Page images
PDF
EPUB

carnal man. There are no longer merely some remains of heat buried in extreme cold; I mean, some motions of conscience, some instincts of natural religion, smothered under corruption and the passions; the soul is enflamed with the love of God. There every thing has taken its proper place; God has the supremacy, and the love of the creature is subordinate to the love of God; the affections are under due regulation, and every one of the virtues is at its post.'

Alien, pp. 194, 3.

This is a favourite way of writing with Superville, and he is sometimes very successfulin managing it; but as it is a highly artificial method of composition it requires great skill to avoid coldness and quaintness. Another attempt of a similar kind, in the same sermon, and which we shall next extract, appears to us a decided failure: it is certainly ingenious, but at the same time so excessively refined and far-fetched, so much out of the reach of common capacities, as completely to fail of producing its intended effect.

'The Saviour in these two different mysteries,' (Incarnation and Regeneration,) * may be compared to the sun united, if I may use the expression, with a cloud. When that luminary meets with a thick cloud, he sometimes sinks in it, is concealed and buried in such a manner that his light is almost absorbed. At another time, that same sun shining on a cloud dissipates its grosser parts, and so completely penetrates it, as to make it altogether luminous: and sometimes he even imprints his image upon it, forming a parhelion, another sun. This very much resembles what takes place in the incarnation and regeneration In the first of these adorable mysteries,'Jesus Christ was united with the cloud by hiding himself in it; He buried himself as it were in our nature, which he assumed with all its guiltless infirmities 5 and during the days of his flesh, the cloud veiledand covered apart of the splendour of our sun. But in our regeneration, Christ darts his rays upon us,—he penetrates us with his vivid lustre, in a manner which gloriously triumphs over all our darkness; he renders us so many parhelia; he imparts to us his image and character Hence we become, as it were, other men; for, " if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature."—Allen, pp. 180, 1.81.

These references may suffice as general specimens ofSuperville's ornamented style: the following two are of a different character. The first is from the sermon on 'The Use and 'Abuse of the Judgments'of God;' the second, from that on 'True Love to Jesus Christ.'

1 What then is to be done? Ah! at least, may the fear, the terror, of Godfs judgments, open your hearts; that they may be as the ploughshare which breaks up the earth, and which opens the furrows thereof, that you at last may become " God's husbandmen.'" But perhaps the evil is yet at too great a distance, to cause much fear. But who knows whether it has not approached nearer than we imagme? Must you stay till it arrives in the midst of you, and, till abandoned even by your near relations, you shall have only a few days longer to live, or rather a few moments to die in? When you see the avenger of blood with his drawn sword, standing in the way. like Balaam; then, at least, turn you from your evil ways, Will you say I am not able, or I am not willing to do it? Well then perish! Do not learn righteousness. March forth against the Almighty; brave his vengeance! Miserable men, who are but as " Thorns and "briers before the consuming Jire," repel force by force; imitate the wicked, " Who do not behold the majesty or the power of the Lord:'" But expect all the evils that his offended justice can make you feel, in this world, and in that which is to come! As for us, we shall be clear of your blood; and in deploring a loss which we cannot prevent} ** We will return to our God:" We will profit by his chastisement?, while he calls us to endure them!'—Reynolds, p. 360.

« The death of Jesus Christ had these four characters: it was a violent and painful, an ignominious and judicial, death. Our death to sin must have four similar characters. It is violent; it is something contrary to the natural inclination, and requires a powerful constraint. In the flower of youth, perhaps, in the mi'dst of pleasures, to abandon the delights of sin is to die in the bloom of life. This is a painful death. Think not, my brethren, that sin can gently expire in you, as by a natural death. Before its extermination you have much to suffer; you will experience dreadful agitations and sharp' conflicts; the heart will be lacerated, nature will groan, the passions will murmur; you will feel a real agony; you will find this separation as excruciating as that of the soul and body. This is not all $ if you regard the opinion of a corrupt world, if you fear the judgments of men, this death, like that of Christ, may be an object of contempt and aversion to the generality of mankind. If you are susceptible of false shame, they may deride and insult you, and endeavour to make you ashamed of your resolution to die to the world. Lastly, as the death of the Saviour was accompanied, not only with reproach, insult, and injury, on the part of those who crucified him; but likewise with a sense of condemnation, on the part of divine justice: so, when we die to sin, not only do we become contemptible in the eyes of the wicked; but in the moments of repentance, our consciences filled with a sense of the wrath of God make us hear and dread the condemnations of the law ; the portion of our souls is vinegar and gall; and amidst terrors, remorse, and awful impressions of the divine justice, we frequently exclaim, "My God, my God, why hast "thou forsaken me f" We may add, that as the death of Jesus Christ was a lingering one, so the mortification of the old man proceeds only by slow degrees. Would to God that it were more speedy! But at length it must be completed; this should be a fixed point with • us, "thus judging that if one died for all, then are all dead."' ,. Allen, pp. 321, 322.

Of the tvfo Translators, we much prefer Mr. Allen. Mr. Reynolds is somewhat too literal; he not only keeps close to the meaning of his Author, but he adheres too often to the style and idiom of the original, where a broader and more free manner of rendering would, in reality, be a fairer representation of the work. In one or two instances he has failed in correctness of translation; but we have no hesitation in referring this to occasional negligence, since the fidelity of the general transcript is such as to leave no doubt of his intimate acquaintance both with the language and the spirit of his author. We were 'somewhat at a loss, on reading the last sermon in Mr. R.'s volume, as to the name of a, celebrated 'Roman Doctor,' of whom we bad never heard before; one Cardinal Caiston: at length, however, we recognised him in our old familiar friend, Cardinal Cajetan.

