« السابقةمتابعة »
not objects of censure, therefore they may be elevated clouds; they are obvious to all capacities, and whea as much as you please, and no ridicule follows: bot they are not evident, they do not exist. when rational beings are represented above their real The most plain narration not only admits of these, character, it becomes ridiculous in art, because it is and of harmony (which are all the qualities of style, vicious in morality. The bees in Virgil, were they but it requires every one of them to render i pless.og. rational beings, would be ridiculous by having their On the contrary, whatever pretends to a share of the actions and inanners represented on a level with sublime, may pass, notwithstanding any defects in the creatures so superior as men; since it would imply rest; nay, sometimes without any of them, and gas folly or pride, which are the proper objects of ridi- the admiration of all ordinary readers. cule.
Homer, in his lowest narrations or speeches, is The use of pompous expressions for low actions or ever easy, flowing, copious, clear, and harmonious. thoughts, is the true sublime of Don Quixote. Ilow Ile shows not less invention in assembling the far unfit it is for epic poetry, appears in its being the humbler, than the greater, thoughts and images: por perfection of the mock epic. It is so far from being less judgment in proportioning the style aad the the sublime of tragedy, that it is the cause of'all bom-versitication to these, than to the other. Let it be bast, when poets, instead of being as they imagine) remembered, that the same genius that shared the constantly losiy, only preserve throughout a painful highest, and from whom the greatest models of the equality of fustian ; that continued swell of language sublime are derived, was also he who stooped the (which runs indiscriminately even through their lowest lowest, and gave to the simple narrative its uirtust characters, and rattles like some mightiness of mean- perfection. Which of these was the harder task to ing in the most indifferent subjects) is of a piece with Homer himself, I cannot pretend to deternine; but that perpetual elevation of tone which the players to his translator I can affirm (however unequal all bis have learnt from it; and which is not speaking, but translations must be) that of the latter has been much vociferating
more difficult. There is still more reason for a variation of style Whoever expects here the same pomp of verse, in epic poetry than in tragic, to distinguish between and the same ornaments of diction, as in the Iliad, te that language of the gods proper to the muse who will, and he ought to be disappointed. Were the sings, and is inspired; and that of men, who are original otherwise, it had been an offence agus introduced speaking only according to nature. Farther, nature; and were the translation so, it were an otieuce there ought to be a difference of style observed in the against Homer, which is the same thing. speeches of human persons, and those of deities; and It must be allowed that there is a majesty ard taragain, in those which may be called set harangues or mony in the Greek language, which greatly contnbute orations, and those which are only conversation or to elevate and support the narration. But I must also dialogue. Homer has more of the latter than any observe that this is an advantage grown upon the lanother poet; what Virgil does by two or three words guage since Homer's time: for things are removed of narration, Homer still performs by speeches : not from vulgarity by being out of use; and if the words only replies, but even rejoinders are frequent in him, we could find in any present language were equelly a practice almost unknown to Virgil. This renders sonorous or musical in themselves, they would süll his poems more animated, but less grave and majestic; appear less poetical and uncommon than those of 1 and consequently necessitates the frequent use of a dead one, from this only circumstance, of being ia lower style. The writers of tragedy lie under the every man's mouth. I may add to this another dissame necessity if they would copy nature; whereas advantage to a translator, from a different cause: that painted and poetical diction which they per- llomer seems to have taken upon him the charact petually use, would be improper even in orations of an historian, antiquary, divine, ard professor of designed to move with all the arts of rhetoric: this is arts and sciences, as well as poet. In one or other plain from the practice of Demosthenes and Cicero; of these characters, he descends into many pecuand Virgil in those of Drances and Turnus, gives an liarities, which as a poet only perhaps he would bare eminent example, how far removed the style of them avoided. All these ought to be preserved by a faith. ought to be from such an excess of figures and orna- ful translator, who in some measure takes the place ments : which indeed fits only that language of the of Homer; and all that can be expected from him is gods we have been speaking of, or that of a muse under to make them as poetical as the subject will bear. inspiration.
