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Then be thy flight among the skies ;
On skylark's wing!
On skylark's wing !
LAMB'S TRANSLATION OF CATULLUS.
“Well, let me tell you,” said Gold- truth in the Doctor's version, that smith, “ when my tailor brought my makes it very pleasant to the English bloom-coloured coat he said, Sir, I reader; and to the scholar, the notes have a favour to beg of you. When are pregnant with great classical any body asks you who made your knowledge, and the expression of a clothes, be pleased to mention John plain and vigorous judgment. The Filby, at the Harrow, in Water Doctor does not catch many of those Lane.” “Why, Sir,” said Johnson, sweet, honied expressions, which are “that was because he knew the strange the charm of the love poems of Cacolour would attract crowds to gaze tullus ;-nor has he the general freeat it; and thus they might hear of dom, the soft grace, the curious felihim, and see how well he could make city of his original ; but he translates a coat even of so absurd a colour.” as nearly to the life as is, perhaps,
Mr. Lamb's Translation of Catul- possible, and often points out in the lus appears much to resemble the notes a beauty of thought or lanblossom coloured coat of Poor Gold- guage, which he cannot exactly hit smith. It comes forth with Mr. Da- in his translation. vison's name on the title page, and It seems to us a very lamentable the ingenious printer seems only de- thing that a dead poet cannot, like a sirous of showing how goodly a book live bishop, have some voice in his he can make out of the most inap- own Translation :-we are quite sure, propriate materials. The paper of that if such a power could have been the pretty book before us is as yellow attained, Mr. Lamb would not have and sleek as heart could wish ; the been permitted to traduce into Engtype and ink are an ode of them- lish some of the sweetest and most selves; the title page buds with natural poems in the Roman lanpromises; yet with all these, never, guage. He would have been enjoinin all our critical experience, has it ed to silence by the poet himselffallen to us to meet with so weak and and would certainly never have heard valueless a publication,-so miserable those flattering words, which, by a marriage of paper and ink. dint of ingenious prompting, he gets
Catullus has been nibbled at by the shade of Catullus to utter. Mr. many poets, but we know of no re- Lamb, indeed, appears to be a straightgular translation, except one publish- forward, pains-taking, sensible gened by Johnson, in 1795, and said to tleman, with a very fair stock of be the work of a Dr. Nott. There is prose ideas upon poetry; and it is considerable force, and unaffected not at all improbable, that lie relishes
* The poems of Caius Valerius Catullus translated, with a Preface and Nctes, by the Hon. George Lamb, 2 Vols. 12mo.-Murray, 1821.
the original version of Catullus, but Catullus in severe verses: “ a clean he catches none of its spirit and na- well pointed satire was his forte," ture,- none of its terseness and en- says the doctor; “ but we fear that chanting beauty of expression. Take, he more often used the bludgeon than for instance, that exquisite passage in the sword.” In the poetry of manly the Address to the Peninsula of friendship, and social kindliness, CaSirmio.
tullus was eminently happy; and Cum mens onus reponit, ac peregrino
here, as Mr. Lamb speaks to the Labore fessi venimus larem ad nostrum,
purpose, we will select what we Desideratoque acquiescimus lecto.
think the only good passage in the
preface. Mr. Lamb thus hammers out the lines :
There remain some poems to be spoken
of, not usually erected into a distinct class, Then when the mind its load lays down; but which may well justify such an ar. When we regain, all hazards past, rangement, namely, the poetry of friend.
And with long ceaseless travel tired, ship and affection. This is a strain in Our household god again our own; which only a genius originally pure, howAnd press in tranquiì sleep at last, ever polluted by the immorality of its era,
The well known bed, so oft desired ; could descant with appropriate sentiment; The fatigue of travel seems here to of love, while it refrains from its unreason
which speaks with all the kindly warmth ha passed into the very verse; for ing rage ; that adopts all its delicacy, withnever did poetry so tediously and
out any tinge of its grossness. In this tamely address itself “ unto our gen- style Catullus has written more in proportle senses."
