페이지 이미지

We now dismiss this subject, with no probability of our ever returning to it. Although the perusal of Xenophon might have made Scipio a hero, we have not the slightest intention of manufacturing jockeys by any effort of our pen; and yet we wish we had touched on these matters sooner. But why so? Is it that we would rather have been Livy, to have written on the grandeur of Rome, than 1'acitus, on its ill-fated decline ? It may be so ; for we are loth to chronicle, in any department, our country's dispraise; but we are not without the reflection, that we might have done something towards preventing the evils we have had to deplore, by exposing the manner in which they have accumulated and thriven. That there are objections to racing, we do not deny, as, indeed, there are to most of the sports which have been invented for the amusement of mankind, and few of which can gratify pure benevolence; but when honourably conducted, we consider the turf as not more objectionable than most others, and it has one advantage over


Proof hy hedging --B begins to hedge, by betting an even ll. on the first event, which A winning, he wins. On the subsequent event, B takes the odds, 3 to 2, which A winning, he also wins. Thus he receives 41., which pays the 4 to 1 he betted on A, losing both events.

Upon two several events, even betting on the one, and 7 to 4 in favour of A on the other; what odds may B lay against A winning both? The one, as before, is , and the other is represented by :

7 7
Then x ; and 22 - 7 = 15:

22 thus 15 to 7 is the odds.

Proof by hedging—The sum against which B laid his odds is 7; therefore he begins by laying 7l. on the first event; which, as A wins, he wins. On the next event, he lays 14 to 8, or twice 7 to twice 4, as per terms of question, which he also wins; making together 7 and 8 = 15, the odds he had laid with, and lost to A.

Upon the same two events, what odds may B bet A, that the latter does not losg both? Set down for the former , for the latter † ;

1 4 4

; and 22 – 4= 18;

11 22 therefore, 18 to 4 = 9 to 2 is the odds.

Proof by hedging-B bets first the sum to which he has laid his odds, namely 21., which he wins; and then, taking 7 to 4 on the second event, he wins 2 + 7 = 9, which pays the 91. he lost to A; and had more favourable odds been offered, B must have been a winner without risk of losing.

When three distinct events are pending, on the first of which the betting is even; on the second, 3 to 2 in favour of A, and the third 5 to 4 ; what odds should B lay A, that the latter does not name all the winners ? The first is expressed by }, the second hy is, and the third hy $.

1 3 5

2 5 9
hence the odds is 5 to 1.

Proof by hedging-B begins to hedge by betting an even 21., that A wins the first event; he then bets the odds on the next, viz., (3 to 2); 2=14 to 1. B also bets the odds on the third event, viz. (5 to 4):3= 24 to 2. Now A wins all three ; therefore, B wins 2 +1 +2 = 51, which pays what he lost to A. The odds that A did not lose these three events would be 41 to 4.


almost all now in any measure of fashionable repute :-it diffuses its pleasures far and wide. The owner of race-horses cannot gratify his passion for the turf, without affording delight to thousands upon thousands of the less fortunate of his countrymen. This is no trivial feature in the case, now that shooting divided between the lordly battue and the prowl of the poacher, and that fox-hunting is every day becoming more and more a piece of exclusive luxury, instead of furnishing the lord, the squire, and the yeoman, with a common recreation, and promoting mutual goodwill among all the inhabitants of the rural district.

Art. V. -The Inferno of Dante. Translated by Ichabod

Charles Wright, A.M. London. 8vo. 1833. WE have, on various occasions, expressed our high opinion of

