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detailed account of the retributive operations of Pollock and Nott, terminating with the restoration of Dost Mahomed, and the declaration by Lord Ellenborough, on the 1st October 1842, of the utter failure of the policy enunciated by Lord Auckland on the 1st October 1838. And thus, after an expenditure of thousands of lives, and millions of money, we sent back the man we had forcibly removed, with the bitter memory of his wrongs upon him to make him our enemy, when we might have made him our friend, in the first instance, at very little cost of money, and none at all of life; and thus one Governor-General publicly reversed the policy of his predecessor, writing his proclamation, by a singular and signal coincidence, in the same room at Simlah from which the manifesto of the war had been issued exactly four years before!
The work to which we are indebted for a comprehensive chronicle of this war, is a valuable contribution to Indian history. The details are full, accurate, and impartial; and are entitled to additional confidence from the authentic and hitherto unexplored sources drawn upon in the relation of them. Mr. Kaye belongs to no party, and the fearlessness with which he traces the policy of the Government and the conduct of individuals, exhibits an independence of all influences highly creditable to his integrity and his courage. The period embraced in this war was peculiarly open to unconscious predilections. Of the two Governors-General who presided over the affairs of India during the occupation of Afghanistan, one was a Whig and the other was a Tory; but it is impossible from the perusal of these volumes to determine with which party Mr. Kaye's political sympathies are bound up.
It is written with ability and sound judgment, developing an intimate acquaintance with the interior of the country and the life of the people. Its appearance at this moment is pecaliarly opportune. Herat is again threatened by rival claims and Persian intrigues; while, if the German journals may be relied upon, we are menaced by a renewal of Russian interference in that quarter. Central Asia is likely to become once more the scene of dynastic revolutions and foreign invasion, in which Dost Mahomed will take a prominent part, having already, it is said, placed his son Hydu Khan (who is strengthened in his title to the throne of Herat by his marriage with the widow of his brother Akbar Khan, a daughter of Yar Mahomed) at the head of a large army, for the purpose of descending upon Herat by the route of Balk. If these rumours be well founded, and there is no reason to doubt them, Mr. Kaye's history will be a horn-book for our political and military servants in that distracted region.
Translations from the Classics : Æschylus.
ART. IX.-1. The Tragedies of Æschylus. Literally translated
by THEODORE ALOIS BUCKLEY, B.A., of Christ Church,
Oxford. London, 1849. 2. The Lyrical Dramas of Æschylus, from the Greek. Trans
lated into English Verse by JOHN STUART BLACKIE, Professor of Latin Literature in Marischal College, Aberdeen. 2 vols. London, 1850.
That every civilized modern nation ought to possess a complete series of translations of all the Greek and Latin Classics, is an assertion that will be universally admitted. Whether the English language may not already be in possession of something professedly equivalent to such a complete series of translations, our knowledge of what has been done in this department since the commencement of our literature, does not permit us to affirm; we can unhesitatingly say, however, that no such series of translations from the classical writers as ought to exist in the English language, does exist in it. A large proportion of what our literary men and scholars have done in this way has been irrecoverably vitiated by the false method according to which it was done —that method, namely, of loose and elegant paraphrase, in lieu of accurate and literal rendering, which was so prevalent among English translators during the whole of the last and the early part of the present century, and of which Pope's version of the Iliad is the most splendid example. All translations executed according to this method are, we hold, to be simply discarded to be treated as if, in their character as translations, they did not exist. They may be read for their independent merits, if people choose; but they ought not to be counted in any catalogue that may be drawn up to exhibit what amount of Greek and Roman literature has been really translated into English. And were this subtraction made from the list of our professed translations from the Classics-were no translations counted but those executed, however imperfectly, on right principles—we are convinced that the blank would be very large.
Now, this blank ought, most decidedly, to be filled up; and that as soon as possible. As far as one could hope, by any declaration beforehand of what is desirable, to determine the labours of our literary practitioners in a given direction, one would be disposed to say to them, “Give us, as soon as possible, a good and complete series of translations of the classic nasterpieces; we will dispense with as much else as may be necessary, till you have provided us with that.” It is to our literary practitioners, we say, that we would address this demand; for this is
precisely one of those cases which shew how convenient it would be to have part (not the whole) of the literary faculty of the country organized and maintained after some fashion or other in the public service. Certain exercises of mind, certain species of Íiterary effort, indeed, there are, which never can and never will be submitted to any such system of control-compatible as they are only with the immense resolve, the unshared inspiration, or the golden whim of the individual; and however the State may deal with these in the way of honour and reward after they are accomplished, it certainly cannot deal with them as contractor and paymaster. But, on the other hand, it cannot be denied that, at the present day, when there is so much respectable talent and so much practised literary skill actually lost in the country for want of proper work, it might be advantageous to employ scholars and authors collectively in certain departments of professional exertion under public auspices, even though this should have to be done in the face of an objection that we were thereby introducing an Erastian taint into literature. Besides the making of dictionaries, and the compilation of blue-books and state-papers on contemporaneous subjects of social interest, the business of translating from the dead or from foreign languages is one of the most obvious departments in which such a plan would be, to some extent, applicable. Translation, indeed, as we shall have yet to remark, may, in some cases, rise into the rank of an art requiring genius ; on the whole, however, the kind of translation of which we are at present speaking is quite within the range of the accomplished literary practitioner. Nor in the demand we make, that part of the scholarly and literary faculty of the country should be rendered compulsorily available for the purpose of translation from the classical languages, including the Oriental, do we ask anything which our existing academic apparatus might not very easily be made to supply. The country has a right to look to Oxford and Cambridge for the filling up of that blank in our literature to which we have alluded--a complete and trustworthy translation, suitable for the popular English reader, of all the works that the genius and learning of antiquity have bequeathed to us. We are not of those who complain that Oxford and Cambridge are doing nothing for their living; nor are we ignorant how much individual scholars of these Universities have done in that very branch of literary service of which we are making mention ; we see no grounds for concluding, however, that the Universities, as such, have done all in this department that might be expected from them, or that, without the slightest detriment to those more erudite exercises of hermeneusis and exegesis by which their scholars have been accustomed to prepare the text of the Classic Rule of Literal Exactness.
