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Each tender being, struggling into life,
Soft nurse of Nature! gave the golden mean.” . In the panegyric on rural life, which is towards the end of the second book, there are several verses' finished with such masterly skill, so wonderfully excellent, or, to sum up all praise in one word, so perfectly Virgilian, that they are severe tests indeed of a translator's art.
- Quibus ipfa procul discordibus armis,
Georg. Lib. ii. V. 459–460.
And just returns of cultivated land. Here the meaning is accurately rendered, but the elegance is untranslated ; and it is perhaps untranslatable. in
Earth with salubrious fruits supports their life. Here the ideas and the elegance are alike loft. The two beautiful and significant epithets, "facilem” and “ juftiffima”, are both unattempted. .
. DELILLE. Fidèle a ses besoins a fes travaux dacile,
La Terre lui fournit un aliment facile. The words which we have marked in ihese verses will show, that the ideas of Virgil are skilfully clothed in another language ; but the antithetical arrangement of the first line is not Virgilian.
Far from wild war spontaneous nurture sheds. We will venture to anticipate the decision of readers of taste, by adjudging to Mr. Sotheby the palm in the translation of these verses. These specimens, though 100 few for our gratification, seem more than sufficient to justify our praise. Upon the whole, Warton's trapslation is inferior to Dryden in every thing but fidelity; and the present version, stili more exact than that of Warion, may indeed sometimes yield to that of Dryden, in those parts which demand peculiar animarion and vigour, but far surpasses it wherever tenderness, or elegance,
or majesty is the prevailing character of the original. The only general censure to which it is justly liable is perhaps fomewhat too great a profusion of ornament, where fevere talte might have required more didactic fimplicity; and if this objection were harthly urged, it might probably with great truth be answered, that the extreme delicacy of Virgil's elegance might have been unnoticed by modern readers, as they would be repelled by the occasional rusticily and grossness of Homer; and that Mr. Sotheby is justified for having, in some degree, modernized Virgil, on the same principles which excuse Pope for having, in a much greater degree, modernized Homer,
Mr. Sotheby, in his Advertisement, calls Dr. Warton “the first critic of this age". Has this elegant poet forgotten the name of Dr. Johnson? We know that there are strange literaty heresies on this subject, prevalent among the friends of the two Wartons. We have the highest respect for the memory of these ingenious and accomplished men, and we therefore admonish their admirers not to provoke comparisons, which cannot be advantageous to their fame, whether rank in criticism is to be estimated by justness of decision, or by vigour of talent.
Art. XIII. A Maximum ; or, the Rise and Progress of Fa
mine. Addressed to the British People. By the Author of a Residence in France, during the Years 1792, 1793, 1794, 1795, &c. &c. 8vo. 02 pp. Is. 6d. Wright. 180r.
THE consequence of this tract must by no means be esti
1. maied froin iis fize. It contaius a statement of facts, and of facts bearing strongly, in the way of example, upon the present circumstances of inis country. Under the pressure occasioned by the exorbitant price of all necessaries, fome specuJarors have been rath enough to turn their eyes towards the famous French expedient of a Maximum, as a mode of extrication for us. Under these circumstances, to prevent as effectually as poflible all hankering after a noftrum lo pernicious, by Thowing iis actual operation when tried, a writer here steps forward, well-qualified, both by knowledge and abilities, io ftare the truth wiih effect.
When the celebrated Letters during a Residence in France were publilhed in 1797, besides commending the truth and
spirit fpirit of this picture they contained, we stared our belief * of what we now know to be the fact, that they were the genuine production of a lady, who had been situated as, they describe, and the result of actual knowledge and observation. The present painphler comes undoubtedly from the pen of the same lady, and may be considered, in some measure, as a supplement to those Letters. It relates the frightful and miserable consequences of the maximum, as they were actually experienced when that law was established in France. One or two specimens will effectually show the spirit and force of this seasonable tract.
“ The French farmers argued much in the spirit of Shylock, whenever I conversed with them on the cause of their confinement; they perfifted they had a right to sell their corn under the protection of the same laws, which had encouraged them to sow and reap it; and that they would endure every hardship, rather than any advantage should be derived from the injustice practised upon them. They urged, moreover, that it was impossible for them to sell their grain at an arbitrary valuation, while they were ihemselves obliged to pay for their cattle, implements of husbandry, cloihes, and every article(not raised on their own farms), according to the will of the proprietors. But it was in vain they reasoned ; the prejudice against them was universal.-I was one day giving a message at the prison door, when I observed a member of the Convention, who had juit entered to take a survey of his flock, talking to en old decent looking prisoner, with a petition in his hand, and apparently very ill, “ Vai'en, Va t'en" (Get along, get along with you), said the polite legislator of the most polished nation in the world; and then turning to me, Citoyenne, added he,“ that fellow is a farmer, and when I meet with a farmer, je le traite comme un chien, I treat hiin like a dog.” “ Citizen representative,” recurned I, “ I wish the farmers may not repay this, by treating us worse than dogs ;--for dogs are fed, and, I fear, if we go on this way, we shall be starved." — 56 Pooh, it would be as well for the country, if all the farmers in it were sent to peep out of the t national casement.”
• Nos caring much to argue with one, who, if he had chosen it, might, by way of frolic, have ordered me on the same errand, I was filent, though I now began to suspert this notion of treating farmers like dogs, would end in no good; and many besides myself, converted by wani, were of the same opinion.--At first, the gentry, the nerchants, the shopkeeper, in short, those of no occupation and those of alloccupations, had joined in calling for measures of severity againithe farmers; one would have imagined, it was a crime to plough, iow, and cultivate the earth ; or that fome method had been discovered of producing corn without labour; and, I may venture to say, this maurels was the only instance of unanimity between the government and he people. The result proved, that even a whole nation, when dutlog
* See Brit. Crit. vol. ix, pp. 176, 274, 369.
under the influence of its neceflities, and passions more than its reason, may be wrong; and that the voice of the people is not always che voice of God, nor that of common sense.
