Oldalképek
PDF
ePub

ton, as trusting “ to see God” in the present life, may seem the “natural import” to one who has a regard to the connection, to the contents of the whole poem, and to the opinions of the ancient Hebrews respecting the state of the soul in Sheol. To us the opinion of Dr. Conant appears to conflict with various passages of the poem more than “ the common interpretation," which refers the passage to the resurrection of the body.

But it is in reference to our third-named qualification of a translator that Dr. Conant appears to us most deficient ; namely, taste and skill in the mode of representing the sense of the original in English. We do not forget that he may be right and we wrong; but our duty obliges us to say what we think and feel. His translation seems to us to have nothing of the savor and spirit of the Common Version. Where the original requires a different sense, Dr. Conant's renderings do not chime in with the language of King James's Version. And where the meaning is not at all, or not materially, changed, his alterations seem to us very often for the worse, and sometimes even to exhibit bad English. As far as we can judge, this arises sometimes from a slavishly literal rendering, and sometimes from the peculiar taste of the translator. As we do not wish our readers to rely solely on our judgment or taste, we feel bound to give a considerable number of illustrations of what we mean.

In ch. i. 11, why should Dr. Conant introduce the pure Hebraism, “if he will not renounce thee, to thy face,” in. stead of the plain English, “to thy face he will renounce thee"? In iii. 11, “ Why died I not from the womb ? why did I not give up the ghost ? ” &c., by omitting the “why did I notfrom the second clause, he has obscured the sense and departed from the English idiom. In iii. 19, why is not the majestic language of the Common Version, “ The small and great are there," as good as “Small and great, both are there”? In iii. 23, “ Why is light given to a man whose way is hid, and whom God has hedged in?” the omission of what the Common Version has in italics, “Why is light given,” has no effect but to confuse the reader, and especially the hearer. So, too, the alteration of the last clause of the verse from the Common Version into “ And God hedgeth about him,” has, in connection with the preceding line, no effect but to make bad English out of good. The alteration of verse 25 from the reading of the Common Version into “ I feared evil, and it has overtaken me,” merely substitutes the Hebrew for the English idiom. In iv. 19, does Dr. Conant's rendering, “ Much more. they," &c., make sense in connection with the preceding verses? We think not. In v. 8, “But I, to God would I seek,” is not true to the English, however it may be to the Hebrew idiom. In v. 9, why is “things wonderful, without number,” so much better than “marvellous things without number," as to make a change necessary? In v. 13, why is the verse enfeebled by substituting the primary sense, “ is made hasty,” for the well-authorized secondary sense of the Common Version, “is carried headlong"?

In ch. v. 16, why is not “ So the poor hath hope" at least as good English as “ Thus there is hope to," &c. ? In vi. 5, “lows the ox at his fodder" is not so expressive, nor so close to the original, as “ loweth the ox over his fodder.” In vi. 8, “() that my request might come, and that God would grant my longing,” is a rendering very inferior to that of the Common Version. In vii. 3, is “ So I am allotted months of wretchedness” better English than “ So I am made to possess," &c.? In vii. 16, is 6 Cease from me!” more intelligible than “Let me alone!? In viii. 16, is not “He, in the face of the sun, is green,” a clumsier expression than “Ile is green before the sun”? In xii. 19, there was no good reason for substituting the feeble term “ long established” for “ mighty.” In xiii. 3, “ But I, to the Almighty will I speak,” is not true to the English idiom, however it may be to the Hebrew. The same remark applies to verse 4, “ But ye, — forgers of lies, botchers of vanities, are ye all.” In xvi. 16, “ a death shade," and xvi. 19, “ my attestor,” are bad enough. In xvi. 20, the rendering, “My mockers are my friends,” presents a wrong collocation of the words. In xvi. 22, in the rendering, “ For a few years will pass and I shall go the way that I return not,” instead of “When a few years shall pass, I shall go,” &c., the translator merely substitutes the Hebrew for the English idiom. In xvii. 3, a phrase unintelligible

without explanation, “ Who is there that will give his hand for mine?” is substituted for an intelligible one. In xvii. 7, why is “my members all of them ” better than “ all my members”? In xvii. 6, could not the translator find a less voluminous and clumsy expression than “I am become one to be spit upon in the face,” and, in the next verse, why is “bedimmed with grief” better than “dim by reason of sorrow"? In xvii. 12, “ Light is just before darkness," is a very bad rendering to express the idea that light borders on darkness, or will soon be merged in it.

