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things; thou alone ruleft the governments of all thefe; which he likewife affirms of Death in the fame words. And thus much for the duad.'
In the fame manner he proceeds through the remaining numbers, from the triad to the decad; and concludes his differtation by lamenting that, in an age fo barbarous as the present, the Commentary of Proclus on Plato's Cratylus, is not likely to be published: he comforts himself, however, with the hope that his own labours will in fome measure fupply its place, by opening the pure sources of genuine wifdom. To this end, he promifes copious and truly philofophic notes, which, together with the tranflation, we fhall now briefly confider.
Notwithstanding Mr. T.'s opinion, that the best effects are to be expected from tranflations of fuch works as contain the myfteries of ancient philofophy, we cannot help thinking that this poetical verfion of the Orphic Hymns is expofed to a manifeft dilemma. For fcholars, who can read them in the original Greek, will be difpofed to decline Mr. T.'s affiftance; and the mere English reader will either never peruse the work fo kindly provided for him, or perufe it, we fear, with an ungrateful smile. Grave though we be, our own risibility has been provoked, fometimes by the ftrange appearance which the compound epithets, fo natural to the Greek language, affume when literally tranf lated into English +; and sometimes by the wanton adoption of
* In the hymn to Love, Μῦν γὰρ τύτων παντων εἴηκα κρατύνεις. And in that to Death οἳ πάντων θνητῶν οἴηκα κρατύνεις.
+ Mr. Taylor was aware of this difficulty, though he feems to claim the merit of fubduing it. Indeed where languages differ fo much as the ancient and modern, the moft perfect method, perhaps, of transferring the philofophy from the one language to the other, is by a faithful and animated paraphrafe: faithful, with regard to retaining the sense of the author; and animated, with refpect to preferving the fire of the original; calling it forth when latent, and Such a one will every where endeaexpanding it when condenfed. vour to improve the light, and fathom the depth of his author; to elucidate what is obfcure, and to amplify what in modern language would be unintelligibly concife.
Thus most of the compound epithets of which the following Hymns chiefly confift, though very beautiful in the Greek language; yet when literally tranflated into ours, lofe all their propriety and force. In their native tongue, as in a prolific foil, they diffuse their fweets with full-blown elegance; but fhrink, like the fenfitive plant, at the touch of the verbal critic, or the clofe tranflator. He who would preferve their philofophical beauties, and exhibit them to thers in a different language, muft expand their elegance, by the fuperening and enlivening rays of the philofophic fire; and, by the powerful breath of genius, fcatter abroad their latent but copious fweets. If fome sparks of this celestial fire fhall appear to have animated the bofom of the translator, he will confider himself as well rewarded for his laborious undertaking.'
other expreffions equally awkward, and utterly unauthorised by the original. The epithets φιλενθεος, Φιλοςρος, and μανικος, are all tranflated fanatic, which word Mr. T. feems to have used in the fenfe of the Latin word from which it is derived. Fanaticus, we are well aware, means numine aftatus ; but fanatic, we apprehend, is never ufed in a good fenfe, by any author of repute *: Of the following paffages, our Tranflator seems to have totally miftaken the meaning:
Και Σεμέλην, Βακχε τε συνευάςηρας ἀπανίας
The Difpenfator vifible and known'— p. 143.
"O pow'r all-ruling, holy, honour'd light'—ibid.
Prophet of discourse'- p. 152.
Γυμναζεσα κόρη, φρικωδη θυμον εχεσα,
• Or if in Cyprus with thy mother fair -- p. 187.
• A itable confcience, and an upright mind; For men unjust by thee are undermin'd, Whofe fouls perverfe thy bondage ne'er defire, But more untam'd decline thy fcourges dire’-- p. 195. We must confefs, that we have too little tafte, or too little knowlege, to discover beauty, or even propriety, in Mr. T.'s tranflations of the following paffages:
Νύμφαι, θυγατέρες μεγαλήτορος Ωκεανοιδ
• Nymphs, who from Ocean's fiream derive your birth’— p. 181.
* See pages 131, 133, 148, 152, 155, 182, and 183, of Mr. T.'s
Ειρήνην, ύγίειαν αγών, ήδ' ολον αμέμφη
bafis of mankind'— p. 143.
P. 118. O mighty first-begotten, hear my pray'r,
155. l. 12. — • Bacchic King'
απροσμάχαν ευχος εχεσαν,
Τυμβιδίαν, πολυπλαγκτον, αοίδιμον ανθρωποισιν
• The mifty ftation of the air diffolve'-p. 218. 1 P. 186. avope, an epithet applied by the author of the Hymns to Venus, is weakly and vulgarly tranflated by Mr. T. to men inclin'd. The fame may be faid of avouepive, in p. 152,-' of care the loos'ner.'
As a favourable fpecimen, we tranferibe the following Hymn to Victory!
O powerful Victory, by men defir'd,
The general character of Mr. T.'s Notes is fuch as might be expected from the author of the differtation. The following may perhaps afford fome amusement to our Readers :
Rhea, according to the Orphic and Platonic thealogy, is one of the zoogonic or vivific principles of the univerfe; having a maternal rank among the univerfal paternal orders, i. e. between Saturn and Jupiter. Hence the calls forth the caufes latent in Saturn to the procreation of the univerfe; and definitely unfolds all the genera of the Gods. So that fhe is filled from Saturn, with an intelligible and prolific power, which the imparts to Jupiter the demiurgus of the univerfe; filling his effence with a vivific abundance. Since this Goddefs then is a medium between the two intellectual parents of the univerfe, Saturn and Jupiter, the former of which collects intellectual multitude into one, but the other fcatters and divides it: Hence fays Proclus, in Theol. Plat. p. 266. this Goddess produces in herself the demiurgic caufes of the univerfe; but imparts her dif futive power abundantly to fecondary natures. On this account
Plato affimilates her prolific abundance to the flowing of waters; fignifying nothing more by the word flowing, than that fontal power, by which he fingularly contains the divifible rivers of life. And, p. 267. Proclus informs us, that this Goddefs, according to Orpheus, when confidered as united to Saturn by the moft exalted part of her effence, is called Rhea but confidered as producing Jupiter, and, together with Jove, unfolding the univerfal and particular orders of the Gods, fhe is called Ceres.
