« ForrigeFortsæt »
verge of our limits) without observing that no speaker has approached so nearly, in general resemblance and manner, to Demosthenes, as Mr. Fox. No politician, we believe, and few scholars, understood and admired the old master more perfectly: Many striking properties and qualities were the same in both. A certain sincerity and open-heartedness of manner, an apparently entire and thorough conviction of being in the right, an everlasting pursuit of, and entire devotion to the subject, to the seeming neglect and forgetfulness of every thing else, an abrupt tone of vehemence and indignation, a steadfast love of freedom, and corresponding hatred of oppression in all its forms, a natural and idiomatic style, -vigour, argument, power-these were characteristics equally of the Greek and English orator. Even in the details, in their hurried and hasty transitions, in their use of parentheses to get rid of minor topics as they proceed, and in the general structure of sentences, it would not be difficult to point out frequent similarity. But we must have done. Possibly, when M. Planche shall have published his Translation of the Oration for the Crown (which, we collect from his Preface, is ready,) we may resume the subject; and possibly, though it would be with the utmost diffidence, and without professing to do one twentieth part of what M. Planche seems to think he has performed, we may attempt to give our readers an English specimen of the orator himself.
We must, of necessity, confine ourselves to a hasty and rapid notice of the performance of M. Planche, and we shall begin with that part of it, which we can speak of with approbation. He tells us, in the preface, that great exertions have been made to give the text faithfully and correctly: and we believe him. It certainly does appear to be given with great accuracy, from the best edi. tions, and with minute attention to the printing. We have discovered no blunder; and the punctuation, moreover, is made with some reference to the sense, which, in many common editions, is so far from being the case, that, if the stops were regarded, there would frequently be no making any thing of many passages: When we come to the next part of M. Planche's execution, how ever, our praises must stop. We had to notice, in our last Number, that the French plume themselves; not a little, upon the science of Book-making; and here we have it upon the most improved recipe. Three fourths of the first volume are consumed, before we get to the work. We have Treatises on Oratory-(of which the world was full already)–Oratory in general-Oratory in particular-Greek Oratory-Latin Oratory, (of course) French Oratory-and how to acquire it; “Moyens d'acquérir la veritable 'Eloquence ;'Portrait des Atheniens - Portrait des Romains, (we don't stop to inquire wherefore, Tableau précis de toute la Grece ;-Treatises on Law's Treatises on Customs--Treatises on
War and God knows what not, each, in itsell, too small to give the slightest useful information, but capable, by their countless number, of filling up 369 mortal pages. Then we have again, Reflections on Translation in general, and Translation in particular,— Reflexions sur la Traduction en general,' and 'Reflexions sur la Traduction des Orateurs. Upon the general subject, he has fallen, unwittingly, we must presume, into much the same course of remark as we adopted in our Review of a Translation of Cicero, Vol. 22. Some of the difficulties which we there enumerated, are adverted to, not so much to show an apprehension of them, as a confident expectation of mastering them. His acquaintance with the Greek, he does not put his readers to the trouble of finding out. He has, it seems also, an enthusiastic admiration of his anthor, and some opinion of himself. But the French ! the language of modern Athens ! Upon this he places no small reliance. Always is it equal to his purpose; never has it failed him. * Aussi je declare, que si je ne pas rendu toutes les beautés de mes
originaux, il faut l'imputer à l'incapacité du Tradacteur, et non 'à la pauvreté de la langue.' Then we learn that it is soft, vigorous, precise, harmonious,--douce, forte, precise, harmonieuse;' (Pref. p. 27.) and again, that it possesses 'clearness, neatness, a lively turn of expression, force, delicacy, simplicity, nobleness,
softness, precision, harmony, and imitative harmony; and moreover, (what was reserved for the discovery of M. Planche) an astonishing resemblance to the Greek! 'En lisant, et, surtout, en tra
duisant j'ai aperçu moi-même, entre l'un et l'autre, une ressem• blance qui m'a etonné.' (p. 106.) And well it might!
