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atidorlicners to them of Drydere: the plough omitted,
bad lines, as are perhaps to be found in the works of any verfifier of reputation; since Pope has taught correctness to verGifiers, and fastidiousness to the public. The subsequent lines are a close and feeble imitation of Dryden, with the exception of one iinprovement. "Difronoured lies the plough" represents a triking idea of the original which Dryden had omitted, probably more from indolence and hurry, than from want of tafie. But this phrase, though not unhappy, is much inferior to the corresponding expressions of Mr. Sotheby. The first lines of the Abbé Delille's version seem to us to be as exact a representation of the sober majelty and finished elegance of the original, as it is pollible to give. In the fourth line, indeed, some part of the ideas of Virgil are wanting ; but the fifth couplet is perhaps one of the most fortunate specimens of translation which literaiure can boast. The sequel is not alWizyš laboured with equal success. The line which we have marked, is an example of a simple and interesting circumitance being weakened by the common places of mythology. The merits of Mr. Sotheby's version may be, in a great mea. fure, oftimated by a review of the faults of his predecessors, which he has judiciously and happily avoided. To compare him to Warton would be injustice; and we will presume to fay, that, without danger to his reputation, he may be compared with Dryden. In the invocation and panegyric he is superior; and ihough, in the description which follows, Dryden gave the reins to his natural genius for vigourous invective, yet The present version, without being weak, is more Virgilian than that of Dryden. There is one line of Mr. Sotheby, at which a reader of taste will perhaps pause. It is the fourth in this paffage. The idea is rot in the original, and the expression and cadence are better suited to the antithetic poignancy, and balanced measure of Pope, than to the general style of Virgil, or to the simple majeity and pious fervour of a pairiotic prayer. The words are antithetically placed, without any opposition in the ideas; and, on the whole, it must be owned to be a line which adds more to the sound and pomp, than to the force or beauiy of the passage. Yet this criticism implies, perhaps, the greatest commendation that can be bestowed on Mr. Sotheby. A pallage, of which such a line is the chief blemith, must approach very near indeed to perfection. Dryden calls the Georgics, in his admirable Dedication, “ the best poem of the best poei." There is nothing which entitles it more to this distinction, than the consummate art with which the poet has varied the style, which, though always perfectly elegant, and never deformed by those rugged lines, which so much abound in his model Lucretius, is yet extremely various. The kind
of ornament is varied with every variation of the subject. The descriptions are enriched by all she arrifices of poetical language. But she clearness of statement is never obscured by profane ornament. Even the simplicity is not uniform. In pathetic pallages it is a soft fimplicity. In precepis it is a severe simplicity, suitable to that character of gravity and authority, which becomes those who instruct or command. Perħaps there may be some critics so fastidious as to complain, that in Mr. Sotheby's version there is more uniformity and prodigality of adorned language, than the variety of Virgil admits. Whether this complaint be well or ill founded, the reader will judge from the following passages of the original, and the translation. They are passages of mere ítatement, in which Virgil seems studiously to have employed great frugality of ornament, or rather to have abstained from ornament altogether.
« Principio arboribus varia est natura creandis ;
Georg. lib. ii. v. 9-12. ,
Georg. lib. ii. v. 109-113
And yews afcend’mid tempests wirg'd with fuow." SOTHEBY. The lines which are marked in the translation are indeed harmonious and poetical; but they are perhaps misplaced. They have more of the luxuriancy of a description of Thom. son than of the sobriety even of a Virgilian description; not to speak of the severe fimplicity of a Virgilian statemeni,
The happy effect of an occasional abstinence from ornament is very remarkable in the last of these two passages. It is immediately followed by one of the molt fplendid parts of Vita
gil-ihe praises of Italy. The simplicity of the introduclory verses admirably serves as a shade, which gives additional lura ire to the brilliant colouring of the subsequent description. The great advantages of relief and contrast are sacrificed by all uniformly adorned writers. Pope and Gray, who, though they be poeis of very different rank, are both malters of poe. tical style, have both rejected part of these advantages, in pursuit of that equal polish which distinguishes their writings,
Thomson and Darwin, writers of far more unequal merit, have entirely sacrificed them to that uniform gaudiness of style which they affect. We shall extract Mr. Sotheby's translation of the noble verses in which Virgil has celebrated the praises of his country, which almost immediately follow the lalt cited pallage.
