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titude, and therefore it is tautological to talk of both. In this fifth line, therefore, we would retrench every word except the word "strength:" all the rest is leather and prunella." So is "yet all is good" in the next line. And here, we again ask, why that unhappy qualification" yet?" If it has any significance at all, this word must be used for the purpose of disarming suspicion. The most favourable supposition we can make for the translator is, that when he called the works of God "mysterious all," it immediately occurred to him that they would be suspected of being not good. therefore begs to assure us that, notwithstanding their mysteriousness, they are good; otherwise the word yet can have no meaning whatsoever. "They are mysterious," says he; "yet, trust me, they are good." Now, if no such suspicions ever entered our minds, (as they certainly never did, being indeed quite at variance with the feeling inspired by the strain,) this attempt to allay them must be deemed a very superfluous undertaking, and one which greatly disfigures the character of the verses.
The same want of decision is still more apparent in the second stanza.Change and shift." Why say the same thing twice over, in a composition, the great beauty of which, in point of style, results from the severe parsimony of its words? But this is nothing to what takes place in the next two lines-"The vex'd sea foams"-that is the thing said once;
66 waves leap and moan"-well, that is the same thing said twice, if not three times. Surely it won't be repeated: yes, here it is again-“ and chide the rocks."-that is four times: there is an end of it now, we hopeno, it returns upon us again for the fifth time; they (the waves) do this "" with insult hoarse." How intolerably this retards the fervour of the verse, which ought almost to make the brain whirl with its rapidity! We beg, moreover, to remark, that the use of the words "chide" and "insult," in this passage, affords a striking illustration of what Wordsworth calls "the language of passion wrested from its proper use, and, from the mere circumstance of the composition being in metre," (this is the thing we were condemning a little while back,) "applied upon an occasion which does not justify such expressions." Neither
are these expressions in any degree justified by the original text; indeed, we should as soon expect to see bramble-berries growing on peach-trees, as such vicious poetic diction sprouting from any of the shoots of Goethe's genius.
In the third stanza, the expression "heave round earth" appears to us to be a very sluggish and cumbrous mode of depicting the activity every where propagated, "when the stormy winds do blow." "With deadly ray," is very schoolboyish. two last lines, the reader will see the blunder we have already pointed out, committed: the words "thy servants," namely, understood in reference to themselves the angels, and not in reference to the "thunder-peal" and" fast lightnings," as they ought to be.
We are anxious to exhibit specimens of all the translations of this ode; but as we can only afford space for a stanza a-piece, we shall yoke three mortals together, and make them chant in turn this strain of the im. mortals. The first archangel in our leash shall be
"The sun, along the void of space,
Is sounding with his brother spheres, And rolls on his predestined race
At thunder-speed: his aspect cheers The angels, though none understand What his mysterious music says. The works of the Creator's hand Are fresh as in creation's days.
THE HON. GABRIEL TALBOT.
Swift, swift beyond all thought, still flies Earth, with its pomp, its orbit round; Robed in the light of Paradise,
Altern with night's dread shades profound!
With its broad surge the foaming deep
To lash the sea-cliff's base appears ; While rock and billow onward sweep In forced rotation, with the spheres !
of space" is a very unnecessary interpolation of the translator. "Though none understand what his mysterious music says"-a specific construction
is here put upon the words of the original, which we do not think they will bear. It is not the sun's music merely that the angels are unable to fathom: it is himself and all his wondrous ways.
In the Honourable Mr Talbot's stanza there is not much to applaud; but where can words be found strong enough to condemn the verse in which this expression appears ?
"The foaming deep
To lash the sea-cliffs' base appears." Appears to lash!!-why, it does lash these same foundation-rocks with a force which, unless they had been rooted to the centre, would long ago have knocked them off their legs.
We now make our bow to our third archangel, Mr Birch. Who this gentleman is, we know not; but if he should take umbrage at our having placed him at the head of his stanza as Michael Birch, we beg to refer him to his own pompous preface, from which it appears that he himself has indulged in far more extravagant liberties with the name "his godfathers and godmothers" gave him, than any that we, even in our wildest imaginations, could ever have dreamt of taking. "That my proper name," (says he, p. 10,)" is unknown to the literary world, is true; yet have two of the productions of my pen passed the ordeal of criticism, and received the reviewer's meed of praise; namely, my 'Fifty-one original Fables and Morals,' published five years ago as written by JOB CRITHANNAH; and my recently published Divine Emblems,' as by JOHANN ABRICHT, both being anagrams of my proper name. The capitals are his own. Now, if Mr Birch prefers the name of Job Crithannah to that of the archangel Michael, we will not quarrel with him about it. De gustibus, &c., only to our ears the latter sounds rather more euphonious.
