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noticed and quoted in other periodical works, we shall pass on to his last Messenienne on the death of Lord Byron, which seems scarcely yet to have reached this country. It commences with allusions to the well-known attempt of the Northern Review to crush him, and the noble Lord's vengeance:
“ Par de lâches clameurs quel génie insulté
Dans son obscurité première,
Et son siècle en posterité ?" In continuing to celebrate the foibles and the misfortunes of the bard, he takes an opportunity to offer a piece of very necessary advice to his brethren;
“Poëtes, respectez les prêtres et les femmes,
Ces terrestres Divinités !
Comme dans les célestes âmes,
Des noirs caveaux du Panthéon."
“ Victime de l'orgueil, tu chantas les victimes
Qu'il immole sur ses autels ;
Tu peignis de grands criminels.
Persécuté comme le Dante,
Comme lui tu rêvas l'enfer." M. Delavigne seems to imagine, with that obliquity that always seems to haunt the minds of party-poets, that England persecuted Lord Byron, that she banished him, used him very cruelly, &c. But this is merely an excuse to scold. After a very beautiful paraphrase of Byron's celebrated comparison between Greece and a dead female ; he follows it up:
“ C'est la Grèce, as tu dit, c'est la Grèce opprimée,
La Grèce belle encore, mais froide, inanimée;
Leur paupière longtemps fermée,
Se rouvre à la clarté des cieux.
Son corps frémit, et s'est dressé ;
Son front qui reprend sa fierté,
Son bras s'allonge, et cherche une glaive;
Elle vit, elle parle, elle a dit. Liberté !" We shall conclude our notice of M. Delavigne with his concluding stanzas to our lost poet:
“Il n'est plus ! il n'est plus ! toi qui fut sa patrie,
Pleure, ingrate Albion : l'exil paya ses chants,
Corneille et lui sont tes enfans.
Coutaient moins tristement quand vous lisiez ses vers.
Son glaive aurait brisé tes fers !"
Prépare les funèbres jeux:
Qu'ils vont offrir à sa mémoire ;
Enséveli par la victoire.
Ils graveront sur son dernier asile:
“O mort! que ne l'espargnais-tu ?
Il chantait comme Homère, il fut mort comme Achille."
De vos linceuls depouillez les lambeaux,
Pressez vous, rois, place au grand homme!"
BATRACHOMYOMACHIA, AND HYMN TO PAN.
SOMEBODY blaming metrical translations, I believe Cowper, says that translating in verse is like dancing in fetters; and that therefore the looser the links are made, the more graceful is the motion. This was said to recommend blank verse translations. I differ altogether; if I must dance in fetters, let them jingle.
But putting this pun out of the question, and a poor pun it is, it has always struck me that blank verse translations are apt, from the comparative easiness of their metre, to fall into something like plain prose; and that the necessity of rhyme makes the translation, when well done, so much more carefully done, as to resemble better an original poem, than otherwise. Moved by these considerations, and others which there is no need of mentioning, I have done into Spenserian (the most rhyme-demanding of all our stanzas,) the pleasant little mock Homeric poem of the “ Battle of the Frogs and Mice;' and with it the Homeric hymn to Pan, it is not worth any body's while on this occasion to squabble about authenticity,) treated in a similar fashion.
In the Batrachomyomachia I have retained the Grecian names of the warriors, though I know Goldsmith's objection to it; viz., that we lose the burlesque effect arising from the significancy of their humble denominations. I think, however, that we gain another piece of burlesque comicality in the imposing grandeur of the sound applied to such tiny combatants. Potempter may be droller than Embasichytros, but the latter is more magnificent in sound;
and the drollery of the former is, to our ears at least, more like that of Æsop's Fables, than of an epic poem. I agree with Southey's remark to the same effect in his preface to Amadis, where he assigns as a reason for retaining Beltenebros in his text untranslated, that nobody ever thinks of calling St. Peter, Stone the apostle, though the name was avowedly significant. Lord Thurlow, not the present, but the chancellor, has translated the names in his version of the Battle of the Frogs and Mice.' In giving the Greek names, I trust I have escaped the barbarous unprosodaical pronunciation of Parnell.
I do not recollect ever having seen any part of Homer in Spenserian verse, except a fragment of the fourteenth book of the Iliad in Blackwood's Magazine,' about four years ago; nor indeed in any other stanza, except the hymn to Mercury, so admirably translated by Shelley ; and a few detached passages of the Iliad, by a youg writer, who has since realized all the promises of his boyhood, as a poet and a scholar.
Into my soul, * fair Heliconian train,
That mock'd the achievements of the giant brood :-
For I shall lead thee to my royal dome,
“ I am the king Physignathus, whose sway
Is own'd through all these waters, high and low;
Thee too, thy vigorous form and lordly air
birth I owe,
* Enov ntog. Lungs, I believe, would express what the poet meant; but I am afraid that in these days we cannot ask the muses there.
The pride of Pternotractas' regal house,
And in soft luxury my youth was bred;
Live mid the waters, while to me 'tis sweet
Not thrice-baked bread in rounded platter laid-
Nor aught sage cooks prepare, whose learned wit Lines the capacious pot with many a luscious bit.
But bear me bravely in the foremost fight;
Nor dreams how near, how desperate is his foe: Two living things alone can fill my heart with woe,