Page images
PDF
EPUB

is rendered

• Who grieve for thee, my mother,

More than for any other.' It should be

'Who mourn thy fate, O mother,

Before that of another '(viz. of Turnus). We have yet to mention that Mr. Shadwell further lays to the charge of a translator in English terza rima the use, in addition to 'padding,' of inversions and complications of grammatical structure, and of archaic and uncouth expressions not justified by the original. But so far as inversions and complications are concerned, compare such passages of his own as the following:

• That both my eyes and breast
So sorely had distressed.'
My going stayed it not.'
Who within us believes

Soul upon soul there lives.'
"Its spur that never gives

Except where pity lives.'
• That flame abroad which shed

A thousand lights hath fed.'
• Yea, blest are they whose soul
Shall comfort all control.'

Not seldom we come upon an inversion which might easily have been avoided. Take as an instance:

"Next on my fancy high descended,' where 'high' agrees with 'fancy,' and is in awkward juxtaposition with descended. The line might have run correctly and smoothly as

"On my high fancy next descended.' As to archaic expressions, we find him using such words as 'mesny,''empery,''tressure,' 'forthdid,' and 'fordone.

Our previous extracts furnish ample proof of his use of expressions which, if not uncouth, are certainly not justified by the original ; but we must specify two more here. The first of these is the translation of Salve Regina' in Canto vii. 82: ‘Hail Queen and Mother'; the second that of Canto xiii. 50-1 :

Udi gridar : Maria, ora per noi,
Gridar : Michele, e Pietro, e tutti i santi.'

“We heard them cry, as we drew near,
“Pray for us Mary, Mother dear,

Michael and Peter pray,

· And Saints in Heaven alway."'. In the last passage the short couplet is also a perversion of the sense of the original.

We must be permitted one more comment, and it is this. Although it is but fair that some licence in rhyme should be conceded to a translator, there is less excuse for laxity in that respect when two, not three, lines only have to rhyme. And we think that Mr. Shadwell presumes somewhat on his readers' forbearance, when he makes 'top' rhyme indiscriminately with 'up,' 'slope,' and 'hope ;' climb' with him ;' 'folk' with 'rock;' sight' with 'relit ;' 'none' with 'possession ;' 'gazed' with 'displeased ;''were'with artificer;' hills with ‘Marseilles ; ''soul’with 'foul ;''weigh' with impalpability.' We might cite many more sạch rhymes. There are, moreover, frequent passages in which a false rhyme might have been avoided by the exercise of a little care ; e.g. if in the translation of Canto ii. 67-8,

“The souls to whom my breath did give

Warning that I was yet alive,' “as yet did live' had been substituted for the last three words.

But we must conclude. In going most carefully, and more than once, through Mr. Shadwell's volume, the thought has constantly occurred to us

*Forma non s' accorda Molte fiate alla intenzion dell'arte,

Perch'a risponder la materia è sorda.' We admire the. art which has enabled Mr. Shadwell to acquit himself so well as he has with such unpromising materials; while we regret that he should have used them. But so true is it (to invert one of Dante's own similes) that not every wax is good, although the seal be good,'' that we cannot but feel that he has tried in vain to imprint himself worthily upon a subject matter which will not take the impression. In his choice of metre he has wandered from the right way upon a track less crooked and bewildering than that trodden by Boyd, but yet one which leads no whither. In the interest alike of the transcendent original Poem and of our own vulgaris eloquentia,' we have been constrained to make an emphatic protest against this attempt to couple the one with an

1 See Purg. xviii. 38, 39.

vain to im good,'' that hat 'not e

incongruous form of the other. We trust that our noble English language may be saved from the repetition of any such experiment. Give us, say we, the translations of the past, if this be the literal translation of the future.

ART. X.-THE PROSPECTS OF THE IRISH

CHURCH UNDER HOME RULE.

1. A Bill to Amend the Provision for the Government of

Ireland, 1893. 2. Report of the Representative Body of the Church of Ireland

for 1892.

The general character of this Bill is in the hands of every British statesman to weigh and to criticize, under the penalties of party failure and the more awful responsibilities which the patriot with a conscience must feel. To our part it belongs to consider the measure in its relation to the Church of Ireland. We desire to perform our task in no narrow spirit; and it ought to be possible for us to do so. For on the one hand that Church is united in the closest of bonds with our own Church of England ; while on the other its course of action has been in many points, and even in its general direction, so little to our taste that our apprehensions for its future are not the offspring of indiscriminate admiration of its present. Ucalegon has not been the least troublesome of neighbours; but it would indeed be an extreme of animosity to view the fire in his house without emotion.

