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Neptune? returned this counter-question by way of answer: Yea, but where are they painted, that are drowned? And there is the same reason of all such like superstitions, as in astrology, dreams, divinations, and the rest.
The Mind is warped by a Love of Simplicity.
1. As diamonds are plainest set we are apt to suppose that what is plain and simple must be valuable.
2. The Brunonian states that diseases are of two classes. 1st. Too much, 2dly. Too little excitability.-Whether this position is well or ill founded, there seems to be a disposition to assent to it from the simplicity of the statement.
3. The spherical is one of the most simple of all re-entering figures, since it depends only on a single element, the size of its radius. The natural inclination of the human mind, to attribute that form to bodies which it comprehends with the greatest facility, disposed it to give the earth a spherical form. But the simplicity of nature should not always be measured by our conceptions. It was no sooner discovered that there was an inequality in the equatorial and polar diameters than, the ellipse being, next to the circle, the most simple of the re-entering curves, the earth was considered as a solid formed by the revolution of an ellipse about its shorter axis.
The Mind is warped by a Love of Uniformity.
"1. The spirit of man pre-supposes and feigns a greater equality and uniformity in nature than in truth there is. Hence that fiction of the mathematicians that in the heavenly bodies all is moved by perfect circles, rejecting spiral lines. So it comes to pass that whereas there are many things in nature, as it were, monodica and full of imparity: yet the conceits of men still feign and frame unto themselves relatives, parallels, and conjugates.
2. As the northern part of the earth was supposed to be a hemisphere, the southern part was conceived to assume the same form and plan.
3. That produce increases in arithmetic and population in a geometric ratio, however different the laws of their increase may be, is a position which seems to partake of this love of uniformity.
The mind is warped by a Love of Arrangement.
"1. Knowledge is uttered to men in a form, as if every thing were finished: for it is reduced into arts and methods which in their divisions do seem to include all that may be. And how weakly soever the parts are filled, yet they carry the shew and reason of a total; and thereby the writings of soine received authors go for the very act: whereas antiquity used to deliver the knowledge which the mind of man had gathered in observations, aphorisms, or short or dispersed
sentences or small tractates of some parts that they had diligently meditated and laboured; which did incite men both to ponder that which was invented and to add and supply further.
"2. Rawley, in his preface to the Sylva Sylvarum, says, I have heard his Lordship often say, that, if hee should have served the glory of his owne name, hee had beene better not to have published this Naturall History: For it may seeme an indigested heape of particulars, and cannot have that lustre, which bookes cast into methods have: But that he resolved to preferre the goode of men, and that which might best secure it, before any thing that might have relation to himselfe. I have heard his Lordship say also, that one great reason, why hee would not put these particulars into any exact method (though hee that looketh attentively into them shall finde that they have a secret order) was, because he conceived that other men would not thinke, that they could doe the like; and so goe on with a further collection; which if the method had beene exact, many would have despaired to attaine by imitation."
From these specimens it is hoped that the nature of this Idolatry, so deprecated by Bacon, may appear manifest.-We pass on to the next species, not without some apprehension, that we may ourselves be worshipping the idol arrangement, when we suggest that all these idols may possibly be traced either to love of truth, or to passions by which the love of truth is disturbed and that they may be thus exhibited.
1. By love of Truth.
2.By other Designs.
1. Hasty Assent.
2. Tenacity of Retention.
3. Strength of immediate Impression.
We are aware that, at first view, it may appear extraordinary that the love of truth should be considered as a cause of error and yet, from our impatience to possess this treasure, it seems that we are induced to accept counterfeits without due examination to preserve them as valuable coin and to be satisfied that all riches are of the same nature: it seems to induce us hastily to assent to be tenacious in retaining to generalize with precipitation and not to know where to stop.
Such is the nature of these idols, when separately consider
ed. When united, one idol may be moulded out of them all: assuming all forms, more properly speaking, all distinctions to which fallen man is liable: whose temples are universal, and worshippers every where. We speak of "Prejudice," of which it has been truly said, that it has the singular ability of accommodating itself to all the possible varieties of the human mind. Some passions and vices are but thinly scattered among mankind, and find only here and there a fitness of reception. But prejudice, like the spider, makes every where its home. It has neither taste or choice of place, and all that it requires is room. There is scarcely a situation, except fire and water, in which a spider will not live. So, let the mind be as naked as the walls of an empty and forsaken tenement, gloomy as a dungeon, or ornamented with the richest abilities of thinking, let it be hot, cold, dark, or light, lonely or inhabited, still prejudice, if undisturbed, will fill it with the cob-webs, and live like the spider, where there seems nothing to live on. If the one prepares her food by poisoning it to her palate and her use, the other does the same; and as several of our passions are strongly characterised by the animal world, prejudice may be denominated the spider of the mind. [To be concluded in our next.].
ART. X. The Iliads of Homer, Prince of Poets, never before in any language truly translated; with a Comment upon some of his chief places, done according to the Greek, by George Chapman. At London, printed for Nathaniel Butter, [N.D.]
