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wielded the pencil admirably; and in his early years composed many beau tiful battle pieces. He was uncommonly susceptible of every new influence; and his dexterity in appropriating and applying knowledge of all kinds, was truly encyclopædic. He was no less of a lion in a sword-in-hand attack, than of a learned soldier with book and compass. He understood and spoke twelve languages, an accomplishment more useful, and even necessary, in the Austrian army than anywhere else. Brilliant, however, as were his mental endowments, he wanted that calmness and equanimity which are so necessary for the command and control of a comprehensive whole. Chasteler had read an astonishing quantity, and always continued reading. He was naturally better qualified for quick apprehension, than for retaining what he read and brooding over its depths. He was never content with what was GOOD, he always saw something BETTER twinkling in the background, His fiery courage was a proverb in the army. In his last days he was a real Henry Percy, and a Bayard, a cavalier' sans peur et sans reproche.' Disinterested and magnanimous; with hatred, envy, jealousy, and revenge, as unacquainted as a child; gentle, and overflowing with human kindliness, a soldier with body and soul, full of glowing enthusiasm, and of never-sleeping activity, devoted to the house of Austria, and to the service of the Imperial family; a warm friend to his friend, and ready to help every man: so accomplished, Chasteler is a name that will ever be dear to the military heart, and stand as the worthy keystone to that bright succession of fiery and chivalrous Walloons-Ligne, Ahremberg, Clairfait, Boneguay, Dampierre, and above all, the old Tilly-that have added so much lustre to the Austrian arms.'
King René's Daughter. A Lyric Drama, from the Danish of HENRIK HERTZ. By JANE FRANCES CHAPMAN. London. Smith & Co. 1845.
THE translator informs us that this drama was first acted in the Theatre Royal of Copenhagen, in April last, that its reception was enthusiastic, and that its success with the reading public was so great as to carry it to a fourth edition within a month from its first publication in print. So much for facts; as to the reasons for those facts, we confess ourselves still in the dark. We have not yet been fortunate enough to procure a copy of the original drama, and must therefore hold our judgment in suspense as to its real merits. Twice have we, with that patience and fortitude granted only to reviewers, read the translation through from end to end; and the only fruit we have gathered from our arduous labour is this unsolved dilemma: Either enthusiasm is a ridiculously cheap commodity in the Danish capital, or Henrik Hertz has sore cause to complain of his translator. It may be that truth sits equally on both horns of the dilemma.
German Anthology. A Series of Translations from the most popular German Poets, by JAMES CLARENCE MANGAN. 2 vols. Curry. Dublin.
THIS is a reprint of poems that have appeared from time to time within the last ten years in the Dublin University Magazine,' and contains spe
Mangan's German Anthology.
cimens of the lyric poetry of Schiller, Uhland, Tieck, Kerner, Bürger, Göthe, Rückert, Freiligrath, &c. &c. The following lines from Uhland are a fair sample of the merits and defects of the collection:
AUF DER UEBERFAHRT.
Ueber diesen Strom, vor Jahren,
Und von diesem Kahn umschlossen
So, wenn ich vergangene Tage
Die ich gerne dreifach biete,
A many a summer is dead and buried
Beside me then in this bark sat nearest
The other's shroud was the bloody rain,
Yet still when memory's necromancy
Thrice thy fare I cheerfully pay thee,
Anear me two from the Phantomland.
There is much to commend in these lines, but they are disfigured also by no slight faults. Not to dwell on the pleonasm, not authorised by analogy or custom, that occurs in the first line, we have here examples of a radically vicious system of translation, which runs through the whole work. Mr. Mangan in his preface speaks of his translations as 'faithful to the spirit, if not always to the letter, of their originals.’ They are very often neither the one nor the other. He takes many unwarrantable liberties with his authors, mutilates and interpolates, and falsifies them by an exaggeration that not seldom produces a burlesque effect where a grave one was intended. In the poem before us Mr. Mangan (not Uhland) lays down the strange doctrine that the death of our friends not only does not prevent all companionship between their souls and ours, but that it even brings us into closer communion with them! The following is a literal version of the fourth and fifth German
“Thus ever, when I venture to think on bygone happier days, must I miss
companions, dear ones snatched from me by death. But what binds all friendship fast is when spirit meets spirit. Spiritual were those vanished hours : with spirits I am still connected."
The sentiment here expressed is natural and touching; that which the translator has substituted for it is extravagant and false. Uhland says he has lost friends, but not wholly lost them, for memory still makes them present to his spirit: Mr. Mangan asserts that the death of friends is no loss at all, but an absolute gain to the affectionate survivor. Seeing how grossly the translator has misrepresented the leading idea of the original poem, it is perhaps superfluous to remark on the bad effect of the phrase outworn with care and illness,' introduced for the rhyme's sake into the third stanza. There is nothing like it in the German, which merely states that the elder friend's way of life had been quiet, and his departure consonant with the calm tenor of his days. Why cloud this image of serenity with thoughts of bodily and mental suffering, and thereby weaken the contrast between the respective lives and fates of the elder and the younger man? A true artist would have seen the value of this contrast, and how it helps the imagination to realise more distinctly each of the two portraits presented to it.
One more specimen of what Mr. Mangan understands by fidelity to the spirit of his original. In our number for January last, and in Tait's Magazine' for the following February or March, will be found versions of Freiligrath's celebrated poem, entitled 'The Lion's Ride,' both of them tolerably close. A perusal of either will enable the English reader to guess whether or not Freiligrath's canvass errs on the side of tameness, and needs to have its effect heightened by the addition of more glaring colours. Here is a literal translation of the first verse:
Desert-king is the lion. Is it his pleasure to speed through his domain ? He betakes him to the lagoon, and lies down in the tall sedges. Where gazelles and giraffes drink he crouches among the reeds. Trembling above the mighty one rustles the leaf of the sycamore."
