Page images

that, as we said, is the purifying thing, and all is working together for good. Even the eddies (of evil) where do they go ? Are they not by every Ileadland turned outward from the shores into the main stream? Whence came this tide of life, this stream of good? We see it flowing onward to Eternity; and know also that it came thence. Invisibly, or but dimly seen, in exhalations from that Ocean it arises, and (in clouds) by the upper influences, is wafted Timeward. Bold swimmer in Time, fear not, but strike out for thy life into the living tide of life. Rest thou must on the shores of Time, and dream such dreams as thou callest reflection : but go not near the marshes where are the pools of stagnation. Rest not long, and rest near the Headlands, where thou mayest see the eddies of evil turning into the current of good. Standing there, out-looking on the wide stream, thou mayest see the rocks (of deadly sin) and seeing learn to shun them : but think not to go onward unwounded. There are dangers hidden (by Hypocrisy); how canst thou escape such unhurt? Bold swimmer, be honest, else indeed how canst thou be bold ? Show thy stains and wounds to thy fellowvoyagers ; and show also, if thou can, what stained, what harined thee. So shalt thou do good to all men. How shadowy are these figures ! but what could we do without them? The things seen are the Timeshadows of the unseen, the Eternal. Dark atheist! seeing the shadows even, how canst thou say; there is no Sun?" — pp. 83, 84.

Is this English or Carlylese?

The following passage from “ Gil Blas," is as applicable now as it was when first written.

“Nujez showed me a preface, which he said he meant to prefix to a collection of comedies that he had in press. He asked me then, what I thought of it. 'I am no better salisfied,' I replied, with your prose, than with your poetry. Your sonnet is nothing but pompous nonsense ; and there are expressions in your preface too far-fetched, words which are not current in popular use, twisted phrases, so to speak. In one word, your style is odd. The works of our old and good authors are not written so.' Poor simpleton !' exclaimed Fabricius ; 'you do not seem to know, that every prose-writer who aspires at the present day to the reputation of a delicate pen, affects this singularity of style, these outof-the-way expressions, which shock you. There are five or six of us bold innovators, who have undertaken to change the language from white to black; and, please God, we shall succeed in it, in spite of Lope de Vega, Cervantes, and all the other wits, who find fault with us for our new-fangled modes of speech. We are supported by a number of distinguished partisans; and we even have in our conspiracy sereral theologians.'


La Fontaine. A Present for the Young. From the French. Boston : Weeks, Jordan, & Co. 1839. 18mo. pp. 108.

It is stated in the modest preface to this little volume, that the fables which compose it, “ have been selected from a manuscript translation of the entire work of M. de la Fontaine," which will be published, if sufficient encouragement is afforded by the reception of this specimen. The translator truly reniarks, that the original work “has been more multiplied than any other in French.” It is the favorite reading of the young and old, and of people of all nations. Its lessons of wisdom and experience, expressed in the most terse and idiomatic language, have made it a sort of universal classic. But it is a very difficult work to translate, so as to preserve all the spirit and felicity of the original. The French language, for this kind of composition, is far superior to any other in Europe, on account of its numerous brilliant and pithy idioms, and the elegance and spirit of its conversational style. But we think the author of this little volume has succeeded surprisingly well. Though his translations are not always literal, they are conceived and executed in the spirit of the original, and are, on the whole, a very fair, and even faithful, representative of it. It cannot be doubted, that the whole work will be speedily called for, and that it will be a very popular book, if it is all done with the best exercise of the taste and skill shown in the specimens we have examined. But, as one ought to aim at as great a degree of excellence as possible, and he who has done so well can, with the pains demanded by so high and difficult a task, do very much better, we would recommend it to the translator to subject the work to a very deliberate and thorough revision before it is finally committed to the press; with the special purpose of making the translation correspond exactly with the original, in measure, as well as in other things, if it may be.

We give one of the fables in the original, together with the translation.


“Maître corbeau, sur un arbre perché,

Tenait en son bec un fromage.
Maitre renard, par l'odeur alléché,

Lui tint à peu près ce langage:

Hé! bonjour, monsieur du corbeau.
Que vous êtes joli! que vous me semblez beau !

Sans mentir, si votre ramage
Se rapporte à votre plumaye,

Vous êtes le phénix des hôtes de ces bois.
A ces mots le corbeau ne se sent pas de joie;

Et, pour montrer sa belle voix,
Il ouvre un large bec, et laisse tomber sa proie.
Le renard s'en saisit, et dit: Mon bon monsieur

Apprenez que tout flatteur

Vit aux dépens de celui qui l'écoute :
Cette leçon vaut bien un fromage, sans doute.

Le corbeau, honteux et confus,
Jura, mais un peu tard, qu'on ne l'y prendrait plus.”


“ Perched on a lofty oak,
Sir Raven held a lunch of cheese;
Sir Fox, who smelt it in the breeze,

Thus to the holder spoke :-
Ha! how do you do, Sir Raven?
Well, your coat, Sir, is a brave one!

