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Hercule: could not hinder (though the young hero had addressed bis prayers to him for his assistance), because the gods cannot control destiny. The verse follows:
Sic ait ; atque oculos Rutulorum rejicit arvis : which the same Ruæus thus construes : Jupiter, after he had said this, immediately turns his eyes to the Rutulian fields, and beholds the duel. I have given this place another exposition, that he turned his eyes from the field of combat, that he might uci beholti a sight sú ünpirasing to him. The word “rejicit,” I know, will admi: o both 20..ses; but Jupiter, having confessed that he could not alter fate, and being grieved he could not, in consideration of Hercules-it seems to me that he should aver: his eyes, rather than take pleasure in the spectacle. But of this I am not so confident as uie other, though I think I have followed Virgil's sense.
What I have said, though it has the face of arrogance, yet is intended for the honour of my country; and therefore I will boldly own that this English translation has more of Virgil's spirit in it than either the French or the Italian. Some of our countrymen have translated episodes, and other parts of Virgil, with great success : as particularly your lordship, whose version of Orpheus and Eurydice is eminently good. Ainong the dead authors, the Silenus of my Lord Roscommon cannot be too much commended. I say nothing of Sir John Denham, Mr. Waller, and Mr. Cowley; it is the utmost of my ambition to be thought their equal, or not to be much inferior to them, and some others of the living. But it is one thing to take pains on a fragment, and translate it perfectly, and another thing to have the weight of a whole author on my shoulders. They who believe the burden light, let them attempt the fourth, sixth, or eighth pastoral ; the first or fourth Georgic; and among the Æneids, the fourth, the fifth, the seventh, the ninth, the tenth, the eleventh, or the twelfth; for in these I think I have succeeded best.
Long before I undertook this work I was no stranger to the original. I had also siudied Virgil's design, his disposition of it, his
inanners, his judicious management of the figures, the sober retrenchments of his sence, which always leave somewhat to gratify our imagination, on which it 'may enlarge at pleasure. but above all, the elegance of his expression, and the harmony of his numbers : for, as I have said in a former dissertation, the words are in poetry, what the colours are in painting : if the design be good, and the draught be true, the colouring is the first beauty that strikes the eye. Spenser and Milton are the nearest in English to Virgil and Horace in the Latin; and I have endeavoured to form my style by imitating their masters. I will further own to you, my lord, that my chief ambition is to please
those readers who have discernment enough to prefer Virgil before any other poet. in the Latin tongue. Such spirits as he desired to please, such would I choose for my judges, and would stand or fall by them alone. Segrais has distinguished the readers of poetry, according to their capacity of judging, into three classes (he might have said the same of writers too, if he had pleased)." In the lowest form he places those whom he calls les petits esprits—such things as are our upper-gallery audience in a playhouse, who like nothing but the husk and rind of wit; prefer a quibble, a conceit, an epigram, before solid sense and elegant expression; these are mob readers. If Virgil and Martial stood for parliament-men, we know already who would carry it. But, though they make the greatest appearance in the field, and cry the loudest, the best on't is, they are but a sort of French Huguenots, or Dutch boors, brought over in herds, but not naturalized; who have not land of two pounds per annum in Parnassus, and therefore are not privileged to poll. Their authors are of the same level, fit to represent them on a mountebank's stage, or to be masters of the ceremonies in a bear-garden. Yet these are they who have the most admirers. But it often happens, to their mortification, that, as their readers improve their stock of sense (as they may by reading better books, and by conversation with men of judgment), they soon forsake them: and when the torrent from the mountain falls no more, the swelling writer is reduced into his shallow bed, like the Manga. nares at Madrid, with scarce water to moisten his own pebbles. There are a middle sort of readers (as we hold there is a middle state of souls), such as have a further insight than the former, yet have not the capacity of judging right (for I speak not of those who are bribed by a party, and know better, if they were not corrupted ; but I mean a company of warm young men, who are not yet arrived so far as to discern the difference between fustian, or ostentatious sentences, and the true sublime). These are above liking Martial, or Owen's Epigrams, but they would certainly set Virgil below Statius or Lucan. I need not say their poets are of the same taste with their admirers. They affect greatness in all they write ; but it is a bladdered greatness, like that of the vain man whom Seneca describes—an ill habit of body, full of humours, and swelled with dropsy. Even these too desert their authors, as their judgment ripens. The young gentlemen themselves are commonly misled by their pedagogue at school, their tutor at the university, or their governor in their travels: and many of these three sorts are the most positive blockheads in the world. How many of these flatulent writers have I known, who have sunk in their reputation, after seven or eight editions of their works! for indeed they are poets only for young men. They had great success at their first appearance; but, not being of God (as a wit said formerly), they could not stand.
I have already named two sorts of judges; but Virgil wrote for neither of them : and, by his example, I am not ambitious of pleasing the lowest or the middle form of readers.
He chose to please the most judicious-souls of the highest rank, and truest understanding. These are few in number ; but whoever is so happy as to gain their approbation can never lose it, because they never give it blindly. Then they have a certain magnetism in their judgment which attracts others to their sense. Every day they gain some new proselyte, and in time become the church. For this reason, a well-weighed judicious poem, which at its first appearance gains no more on the world than to be just received, and rather not blamed than much applauded, insinuates itself by insensible degrees into the liking of the reader? the more he studies it, the more it grows on him ; every time he takes it up he discovers some new graces in it. And whereas poems, which are produced by the vigour of imagination only, have a gloss on them at the first, which time wears off: the works of judgment are like the diamond ; the more they are polished the more lustre they receive. Such is the difference between Virgil's Æneid and Marini's Adone. And, if I may be allowed to change the metaphor, I would say that Virgil is like the Fame which he describes :
Mobilitate viget, viresque acquirit eundo. Such a sort of reputation is my aim, though in a far inferior degree, according to my motto in the titlepage-"Sequiturque patrem non passibus æquis:" and therefore I appeal to the highest court of judicature, like that of the peers, of which your lordship is so great an ornament.
