« ForrigeFortsæt »
philosophy to which it refers, and lowing one another in time, refuting which the author expressly states one another, and then passing away he has discussed only so far as was
without result. But Philosophy is the needful to show the influence of
study of a whole ; each of these sysDescartes on English thinkers.
tems has been an attempted delinea
tion of that whole; each of them is of Hence those whose studies do not
far higher importance for us than they bappen to have lain in this direc
would be if they merely aroused a tion—and they are no doubt the passing curiosity as to what was majority-must be at a loss to com- thought of the matter in this or that prehend or appreciate the brief particular age. allusions to philosophers and their
The history of the empirical works.
sciences is only a barren account of On the other hand, the com
false abstractions, which have been in
vogue at one time or another: but the paratively few who are well versed
history of Philosophy enables us to in English philosophy must be review the various phases of truth quite able to trace the influence which have been prominent to differof Descartes upon it without Mr. ent minds ; phases which are only Cunningham's assistance. The phases (and therefore false), which only question is, whether they will
may differ in importance, but all of think it worth while to spend
which are true, since they depict & much time in the task. One is
portion of reality which has been
neglected at other times." tempted to ask, is not such an inquiry more curious than useful ?
It is not very easy to understand The chief thing to be determined
how phases can be false and yet with regard to any system of philo- all true. Nor does Mr. Cunningsophy would seem to be how far
ham satisfactorily explain why & it is true, not how it originated. refuted system of philosophy should Mr. Cunningham maintains that
be so much more highly valued than no system of philosophy can be
an exploded scientific theory. The pronounced untrue, but every one fact that science endeavours to excontains truth of permanent value.
plain the phenomena of external
nature, and philosophy is occupied “Each age has contributed a phase
with those of human nature, is not of truth, or has amassed experience for
a sufficient reason. If there is, as other ages to explain. The part given by each age is valuable not only as a
Mr. Cunningham asserts, "a conlandmark, to show how far we have necting unity, or traceable order of travelled, but as one of the wheels development," in philosophical which have borne us along. It was systems, this is surely much more necessary that each system should evidently and indisputably true of come to clear the way for other
scientific theories. thinkers, and also to give utterance
Mr. Cunningham occupies far too to a thought which should be true and of value for all time.
much space with his introduction, “In the empirical sciences each false
in which he discusses the abstract hypothesis becomes utterly worthless : question how far a system of philoin Philosophy a refuted system still sophy is affected by preceding maintains its place. The Understand. systems and surrounding circuming reigns in the empirical sciences, it
stances. After a long preamble, comes forward to pronounce its ab- full of wearisome repetitions, he stract judgment—the system is not
arrives at the following conclusion: true, therefore false. If we take the same method, we
-" Each separate system, then, is shall get an utterly false view of the dependent on the expressions of the history of Philosophy, as if it were a
Idea which it finds around it, and succession of systems of opinions fol- from which it gathers some phase of the Truth which it fimperfectly into elements. The various sensuous represents." What is meant by impressions are perfectly simple so far “the Idea" is not distinctly ex
as he sees; nature impresses them on plained, but the general meaning
the mind, and the mind must receive seems to be, that philosophers are
them as they come; but it does not
occur to him that there is any other assisted in the construction of their
difficulty, or that the sensation in an systems by the attempts of their unprejudiced mind could be open to predecessors, which surely required doubt at all. Let us get these undisno such laboured statement to ex- torted sensations, we shall then have plain and substantiate it.
knowledge of nature and power over When Mr. Cunningham comes to
nature. the proper subject of his work, he
“Descartes, on the other hand, feels writes with less circumlocution and
strongly the distinction between his repetition, but falls into the oppo
own thinking power and the convic
tions it gives him, and the reports that site fault of excessive brevity, as are brought to him by others; the might naturally be expected from further question occurs, why are the the attempt to notice so many reports of my senses to be trusted ? philosophical systems within the The systems of philosophy do not narrow limits of
satisfy me; am I justified in letting my The evil might have been avoided,
senses do so either? Here we have or at any rate diminished, if he
the recognition of mind as something
distinct from its impressions; we had confined his attention to the
find a permanent ego, not a mere most prominent writers in English flux of sensations which have nothing philosophy, instead of cramming in common but that they are received into his pages a number of com- from without paratively unknown names. His “It is the recognition of mind as allusions and descriptions are often
distinguished from its impressions that so brief as to be unintelligible,
marks the difference between Des. cartes and Bacon.