the translation of the Divine Comedy executed in our own time by Mr. Cary. To say that it was on all points superior to èvery preceding English version of that extraordinary poem, would have been little praise : they had all been execrable—it was really excellent. Mr. Cary understood his author as well perhaps as any Englishman did at the period of his labours—and he gave us a transcript, almost always clear, generally vigorous, and in many passages indicative of warm poetical feeling in the mind of the interpreter. We speak of the substance of Dante :-of his peculiar manner, as distinct—as unlike any other-in many respects as nobly original as that of Homer or of Shakspeare—the version, masterly as it was, certainly conveyed, as a whole, no approach to a likeness. The measure alone in which Cary wrote rendered this almost impossible. The sweeping, long-drawn-out harmony of good English blank verse could reflect no livelier impression of the compact, terse, if we may so call it sculptural precision of Dante's terza rima, than Pope's heroic couplets of Homer's hexameters; and when Cary, in the desire to come closer to Dante, flung away the guiding echo of his Milton, he produced an effect positively disagreeable. Tercets, without the grace of cæsura, and the varieties of interlinked lines, in the absence of rhyme, are indeed unmelodious monsters.

The attempt to introduce the terza rima itself as an English measure, often unsuccessfully bazarded in our earlier times, has been repeated, since Mr. Cary published his book, by a great master of versification; but although Lord Byron seems to have thought very highly of the execution of his Prophecy of Dante and his translation of an Episode in the Inferno, the public taste has not in the main ratified his judgment. The Prophecy' has the air


[ocr errors]

of a translation, quite as much as the Francesca'-perhaps more

Its effect to the ear is stiff, hard, laboured--and we venture to say, it has been less read, and is now more nearly forgotten, than any other production of Lord Byron's mature years ever will be. After that failure, we think few will doubt that terza rima is essentially unfit for our adoption. We have indeed such a paucity of perfect rhymes in our language, and imperfect rhymes have now become so distasteful, so.offensive, that it may be doubted whether a serious poem of considerable length ought ever again to be attempted in any measure requiring a multiplicity of assonances-except indeed the noble Spenserian stanza, in the case of which there is a prescriptive privilege to employ occasionally archaic rhymes, together with what is even of greater importancea strain of amplification and redundancy such as would not now be tolerated in any other form of English versification. We speak of serious poetry-in ludicrous verse, the more jingle the betterthe search for the rhymes is pretty sure to multiply the jokes: indeed every one sees, in Don Juan, that nine times out of ten the rhyme suggested the thought-and all this is well; the bizarre, the grotesque, the incongruous, being excellent materials and instruments for the jester. It is true that Don Juan contains several fragments of pure high poetry, superior perhaps to anything in the rest of the author's writings ;-and that in these the demands of the verse have been met at no expense of beauty or of dignity: But we much doubt if any art could achieve a continuous grave poem, as long as the shortest canto of Don Juan, in English ottava rima, without leaving, ever and anon, a painful impression of unnecessary difficulties inefficiently encountered.

But will any hand ever execute a translation of any long poem, at once closely faithful and buoyantly energetic, in any English measure that requires rhyme at all? We suspect not: as yet certainly we have had no such example. The poet is he who feels more intensely than other men, and expresses his feelings more vividly: and great are the difficulties which the most skilful poet must overcome before he can succeed in presenting his feelings in rhyme, without dislocating them from the natural order in which they evolved themselves in his own mind—which order being disturbed, they lose, pro tanto, the power of com manding our sympathy. He can soar higher than we, but unless we can follow him through every winding of his flight, we lose our interest in him as a nobler self; we stare at, but do not feel with him; the link between us is gone. How hard then must be the task of re-presenting, not only in a new language, but amidst the fetters of jingle, the thoughts and feelings of another man, in their natural sequence of original development! We are not sure that the difficulty has ever been completely overcome, even in a fragment. The poet who grapples in this way with the conceptions of another poet, cuts the knot by recasting them in his own mind, and producing, as a translation, what is in fact a new poem of his own—little more than the key-note borrowed; such are the highest examples of rhymed poetical translation in our language,-Dryden's specimens from Lucretius and Juvenal; and such essentially is the Iliad of Pope. These great masters, if they cannot adhere to the order of images in the model before them, are capable of inventing another order equally natural as that, or nearly so; and the effect is infinitely more powerful and delightful than the closest transcript of all the materiel of the finest poem in the world, executed by one who, not being himself a master, or fixing his eye on closeness as the sine qua non, cannot, or does not, furnish any equivalent for that original arrangement which rhyme renders it all but impossible for him to preserve. The merely English reader will derive a much livelier notion of Juvenal's spirit from the daring rivalries of Dryden-or the majestic pathos of the 'Vanity of Human Wishes,' than from Mr. Gifford's happiest translations.


