Billeder på siden
PDF
ePub

A

ART. V: A Translation of the Scots Pastoral Comedy, of the Genel Shepherd, into English, from Allan Ramsay's original. By W. Ward. 8v0. 25. G. G. J. and J. Robinson. London. 1785.

Translator should undoubtedļy understand the language

of his original; to be acquainted with his own, is no less requisite ; and if his performance be in verse, he should have some idea of measure and of rhyme. He should likewise poffefs taste and judgment; that he may be able both to discern and to express the beauties of the work he translates. Mr. Ward has not the most distanţ pretensions to any one of the above qualifications. Wherever we turn we can plainly discover that he does not understand the work he has attempt ed to translate. The nervous provincial expression of the original, which paints so well the naiveté of passion, has no representative in the tranNation : the sense is either totally perverted, or, if at any time preserved, becoines flat, ridiculous or disgusting by the language in which it is conveyed. The heliconian liquor, when poured from the golden vase of Ramsay into Mr. Ward's earthen pitcher, is converted into a vapid puddle.

By comparing one or two passages of the original and translation, the public will be able to decide as to the justice of our animadversions. The Roger of Allan Ramsay, speaking of his Jenny,' says,

" I wish I cou'd na love her but in vain ; I ftill 1

* do't, and tholet her proud disdain;
My Bauty is a cur I dearly like;
E'en while he fawn'd, the strake the poor dum tike;
If I had filled a nook within her breast,
She wad ha'e shawn mair kindness to my beast.”
The Roger travesty of Mr. Ward thus expresses himself,

" In vain I wish I cou'd not seek her love,
But
yet

I must, my mind can never rove ;
She itruck my dog of latehard hearted log..
If the lov'd me, he'd surely love my dog.
If one small spark had ever fill'd her breast,

She might have shewn more kindness to my beaft!" Ramfay presents us with every little circumstance which can add truth and expression to the description; his 1hepherd gives us the name of his dog, informs us he loves him dearly, and tells us that his mistress ftruck him, even while the animal caressed her ; from all which he infers that she must have a rooted aversion to the master. These heightening circumstances escape the discernment of the translator. He has indeed added an expression of his osun hard-hearted log!' "

* must. * fuffer. the name of his dog Eng. Rev. Vol. Y. Mar. 1785.

N

which

which might have suited a Dutch boor, but which by no means agrees with the character of Roger. It may be observed too that the thought in the two last lines is only a repetition of the sentiment in the preceding one.

How bę þaş murdered the exquifite description of rural foguetry, blended with innocence and passion, given by Pasie in the ift scene, must astonish every one who will take the trouble of comparing the {peech in Rainsay's original, beginning “ Daft Gowk," with the translation, which com mences with “Silly fool.” p. 18. 1. 5. To give an extract of both, and enter into a orinute criticism would take up more room than we can afford to so unimportant a publication. We shall only take notice of two gross blunders in the speech alluded to. Frankness and gayety, with the utmost confidence in her lover, are the constituents of Peggy's. character, as given us by the Scotch bard, while she at the same time preserves all the innate delicacy of the fex. Instead of this . semireduela Venus,” the translator presents us with a St. Giles's street-walker. In the Scotch poein, when, after he had pretended to fight her, she returns under cover of demanding his affiftance, and that of his dog to bring back three Theep which had ftrayed from the Hock, Patie says that he smiled at her embarrassment, "and fae did she." Mr. Ward has thought proper to render this. I kiss'd and

laughed, and so did me:” 1. e. lhe not only laughed but returned my killes. Nothing of the kind is to be found in the original : on the contrary, Patię represents himself as uling that gentle force which female delicacy requires; and says that the scolded him between every kifs.

The other thing we shall notice is the tranllator's total omission of that happy line in the original, so itrongly. expressive of the feelings of a lover, encircling a beloved mistress in his arms;

My very faul came louping to my lips.". Instead of which we are treated with the following couplet,

" While in my arms I held the charming fair

To tell those joys would banish ev'ry care. Perhaps this is one of tlie beauties which he insinuates in his preface he has added to the original.

To Peggy's propofal of bathing themselves, Jenny, in the Scotch poem, objects, lest perhaps their swain's might come upon ihetn 'unexpectedly, and see them naked. Mr. W. goes more roundly to work, and puts the following line into the mouth of the young shepherdess,

" And fee what always we would wish to hide !". Ramsay's Jenny, among other obje&tions to matrimony, has the following

+ Adith

1

di A difh of married love right foon grows cauld,

And dozens down to nane as fowk grow auld.” Dozenied, signifies having lost our feeling by cold: the inétaphor is therefore equally beautiful and expreffive. We do not recollect that we have any where met with a more energetic delineation of the gradual decline of the amorous paffion. The translator, who excels in transmutation of the debasing kind, thus expreffes the same thought,

* In youth we all the marriage pleafure enjoy,

Old age comes on, and all those pleasures cloy." The first line; besides having a fyllable too much, cònveys all the groffness of the translator's own ideas ; while he has most adroitly contrived to transubstantiate every excellence of the second into his own unparalelled powder of post. But we have done with animadverting on his failures in taste.-t is ungenerous to war with total imbecility:

Let us next examine if he liaš any claims to the most common qualifications of a rhymfter. Can he count his fingers ? Has he any 'ear? Or does he underland grammar? As to the first; after having premised that the heroic verse of ten fyllables is the meafure he has adopted, or rather meant to-adopt, it will be a sufficient proof of his incapacity to point out the four following blunders in the three first pages.

" O Patie I am born to an ill-natur'd fate;
To strive with hardships fad and great.
But stop a little Roger; you have not a heart.