tion, and more beautifully, than any au. Now, really we do think that a thor. The lines to Hortalus, the Epistle translation of Catullus should be to Manlius, to Calvus on the death of something beyond a spiritless para- Quintilia, and the Invocation at his brophrase, or a schoolboy version. The ther's grave, show how warmly his heart words should burn into English,- beat with this refined impulse. These are should flash into a new tongue, with only the more touching compositions of new light,--should be all full of life, this kind; on the other hand, in such -of graceful joy, and happy tender- poems as Acme and Septimius, and the ness! Mr. Lamb is a kind of resur
Epithalamium on the marriage of Manlius
and Julia, we behold with what pleasure rection man about Parnassus; he he witnessed, and with what zeal he celegoes about in the dark, digging up a brated the happiness of his friends. Sedead language, and exposing the re- veral are of a light and frolicsome characmains to sale ; but he does not, like ter, such as those to Fabullus, to Flavius, the celebrated sexton, that “ fortu, and to Camerius: still all of this class, tunate youth" of churchyards, find a however uninteresting the subject, breathe gem on the finger; hereminds us rather an engaging kindness of heart; and, howof Cobbett's bringing into England ever trivial the occasion, it is still ornaa negro's bones for those of his hero. mented by the poet's natural felicity of ex. If he were in the east, the inhabita pression ; which is, alas ! of all merits the ants would look upon him as a vam
one most likely to evaporate in translation. pire, from his fatal propensity to dedication to Cornelius Nepos, and that of
The heart-soothing address to Sirmio, the suck the life out of the fair, the ten- the Pinnace, and the lines to Himself on der, the beautiful! the muse feels the approach of Spring, speak those more the sickness of his eye, and pines placid feelings of content that, perhaps, give away under his sombre fascination. the most unalloyed happiness, and evince a
Catullus is of all poets perhaps the social and amiable disposition that harmohappiest, in expressing home feelings nizes well with warmer affections. naturally, and tender feelings ten- The preface of Mr. Lamb's work derly. A word with him, is contie is not ill-written, but it is liberally nually like a sweet note in music, taken from the Introduction to Dr. and thrills on the heart strings. His Nott's book, and not as liberally acconciseness is matchless,--and his re- knowledged. The life of the poet is petitions of melodious words are ever inwoven into this preliminary essay, the most pleasant and felicitous. Dr. and also relishes strongly of the DocNott, whom Mr. Lamb just quietly tor. Mr. Lamb quotes some obseralludes to as “ the prior English vations of Walsh, at the beginning translator,” speaks of the success of of his preface, which appear to us
extremely questionable: “I am sa- proceed to the interior, and taste the tisfied that Catullus, Tibullus, Pro- fruits he has provided for us. His pertius, and Ovid, were in love with prose and poetry are, however, so their mistresses, while they upbraid very much alike, that if you were to them, quarrel with them, threaten shake the whole out into sentences, them, and forswear them ; but I con- and mingle them together, it would fess I cannot believe Petrarch in love incapacitate the reader from knowing with his, when he writes conceits which was the real Simon Pure :upon her name, her gloves, and the you might take the Introduction, and place of her birth.” Mr. Lamb en- « cut it out in little stars" for private larges upon this profound assertion, poetical use ;-and ladies of fashion and never stops to 'enquire into its and gentle taste would find them'stick correctness. We do not ever ques- fiery indeed in the polite firmainents tion the love of Catullus for Lesbia; of their drawing rooms and arbours. but when the character of the lady The first poem is the Dedication to is recollected, there will remain small Cornelius Nepos (an old cune accause for wonder that he quarrelled quaintance of ours at School), and with her, threatened her, upbraided Mr, Lamb starts dolefully indeed her, and abjured her; the sister of My little volume is complete, the infamous Clodius, while she fas
With all the care, and polish neat, cinated the poet, gave him ample That make it fair to see ;room for disgust and rebuke. The love of Catullus was a sensual, sus
Where is the “ pumice expoliturn," picious passion; it was not the same
which is so characteristic of the manlove that was kindled in the heart of ners of the time? The “ fair to see Petrarch, and that never expired ! - is a poor recompence for this unroman that burned in his breast perpetually,
interpretation. The second piece, like the sacred light in the temple! which is the celebrated Address of Petrarch loved, and through his ima- Catullus to Lesbia's Sparrow, and gination. Love came to him in all begins so prettily in the originalits glory! he saw Laura, and he saw
“ Passer deliciæ meæ puellæ ”-fares her for ever! Time brightened her
no better in the hands of Mr. Lamb. image, and charmed all objects which Dear Sparrow, long my fair's delight, had the remotest connexion with, or Which in her breast to lay, reference to her. Whatever her eyes To give her finger to whose bite, shone upon, became, on the instant, Whose puny anger to excite, sacred to the mind of Petrarch;
She oft is wont in play. whatever her hand touched, was at We very much fear that the transonce changed to gold in his eyes! lator has intrusted the rendering of Her name was poetry to him—was a this little world of sweet thought-a paradise one of the upper servants in his
to the head butler, or for his ingenuity, to revel in. Her house ;-so very menially is it done glove was associated with herself; into English.