“ Yet nor the Median groves nor rivers rolld,
Yer golden corn each laughing valley fills,
Bieit in thy race, in battle unsubilo'd,
By strenuous toil the bold Ligurian steelid,
And pour thro' Roman towns th’Ascrvan verse." This passage alone would be sufficient to justify the commendation which we have bestowed on Mr. Sotheby, in which we have, designedly, rather understated our approbation, that there might be no suspicion of our wish to exaggerate, and that our praise might appear to be, what it really is, both considerate and impariial. Whoever will compare the above extract with previous versions, will, not withstanding the great spirit of some of Dryden's lines, be convinced of the general superiority of the present translation. In the beginning of the passage, none of the translators have been content with the fimplicity of Virgil's “ Laudibus Italiæ certent"; they seem all to have been afraid of trusting Italy without an epithet: and perhaps they were right. Virgil was addressing Italians, whose feelings were sufficiently excited by the mere name of their country. But his translators were ipeaking to other nations, who had no such feelings connected with the sound of Italy. They were therefore obliged to display some of the circumstances which made Italy not only dear 10 her own children, but delighıful or interesting to other nations. This they have done variously. Dryden has rendered it thus :
Can with sweet Italy contend in fame. Warton thus :
--- can vie With the blest scenes of beauseous Italy. The Abbé Delille :
A l'antique Aulonie ont ils rien qui s'égale. And Mr. Sutheby :
O native Italy! transcend thy praise. Dryden has expressed the affection of men for their country with which we naturally sympathize ; the Abbé Delille that reverence which we feel for antiquity ; Mr. Sotheby has expressed the veneration of a patriot for his country, by the
folemn solemn form of invocation, and his love by that epithet, 6 native”, which with so sweet, though irresistible an influence, attracts viriuous hearts to the scene of their first pleasures. Dr. Wartun has not availed himself of any of these interesting cucumstances. He has employed only vague epithets of common-place description, which call up no picture, and inspire no feeling. Ii is, however, but justice to him to observe, ihat he has rendered one phrase of this paffage more exactly, and more elegantly (as it seems to us) than any other translator. The phrase is “ alienis mer.fibus aflas.” It is absolutely mistraullatců by Dryden:
And summer funs recede by slow degrees. The translation of Mr. Sotheby, though very elegant, is pcrhaps more florid than the manner of Virgil will admit :
Ard winter wears a wreath of summer flowers. Dr. Warton seems to have gone as near an exact translation as can be hoped for in poetry.
Here fummer shines in seasons not her own. Though hypercritical acuteness might suggest, that as “ summer" is a " season", there is some discordancy in the lan. goage “ Jealons not her own”, which Virgil has escaped. The version of the faine phrase, by the Abbé Delille, is excellent,
Même au sein des hivers l'été luit dans nos plaines; though it wjnis the poetical circumlocution which gives dignity to the language of Virgil. To expect in any other writer turns of expictlion so elegant, and yet so perfectly void of oftentation ; fo dignified, and yet so natural, as those of Virgil, would impiy both severity to other poets, and irreverence for his unrivalled art.
Our limits will not permit us to give any more specimens, and we have produced enough to excite the curiosity of every lover of polite letters ; if indeed all such persons be not already in poilellion of this elegant work. The peculiar beauty of the following verses tempt us to insert them.
." Yes, lovely Spring! when rose the world to birth,
Thy genial radiance beam'd upon the earth,