« EdellinenJatka »
Who, like their parents, haunt the fields, and bring | Seeks the Sun's city, and his sacred church, Their honey-harvest home, and hope another And decently lays down his burthen in the porch, spring.
" A wonder more amazing would we find ? The warlike steed is multiply'd, we find, Th’hyena shows it, of a double kind, To wasps and hornets of the warrior kind. Varying the sexes in alternate years, Cut from a crab his crooked claws, and hide In one begets, and in another bears. The rest in earth, a scorpion thence will glide, The thin cameleon, fed with air, receives And shoot his sting, his tail in circles toss'd The colour of the thing to which he cleaves. Refers the limbs his backward father lost.
“ India, when conquer'd, on the conquering god And worms, that stretch on leaves their filthy loom, For planted vines the sharp-ey'd lynx bestow'd, Crawl from their bags and butterflies become. Whose urine, 'shed before it touches earth, Ev'n slime begets the frog's loquacious race: Congeals in air, and gives to gems their birth. Short of their feet at first, in little space
So coral, soft and white in ocean's bed, With arms and legs endued, long leaps they take, Comes harden'd up in air, and glows with red. Rais'd on their hinder part, and swim the lake, “ All changing specie: should my song recite, And waves repel: for Nature gives their kind, Before I ceas'd, would change the day to night. To that intent, a length of legs behind.
Nations and empires flourish and decay, “ The cubs of bears a living lump appear, By turns command, and in their turns obey; When whelp'd, and no determind figure wear. Time softens hardy people, time again The mother licks them into shape, and gives Hardens to war a soft, unwarlike train. As much of form as she herself receives.
Thus Troy, for ten long years, her foes withstood, “ The grubs from their sexangular abode And daily bleeding bore th' expense of blood : Crawl out unfinish'd, like the maggot's brood : Now for thick streets it shows an empty space, Trunks without limbs; till Time at leisure brings Or, only fill'd with tombs of her own perish'd race, The thighs they wanted, and their tardy wings. Herself becomes the sepulchre of what she was.
The bird who draws the car of Juno, vain Mycene, Sparta, Thebes of mighty fame, Of her crown'd head, and of her starry train;
Are vanishid out of substance into name, And he that bears th' artillery of Jove,
And Dardan Rome, that just begins to rise, The strong-pounc'd eagle, and the billing dove: On Tiber's banks, in time shall mate the skies; And all the feather'd kind, who could suppose Widening her bounds, and working on her way, (But that from sight, the surest sense, he knows) Ev'n now she meditates imperial sway: They from th' included yolk, not ambient white Yet this is change, but she by changing thrives, arose ?
Like moons new born, and in her cradle strives « There are who think the marrow of a man, To fill her infant horns; an hour shall come Which in the spine, while he was living, ran;
When the round world shall be contain'd in Rome. When dead, the pith corrupted, will become “For thus old saws foretel, and Helenus A snake, and hiss within the hollow tomb.
Anchises' drooping son enliven'd thus, “ All these receive their birth from other things; When Ilium now was in a sinking state, But from himself the phenix only springs :
And he was doubtful of his future fate : Self-born, begotten by the parent flame
O goddess-born, with thy hard fortune strive, In which he burn'd, another and the same: Troy never can be lost, and thou alive. Who not by corn or herbs his life sustains, Thy passage thou shalt free through fire and sword, But the sweet essence of amomum drains: And Troy in foreign lands shall be restor'd. And watches the rich gums Arabia bears,
In happier fields a rising town I see, While yet in tender dew they drop their tears. Greater than what e'er was, or is, or e'er shall be: He (his five centuries of life fulfill'd)
And Heaven yet owes the world a race deriv'd His nest on oaken boughs begins to build,
But from lulus he must draw his birth,
Whom Heaven will lend mankind on Earth to reign, (For softness strew'd beneath) his funeral bed is And late require the precious pledge again.' Funeral and bridal buth; and all around (reard: This Helenus to great Æneas told, The borders with corruptless myrrh are crown'd: Which I retain, e'er since in other mold On this incumbent; till etherial fame
My soul was cloth’d; and now rejoice to view Pirst catches, then consumes, the costly frame; My country's walls rebuilt, and Troy reviv'd Consumes him too, as on the pile he lies :
anew, He liv'd on odours, and in odours dies.