The original poet himself, in his attention to the mechanical details of versification, is but too apt to lose sight of the order in which his conceptions were really drawn out within his breast-(for no man thinks in verse- -least of all in rhyme); and hence the copious admixture of the false, which disturbs the impression of almost every poetical piece in the world—we are not afraid to say of every modern one of comprehensive dimensions. We know few studies so interesting and instructive as that of the various readings of a true poet-we mean the ascertained successive readings of the poet himself, not the syllable strife of commentators. How seldom do they fail to confirm the truth of Dr. Johnson's remark, that it is one of the hardest things in the world to alter the language of a passage without injuring the thought ; * a remark which ougbt to render us merciful critics indeed when we approach any fair specimen of poetical translation-of all other kinds of composition that in which the possible praise bears the smallest proportion to its inherent difficulty and labour.

The most cursory perusal of Mr. Wright's Inferno will satisfy every one that, had there been no Cary, this work would have been a valuable addition to the English library. But with erery disposition to encourage any gentleman in an elegant pursuit, it is our duty to ask, in how far, Cary’s volumes being

We recommend, especially, to the young lover of such researches, the comparison of some of Wordsworth's ballads, as originally published, with the late collective edition of that great author's miscellaneous poetry.

in every collection, it was worth Mr. Wright's while to undertake a new version of Dante? There are many poems of great merit, ancient and modern, which have never been interpreted to the mere English reader at all ; many more of which the only existing versions are miserably deficient in every respect. Under such circumstances, surely Dante could not be a judicious choice, unless the new translator felt himself qualified to surpass, to some very considerable extent, the effect of his predecessor's performance to convey at once a more exact impression of his author's meaning, and a livelier one of his manner. If Mr. Wright has succeeded in rendering Dante more accurately than Mr. Cary had done here and there, only by availing himself of certain recent commentaries on the original, of which Mr. Cary might have been expected to make use in preparing a new edition of his work ; if, with the exception of these detached passages, the later version is not a more faithful one--and if it does not, as a whole, wear an air more Duntesque without being less English, than the former—we shall be compelled, not to treat disrespectfully a well-meant and industrious effort, but to express our regret that the time and talents devoted to it had not found some unpreoccupied field — and to urge the propriety of suspending a labour which, if completed, could at best conduct to a secondary place.

We are bound to observe in limine that the version of Cary has been of infinite use to his successor ; Mr. Wright has taken from him not a few lines, and in innumerable instances he has obviously and incontestably drawn his words, not directly from the Italian fountainhead, but from the previous English (and manly English that is) of his predecessor. Cary has been in the main the Dante of Mr. Wright; and he has departed from him no. where, as far as we have been able to trace, to any good effect, unless when guided by Ugo Foscolo, or by Rossetti-of whose Commentary, indeed, he not seldom inlays fragments into his text; a liberty which had better been omitted.

No doubt, then, it is on his nearer approach to the air and manner of the Italian master, that the new interpreter rests bis claim to supplant Cary; and when we opened his book, we certainly did not doubt that the gigantic task of rendering Dante in the terza rima had now at all events been accomplished. But a very brief examination dismissed this dream. Mr. Wright's measure is the Dantesque one to the eye, but not to the ear. It is printed exactly like the Italian verse-but the writer has not grappled with the difficulties, and he has missed the chief grace, of the terza rima :-he has few triple rhymes at all--and none in the right places; and the subtle link by which Dante binds every section of his measure into the succeeding one is thus wholly lost.


« 이전계속 »