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for the rest, whenever any can be as fully and sig-, and Ogilby. Chapman has taken the advantage of nificantly expressed in a single word as in a com- an immeasurable length of verse, notwithstanding pound one, the course to be taken is obvious. which, there is scarce any paraphrase more loose and
Some that cannot be so turned as to preserve their and rambling than his. He has frequently interpolafull image by one or two words, may have justice tions of four or six lines, and I remember one in the do ne them by circumlocution : as the epithet sivogo-thirteenth book of the Odysses, ver. 312, where he €wings to a mountain, would appear little or ridicu- has spun twenty verses out of two. He is often lous translated literally "leaf-shaking,” but affords a mistaken in so bold a manner, that one might think majestic idea in the periphrasis: “ The lofty mountain he deviated on purpose, if he did not in other places shakes his waving woods.” Others that admit of of his notes insist so much upon verbal trifes. He ditiering significations, may receive an advantage by a appears to have had a strong affectation of extracting judicious variation according to the occasions on new meanings out of his author, insomuch as to which they are introduced. For example, the epi- promise, in his rhyming preface, a poem of the mysthet of Apollo, 127601 05, or “far-shooting," is capable teries he had revealed in Homer: and perhaps be of two explications ; one literal in respect to the darts endeavoured to strain the obvious sense to this end. and bow, the ensigns of that god; the other allegorical His expression is involved in fustian, a fault for which with regard to the rays of the sun : therefore in such he was remarkable in his original writings, as in the places where Apollo is represented as a god in per- tragedy of Bussy d'Amboise, &c. In a word, the nason, I would use the former interpretation; and where ture of the man may account for his whole performthe effects of the sun are described, I would make ance; for he appears, from his preface and remarks, choice of the latter. Upon the whole, it will be ne- to have been of an arrogant turn, and an enthusiast cessary to avoid that perpetual repetition of the same in poetry. His own boast of having finished half the epithets which we find in Homer : and which, though liad in less than fifteen weeks, shows with what it might be accommodated (as has been already negligence his version was performed. But that shown) to the ear of those times, is by no means so which is to be allowed him, and which very much to ours : but one inay wait for opportunities of placing contributed to cover his defects, is a daring fiery them, where they derive an additional beauty from spirit that animates his translation, which is somethe occasions on which they are employed ; and in thing like what one might imagine Homer himself doing this properly, a translator may at once show would have writ before he arrived at years of dishis fancy and his judgment.
cretion. As for Homer's repetitions, we may divide them Hobbes has given us a correct explanation of the into three sorts ; of whole narrations and speeches, sense in general; but for particulars and circumstances of single sentences, and of one verse or hemistich. í he continually lops them, and often omits the most hope it is not impossible to have such a regard to beautiful. As for its being esteemed a close translathese, as neither to lose so known a mark of the tion, I doubt not many have been led into that error author on the one hand, nor to offend the reader too by the shortness of it, which proceeds not from his much on the other. The repetition is not ungrace- following the original line by line, but from the conful in those speeches where the dignity of the speaker tractions above mentioned. He sometimes omits renders it a sort of insolence to alter his words; as whole similes and sentences, and is now and then in the messages from gods to men, or from bigher guilty of mistakes, into which no writer of his learnpowers to inferiors in concerns of state, or where the ing could have fallen, but through carelessness. His ceremonial of religion seems to require it, in the poetry, as well as Ogilby's, is too mean for criticism. solemn forms of prayers, oaths, or the like. In other It is a great loss to the poetical world that Mr. cases, I believe, the best rule is, to be guided by the Dryden did not live to translate the Iliad. He has nearness, or distance, at which the repetitions are left us only the first book, and a small part of the placed in the original : when they follow too close, sixth: in which if he has, in some places, not truly one may vary the expression; but it is a question interpreted the sense, or preserved the antiquities, it whether a professed translator be authorised to omit ought to be excused on account of the haste he was any: if they be tedious, the author is to answer for it. obliged to write in. He seems to have had too much
It only remains to speak of the versification. Ho- regard to Chapman, whose words be sometimes mer (as has been said) is perpetually applying the copies, and has unhappily followed bim in passages sound to the sense, and varying it on every new sub- where he wanders from the original. However, had ject. This is indeed one of the most exquisite beau- he translated the whole work, I would no more have ties of poetry, and attainable by very few: I know attempted Homer after him than Virgil, bis version of only of Homer eminent for it in the Greek, and Vir- whom (notwithstanding some human errors) is the gil in Latin. I am sensible it is what may sometimes most noble and spirited translation I know in any happen by chance, when a writer is warm, and fully language. But the fate of great geniuses is like that possessed of his image : however, it may be reason- of great ministers; though they are confessedly the ably believed they designed this, in whose verse it so first in the commonwealth of letters, they must be manifestly appears in a superior degree to all others. envied and calumniated, only for being at the head Few readers have the ear to be judges of it; but those of it. who have, will see I have endeavoured at this beauty. That which in my opinion ought to be the endea
Upon the whole, I must confess myself utterly in-vour of any one who translates Homer, is above all capable of doing justice to Homer. I attempt him in things to keep alive that spirit and fire which makes no other hope but that which one may entertain his chief character; in particular places where the without much vanity, of giving a more tolerable copy sense can bear any doubt, to follow the strongest and of him than any entire translation in verse has yet most poetical, as most agreeing with that character; done. We have only those of Chapman, Hobbes, to copy him in all the variations of his style, and the
different modulations of his numbers ; to preserve, in scribers, and the most distinguished patrons and the more active or descriptive parts, a warmth and ornaments of learning as my chief encouragers ? elevation; in the more sedate or narrative, a plain- Amongst these it is a particular pleasure to me to ness and solemnity; in the speeches, a fulness and find, that my highest obligations are to such who perspicuity; in the sentences, a shortness and gravity : have done most honour to the name of poet : that his not to neglect even the little figures and turns on the grace the duke of Buckingham was not displeased I words, nor sometimes the very cast of the periods ; should undertake the author to whom he has given neither to omit nor confound any rites or customs in his excellent Essay) so complete a praise : of antiquity : perhaps too he ought to include the
* Read Homer once, and you can read no more; whole in a shorter compass, than has been hitherto For all books else appear so mean, so poor, done by any translator, who has tolerably preserved Verse will seemn prose: but still persist to read, either the sense or poetry. What I would farther
And Ilomer will be all the books you need: recommend to him, is to study his author rather from That the earl of Halifax was one of the first to fa. his own text, chan from any cominentaries, how your me, of whom it is hard to say whether the adlearned soever, or whatever figure they may make in vancement of the polite arts is more owing to his genethe estimation of the world; to consider him atten- rosity or his example: that such a genius as my lord tively in comparison with Virgil above all the an- Bolingbroke, not more distinguished in the great cients, and with Milton above all the moderns. Next scenes of business than in all the useful and entertainthese, the archbishop of Cambray's Telemachus may ing parts of learning, has not refused to be the critic of give him the truest idea of the spirit and turn of our these sheets, and the patron of their writer: and that author, and Bossu's admirable treatise of the Epic so excellent an imitator of Homer as the noble author Poem the justest notion of his design and conduct. of the tragedy of Heroic Love, has continued his But after all, with whatever judgment and study a partiality to me, from my writing Pastorals, to my man may proceed, or with whatever happiness he attempting the liad. I cannot deny myself the pride may perform such a work, he must hope to please of confessing, that I have had the advantage not only but a few; those only who have at once a taste of of their advice for the conduct in general, but their poetry, and competent learning. For to satisfy such as correction of several particulars of this translation, want either, is not in the nature of this undertaking; I could say a great deal of the pleasure of being since a mere modern wit can like nothing that is not distinguished by the earl of Carnarvon; but it is almodern, and a pedant nothing that is not Greek. most absurd to particularize any one generous action
What I have done is submitted to the pnblic, from in a person whose whole life is a continued series of whose opinions I am prepared to learn ; though I them. Mr. Stanhope, the present secretary of state, fear no judges so little as our best poets, who are will pardon my desire of having it known that he more sensible of the weight of this task. As for the was pleased to promote this affair. The particular worst, whatever they shall please to say, they may zeal of Mr. Harcourt (the son of the late lord changive me some concern as they are unhappy men, cellor) gave me a proof how much I am honoured but none as they are malignant writers. I was in a share of his friendship. I must attribute to the guided in this translation by judgments very different same motive that of several others of my friends, lo from theirs, and persons for whom they can have no whom all acknowledgments are rendered unneceskindness, if an old observation be true, that the sary by the privileges of a familiar correspondence: strongest antipathy in the world is that of fools to and I am satisfied I can no way better oblige men of men of wit. Mr. Addison was the first whose advice their turn, than by my silence. determined me to undertake this task, who was In short, I have found more patrons than ever Hopleased to write to me on that occasion in such mer wanted. He would have thought himself happy terms as I cannot repeat without vanity. I was to have met the same favour at Athens that has been obliged to Sir Richard Steel for a very early recom-shown me by its learned rival, the university of Oxmendation of my undertaking to the public. Dr. ford. If my author had the wits of after-ages for his Swift promoted my interest with that warmth with defenders, his translator has had the beauties of the which he always serves his friend. The humanity present for his advocates ; a pleasure too great to be and frankness of Sir Samuel Garth are what I never changed for any fame in reversion. And I can hardly knew wanting on any occasion. I must also ac- envy him those pompous honours he received after knowledge, with infinite pleasure, the many friendly death, when I refiect on the enjoyment of so many offices, as well as sincere criticisms of Mr. Congreve, agreeable obligations, and easy friendships, which who had led me the way in translating some parts make the satisfaction of life. This distinction is the of Homer; as I wish for the sake of the world he more to be acknowledged, as it is shown to one had prevented me in the rest. I must add the names whose pen has never gratified the prejudices of parof Mr. Rowe and Dr. Parnell, though I shall take a ticular parties, or the vanities of particular men. farther opportunity of doing justice to the last, whose Whatever the success may prove, I shall never repent good nature (to give it a great panegyric) is no less of an undertaking in which I have experienced the extensive than his learning. The favour of these candour and friendship of so many persons of merit; gentlemen is not entirely undeserved by one who and in which I hope to pass some of those years of bears them so true an affection. But what can I say youth that are generally lost in a circle of follies, of the honour so many of the great have done ine, after a manner neither wholly unuseful to others, while the first names of the age appear as my sub-l nor disagreeable to myself.
ILIAD OF HOMER.
| By these he begs; and lowly bending down,
Extends the sceptre and the laurel crown. 20
He sued to all, but chief implored for grace
Ye kings and warriors! may your vows be crown'd, the neighbouring towns, and taken from thence two And Troy's proud walls lie level with the ground; beautiful captives, Chryseis and Briseis, allotted the
May Jove restore you, when your toils are o'er, first to Agamemnon, and last to Achilles. Chryses, the father of Chryseis, and priest of Apollo, comes to Safe to the pleasures of your native shore; the Grecian camp to ransom her; with which the ac. But oh! relieve a wretched parent's pain, tion of the poem opens, in the tenth year of the siege. And give Chrysers to these arms again ; The priest being refused, and insolently dismissed by If mercy fail, yet let my presents move, Agamemnon, en treats for vengeance from his god, who And dread avenging Phæbus, son of Jove. 30 inflicts a pestilence on the Greeks. Achilles calls a The Greeks in shouts their joint assent declare, council, and encourages Chalcas to declare the cause The priest to reverence, and release the fair. of it, who attributes it to the refusal of Chryseis. Not so Atrides : he, with kingly pride, The king being obliged to send back his captive, en. ters into a furious contest with Achilles, which 'Nes. Repulsed the sacred sire, and thus replied: tor pacifies; however, as he had the absolute command Hence, on thy life, and fly these hostile plains, of the arıny, he seizes on Briseis in revenge. Achilles Nor ask, presumptuous, what the king detains; in discontent withdraws himself and his forces from Hence, with thy laurel crown and golden rod, the rest of the Greeks; and complaining to Thetis, Nor trust too far those ensigns of thy god. she supplicates Jupiter to render them sensible of the Mine is thy daughter, priest, and shall remain; wrong done to her son, by giving victory to the Tro- And prayers, and tears, and bribes, shall plead in vain, jaos. Jupiter granting her suit incenses Juno, be. Till time shall rifle every youthful grace, 41 tween whom the debate runs high, till they are recon. ciled by the address of Vulcan.
And age dismiss her from my cold embrace, The time of two-and-twenty days is taken up in this In daily labours of the loom employ'd, book; nine during the plague, one in the council and Or doom'd to deck the bed she once enjoy'd. quarrel of the princes, and twelve with Jupiter's stay Hence then, to Argos shall the maid retire, with the Æthiopians, at whose return Thetis prefers Far from her native soil and weeping sire. her petition. The scene lies in the Grecian camp, The trembling priest along the shore return'd, then changes to Chrysa, and lastly to Olympus. And in the anguish of a father, mourn'd.