authors for the more exact appreciation of other scholars, they might not also be made compulsorily to take part in the better and greater work of putting the treasures of these authors systematically within the reach of the mass of Englishmen. Considering what materials there already are in the shape of existing translations more or less perfect, it would not be difficult for Oxford and Cambridge soon to present us with all that could be desired in this respect. Probably the thing could be effected by some simple arrangement, according to which contributions to a complete English version of the Classics should be exacted in return for University preferments; and, if so, care should certainly be taken to include the Oriental authors in the arrangement, so that our notorious deficiencies in regard to them might also have a chance of being gradually supplied.
And with what kind of translations is it that, under such an arrangement, the ordinary scholarship of Oxford and Cambridge, or the similarly educated talent throughout the country, might be fairly expected to provide us? With this, surely, at the least,—good literal prose translations of all the Greek and Latin Classics, accompanied with such illustrative notes as would make the text thoroughly intelligible to the careful English reader. The prime and essential characteristic of such translations ought to be rigid and punctilious literality. Not the slightest deviation from the ipsissima verba of the original text ought, by rule, to be permitted. We cannot too strongly insist upon this. To us what are called free translations are an abomination. Socalled “freedom” of translation we regard as, in most cases, proceeding from nothing else than a defect of conscientiousness, a weakness of moral principle. As to report a man's words exactly as he uttered them indicates strictness of conscience as well as strength of memory; so to render a passage from a foreign or classical author with a rigorous reproduction of every term and particle employed, indicates sound moral habit as well as a command of vocables. All schools where the art of translating the Classics is not taught on literal principles, whatever else may be superadded for the sake of easy exercise in the vernacular, are seminaries of inaccuracy and a life-long laxness of mind to the pupil. The character even of a nation may be judged from its translations. The superior conscientiousness, for example, of the Germans over the French appears in nothing more conspicuously than in the superior closeness of their translations from other languages. Literal exactness, therefore, word for word fidelity to the original text, ought to be the first condition of such prose translations from the Classics as we are now speaking of. All attempts to escape this, all pretensions about giving the “ spirit” of the original, but not the exact words, we would treat as dishonest subterfuges. There is no security that we see for giving the spirit of the original, unless by giving an exact version of the words. Some exception may, indeed, be allowed in respect of occasional passages, where a too close rendering of the words of a classic author would unnecessarily offend against established moral proprieties; but this exception is one the limits of which are sufficiently defined by the nature of the case. The other reason so frequently alleged as an excuse for free translations, namely, the peculiar genius of the English language, is one for which we would make no allowance. To reconcile closeness to the original with a due regard for whatever is established in the vernacular idiom, is simply the translator's difficulty; which if he cannot overcome, he is not fit to be a translator. A translation, we hold, may be literally exact and yet be good English; the burthen of fulfilling both conditions is what the translator undertakes; if he fails in either, he must bear the blame; but if we are to let him off one of the conditions at all, it should certainly be the second rather than the first. If the genius of the English language will not permit of a literal translation of any piece of classical composition, then, if that piece of classical composition is to be translated at all, the genius of the English language must just submit to the strain. For, after all, is not a certain quaintness and foreign aspect of speech one of the characteristics essential and proper to a translationrepresenting to the reader, as it were, in a form so palpable that he must notice it, the difference between the mode of thinking of his own country or time, and the mode of thinking of the country or time which he is trying to study? It is in accordance with this, at least, that the difficulty of executing a translation that shall be at once close and idiomatic increases as we go back from the contemporary foreign to the dead languages. It is more easy by far to translate a passage from a French or a German author literally, and yet into good English, than it is to perform the same feat with a passage from the Latin or the Greek.
But ought we to be content with good literal prose translations of the classical masterpieces, edited and illustrated as we have supposed ? This is what the ordinary scholarship and literary talent of the country can undoubtedly supply us with; and this, in any case, we ought certainly to have; but ought we to rest here? We do not think so. A great deal more may be done to popularize the Classics than this; and the work of popularizing the Classics is, as a whole, sufficiently high and laudable to justify the expenditure of a greater quantity of modern labour upon it than this would amount to. Both as regards matter and form there are many of the compositions of Greece and