A waterman, in the and he saw the form which her hand leisure of a hard winter, would make had left. Her birth place too !-Is better lines on the bench at Westthe birth place of the lady of the minster-bridge. The last stanza is heart, a common-unmeaning - indif
as lively as the first :ferent spot of earth ?-Oh no!--Petrarch beheld in it the garden where- Thou wilt be welcome, as 'tis known in his magic flower grew, and his
Was to the nimble maid soul hallowed it!-Is Petrarch then The golden fruit that loosed the zone, to be doubted, because he felt thus Her virgin guard, and bade her own
warmth repaid. truly,—thus intensely? Is his love to be denied, because he did not revile Poor Atalanta !-run down a second the object of his deathless passion ? time! and by a Lamb too! Surely Walsh could never have loved, The Dedication of a Pinnace to or he would never have erred so Castor and Pollux, which has been coldly. Mr. Lamb might, indeed, often translated, is made equal to the have quoted a happier passage. worst of Mr. Lamb's translations. It
We shall not tarry longer at the has not even the merit of being threshold of Mr. Lamb's book, but « faithful," like Hamlet when his
wits were gone. In the original, the The conclusion of this poem, which Pinnace speaks; but Mr. Lamb “cuts in the original is very unpleasant to short all intermission," and speaks in our feelings, is most cleverly and its stead : and the boat, good sooth, justly managed. may think itself well off, and shake The Complaint to Cornificius, anits old planks with joy at the escape. other exquisite little poem, struck off The stanzas “ To Himself” are so at a leat, as it should seem, and as coldly and feebly given that we wish natural as the human heart, is “ much Mr. Lamb had kept them according abused” by the Catullus of Whiteto the prescription.
hall. All the fretful haste and meThe Address to the Peninsula of lancholy relapses are cut away withSirmio has none of the natural plea- out reinorse — the pruning hook sure of the original; and yet we the pruning hook !” but Puff's lopknow not where the fault lies, for it pings were nothing to those of the is not strongly marked with error :- unfortunate Roman. How plaintively Too bad for a blessing—too good for a
begins this piece in the original !
Male est, Cornifici, tuo Catullo; I would to the Lord you were better or Male est mehercule, et laboriose :
Magisque et magis, in dies et horas. Now, in a piece so famed for its Here the repetitions of melancholy perfect ease and tenderness as this is, words, of which we have before we should have expected the intelli- spoken, are exquisitely beautiful, gent and masterly translator to prove Dr. Nott says of this poem, in a note, his competency for the task he has “Our poet, in this charming little undertaken.—But in the most cele- carmen, upbraids his friend for his brated passages, and in the brightest neglect of him under some particular poems, Mr. Lamb sinks into tame- distress.” And, in his translation, he ness and indolence, and fairly baulks faintly catches the melody of the Laall expectation. When the rope is tin: tightest and most elastic, and the po- Hard, Cornificius, I declare, sition the most capable and attrac- Hard is the lot I'm doom'd to bear, tive, instead of bounding into the And every day, and every hour,” &c. air, and making himself “ the observed of all observers," Mr. Lamb
The celebrated poem of Acme and suddenly drops his pole, relaxes his Septimius is another iustance of Mr. muscles, and droops his foot to have
Lamb's deficiencies on great occasious. his sole chalked.--We should, how. In those matchless lines ever, give one poem which is very. Et dulcis pueri ebrios oculos,
At Acme leviter caput reflectens, pleasingly and melodiously turned; and we wish we could match this Illo purpureo ore suaviata,
Sic inquit with another.
Mr. Lamb takes his accustomed
sleep :On his Return from Spain.
