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omission and of supplement. Now with more artificial poets such a compromise would be legitimate. If in rendering an author full of conceits you suppress some of his, and endue him with some of your own, and are by such means enabled to present the reader with a richer versification, few persons would demur to such a degree of license; but if there is any author who ought not to be subjected to such treatment, it is Homer. *
But if rhyme is too expensive a mode of enriching a translation, is there any other more cheap and sober condiment? Yes, there is the British dactyl, which, like many other British substitutes for foreign delicacies, has been pronounced quite equal to the genuine article.
The controversy about English hexameters is wearisome and unprofitable; wearisome, because those who are thoroughly acquainted with the metre have no new facts to learn, while those who are merely familiar with the jingle cannot fail to resent the introduction of the technical terms of an art to which they have served no apprenticeship; it is also profitless, because the champions of this new system are continually shifting their ground, and, if driven from every other, are ready to plead the satisfaction of their individual ears as an answer to all objections. Our remarks, therefore, on this subject, shall be as brief as untechnical, and, let us add, as impersonal, as we can make them.
We will begin with admitting that we cannot conceive any distinction whatsoever between the Greek and the Latin hexameter. All the arguments derived from the fact that the Latin accentuation is different from the Greek either prove too much, or are nothing to the purpose; for they either show that short and long syllables had no practical difference for the ear, in which case how shall we account for the difference between short and long having served as the basis of versification from Homer down to Tzetzes? Or if all that is intended be to show that in the pronunciation of a Greek verse the grammatical accent upon one syllable may have modified the metrical stress upon another, this is no more than what we meet with in the recitation of any
If anything could shake our convictions on this point, it would be Mr. Worsley's excellent translation of the Odyssey into the Spenserian stanza. In this work we see at once a scholar-like appreciation of the original, and a pure, elegant, and forcible English diction. And we must admit that he has met the exigencies of bis rhyme with a skill which leaves no trace of effort behind it, and that his little supplements are so well-toned and so unobtrusive, ut per laeve sereros Effundat junctura ungues.
We may notice here the recent appearance-at the same moment with Lord Derby's work--of a spirited and faithful translation of the • Jerusalem Delivered,' by Sir J. Kingston James ; and of the very remarkable prose translation of Lucretius, by Mr. Munro, in his able and scholar-like edition of that great poet.
modern language where the logical emphasis often throws the rhyme into comparative shade; but yet we feel that the rhyme is there, and the ear is prepared to insist upon having it.
A great deal of misconception has arisen from not understanding the nature of the pause or cæsura, the true object of which was to divide the verse into two unequal parts ; and the object again of this unequal division was to prevent monotony. The two unequal parts combine into a whole; whereas, if they were equal, or if there were no division, the sense of the unity of each line would entirely disappear, since the parts might belong just as well, the first to the preceding line, and the second to that which followed. It is the variety which produces the unity. Nothing shows this so plainly as that which at first sight would seem an exception; the tetra meter iambic and trochaic lines are divided in the middle. What is the consequence? In order to re-establish the inequality these lines are curtailed of one syllable; while in the anapæstic measure, which, according to the old metrical doctrine, was not divided into lines at all, this sense of equality is maintained until the ear is relieved by a similar truncated verse at the end of each system. Perfectly distinct from this division, though in perfect rhythmical lines it coincides with it, is the ictus, or stress upon every alternate foot; and distinct again from that is the length or shortness of the syllables. It is perfectly easy to make any number of English lines in which the division or cæsura is observed, and so to arrange the words as to preserve the proper number and place of accentuated syllables; but how are we to comply with the requirements touching long and short syllables? We have no such,' says one maker of English heroics, they are long or short according to the presence or absence of stress. We have plenty of natural longs and shorts,' says another. To the first we answer that it is one thing to huddle over a syllable because it is in the shade, and another to feel and know that it is short. When Dr. Watts sings in a Sapphic Ode upon the day of judgment, which he doubtless composed judicium expectans,
‘How the poor sailors stand amazed and tremble!' he intended us to pronounce poor, as long, the second syllable in sailor, as long, stand, as short, and and, as short. We can make an equally good hexameter line, and reverse the quantities,
How the poor sailors amazed stand pale and gaze at the tempest!' It is surely obvious that when syllables are neither so long but that you can make them short, nor so short but that you can make them long, just so much of the rhythm as depends upon
length or shortness will disappear, and the ear will be driven to seek for rhythm in a series of exaggerated beats, which drag on a syllable overladen with consonants with undue rapidity, or stretch out a solitary vowel into ridiculous importance. To the second class of objectors it is enough to answer, Show us by copious examples that it is possible so to compose your heroics that we shall have really long syllables where they are wanted, and that in the rapid parts of the verse we shall not have to break our shins over double consonants, and then will be the time to discuss the merits of the metre. When we shall have found such a performance physically possible on a large scale, we shall have yet another answer in reserve, namely, that whereas in an ancient heroic line the beats in the odd feet are more conspicuous than those in the even, so that there are three strong ictuses and three weak ones, the best modern specimens seem always to present six ictuses of equal strength. Let us, therefore, be content to confess our inferiority to the ancient languages, and to admit that there is no hope of our ever rivalling the dactylic flow of Homer. But on this very ground a judicious translator will see that it is in no way incumbent upon him in a perfectly different measure to adhere to Homer's endings, by endeavouring to make the pause at the end of the line. On the contrary, he will approach nearer to his rhythm by allowing his blank verse the fullest variety of pauses; for it is by this variety alone that a measure which has neither cæsura, nor rhyme to compensate for it, can assume the requisite appearance of richness.