Rais'd by the fall: decreed by loss to gain; “ An infant phenix from the former springs, Enslav'd but to be free, and conquer'd but to reign. His father's heir, and from his tender wings
“ 'Tis time my hard-mouth'd coursers to control, Shakes off his parent dust, his method he pursues, Apt to run riot, and transgress the goal : And the same lease of life on the same terms And therefore I conclude, whatever lies
In earth, or Aits in air, or fills the skies, grown to manbood he begins his reign, All suffer change, and we, that are of soul And with stiff pinions can his flight sustain, And body mix'd, are members of the whole. He lightens of its load the tree that bore
Then when our sires, or grandsires shall forsake His father's royal sepulchre before,
The forms of men, and brutal figures take, And his own cradle: this with pious care
Thus hous'd, securely let their spirits rest, Plac'd on his back, he cuts the buxom air, Nor violate thy father in the beast,
Thy friend, thy brother, any of thy kin;
Free as in air, let birds on Earth remain, If none of these, yet there's a man within : Nor let insidious glue their wings constrain; O spare to make a Thyestean meal
Nor opening hounds the trembling stag affright, T'enclose his body, and his soul expel.
Nor purple feathers intercept his flight: “ Ill customs by degrees to habits rise,
Nor hooks conceal'd in baits for fish prepare, Ill habits soon become exalted vice:
Nor lines to heave them twinkling up in air. What more advance can mortals make in sin “ Take not away the life you cannot give : So near perfection, who with blood begin? For all things have an equal right to live. Deaf to the calf, that lies beneath the knife, Kill noxious creatures, where 'tis sin to sare; Looks up, and from her butcher begs her life: This only just prerogative we have : Deaf to the harmless kid, that, ere he dies, But nourish life with vegetable food, All methods to procure thy mercy tries,
And shun the sacrilegious taste of blood." And imitates in vain thy children's cries.
These precepts by the Samian sage were Where will be stop, who feeds with household taught, bread,
Which godlike Numa to the Sabines brought,
[death. O happy monarch, sent by Heaven to bless
And all the Muses o'er bis acts preside."
PREFACE CONCERNING OVID'S EPISTLES.
The life of Ovid being already written in our language before the translation of his Metamorphoses, I will not presume so far upon myself, to think I can add any thing to Mr. Sandys' undertaking. The English reader may there be satisfied, that he flourished in the reign of Augustus Cæsar; that he was extracted from an ancient family of Roman knights; that he was born to the inheritance of a splendid fortune; that he was designed to the study of the law, and had made considerable progress in it
, before he quitted that profession, for this of poetry, to which he was more naturally formed. The cause of his banishment is unknown; because he was himself unwilling further to provoke the emperor, by ascribing it to any other reason than what was pretended by Augustus, which was, the lasciviousness of his Elegies, and his Art of Love. It is true, they are not to be excused in the severity of manners, as being able to corrupt a larger empire, if there were any, than that of Rome : yet this may be said in behalf of Ovid, that no man has ever treated the passion of love with so much delicacy of thought and of expression, or searched into the nature of it more philosophically than he. And the emperor, who condemned him, had as little reason as another man to punish that fault with so much severity, if at least he were the author of a certain epigram, which is ascribed to him, relating to the first civil war betwixt himself and Marc Anthony the triumvir, which is more fulsome than any passage I have met with in our poet. To pass by the naked familiarity of his expressions to Horace, which are cited in that author's life, I need only mention one notorious act of his, in taking Livia to his bed, when she was not only married, but with child by her husband then living. But deeds, it seems, may be justified by arbitrary power, when words are questioned in a poet. There is another guess of the grammarians, as far from truth as the first from reason: they will have him banished for some favours which, they say, he received from Julia the daughter of Augustus, whom they think he celebrates under the name of Corinna in his Elegies : but he who will observe the verses, which are made to that mistress, may gather from the whole contexture of them, that Corinna was not a woman of the highest quality. If Julia were then married to Agrippa, why should our poet make his petition to Isis, for her safe delivery, and afterwards condole her miscarriage; which, for aught he knew, might be by her own husband? Or, indeed, how durst he be so bold to make the least discovery of such a crime, which was no less than capital, especially committed against a person of Agrippa's rank? Or, if it were before her marriage, he would sure have been more discreet, than to have published an accident which must have been fatal to them both. But what most confirms me against this opinion, is, that Ovid himself complains, that the true person of Corinna was found out by the fame of his verses to her: which, if it had been Julia, he durst not have owned; and, besides, an immediate punishment must have followed. He seems himself more truly to have touched at the cause of his exile in those
Cur aliquid vidi, cur noxia lumina feci ? &c. Namely, that he had either seen, or was conscious to somewhat, which had procured him his disgrace. But neither am I satisfied, that this was the incest of the emperor with his own daughter: for