Now, after noticing the sanguine expectations, not to say the confident tone of M. Planche, we will not assert that he has entirely failed in his undertaking, or that he is not master of his orator's language. But we must observe, that if the French approve of Demosthenes in the dress of M. Planche, they are satisfied with something very different from Demosthenes himself; and that there are, either from inadvertence, or because his own language did not support him, (a supposition, we have seen, most zealously rejected by M. Planche,) appearances which would justify a suspicion that he is not quite at home in his author. He tells us himself, that he gives a preference to his later exertions : And accordingly, we took up the 9th Philippic, with a view to a more minute examination; and we have noted down no less than 20 passages, in which there is either a suppression of some part of the sentence, an interpolation of something foreign, or (what is worst of all) an absolute mistake and perversion of the meaning. An instance of the latter, which occurs early in the oration, and in which he seems strikingly to have altered the sense, we cannot pass over. Demosthenes is observing that if their affairs had been in their then situation, and the Athenians had done their duty throughout, the case would have been hopeless. The chance of amendment consisted in their having done literally nothing. Then comes the sentence, which is quite in his manner. Νύν δε 7ης μεν ραθυμίας, &c. (p. 148.) Which is thus translated. Jusqu'à present, Philippe n’ a triomphe que de votre paresse et de votre negligence; il n'a "triomphe de la republique. Vous n'avez pas été vaincus, puisque vous n'avez pas même reculé d'un seul pas.' The first part is right enough ; but the conclusion utterly perverts the meaning. Their never having given way one step, obviously implies, that they had been at least keeping up a good fight with Philip; whereas, advantages are admitted, from their inattention, throughout and in the beginning of the sentence itself. The sense is manifestly this.
• As it is, Philip has conquered your Indolence and Negligence, but the country he has not conquered : You have not been beaten; far enough from it; you have never been in motion.' That is, so far from having been beaten, they had never got to action, they had never stirred a finger! * *
In another instance, which M. Planche himself has selected as a specimen (and we surely must suppose it to be a favourable one) of his being able to give the form and spirit of the original. He gives the passage, and a remarkable one it is, in his preface; and remarks, very properly, upon the failure of Laharpe, who renders it in such a manner that he might as well have said, generally, Here the orator said something about going as Ambassador to · Thebes.' It runs thus— Our zizov yếu laŪTA, oùx šgala dè"? &c.a M. Planche translates thus : "Je ne me contentai pas
proposer mon 'avis sans rediger le decret, ni de rediger le decret sans me charger
de l'ambassade, ni de me charger de l'ambassade sans persuader ·les Thebans; mais depuis le commencement jusqu'à la conclusion
de cette affaire, je fis tout ce qui pouvait en assurer le succès, et je 'me livrai sans reserve à tons les perils dont la republique était environnée.' And we have no difficulty in admitting, that this is well; si sic omnia ! ** We attempt the passage as follows, but, it must be remembered, in homely English, which, of course, cannot vie with the modern Attic in .force, clearness, nobleness, harmony,' and so forth, "Nor did I propose these measures, and not reduce • them into the form of a Decree; nor did I reduce them into the from of a Decree, and not go as Ambassador; nor did I go as Ambassador, and not convert the Thebans, butfrom the beginning, throughout the whole, to the very end, I went through, and gave myself up to You, without reserve, against the perils which surrounded
a Pref. p. 2.
b We might have quoted this passage, when we were noticing the advantage of Demosthenes, in having convertible Audiences. He considered this conversion of the Thebans as a great triumph.
the country. We have given through' twice, because in the original, it is so, and sis we render against,' which it must be, or 'as to,' or 'for the purposes of;' for it cannot be 'in,' as usually translated.