Mr. Mangan's improvement upon the verse is as follows:
"What! wilt thou bind him fast with a chain?
Wilt bind the King of the Cloudy Sands?
Idiot fool!-he has burst from thy hands and bands,
And speeds like Storm through his far domain.
By the water's edge,
Making the startled sycamore boughs to quiver.
Gazelle and giraffe, I think, will shun that river."
This is not gilding refined gold, but plating it with copper; not painting the lily white, but plastering it with red ochre.
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Euvres choisies de E. Scribe. 5 vols. Firmin Didot. Paris, 1845. THE vaudeville is the most exclusively national thing in France. It was born in France, and only in France can it be produced. Other nations rival and surpass France in all branches of literature, except this; in this it is without a rival. Esprit is the genius of France; and a vaudeville is this esprit in a dramatic shape.
When, therefore, we say that M. Eugène Scribe is the first vaudevillist of the day, we bestow on him a title of no mean significance; and when we say that his comedies are but vaudevilles in five acts, we are still bestowing on them no mean praise. That his comedies are not of the same stamp as those of Molière, is true; but they are not without merits of their own. All the higher qualities of the dramatist are absent, but all the arts of the vaudevillist are present. If he has not the riotous fun or the deep irony of Molière (who has?), he is not deficient in quick repartee, and a slight but effective mockery of the vices and follies of mankind. His works abound in esprit.
In England he is treated with undiscriminating contempt. In France he is the spoiled child of the public, and an eternal butt for the critics. For twenty years he has almost monopolised the stage. Paris and the provinces are supplied by him with their nightly amusement. His fecundity is only equalled by Lope de Veya. Whether vaudeville in one act, or vaudeville in five acts, 'whether drame or proverbe, whether opera comique or grand opera, Scribe
is the great purveyor. And these pieces succeed; not only do they succeed in France, but they are immediately translated into German, English, Italian, and Spanish. The European stage lives upon Scribe! He is the great magician who alone can feed the public's hunger for novelty.
Is this a man to meet with nothing but contempt? The French critics, who are purists by profession, never forgive him, because he does not adhere scrupulously to grammar. They all eagerly point out how il cravache la langue qui lui resiste;' and deny him any merit because he has not the merit they demand. In the same way they refuse to admit Paul de Kock to be a literary man. 'He does for the English and Germans!" Now it may be true that Scribe is not a great writer; true that as Gustave Planche says, son imagination vaut bien assez par elle-même, et n'a pas besoin des fastueux ornemens de la syntaxe; and yet Scribe remains the first vaudevillist of his day. If the critics sneer, the public applauds, and nightly applauds. All the joyous solecisms in the world would not rob Eugène Scribe of his power to conduct a plot, to devise situations, to provoke a laugh, and sometimes a tear. If his plays are not critical, they are eminently successful, and successful because amusing.
We are glad to see Messrs. Didot issuing the chefs-d'œuvre of Eugène Scribe. It will doubtless serve in a great measure to counteract the prejudice against him. So amusing a writer cannot fail to have
VOL. XXXVI. NO. LXXI.
a place in any dramatic library; and the reader will be often surprised at finding the originals of pieces which have delighted him on the English stage. His works, too, form a useful study for all dramatic aspirants, as in them the art of the stage is carried almost to perfection. The present publication forms a part of Messrs. Didot's collection of chefs-d'œuvre, the handsomest and most useful of all cheap collections extant. In five volumes you have here the cream of the most voluminous author of the day. We need say no more!
Servia, the Youngest Member of the European Family; or, a Residence in Belgrade, and Travels in the Highlands and Woodlands of the Interior, during the Years 1843 and 1844. By A. H., PATON, Esq. Longman. London. 1845.
THIS is an interesting and instructive volume, though it does not fulfil the promise implied in the first clause of its long title. It is not a treatise on Servia, nor does it aim at giving any thing like a methodical account of that country and its inhabitants. It is little more than a traveller's description of what he saw and heard, during his wayfaring and sojourn in a noble region, and among an interesting and hopeful people; and though not a complete picture of Servia, it is a collection of sketches from the life, struck off with a free and firm hand, and bearing on the face of them a strong warranty of their truth. Mr. Paton is the least prolix of travel-writers; he does not weary his readers with long dissertations and ponderous inductions; but, moving about with his eyes and ears well open, he is peculiarly happy in seizing and recording pregnant instances. For example, he halts at a road-side tavern to dine:
"A booby, with idiocy marked on his countenance, was lounging about the door, and when our mid-day meal was done, I ordered the man to give him a glass of slivovitsa, as plum-brandy is called. He then came forward, trembling as if about to receive sentence of death, and taking off his greasy fez, said, 'I drink to our prince, Kana Georgovich, and to the progress and enlightenment of the nation.' I looked with astonishment at the torn, wretched habiliments of this idiot swineherd. He was too stupid to entertain these sentiments himself, but this trifling circumstance was the feather which indicated how the wind blew. The Servians are by no means a nation of talkers; they are a serious people; and if the determination to rise were not in the minds of the people, it would not be on the lips of the baboon-visaged oaf of an insignificant hamlet."
The following admirable passage needs no preface or comment:
"On the day of departure a tap was heard at the door, and enter Holman [the blind traveller] to bid me good-bye. Another tap at the door, and enter Milutinovich, who is the best of the living poets of Servia, and has been sometimes called the Ossian of the Balkan. As for his other pseudonyme, the Homer of a hundred sieges,' that must have been invented by Mr. George Robins, the Demosthenes of one hundred rostra.' The reading public in