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His wife beheld him, and with eager pace Guard well that pass, secure of all beside.”
But should I shun the dangers of the war,
With scorn the Trojans would reward my pains, Of Hippoplacus did in Thebe reign.
And their proud ladies with their sweeping trains. Breathless she flew, with joy and passion wild; The Grecian swords and lances I can bear: The nurse came lagging after with her child. But loss of honour is my only fear.
The royal babe upou her breast was laid ; Shall Hector, born to war, his birth-right yield, Who, like the morning star, his beams display'd. Belie his courage, and forsake the field? Scamandrius was his name, which Hector gave, Early in rugged arms I took delight, From that fair flood which Ilion's wall did lave : And still have been the foremost in the fight: But him Astyanax the Trojans call,
With dangers dearly have I bought renown, From his great father, who defends the wall. And am the champion of my father's crown. Hector beheld him with a silent smile:
And yet my mind forebodes, with sure presage, His tender wife stood weeping by the while : That Troy shall perish by the Grecian rage. Press'd in her own, bis warlike hand she took, The fatal day draws on, when I must fall; Then sigh'd, and thus prophetically spoke : And universal ruin cover all.
“ Thy dauntless heart (which I foresee too late) Not Troy itself, though built by hands divine, Too daring man, will urge thee to thy fate : Nor Priam, nor his people, nor his line, Nor dost thou pity, with a parent's mind,
My mother, nor my brothers of renown, This helpless orphan, whom thou leav'st behind; Whose valour yet defends th' unhappy town; Nor me, th' unhappy partner of thy bed;
Not these, nor all their fates which I foresee, Who must in triumph by the Greeks be led : Are half of that concern I have for thee, They seek thy life, and, in unequal fight
I see, I see thee, in that fatal hour, With many, will oppress thy single might:
Subjected to the victor's cruel power; Better it were for miserable me
Led hence a slave to some insulting sword,
Forlorn, aud trembling at a foreign lord;
Gracing with Trojan fights a Grecian room; “ Eternal sorrow and perpetual tears
Or from deep wells the living stream to take,
They insolently call thee Hector's wife;
And from my glory propagate thy shame. He slew Aetion, but despoild him not;
This when they say, thy sorrows will increase Nor in his hate the funeral rites forgot;
With anxious thoughts of former happiness; Arm'd as he was he sent him whole below,
That he is dead who could thy wrongs redress. And reverenc'd thus the manes of his foe :
But I, oppress'd with iron sleep before,
And looking back on so uncouth a sight; And hither led; but, hence redeem'd with gold, Daunted to see a face with steel o'er-spread, Her native country did again behold,
And bis high plume that nodded o'er his head. And but beheld: for soon Diana's dart
His sire and mother smil'd with silent joy; In an unhappy chase transfix'd her heart.
And Hector hasten'd to relieve his boy; “ But thou, my Hector, art thyself alone Dismiss'd his burnish'd helm, that shone afar, My parents, brothers, and my lord in one : The pride of warriors, and the pomp of war: O kill not all my kindred o'er again,
Th’ illustrious babe, thus reconcil'd, he took : Nor tempt the dangers of the dusty plain ; Hugg'd in his arms, and kiss'd, and thus he spoke: But in this tower, for our defence, remain. “ Parent of gods and men, propitious Jove, Thy wife and son are in thy ruin lost :
And you bright synod of the powers above; This is a husband's and a father's post.
On this my son your gracious gitts bestow; The Scæan gate commands the plains below; Grant him to live, and great in arms to grow, Here marshal all thy soldiers as they go;
To reign in Troy, to govern with renown, And hence with other hands repel the foe.
To shield the people, and assert the crown: By yon wild fig-tree lies their chief ascent, That, when hereafter he from war shall come, And thither all their powers are daily bent : And bring his 'Trojans peace and triumph home, The two Ajaces have I often seen,
Some aged man, who lives this act to see, And the wrong'd husband of the Spartan queen : And who in former times remember'd me, With him his greater brother; and with these May say, the son in fortitude and fame Fierce Diomede and hold Meriones:
Outgoes the mark, and drowns his father's name: Uncertain if by augury or chance,
That at these words his mother may rejoice, But by this easy rise they all advance;
And add her suffrage to the public voice.”