Although the political clauses of the Bill are beyond our province, yet the nature of the wrongs it is intended to correct and the spirit it tends to evoke are the very things which churchmen above all must understand. Let it then be well grasped that the question in hand is nothing less and nothing other than the rehabilitation of a race.

The distinctions of race have so long ceased to enter into English political contests that many may forget their power and importance. As we look back upon the primary settlements of history and on those prehistoric movements which are the basis of history, we find that race is everything. Even still it is capable of energies which no other distinction can evoke. In the latest contests between England and France the interests of commerce and of class, the sympathies of industrial union, and the antipathies of trade rivalry, were

small incentives in comparison to the competition of a race with its ancient foe. We all know that in this particular the fire still burns after the peace of three-quarters of a century. And if, which may God forbid, a war should again arise, the old motive is capable of springing up in the body of each nation with more than its ancient power.

Within a nation like England, where society has been fused, the competition of races is no longer observable. Perhaps it is still secretly at work. The Abbé Sieyès at the beginning of the French revolution published a pamphlet of great celebrity called Qu'est-ce que le Tiers-Etat, in which he unveiled under the persons of the noblesse and the people the historic forms of the Frank and the Gallo-Roman. Perhaps under our contests the antipathies of Saxon and Norman may still work unknown. But if so they are hidden sources of disease not worth attention in comparison to the immediate causes, such as the distribution of wealth and power, the relations of capital and labour, and the numerous other questions which agitate our social system.

Many of these interests are of such a kind that in nature men must feel them. They exist in Ireland as elsewhere, and the great question of the poverty of the poor is never asleep in that land. But race is there behind every form of rivalry and discontent. It embitters every recollection of military defeat and political oppression, and every experience of social difference. Religious controversies add virulence to the war of races; but even if we could imagine the religion of all parties the same, the race difference would still exist. Before the Reformation the religion of both was the same, but the race distinctions were as marked and as fruitful of enmity as now.

Therefore, if we desire to estimate the evils which Home Rule is intended to cure we must go back as far as the Norman conquest of Ireland under Henry II. It was the natural sequence of the Norman conquest of England a century before. The conquering race displayed the same strong qualities in the one case as in the other; the same tyranny, cruelty, courage, and the same Roman tendencies in religion. The difference between the two Norman conquests, which made a success of the one and a failure of the other, did not lie in any greater gentleness of the treatment which the Saxon received above the Celt. Quite the reverse. Although we must doubtless allow something for the peculiar persistence of Celtic character, yet the great point was that Ireland was never as thoroughly conquered as England had been. Abundance

was effected to destroy Celtic civilization and to fill the natives with hatred of their conquerors, but not enough to amalgamate or to train them.

This was the hopeless failure four centuries oid which the Reformation came to aggravate. The wars of religion in Europe were so virulent as to split asunder nations of the same blood ; what effect would they have in Ireland upon races already divided. The English settlements in Ireland became hostile garrisons, and the Cromwellian conquests bore a special character of high-handed contempt which taught a lesson both of fear and hatred which could not be forgotten. It is impossible to read the Cromwellian records without a horror of their insensibility to native rights. Man cannot dispossess the beasts of the field of their haunts with less sense of injustice than the Puritan displayed for the Celt.

It is carefully to be noted that the alienation of the immigrants from the original possessors was not a bad habit which they learnt in the country. On the contrary, the peculiar attractiveness and charm of the native character, in spite of all its drawbacks, had a proverbial power of drawing the stern Englishman into its likeness. The Statute of Kilkenny in pre-Reformation times is a record of the repugnance with 'which the Government viewed any such movement of conciliation.

It was uniformly the case that strong and turbulent men, the enfants perdus of great English movements, were transported to Ireland before they had found their level in the greater society. In Ireland they formed an advance guard occupying a dangerous post. As often happens, their danger kept them extreme. They represented in an exaggerated form the spirit which was the spirit of England when they left it, just as some of the peculiarities of the Irish accent are really old English pronunciations retained. And for England to abandon them now would be a traitorous act. They have not succeeded in gaining the native Irish ; a sad and humiliating remembrance for them. We will even allow it to be their crime. But England has no right to punish them for it. She sent them out for no such purpose. They preserved for her that supremacy which they were bid to guard. And to leave them now to the mercy of the Celt would be on a great and ruinous scale the same crime as the abandonment of Gordon at Khartoum.

The difference of the races which occupy Ireland is no welcome subject to our thought or our pen. The attraction of the Celt and the recollections oi the wrongs which he has

« EelmineJätka »