It was not without a profound weighing of the subject, that Job Crithannah undertook and went through with his translation of" Faust." Various friends appear to have tried to dissuade him from publishing his version, it being,
they thought, an article of which "there was no want." But Job was not so to be done. His only fear, he tells us, was, "lest I should be charged with presumption or affectation in so closely imitating Goethe;" and accordingly he listened to the remonstrances of his friends "with feelings something akin to pity towards such persons."-(Preface, p. 9.) If Job Crithannah is guilty of no presumption or affectation, except that of " closely imitating Goethe," we beg to assure him that he must be about the most unpresumptuous and unaffected individual now alive. He informs us that in early life he was partially acquainted with "Faust;" but that about three years ago it again fell in his way. "I gave it much attention," says he, " and was rewarded by astounding delight." With regard to his own translation he speaks thus. "I have proposed to myself to give the meaning of my author fully, neither skipping over, nor avowedly leaving out any part; but studiously masking such passages as might be considered objectionable to delicacyto give it in poetry line for line, and literally, where the genius of the two languages admitted of such closeness; for if too verbally given, Goethe be-. comes increasingly obscure, and his beauties remain undeveloped. I have, therefore, considered it better on such occasions to give a good liberal English equivalent rather than a cramped verbality, so that the verse might flow, [italics in original,] without which no poetical version could ever become agreeable to the English reader, or approach to a display of Goethe's versification. In fact, a spirited translation, palpable, interesting, and pleasing, from its euphony, to the Englishman; and satisfactory to the German scholar from its correctness."
Here Job Crithannah promises well,. but we much doubt whether, even with the assistance of Johann Abricht, he will be found able to make good his word. Let us examine the short sample of his performance which we have quoted. In the second line, literally," from sea to land, from land to sea," the whole beauty of which verse depends upon the second clause being made to play back in totidem verbis, upon the first, he has
By avowedly he evidently means intentionally, otherwise he must mean that he has left out some parts, but has resolved not to confess what they are.
thought proper to vary the expression, and gives us "from seas o'er land, from land o'er ocean," probably for the purpose of showing his great command of language. But we cannot help thinking that his alteration entirely ruins the effect of the line. "In conflict mad engaging." In read ing this we feel as if we were setting our foot on a bit of rotten scaffolding, and accordingly withdraw it as quick ly as possible, and leap on to the next. But what "deep-laid barriers built by the motions of the storm" may be, is more than we can tell. The original informs us that the restless agency of storms has the greatest possible effect in quickening and forwarding the operations of nature, namely, vegetation
and so forth; and there is some sense in that; but in this translation of the passage, there is none. In the last line, the word " tenure" is evidently a mistake for "tenor;" the former signifying the condition upon which any thing is held, the latter its course or going.
Such is the manner in which Mr Crithannah "closely imitates Goethe," "approaches to a display of his versification," and steers clear of “ cramped verbality." Although mere critics, we think we could do the thing better ourselves, and shall accordingly make the attempt, although in trying to cope with the original, we confess we feel somewhat in the predicament of a pigmy endeavouring to clap the head of a giant.
The sun is, yonder, leading loud
And earth in rapid, rapid flight
Is whirling round, you, yonder, mark Her dark side flashing into light,
And, in a moment, round to dark, The sea is yonder raving hoarse,
The rocks are yonder standing fast, And sea and rocks, in endless course,
'Mid racing spheres, are tearing past.
And, yonder, storms in rising wrath
That quicken earth through all her pores.
This strain being finished, the drama The parallel between it and the opening scene in Job (not Crithannah), is still carried on. phistopheles comes forward and addresses the Deity, who after some colloquy, asks him, "Do you know
Now in giving the devil's answer to this question, and the counter-answer which he receives, we perceive that all the translators (Mr Hayward not excepted) have entirely missed the point and spirit of the dialogue. When the Deity asks "Do you
know Faust ?"-the translators make
Mephistopheles rejoin,—" Do you
mean Doctor Faust ?"-as if he required information, as not being sure meant, and to this the Deity is made but what some other Faust might be to reply," Yes-my servant. Do you know him?" But in our opinion something far more dramatic and effective than this is conveyed in the original. In answer to the Deity's question, Mephistopheles replies, not enquiringly, but sarcastically, "Oh! you mean the Doctor ?"-giving him his nickname in a tone of the bitterest scoffing, which irreverence is immediately and sternly put down by the weighty rebuke, "Meinen knecht," -that is," He is my servant, mark you, and must, therefore, be spoken of with respect." It is exactly as if one person were to say to another, "Do you know Maginn?" and that other were to rejoin,-" Oh! to be sure, who does not know the Doctor?' and were immediately to meet with this rebuff from the first speaker—“ I beg you to understand, sir, that he is my most particular friend, and therefore I cannot submit to hear him called disrespectful nicknames." We hope that, in the next translation of Faust, we may see this matter rectified by the light we have here hung out.
