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may be said in this sense to be the master a rash paraphrase can make amends for even of those who surpassed him. this general defect; which is no less in

In all these objections we see nothing danger to lose the spirit of an ancient, by that contradicts his title to the honour of deviating into the modern manners of exthe chief invention; and as long as this pression. If there be sometimes a dark(which indeed is the characteristic of poetryness, there is often a light in antiquity itself) remains unequalled by his followers, which nothing better preserves than a verhe still continues superior to them. Asion almost literal. I know no 'liberties cooler judgment may commit fewer faults, one ought to take but those which are and be more approved in the eyes of one necessary for transfusing the spirit of the sort of critics : but that warmth of fancy original, and supporting the poetical style will carry the loudest and most universal of the translation: and I will venture to applauses, which holds the heart of a rea- say, there have not been more men misled der under the strongest enchantment. Ho- in former times by a servile dull adherence iner not only appears the inventor of poetry, to the latter, than have been deluded in but excels all the inventors of other arts in ours by a chimerical insolent hope of this, that he has swallowed up the honour raising and improving their author. It is of those who succeeded him. What he has not to be doubted that the fire of the poem, done admitted noincrease, it only left room is what a translator should principally refor contraction or regulation. He shewed gard, as it is most likely to expire in his all the stretch of fancy at once; and if he managing: however, it is his safest way has failed in some of his flights, it was but to be content with preserving this to his because he attempted every thing. A work utmost in the whole, without endeavouring of this kind seems like a mighty tree which to be more than he finds his author is, in rises from the most vigorous seed, is im- any particular place. It is a great secret proved with industry, tourishes, and pro. in writing, to know when to be plain, and duces the finest fruit; nature and art con- when poetical and figurative; and it is spire to raise it; pleasure and profit join what Homer will teach us, if we will but to make it valuable: and they who find the follow modestly in bis footsteps. Where justest faults, have only said that a few his diction is bold and lofty, let us raise branches (which run luxuriant through a ours as high as we can; but where he is richness of nature) might be lopped into plain and humble, we ought not to be deform to give it a more regular appear- terred from imitating him by the fear of ance.

incurring the censure of a mere English Having now spoken of the beauties and critic. Nothing that belongs to Homer defects of the original,-it remains to treat seems to have been more commonly misof the translation, with the same view to taken than the just pitch of his style; some the chief characteristic. As far as that is of his translators having swelled into fusseen in the main parts of the poem, such tian in a proud confidence of the sublime; as the fable, manners, and sentiments, others sunk into flatness in a cold and no translator can prejudice it but by wil. timorous notion of simplicity. Methinks ful omissions or contractions. As it also I see these different followers of Homer, breaks out in every particular image, de- some sweating and straining after him by scription, and simile, whoever lessens or violent leaps and bounds, (the certain too much softens those, takes off from this signs of false mettle): others slowly and chief character. It is the first grand duty servilely creeping in bis train, while the of an interpreter to give his author entire poet himself is all the time proceeding and unmaimed; and for the rest, the dic- with an unaffected and equal majesty betion and versification only are his proper fore them, However, of the two extremes, province ; since these must be his own, one could sooner pardon frenzy than fribut the others he is to take as he finds gidity: no author is to be envied for such them.

commendations as he may gain by that chaIt should then be considered, what me- racter of style, which his friends must agree thods may afford some equivalent in our together to call simplicity, and the rest language for the graces of these in the of the world will call dulness. There is a Greek. It is certain no literal translation graceful and dignified simplicity, as well can be just to an excellent original in a as a bald and sordid one, which differ as superior language : but it is a great mise much from each other as the air of a plain take to imagine (as many have done) that man from that of a sloven : it is one thing


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to be tricked up, and another not to be petitions. Many of the former cannot be dressed at all. Simplicity is the mean be done literally into English without destroy. tween ostentation and rusticity.