No Parie, no, I'm none of those.”
Indeed Mr. w. is as great a latitudinariani in measure as
the most violent pindaric writer we have ever met with; for
we have lines from eight syllables up to fifteen. e. g.

• Now Cromwell's dead, and gone to Nick.
Why do so, Roger ?-ill-luck will fometimes happen

to the best.
The following list of rhymes, which we have collected
froin the ift and 2d acts, will be a very satisfactory answer to
our second question. " Bottle, hill; stream, remain; sends
“ find; decline, crime; refuse, nose; lawn, adorn; wife,
is thrive; thaws, ews; cheese, flies; home, blame; bleft,
* blast; again, Qwn; bring, cleant; malt, fat; hear, hére;

clever, discover; alone, throng; embrace, fast; lot; lait

bloody, sturdy;" &c. &c. Yet we have discovered that he has not failed in this part of his work from any antipathy to rhymie ; for he has placed Mause in the room of Madge, P. 72. merely because he wished to end the succeeding line

caule :" we at least, can assign no other reason for the

qui pro quo. Bỳ this manræuvre the sense of the passage is entirely inarred: but Mr. W. is fo accustomed to have

N2

neither

[ocr errors]

with 66

3

neither rhyme nor reason, that we should be contented when one of them is preserved.

As to our last question, there is not a page of the work which does not speak loudly against his grammatical qua. lifications. From the enormous mass of folecisms we shall select a few.

There's other things that doth my rest oppose. p. 16. • Nor I, but Cupid's laws oth whisper still. p. 23. < 'Tis in my brealt--fecret's the women's laws.' 'ib.

the greatest lies off-hand, • Which soon fies round'.

p. 31. My ftablss and pavillions broken walls, That with each rainy blast decaying falls.' p. 46. • Those once ample walls are now to ruin fell. p. 47. • And he delights in books, he reads, and speaks With those that know them, Latin words and Greeks.? p. 64.

These examples might be considerably enlarged ; but the reader we dare fay, is fatisfied, and we haften to get quit of this article. Our respect for the old Scotch bard has led us to examine with some minutenefs what perhaps ought to have been dismissed with a fingle sentence : but we were afraid that the mere English reader might have been led to form a judgement of the northern pastoral from the present diftorted caricature.

Art. VI. Creation : a Poem. By the Rev. Samuel Hayes, M. A.

of Trinity College Cambridge, and Usher of Weliminfter School. Cambridge printed. Sold in London 4to. is. Dodfley: 1784, THE

HE Setonian prize has produced no very conspicuous ex

ertions of genius; we recollect none of the successful poems that have risen above mediocrity. The Creation" of Mr. Hayes does not appear entitled to any degree of preeminence above the rest. "It displays the wisdom, power and goodness of God in the works of creation, and arraigns man for his ingratitude to his bountiful Creator, with a triteness which can afford little pleasure to the man of tafte. The fubject itself will ever be acceptable to the serious mind; but when common place-alone is to be discovered in the discuss fion of it, a languor approaching to disguft is unavoidable. We are sensible that it is bestowing no very high commendation on a poem when we say that it is a tolerable sermon in verse ; impartiality

however obliges us not to advance a step further in praise of this publication. So closely indeed does Mr. H. adhere to the pulpit form, that, in imitation of many preachers, he has in p. 22. given us a recapitulation of his subject, which we shall present to the public as a fpecimen of the poem.

« Thou

Thou God of Goodnefs hear thy suppliant's pray'r !
Deep in the living tablet of the heart
Imprint the grateful fenfe! to thy behests
Creation bows; through all her fertile range
Subjected bows. , When from his mother earth
Thou called'st man to life, the last, but best.
Of all thy works, not in a desert waste
Did'ít thou then place hisn, nor defenceless leave
"The offspring of thy plastic hand. E'en then
The fun and moon, and all the starry hoft
Bedeck'd thi ethereal concave. Then for him
The earth had teem'd ; from her prolific womb.
Had pour’d, whatever to the taste or eye
Could minister delight, herb, flow'r and fruit,
And flocks and herds in countless tribes. E'en then
For him, with food replete, and circumscrib’d
By thy restraining arm, the turbid waves
Of ocean roll'd, exhaustlets source of wealth
And left the congregated waters, bound
In torpid lethargy, ihould o'er the world
Infectious putrefaction shed, in ebb
And flow perpetual by the lunàr.orb
Contrould, thou did'ft appoint their restless course.
Thus through the liquid realms, that vital breath,
Which to the ocean's fcaly fons thou gav'ft,
Was fofter'd and invigorated. Thus
By the perturbed motions of the deep,
Enliv'ning breezes parg'd the großer air,
To the faint globe imparting vivid health.
Nor less, eternał Father, than at firft,
Doth nature now attest thy boundless fway,
Thy boundless mercy. As by Thee all things
Were form'd, by Thee the fyftem is maintain'd;
By Thee, that harmony -which first attun'd

Creation's floating spheres, is still preserv'd,
The di&tion and versification are in general correct ; it
would have been astonishing if they were not, as the author
has been long a teacher in a great fchool where much attention,
perhaps too much, is paid to poetry, One or two.exceptions
however we shall beg leave to mention.

Whither can the eye stretch and not behold"
is not verse, it becomes lo if stretch be thus tranfpofed.
Whither can stretch the

eye

and not behold.
The following line is also liable to the fame objection, un
less, erfumed be accented on the first fyllable,

Abundant smiles here from the perfum'd fhores, p. 18."

When this line is read,
« Nor yet with froward charge deem nature vain, p. 1o."

who does not think that we are advised not to. accuse dame
nature of vanity, whereas Mr. Hayesis intention is only to

N

3

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

warn

« ForrigeFortsæt »