Bacon's philosoexcept to those who have made
phy did not rise above sensation, DesEnglish philosophy their special
cartes recognized mind as distinct from study. It must be admitted that
its sensations. Self-culture was his he manages in a few words to de- aim in life, and the recognition of self scribe the leading features of a in knowledge was his contribution to philosophical system with clearness the progress of Philosophy.” and general accuracy. There is truth in the distinction he draws
Mr. Cunningham has some just between Bacon and Descartes :- observations on Descartes' famous
first principle, "Cogito ergo sum,” "The aim of the two men is quite which, he says, is not intended to different; Bacon desires knowledge in be an argument, so much as a stateorder that man's physical wants may ment of fact. "The phrase is given be better supplied : Descartes seeks for truth which shall satisfy the crav
as an example of a mental condition
which is absolutely free from the ings of his own heart, though he does not altogether neglect the other ad
possibility of doubt - the immediate vantages. This ditference in their dis- knowledge of its own state by the positions might be illustrated from mind; but such knowledge it is their lives no less than from their impossible to describe, nor can its philosophies; in the last it is very pro- validity be proved without a mani. nounced, and the superficial resem. blaince is probably not due to more
fest paralogism, examples of which than the close similiarity of their sur
may be culled from the pages of roundings: their constructive philoso
Sir William Hamilton.” phers are absolutely distinct.
Mr. Cunningham's composition “ Bacon cannot analyze knowledge
is sometimes scarcely so correct as
might be expected from an academi. are ones where it seems extremely cal exercise. The following is not probable, &c." In one or two in. a well constructed sentence : • The stances Mr. Cunningham is guilty method which he pursued then was of grammatical error, as, e.g., where based, not on a theory as to how
“the truth or falsehood of discoveries might be made, but the others depend, &c." Faults of from consideration of the way in this sort, which might be overlooked which they had been made.” Else- in a popular work, are out of place where we find this inelegancy: in a degree thesis. “The passages pointed out below
The Odes of Horace literally translated in Metro. By Arthur Way, M.A. Henry S. King & Co.-In an ably written introduction Mr. Way addresses those who, like himself, are engaged in classical tuition, and dilates upon the difficulty of making boys appreciate the excellence of Horace's poetry, or even believe that he is a poet at all. He thinks this arises in a great measure from the practice of requiring them to translate his verse into
prose, which is at the best a poor copy of the original, and is often so bald and uncouth as to be hardly intelligible. Hence he suggests that they should be encouraged and assisted to translate in poetical language, and with a rhythmical movement corresponding in some degree to that of the original, though without any attempt to reproduce the same metres. As a specimen of what may be done in this way he has published the present translation of the Odes, which, it will be seen, differs from most others in being intended to serve a strictly practical purpose.
We are inclined to think the causes of the difficulty which Mr. Way regrets, lie deeper than he seems to suppose. At the age when boys are set to read and learn Horace they cannot have sufficient maturity of mind and acquaintance with general literature to perceive the exquisite felicity of phrase and finish of composition for which Horace is preeminent. It is scarcely reasonable to expect that they can duly appreciate the poet's good sense or beauty of expression, until a later period of their studies. They must first see more of life, and acquire some familiarity with the best poets in their own and other languages.
Meanwhile they must obtain a thorough mastery of the language in which Horace wrote, the forms and meaning of words and phrases, the laws of syntax, and the structure of his various metres, which nec
ecessarily involves toilsome work calculated to render him anything but a favourite with them. They must go through the process of translating word for word-- mentally, if not aloud or in writing-with literal accuracy, even though it be impossible to do this in pure flowing English. This is universally admitted. The only question is whether they should be expected, not merely to get a correct idea of Horace's meaning, but also to give an adequate representation of it in their own language.