Thus having said,
Return, and, to divert thy thoughts at home, He first with suppliant hands the gods ailor'd: There task thy maids, and exercise the loom, Then to the mother's arms the child restor'd: Employ'd in works that womankind become, With tears and smiles she took her son, and press'd The toils of war and feats of chivalry Th'illustrious infant to her fragrant breast. Belong to men, and most of all to me." He, wiping her fair eyes, indulg'd her grief,
At this, for new replies he did not stay, And eas'd her sorrows with this last relief.
But lac'd his crested helm, and strode away. “My wife and mistress, drive thy fears away, His lovely consort to her house return'd, Nor give so bad an omen to the day;
And looking often back in silence mourn'd: Think not it lies in any Grecian's power,
Home when she came, her secret woe she vents, To take my life before the fatal hour.
And fills the palace with her loud laments; When that arrives, nor good nor bad can fly
Those loud laments her echoing maids restore, Th’ irrevocable doom of Destiny,
And Hector, yet alive, as dead deplore.
THEOCRITUS, LUCRETIUS, AND HORACE,
CONCERNING MR. DRYDEN'S TRANSLATIONS.
For this last half-year I have been troubled with the disease (as I may call it) of translation : the cold prose fits of it, which are always the most tedious with me, were spent in the history of the League ; the hot, which succeeded them, in verse miscellanies. The truth is, I fancied to myself a kind of ease in the change of the paroxysm; never suspecting but the humour would have wasted itself in two or three pastorals of Theocritus, and as many odes of Horace. But finding, or at least thinking I found, something that was more pleasing in them than my ordinary productions, I encouraged myself to renew my old acquaintance with Lucretius and Virgil; and immediately fixed upon some parts of them, which had most affected me in the reading. These were my natural impulses for the undertaking. But there was an accidental motive which was full as forcible. It was my lord Rose common's Essay on Translated Verse; which made me uneasy till I tried whether or no I was capable of following his rules, and of reducing the speculation into practice. For many a fair precept in poetry is, like a seeming demonstration in the mathematics, very specious in the diagram, but failing in the mechanic operation. I think I have generally observed his instructions; I am sure my reason is sufficiently convinced both of their truth and usefulness; which, in other words, is to confess no lese a vanity, than to pretend that I have at least in some places made examples to his mules. Yet, withal, I must acknowledge, that I have many times exceeded my commission: for I have both added and omitted, and even sometimes very boldly made such expositions of my authors, as no Dutch commentator will forgive me. Perhaps, in such particular passages, 1 have thought that I discovered some beauty yet undiscovered by those pedants, which none but a poet could have found. Where I have taken away some of their expressions, and cut them shorter, it may possibly be on this consideration, that what was beautiful in the Greek or Latin, would not appear so shining in the English. And where I have enlarged them, I desire the false critics would not always think, that those thoughts are wholly mine, but that either they are secretly in the poet, or may be fairly deduced from him; or at least, if both those considerations should fail, that my own is of a piece with his, and that if he were living, and an Englishman, they are such as he would probably have written.