Augustus was of a nature too vindictive, to have contented himself with so small á revenge, or so unsafe to himself, as that of simple banishment; but would certainly have secured his crimes from public notice, by the death of him who was witness to them. Neither have historians given us any sight into such an action of this emperor: nor would he (the greatest politician of his time), in all probability, have managed his crimes with so little secrecy, as not to shun the observation of any man. It seems more probable, that Ovid was either the confident of some other passion, or that he had stumbled by some inadvertency upon the privacies of Livia, and seen her in a bath: for the words
Sine veste Dianam
agree better with Livia, who had the fame of chastity, than with either of the Julias, who were both noted of incontinency. The first verses, which were made by him in his youth, and recited publicly according to the custom, were, as he himself assures us, to Corinna : his banishment happened not till the age of fifty: from which it may be deduced, with probability enough, that the love of Corinna did not occasion it: nay, he tells us plainly, that his offence was that of errour only, not of wickedness; and in the same paper of verses also, that the cause was notoriously known at Rome, though it be left so obscure to after-ages.
But to leave conjectures on a subject so uncertain, and to write somewhat more authentic of this poet: that he frequented the court of Augustus, and was well received in it, is most undoubted: all his poems bear the character of a court, and appear to be written, as the French call it, croalierement : add to this, that the titles of many of his Elegies, and more of his letters in his banishment, are ad. dressed to persons well known to us, even at this distance, to have been considerable in that court.
Nor was his acquaintance less with the famous poets of his age, thạn with the noble men and ladies, He tells you himself, in a particular account of his own life, that Macer, Horace, Tibullus, Propertius, and many others of them, were his familiar friends, and that some of them communicated their writings to him; but that he had only seen Virgil,
If the imitation of nature be the business of a poet, I know no author, who can justly be compared with ours, especially in the description of the passions. And, to prove this, I shall need no other judges than the generality of his readers: for, all passions being inborn with us, we are almost equally judges, when we are concerned in the representation of them. Now I will appeal to any man, who has read this poet, whether he finds not the natural emotion of the same passion in himself, which the poet describes in his feigned persons? His thoughts, which are the pictures and results of those passions, are generally such as naturally arise from those disorderly motions of our spirits. Yet, not to speak too partiality in his behalf, I will confess, that the copiousness of his wit was such, that he often writ too pointedly for his subject, and made bis persons speak more eloquently than the violence of their passion would admit: so that he is frequently witty out of season ; leaving the imitation of nature, and the cooler dictates of his judgment, for the false applause of fancy. Yet he seems to have found out this imperfection in his riper age: for why else should be complain, that his Metamorphoses was left unfinished ? Nothing sure can be added to the wit of that poem, or of the rest : but many things ought to have been retrenched; which, I suppose, would have been the business of his age, if his misfortunes had not come too fast upon him. But take him uncorrected, as he is transmitted to us, and it must be acknowledged, in spite of his Dutch friends the commentators, even of Julius Scaliger himself, that Seneca's censure will stand good against him;
Nescivit quod bene cessit relinquere ;
he never knew how to give over, when he had done well; but, continually varying the same sense an hundred ways, and taking up in another place what he had more than enough inculcated before, te sometimes cloys his readers instead of satisfying them; and gives occasion to his translators, who dare not cover him, to blush at the nakedness of their father. This then is the allay of Ovid's writings, which is sufficiently recompensed by his other excellencies: nay, this very fault is not without its beauties; for the most severe censure cannot but be pleased with the prodigality of his wit, though at the same time he could have wished that the master of it had been a better manager. Every thing which he does becomes him; and if sometimes he appears too gay, yet there is a secret gracefulness of youth, which accompanies his writings, though the staidness and sobriety of age be wanting. In the most material part, which is the conduct, it is certain that he seldom has miscarried : for if his Elegies be compared with those of Tibullus and Propertius, his contemporaries, it will be found, that
those poets seldom designed before they writ: and though the language of Tibullus be more polished, and the learning of Propertius, especially in his fourth book, more set out to ostentation ; yet their common practice was to look no further before them than the next line; whence it will inevitably follow, that they can drive to no certain point, but ramble from one subject to another, and conclude with somewhat which is not of a piece with their beginning:
Pupureus latè qui splendeat unus & alter
as Horace says: though the verses are golden, they are but patched into the garment. But our poet has always the goal in his eye, which directs him in his race; some beautiful design, which he first establishes, and then contrives the means which will naturally conduct him to his end. This will be evident to judicious readers in his Epistles, of which somewhat, at least in general, will be expected.
