Grub-Street Journal (Newspaper) - September 17, 1730, London, Middlesex
The Grub-ftreet Journal. NuMi 37 C&urtfiap, set.tember i7, 1730. . Stat contra ratio, &f fecretam garrit in aurem, Neliceatfacere id, auod qitis-viliabit agendo, Perfc The following Letter coming from a learned Correfpon-dent, I could not forbear talcing the firft opportunity of printing it : tho' I mutt own; I entirely differ from my Friend's opinion. I cannot but think that thefc Profe Tranflations ought by all means to be encouraged, as the moft probable way of reducing the moft Parnaf-fian Authors to the profoundeil Grubbifm. Bavius. Bavius, HERE is a fort of Books now a days, that I can't account for, nor fee the ufe � of them. I mean Tranflations of Greek and Latin Poets into Engli/b Profe. The humour fpreads, and we have had Sophocles, Horace, Perftus, and others very lately, not only in englijb, but in proje. I fliould not believe there could poffibly exift fuch auk-ward wrong-headed fcholars, if I had 'em not before my eyes. Perhaps as 'tis now the fafhion for us to imitate and follow the Trench whitherfoevcr they have a mind to lead us, fo in this matter alfo we are treading their footfteps. They have translated, I believe, all the Greek and Latin Poets into french profe. Poor Milton him-felf has not efcaped their hands. Is it not agreed \>y all readers, that 'tis not fo much the noble thoughts and fine fentiments, which arc better fought for in Philofophers and Moralifts, as the fonorous numbers, the (mart and magnificent diction that make a Poet valuable? What then do thefe people mean by tranflating a fine Poet into mean creeping profe ? They debafe and btxrlefque him without doubt. Let any man read an act ia the'new Sophedes* and he will immediately cry out, Is this the famous Sophocles ! What abominable fluff is here ! And yet I am told, that Mr. Theobald has a tranflation of even JEfchylus himfelf, whether in profe or verfe I don't know, ready for the prefs.; not deterr'd by the ill fuccefs his Arijlophanes had, and although he has people's money in his pocket for his Emendations of Shakefpear. But I ought to add indeed, that I hear he-intends to give us the text of. Shakefpear as well as notes, as foon as he can bring matters to bear ; a work his very enemies will, I believe, allow him to. be capable of. A great deal might be faid to fhew the abfolute unpro-fitablenefs and abfurdity of tranflating Poets into Profe j but I think there's no manner of occafion for it: and yet they find buyers, particularly Dr. Dunfter's Horace, of which I fee a fourth Edition. Becaufe I had a mind to write to you upon this fubject, I dipp'd firft into the Horace, then the Perfius. Hor. Ep. Lib. i, 12. laft verfe aurea fruges Italiae pleno defundit copia cornu is thus tranflated, we have here in Italy a very plentiful barveft. This isfermoni propiora with a vengeance. That fine line, Quem fcis immunm Cinarae placuuTe rapaci. The covetous Cinara entertained me gratis. Romse nutriri mihi contigit, atque doceri, Iratus Graiis quantum nocuiffet Achilles / was educated at Rome, where I read Homer's Iliads. Does this movere bilem or jocum, or both; as Horace fays of the Imitatores fervum pecus ? But the Tranflator of Perfius is more diverting. I will Write down a few lines, from which the motto is taken, with his verfion. Difce: fed ira cadat nafo, rugofaque farina, Dum veteres avias tibi de pulmone revello. Non Pnetoris erat fluids dare tenuia rerum OfHcia, atque ufum rapids permittere vita;. Sambucam citius caloni aptaveris alto. Stat contra ratio, & fecretam garrit in aurem, Ne liceat facere id, quod quis vitiabit agendo. Publica lex hominum, naturaque continet hoc fas, Ut teneat vetitos infeitia debilis actus. Perf. Sat. 5, 91. Behold the tranflation ; c Oh, learn ; but be not dng^y, nei-* ther laugh wr jeeryv/hm 1pull away old wife's tales ' from your heart. It was not in the Prastor's power to * inflill fublime thoughts into filly Ideots, or make them ' fquare their lives by the rule of reafon---no; you c fhali fooner teach a foldier's boy to play on the dulcimer. ' Reafon contradict?, and fecretly whifpers him in the ear, ' (whom ? thefoldierj boy?J that he mould not ftrivc to ' do that which even any one fha.ll fpoil in attempting to ' effect it. The publick law of man and nature compre-' hends this folid right, that they deny weak inept igno-' ranee the* privilege to try forbidden things. O ! hominem infelicem Jludiorum I Befides the vile paltry language of this tranflation, a fchool boy would defcrve to be whipp'd for conftruing it fo ; and yet the Editor fays 'tis for the ufe of fchools. Perfius for the ufe of fchools f an author the moft unfit for fchools of any now extant in any language. He might as well have tranflated Lyc-ophron for 'em. But, Sir, there's another thing which deferves your animadverfion ; that is, Tranflations of profe authors into verfe. This indeed, is not fo common, nor fo abfurd. I have by me Epidtetus in Latin verfe, and a great part of the Bible. Nonnus, a Chriftian Poet about Theodofius's time, turned the Gofpel of John, which is writ with all the plainnefs and fimplicity imaginable, into extravagant bombaft, worfe if poffible than his own Dionyfiacs. We have had the hiftory of the wrorld in Hexameter and Pentameter by a Dr. in Divinity, and the Englifh Hiftory in Doggrel, and may poffibly in a little time fee' Tillotfon's Sermons in Heroics for the ufe of fchools; with