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system, as would give to property steadily at a slight danger, which and intelligence, a more equal and would vanish away as soon as it was generally diffused influence; but to boldly examined. This we say with be useful at all-nay, not to be de- regard to the nation at large; as to structive-it should be soberly, cau- the party which has introduced it to tiously, and gradually done. The Parliament, they appear to have present measure is altogether rank adopted it as a desperate expedient with the odour of revolution-it for bearing down the opposition, stinks in the nostrils of men who love which their previous ill success had peace, and prosperity, and security, made so strong. Through fear of and can only find partisans amongst not continuing to govern, they have those whom party fury blinds to the risked a measure, of which the bare dictates of common sense, or who promulgation directly tends to make yield to base fear, instead of looking the country ungovernable.
TO MRS HEMANS.
Thou hast ennobled Woman, and thy name
Shall to posterity be handed down.
And, brightly wreath'd within thy laurel crown,
In eve's soft twilight, to the heart appealing,
In breathings full of rich and tender feeling,
And strike the chords of thy celestial lyre-
Quit their strong hold, and at my will expire;
Shall ever tune that deeply-touching string;
In rosy garland fair the flowers of spring,
And think not lightly of the heart that feels
The bright enchantment that thy music yields:
Patriots as we are, as well as Cos- monious hands, arose, in its perfect mopolites, how relieving, how re- proportions, immortal in its beauty freshing, how invigorating, and how and magnificence,“ The Tale of Troy elevating to our senses and our souls, Divine?” to fly from politics to poetry—from Was Homer savage or civilized ? the Honourable House to the Immor- Both. So was Achilles. Conceived tal Homer—from the vapid feuds of by a goddess, and begotten by a hero, placemen and reformers, to the dead- that half-celestial child sat at the Iy wrath of nature's heroic sons- knees of a formidable Gamaliel from the helpless limp of any mid- Chiron the Centaur. Grown up to dle-aged Smith, to the elastic' lame- perfect stature, his was the Beauty ness of old Vulcan-from O'Connell of the Passions-Apollo's self, in his and Hunt, with their matchless black- loveliness, not a more majestic miing, to
nister of death. Paint him in two
words—STORMY SUNSHINE. “ Atrides, king of men, and Thetis' god.
Was the breath of life ever in that like son!”
shining savage-or was he but a lusWe are no great Greek scholars ; trous shadow in blind Homer's ima. but we can force our way, vi et ar- gination? What matters it? All is mis, through the Iliad. What we do that we think; no other existence; not clearly, we dimly, understand, and Homer thought Achilles; clouds are are happy in the glorious glimpses; transient, but Troy's towers are eterin the full unbroken light, we bask nal. Oh! call not Greek a dead lanlike an eagle in the sunshine that guage, if you have a soul to be saved! emblazons his eyrie; in the gloom The bard who created, and the hethat sometimes falls suddenly down roes who fought in the Iliad, are on his inspired rhapsodies, as if from therein not entombed, but enshrined; a tower of clouds, we are for a and their spirits will continue to time eyeless as “ blind Mæonides," breathe and burn there, till the stars while with him we enjoy“ the dark- are cast from the firmament, and ness that may be felt;" as the light- there is an end to what we here nings of his genius flash, lo! before call Life. our wide imagination ascends "state- Homer, you know, wrote in Greek, ly-structured Troy,” expand tented and in many dialects. He has been shore and masted cea; and in that translated into English, which, in bethunder we dream of the nod that roic measures, you know, admits but shuddered Olympus.
of one. All translation of the highSome people believe in twenty est poetry, we hold, must be, such Homers- we in one. Nature is not is the mysterious incarnation of so prodigal of her great poets. Hea- thought and feeling in language, at ven only knows the number of her best but a majestic mockery-someown stars-no astronomer may ever thing ghostlike; when supposed most count them-but the soul-stars of substantial, suddenly seeming most earth are but few; and with this a shadow — or change that image, Perryan pen could we name them why, then, like a broken rainbow, all. Who ever heard of two Miltons or say, rather, like a rainbow re-of two Shakspeares ? That there fracted, as well as reflected, from should even have been one of each, is the sky-gazing sea. Glorious pieces a mystery, when we look at what are of colour are lying here and there, called men. Who, then, after consi. reminding us of what, a moment dering that argument will believe that before, we beheld in a perfect arch Greece of old was glorified by a nu- on heaven. merous brotherhood of coeval genii But while the nations of the earth of mortal birth, all“ building up the all speak in different tongues—they lofty rhyme,” till beneath their har- all feel with one heart, and they all
London : Murray, 1831,
think with one brain. Therefore, he nicles people had got printed, that he who hath the gift of tongues, may, could lay hands on ; from an alien language, transfuse " For the thief of all thieves was the much of the meaning that inspirits it Warwickshire thief !” into his own; although still we must Indeed, Shakspeare, who had always be inclined to say, listening “ little Latin, and no Greek,” conto the “ repeated strain,"
trived-heaven only knows how
to translate into English thousands “ Alike, but oh ! how different."
