
this from a different season, which are the
ideas for which the word summer is sub-
stituted; but least of all has he any image
from the word next; for this word stands
for the idea of many summers, with the
exclusion of all but one: and surely the
man who
next summer,
images of such a succession, and such
an exclusion. In short, it is not
only those ideas which are commonly
called abstract, and of which no image at
all can be found, but even of particular
real beings, that we converse without
having any idea of them excited in the
imagination; as will certainly appear on
a diligent examination of our own minds.
Burke on the Sublime.

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When we compare the parties of Whig and Tory to those of Roundhead and Cavalier, the most obvious difference which appears betwixt them, consists in the principles of passive obedience and indefeasible right, which were but little heard of among the Cavaliers, but became the universal doctrine, and were esteemed the true characteristic of a Tory. Were these principles pushed into their most obvious consequences, they imply a formal renunciation of all our liberties, and an avowal of absolute monarchy; since nothing can be a greater absurdity, than a limited power which must not be resisted, even when it exceeds its limitations. But as

the most rational principles are often but a weak counterpoise to passion, 'tis no wonder that these absurd principles, sufficient, according to a celebrated author, to shock the common sense of a Hottentot or Samoide, were found too weak for that effect. These Tories, as men, were enemies to oppression; and also, as Englishmen, they were enemies to despotic power. Their zeal for liberty was, perhaps, less fervent than that of their antagonists, but was sufficient to make them forget all their general principles, when they saw themselves openly threatened with a subversion of the ancient government. From these sentiments arose the Revolution; an event of mighty consequence, and the firmest foundation of British liberty. The conduct of the Tories, during that event and after it, will afford us a true insight into the nature of that party.

In the first place they appear to have had the sentiments of a True Briton in them in their affection to liberty, and in their determined resolution not to sacrifice it to any abstract principles whatsoever, or to any imaginary rights of princes. This part of their character might justly have been doubted of before the Revolu tion, from the obvious tendency of their avowed principles, and from their almost unbounded compliances with a court, which made little secret of its arbitrary designs. The Revolution shewed them to have been in this respect nothing but a genuine court party, such as might be expected in a British government; that is, lovers of liberty, but great lovers of monarchy. It must, however, be confessed ciples farther, even in practice, but more that they carried their monarchical prinso in theory, than was in any degree consistent with a limited government.

Secondly, Neither their principles nor affections concurred, entirely or heartily, with the settlement made at the Revolution, or with that which has since take place. This part of their character may seem contradictory to the former, since any other settlement, in those circumstances of the nation, must probably have been dangerous, if not fatal to liberty. But the heart of man is made to reconcile contradictions; and this contradiction is not greater than that betwixt passive obedience, and the resistance employed at the Revolution. A Tory, therefore, since the Revolution, may be defined in a few words

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