A sudden change of persons from the first and second to the third is a well-known Hebrew idiom, which it appears to us idle to attempt to express literally in our language. Thus xiii. 28, should be translated, “ And I, as a rotten thing, shall waste away,” &c., not, “And he," &c., as Dr. Conant and the Common Version have it. So in xviii. 3, instead of “ One teareth himself in his rage! For thee shall the earth be forsaken," &c., how much better to adopt the English idiom at once, and avoid the necessity of a foot-note, — Thou that tearest thyself in thy rage! Shall the earth be forsaken for thee?” &c. So in xxii. 17, it is much better to say, “ What can the Almighty do to, or for, us?” than, with Dr. Conant and the Common Version, “ to or for them.Other instances of bad English, or of phraseology inferior to that of the Common Version, are the following: — xviii. 6, “ The light darkens in his tent"; xviii. 17, “He has no name on the face of the fields”; xix. 10, “My hope he uproots like the tree,” — a mere Hebraism; xx. 15, “but shall disgorge them ; God shall dispossess them from his belly.” Again, what confusion worse confounded meets us in Dr. Conant's rendering of xx. 18, “ The fruit of toil he restores and shall not devour, as his borrowed possession, and shall not rejoice in it”! In xxi. 5, “And lay the hand on the mouth,” is poor. So is, “ And behold the summit of the stars, how high!” in xxii. 12. In xxiii. 10, “ I shall come forth as the gold,” we have another substitution of the Hebrew for the English idiom. In xxv. 6, “ What is man, a grub!needs no comment from us. In xxvi. 10, “Unto the limit of light with darkness,” is not intelligible English. In xxviii. 11, “And the hidden he brings to light,” is not idiomatic English, at least out of the province of metaphysics. In xxix. 3, by not supplying " and whenbefore the second clause of the verse, Dr. Conant has perverted the sense for every hearer, and for most readers. The same thing occurs in xxix. 5. In xxix. 11, according to the well-known use of the Hebrew conjunction to introduce the apodosis of a sentence, the beautiful rendering of the Common Version, “ When the ear heard me, then it blessed me, and when the eye saw me, it gave witness to me,” is much more probable than that of Dr. Conant, — “For the ear heard, and blessed me, and the eye saw, and witnessed for me.”

In xxxi. 26 and 28, “If I saw the sun, how it shined,” “ This too were a crime to be judged," renderings in all respects inferior, are substituted for those of the Common Version. In xxxiv. 6, “My arrow is fatal, without transgression,” is not good English to express the meaning, “The arrow that pierced me is fatal,” &c. The English idiom requires, “My wound is fatal or incurable,” &c. Of course there can be no doubt about the meaning. In xxxiv. 19, by omitting the words, “How much less,” which the Common Version supplies, Dr. Conant has made the verse nearly unintelligible to a hearer, if not to a reader. What in the world led Dr. Conant to substitute, “Here are we!” for “Here we are !” in xxxviii. 35. In xxxviii. 37, Dr. Conant renders, “ Who in clines the bottles of the heavens?By a well-known figure of speech, “ Who pours out,” &c. is perfectly justifiable. In xxxix. 17, we have, “ And given her no share in understanding”; in xli. 11, “Under the whole heavens, it is mine"; in xli. 12, “and bruited strength " ; in xli. 17, “ Each is attached to its fellow," — a mere Hebraism; and in xli. 20, “ like a kettle with kindled reeds.” On these renderings no comment is needed.

We might adduce in great abundance similar instances of what we regard as want of taste, skill, and judgment in the work we have been examining. But we cannot think it necessary. While, therefore, we give credit to the author for sound Hebrew scholarship, and regard many of his notes as valuable, we are driven to the conclusion that, for popular use, his version is a decided failure.

Art. VII. — THE WAR AND THE PEACE.

1. EDMOND ABOUT,The Roman Question, translated by Mrs.Wood..

Boston. 1859. 2. L'Empereur Napoléon III. et l' Italie. Paris. 1859. 3. Manin et l'Italie. Paris. 1859. 4. Le Pape, l'Autriche, et l'Italie. Par JULES PAULET. Paris. 1859. 5. Emile DE GIRARDIN,L'Équilibre Européen. Paris. 1859. 6. GEORGE SAND, — La Guerre Paris. 1859.

A NEW-ENGLAND politician, when urged to declare his preference between two candidates for the Presidency, while it was yet too early to conjecture which of the rivals would prove himself the favorite of Providence by the decisive test of success, replied, that he chose to “ await the ulterior bias of future events.” To every question that suggests itself respecting the probable results of the late extraordinary war in Italy, and the yet more extraordinary peace which terminated it, we are much inclined, if not to use the same phraseology, to make, substantially, a similar answer. · There is, indeed, a like uncertainty about all the movements of the remarkable personage who presents Imperial Majesty in the serio-comic drama called “Modern France.” Whether the Emperor ever means just what he says, whether he means little when he says much, or means much when he says little, — these are points on which the next generation may possibly be better informed than this. Thus far, however, there has been, pretty uniformly, a strange apparent dis

crepancy between what lawyers call, in legal proceedings, his - allegata and his probata, or, as the lay gents say, his promise .and his performance. His admirers allege that his seeming short-comings are but a deceptio visus, and they argue, as convincingly as did Lord Peter, to show that the substance is present, though the accidents be wanting. And if he to whom a fish has been promised, complains that he has received a reptile when he expected a salmon or a turbot, they comfort him by demonstrating that the wriggling vertebrate is not a serpent, but, unequivocally, an eel.

According to the exegesis of these expounders of sover

« ElőzőTovább »