of fine things from those languages. All truly great or good poets desire Marlow was an avowed and regular that all mankind should, as far as it translator-50 was Ben Jonsonis possible, enjoy all that in the hu- and many others of that wonderman is most divine; and therefore working age. But come down, withwhile each has
out fear of breaking your neck by
the fall-to Dryden and Pope at “ Like Prometheus stolen the fire from once ;-and then, sliding along a heaven,"
gentle level, to Cowper--and, last of they have all exultingly availed them who is good, who better, and who
all, to Sotheby—all translators—and selves of the common privilege of best, you sure will find it hard to stealing-whenever inspired so to do
say-of the “myriad-minded” Ho--and plagiarism is thus often the sign of a noble idolatry-of steal
Let it at once suffice for Mr ing from one another, that after Sotheby's satisfaction, that we say hoarding them up in the sunny and he is entitled—and we do not know windy air-lofts of their own imagi- another person of whom we could nations, they may in times of dearth safely say as much-to deal with
-or to make plenty more plenteous that well-booted Grecian, even at -diffuse and scatter those life-enno
this time of day, after all that has bling thefts—in furtherance of the
been done to, in, with, and by “ Him desires of the dead
of the Iliad and the Odyssey," by « O'er lands and seas,
not a few of our prevailing Poets. Whatever clime the sun's bright circle
Let us draw the best of them up in warms !"
rank and file, and as they march be
fore us, try their height by a mental And thus, too, have the truly great military standard, declaring who are and good poets sometimes—often- fit for admission into the grenadiers, felt that it was dignified to become who into the light company, and translators. What else - ay, ay, who must go into the battalion. much else—was the divine Virgil ? We shall confine ourselves to the Fools disparage him, for that he First Book-itself a poem-and let translated-stole from Homer. As us try the volunteers by the test of well despise Shakspeare because the Opening thereof-almost all eduhe stole, not only from unwritten
cated persons being familiar with nature and her oral traditions, but that glorious Announcement in the from all the old Homeric war chro- original Greek.
“ Sing, Muse, the deadly wrath of Peleus' son,
What are the qualities that charac- an advantage of an immeasurable terise the original ? Simplicity and length of verse.” The longer the stateliness. Each word in the first better, say we, had he known how to line is great.
use it—which, though the above quoΜΗΝΙΝ αειδε, Θεα, Πηληϊάδεω 'Αχιλλος.
tation be very good, we say he geNow, not one of all the translations nerally did not, in spite of the Cockmakes an approach to the grandeur neys;
Observe with what a sonorous of that magnificent line. It is then, we may conclude, unapproachable and significant, nay sublime, word, in the English-and consequently in
Homer begins the second line, any other language. Dryden and Ouzouévny. The translators give“ baneCowper, we think, (please always, if ful,” “ dire effects,” “ fatal,” “ direyou have time and opportunity, to
ful," " deadly," all right and good, verify or falsify our criticisms by re- but not one of them placed where ference to translation and original,) Homer placed his word in its power. succeed best ; Pope and Sotheby are
Sotheby omits it. about on an equality, though Pope is
The last line of the Announcement the more musical; and Tickel is is full brother to the first-only look poor, though Johnson, throughout at it. that passage, waywardly prefers him 'Atquions Ti, švač dvdpôr, nai dros 'Axudatus. to Pope. Perhaps some will think old Chapman the best, after all, and All the translators were bound by certainly bis lines have the “long- every tie, human and divine, to have resounding march,” if not the “ en- preserved-if that were possibleergy divine.” Pope says of Chap- its sound, and its sense, and its soul. man sneeringly, that he has “ taken Old Chapman has done so, and
praise be to him; Dryden had the translates it poorly, and kills it by
“Ως έφατ' ευχόμενος του δ' έκλυς Φοίβος Απόλλων:
Βάλλ'· αιεί δε πυραι νεκύων καίοντο θαμειαί. . This all men feel to be sublime. the suddenness of the descent of the Yet, strange to say, we doubt if to glorious Apparition from the summits two imaginations it presents any of Olympus, figure to itself the same thing like the same picture. The Sight sitting apart from the ships for Sun-god, Phæbus Apollo, being incen- nine nights and days of slaughter, sed, slew mules, dogs, and Greeks. and of blazing funeral piles ! The He is the Plague. Yet he is a Divinity bright Vision of Poetry gives place too-and, at one and the same time, gradually to the dim vagueness of he plays to admiration the part of national Superstition. If this be both, and we defy you to tell which true-and if it be possible to do it, is, in your mind, the predominant then the translator should vary his idea—of his Godship or his Plague- version, in the same spirit as Homer ship. Down to the end of the line saw and sung, and make us feel the closing with Bocão, he is himself ooieos strange transition from Divinity to
A biar Etty might paint him- Disease. How may he do so ? By Macdonald shew him in sculpture. intensifying, as Homer did, the PerBut henceforth he is entirely, or sonality of the Godhead, up to the nearly, the Plague. True, he conti- highest pitch at Diõo ; and then letting nues to shoot his arrows—but the it generalize itself away into the mere Impersonation grows faint; and, fi- presence of the unweariable activity nally, from before our eyes at least, of death. fades utterly away. For how can Competitors! right shoulders forthe imagination, that was startled by ward-wheel!
“ Thus he pray'd, and Phoebus heard him pray-