• A few weeks sufficienriy manitetted the efficacy of this noftrum, of which political acacks had so much boasted; whatever is done by force, is done badly ; and whatever wars with the interests of a whole body of men, must be liable to a thousand latent modes of counteraction, which no wisdom can foresee, nor despotism reach.
" While the military scoured one district, surreptitious bargains were made in another; and, as I have before observed, those who could aword it, were eager, not only to purchase at any rate, but willing also to pay the farmer for his risk in evading the law. The peo: le uto were precluded from this private commerce, and who perceived, that bread, as well as most other articles, was becoming daily more unattainable, now fancied nothing would relieve them effectually, except a general Maxiwum-lhi. opened the eyes of those who had been so zealous in promoting the perii cution of the farmers ; but it was too late, the lower classes had acquired a disastrous taste for innovation; and, with, the fickle reitlejnels of disease, which is ever flying to new remedies, they were earnest in demanding an extension of the Maximum. At the end of October 1793, then this memorable decree was promulgated-A decree, which France will long execrare, which cost her the lives of so many of her most useful citizens, and which her manufactures have not yet recovered.-Being in prison, I only know the immediate effect from the report of others; from not being able to procure necessaries for money, from the adulteration of every article which was susceptible of it, and from the number of poor fhop-keepers hourly brought in, under the charge of violating the new law. P.11.
A few more lines of this fingular picture, will render å still fuller comment on the dangerous text of a maximum.
“ We remained pretty much in this state, till the Spring of 1994All open trade and commerce, were at an end-Sometimes we eat, Sometimes we tatudOne day uo bread, another no meat, and every day rising our lives, inerely io cbtain food to preserve them : indeed, our existence a good deal resembled that of a highwayman; we ran great bazards, got very scanty fupplies, and were constantly in fear. The government, which fo long ridiculed al} religions, and had ftricily prohibited the Roinan Catholics from practising the forms of theirs, now published a pompous harangue, to persuade people to a patriotic fait during Lent, and ro inform them, that nature herself seemed to indicare to man, that in this season of universal renovation, he ought to cat sparingly.
“I know not what effect this eloquence might have produced of it. felf; but the Maximum operated so powerfully, that very few had the chcice of disregarding it; even the most anti-patriotic appetites were fometimes obliged to submit to these civic faftings.--Corn, however, heing an article too bulky for general concealment, was still to be obtained, though precariously, and in small quantities; or, rather, the rich managed to purchase all the best, at an enormous price, clandes
tinely; and the refuse, what had been damaged by being fecreted in damp places, and was not fit for use, was sold at the Maximum to the poor. In the meanwhile, tamine seemed rapidly approaching; parks, gardens, every slip of ground was ordered to be planted with potatoes; valuable trees and shrubs were torn up; and such was the madness, or apprehension of the moment, that it was proposed in the South of France to cut down the mulberry and olive trees, and cultivate nothing but corn and potatoes. Struck* (as the French emphatically expressed it) by the Maximum, all the manufactures at Lyons, Sedan, Rouen, Amiens, Abbeville, &c. &c, were shut up; and, of course, thousands of induftrious workmen were starving. It must be observed also, that every fort of labour was necessarily included in the maximum lawt; fo that various trades, which before were not subject to any regulation, were now obliged to work at fixed prices; thus, the act was entirely to the disadvantage of the poor ; for a merchant, or shopkeeper, could make private bargains, but the artizan and labourer could not; especially as The total ttagnation of commerce and trade had thrown so many out of employ, that hands were as plenty as prorisions were scarce. In this respect, the law might well be compared to a cobweb, which confincs small flies, and lets great ones escape. Almost every sort of importation ceased; no foreign merchant would send goods to be fold at the Maximum, nor would any native venture to fpeculate, or risk his capital, under such circumftances. Yet, as there were foune articles, whicha could not be dispensed with, governanent itself undertook to procure them, and, for more than a year, the whole commerce of France wig carried on by its agents. Ten thousands of these were emploved, fome at home, others abroad, and many of them who were entrusted with vast sums of money, to purchase corn, disappeared, and left the republicans to provide for theinselves. As the summer of 1704. advanced, the public diftreifes augmented, infomuch that it was judged expedient to sacrifice the fleet, in order to save the grain in the transa ports, and we owe the opportunity furnihed us, on the glorious firk of June, to the Maximum--the French would not have hazarded an er. gagement, but to avert a famine. Yet, notwithstanding the supply obtained at the expense of so great a loss of men and ships, the scarcits continued ; and farmers, shopkeepers, and manutacturers were linprifoned, guillotined, drowned, and shot, without pity or remorley..*
« * Frappé par le Maximum.
“ † There is every reason to believe the French government did not at first intend to fix the Maximum for any article, except corn : but they soon found that, having once begun, it was impoffible to stop. The law filled two large octavo volumes, and is extremely curious.
“ I This number has been stated officially.
“ $ See “ the Report on Robespierre's Papers,” Moniteurs---History of the French Revolution--Trial of Carrier, and many other publications. Carrier, who was :member of the Convention, used to menace the people of Nantes, that he would play at bowls with their heads. Nantes is a large commercial place, and thirty thousand of its inhabitants were destroyed in the various ways above cited,"