Many arts therefore are requisite to supply these dis. To read through a whole work in this strain, is like advantages, in order to dignify and solemnize these travelling all along the ridge of a hill, which is not plainer parts, which hardly admit of any poruci half so agreeable as sometimes gradually to rise, and ornaments. sometimes gently to descend, as the way leads, and Some use has been made to this end of the style of as the end of the journey directs.
Milion. A just and moderate mixture of old won'a Indeed the true reason that so few pocts have imi- may have an effect like the working old abbey stones tated Homer in these lower parts, has been the ex- into a building, which I have sometimes seen to give treme difficulty of preserving that mixture of ease a kind of venerable air, and yet not destroy the and dignity essential to them. For it is as hard for neatness, elegance, and equality, requisite to a new an epic poem to stoop to the narrative with success, work; I mean, without rendering it too unfarinr, as for a prince to descend to be familiar, without or remote from the present purity of writing, or from diminution to his greatness.
that ease and smoothness, which ought always to The sublime style is more easily counterfeited than company narration or dialogue. Iu reading a style the natural: something that passes for it, or sounds judiciously antiquated, one finds a pleasure not uslike it, is common to all false writers: but nature, like that of travelling on an old Roman way: lut purity, perspicuity, and simplicity, never walk in thelthen the road must be as good as the way is ancient
the style must be such in which we may evenly pro- since I am now taking my leave of Ilomer, and of al ceed, without being put to short stops by sudden ab- controversy relating to him, I beg leave to be in. ruptness, or puzzled by frequent turnings and trans- dulged, if I make use of this last opportunity to say positions. No man delighis in furrows and stum- a very few words about some reflections which the bling-blocks: and let our love to antiquity be ever so late Madam Dacier bestowed on the first part of my great, a fine ruin is one thing, and a heap of rubbish preface to the lliad, and which she published at the another. The imitators of Milton, like most other end of her translation of that poem.* imitators, are not copies but caricatures of their origi- To write gravely an answer to them, would be too nal; they are a hundred times more obsolete and much for the reflections; and to say nothing concramp than he, and equally so in all places : whereas cerning them, would be too little for the author. It it should have been observed of Milton, that he is not is owing to the industry of that learned lady, that lavish of his exotic words and phrases every where our polite neighbours are become acquainted with alike, but employs them much more where the sub- many of Ilomer's beauties, which were hidden iect is marvellous, vast, and strange, as in the scenes of from them before in Greek and in Eustathius. She heaven, hell, chaos, &c. than where it is turned to challenges on this account a particular regard from the natural and agreeable, as in the pictures of para- all the admirers of that great poet; and I hope that I dise, the loves of our first parents, entertainments of shall be thought, as I mean, to pay some part of this angels, and the like. In general, this unusual style debt to her memory, in what I am now writing. better serves to awaken our ideas in the descrip- Hlad these retlections fallen from the pen of an orditions and in the imaging and picturesque parts, nary critic I should not have apprehended their eflect, than it agrees with the lower sorts of narrations, the and should therefore have been silent concerning character of which is simplicity and purity. Milton them: but since they are Madam Dacier's, I imagine has several of the latter, where we find not an anti-that they must be of weight; and in a case where I quated, affected, or uncouth word, for some hundred think her reasoning very bad, I respect her authority. lines together; as in his fifth book, the latter part of I have fought under Madam Dacier's banner, and the tenth and eleventh books, and in the narration of have waged war in defence of the divine Homer Michael in the twelfth. I wonder indeed that he, against all the heretics of the age. And yet it is who ventured (contrary to the practice of all other Madam Dacier who accuses me, and who accuses epic poets) to imitate Horner's lowness in the narra- me of nothing less than betraying our common cause. tive, should not also have copied his plainness and per- She affirms that the most declared enemies of this spicuity in the dramatic parts: since in his speeches author have never said any thing against him more (where clearness above all is necessary) there is fre-injurious or more unjust than 1. What must the quently such transposition and forced construction, world think of me, after such a judgment passed by that the very sense is not to be discovered without a so great a critic; the world, who decides so often, second or third reading, and in this certainly ought to and who examines so seldom; the world, who ever be no example.