full as much reafon as we have Horace's fermones in profe- But what frightens me moft is j I am told a certain Gentleman has put Thucydides into englifh verfe: and becaufe that noble Author writes fhort and clofe, he d- jns to lengthen him out into 24 Books, juft as many as Homer's I lias has', for, he fays, he can make a whole Book of one of Pericles's fpeeches. For this laborious work he expect great encouragement, ana a numerous iubfeription, at z guineas ; half to be paid atfubferibing. This puts me in mind of what I heard one fay the other day, that furely Terence would be much more read and admired if he was done well into Heroic verfe; that Iambics and Trochaics were crabbed and unharmonious, little underftood or tailed, notwithllanding the labours of Bifhop Hare or Mailer Bentley. Thefe things, Mr. Bavius, deferve your cenfure and correction. Yours, B. T. , The following Letter was received juft after the publication of our 34th Journal. SIR, AS your laft Letter, being an Extract from the Hifto-rical--Memoirs of Dr. Clarke, concludes, with Sir Ifaac Newton's obfervation relating to Dr. Bentlefs and Bifhop Hare's fighting about a Play-Book, (which fays Mr. Whifton, very juftly, is a Reproach upon them, their holy Religion, and holy function, plainly intolerable:) In Juftice both to Sir Ifaac Newton and Mr. Whifton, your next Journal fhould find a Place for the inebfed Seffion of Criticks. It is the Performance of the late ingenious Mr. William Pattifon of Sidney Coll. Camb. who fent a Copy of it to Sir Ifaac, which might probably occafion that great Man's Remark above-mentioned. I hope you will not reject it, becaufe the Author was not a Member of your Society ; he was, it mull be con-feffed, a Parnaffian ; and, almoft, the only modern Author . inrolled in the Dunciad. He died of the fmall-pox in the 21ft year of his Age : his Poetical Works are printed in twoiolumes, octavo, but this Seffion, &c. was never yet made public. I am, Sir, yours, &c. Philomusus. A S E S SIO N of the Cambridge Criticks. OLD Zoilas, the fou reft Dame Critic e bore, The pedantic, dull Spawn of a Billingfgate Whore, Was lately by Momtis deputed to fettle, Who fhould wear the long-fcolded-for Chaplet of Nettle. 2. Down he flew to Trin. Coll. and the Library fought, To be near his own B - - was ever his thought; With a fnarl of Difdain left the Chappel behind him, For That was a Place where he ne'er hop'd to find him. With his Chaps full of Worm-wood he mounted his Throne Of Worm-eaten Parchments, illegible grown ; A tough Crab-tree Cudgel for a Sceptre he waves* And halloos, Heus, horfum, adefle ye fLves. 4- B- firft was expected, but did not appear* For h'ad order'd his Delegate Frog to declare, That, to work up Dean H-, was his prefent employ, And he vow'd he'd ne'er mix with the fcrub U xoaaoi. From his Garret, where long he had rufted, came down Toby T-by cock-fure that the Prize was his own ; Crying Zoons where's tins B- ? I'.'i give him no Quarter, And held up the Preface of his fam'^ Juftin A* v.- 6. His Difciples came next. Caleb feared at the L' ' As he thought of Tom I r � m ran away in a u j'lti An Embryo Claudian was T--'s pretence, Which alas I prov'd abortive for want of the Pence. 7- The Cenfor view'd Toby with a fmile of Applaufe, And was almoft inclin'd to have granted his Caufe i But bad him retire to his fnarling Vocation, He'd infure him the Nettle for the next Dedication. 8. But as for Friend / r - m, he only was fif To coax his Preceptor and cry up his Wit j And fince Caleb to Publifh was not very forward, Let him Drink his Subfcription with R--/ and H-d. 9- With his Guts and his Rufticks, roll'd in Jerry N-d-m, And wav'd for the Prize, but the Judge wou'd not heed him i With dry thinking old Fumbler ne'er puzzle thy Brains, Go fpunge with the Ninnies of Bennet and Queen's. 10. The M-of ^-n\ with his Coach full'of Tully, Came into the Court, and endeavour'd to bully, Crying Vve no occafion to preach up my Merit, Tm a hopeful young Lad-you have i?---'s Word for it. 11. Friend John, quoth the Judge, thou'ft no fhare in the Matter, To much Dullnefs, a Critic fhould add fome Ill-nature ; In thy Tail and thy Notes, we like Impotence find, For a Critic and Husband thou ne'er waft defign'd. 12. Tom 5- next bullied to prefer his Petition, But was jollied afide by the Stamford-?\\y&chn. In his Hand He the Text of Euripides brought, . Piping hot from the Prefs, but the Notes were forgot. '3- He's defir'd by the Court, he'd not trouble their Patience* Paracelfus and Zoilus were never Relations ; So off brufh'd the Critic to his Pills and his Boxes, From patching up Authors, to curing of Poxes. 14. -/ Harts, and cries look ye here, UpH- Une nouvelle Traduclion dat cut down Dacier; For de Metre let B-and H-fight and quarrel, De Frenchman, begar, Sir, muft fhow you de Moral. ^ . , What moral, you Dog, cry'd the Court in a Per, Did ever a Critic turn Moralift yet ? O'er vanquifh'd Librarians we challenge our Praife, Let Laney write Morals, or the Matter of Keys ? 16. With that they untrufs'd the bold Critic of Paris, And gave him the Nettle, but over his bare Arfe : The fmart of the Difcipline dampt his Pretenfions, And he fcour'd Lack to Whisk with his Cully Pebren-fians f- At length the Vice Can: vvim his three Pfeudo Squires Stalks in, and the Caufe of the Tumult enquires; For Men of the Gown fuch Deportment's not fitting? j Nor find I % Statute for any fuch meeting.