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than your minute German, with his verbal accuracy, and his line for line scrupulosity. Again, in v. 749, Atxa 63 Adults, &c., Mr. Conington gives us,
“But justice in smoky houses shines,
These “glittering mines” form no proper contrast to the 203zowa 36pata, or smoke-begrimed houses of the previous lines, but are indebted for their place in this passage altogether to the influence of “shines” in the first line. This is a bad style of translation, and looks more like mechanics than genuine inspiration. The Ypogórzata of the text is plainly nothing but the “aureum lacunar” of Horace (Carm. II. 18, 1,) or, as Symmons has well expressed it, L
“The gorgeous halls of state sprinkled with gold.”
Of positive dissent from Mr. Conington with regard to the interpretation of disputed passages, we have happily but few instances to record; for, as we have already stated, his judgment and discrimination as exhibited in the exegetical notes are admirable. What we cannot understand is that, after supporting the true version of a contested passage with a long array of the best marshalled arguments, he suddenly deserts himself, and gives a different, and what we cannot but consider an untenable version in his English text. This procedure sometimes may be charitably imputed to a spirit of large toleration for opposite opinions; but a strict judge will say rather that it argues a culpable want of decision. In v. 327, for instance, Wellauer, in his usual cautious way, reads,
This is part of the speech of Clytemnestra, where she paints in strong colours the joy and happiness of the Trojans, after ten years' toil, exulting in the fall of the city of Priam. “They will prolong their sleep through the watchless night,”—among other things she says, like unfortunate persons ! This is the plain English of the passage as it stands in the MSS., and it can bear no other meaning. So translated, however, it is plain nonsense, and therefore must be an error of the transcriber. No doubt, a man may put sense into it by applying the general epithet to a particular class of unfortunate persons under peculiar circumstances, who are apt to sleep soundly; and so Captain Medwyn does—
“Without a watch they sleep the night away,
And says too, laconically, in a note,_“The new reading E321– pove; spoils the passage,” which is truly putting a bold face on a bad business, in a way that only a clever man can do. But still to cool criticism the question occurs, if Æschylus meant all this, why did he not say it If 6030aipove; be the proper reading, it must make sense as it stands, and will not tolerate even tévists; to be smuggled into it, much less the storm-lashed mariners, of whom Captain Medwyn talks so confidently. This Mr. Conington, with his usual sound judgment, saw, and therefore reads in his Greek text, Ö3 6'ei daimoves, an emendation of Stanley, which has the high merit of at once offering small violence to the received text, and springing in the most natural way imaginable out of the previous context. Nevertheless, in his translation, he gives us,
“And like the poor, will sleep
A version much inferior to Medwyn's, simply because it does not depart sufficiently far from the natural meaning of the text, of which it is not a version, but a gloss. On one very important and beautiful passage, we are sorry to differ from Mr. Conington with regard to the probable meaning of the words. In the description of the flight of Helen from Menelaus, v. 400, there occurs the following very perplexed, and manifestly corrupt passage,_
IIdpect, ars,c' &ty10:
"Aotato: &pspévov, ióšív, according to Wellauer's reading. Now, without mentioning the various corrections which have been made on this passage, in order to make it legible, it is enough for our present purpose to say, that they fall naturally into two classes, one of which considers the above words to be spoken of Menelaus, the other of Helen. The former opinion is the more common, the latter that which is supported by Conington, who thus translates,
“She stands in silence scorned yet unrebuking,
Of the purely philological arguments which he advances for this side of the question, we shall say nothing; for in a passage of such evident corruption, mere grammar is like to help us but a little way. Of far greater importance is it, in such cases, to look to the connection and the meaning, the aesthetical unity, as the Germans would say, of the whole passage. In this view, however, the arguments come out all in favour of Menelaus, and that very strongly. In the first place, in the previous lines the poet had spoken of Helen's conduct in the strongest language of reprobation—otosta t}.33a; is it likely, we ask, that immediately on the back of this strong reprobation of her blushless impudence, he should paint her out in such a sweet sainted style, as this version of Conington's exhibits,
“Scorned yet unrebuking,
These expressions will not rhyme with &Amta toca at all. Again, in the same immediately preceding context, the poet had painted the false fugitive, as making her escape from the bonds of legitimate submission to her husband, eagerly and rapidly,
Béflaxe ôtupa && Toxãv, and after this plupa, will the imagination of the reader, following the flight of the fair absconded, be prepared for Mr. Conington's
“She STANDs,” &c.? This can ill be; especially as the very next line top & Steptowtodo, evidently paints the abandoned husband, standing on the balcony or at the door-way of his palace, looking at the track of the fair fugitive already beyond his grasp on the paths of the “wide-roaring main.” From these considerations, we should much prefer to read
Ilāpeat, ars, āripos &Motöopog
(from emendations of Bothe and Hermann,) and translate,
“He silent stood in sadness, not in wrath,
Or something to this effect.
