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that if the original were madder than this, it must be incurably mad.* I then translated the ode from the Greek, and as nearly as possible, word for word; and the impression was, that in the general movement of the periods, in the form of the connections and transitions, and in the sober majesty of lofty sense, it appeared

* [But is not this equally delirious, close as it keeps to the Pindaric images? It is the exordium of the first Pythian, characterized by "lightning energy" in an article on Pindar by Mr. Coleridge's late editor. Q. Review, March, 1834.

O thou whom Phœbus and the quire *
Of violet tressed Muses own,
Their joint treasure, golden Lyre,
Ruling step with warbled tone, &c. &c.
In thy mazes, steep'd, expire
Bolts of ever-flowing fire.

Jove's eagle on the sceptre slumbers
Possest by thy enchanting numbers:
On either side, his rapid wing,
Drops, entranc'd, the feather'd king ;
Black vapor o'er his curved head,
Sealing his eyelids, sweetly shed;
Upheaving his moist back he lies,
Held down with thrilling harmonies.

Surely this is but a brilliant chaos. "Hyacinthine locks" have been kindly received at the bounteous hand of Milton, though no one in this age of the world, quite understands the epithet, or has seen that black or ferrugineous, or “ensanguined flower inscribed with woe," the ancient hyacinth. The sound is beautiful, and we imagine the sense to be right; but violet tresses look as strangely in our modern eyes as the green locks of the Nereids; for to us the violet is the type of blueness, and we talk of violet eyes, but never of violet hair. Then Pindar as little dreamed of presenting to his auditors a moist-backed eagle, by the phrase vypòv virov, as we nowa-days dream of bringing into view a man with drenched raiment of a peculiar cut when we mention a wet Quaker. And who can suppose that the eagle was lying held down by harmony? That would be an inconvenient posture for a sleeping biped, however convenient for the translator's verse. According to Moore

Slumbering he sits aloft

With ruffling plumes and heaving spine,
Quelled by thy potent strain.

It is interesting to compare Cowley's second Olympic, of which stanzas iii. v. and vii. are very readable in their way, with Moore's and Cary's translations-to see how the first displays the genius of Cowley, while the others are attempts at adapting Pindar to our language, and are the works of poetical minds rather than of poets. There are very good passages in Mr.

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to them to approach more nearly, than any other poetry they had heard, to the style of our Bible in the prophetic books. The first strophe will suffice as a specimen :

"Ye harp-controlling hymns! (or) ye hymns the sovereigns of harps! What God? what Hero?

What Man shall we celebrate?

Truly Pisa indeed is of Jove,

But the Olympiad (or the Olympian games) did Hercules establish,
The first-fruits of the spoils of war.

Cary's translation, but it strikes me as a fault in his version, that it brings the lyric flow of the Allegro, Penseroso, and Lycidas so strongly to mind, that we seem to be reading Milton instead of Pindar, yet feel that we have the mere manner of the one and the bare matter of the other. Those who bring a knowledge of the original to Moore's and Cary's translations, and thus illuminate them with Pindar himself, may enjoy the perusal; to others they must seem, I should think, water of Helicon bewitched. Cary's Dante, on the other hand, is a noble poem that may be read and admired apart from the Italian.

A prose translation, like that of the Psalms and Prophets, would exhibit more of Pindar to the English reader, or would at least disguise him less than any metrical version of a poet, whose metre is so irrepresentable in a modern tongue, and whose metaphors are so bold, and thickly interlaced, that in order to be well understood they should be rendered into the plainest and most straightforward language that can be employed. I tried the simple plan thus, but can not judge whether it will seem tolerable to

others.

Golden Lyre, joint possession of Apollo and the Muses with braided hair dusky as violets,

Thee the movements of the choir obey, thou Ruler of Festivity,
And the singers attend to thy signals,

When thrillingly thou settest up the preamble which leads the feet of the dancers.

Also thou quenchest the pointed thunder-bolt Of everlasting fire; for Jove's Eagle sleeps on the sceptre, his swift wing drooping on each side,

King of Birds,

When o'er his curv'd head thou hast pour'd a dark mist, sweet seal of his eyelids, he slumbering

Lifts up the plumes of his back, overcome by thy vibrations.

Yea and ev'n impetuous Mars, far away from the bristling spear-ranks, Softens his heart with sleep,—and thy shafts soothe the souls of the divinities,

Through the skill of Latona's son, Apollo, and the deep-bosom'd Muses.

Gray and Akenside have each given a modification of this passage, the one in the Progress of Poetry, the other in his Hymn to the Naiads.-S. C.]

But Theron for the four-horsed car,
That bore victory to him,

It behooves us now to voice aloud:

The Just, the Hospitable,

The Bulwark of Agrigentum,

Of renowned fathers

The Flower, even him

Who preserves his native city erect and safe."