ing the purity of our language. I believe This pure and noble simplicity is no such should be retained as slide easily of where in such perfection as in the Scrip- themselves into an English compound, ture and our author. One may affirm, without violence to the ear, or to the rewith all respect to the inspired writings, ceived rules of composition; as well as that the divine spirit made use of no other those which have received a sanction from words but what were intelligible and com- the authority of our best poets, and are mon to men at that time, and in that part become familjar through their use of them; of the world; and as Homer is the au- such as the cloud-compelling Jove, &c. thor nearest to those, his style must of As for the rest, whenever any can be as course bear a greater resemblance to the fully and significantly expressed in a single sacred books than that of any other wri- word as in a compound one, the course to ter. This consideration (together with be taken is obvious. what has been observed of the parity

Some that cannot be so turned as to of some of his thoughts) may methinks preserve their full image by one or two induce a translator on the one hand to words, may have justice done them by give into several of those general phrases circumlocution; as the epithet eivosipullos and manners of expression, which have to a mountain, would appear little or ridiattained a veneration even in our lan- culous translated literally “ leaf-shaking," guage from being used in the Old Testa- but affords a majestic idea in the periphrament; as on the other, to avoid those bis : “ The lofty mountain shakes his which have been appropriated to Divinity, waving woods.” Others that admit of difand in a manner consigned to mystery and fering significations, may receive an adreligion.

vantage by a judicious variation according For a farther preservation of this air of to the occasions on which they are introsimplicity, a particular care should be ta- duced. For example, the epithet of Apolken to express with all plainness, those lo, é«nßóros, or “ far-shooting," is capable moral sentences and proverbial speeches of two explications; one literal in respect which are so numerous in this poet. They to the darts and bow, the ensigns of that have something venerable, and I may say god; the other allegorical with regard to oracular, in that unadoroed gravity and the rays of the sun : therefore in such shortness with which they are delivered: places where Apollo is represented as a a grace which would be utterly lost by en god in person, I would use the former indeavouring to give them what we call a terpretation; and where the effects of the more ingenious (that is, a more modern) sun are described, I would make choice of turn in the paraphrase.

the latter. Upon the whole, it will be nePerhaps the mixture of some Grecisms cessary to avoid that perpetual repetition of and old words, after the manner of Milton, the same epithets which we find in Homer; if done without too much affectation, might and which, though it might be accommonot have an ill effect in a version of this dated (us has been already shewn) to the particular work, which most of any other ear of those times, is by no means so to seems to require a venerable antique cast. ours: but one may wait for opportunities But certainly the use of modern terms of of placing them, where they derive an adwar and government, such as platoon,cam- ditional beauty from the occasions on paign, junto, or the like (into which some which they are employed; and in doing of his translators have fallen) cannot be this properly, a translator may at once allowable; those only excepted, without shew his fancy and his judgment. which it is impossible to treat the subjects As for Homer's repetitions, we may diin any living language.

vide them into three sorts : of whole narThere are two peculiarities in Homer's rations and speeches, of single sentences, diction, which are a sort of marks, or and of one verse or hemistich. I hope it is moles, by which every common eye dig- not impossible to have such a regard to tinguishes him at first sight : those who these, as neither to lose so known a mark are not his greatest admirers look upon of the author on the one hand, nor to them as defects, and those who are, seem

offend the reader too much on the other. pleased with them as beauties. I speak The repetition is not ungraceful in those of his compound epithets, and of his re- speeches, where the dignity of the speaker


renders it a sort of insolence to alter his nal writings, as in the tragedy of Bussy words; as in the messages from gods to d'Amboise, &c. In a word, the nature men, or from higher powers to inferiors, of the man may account for his whole in concerns of state, or where the ceremo- performance; for he appears, from his nial of religion seems to require it, in the preface and remarks, to have been of an solemn sorms of prayer, oaths, or the like. arrogant turn, and an enthusiast in poIn other cases, I believe, the best rule is, etry. His own boast of having finished to be guided by the nearness, or distance, half the Iliad in less than fifteen weeks, at which the repetitions are placed in the shews with what negligence his version original : when they follow too close, one was performed. But that which is to be may vary the expression; but it is a ques- allowed him, and which very much contion, whether a professed translator be au- tributed to cover his defects, is a daring thorised to omit any: if they be tedious, fiery spirit which animates his translathe author is to answer for it.