So black and glossy, on my word, Sir,
With voice to match, you were a bird, Sir,
Well fit to be the Phænix of these days.'

Sir Raven, loth to lose such praise,
Must show how musical his croak, -
Down fell the luncheon from the oak,-
Which grabbing up, Sir Fox thus spoke, —

The flatterer, my good Sir,

Aye liveth on his listener ;
Which lesson, if you please,

Is doubtless worth the cheese.'
A bit too late, Sir Raven swore
The rogue should never cheat him more." — pp. 6, 7.

We have taken this entirely at random. The reader will perceive, that the translator feels the spirit, and has caught the turn, of the original. Yet it contains some departures from the French, which, it seems to us, he would do well to look to. For example, 6 le corbeau ne se sent pas de joie,'

"“the raven is beside himself with joy,” is translated“ Sir Raven, loth to lose such praise.” The ingenious translator would find no insuperable difficulty in making alterations in such passages, so as to render his work more spirited than it is now, and considerably more faithful to the letter of the original.

7.- 1. Vollständiges Englisch-Deutsches und Deutsch-Englisches

Wörterbuch, enthaltend alle in beyden Sprachen allgemein

gebräuchliche Wörter. In Zwey Theilen.
2. A Complete Dictionary of the English and German

and German and English Languages, containing all the
Words in General Use. In Two Volumes. Vol. I.
English and German ; by Dr. J. G. Flügel. Vol. II.
German and English ; by JOHANN SPORSCHIL. Second
Edition, improved and augmented. Leipsic : A. G.
Liebeskind. 1838.

Some of us, who are not yet much past the mezzo del cammin di nostra vita, can remember the time when a German grammar and dictionary could not be had for love or money. The poets of Germany were as much unknown as the poets of Tartary, if such there be ; a German book, with its black paper and blacker text, with its heaps of consonants, and apparently unpronounceable words, was as frightful and repulsive as a shaggy polar bear. Nous avons changé tout celà. Within a few years German literature has made great progress in this country. At some of our colleges, particularly Harvard University, almost every student of any pretensions to literary distinction, masters the elements at least of the German language ; and the opinions of German philosophers and theologians have already made themselves deeply feli, whether for good or for evil, among the chaos of opinions around us.

Under such circumstances, a good dictionary of the German language becomes an affair of great importance. But a good dictionary of any language is not to be had for the asking ; and a good dictionary of a language so copious and varying as the German, can be the result only of long years of patient study, and of much skill and discrimination in the use of materials. There are peculiar difficulties in the way of making a good German-English dictionary. In the first place, there is no standard authority to regulate the usage of words. Every author forms new words to suit himself; and perhaps many words may be found in the works of a single writer, which do not elsewhere occur. The expansive capabilities of the German language seem to be almost infinite ; and the whim and caprice of individual writers, unchecked by the controlling influence of a great capital, and intellectual centre, give a motley and whimsical aspect to German style, that we find in no other modern language. Adelung, Heinsius, and Campe have endeavoured, but without success, to do for German what Johnson did for English, and the Academy for the French language. Almost any book in the polite literature of the Germans will be found to contain many words not recorded in the copious lexicons of these able scholars. But while this anarchy in the usage of language makes the task of the lexicographer difficult on the one hand, another fact nearly balances this difficulty on the other. The German is the most homogeneous of all the modern European languages ; and the principle of analogical formation is more completely carried out in it than in any other. The new words introduced from time to time, by the caprices or necessities of authors, are usually made by the combination of elements already existing in the primitive forms of the language itself. Even technical terms have been very sparingly introduced from foreign sources. Etymological analysis must then be extensively applied by the student of German ; and the author of a dictionary should always have this fact in mind. It is not necessary that he should be at the pains of inserting all the words that occur in the classic writers ; but he must insert all the primitive words in the language, and place within the student's reach all the elements out of which the various styles of German authors are composed. His definitions should be so formed, as to give, first the primary, radical meaning of each word, and then the various subsequent meanings in historical sequence.

This can be done more satisfactorily in the German, than in any other language except the Greek. Literary monuments of the German language exist in unbroken succession from the earliest periods, when it began to be used in simple annals or in song ; and the language has been very thoroughly explored and illustrated by native writers of the greatest acuteness, industry, and learning. But a mere series of simple words, however strictly and philosophically they may be arranged and defined, will not be sufficient. The principles, which regulate the formation of compound words, are peculiar in each language ; and it by no means follows, that we shall in every case understand a compound word, because we understand its component parts, or even because we understand a similarly compounded word in another language. Two elements mingled together often produce a third different from both, -- a tertium quid, in which the neutralizing properties of the two furnish a result partaking slightly or not at all of the qualities of either. This is as true of language, as of chemistry.

The first volume of this Dictionary, that is, the English-German part, is the work of Dr. Flügel. This gentleman has enjoyed peculiar advantages for the work he has undertaken and so well performed. He speaks the English language fluently and correctly, having resided ten years in the United States, and has been long engaged as a practical teacher. His labors in other respects towards facilitating a knowledge

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »