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formed of its vast strength, we were greatly deceived. The walls were so feebly built, that in some places, where no shot could have struck them, they were rent from top to bottom by the recoil of the guns which surmounted them. About twenty heavy pieces of ordnance, with a couple of mortars, composed the whole artillery of the place ; whilst there was not a single bomb-proof building in it, except the governor's house. A large bake-house, indeed, was bomb proof. because it was hollowed out of the rock; but the barracks were every where perforated and in ruins. That the garrison must have suffered fearfully during the week's bombardment, every thing in and about the place gave proof. Many holes were dug in the earth, and covered over with large stones, into which, no doubt, the soldiers had crept for shelter ; but these were not capable of protecting them, at least in sufficient numbers.
Among other places, we strolled into what had been the hospital. It was a long room, containing, perhaps, twenty truckle bedsteads, all of which were entire, and covered with straw palliasses; of these, by far the greater number were dyed with blood; but only one had a tenant.
We approached, and lifting a coarse sheet which covered it, we found the body of a mere youth, evidently not more than seventeen years of age. There was the mark of a musket ball through his breast; but he was so fresh-had suffered so little from the effects of decay-that we found he had been left to perish of neglect. I trust we were mistaken. We covered him up again, and quitted the place.
“We had now gratified our curiosity to the full, and turned our backs upou St. Sebastian's, not without a chilling sense of the horrible points in our profession."--pp. 65–69.
Art. XIX.--(1) Le Curé de Wakefield. Traduit de l'Anglais,
par M. J. B. Biset, ancien professeur de rhetorique en France,
maitre de langue Française à Londres. Londres. 1796. (2) Le Ministre de Wakefield, d'Olivier Goldsmith. Traduc
tion nouvelle, par E*** A***. En Anglais et en Français. Paris. Chez F. Louis, Libraire, Rue de Savoie, No. 12.
1803. (3) Le Curé de Wakefield, Roman traduit de l’Anglois, de Gold
SMITH, par M. De Russy. New-York, printed by Joseph
Desnoues, No. 7 Murray-street. 1816. (4) El Vicario de Wakefield, Novela escrita en Ingles por
et celebre DocToR GOLDSMITH.
Traducida al Catellano por M. DOMINGUEZ. Nueva York: imprenta de C. S. Van Winkle. 1825.
The difficulty of translating a book of merit from one language into another, can only be appreciated by such as have actually made the attempt. Most of those who are intimately acquainted with other languages than that which is emphatically called their mother tongue,” are too apt to think they dis
cover in them beauties which would never once enter into the ideas of such as have spoken and known those languages, and those only, from the moment they first learnt to give utterance to language. Others again, and those the sacred few, whose opinions (how justly we pretend not to say) are held up as the standards of correct taste and just discrimination, can find nothing praiseworthy even in the original text of any work clothed in mere living language, and consider that nothing can deserve the notice of the scholar and the student, which has not been penned by the writers of tongues long since dead and gone. In the conceit of these great critics, Murphy, in his translation of Tacitus, has but given assurance of the impossibility of conveying in one language, however rich, noble, and copious that language may be, more than a feeble and imperfect view of the majesty and grandeur of this author. Middleton has but disfigured the numberless beauties of CiceroMelmoth has thrown Pliny into the shade-Leland has tamed Demostl.enes, and Francis has but shown the dark side of Horace-Dryden has caricatured Virgil, and Pope has taken sbameful licence in his translation of Homer; while Cowper, although more correct, has fallen into oblivion.
If, then, there be, as we willingly admit, great difficulty in communicating to the mere English reader, the ideas of Demosthenes, Cicero, and Isocrates, a just conception of the beauty of their style, the sublimity of their thoughts, and the majesty of their language; if Tacitus, Thucydides, and Livy, have never been so translated as to convey to those unacquainted with their language an adequate idea of their merit, (for we omit the poets, as having that licentia which is equally asked and granted,) how much more difficult must it be to render into another language the exquisite writings of Sterne, Fielding, Smollett, or Goldsmith, whose works abound, in almost every page, with idiomatic expressions, sufficient, at once, to reduce an unassisted foreigner to despair ?
But, although we might tire others, and entertain ourselves, with a thousand ideas of the difficulty of conveying, in any one language, the ideas and manner of any foreign author, yet we are sure we shall gratify our readers by calling their attention to the translation of Mr. Dominguez, and endeavouring to give them some slight idea of the ample justice the translator has done to one of the most favourite tales in our language; a tale whic
is the delight of both male and female, old and youngwhich attracts as well the attention, and elicits the applause of the youthful maiden, and the modest suitor, as of the grim old maid, and the hard-visaged bachelor.
It is well known to us, and we know it to be so to many of the amateurs of Spanish literature, that the author of this work is likewise the author of many other productions, and, among the rest, of some which rank even higher than this translation of Goldsmith's Vicar of Wakefield, that he has incorporated into his native tongue some of the finest writings of the most original and powerful genius that France ever boasted, while he has been content, also, in order to promote the highly necessary knowledge of the language of his own country, to pass his hours in correcting and improving the cumbersome pages
of such elementary works as may lead to a correct knowledge of that language, which others have only taught in the Patois to which themselves are accustomed
By way of more fully developing the superior merit of this translation of the Vicar of Wakefield, we shall direct the attention of our readers to similar extracts from the French translations of the same work, of which we have placed the titles at the head of this article. From diligent inquiry, we are satisfied, that there is no Italian translation of this work; and we regret this the more, inasmuch as our comparisons of the beauties of the Spanish version must, therefore, be necessarily limited to the French language only. Of the three translations before us, Biset's is decidedly the best, and although, in fact, a very tolerable performance, yet, in spirit and truth of expression, it falls infinitely short of the Spanish, particularly in rendering the delightful little poems with which Goldsmith has enriched his novel. Of the remaining two French translations, we are almost sorry to find, that one of them owes its origin to a resident of New York; it neither does credit to its author, nor to the literary character of the city ; and the most we can say in its favour, and that is faint praise indeed, is, that it does not actually fall below the ridiculous burlesque, published in Paris, under the title of " Le Ministre de Wakefield,” which we beg leave to recommend particularly to such of our readers as are fond of stupid pomposity and solemn nonsense.