in matters of literature is almost always the slave of To preserve the true character of Homer's style in authority? Who will suspect that so much learning the present translation, great pains have been taken should mistake, that so much accuracy should be to be easy and natural. The chief merit I can pre. misled, or that so much candour should be biassed ? tend to, is, not to have been carried into a more All this however has happened; and Madam Da. plausible and figurative manner of writing, which cier's Criticisms on my Preface flow from the very would better have pleased all readers, but the judi- same error, from which so many false criticisms of cious ones. My errors had been fewer, had each of her countrymen upon IIomer have flowed, and which those gentleman who joined with me shown as much she has so justly and so severely reproved; I mean of the severity of a friend to me, as I did to them, in the error of depending on injurious and unskilful a strict animadversion and correction. What assis- translations. tance I received from them, was made known in An indifferent translation may be of some use, and general to the public in the orignal proposals for this a good one will be of a great deal. But I think that work, and the particulars are specified at the conclu- no translation ought to be the ground of criticism, sion of it; to which I must add (to be punctually just) because no man ought to be condemned upon ansome part of the tenth and fifteenth books. The other man's explanation of his meaning: could Ho. reader will be too good a judge, how much the greater mer have had the honour of explaining his before part of it, and consequently of its faults, is chargeable that august tribunal where Monsieur de la Motte preupon me alone. But this I can with integrity affirm, sides, I make no doubt but he had escaped many of that I have bestowed as much time and pains upon those severe animadversions with which some French the whole, as were consistent with the indispensable authors have loaded him, and from which even Madam duties and cares of life, and with that wretched state Dacier's translation of the Iliad could not preserve of health which God has been pleased to make my him. portion. At the least, it is a pleasure to me to reflect, How unhappy was it for me, that the knowledge that I have introduced into our language this other of our island-tongue was as necessary to Madam Dawork of the greatest and most ancient of poets, with cier in my case, as the knowledge of Greek was to some dignity; and, I hope, with as little disadvantage Monsieur de la Motte in that of our great author; or as the Iliad. And if, after the unmerited success of to any of those whom she styles blind censurers, and that translation, any one will wonder why I would blames for condemning what they did not understand enterprize the Odyssey; I think it sufficient to say, I may say with modesty, that she knew less of my ihat Ilomer himself did the same, or the world would true sense from that faully translation of part of my never have seen it. I designed to have ended this postscript here: but!
* Second edition, at Paris, 1719
Preface, than those blind censurers might have known! done the same without intending that compliment of Ilomer's even from the translation of la Valterie, for they are also to be found in Eustathius ; and the which preceded her own.
sentiment I believe is that of all mankind. I cannot It pleased me however to find, that her objections | really tell what to say to this whole remark, ory were not levelled at the general doctrine, or at any that in the first part of it, Madamn Dacier is displeased essentials of my Preface, but only at a few particular that I do not agree with her, and in the last that I do : expressions. She proposed little more than to use, but this is a temper which every polite man shoals her own phrase) to combat two or three similes ; and overlook in a lady. I hope that to combat a simile is no more than to To punish my ingratitude, she resolves to espre fight with a shadow, since a simile is no better than my blunders, and selects two which I suppose are the shadow of an argument.
the most flagrant, out of the many for which she She lays much weight where I laid but little, and could have chastised me. It happens that ce firs: of examines with more scrupulosity that I writ, or than these is, in part the translator's, and in purt ber om, perhaps the matter requires.