For, after all, a translator is to make his author appear as charming as possibly he can, provided he maintains his character, and makes him not unlike himself. Translation is a kind of drawing after the life : where every one will acknowledge there is a double sort of likeness, a good one and a bad. It is one thing to draw the out-lines true, the features like, the proportions exact, the colouring itself perhaps tolerable; and another thing to make all these graceful, by the posture, the shadowings, and chiefly by the spirit which animates the whole. I cannot, without some indignation, look on an ill copy of an excellent original. Much less can I behold with patience Virgil, Homer, and some others, whose beauties I have been endeavouring all my life to imitate, so abused, as I may say, to their faces, by a botching interpreter. What English readers, unacquainted with Greek or Latin, will believe me,
or any other man, when we commend those authors, and confess we derive all that is pardonable in
for propriety of thoughts and words are only to be found in him; and, where they are proper, they will be delightful. Pleasure follows of necessity, as the effect does the cause; and therefore is not to be put into the definition. This exact propriety of Virgil I particularly regarded, as a great part of his character; but must confess, to my shame, that I have not been able to translate any part of him so well, as to make him appear wholly like himself: for, where the original is close, no version can reach it in the same compass. Hannibal Caro's, in the Italian, is the nearest, the most poetical, and the most sonorous, of any translation of the Æneid : yet, though he takes the advantage of blank verse, he commonly allows two lines for one of Virgil, and does not always hit his sense. Tasso tells us, in his letters, that Sperone Speroni, a great Italian wit, who was his contemporary, observed of Virgil and Tully, that the Latin orator endeavoured to imitate the copiousness of Homer, the Greek poet; and that the Latin poet made it his business to reach the conciseness of Demosthenes, the Greek orator. Virgil therefore, being so very sparing of his words, and leaving so much to be imagined by the reader, can never be translated as he ought, in any modern tongue. To make him copious, is to alter his character; and to translate himn line for line is impossible, because the Latin is naturally a more succinct language than either the Italian, Spanish, French, or even than the English, which, by reason of its monosyllables, is far the most compendious of them. Virgil is much the closest of any Roman poet, and the Latin hexameter has more feet than the English heroic.
Besides all this, an author has the choice of his owu thoughts and words, which a translator has not; he is confined by the sense of the inventor to those expressions which are the nearest to it: so that Virgil, studying brevity, and having the command of his own lavguage, could bring those words into a narrow compass, which a translator cannot render without circumlocutions. In short, they who have called him the torture of grammarians, might also have called him the plague of translators; for he seems to have studied not to be translated. I own, that, endeavouring to turn his Nisus and Euryalus as close as I was able, I have performed that episode too literally ; that, giving more scope to Mezentius and Lausus, that version, which has more of the majesty of Virgil, has less of his conciseness; and all that I can promise for myself, is only, that I have done both better than Ogilby, and perhaps as well as Caro. By considering him so carefully as I did before my attempt, I have made some faint resemblance of hiin; and, had I taken more time, might possibly have succeeded better; but never so well as to have satisfied myself.
He who excels all other poets iti his own language, were it possible to do him right, must appear above them in our tongue, which, as my lord Roscommon justly observes, approaches nearest to the Roman in its majesty: nearest indeed, but with a vast interval betwixt them. There is an inimitable grace in Virgil's words, and in them principally consists that beauty, which gives so inexpressible a pleasure to him who best understands their force. This diction of his (I must once again say) is never to be copied; and, since it cannot, he will appear but lame in the best translation. The turns of his verse, bis breakings, his propriety, his numbers, and his gravity, I have as far imitated, as the poverty of our language, and the hastiness of my performance, would allow. I may seem sometimes to have yaried from his sense: but I think the greatest variations may be fairly deduced from him; and where I leave his commentators, it may be, I understand him better: at least I writ without consulting them in many places. But two particular lines in Mezentius and Lausus I cannot so easily excuse; they are indeed remotely allied to Virgil's sense ; but they are too like the tenderness of Ovid, and were printed before I had considered them enough to alter them. The first of them I have forgotten, and cannot easily retrieve, because the copy is at the press; the second is this:
When Lausus died, I was already slain.
This appears pretty enough at first sight; but I am convinced, for many reasons, that the expression is too bold; that Virgil would not have said it, though Ovid would. The reader may pardon it, if he please, for the freeness of the confession; and instead of that, and the former, adınit these two lines, which are more according to the author:
Nor ask I life, nor fought with that design;
Having with much ado got clear of Virgil, I bave in the next place to consider the genius of Lucretius, whom I have translated more happily in those parts of him which I undertook. If he was not of the