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å remark or two of our own on a few translations from the Latin poets, which have enriched our language.
Virgil, as a whole, is very inadequately translated into English. Where Dryden is great, he is incomparable: but how seldom does he attain the excellencies of his terinination of the sixth Eneid, from the verse, Dii, quibus imperium est !!' &c. In that passage he has summoned his highest powers to his aid, yet even there he occasionally permits himself to be overcome by his habitual dulness. The faithful monotony of Pitt and Wharton breathes nothing of epic sublimity ; and the only portion of Virgil which can be said to be faithfully and poetically translated, is the version of the Georgics by Mr. Sotheby. : Horace, from the diversity of his matter and manner, is perhaps more read, and certainly more generally admired, inasmuch as his skill and subjects are varied, than his contemporary, Virgil. Yet if we except occasional translations, either close or paraphrastical, which we frequently disa cover interspersed among the fugitive pieces of our poets, he still owes a decided grudge to Francis and Boscawen, who, in the inefficiency of their attempt, were doomed to lament the mistake they had made in the application of their taJents,
We have heard of an intended translation of Catullus by á Captain 'in the army; but froin a M5. specimen which we perused, we should not recommend its disclosure till the ? ninth year.' It may, however, supersede without impropriety the trash which now occupies its place. * We have no time to waste in pointing out the insipidity of Grainger's Tibullus: the meieor of an English Statius, which vanished very speedily from our sight ; or the more ancient and unrythmical contributions of Garth and his friends to Ovid. "We venture, this day, to affirm, there does not exist in our language a translation of any Latin poet 'approaching to perfection. * Alitile polish, a chastised pen, and the mellowness of a few years in the author, would bave enabled us to make a noble exception. Mr. Rowe has surpassed his original, Lucan, in many passages; he felt the same ardour of liberty with him, and like him he was cut off in the promise of poetical fame. The work, 'unfinished, and clogged with those evident faults of harshness and amplification, which the tonch of the master would speedily hare removed, was published by his widow for the benefit of his fainily; and leaves us the melancholy reflection that while we cannot ret boast that we have rendered Lucan vernacular, we must considerit
proud and we fear an ineffectual endeavour in any builder, who would dare to replace such solid materials by inodera architecture.
But of all the poets of Rome, none perhaps has excited more namerous candidates than Juvenal. Whether the early introduction of that satwist to every student at every school in our kingdom; whether the beauties of his poetical descriptions, or the predominant love of ill-nature and satire in the human breast, or all these causes conjointly, have united to render hiui a favourite with translators, he certaioly bas been in universal request. Holiday, who is now obsolete from his style, language, and verse, and more necessarily from the inodern discoveries and inserted or proposed emendations in the text of his original, still preserves, in bis notes, an uncominon fund of entertainment and in, struction for any future translator. Dryden and his co-adjutors wrote on the spur of the moment; and we fear that fame was the least of their objects. Yet Dryden, nay even Creech and Tate, could not wholly enervate their rigorous prototype. Unembarrassed by critical caution, or the vexations of commentary, what they understood at the moment they copied with spirit, and where they would not take the trouble to investigate the pice and exact meaning, they bullied their readers with a specious paraphrase. Ne ther Madan, Owen, Marsh, nor Rhodes, are likely to sur, vive the new manufactory which converts old printed paper into new wire-wove. Mr. Gifford began his classical studies at an advanced period of his life, and we are highly interested in the passage prefixed to his translation of Juve pal, wherein he laments the circumstance which made him an obuxhys. But for this, he might have been more successful in his translation of Juvenal, which, however, is still highly creditable to his exertions and his faine. Its characteristic is an unbending fidelity, which, though it may occasionally cramp the rythm, is certainly: adinirably calo culated for conveying the strength and sense of Juvenal to an English ear. We have a high opinion of Mr. Gifford's abilities : we give him credit for deep research, and great poetical merit. His translation, with all its faults, undoubtedly claims the palm at present; and it possesses partial ex cellencies which will not easily be surpassed. It is impossible not to be struck with several passages of high spirit, and finwing in the fullest vein of poetry, even in those in; stances, where not only ihe sense, but even the antithesis of the original has been preserved; for instance, in satire 4,
Nec civis erat, qui libera posset :
Not one of those, who valuing life at nought,
With freedom' uttered what with truth they thought. We cannot omit this opportunity of mentioning that we have heard the highest encomiuin past on a MS, translation of Juvenal now in the press. We have heard that it will not only rival all its predecessors in poetry, but in the are rangement and critical nicety of its, notes. But as it is not our business to puff what we may be eventually compelled to condemn, we will merely add a few words on Persius, and then return to Mr. Good and his Titus Lucretius Carus. Mr. Drummond, a gentleman of high literary acquirements, has favoured the world with a translation of the above men. tioned satirist. In the notes to his second edition, he has fallen foul of Brewster, his predecessor and his potent antagonist, : We should be disinclined to criticise with much severity the attempt of Mr. Drummond; it neither becomes us as the judges of Mr. Good alone, nor when we consider the crabbed conciseness of the original, can we fairly lash a partial failure in the copy. But in his abuse of Brewster, Mr. Drummond has caused the weapon to recoil on himself; and we think that at this day a republication of his rival's work, which is now very scarce, would speedily consign the more polished and more modern effusion to the obscurity it inerits. : To those, to whom these remarks may seem crude or im. pertinent, we owe an apology, and will altempt to please such readers by an immediate and a narrow examination of the bulky volumes before us,: Their contents consist of a preface and other tedious preliminary matter; the Latin text of Lucretius, corrected from Wakefield's edition ; the Englisla translation in blank verse on the alternate page, and a modus of notes, which inore than ten times outweighs the labours of the poet.