We have purposely refrained from comparing the translation under review with any of its modern competitors; for the question is, not whether this is a better translation than those, but whether it is a good one.
Let it therefore suffice to say, in general, that of the translations which we have seen, some have failed through sheer incompetence, and some have been marred by the wilfulness of their authors, either as to language or metre, or both; and that as often as we return from even the best of them to the translation before us, we find ourselves in a purer atmosphere of taste. We find more spirit, more tact in avoiding either trivial or conceited phrases, and altogether a presence of merits and an absence of defects which continues, as we read, to lengthen more and more the distance between Lord Derby and the foremost of his competitors.
No one can fail to be struck with the passage in the 23rd Book, where there is that admirable transition from the apparition of Patroclus to the felling of the trees for his funeral pile : it is a passage from humanity in face of death, all weak and
dreary, to humanity at work, and therefore cheerful in itself, and cheerful to behold. Lord Derby has not failed to do justice to his original in this place.
· Whom answer'd thus Achilles, swift of foot:
Thus as he spoke, he spread his longing arms,
“O Heav'n, there are then, in the realms below,
He said ; his words the gen'ral grief arous'd:
Through the thick brushwood, hurrying to the plain.' Having already shown our hearty approval of Lord Derby's principles of translation, and of the mode in which he has carried them out, we shall feel the less reluctant to enter somewhat minutely into details, and to point out some weaknesses and some errors, such as one naturally expects in the first edition of a long and laborious work. For this purpose we will invite the reader to accompany us through three or four Books. We will begin with the eighth, for the same reason as the author of the Catalogue' begins with the Baotians.
Th feeble and aimless passage from verse 31 to 44 is not imputable to the translator. It is one of the many interpolations
in which this book abounds; and we are glad to find that Bekker, in obedience to Aristarchus and to common sense, has treated it as an interpolation. The departure of Jove in his chariot is executed with much spirit; but verses 60, 61,
‘Meanwhile the long-haired Greeks throughout their tents,
With food recruited armed them for the fight,' scarcely give the point of the passage, where the chief force is in pinda. We would propose,
"Then hurriedly the Greeks throughout their tents
Dispatched their meal, and straightway donned their arms. The description of the wounding of Nestor's horse is thus given by Homer :
τον βάλεν ιω
.' This is so well rendered, that we are loth to interfere with it; but the lines,
'He reared, then plunging forward, with the shaft Fixed in his brain, and rolling in the dust,
The other steeds in dire confusion threw,' do not present the description intended by the poet, in which there is no mention of plunging forward, nor could there be any of his throwing the other horses into confusion, as there was but one other. The very act of rearing causes the arrow, which is clinging at the juncture of the neck and the head, to enter deeper and pierce his brain; whereupon he falls backward, and, tumbling upon the brazen tire of the wheel, encumbers the chariot, ίππους.
In verse 111, Ulysses is armed with a weapon of which he would have been ashamed at Troy, except when bound on such an errand as is described in the next Book : the words, 'uetà vậta Balo,' do not mean shooting behind thy back,' but 'turning thy back.' In verse 157, the words “whirling round,' appear to us to stand in contradiction to the line immediately following, and in this again we would fain read,
* Beneath the car the affrighted horses quailed.' One of the great difficulties is the rendering with sufficient terseness, and in a manner sufficiently otpoyyúhos, as the Greeks would call it, those short sayings which convey either some pro