without any share of mine: she quotes the end of a These unlucky similes, taken by themselves, may sentence, and he puts in French what I never wrue perhaps render my meaning equivocal to an ignorant in English : ‘Homer I said) opened a des ad translator; or there may have fallen from my pen boundless walk for his imagination, and created a some expressions, which, taken by themselves, like- world for himself in the invention of fable;' which wise, may to the same person have the same effect. he translates, 'Homer crea pour son usage un moede But if the translator had been master of our tongue, mouvant, en inventant la fable.' the general tenor of my argument, that which pre- Madam Dacier justly wonders at this nonsense is cedes and that which follows the passages objected me, and I in the translator. As to what I next to to, would have sufficiently determined him as to the Homer's invention of fable, it is afterwards participrecise meaning of them: and if Madam Dacier had larly distinguished from that extensive sense in bij taken up her pen a little more leisurely, or had em- she took it, by these words : 'If Horier was not the ployed it with more temper, she would not have an- first who introduced the deities (as Herodotus in 3. swered paraphrases of her own, which even the gines) into the religion of Greece, he seems the first translation will not justify, and which say, more than who brought them into a system of machinery, fo: once, the very contrary to what I have said in the poetry.' passages themselves.
The other blunder she accuses me of is, the mixIf any person has curiosity enough to read the taking a passage in Aristotle, ana she is pleased to whole paragraphs in my Preface, on some mangled send me back to this philosopher's treatise of Poetry, parts of which these reflections are made, he will and to her Preface on the Odyssey for my better easily discern that I am as orthodox as Madame Da- instruction. Now though I am saucy enough to cier herself in those very articles on which she treats think that one may sometimes difier from Aristale me like a heretic; he will easily see that all the dif- without blundering, and though I am sure one D'T ference between us consists in this, that I offer opin- sometimes fall into an error by following kim serions, and she delivers doctrines; that my imagination vilely; yet I own, that to quote an author for what he represents Homer as the greatest of human poets, never said, is a blunder; (but, by the way, to corre whereas in hers he was exalted above humanity; in- an author for what he never said, is somewhat kose fallibility and impeccability were two of his attri-than a blunder.) My words were these : 'As there is butes. There was therefore no need of defending a greater variety of characters in the Iliad, than it Homer against me, who, (if I mistake not) had carried any other poem, so there is of speeches. Eren my admiration of him as far as it can be carried, thing in it has manners, as Aristotle expresses it; without giving a real occasion of writing in his de- that is, every thing is acted or spoken; very lituje fence.
passes in narration.' She justly says, that · Every After answering my harmless similes, she pro- thing which is acted or spoken, has not necessarily ceeds to a matter which does not regard so much the manners, merely because it is acted or spoken' honour of Homer, as that of the times he lived in ; Agreed: but I would ask the question, whether as and here I must confess she does not wholly mistake thing can bave manners which is neither acted or my meaning, but I think she mistakes the state of the spoken? If not, then the whole Iliad being almost question. She had said, the manners of those times spent in speech and action, almost every thing in it were so much the better, the less they were like ours. has manners; since Homer has been proved before, I thought this required a little qualification. I con- in a long paragraph of the Preface, to have excelled fess that in my opinion the world was mended in in drawing characters and painting manners; and some points, such as the custom of putting whole indeed his whole poem is one continued occasios nations to the sword, condemning kings and their of showing this bright part of his talent. families to perpetual slavery, and a few others. To speak fairly, it is impossible she could read Madam Dacier judges otherwise in this ; but as to even the translation and take my sense so wrotga the rest, particularly in preferring the simplic y of she represents it: but I was first translated igaonutly, the ancient world to the luxury of ours, which the and then read partially. My expression indeed was main point contended for, she owns we agree. This not quite exact ; it should have been. “Every thing I thought was well, but I am so unfortunate that this has manners, as Aristotle calls them.' But sach at too is taken amiss, and called adopting or (if you will) fault, methinks, might have been spared; sioce i stealing her sentiment. The truth is, she might have one was to look with that disposition she discovers said her words ; for I used them on purpose, being towards me, even on her own excellent writings, one when professedly citing from her : though I might have might find some mistakes which no contest can re
dress; as where she makes Eustathius call Cratis- by public and general acts of worship, others by a thenes the Phliasian, Callisthenes the Physician.* reverend sort of reasoning and inquiry about the What a triumph might some slips of this sort have grounds of it; it is the same in admiration : some prove afforded to Homer's, hers, and my enemies, from it by exclamations, others by respect. I have observed which she was only screened by their happy igno- that the loudest huzzas given to a great man in a trirance! How unlucky had it been, when she insulted umph, proceed not from his friends, but the rabble ; Mr. de la Motte for omitting a material passage in the and as I have fancied it the same with the rabble of speech of Helen to Hector, Iliad vi.t if some cham. critics, a desire to be distinguished from them has pion for the moderns had by chance understood so turned me to the more moderate, and I hope, more much Greek, as to whisper him, that there was no rational method. Though I am a poet, I would not such passage in Homer!