The preface chiefly consists of an account of all translations of Lucretius in modern languages. The palm is, with great reason, given to the Italian Marchetti : we entirely agree herein with Mr. Good; but we do not agree with him in regard to the propriety' of inserting the Latin text in the altcrpate pages. We fully descry the advantage' of it-to the translator we mean: to the reader, we fear, it will prove a very heavy and a very useless expence. Translations are either made for the literary, or the illiterate, or for botii. Now to the literary the text of Lucretius can be no object: they would consult this laborious work, most probably, with their Havercamp or Creech by their sides. To the illiterate it can be of no service whatever, as they cannot understand it; and to both it will superinduce a pecuniary loss, of the value of at least a third of these volumes. We do not mean by this to advance, that it is never expedient to confront the translation with the text. There are occasions where it is absolutely necessary. But Lucretius is an author of easy access, who writes in a style familiar to every one who is slightly initiated in learning and however Mr. Wakefield's vanity may have induced him to propose the adoption of this plan to Mr. Good, yet we venture to enter our protest against it: a protest we must make also will great severity on such a sentence as the following (Pref. xv.) Virgil, who though considerably younger than Lucretius, was contemporary with hiin, and was indisputably acquainted with the prophecies of Isaiah. The lege meo periculo' came with a bad grace from Bentley ; Mr. Good will thank us for.setting him right. This sentence consists of two members, both of which are highly culpable. We thought, in the first place, very simply perhaps, that what Mr. Good considers as an established fact, the coincidence in the years of Virgil and Lucretius, to say the least of it, was a point much controverted: and if Mr. G. will take the trouble to refer to his Heyne's Virgil, he will perhaps find, that Virgil was not indisputably, acquainted with the prophecies of Isaiah.'
We cannot better inform our readers of the scanty materials extant for composing a life of Lucretius, than by quoting the exordium of Mr. Good.
Concerning this inimitable poet, and most excellent philosoplier, history presents us bul with few authentic documents : and luence there are many circumstances of his life upon which writers have not been able to agree.' For this dearth of materials, it is not difficult to account. Lacretius lived and died in a period in which tie eye of every citizen was directed to public concerns; when the Roman empire was' distracted by the ambition of aspirmg demagogues, and the jealousies of contending factions : and when the party that triumphed in the morning, was often completely defeated by night. Added to which, the life of Lucretius was spent in the shades of philosophy and quiet : a situation, undoubledly, best calculated for the improvement of the heart, and the cultivation of philosophy or the muses, yet little checkered with those lights and shades, with that perpetual recurrence of incident, and contrast of success and misfortune, which are often to be met with in the lives. of the more active ; and which importunately call for tal pen of the biographer, while they afford him abundant materials for his narrative. From the records that yet remain, however, and the most plausible conjectures of his editors and annotators, I am enabled to present the reader with the following pages. .
Now, notwithstanding this dearth of materials,' the Life and Appendix are extended to 121 pages and a reader, whether of the country gentleman' kind, or the light sum- . mer skimmer,'must surely already have discovered the impropriety of the metaphor, wherein the life of Lucretius was spent in the shades, which situation, i, e. which shades,' were little checkered with those lights and shades.'--But we withhold our pen from the chastisement of prose, which would occasionally call for what the Germans style . a running commentary :' if we indulged ourselves in every pe tiJant remark of this nature, they would, as Drydea sings in his translation of Juvenal,
•• Foam o'er the margin and not finish'd yet.' A very absurd affectation has lately obtained among out modern historiographers, whereby they attempt to reduce to the real termination of personal appellations, as licensed by the yernacular idiom of the language of the country to which each individual may belong, those names 'to 'which use, or the fancy of the individuals themselves may have appropriated a sound, to wbich the ears of moderns are perfectly familiarized. There is occasionally conceit in the search of truth: and allliough we willingly condemn the French mode of adopting French terminations to Roman names, as lite Live, Quinte Curse, Petrone, Denys, &c. &c. we confess that we are not much obliged to the kind solicitude of Mr. Good, for calling Petrus Crinitus, Peter Criniti, But as every person has his taste in these matters, so this may be the taste of our author; nor sliould we controvert sQ harinless a deviation from our own sentiments, did we not think it rather a inispomer to call Petrus Crivitus, Peier Cripiti, when his real name was Piero Ricci! Some of the coinmentators of Lucretius have the same quarrel with our author that poor Peter bas; but Mr. Good is pretty safe from any posthumous suit, as the plaintiffs would be much puzz.ed to swear to their own names,
In a subsequen: point of criticism we confess, from the opinion we entertain of Mr. Ciuod's deep reading, we are not a little surprised; nor shall we refrain from starting our dissent. ll is bis object, for instance, to prove that Ennius enriched the Latin longue; to compass which he quote from the Genethliacon Lucuui, in Statius :