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knows, or is working at, another language besides his own. Then translation from and into both languages, with all its marvellous secrets of comparative power, comes into play. Good pieces should be learned by heart, and then the sense translated into prose or verse, as the case may be, in the most forcible
This gives great command of words, as the translator has to turn over his stores and keep thinking over the different ways in which the idea can appear. The extraordinary flexibility of language is brought out; the first two lines, for example, in A. Smith's poem on Glasgow can be varied in diction or shape upwards of 5,000 times, and yet preserve the main thought on the whole well. This kind of thing is true of any passage. Then, again, the different power of clauses, substantival, adjectival, and adverbial, is discovered, and the practical identity of seemingly unlike phraseology. This leads to forming a correct judgment on the value of the various ways of expressing the same idea. And this, again, enables the reader to give a real decision on the merits of different languages, instead of merely guessing at it, as many celebrated writers have done, in a ludicrous way, according to their prejudices. And, not least on the list, the mistakes made in translation and retranslation, if a learner is in earnest, prove with painful but nevertheless amusing fidelity the amount of thought or non-thought expended on the work, and show too often what a very different thing sitting over a book can be from true work, and wear of breeches from use of head.
A number of passages are here given, translated out of Latin into English, and English into Latin, in order to show the identity of very different ways of expressing thought, and the manner in which thought clothes itself in shape according to the forms and habits of the language used. Those who are ignorant of Latin can pass over this part to page 62, and refer to the clause examples at the beginning of the Analysis at
The enemy laid an ambuscade in the woods because, as all the corn elsewhere had been cut, and this was the only place where any was left, they suspected that our troops would come there. Then they suddenly attacked them as they were scattered
about without arms and engaged in reaping, slew a few, and as the affair was confused, threw the rest into great disorder.
Nam, quod omni ex reliquis partibus demesso frumento pars una erat reliqua, suspicati hostes huc nostros venturos in silvis delituerant, tum dispersos depositis armis in metendo occupatos subito adorti, paucis interfectis, reliquos incertis ordinibus perturbaverant.'—Caesar.
"They told of the great things the Prince had done, showed samples of the commodities that came from the lands discovered by him, and spoke of the gains made by the Portuguese voyagers.'-Helps' America.
Quae praeclara peregisset Henricus, narrant, mercibus quidem nonnullis ante oculos expositis quae documento essent quibus rebus abundarent terrae ab illo repertae, exponunt etiam quantum fere lucrati essent Lusitani.
'In fine, Ca da Mosto saw the Prince, and was evidently much impressed by his noble bearing. He obtained his wishes, and being furnished with a caravel embarked his merchandize on it, and set off on a voyage of discovery.'-Helps' America.
Denique Caius Mostaeus Henricum adivit vehementerque quam prae se ferebat majestatem admiratus, voti compos, nactus navigium, impositisque mercibus, e portu si quid novi reperire posset profectus est.
"An intelligent man was on board giving us his own account of the voyage.'— Helps' America.
Vir prudentia praeditus, qui quid sibi naviganti accidisset ipse litteris mandaret, navem conscenderat.
“The rules of good composition require that there should be a principal action of the piece, and we had endeavoured to decide whether it would be more judicious and more just to give the preference to his brilliant talents, or to that stern, inflexible virtue that was inherent in his lofty mind.'—Napier's Letters.
Quum enim scribendi ratio aliquid proponi debere praeciperet, quo referenda esset omnis oratio, illud dijudicare conatus sum utrum prudentius veriusque videretur praestantissimum ejus ingenium prius tractare, an virtutem illam constantem atque incorruptam fidem quae penitus in animo ejus magno insidebat.
• The narrative of these Portuguese voyages is rather uninviting.'— Helps' America.
Insuavis fere recordatio quam de navigationibus suis Lusitani illi tradiderunt.
'Could we recall however the voyagers themselves, and listen to their story, we should find it animating enough.'— Helps' America.
Ipsos autem si accire possemus, et ab ipsis ea quae conspexissent audire, quanto nos ardore permoveret oratio.
“Then, too, besides the hopes and fears of each individual of the crew, the conjoint enterprize had in it a life to be lived and a career to be worked out.'—Helps' America.