Then Acme gently bent her head, Of all the many loved by me,
Kiss'd with those lips of cherry red,
The eyes of the delighted boy,
That swam with glistening floods of joy,
Where are the “ ebrios oculos,” the
eyes reeling with rapture? They are Thou’rt come. Oh blissful, blessed news!Thou'rt come, and I again
busy with “ floods of joy.” The Shall see and hear thee, in the way
caput reflectens,” too, cuts a sorry I loved in former time, pourtray
figure in English. The splendid towns, the mountain views,
The last poem in the first volume The tribes, and deeds of Spain.
is a mutilated translation of the EpiI warm shall press thee to my breast,
thalamium, written by Catullus, on Where fervent welcoines burn.
the marriage of Manlius and Julia ; What mortal, though he dare to think —and here a man must be cold and Of pleasure he may largely drink,
dull, indeed, if he be not occasionally Is half so joyful, or so blest,
inspired. Mr. Lamb is now and then As I in his return?
endurable in this picce; but he never
accomplishes the conciseness of Ca-'
ON His Own LOVE. tullus, by any chance. He spins out I hate and love ask why-I can't explain ; that short brilliant passage
I feel 'tis so, and feel its racking pain.
We have purposely delayed speakfaces
ing of the translation of that wild, Aureas quatiunt comas,
frantic, and magnificent poem, Atys, after this fashion :
until the last, because it is by far the
best piece in Mr. Lamb's book; and The torches high their brilliance rear, And richly shake, with glowing pride,
we wish, as Carlos sang to the DuTheir golden hair.
enna, to say something civil before we
part. The mad force, and solemn Why could he not say, “ The torches gloom, and terrific mystery of this shake their golden hair,” and say no strange poem will not be denied; and
He cannot, as the Irishman Mr. Lamb writes here as he writes would say, add to Catullus without no where else in the book. What taking from him.
can be more inspired, or terrible than But our limits warn us to close Mr. the poet's final ejaculation, after the Lamb's Catullus:—
we shall, there- dreary and fierce flight of Atys,fore, be very brief in our concluding Oh great! oh fearful goddess ! oh Cybele observations. The second volume is
divine ! better, because it is smaller. At page Oh goddess ! who hast placed on Dindy84 we meet with these two lines,
mus thy shrine ! which, like Adam and Eve, inhabit Far be from my abode thy sacred frenzy's their wire-wove Eden alone. In these lines, Mr. Lamb (to use the happy Madden more willing votaries, more daring phrase of a very eminent personage)
minds inspire. certainly flourishes in “ the full vi- There are several pages of useful gour of his incapacity."
notes appended to each volume.
REPORT OF MUSIC.
No. XVII. This month has yielded no novelty sentation, and particularly in those at the Opera-house, or the theatres, which frequently imply the most urif we except an attempt to introduce gent calls for action, the dramatis a new opera, called Dirce, which personæ can be permitted to stop, not was brought out at Drury-lane, for only to sing, but to pace the scene Miss Wilson's benefit, and the dia- during long symphonies: if the imalogue of which was conducted in re- gination, we say, can make allowance citative. We are glad to perceive for such absurdities, surely the one any attempt made to change the consistent notion of an entire action, jumble of music and dialogue, which expressed by music and poetry, with disgraces the English stage, to a bet- their conjoint influences and powers, ter style. Whether music be, or be may be more easily embraced. The not, a suitable vehicle for dramatic time will come, we are persuaded, incident, is not a question now to be when such an arrangement will be argued: the demand for operas has preferred ; but, at present, the ears settled that point. It remains for us of an English audience are not reconof this age, only to choose between a ciled to recitative, and poor Dirce mixed jargon of discourse and song, passed from life to death without disand a complete musical drama. Now tinction, and almost without notice. there arises to our minds no possible The King's Theatre continues its reason, why the more conversational career of success, though its musical parts of a performance should not be management does not exhibit that supported by music, as well as those vigor, which we know to have been which are held to be more strictly the characteristic of Mr. Ayrton's lyrical. At all events, it seems more former scheme of management. We consonant with common sense, that are sure, that neither is the engagethe singing should be continuous ra- ment of such singers as Signoras ther than interrupted; for if, in the Marinoni and Albert, though tempomost impassionate parts of the repre- rary, nor the exclusion of Signora