In the above remarks, we have confined ourselves entirely to a notice of the publications of Mr. Conington and Mr. Sewell as translations. To do full justice to Mr. C., however, we should have required to pass his Greek text under a special review, and enquired how far he has preserved the judicious mean between the wanton itch of innovation so characteristic of Blomfield, and the over-scrupulous fidelity of Wellauer. But on this subject our limits forbid us to enter. We shall only say, that in the present state of the MSS., a reasonable man cannot desire a better text of the Agamemnon than that given by Peile and Conington. Franz certainly, with all his laborious groping through the Medicean Codex, has not mended the matter, but rather made it worse; his hasty admission of various conjectures by others, (in this we are happy to express our cordial agreement with Mr. Conington,) more than neutralizing any benefit his text may have reaped from this re-inspection of the original prototype. As little have we been able, in the present paper, to touch on those interesting points of Greek religion and AEschylean theology, which are shortly discussed by the present translators in their respective prefaces. The interest of these subjects is great; and the present writer purposes contributing his mite to the settling of them in an early number of the Museum. Meanwhile he would conclude by expressing his opinion, that though Mr. Conington may not have succeeded in dethroning Mr. Symmons from the position which he holds, as the most poetical of all the English translators of the Agamemnon, he has produced a work of high merit, satisfying at once the demands of the man of taste, and the minute student of Æschylus, in a fashion of which the English school of translation has hitherto presented very few examples. Such a beginning certainly affords the best reason to hope that this country may yet give birth to a series of translations, realizing the true golden mean between the painful minuteness of the German, and the loose diffusion of the vulgar English school.
John S. BLACKIE.
1. REMARKs on THE DISTRIBUTION OF PARTS IN SOME TRAGEDIEs.
IT seems probable, that besides the kwood Tpoorward, who never spoke at all, it sometimes happened that the same part was represented in some scenes of a play by a mere silent actor, not the same who supported the character in the dialogue; owing to the limited number of actors, and still more to the fewness of those who were fit to support the highest parts. See Müller, xxii. 8., where he hints, that the first scene of the Prometheus was arranged so as to require only two actors, as in the other three plays which preceded the exhibition of the Agamemnon; but does not explain how. I cannot but think that the Prometheus of the first scene was an image, through whose breast the adamantine wedge was driven, though I know not whether the remaining evidence of the scene-artifices of the ancients will explain how the change was managed. But I suspect that even in the Agamemnon, there were but two actors, though there are three in the other two plays, which were brought out on the same day. I suspect that Cassandra and Clytemnestra were acted by the same person. If so, the silences of Cassandra and Prometheus, which produce so great an effect, (though the silences in AEschylus elsewhere were, as appears from Aristophanes, sometimes open to ridicule,) are a matter of necessity. On our opera stage, when a principal dancer is to seem to fly, another, dressed in the same manner, is substituted for him or her. It is possible to conceive, however, that the Cassandra in the car, and the Prometheus in the first scene, were just off the stage, and came, or were wheeled, on, when they were to begin speaking. But this would have so undramatic an effect, especially in those large theatres, where seeing would not always be supplied by hearing, that it is very difficult to admit it. The reverse happens on our stage more commonly, that people speak before they are seen. In the GEdipus at Colonus, Ismene is described before she comes on ; but that is quite a different thing. Indeed, it is in the highest degree dramatic and affecting. I conceive that, in the trilogy of AEschylus, though there were three actors, there were not two of such superior excellence as to be fit to represent such pre-eminent parts as the poet has made Cassandra and Clytemnestra. We must never, I presume, resort to the sup