A portrait of de Superville is prefixed to Mr. Allen's book. The execution is wretched, and the expression of character such, that we cannot persuade ourselves to put even the slightest confidence in the resemblance. .

Art. X. The Latin and Italian Poems of Milton. Translated into English Verse. By Jacob George Strutt. Author of Translations from Claudian. Post 8vo. Price 7s. 6d. pp. viii. 144. Conder. 1816.

A/TILTON'S Latin Poems, had they no other claim to be -*-" familiarized to the English reader, would still be highlyinteresting on account of the allusions which they contain to the circumstances of his early life, and they have accordinglyattracted the particular attention of his various biographers. They are among Milton's earliest productions, many of them being dated in his seventeenth or eighteenth year; and though composed in a language not often chosen by young gownsmen for the familiar expression of the sentimeuts of friendship and the emotions of poetry, appear to be in fact, more than any of his poems, the spontaneous effusion of his feelings. His choice of the classic language was, no doubt, the result of that enthusiastic attachment to Greek and Roman literature, which, it has been supposed, laid the foundation for his stern republican notions of civil polity; and he might even experience greater facility, as well as take more pleasure in the composition of Latin verse than of English rhyme, to which we know he could scarcely ever reconcile himself. Several of them are styled elegies; a term appropriate to them only on account of the verse which Milton has chosen, since they partake, with few exceptions, of none of those qualities which that designation conveys to an English reader. They consist for the most part of epistles, or of what we should term jeux d'esprit, did the stately march of pentameter and hexameter admit of so light a phrase being applied to them. The attempt to render them into English verse strikes us as peculiarly difficult, for in trying to give them the air of familiar versification, the character of the original must be sacrificed: yet in a closer version the style will often wear an appearance of most unnatural stiffness and a learned gravity. The fact is, that the very thoughts of the originals are as foreign as the language: artificial thoughts clothed in a dead language. Milton had as yet seen little of Nature, except in the road from Bread-street to Christ's College, Cambridge; all his poetical associations, therefore, were linked with classic poetry. On this his taste was formed, and its metaphors and mythological imagery became so naturalized to his fancy, that expressions, which to ordinary readers convey a very indistinct meaning, were doubtless connected in his mind with the most vivid ideas and natural feelings. The. use which is made of classic images and allusions in Paradise Lost, shews that to the imagination of Milton they were the most natural and elegant symbols of poetical thought; and that in the fables of antiquity he saw nothing but the philosophical beauty which is enveloped in what have become trite and vulgar fictions.

The present translation was undertaken under the influence, as it should seem, of an enthusiastical admiration of Milton, similar to what actuated Milton in regard to the classic poets of antiquity. Its Author was not aware of the existence of the translations by Cowper and Symmons. Several poems however appear in the present volume, which former translators have omitted, in particular the long poem on the Fifth of November. The translations are, as far as we have examined them, remarkably close and faithful, hut sometimes literal at the expense of the smoothness of the versification, or smooth at the expense of prosody. The Author has evidently attempted to preserve as nearly as possible the style and manner of the original. Dr. Symmons is all pomp; and Cowper is often too familiar. Who would, for instance, recognise Johannes Milton, in the following verses? They are from Cowper's version of the poem • on the 'Death of the Vice Chancellor, a Physician.'

'Learn ye nations of the earth,
'The condition of your birth,
'Now be taught your feeble state ! .
'Know that all must yield to fate!

'If the mournful rover, Death,

1 Say but once,—" resign your breath!"■

'Vainly of escape you dream,

1 You must pass the Stygian stream.

'Could the stoutest overcome
'Death's assault, and battle doom,
'Heroules had both withstood,
'Undiseased by Ness us' blood.'

Mx. Strutt's veraiw is, Twc-think, in a more appropriate style.

'O ye who dwell upon this pendant orb, Japetus' offspring; learn to obey the fates'

Unchangeable decrees;

And the dread sisters' will. « If Death, relentless, to dark Tsenarus Once call ye, weeping, hence; ah, no delay

Can fraud, or force obtain:

The Stygian shades are near.

'If mortal arm could fatal death repel, Stern Hercules, envenomed with the blood

Of Nessus, had not died

On the Thessalian hill; 'Nor, through Minerva's fraud, had Ilion mourn'd Her Hector slain; or, him, deplor'd by Jove,

Whom young Patroclus piere'd,

Arm'd with the Locrian steel.

4 If Hecat's potent art could hope to charm The unrelenting pow'r, Circe had liv'd;

And fell Medea still

Wav'd her subduing rod.

■ * Or, if the potency of herb or drug
Could baffle aught the three-fold deity,
Machaon had not fall'n
Beneath a hostile spear.

'Nor would the arrow dipt in viper's blood,
Have wounded thee, O Chiron; nor the shaft

Of angry Jove destroy'd

The Sage, Apollo's son.

* And thou, too, dearer to the healing god, Who here supreme rul'st o'er the gowned tribe;

O thou whom Helicon
And woody Cirrha mourn!

• Among us still presiding hadst remain'd, Enrcb'd with honours due; nor yet have pass'd

In Charon's shatter'd bark,
Hell's horrid gulph profound.

'But dire Persephone, with anger saw
How through thy potent art, numbers escap'd

Death's desolated courts;

And, cruel, snapt thy thread.

« O may thy sacred limbs securely rest Beneath the hallow'd turf, and o'er thy grave

The purple hyacinth

And early roses bloom.

1 May JEacus adjudge no doom severe, And Proserpine, relenting, deign a smile;

And to Elysium

Conduct thy blissful shade!' pp. 61—64.

« PreviousContinue »