The first passage which appears to have troubled the French translators, is one which we confess to be strictly idiomatical. It is the concluding expression of the following passa e, near the commencement of the fourth chapter.
“ My farm consisted of about twenty acres of excellent land, having given a hundred pounds for my predecessor's good will."
That the volatile Parisian should render it in the following manner is not at all surprising:
“Ma ferme consistoit en vingt acres environ d'excellente
terre, pour la cession desquels j'avois donné cent livres sterling à mon prédécesseur à titre de pot de-vin."
But that our New-York translator, with the means of explanation within his immediate reach, should so far mistake the sense of the original, certainly inspires us with no high idea of his capability or research:
“ Ma ferme se composoit d'environ vingt arpens d'excellente terre, qui avoient rapporté jusqu'à cent livres sterling de rente au profit de mon prédécesseur."
We request our readers, for one moment, to compare the following Spanish version of the same sentence with the preceding translations, and then with the original, and to judge for themselves where the difficulty is best solved:
“ Mi hacienda consistia de veinte acres de muy buena tierra, habiendo dado por ella cien libras esterlinas á mi prede
In the beginning of the seventh chapter, we find that “ Mr. Thornhill came," for the purpose o dining with the vicar and his family, “ with a couple of friends, his chaplain and feeder.' This sentence appears to have excited all the talent of our solemn French friend, who gravely translates the word “ feeder" by the following elegant circumlocution: “Celui qui étoit chargé de l'éducation de ses coqs.” But if his learning surprise us, it would be difficult sufficiently to admire the ingenuity of Mr. De Russy, who renders the whole phrase as follows:
“Mr. Thornhill vint avec deux amis : je veux dire celui qui avoit le double emploi de chapelain et de gourmand."
Although we may be mistaken in our own conjecture, we must give the preference to Mr. Dominguez's version, notwithstanding the authority of Biset's respectable translation, in which the word “feeder" is translated “dresseur de coqs.' It is thus rendered in the Spanish: “En efecto se presente Mr. Thornhill, con dos amigos, su capellan, y su montero, ó cuidador de sus perros de caza." The frequent allusions made in the tale to the squire's fondness for the chase, certainly serve to strengthen our conviction that this is the true meaning of the word.
But to put an end to so tiresome and minute a comparison, we shall endeavour to point out, with all brevity, such passages as may, in our estimation, be considered the happiest of the translation before us.
We think, then, that the dialogue in the seventh chapter, where the unfortunate Moses pretends to combat in argument with the squire, as well as the subsequent family colloquy, which ends with the ludicrous, though exquisitely natural, at
tempt of Olivia to demonstrate to the good vicar her skill in universal controversy ; are rendered, in the Spanish version, with a skill and spirit that by no means detract from the elegance of the original text.
In the eleventh chapter, the entertaining nonsense of Lady Blarney and Miss Carolina Wilhelmina Amelia Skeggs, with the occasional interpolations (if we may so call them) of Mr. Burchell and Mrs. Primrose, is given with a happy discrimination of the different styles of the several speakers, and is in excellent keeping with the several characters due to each. Were we disposed to be captious, we might find fault with Mr. Dominguez's omission of that double superlative, “most lowest stuff in nature," as well as of the perpetual reiteration of Mr. Burchell's “fudge," by way of commentary on the conclusion of each speech of the two fine town ladies. We notice a similar fault in the Spanish version, at the 171st page, where the vulgarisms of the great man's language are totally omitted; it is no small praise, however, to add, that
these, slight as they are, are almost the only blemishes we have been able to discover.
Towards the conclusion of the thirteenth chapter, the discrimination maintained between the dignified, though somewhat severe manner of the worthy pastor, and the rather vulgar style of his wife, in attempting to excuse her rude breach of hospitality, is worthy of every commendation. In the twenty-first chapter, also, the conversation between the aged vicar and his almost heart-broken danghter, on his accidentally discovering her at the tavern, is rendered with a pathos and beauty that leave nothing more to be desired.
When, in addition to these passages, we recommend to the notice of our readers, the felicitous description of the destruction of the vicar's house by fire, as he approaches it, after his long and painful search for his unhappy child, his heart beating with hope and pleasure—the honest mastiff running to grect him, and, as it were, to announce to him that all was well—and then, on reaching the door of the beloved cot which contained his all, finding the fire bursting from every crevice of that cot; we have concluded our attempt to do some small justice to the translation of Mr. Dominguez, at least so far as regards the prose, and perhaps in inducing our readers to think with us, that no language but the Spanish could convey so well all the beauty and spirit of this admirable tale of Doctor Goldsmith.
We observe, that Mr. Dominguez has omitted the long discourse in favour of the monarchical form of government, in which Goldsmith has indulged himself in the nineteenth chapVol. It.