The whole Works of Homer, Prince of Poets, in his Iliads and Odysses, translated according to the Greeke, by George Chapman. London, printed for Nathaniel Butter. Folio, 1616. Homer, his Iliads and Odysses translated, adorned with sculpture, and illustrated with annotations, by John Ogilby, Esq. Master of his Majestie's Revells in the Kingdom of Ireland. 2 vols. folio. London, printed for the Author, 1660-5.
Homer's Iliads, to which is added Homer's Oddysses, both in English, by Thomas Hobbes, of Malmsbury. London, 1684, 12mo. The Iliad of Homer, translated by Mr. Pope, 6 vols. folio. London, printed for Bernard Lintot, 1715.
The Odyssey of Homer, [by Alexander Pope,] 5 vols. folio. London, printed for Bernard Lintot, 1725.
The Iliad and Odyssey of Homer, translated into English Blank Verse, by W. Cowper, of the Inner Temple, Esq. 2 vols. 4to. London, 1791.
The inherent difficulties in translation are those attendant upon the difference of mental associations, habits, and manners between the nations who spoke the language of the original and those for whose benefit the translator is employed. The accidental difficulties are those which belong to the inferior power in the language of the translation, to its being ill adapted for the particular subject, or to its being formed on more or less different principles of construction from that in which the sentiments of the original are expressed. Another accidental difficulty, and one of more common occurrence in this useful and delightful art than is usually supposed, is, that wrong notions of the nature, and false estimates of the designs of the works to be translated, are frequently made by even enlightened authors, who consequently transfer their ideas in a spirit foreign from that which animated their first production. The more common obstacle which lies in the way of a good translation is the rare chance of meeting an individual with a similar turn of mind to that of the original author; with taste and genius to relish his beauties, and with industry and skill enough to complete with success a just transfer of his excellencies. All the difficulties which have been mentioned must naturally exist in greater force in translation from works written in a dead language, formerly spoken by people whose name alone remainsa mighty shadow indeed, but not such as we can ever form a close and intimate acquaintance with. Numberless associations and allusions, which in old times cast a living light of beauty over national poetry, must now in many cases have faded, and in many others become totally withered and sapless. Numberless expressions of thought, which then carried an air of dignity or tenderness with them, must now have lost all the flush and animation of life. Many, perhaps, mere phrases that fell upon the ear of the Greek with a spell and a power, have lost all their charm upon a modern listener. Many customs which formerly were considered decorous, and even dignified or delicate, have now become ludicrous; and when introduced in scenes of pathos or solemnity, strike the mind with no other ideas than those of ridicule and contempt. That in short which is termed the genius of a people, and which most of all shews itself in its poetry, grows with their growth, and is moulded into their shape, is confined within the same bounds, adapted to the same soil, and becomes unfitted to bear any other clime. It is a native plant, not to be removed; or if the care of a dexterous hand succeed in retaining its life in an alien land, but a frail and sickly existence is preserved, which it drags on deprived of most of its
former beauties, and enjoying none in their original vigour and perfection.
To the translator, who is himself a poet, and no other ought to attempt the translation of poetry, two modes suggest themselves of performing his task. The one of adhering closely to the language of the original, and thus presenting a faithful but faded copy of its various merits. The translator after this plan transfers sentence after sentence, image after image, as exactly as he is able, in the manner, style, and order of his author. He gives all the meaning which met the ear of the Greek or Roman, for instance; but does he give all that met the mind?— The other is a bolder task that of endeavouring with the materials of the original to build a poem, which shall have upon his countrymen a similar and equal effect with that which the original produced upon its natural auditors. This we do not hesitate to say is the best and only true method of translation. It is certainly a far more difficult task than the other, and requires powers of a much higher order; but the excellence of a translation so executed, would we think fully repay the difficulty and labour of the undertaking. The principal means which poetry uses in order to excite pleasure, is to rouse the slumbering imagination, by presenting before its vision attractive images, whether of the beautiful or the sublime. But how can this end be attained, when much of the materials of poetry, in their transfer from one language to another, is commonly stripped of all which made them interesting and attractive. When many of the objects which nearly made the staple of the poet's subject and illustration, though perfectly familiar to him and his readers, are probably totally unknown, or but dimly seen by the readers of the translation. Those ideas, which are images of the sublime and the beautiful in one country, are often either valueless or totally out of the experience of another; and it frequently happens, that that which the poet intended for the illustration and adorning of his meaning to his countrymen involves his sense in far greater obscurity to the foreigner.
These are reasons, perhaps, which may be thought to authorize greater liberties in translation than have ever yet been taken. It may however be alleged, on the contrary, that man and nature are the same all over the world, and that these are the genuine materials for the true poet. The assertion, however specious at first sight, is mixed with no small portion of error. The face of nature is very different in all countries; but this would have no considerable influence upon the question, if though the features of different countries were essentially unlike, yet they were not so unlike, but that they could be recognized and admired by the indwellers of another part of the earth. Such however is the variation, that that which is held beautiful in one quarter