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FABLES FROM LA FONTAINE, IN ENGLISH VERSE. « Full of wise saws and modern instances.”_SHAKESPEARE.
“ I am a nameless man—but I am a friend to my country, and of my country's friends."-IVANHOE.*
A translation is in general a sad dull indeed we are told that he wrote it for business. It is like a dish twice dress- bread. Besides, Dryden had nothing ed, and the flavour is lost in the cook- Virgilian in his composition. It would ing. The object should be rather to be difficult to imagine anything more transfuse than translate ; to embody, opposite than their poetical characters, as it were, the spirit of the original in unless it be those of Homer and Pope, a new language ; to give, in short, to who may be considered as the very translation, the same meaning in a li- antipodes to each other. Still, when an terary which it bears in an ecclesiasti- occasion is offered for the display of cal sense,—where it always implies an his power, Dryden takes noble advanimprovement in the thing translated. tage of it. For instance, when Turnus, The mode of conducting this literary in his indignant reply to the affected operation is as various as the terms by apprehensions of Drauces, says,which it is expressed. Sometimes the “Nunquam animum talem dextrâ hac (abwork is, according to the Dutch phrase, siste moveri) overgeret, i. e. overdone ; sometimes, Amittes ; tecum habitet et sit pectore in according to the French phrase, it is
isto." traduit, i.e. traduced ; and sometimes, The translator, adds a line, which according to our own phrase, it is done, heightens the sarcasm, and conveys, i. e. done for into English. Dryden in the strongest manner, the spirit and has perhaps furnished the most bril- temper of the speaker : liant specimens in our language of suc- “ Let that vile soul in that vile body rest : cessful execution in this line. His tenth The lodging is right worthy of the guest!" Satire of Juvenal almost surpasses the The only poet of modern times capable original. What can be more beautifully of translating Virgil—the elegant, the easy and simple than the opening ? tender Virgil—was Racine. Dryden “ Look round the habitable world, how should have confined himself to Juvefew
nal ;--though in saying this, we must Know their own good, or, knowing it, pur
not forget his splendid versions of Hosue.”
race. Here, however, he gives us paAnd yet how he warms with his sub- raphrase rather than translation ; he ject as he advances, pouring forth bears the Lyric Muse of the Latin thoughts that breathe, and words that bard upon his own sublimer pinions, burn, in the very spirit of the Roman to a loftier heaven of invention, and satirist.
makes her sing in a higher tone of inbut Juvenal was a poet after his spiration. There is nothing in the own heart, and he translates him con Odes of Horace that can be compared amore. His Virgil is less happy. Here with “ Alexander's Feast;" and we he seems to be performing a task,—and shall seek in vain in the original for
* Octavo. John Murray, Albemarle Street, London. 1820. Vol. IX.