« PreviousContinue »
WITH ILLUSTRATIONS FROM THE BRITISH POETS, FROM
CHAUCER TO COWPER.
It would scarcely seem to need any proof that, when the work of a Poet is to be translated from one language into another, the poetic character should still be observed; nor is it less obvious that, if the object of the undertaking is the benefit of the youthful scholar, the strictest regard should be had to accuracy in the process. Further, it would appear to be quite indispensable that, whatever may be the design of the operation, easy numbers in the original should be represented by harmonious arrangement in the version.
How far any free Translation can be of real service in the case of the more advanced student, is a question with which the Author of the following attempt has no present concern, as he designs his book for the advantage of those to whom such freedom would, in his opinion, be a positive injury; for his object has been to afford assistance to the classical Teacher in the instruction of his young disciples, and to these latter all such laxness would surely be a serious evil. It is for this reason that, in producing VIRGIL in a new English dress for their benefit, he has endeavored to combine the three great requisites already alluded to-rigid exactness, poetic diction, and rhythmical flow.
In carrying out this design, the Author has thought it necessary to submit to certain restrictions, from which had he relieved himself, his work would have lost in usefulness, though he would have gained by increased facility in the execution of it. For instance, among other reasons, with a view to facilitate the process of construing, the Latin words have been rendered according to the order in which they appear in the original, so far at least as seemed consistent with a necessary regard to the English idiom, and the reasonable requirements of the rhythm. Then, again, no single word in the Latin has ever been consciously passed over without the supply of its English equivalent. Further, it has often happened that a passage might have been rendered much more effective by the employment of words different from those which have been used; yet, notwithstanding the temptation to introduce them, they have been rejected, simply because fidelity to the Latin demanded others.
Were it not, indeed, for such ties as these, the present work, instead of being a close Translation for the schoolboy, might with much less of trouble have been turned into a Poem for the general reader. Still, though it is not intended for the latter class, it is only fair to observe that any one who desires to see in English what VIRGIL says in his own tongue, will probably find him presented here in as agreeable a form as that of any prose version, which should aim at equal faithfulness, and be fettered by the same restrictions.
The Translation is accompanied by copious extracts from the British Poets from an early date down to the beginning of the present century. This has been done, not only to meet the tastes of those for whom parallelisms have a great attraction, but also to impart to the young student a love for English poetry itself, by introducing him to its greatest masters, whose remains are conspicuous for their genius, beauty, and power.
YORK, June 1, 1871.
ECLOGUE I. TITYRUS.
MELIBUS. TITYRUS. Melibæus. Thou, Tityrus, reclining under- | Through the whole country round to such neath
extent A canopy of widely-spreading beech, Confusion reigns. Lo! I [these] female Thy woodland song upon the slender pipe goats Dost practise ; we our patrimony's bourns, Myself am driving onward, sick at heart ; And charming fields, are leaving ; native This, too, with effort, Tityrus, I lead. land
For here, among the clustered hazel-shrubs, We fly : thou, Tit'rus, easy in the shade, Twins having yeaned but now, my hope of Dost teach the woods with Amaryll the fair flock,
21 To ring.
Alas ! she left them on the naked flint. Tityrus. O, Melibæus, 'tis a god Oft this mischance to us—had not my wit These restful hours for us hath gained. Been stupid—I remember that the oaks, For he
Blasted from heav'n, foretold ; [this] oft Shall ever be a god to me: his altar oft 10 foretold A tender lambkin from our folds shall steep. The luckless crow from out the hollow holm. He hath allowed my kine to rove at large- But ne'ertheless, that deity of thine As thou perceivest—and myself to play Who may he be, impart, O Tityrus, What [airs] I list upon my rural reed. Mel. In sooth I envy not ; I marvel Tit. The city which they title “ Rome,'
O Melibæus, I, a simpleton,
Deemed like to this of ours, whither oft Line 3-5. The complaint of Melibaeus somewhat resembles that of Colin in Spenser's Shepheard's The ewes' soft offspring. So I knew that
We shepherds are accustomed down to drive Calender, June 13–16: “ Thy lovely layes here maist thou freely boste ;
whelps But I, unhappie man ! whom cruell Fate Were like to dogs, so kidlings to their dams; And angrie gods pursue from coste to coste, So with the petty to compare the great Can no where finde to shroude my luckless
Was I accustomed. But as high hath this pate. Elsewhere Colin follows the example of Tityrus,
'Mong other cities lifted up her head, but surpasses his prototype; Colin Clout, 636 :
“ As when Heaven's fire “The speaking woods, and murmuring waters fall, Hath scath'd the forest oaks, or mountain pines;
Her name I'll teach in knowen termes to frame; With singèd top their stately growth, though bare, And eke my lambs, when for their dams they call, Stands on the blasted heath. Milton, P. L. i. I'll teach to call for Cynthia by name.
My piteous plight in yonder naked tree, Shakespeare, with great beauty :
Which bears the thunder-scar, too plain I see ;
I “Holla your name to the reverberate hills,
Quite destitute it stands of shelter kind, And make the babbling gossip of the air
The mark of storms, and sport of every wind.” Cry out, Olivia !'” Twelfth Night, i. 5.
A. Philips, Past. 2.
26. “For did you ever hear the dusky raven Elsewhere, somewhat differently :
Chide blackness?" “ Bondage is hoarse, and may not speak aloud ;
John Webster, Vittoria Corombona, v. 1. Else would I tear the cave where Echo lies, And make her airy tongue more hoarse than mine, 36. Look down, Drusilla, on these lofty towers,
These spacious streets, where every private house With repetition of my Romeo's name.” Romeo and Juliet, ii. 2.
Appears a palace to receive a king :
The site, the wealth, the beauty of the place, 7. J. Fletcher has “ Amaryll” for “Amaryllis,". Will soon inform thee 'tis imperious Rome: where the metre required it'; e. g., The Faithful Rome, the great mistress of the conquered world.” Shepherdess, v. 3.
J. Fletcher, The Prophetess, ii. 3.