Page images
PDF

Where the Giant of tyranny crushes mankind, Where he reigns,—and will soon reign alone, For wide and more wide o'er the sunbeaming zone, He stretches his hundred-fold arms, Despoiling, destroying its charms : Beneath his broad footstep the Ganges is dry, And the mountains recoil from the flash of his eye.

Thus the pestilent Upas, the hydra of trees, Its boughs o'er the wilderness spreads, And with livid contagion polluting the breeze Its mildewing influence sheds ; The birds on the wing, and the flowers in their beds, Are slain by its venomous breath, That darkens the noon-day with death, And pale ghosts of Travellers wander around, While their mouldering skeletons whiten the ground.

Ah why hath JE Hov AH, in forming the world, With the waters divided the land, His ramparts of rocks round the continent hurl’d, And cradled the deep in his hand 2 If man may transgress his eternal command, And leap o'er the bounds of his birth To ravage the uttermost carth. And violate nations and realms that - should be Distinct as the billows,yet one as the sca!

There are, gloomy GcEAN a brother- less clan, ‘Who traverse thy banishing waves, The poor disinherited outcasts of man, Whom Avarice coins into slaves ; From the homes of their kindred, their - forefathers' graves, Love, friendship, and conjugal bliss, They are dragg’d on the hoary abyss ; The shark hears their shrieks, and ascending to-day, Demands of the spoiler his share of the prey. Then joy to the tempest that whelms them beneath, And makes their destruction its sport But woe to the winds that propitiously breathe, And waft them in safety to port Where the vultures and vampires of Mammon resort ; ,

where Europe exultingly drains

Her cordials from Africa's veins :

Where the image of God is accounted as base,

And the image of Cresar set up in its place |

The hour is approaching, a terrible hour ! And Vengeance is bending her bow ; Already the clouds of the hurricanelour. And the rock-rending whirlwinds blow: Backrolls the huge Ocean,—Hell opens below ; The floods return headlong,-they sweep The slave-cultur'd lands to the deep ; In a * entomb’d in the horrible void, By their Maker Himself in his anger destroy'd.

Shall this be the fate of the cane-planted isles, More lovely than clouds in the west, When the sun o'er the ocean descending in smiles Sinks softly and sweetly to rest —NG !—Father of Mercy befriend the opprest ; , - . At the voice of thy gospel of peace May the sorrows of Africa cease ; And the slave and his master devoutly unite To walk in thy freedom, and dwell in thy light!"

As homeward my weary-wing’d Fancy
extends
Her star-lighted course thro’ the skies,
High over the mighty Atlantic ascends,
And turns upon Europe her eyes ;
Ah me ! what new prospects, new
horrours arise !
I see the war-tempested flood
All foamning, and Panting with blood :
The panick-struck Ocean in agony roars,
Rebounds from the battle, and flies to
his shores.

For BRIT ANN 1A is wielding her tri

dent to-day, Consuming her foes in her ire, And hurling her thunder with absolute

sway From her wave-ruling chariots of fire —She triumphs –the winds and the

waters conspire To spread her invincible name : The universe rings with her fame :

* Alluding to the glorious success of the Morai. Missionaries among the negroes in the W-ifloilos.

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]
[merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

Librum tuum legi & quan diligentissime potui annotavi, eximenda, arbitrarer. Nam ego dicere vero assuevi.

* commutanda, quie Weque ulli patientius

reprehenduntur, quam qui maxime laudari merentur-Pili NY.

--

ARTICLE 60.

.A new translation with notes, of : the third Satire of Juvenal. To which are added, miscellaneous foems, original and translatedNew-York, printed by S. Gould for Ezra Sargeant, 12mo, fift. 200. 1806.

This volume is introduced by a letter from a friend, who condemns the whole mass of American poetry in a manner, which gives us reason to expect, that the iranslator is to appear elevated far above the common herd, and to stand forth as the deliverer of the American Muse from that state of durance and abjection, in which she has so long remained. “The Conquest of Canaan, GreenfieldHill, McFingal, The Vision of Columbus, and The Progress of Genius,” are among the works which incur his censure. “These and others which might be cited, he remarks, lived very harmlessly, and suffered little injury ; they offended no one, and no person felt disposed to offer violence to them ; and as they lived peaceably, so they died quietly. Let us not therefore presume to trouble their repose.” “ The Power of Solitude” has not escaped our epistolary critick. But, however faulty the passage he has selected for his remarks, the reader will