The definition of memory in the note on page 214, we ferioufly recommend to the Oxford lexicographer; to whofe literary purfuits we wish fuccefs as much fuperior to that of poor Johnfon, as the confidence with which he fpeaks of his own labours convinces us that he merits- Memory, according to the Platonic philosophy, is that power, by which the foul is enabled to profer in fome future period, fome former energy and the energy of this power is reminifcence.'-We fhall clofe this article by tranfcribing a part of Mr. T.'s concluding note, in which he drops the character of the tranflator, the critic, and the philofopher, and affumes that of an orator, but with what fuccefs we leave to our Reader to determine:
You then,' fays he to the liberal and philofophical part of his readers, you then, as the votaries of truth, will, I doubt not, unite with me in moft earnest wishes, that every valuable work on the Platonic philofophy was well tranflated into our native tongue; that we might no longer be fubject to the toil of learning the ancient languages. The mischief, indeed, refulting from the study of words is almoft too apparent to need any illuftration: as the understanding is generally contracted, its vigour exhausted, and the genius fettered to verbal criticism, and grammatical trifles. Hence an opinion is gradually formed, that the Greek philofophy can alone be underflood in the Greek tongue: and thus the books containing the wifdom of antiquity, are for the most part depofited in the hands of men, incapable of comprehending their contents. While an opinion fo fordid prevails, amidft all our refinements in arts, and increafing mafs of experiments, we muft remain with refpect to philofophy in a ftate of barbarous ignorance. We may flourish, indeed, as a commercial people; and stretch the rod of empire over nations as yet unknown. The waters of Thames, heavy laden with the wealth of merchandize, and fonorous with the din of trade, may devolve abundance in a golden tide; but we must remember that the Dæmon of commerce is at the fame time advancing with giant ftrides, to trample on the moft liberal purfuits, and is preparing, with his extended favage arm, to crufh the votaries of truth, and depopulate the divine retreats of philofophy. Rife then, ye liberal few, and vindicate the dignity of ancient wisdom. Bring truth from her filent and facred concealments, and vigorously repel the growing empire of barbaric tafte; which bids fair to extinguifh the celeftial fire of philofophy in the frigid embraces of philology, and to bury the divine light of mind in the fordid gloom of fenfe. But if your labours fhould prove abortive; if the period is yet at a distance, when truth fhall once more eftablish her kingdom; when another ftream, like that of Iliffus,
fhall become tuneful with the mufic of philofophy; and other cities, like those of Athens and Alexandria, be filled with the facred haunts of philofophers: there yet remains an inheritance for the lovers of wifdom in the regions of intellect, those fortunate iflands of truth, where all is tranquil and ferene, beyond the power of chance and the reach of change. Let us then fly from hence, my friends, to thofe delightful realms: for there, while connected with body, we may find a retreat from the ftorms and tempefts of a corporeal life. Let us build for ourselves the raft of virtue, and departing from this region of fenfe, like Ulyffes from the charms of Calypfo, direct our courfe by the light of ideas, those bright intellectual ftars, through the dark ocean of a material nature, until we arrive at our father's land. For there having divested ourselves of the torn garments of mortality, as much as our union with body will permit, we may refume our natural appearance; and may each of us, at length, recover the ruined empire of his foul.'
ART. VI. Concerning the Beautiful: or, a paraphrased Translation from the Greek of Plotinus, Ennead I. Book VI. By Thomas Taylor. 8vo. 1s. 6d. Payne, &c. 1787.
FTER faying fo much (our Readers perhaps will think too much) of Mr. Taylor's translation of the Hymns of Orpheus, we need only add, that the prefent work feems dictated by the fame enthufiaftic admiration of the Platonic school. We have carefully compared it with the original, and cannot refuse our teftimony to its general fidelity, and our approbation of fome paffages, in which the fenfe of an author, whofe ftyle is harth, and whofe language is obfcure, is fkilfully preferved, in a paraphrafe, at once perfpicuous and fublime. This praise ought to convince Mr. Taylor, that we are neither infenfible to the real value of his author's work, nor blind to the merits of the tranflation. And yet, we cannot absolutely condemn the present age for beftowing on natural and experimental philofophy fome part of that attention which Mr. T. would confine exclufively to the writings of the later Platonifts. We have our doubts whether Plotinus were united four times by an ineffable energy to the Divi nity, though the Tranflator maintains that this will be credited by every one who has properly explored the profundity of his mind. There may be deflructive clefts and chinks in our fouls, introduced by their departure from the light of good, and their lapfe into corporeal nature; and we ferioufly regard the writings of Plotinus as the productions of a vigorous mind, and active imagination, employed in the contemplation of abftract ideas: and yet we have fome fcruples about fupplicating the irradiations of wisdom, and following him as our divine guide to the beatific vifion of the beautiful itself. Indeed, we cannot forbear laughing at the fingularity of the following address, though the irritability of our rifible muscles