But are such rhetorical caprices condemnable only for their deviation from the language of real life? and are they by no other means to be precluded, but by the rejection of all distinctions between prose and verse, save that of metre? Surely good sense, and a moderate insight into the constitution of the human mind, would be amply sufficient to prove, that such language and such combinations are the native produce neither of the fancy nor of the imagination; that their operation consists in the excitement of surprise by the juxtaposition and apparent reconciliation of widely different or incompatible things. As when, for instance, the hills are made to reflect the image of a voice. Surely, no unusual taste is requisite to see clearly, that this compulsory juxtaposition is not produced by the presentation of impressive or delightful forms to the inward vision, nor by any sympathy with the modifying powers with which the genius of the poet had united and inspired all the objects of his thought; that it is therefore a species of wit, a pure work of the will, and implies a leisure and self-possession both of thought and of feeling, incompatible with the steady fervor of mind possessed and filled with the grandeur of its subject. To sum up the whole in one sentence. When a poem, or a part of a poem, shall be adduced, which is evidently vicious in the figures and contexture of its style, yet for the condemnation of which no reason can be assigned, except that it differs from the style in which men actually converse, then, and not till then, can I hold this theory to be either plausible, or practicable, or capable of furnishing either rule, guidance, or precaution, that might not, more easily and more safely, as well as more naturally, have been deduced in the author's own mind from considerations of grammar, logic, and the truth and nature of things, confirmed by the authority of works, whose fame is not of one country, nor of one age.

VOL. III.

T

CHAPTER XIX.

CONTINUATION-CONCERNING THE REAL OBJECT WHICH, IT IS PROB-
ABLE, MR. WORDSWORTH HAD BEFORE HIM IN HIS CRITICAL
PREFACE-ELUCIDATION AND APPLICATION OF THIS.

It might appear from some passages in the former part of Mr. Wordsworth's preface, that he meant to confine his theory of style, and the necessity of a close accordance with the actual language of men, to those particular subjects from low and rustic life, which by way of experiment he had purposed to naturalize as a new species in our English poetry. But from the train of argument that follows; from the reference to Milton; and from the spirit of his critique on Gray's sonnet; those sentences appear to have been rather courtesies of modesty, than actual limitations of his system. Yet so groundless does this system appear on a close examination; and so strange and overwhelming* in its consequences, that I can not, and I do not, believe that the poet did ever himself adopt it in the unqualified sense, in which his expressions have been understood by others, and which, indeed, according to all the common laws of interpretation they seem to bear. What then did he mean? I apprehend, that in the clear perception, not unaccompanied with disgust or contempt, of the gaudy affectations of a style which passed current with too many for poetic diction (though in truth it had as little pretensions to

*I had in my mind the striking but untranslatable epithet, which the celebrated Mendelssohn applied to the great founder of the Critical Philosophy," Der alleszermalmende KANT," that is, the all-becrushing, or rather the all-to-nothing-crushing Kant. In the facility and force of compound epithets, the German from the number of its cases and inflections approaches to the Greek, that language so

"Bless'd in the happy marriage of sweet words."

It is in the woful harshness of its sounds alone that the German need shrink from the comparison.

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poetry, as to logic or common sense), he narrowed his view for the time; and feeling a justifiable preference for the language of nature and of good sense, even in its humblest and least ornamented forms, he suffered himself to express, in terms at once too large and too exclusive, his predilection for a style the most remote possible from the false and showy splendor which he wished to explode. It is possible, that this predilection, at first merely comparative, deviated for a time into direct partiality. But the real object which he had in view, was, I doubt not, a species of excellence which had been long before most happily characterized by the judicious and amiable Garve, whose works are so justly beloved and esteemed by the Germans, in his remarks on Gellert, from which the following is literally translated. "The talent, that is required in order to make excellent verses, is perhaps greater than the philosopher is ready to admit, or would find it in his power to acquire the talent to seek only the apt expression of the thought, and yet to find at the same time with it the rhyme and the metre. Gellert possessed this happy gift, if ever any one of our poets possessed it; and nothing perhaps contributed more to the great and universal impression which his fables made on their first publication, or conduces more to their continued popularity. It was a strange and curious phænomenon, and such as in Germany had been previously unheard of, to read verses in which every thing was expressed just as one would wish to talk, and yet all dignified, attractive, and interesting; and all at the same time perfectly correct as to the measure of the syllables and the rhyme. It is certain, that poetry when it has attained this excellence makes a far greater impression than prose. So much so indeed, that even the gratification which the very rhymes afford, becomes then no longer a contemptible or trifling gratification."*

However novel this phænomenon may have been in Germany, at the time of Gellert, it is by no means new, nor yet of recent existence in our language. Spite of the licentiousness with which Spenser occasionally compels the orthography of his words into a subservience to his rhymes, the whole FAERY QUEEN is an almost continued instance of this beauty. Waller's song, Go, LOVELY ROSE, is doubtless familiar to most of my readers; but if I had hap

* Sammlung einiger Abhandlungen von Christian Garve. [Leipzig, 1779, pp. 233-4, with slight alterations.-S. C.]

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