Disconsolate, not daring to complain,
Silent he wander'd by the sounding main : 50 BOOK I.
Till, safe at distance, to his god he prays, ACHILLES' wrath, to Greece the direful spring The god who darts around the world his rays Of woes onnumber'd, heavenly goddess, sing! o Smintheus ! sprung from fair Latona's line, That wrath which hurl'd to Pluto's gloomy reign Thou guardian power of Cilla the divine, The souls of mighty chiefs untimely slain; Thou source of light! whom Tenedos adores, Whose limbs unburied on the naked shore, And whose bright presence gilds thy Chrysa's shores: Devouring dogs and hungry vultures tore;
If e'er with wreaths I hung thy sacred fane, Since great Achilles and Atrides strove.
Or fed the flames with fat of oxen slain; Such was the sovereign doom, and such the will of God of the silver bow! thy shafts employ, Jove!
Avenge thy servant, and the Greeks destroy. 60 Declare, O Muse! in what ill-fated hour
Thus Chryses pray'd : the favouring power attends Spring the fierce strife, from what offended power ? And from Olympus' lofty tops descends. Latona's son a dire contagion spread,
11 Bent was his bow, the Grecian hearts to wound, And heap'd the camp with mountains of the dead ; Fierce as he moved, his silver shafts resound. The king of men his reverend priest defied,
Breathing revenge, a sudden night he spread, And for the king's offence the people died.
And gloomy darkness rollid around his head. For Chryses sought with costly gifts to gain The fleet in view, he twang'd his deadly bow, His captive daughter from the victor's chain. And hissing fly the feather'd fates below. Suppliant the venerable father stands,
On mules and dogs the infection first began; Apollo's awful ensigns grace his hands :
And last, the vengeful arro'ns fix'd on man. 70 2 E
For nine long nights through all the dusky air, Because my prize, my beauteous maid I hold,
A maid, unmatch'd in manners as in face,
Skill'd in each art, and crown'd with every grace. Convened to council all the Grecian train;
Not half so dear were Clytæmnestra's charms, For much the goddess mourn'd her heroes slain. When first her blooming beauties bless'd my arms.
The assembly seated, rising o'er the rest, Yet if the gods demand her, let her sail ;
Our cares are only for the public weal:
So dearly valued, and so justly mine.
150 But let some prophet, or some sacred sage, But since for common good I yield the fair, Explore the cause of great Apollo's rage;
My private loss let grateful Greece repair ; Or learn the wasteful vengeance to remove,
Nor unrewarded let your prince complain, By mystic dreams, for dreams descend from Jove. That he alone has fought and bled in vain. If broken vows this heavy curse have laid,
Insatiate king! (Achilles thus replies) Let altars smoke, and hecatombs be paid.
Fond of the power, but sonder of the prize! So heaven, atoned, shall dying Greece restore, Wouldst thou the Greeks their lawful prey should yield, And Phæbus dart his burning shafts no more. 90 The due reward of many a well-fought field ?
He said, and sat: when Chalcas thus replied ; The spoils of cities ras'd, and warriors slain, Chalcas the wise, the Grecian priest and guide, We share with justice, as with toil we gain : 160 That sacred seer, whose comprehensive view But to resume whate'er thy avarice craves The past, the present, and the future knew : (That trick of tyrants) may be borne by slaves. Uprising slow, the venerable sage
Yet if our chief for plunder only fight, Thus spoke the prudence and the fears of age. The spoils of Ilion shall thy loss requite,
Beloved of Jove, Achilles ! wouldst thou know Whene'er by Jove's decree our conquering powers Why angry Phæbus bends his fatal bow?
Shall humble to the dust her lofty towers. First give thy faith, and plight a prince's word Then thus the king : Shall I my prize resign Of sure protection, by thy power and sword. 100 With tame content, and thou possess'd of thine ? For I must speak what wisdom would conceal, Great as thou art, and like a god in fight, And truths, invidious to the great, reveal.
Think not to rob me of a soldier's right. 170 Bold is the task, when subjects, grown too wise, At thy demand shall I restore the maid ? Instruct a monarch where his error lies :
First let the just equivalent be paid ; For though we deem the short-lived fury past, Such as a king might ask; and let it be 'Tis sure, the mighty will revenge at last.
A treasure worthy her, and worthy me.