tion, which is something like what one It only remains to speak of the Versifi- might imagine Homer himself would cation. Homer (as has been said) is per- have writ before he arrived at years of petually applying the sound to the sense, discretion. and varying it on every new subject. This Hobbes has given us a correct explanais indeed one of the most exquisite beau- tion of the sense in general; but for parties of poetry, and attainable by very few: ticulars and circumstances he continually I know only of Homer eminent for it in lops them, and often omits the most beauthe Greek, and Virgil in Latin. I am sen- tiful. As for its being esteemed a close sible it is what may sometimes happen by translation, I doubt not many have been chance, when a writer is warm, and fully led into that error by the shortness of it, possessed of his image : however, it may which proceeds not from his following the he reasonably believed they designed original line by line, but from the contracthis, in whose verse it so manifestly ap- tions above mentioned. He sometimes pears in a superior degree to all others. omits whole similes and sentences, and is Few readers have the ear to be judges of now and then guilty of mistakes, into it; but those who have, will see I have which no writer of his learning could endeavoured at this beauty.

have fallen, but through carelessness. His Upon the whole, I must conclude my- poetry, as well as Ogilby's, is too mean self utterly incapable of doing justice to for criticism. Homer. I attempt him in no other hope It is a great loss to the poetical world but that which one may entertain without that Mr. Dryden did not live to translate much vanity, of giving a more tolerable the Iliad. He has left us only the first copy of him than any entire translation in book, and a small part of the sixth; in verse has yet done. We have only those which, if he has in some places not truly of Chapman, Hobbes, and Ogilby. Chap- interpreted the sense, or preserved the man has taken the advantage of an im- antiquities, it ought to be excused on acmeasurable length of verse, notwithstand- count of the haste he was obliged to write ing which, there is scarce any paraplırase in. He seems to have had 100 much remore loose and rambling than his. He has gard to Chapman, whose words he somefrequent interpolations of four or six lines, times copied, and has unhappily followed and I remember one in the thirteenth book him in passages where he wanders from of the Odysses, ver. 312, where he has spun the original. However, had he translated twenty verses out of two. He is often the whole work, I would no more have mistaken in so bold a manner, that one attempted Homer after him than Virgil, might think he deviated on purpose, if he his version of whom (notwithstanding some did not in other places of his notes insist human errors) is the most noble and so much upon verbal trifles. He appears to spirited translation I know in any lanhave had a strong affectation of extracting guage. But the fate of great geniuses is new meanings out of his author, insomuch like that of great ministers; though they as to promise, in his rhyming preface, a are confessedly the first in the commonpoem of the mysteries he had revealed in wealth of letters, they must be envied and Homer : and perhaps he endeavoured to calumniated only for being at the head strain the obvious sense to this end. His of it. expression is involved in fustian, a fault That which, in my opinion, ought to for which he was remarkable in his origi- be the endeavour of any one who trans

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lates Homer, is above all things to keep men of wit. Mr. Addison was the first alive that spirit and fire which makes his whose advice determined me to underchief character : in particular places, where take this task, who was pleased to write the sense can bear any doubt, to follow to me upon that occasion, in such terms as the strongest and most poetical, as most I cannot repeat without vanity. agreeing with that character ; to copy him obliged to Sir Richard Steele for a very in all the variations of his style, and the early recommendation of my undertaking different modulations of his numbers; to to the public. Dr. Swift promoted my

