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figures; so that he either neglects these too much. or overdoes them: but when a man translates he has none of these heats about him; and therefore the French took no ill method, when they intended to reform and beautify their language, in setting their best authors on work to translate the Greek and Latin authors into it.' Thus far this learned prelate.
And another lately deceased tells us, that the way of leaving verbal translations, and chiefly regarding the sense and genius of the author, was scarce heard of in England before this present age.'
As for the difficulty of translating well, every one I believe must allow my lord Roscommon to be in the right, when he says,
"Tis true, composing is the nobler part,
For tho' materials have long since been found,
Dryden judiciously remarks, that 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.' And a too close and servile imitation, which the same poet calls treading on the heels of an author,' is deservedly laughed at by sir John Denham; I conceive it,' says he, a vulgar error in translating poets, to affect being fidus interpres. Let that care be with them who deal in matters of fact, or matters of faith; but whosoever aims at it in poetry, as he attempts what is not required, so shall he never perform what he attempts; for it is not his business alone to translate language into language, but
poesy into poesy; and poesy is of so subtle a spirit, that in pouring out of one language into another, it will all evaporate, and if a new spirit is not added in the transfusion, there will remain nothing but a caput mortuum, there being certain graces and happinesses peculiar to every language, which give life and energy to the words; and whosoever offers at verbal translation, shall have the misfortune of that young traveller, who lost his own language abroad, and brought home no other instead of it. For the grace of the Latin will be lost by being turned into English words, and the grace of the English by being turned into the Latin phrase.'
After this collection of authorities out of some of our greatest English writers, I shall present my readers with a translation, in which the author has conformed himself to the opinion of these great men. The beauty of the translation is sufficient to recommend it to the public, without acquainting them that the translator is Mr. Eusden of Cambridge who obliged them in the Guardian of August the 6th, with the Court of Venus out of the same Latin poet, which was highly applauded by the best judges in performances of this nature.
The speech of Pluto to Proserpine, from the second book of her Rape, by Claudian.
'CEASE, cease, fair nymph, to lavish precious tears, And discompose your soul with airy fears.
Look on Sicilia's glitt'ring courts with scorn;
A nobler sceptre shall that hand adorn.
Where matter mould'ring dies, where forms decay, Thro' the vast trackless void extends my sway. Mark not with mournful eyes the fainting light, Nor tremble at this interval of night;
A fairer scene shall open to your view,
An earth more verdant, and a heaven more blue;
Proud tyrants once, and laurel'd chiefs shall come,
Deplore in darkness your impartial sway,
That Shade whom you approve shall first be brought
Whose thread of life, just spun, you would renew,
N° 165. SATURDAY, SEPT. 19, 1713.
Decipit exemplar, vitiis imitabile
HOR. 1 Ep. xix. 17.
Examples vice can imitate, deceive.
IT is a melancholy thing to see a coxcomb at the head of a family. He scatters infection through the whole house. His wife and children have always their eyes upon him; if they have more sense than himself, they are out of countenance for him; if less, they submit their understandings to him, and make daily improvements in folly and impertinence. I have been very often secretly concerned, when I have seen a circle of pretty children eramped in their natural parts, and prattling even
below themselves, while they are talking after a couple of silly parents. The dulness of a father often extinguishes a genius in the son, or gives such a wrong cast to his mind, as it is hard for him ever to wear off. In short, where the head of a family is weak, you hear the repetitions of his insipid pleasantries, shallow conceits, and topical points of mirth, in every member of it. His table, his fire-side, his parties of diversion, are all of them so many standing scenes of folly.
This is one reason why I would the more recommend the improvements of the mind to my female readers, that a family may have a double chance for it; and if it meets with weakness in one of the heads, may have it made up in the other. It is indeed an unhappy circumstance in a family, where the wife has more knowledge than the husband; but it is better it should be so, than that there should be no knowledge in the whole house. It is highly expedient that at least one of the persons, who sits at the helm of affairs, should give an example of good sense to those who are under them in these little domestic governments.
If folly is of ill consequence in the head of a family, vice is more so, as it is of a more pernicious and of a more contagious nature. When the master is a profligate, the rake runs through the house. You hear the sons talking loosely and swearing after the father, and see the daughters either familiarized to his discourse, or every moment blushing for him.
The very footman will be a fine gentleman in his master's way. He improves by his table-talk, and repeats in the kitchen what he learns in the parlour. Invest him with the same title and ornaments, and you will scarce know him from his lord.