There is one consideration, it seems, which has induced M. Planche to bring forward his present work, which it is impossible to pass over without expressing some interest. The introduction of the Representative System, and, in consequence, of a larger share of popular Influence in the Government, are assigned by him as a reason for attempting to make his countrymen acquainted with these precious remains of Antiquity. Most heartily do we wish M. Planche success in this part of his undertaking; and that our volatile neighbours, by catching some portion of that spirit which blazes out in every page of these immortal works, may acquire and preserve a zealous and steady attachment to genuine and practicable Freedom, which they have hitherto seen dimly and obscurely in long perspective, and of the benefit of which they have begun, of late only, to feel some effects.
[From the Edinburgh Review.—Jan. 1820.] Art. III. 1. Substance of the Speech of the Rt. Hon. Lord GREN
Ville, in the [British] House of Lords, November, 1819, on the Marquis of Lansdowne's Motion, That a Select Committee be appointed to inquire into the State of the Country, and, more particularly, into the Distresses and Discontents prevalent in the Manufacturing Districts, and the Execution of the Laws with respect to the numerous Meetings which have taken place. pp. 62.
London. 1820. 2. The Substance of the Speech of the Rt. Hon. W. C. PLUNKET,
in the House of Commons, November, 1819. pp. 24. Man
chester. 1819. [Substance of the Speech of the Rt. Hon. GEORGE CANNING, in the
House of Commons, November 24th, 1919, on the address to the Throne, upon the opening the Session of Parliament. pp. 54. London. 1820.-Reviewed by the Quarterly, as subjoined.]
THESE two Speeches have been, for various reasons, and with very different views, extremely praised, both within and without the walls of the illustrious Assemblies where they were delivered. Lord Grenville's authority is deservedly high, from his great experience of public affairs, long official life, intercourse with many parties in the State, commanding, statesmanlike talents, indefatigable industry, great information, and unimpeached integrity. Mr. Plunket's reputation as an orator stands justly among the most exalted of the age; and as he rarely takes part in debates, and hardly ever except upon questions connected with Ireland, the fame of his eloquence has been better preserved than that of almost any speaker in Parliament. To obtain the sanction and the active co-operation of two such persons, on any question, was of great importance to the rash but feeble placemen who now rule this country: But infinitely more valuable was this piece of good fortune, upon an occasion when every friend of Liberty-every man whose judgment was neither warped by ambition, or the less noble failing of impatience for promotion, or bewildered by a momentary alarm, was certain to be found in ardent opposition to the pernicious and slavish policy of the Court. The liberal and enlightened views which have hitherto directed both the eminent individuals in
question, and their avowed connexion, both in the sunshine of Court favour, and in the less cheering shades of retirement from office, with the great body of the Whig opposition, rendered their unfortunate concurrence in the measures of the Government a consummation, perhaps more devoutly to be wished, than readily to be expected. Unhappily for the country, and, we will add, for the future fame of those distinguished personages themselves, this rare felicity was in store for the Ministers, among many other pieces of good fortune not to be expected in the ordinary course of events : The administration which had subdued France, and sent Bonaparte to St. Helena, was destined, before its close, to invade the most sacred parts of the Bill of Rights, and begin a censorship of the English Press; and the Cabinet of Messrs. Addington and Bragge Bathurst, and Jenkinson and Pole, after marching to Paris, where Mr. Pitt and Mr. Fox could only send a spy or a flag of truce, have likewise achieved the glory of frighting two of their stoutest and most contemptuous adversaries, at home, into an alliance for the alteration of that Constitution which had survived all the corruptions of the last age, and the violence and delusions and panics of our own disastrous times.
Thus happy in their new confederates, like skilful generals, these placemen turned their forces to the best account, by crying up their value in the most extravagant terms. Lord Grenville's name and weight in the country were perpetually in their mouths; he was become the chosen champion of the established order of things -the great saviour of the Constitution in Church and State-he who, a few short years before, had been held up, almost as a mark for persecution, certainly as the object for hatred and alarm to every one who regarded the safety of the Hierarchy, and the good of the Protestant religion. Mr. Plunket, so lately denounced as a