. preserve, in the more active or descriptive interest with that warmth with which he parts, a warmth and elevation; in the always serves his friend. The humanity more sedate or narrative, a plainness and and frankness of Sir Samuel Garth are solemnity; in the speeches, a fulness and what I never knew wanting on any occaperspicuity; in the sentences, a shortness sion. I must also acknowledge, with infiand gravity; not to neglect even the little nite pleasure, the many friendly offices, as figures and turns on the words, nor some- well as sincere criticisms, of Mr. Contimes the very cast of the periods ; neither greve, who had led me the way in transto omit nor confound any rites or customs lating some parts of Homer; as I wish, of antiquity: perhaps too he ought to in- for the sake of the world, he had preclude the whole in a shorter compass than vented me in the rest. I must add the has hitherto been done by any translator, names of Mr. Rowe and Dr. Parnell, who has tolerably preserved either the though I shall take a farther opportunity sense or poetry. What I would farther of doing justice to the last, whose goodrecommend to him, is to study his author nature (to give it a great panegyric) is rather from his own text than from any no less extensive than his learning. The commentaries, how learned soever, or favour of these gentlemen is not entirely whatever figure they may make in the undeserved by one who bears them so true estimation of the world; to consider him an affection. But what can I say of the attentively in comparison with Virgil honour so many of the great have done above all the ancients, and with Milton me, while the first names of the age appear above all the moderns. Next these, the as my subscribers, and the most distinArchbishop of Cambray’s Telemachus may guished patrons and ornaments of learngive him the truest idea of the spirit and ing as my chief encouragers ? Among turn of our author, and Bossu's admirable these it is a particular pleasure to me treatise of the epic poem the justest notion to find that my highest obligations are to of his design and conduct. But after all, such' who have done most honour to the with whatever judgment and study a man name of poet : that his grace the Duke of may proceed, or with whatever happiness Buckinghain was not displeased I should he may perform such a work, he must undertake the author, to whom he has hope to please but a few; those only who given (in his excellent Essay) so complete have at once a taste of poetry, and compe- a praise : tent learning. For to satisfy such as want

“ Read Homer once, and you can read no either, is not in the nature of this undertaking; since a mere modern wit can like For all books else appear so mean, so poor, nothing that is not modern, and a pedant

“ Verse will seeni Prose; but still persist to read,

“ And Homer will be all the books you need." nothing that is not Greek.

What I have done is submitted to the That the Earl of Halifax was one of the public, from whose opinions I am pre- first to favour me, of whom it is hard to pared to learn; though I fear no judges say, whether the advancement of the poso little as our best poets, who are most lite arts is more owing to his generosity or sensible of the weight of this task. As for his example. That such a genius as my the worst, whatever they shall please to Lord Bolingbroke, not more distinguished say, they may give me some concern as in the great scenes of business than in they are unhappy men, but none as they all the useful and entertaining parts of are malignant writers. I was guided in learning, has not refused to be the critic this translation by judgments very differ- of these sheets, and the patron of their ent from theirs, and by persons for whom writer. And that so excellent an imitator they can have no kindness, if an old of Homer as the noble author of the traobservation be true, that the strongest an- gedy of Heroic Love, has continued his tipathy in the world is that of fools to partiality to me, from my writing Pastorals,


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to my attempting the Iliad. I cannot deny have thought himself happy to have met myself the pride of confessing, that I have the same favour at Athens, that has been had the advantage not only of their ad- shown me by its learned rival, the univervice for the conduct in general, but their sity of Oxford. If my author had the correction of several particulars of this wits of after-ages for his defenders, his translation.

translator has had the beauties of the preI could say a great deal of the pleasure sent for his advocates ; a pleasure too of being distinguished by the Earl of Car- great to be changed for any fame in renarvon: but it is almost absurd to parti- version. And i can hardly envy him cularise any one generous action in a per. those pompous honours he received after son whose whole life is a continued series death, wben I reflect on the enjoyment of of them. Mr. Stanhope, the present se- so many agreeable obligations, and easy cretary of state, will pardon my desire of friendships, which make the satisfaction of having it known that he was pleased to life. This distinction is the more to be promote this affair.

The particular zeal acknowledged, as it is shewn to one whose of Mr. Harcourt (the son of the late lord pen has never gratified the prejudices of chancellor) gave me a proof how much I particular parties, or the vanities of parti. am honoured in a share of his friendship. cular men. Whatever the success may I must attribute to the same motive that of prove, I shall never repent of an underseveral others of my friends, to whom all taking in which I have experienced the acknowledgments are rendered unnecessary candour and friendship of so many persons by the privileges of a familiar correspon- of merit; and in which I hope to pass dence: and I am satisfied I can no better some of those years of youth that are geway oblige men of their turn, than by my nerally lost in a circle of follies, after a silence.

manner neither wholly unuseful to others, In short, I have found more patrons nor disagreeable to myself.

Pope. than ever Homer wanted. He would


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