The aspiring nature of Faust's desires, and the fruitlessness of his endeavours to get them gratified, are next described by Mephistopheles, whose language is thus interpreted. We quote from Mr Blackie's translation.
"His food and drink are of no earthly taste,
His restless spirit drives him to the waste,
His madness he himself half understands; The loveliest stars from heaven he demands,
And every highest joy that earth com
And all that's near, and all that's far,
The original of these lines merely
Were good enough for him to sup,
tains permission to tempt, and, if he can, to mislead Faust; in short, to work his will upon him, and we are informed of the plan he intends to pursue, in words to the following effect:
"Like the famous old snake, my next of
He shall feed on dust
With all the relishing smack of sin."
And this brings us to the main body of the work, in which the designs of Mephistopheles are put in execution.
The character of Faust has been greatly canvassed, both in this country and in Germany; about as much, perhaps, as that of our own Hamlet. We do not think, therefore, that we have much to add to what has already been said upon the subject. One opinion, however, (that of the late Mr Coleridge, a great authority on such a subject,) we must take this opportunity of dissenting from. Mr Coleridge thought Faust "a failure," (vide Quarterly Review, vol. lii. p. 21.) His reasons for this conclusion are thus stated. "He" (Mr C.) "considered the intended theme to be, the consequences of a misology, or hatred and depreciation of knowledge, caused by an originally intense thirst for knowledge baffled. But a love of knowledge for itself, and for pure ends, would never produce such a misology; but only a love of it for base and unworthy purposes.'
Now, with great deference we hold, in opposition to this doctrine, that purity or impurity of ends has nothing whatever to do with the matter; but that what lies at the basis of the conception of Faust, and affords a "sufficient reason for his misology, is precisely what is here objected to; namely, his love of knowledge for itself-and this baffled. The love of knowledge for some object out of itself-this, and this alone saves most of the world from being plunged into such a misology as his. If all mankind were to indulge in a love of knowledge for itself alone, the world would very soon be peopled with Fausts. Such a love of knowledge exercises itself in speculation merely, and not in action; and if the experiences of purely speculative men were gathered, we think that
Mephistopheles then asks and ob. most of them would be found to con
fess, bitterly confess, that indulgence in abstract reflective thinking, (whatever effect it may have ultimately upon their nobler genius, supposing them to have one,) in the mean time absolutely kills, or appears to kill, all the minor faculties of the soul-all the lesser genial powers, upon the exercise of which the greater part of human happiness depends. They would own, not without remorse, that pure speculation-that is, knowledge pursued for itself alone has often been tasted by them to be, as Coleridge elsewhere says, the bitterest and rottenest part of the core of the fruit of the forbidden tree. They would confess that they have at times felt philosophic reflection to be nothing less than an absolute refusal, on their parts, to exercise their talents in the manner in which God Almighty intended them to be exercised. Feeling thus, and at the same time baffled in their pursuit, it is no wonder that they should frequently become misologists, and precisely in this predicament, and feeling habitually thus, stands the Faust before us as the true representative of the class of thinkers we are speaking of. If he had loved knowledge for any end but knowledge -if he had loved it for the sake of wealth, for the sake of station, for the sake of power, he would have escaped all this-but loving it for no end but itself alone, it has brought him into his present troubles-it is but human nature that it should have done soit has filled him with indignation and remorse; and now, as the devil's prey, he is ready to rush into what he conceives to be the very opposite extreme.
His soliloquy at the opening of the drama affords, we think, the best key to his feelings, character, and position; and therefore we shall quote a large portion of it from the translators before us, commenting on their execution of the passage. Our first extract shall be from Dr Anster.
TIME.-Night. SCENE-A high-arched narrow Gothic chamber.
FAUST at his desk-restless.
Alas! I have explored
Philosophy and Law, and Medicine;
Here am Iboast and wonder of the school;
Magister, Doctor, and I lead
These ten years past my pupils' creed; Winding, by dext'rous words, with ease, Their opinions as I please.
And now to feel that nothing can be known!
This is a thought which burns into my heart.
I have been more acute than all these triflers,
Doctors and authors, priests, philosophers; Have sounded all the depths of every science.
Scruples, and the perplexity of doubt,
I cannot hope to teach mankind;—
That from some spirit I might hear
This translation, gets over ground like a wounded tortoise. After reading it, we think it would have been impossible for words to have represented more faintly and feebly the fretful fire, that, in the original pasFaust's bosom ;-his sense of labour sage, leaks out in living jets from thrown away-his indignation-his irony and his despair. It contains all the vices of language we were contending against at the beginning of this article, and which may be enumerated in a very few words, when we say that no man in Faust's situation would naturally speak so. If the words printed in italics, in the third and fourth lines, were left out, the sense would be as well, if not better, given." Here am I-boast and wonder of the school-Magister, Doctor." This is very far from depicting the bitter irony with which Faust is here contemplating his magisterial and doctorial honours. Mr Anster is a "doc