The title of them in our late editions is Epistolæ Heroidum, The Letters of the Heroines. But Heinsius has judged more truly, that the inscription of our author was barely, Epistles; which he concludes from his cited verses, where Ovid asserts this work as his own invention, and not borrowed from the Greeks, whom (as the masters of their learning) the Romans usually did imitate. "But it
appears not from their writings, that any of the Grecians ever touched upon this way, which our poet therefore justly has vindicated to himself. I quarrel not at the word Heroidum, because it is used by Ovid in his Art of Love :
Jupiter ad veteres supplex Heroidas ibat. But, surę, he could not be guilty of such an oversight, to call his work by the name of Heroines, when there are divers men, or heroes, as, namely, Paris, Leander, and Acontius, joined in it. Except Sabinus, who writ some answers to Ovid's Letters,
(Quam celer è toto rediit meus orbe Sabinus)
I remember not any of the Romans, who have treated on this subject; save only Propertius, and that but once, in his Epistle of Arethusa to Lycotas, which is written so near the style of Ovid, that it seems to be but an imitation; and therefore ought not to defraud our poet of the glory of his invention.
Concerning the Epistles, I shall content myself to observe these few particulars; first, that they are generally granted to be the most perfect pieces of Ovid, and that the style of them is tenderly passionate and courtly; two properties well agreeing with the persons, which were heroines and lovers. Yet, where the characters were lower, as in Oenone and Hero, he has kept close to nature, in drawing his images after a country life; though perhaps he has Romanized his Grecian dames too much, and made them speak, sometimes, as if they had been born in the city of Rome, and under the empire of Augustus. There seems to be no great variety in the particular subjects which he has chosen ; most of the Epistles being written from ladies who were forsaken by their lovers: which is the reason that many of the same thoughts come back upon us in divers letters: but of the general character of women, which is modesty, he has taken a most becoming care; for his amorous expressions go no further than virtue may allow, and therefore may be read, as he intended them, by matrons without a blush.
Thus much concerning the poet: it remains that I should say somewhat of poetical translations in general, and give my opinion, with submission to better judgments, which way of version seems to be
the most proper.
All translation, I suppose, may be reduced to these three heads.
First, that of metaphrase, or turning an author word by word, and line by line, from one language into another. Thus, or near this manner, was Horace's Art of Poetry translated by Ben Johnson. The second way is that of paraphrase, or translation with latitude, where the author is kept in view by the translator, so as never to be lost, but his words are not so strictly followed as his sense; and that too is admitted to be amplified, but not altered. Such is Mr. Waller's translation of Virgil's fourth Æneid. The third way is that of imitation, where the translator (if now he has not lost that name) assumes the liberty, not only to vary from the words and sense, but to forsake them both as he sees occasion; and, taking only some general hints from the original, to run division on the groundwork, as he pleases. Such is Mr. Cowlęy's practice in turning two odes of Pindar, and one of Horace, into English.