Without this ambition, which I own, of desiring to please the judices natos,” I could never have been able to have done any thing at this age, when the fire of poetry is commonly extinguished in other men. Yet Virgil has given me the example of Entellus for my encouragement; when he was well heated, the younger champion could not stand before him. And we find the elder contended, not for the gift, but for the honour
nec dona moror:” for Dampier has informed us, in his Voyages, that the air of the country which produces gold is never who.esome.
I had long since considered that the way to please the best judges is not to translate a poet literally, and Virgil least of any other; for, his peculiar beauty lying in his choice of words, I am excluded from it by the narrow compass of our heroic verse, unless I would make use of monosyllables only, and those clogged with consonants, which are the dead weight of our mother-tongue. It is possible, I confess, though it rarely happenis, that a verse of monosyllables may sound harmoniously;
and some examples of it I have seen. My first line of the Æneid is not harsh :
Arms, and the man I sing, who, forced by Fate, &c.
But a much better instance may be given from the last line of Manilius, made English by our learned and judicious Mr. Creech :
Nor could the world have borne so fierce a flame
where the many liquid consonants are placed so artfully, that they give a pleasing sound to the words, though they are all of one syllable.
It is true I have been sometimes forced on it in other places of this work : but I never did it out of choice: I was either in haste, or Virgil gave me no occasion for the ornament of words; for it seldom happens but a monosyllable line turns verse to prose; and even that prose is rugged and unharmonious. Philarchus, I remember, taxes Balzac for placing twenty monosyllables in file, without one dissyllable between them. The way I have taken is not so strait as metaphrase, nor so loose as para
hrase: some things too I have omitted, and sometimes have added of my own. Yet the omissions, I hope, are but of circumstances, and such as would have no grace in English ; and the additions, I also hope, are easily deduced from Virgil's sense. They will seem (at least I have the vanity to think so) not stuck into him, but growing out of him. He studies brevity more than any other poet ; but he had the advantage of a language wherein
be comprehended in a little space. We, and all the modern tongues, have more articles and pronouns, besides signs of tenses and cases, and other barbarities on which our speech is built by the faults of our forefathers. The Romans founded theirs on the Greek: and the Greeks, we know, were labourng many hundred years on their language before they brought it to perfection. They rejected all those signs, and cut off as many articles as they could spare ; comprehending in one word what we are constrained to express in two: which is one reason why we cannot write so concisely as they have done. The word
pater," for example, signifies not only a father, but your father, my father, his or her father, all included in a word.
This inconvenience is common to all modern tongues; and this alone constrains us to employ more words than the ancients needed. But having before observed that Virgil endeavours to be short, and at the same time elegant, I pursue the excellence, and forsake the brevity : for there he is like ambergris, a rich perfume, but of so close and glutinous a body, that it must be
opened with inferior scents of musk or civet, or the sweetness will not be drawn out into another language.
On the whole matter, I thought fit to steer between the two extremes of paraphrase and literal translation; to keep as near my author as I could, without losing all his graces, the most eminent of which are in the beauty of his words; and those words, I must add, are always figurative. Such of these as would retain their elegance in our tongue I have endeavoured to graff on it; but most of them are of necessity to be lost, because they will not shine in any but their own. Virgil has sometimes two of them in a line ; but the scantiness of our heroic verse is not capable of receiving more than one; and that too must expiate for many others which have none. Such is the difference of the languages, or such my want of skill in choosing words. Yet I may presume to say, and I hope with as much reason as the French translator, that taking all the materials of this divine author, I have endeavoured to make Virgil speak such English as he would himself have spoken if he had been born in England, and in this present age. "I acknowledge with Segrais, that I have not succeeded in this attempt according to my desire : yet I shall not be wholly without praise if in some sort I may be allowed to have copied the clearness, the purity, the easiness, and the magnificence of his style. But I shall have occasion to speak further on this subject before I end the preface.
When I mentioned the Pindaric line I should have added that I take another license in my verses: for I frequently make use of triplet rhymes, and for the same reason--because they bound the sense. And therefore I generally join these two licenses together, and make the last verse of the triplet a Pindaric: for, besides the majesty which it gives, it confines the sense within the barriers of three lines, which would languish if it were lengthened into four. Spenser is my example for both these privileges of English verses; and Chapman has followed it in his translation of Homer. Mr. Cowley has given in to them after both; and all succeeding writers after him. I regard them now as the Magna Charta of heroic poetry, and am too much an Englishman to lose what my ancestors have gained for me. Let the French and Italians value themselves on their regularity : strength and elevation are our standard. I said before, and I repeat it, that the affected purity of the French has unsinewed their heroic verse. The language of an epic poem is almost wholly figurative : yet they are so fearful of a metaphor, that no example of Virgil can encourage them to be bold with safety. Sure they might warm themselves by that sprightly blaze, with. out approaching it so close as to singe their wings: they may come as near it as their master. Not that I would discourage that purity of diction in which he excels all other poets. But he knows how far to extend his franchises, and advances tu the