« ZurückWeiter »
With more in the same style. We might have given some better samples; but, unfortunately (as is sometimes the case in poems of more consequence), the best parts are the least intelligible. We know nothing of the author, and have not thought it worth our while to seek for information.
Is the Nightingale the Herald of Day, as well as the
Messenger of Spring?
No. IV.-[Concluded from No. LVIII.] My best acknowlegements are due to P.V. for his satisfactory references to Sir W. Ouseley's Travels and his Persian Miscel. lanies, on the subject of the Nightingale.
The following additional notices may be acceptable to him and the readers of the Classical Journal in general.
“ He, that should attempt a translation of this most artful composition (Strada's Contest of the Musician and Nightingale), • dum tentat discrimina tanta reddere,' would probably, like the Nightingale, find himself impar magnanimis ausis. The attempt, however, has been made. Without mentioning the miserable imitațion by Ambrose Philips, in his fifth Eclogue, there is in a little voluine, entitled Prolusiones Poetica, by the Rev. T. Bancroft, printed at Chester, 1788, a version of the Fidicinis et Philomelæ Certamen, which will please every reader of taste, who forbears to compare it with the original; and in the Poems of Pattison, the ingenious author of the Epistle of Abelard to Eloisa, is a fable, entitled The Nightingale and Shepherd, imitated from Strada. But these performances serve only to coll vince us that a perfect translation of that composition is a thing almost impossible.” Lord Woodhouselee's Essay on Translation, p. 349, 3d Ed.
An article on this subject of the Musician and the Nightingale will be found in Leigh Hunt's Essays, entitled Indicator.
That it is the male bird only, which sings, was well understood by the ancients. Eust. 395. Pavepòv de xai oro äppeves tértiyes άδουσιν, οί και άχέται (Ι. ήχέται) παρ' Ησιόδω ("Εργ. 580. και ήχέτα τέττιξ, Α. 393. κυανόπτερος ήχέτα τέττιξ) άφωνοι δε το των θηλειών eldos, oi xal toyósc (1. Titiyovid, see the New Gr. Thes. 307, n.) και διδασκαλία είη αν σιγής κοσμούσης γυναίκας, κατά το, Γύναι, γυναιξι κόσμον ή σιγή φέρει. Εις δε το αυτό συντελεί προς άλλους και το
Tüv braesãy endów dyedésVirgil, however, has on one occasion given the power of song to the female bird.
“ The poet compares the complaint of Orpheus to the wailing of a Nightingale, robbed of her young, in those well-known beautiful verses :
Qualis populea morens Philomela sub umbra,
Integrat, et meestis late loca questibus implet.
So, close in poplar shades, her children gone,
And melancholy music fills the plains. How poor is this translation when compared with its original! yet, on the whole, less censurable than the following version by a French poet of high reputation; Delille, Georg. de Virg. :
Telle sur un rameau durant la nuit obscure
Et qu'un léger duvet ne couvroit pas encore. It is evident that there is a complete evaporation of the beauties of the original in this translation; and the reason is, that the French poet has substituted sentiments for facts, and refinement for the simple pathetic. The Nightingale of Delille melts all nature with her complaint, accuses with her sighs the inhuman fowler, who glides his thievish band into her nest, and plunders the tender fruits, that were hatched by love! How different this sentimental foppery from the chaste simplicity of Virgil!” Lord Woodhouselee's Essay on Translation, p. 124.
The following additional testimonies to the fact that the Nightingale welcomes the approach of day were overlooked in the previous articles.
In the poem, entitled Philomela incerti Auctoris, and subjoined to Ovid's works, we read :
Dulcis amica, veni, noctis solatia præstans,
Inter aves etenim nulla tibi şimilis.
Mille potes varios ipsa referre modos.
Nam quamvis aliæ volucres inodulamina tentent;
Nulla potest modulis æquivalere tuis.
Tu cantare simul nocte dieque potes.
Had cheer'd the village with his song,
Cowper's Nightingale and Glow-worm. “ Desbillons, an author of very high merit among the modern Latin poets, who rivals, in his Fabulæ Æsopia, the naïveté of Phædrus, and who unites to that quality an elegance, tenderness, nd even dignity of composition, (in justification this praise, the reader is referred to the fable, entitled Philomela, Corvus, et Bubo,) has adopted many of the fables of La Fontaine; but, judiciously limiting himself to an imitation of the manner of his original, he never attempts to discharge the duty of a translator. If we compare his Belluæ pestilentia laborantes with its original, Les Animaux malades de la Peste, we shall have a just idea of perfect imitation, as distinguished from poetical translation.” Lord Woodhouselee, l. c. p. 343.
Philomela, Corous, et Bubo.
Ec deficere videtur, et medullitus
ON FABLES, AND THE EASTERN
All fables of antiquity had a connexion with the different mysteries, and originated in the obwo, or parabolical and allegorical representation of facts: hence Aphthonius observed, to ti od μύθος λόγος ψευδής, εικονίζων αλήθειαν, on which account Esop was called ó pulórosos. It is not an easy task to define the difference between allegory and fable : for instance, the principal points in Nathan's parable to David and in the disvos of the Prophets, such as Ezekiel's figurative chapter on Aholah and Aholibah, partake in a very great degree of the nature of both. We, however, detect the legitimate fable in the history of Jotham (Judges ix. 7 et sqq.), and of Joash (2 Chr. xxv. 18; 2 Kings xiv. 4). This was, doubtless, the most ancient way of popularly recommending truth, and was consequently adopted by Vishnu Sarma, Lokmán or Æsop; for as the love of fiction and legendary tales had always been cherished in the East, as it is to this day, it was natural to suppose, that the moralist would adapt this prevailing style to the higher purposes of instruction.
The existence of this class of writers may be traced to the days of Moses (Numb. xxi. 27); they were probably antecedent to him, having flourished from time immemorial in Chaldæą and Egypt. The most ancient collection of fables known is in the Pancha Tautra, and Hitopadésa of Vishnu Sarma ; from whence Pilpai's fables, the Kalila wa Dimna, Anvari Soheili, Ayari Danish, Tuti-námah, Humayún-námah, &c. are derived. The Hindus refer these apologues to the Nīti-Sastra, or Ethical class; and as early as the sixth century a translation of them was made by Anushirvan's chief physician, who was afterwards promoted to the rank of vizier :-in the 380th year of the Hejra, the Sultan Mahmud versified the collection. There is a considerable difference between these translations and the Sanskrit original, which might be reasonably expected ; because they were first translated into the Pablávi, from thence into the Arabic, and thus from one language into another, until they assumed the character rather of imitations than of translations ; aud in the course of these numerous versions, fables were added to the collection either by the translator or copyist, and some were omitted,
If such men as Lokman and Æsop ever lived, they were