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[OF Addison's translations Johnson says:-"His translations, so far as I have compared them, want the exactness of a scholar. That he understood his authors cannot be doubted: but his verses will not teach others to understand them, being too licentiously paraphrastical. They are, however, for the most part, smooth and easy; and what is the first excellence of a translator, such as may be read with pleasure by those who do not know the original." The same critic also remarks:-"In his Georgick he admits broken lines." Dryden's compliment has been accused of insincerity. After speaking of two poets who had put him to great labor by their superior merit:-"The most ingenious Mr. Addison, of Oxford, has also been as troublesome to me as the other two, and on the same account. After his bees my latter swarm is hardly worth the hiving."
These translations were made at Oxford, and published in Tonson's Miscellanies. A letter of Addison to Tonson without the date of the year, gives us the origin of the translations from Ovid. 'Your discussion with me about translating Ovid, made such an impression on me at my first coming down from London, that I ventured on the second book, which I turned at my leisure hours, and will give you a sight of it if you will give yourself the trouble of reading it.”—G.]
A TRANSLATION OF ALL
VIRGIL'S FOURTH GEORGICK,
EXCEPT THE STORY OF ARISTÆUS.
ETHERIAL Sweets shall next my muse engage,a
Join in the piece, to make the work divine.
First, for your bees a proper station find,
Nor frisking heifers bound about the place,
To spurn the dew-drops off, and bruise the rising grass:
* Etherial sweets. The following version, though it be exact enough, for the most part, and not inelegant, gives us but a faint idea of the original. It has the grace, but not the energy, of Virgil's manner. The late Translator of the Georgics* has succeeded much better. The versification (except only the bad rhymes) may be excused; for the frequent triplets and alexandrines (which Dryden's laziness, by the favour of his exuberant genius, had introduced) were esteemed, when this translation was made, not blemishes, but beauties.
* Mr. Nevile.
Nor must the lizard's painted brood appear,
Let purling streams, and fountains edg'd with moss,
Whether the neighbouring water stands or runs,
Tho' barks or plaited willows make your hive,
A narrow inlet to their cells contrive;
For colds congele and freeze the liquors up,
And, melted down with heat, the waxen buildings drop.
The bees, of both extremes alike afraid,
Their wax around the whistling crannies spread,
They oft, 'tis said, in dark retirements dwell,
Point all their chinky lodgings round with mud,
Nor rotten marshes send out streams of mire;
When th' under-world is seiz'd with cold and night,
The chrystal brook, and sip the running stream;
Born on the winds thro' distant tracts of air,
And view the winged cloud all blackning from afar
And sprinkle on their hives the fragrant juice.
If once two rival kings their right debate,