And rage he may, but he shall rage in vain. 180 No daring Greek of all the numerous band
But this when time requires.-It now remains
Encouraged thus, the blameless man replies : Soon shall the fair the sablé ship ascend,
And some deputed prince the charge attend;
Or, if our royal pleasure shall ordain,
Let fierce Achilles, dreadful in his rage, To her own Chrysa send the black-eyed maid. The god propitiate, and the pest assuage. Perhaps, with added sacris.ce and prayer,
At this, Pelides, frowning stern, replied:
The prophet spoke; when with a gloomy frown Inglorious slave to interest, ever join'd
The distant Trojans never injured me;
200 Still must that tongue some wounding message bring, To Phthia's realms no hostile troops they led; And still thy priestly pride provoke thy king? Safe in her vales my warlike coursers fed ; For this are Phæbus' oracles explored,
Far hence removed, the hoarse-resounding main, To teach the Greeks to murmur at their lord ? And walls of rocks, secure my native reign; For this with falsehoods is my honour stain'd, Whose fruitful soil luxuriant harvests grace, Is heaven offended, and a priest profaned; Rich in her fruits, and in her martial race.
Hither we sail'd, a voluntary throng,
Forbear! (the progeny of Jove replies) To avenge a private, not a public wrong:
To calm thy fury I forsake the skies : What else to Troy the assembled nations draws, Let great Achilles, to the gods resign'd, But thine, ungrateful, and thy brother's cause ? 210 To reason yield the empire o'er his mind. Is this the pay our blood and toils deserve; By awful Juno this command is given; Disgraced and injured by the man we serve? The king and you are both the care of heaven. And darest thou threat to snatch my prize away, The force of keen reproaches let him feel, Due to the deeds of many a dreadful day? But sheath, obedient, thy revenging steel. 280 A prize as small, O tyrant! match'd with thine, For I pronounce (and trust a heavenly power) As thy own actions if compared to mine.
Thy injured honour has its fated hour,
Then let revenge no longer bear the sway,
Hard as it is, my vengeance I suppress:
To this the king : Fly, mighty warrior ! fly, He said, observant of the blue-eyed maid ;
O monster! mix'd of insolence and fear,
Thou dog in forehead, but in heart a deer! If thou hast strength, 'twas heaven that strength be- When wert thou known in ambush'd fights to dare, stow'd ;
Or nobly face the horrid front of war?
So much 'tis safer through the camp to go,
And rob a subject, than despoil a foe. Thy short-lived friendship, and thy groundless hate. Scourge of thy people, violent and base ! Go, threat thy earth-born Myrmidons ; but here Sent in Jove's anger on a slavish race, 'Tis mine to threaten, prince, and thine to fear. 240 Who, lost to sense of generous freedom past, Know, if the god the beauteous dame demand, Are tamed to wrongs, or this had been thy last. My bark shall waft her to her native land; Now by this sacred sceptre hear me swear, But then prepare, imperious prince! prepare Which never more shall leaves or blossoms bear, 310 Fierce as thou art, to yield thy captive fair : Which sever'd from the trunk (as 1 from thee) E'en in thy tent I'll seize the blooming prize, On the bare mountains left its parent tree; Thy loved Briseis with the radiant eyes.
This sceptre, form'd by temper'd steel to prove Hence shalt thou prove my might, and curse the An ensign of the delegates of Jove, hour
From whom the power of laws and justice springs Thou stood'st a rival of imperial power ;
(Tremendous oath ! inviolate to kings :)
Achilles heard, with grief and rage oppress'd, When, flush'd with slaughter, Hector comes to spread
His sceptre starr'd with golden studs around.
Then sternly silent såt. With like disdain While half unsheath'd appear'd the glittering blade, The raging king return'd his frowns again. Minerva swift descended from above,
261 To calm their passions with the words of age, Sent by the sister and the wife of Jove;
Slow from his seat arose the Pylian sage, 330 (For both the princes claim'd her equal care ;) Experienced Nestor, in persuasion skill’d, Behind she stood, and by the golden hair
Words sweet as honey from his lips distill’d;
sable cloud conceal'd her from the rest. Wise by his rules, and happy by his sway;
Two ages o'er his native realm he reign'd,
All view'd with awe the venerable man; A heavenly witness of the wrongs I bear 270 Who thus with mild benevolence began : From Atreus' son! then let those eyes that view What shame, what woe is this to Greece! what joy The daring crime, behold the vengeance too. ITo Troy's proud monarch, and the friends of Troy!