It is allowed on all hands that the charm of poetry consists very much in the form of expression, which cannot be altered at all without loss of effect. This applies with especial force to Horace's Odes, which would never have been preserved so long and admired so highly for the thought alone. Granting that an accurate grammatical knowledge of Horace is not all
that may be desired, is it not all that can reasonably be expected of boys ?
Considering how many older and wiser heads than theirs have failed in the attempt to produce satisfactory renderings of Horace in English verse, we think their time might be more profitably employed otherwise than in such work. Let them, by all means, as Mr. Way suggests, be taught to avoid prosaic expressions, and translate as poetically as is consistent with strict accuracy, but we see no virtue in the little artifices of style which Mr. Way seems to value so highly and practises so freely. “Such, for instance, are those slight inversions of order by which the verb or objective case commences the sentence, or the adjective follows the noun, or verbal forms in eth are employed.” They are allowable enough to meet the exigencies of verse, but not otherwise desirable.
The following is Mr. Way's version of Æquam momento :
“Remember thou to keep in time of hardship
From overweening exultation
In wealth, 0 Dellius, who must die
Hast, there reclining, cheered thyself
With inner brand of wine Falernian.
Why doth the fleeting water struggle
To flutter down its winding channel ?
While fortune yet permits, and life,
And black threads of the Sisters Three.
Thou shalt forsake, and of thy riches
High-piled thy heir shall take possession.
Or poor, and of the meanest house,
Thou victim of unpitying Orcus.
Or later to leap forth and place us
Mr. Way would hardly maintain that as an English poetical composi. tion this has any great beauty. Whatever excellence it has must consist in its being a faithful rendering of the original, which he professes to have “ literally translated.” That it is so for the most part, we are quite willing to admit, but we maintain that he has completely altered, and not at all improved, Horace's meaning in the first stanza. What Horace says
is simply this : Keep your mind undisturbed in adversity, and also for not less) under restraint in prosperity. To translate non secus temperatam by “ which else cannot be chastened," introduces a foreign idea and quite spoils the sense. A gain, the third stanza is utterly at variance with the ordinary reading of the original, which is a relative clause beginning with "where,” not an interrogative one. Nothing can well be more absurd than to ask why the pine and poplar love to link a hospitable shade, and why the water struggles to go down its winding channel. Surely Mr. Way does not require to be told
that amare often means, not to love, but to be wont, like the corresponding word in Greek. He does his scholarship no credit by elsewhere favouring the derivation of dirus from de iri, and translating it by " vengeful."
Mr. Way is more successful in his rendering of Solvitur diris hioms, which runs thus,
“ Keen winter is melting away with the welcome change of spring and the west
And with hoary rime are the meadows whitened ;
And twined with the Nymphs the lovely Graces,
Sets the Cyclops' massy forges a-blazing;
Or the flower that the soil unfettered produces ;
With a lamb, if he asks, or a kid, if he chooseth.
And castles of princes. O favoured Sestius
Soon night and the bugbear ghosts will be on thee,
No sceptre of wine with the dice shalt thou win thee, Nor Lycid the dainty wilt thou be adoring, for whom the youths are allame
All, and soon will the maidens be kindling."
Even here, though Mr. Way gives the sense of the original with close fidelity, he fails to reproduce its finished beauty. What he says of ordinary translation is not inapplicable to his own : “ Horace's sportive fancy and winsome charm, and melody that rang clear as a silver bell, are all spoilt, and we are on disenchanted ground.” It is hard to believe that, by reading or writing such versions as this, boys, who have hit erto looked upon Horace as a bore, will suddenly wake up to discern beauties in him bitherto undiscovered, and make him the constant companion of their thoughts.
In the course of his Introduction Mr. Way throws out the following suggestion as to the translation of Homer :