be an enthusiast; and though I am an Englishman I Our concern, zeal, and even jealousy for our great would not be furiously of a party. I am far from author's honour were mutual ; our endeavours to ad- thinking myself that genius, upon whom, at the end vance it were equal : and I have as often trembled of these remarks, Madam Dacier congratulates my for it in her hands, as she could in mine. It was one country: one capable of 'correcting Ilomer, and of the many reasons I had to wish the longer life of consequently of reforming mankind, and amending this lady, that I must certainly have regained her good this constitution. It was not to Great Britain this opinion, in spite of all misrepresenting translators ought to have been applied, since our nation has one whatever I could not have expected it on any other happiness for which she might have preferred it to terms than being approved as great, if not as passion. her own, that as much as we abound in other miserate, an admirer of Homer as herself. For that was able misguided sects, we have at least none of the the first condition of her favour and friendship; other- blasphemers of Homer. We steadfastly and unaniwise not one's taste alone, but one's morality had mously believe, both his poem, and our constitution, been corrupted, nor would any man's religion have to be the best that ever human wit invented: that been unsuspected, who did not implicitly believe in the one is not more incapable of amendment than an author whose doctrine is so comformable to Holy the other; and (old as they both are) we despise any Scripture. However, as different people have dif- French or Englishman whatever, who shall presume ferent ways of expressing their belief, some purely to retrench, to innovate, or to make the least altera
tion in either. Far therefore from the genius for * Dacier Remarques sur le 4m9 iva de l'Odyss is but to preserve the humble character of a faithful
which Madam Dacier mistook me, my whole desire De la Corruption du Gout.
uranslator, and a quiet subject.
BATTLE OF THE FROGS AND MICE.
BY MR. ARCHDEACON PARNELL.
CORRECTED BY MR. POPE.
NAMES OF THE MICE.
NAMES OF THE FROGS.
If worthy friendship, proffer'd friendship take,
And, entering, Fiew the pleasurable lake: To fill my rising song with sacred fire,
Range o'er my palace, in my bounty share, Ye tuneful Nine, ye sweet celestial quire !
And glad return from hospitable fare. From Helicon's imbowering height repair,
This silver realm extends beneath my sway, Attend my labours, and reward my prayer. And me, their monarch, all its frogs obey. The dreadful toils of raging Mars I write,
Great Physignathus I, from Peleus' race, The springs of contest, and the fields of fight; Begot in fair Hydromeduse' embrace, How threatening mice advanced with warlike grace, Where by the nuptial bank that paints his side And waged dire combats with the croaking race. The swift Eridanus delights to glide. Not louder tumults shook Olympus' towers, Thee too, thy form, thy strength and port proclaim, When earth-born giants dared immortal powers. 10 A scepter'd king; a son of martial fame; These equal acts an equal glory claim,
Then trace thy line, and aid my guessing eyes. And thus the muse records the tale of fame. Thus ceased the frog, and thus the mouse replies: Once on a time, fatigued and out of breath,
Known to the gods, the men, the birds that dy And just escaped the stretching claws of death, Through wild expanses of the midway sky, A gentle mouse, whom cats pursued in vain, My name resounds; and if unknown to thee, Flies swift of foot across the neighbouring plain, The soul of great Psycarpax lives in me. Hangs o'er a brink, his eager thirst to cool,
Of brave Troxartes' line, whose sleeky down
What art thou, stranger ? what the line you boast? Born where a cabin lifts its airy shed,
But since our natures nought in common know Nor let me find a faithless mouse in thee.
From what foundation can a friendship grow ?