not think his apprehension, lest he should appear somewhat “hypercritical,” altogether groundless. We could say something in praise of McFingal and the Vision of Columbus, were this the place to appear as their advocates. We could say much of the seculiar frofiriety of denouncing such performances in a preliminary epistle to one of the humbler satires of Juvenal, and some smaller poems, not more in bulk, than a few columns of an ordinary newspaper would afford. We could say still more of the modesty of the author in admitting this rude and indiscriminate attack upon his predecessors and superiours. But this modern Achilles is not residered altogether invulnerable by the waters of adulation, in which, through paternal (we presume) rather than parental tenderness, he has been faithfully immersed. Nor has this process given him that confidence in his own prowess which it seems designed to have afforded. He has generally. yielded the precedency to Mr.Gifford, and he has not been scrupulous in following his interpretations, and frequently borrowing his rhymes, and copying his verses with little variation of language. From a very cursory comparison of the two translations we have selected a few, out of numerous examples, to evince the correctness of our assertions.

[blocks in formation]
[blocks in formation]

No one will contend that these and numerous other resemblances of the same kind could be mere accidental coincidences. The same sentinent, circumscribed within the same limits, in similar language, and the same rhyming words, and admission even of the same peculiarities of expression, are sufficient proofs of our author's freedom with Mr. Gifford. There are other more trifling marks of imitation, on which we shall not dwell ; such as similar expletives, and exclamatory phrases in parallel passages ; as, ye Gods ! for Mr. G.'s heavens ! both equally unauthorised by Juvenal ; and a resemblance in a construction of the verses of the two authors in the translation of the same pasSages.

The author of the translation before us has ascribed no particular character to his work; and indeed it is difficult to ascertain it very exactly. He is seldom scrupulously faithful to Juvenal, and generally loses those finer parts, which make the very spice of satire. He would seem quite unaspiring in his views; for he firesumes not to enter the lists with Mr. Gifford. We cannot suspect him of such an intention. He is not sufficiently independent for a rival. He has a guide of whom he rarely loses sight ; for he generally follows where Gifford leads. His

apology for publishing is one,which we have heard before, but wish never to hear again. It is, that the production is American. By admitting such an apology as this, we should concede that every literary man among us writes for a very inferiour order of readers. We are of the number, who value a book according to its abstract merit ; and have too much pride to listen with patience to writers, who, in the style of our author, undervalue their countrymen so much, as to tell them, in effect, the specimens we give you from our literary mines will doubtless be esteemed precious by you, but in England they would be ranked among the baser metals. The republick of letters, as it has been termed, especially as including nations, speaking a common language, is one and indivisible. There is an universality in its laws, which no minor portion of it has a right to violate ; and it is absurd to affix different standards of good writing, where all have access to the same principles, and all are ultimately liable to be arraigned before the same tribunals. Without presuming to guess what freedom the unknown translator proposed to himself in his undertaking, we shall first select one or two passages in which we find more of our author, than of Juvenal. According to Juvenal, Umbritius, after satirizing several vices prevalent at Rome, which he detested, and with which he was not himself conversant, adds,

Sotis nunc diligitur, nisi conscius, et cui Jervens

AEstuat occultis animus, semperque tacendis 2 Ver. 49

. But whilst the great my zeal and service scorn, What virtues, say, the chosen friend adorn,

To whom they dare the secret soul reveal The holy league by mutual guilt they seal ; He shares the heart in these polluted times, Whose conscience pants with secret, nameless crimes. Ver. 75.

The simple inquiry is, who is now in favour, excefut the man whose breast is tormented with sccret crimes, which he never dares disclose 2 But our translator makes' the virtuous and voluntary exile

complain of the contempt, which

his zeal and services had met with, and talks of the holy league (of scoundrels) sealed by mutual guilt, &c.; all which freedom may answer very well for paraphrase, but is no property of a translation. Another selection which we make is the conclusion of a passage, which describes the venal state of Rome, and the universal power ef bribery in the purchase of favour and security.

Plena domus libis renalibus; accipe, et

istad Fermentum tibi habe ; prestare tributa clientes Cogimur, et cultis augere peculia servis. Ver. 187. The clients run and all their presents bear. 'Tis thus the fav 'rite swells his growing store,

Receiving still and asking still for more; For since these slaves alone the patron sway, This is a tax we all are forced to pay. - Ver. 270.

Without remarking upon the translator's neglect of the first part of the original here quoted, of which kind of neglect we shall cite some other examples presently, we cannot but notice the wonderful fermentation of the latter part of this passage in its progression into English. Far be it from us to question our author's skill in his (aboured commentary and subtle in

« PreviousContinue »