Tum quidem praeter ea quae sibi quisque speraret aut timeret, omnibus una consociatis vita quaedam communis agenda erat, omnibus stadium jam ingressum una conficiendum.
Who does not know how very obscure a subject mathematicians, as they are called, are engaged on; and that it is a most abstruse science, and of the greatest range and exactness ?
'Quis ignorat ii qui mathematici vocantur quanta in obscuritate rerum, et quam recondita in arte et multiplici subtilique versentur?'—Cic.
What is so necessary as always to be equipped with arms, either for self-defence, or challenging wrong, or taking vengeance on insult ?
Quid autem tam necessarium quam tenere semper arma quibus vel tectus ipse esse possis, vel provocare improbos, vel te ulcisci lacessitus ?'
But in both kinds every debatable point raises a question either of fact, or of the nature of the fact, or even of its name, or, as some add, whether it is right or wrong.
'In utraque autem re quicquid in controversiam veniat in eo quaeri solere aut factumne sit, aut si est factum quale sit, aut etiam quo nomine vocetur, aut quod nonnulli addunt, rectene factum esse videatur.'-Cic.
He said he would easily bear to be surpassed in the advantages of nature or fortune, but not in anything which a man could get for himself.
Quae natura aut fortuna darentur hominibus, in iis rebus se vinci posse aequo animo pati; quae ipsi sibi homines parare possent, in iis rebus se pati vinci non posse.'—Cic.
For verbal definition is quite a different thing in discussing scientific subjects with learned men; as, for instance, in questions about the nature of science, of law, of communities.
Alia est enim cum inter doctos homines de iis ipsis rebus quae versantur in artibus disputatur, verborum definitio, ut cum quaeritur quid sit ars, quid sit lex, quid sit civitas.'—Cic.
What, he said, shall we let Caesar off, and not make him unfold the whole nature and origin of this kind of wit ?
Quid, igitur, inquit, patiemur Caesarem non explicare nobis totum genus hoc jocandi, quale sit et unde ducatur?'- Cic.
Put forth your opinions.
Not to keep you any longer, I will very shortly set before you my opinions on the whole subject. In raising a laugh there are five questions to be considered: first, its nature; secondly, its origin; thirdly, whether an orator ought to wish to raise it; fourthly, to what extent; fifthly, the various kinds of wit. And, first, as to the nature of laughter, and the way to excite it; its habitat, its existence, its sudden breaking out: these are questions for Democritus.
Ac ne diutius vos demorer, de omni isto genere quid sentiam perbreviter exponam. De risu quinque sunt quae quaerantur, unum quid sit, alterum unde sit, tertium sitne oratoris velle risum movere, quartum quatenus, quintum quae sint genera ridiculi. Atque illud primum, quid sit ipse risus, quo pacto concitetur, ubi sit, quomodo exsistat, atque ita repente erumpat, viderit Democritus.'—Cic.
Composition, however, is not the luxury of a few who can give time and labour to compare, criticise, and judge great writings. Composition belongs to all. For all talk, and every conversation, every sentence, is, as far as it goes, composition. It may fairly be said that every man who understands his subject, and is at ease, will on the whole talk well on it. No rules, as has been mentioned above, can give the material, the understanding the subject. But ease in expressing what is understood can be given by teaching. Where this ease seems to be natural, it arises from practice. Constant practice in talking on a subject makes the speaker able to bring it out in as true and complete a shape as he is capable of doing. He feels this ability, and therefore is at
Let the same man sit down to write instead of speak; he is frozen as soon as he takes pen in hand, for the same reason: he has had no practice. But teaching can do much in both these cases. It is ill having to find out the way for yourself in every forest you chance to be put in. But practice will do it in time. Teaching, however, which is the experience and practice of other men, and a compass, which is an old discovery, will do it better and more quickly. This is a thousandfold more true of the great world-wilderness of language. A true knowledge of how to work is the only royal road and short cut which saves time and labour.
Mere rote-work, and the speech of the uneducated man is this, is soon at fault, where a little k'nowledge makes a man at ease. Any one who talks is perpetually composing sentences. To compose sentences in an understanding way is within the power of everybody. Common grammar only means learning to put the machine, which is in hourly use, together by name and in order. Sentence-analysis proceeds a little further, and shows how the parts fit in, and the