« EelmineJätka »
CH A P. XVII.
A discontented Temper.
• A discontented temper, is “ A frame of mind which • sets a man upon complaining without reason.” « When
one of his neighbours who makes an entertainment, < sends a servant to him with a plate of any thing that • is nice, What, says he,' “ your master did not think " me good enough to dine with him ?” he complains • of his mistrels at the very time she is carefsing him ; • and when the redoubles her kisses and endearments, “ I “ wish, says he,' “ all this came from your heart.” • In. ' a dry feason he grumbles for want of rain, and when * a Mower falls, mutters to himself,' “ Why could not " this have come sooner ?” • If he happens to find a • purse of noney,' “ had it been a pot of gold, says “‘he, it would have been worth stooping for.'
takes a great deal of pains to beat down the price of a llave ; and after he has paid his money for him,' " I “ am sure, says he, thou art good for nothing, or I should “ not have had thee fo cheap.” When a mellenger comes • with great joy to acquaint him that his wife is brought to bed of a son, he answers,' “' That is as much as to
say, friend, I am poorer by half to day than I was yester“ day.” · Though he has gained a cause with full costs • and damages, he complains that his council did not o infift upon the most material points. If after any
mila • fortune has befallen him, his friends raise a voluntary • contribution for him, and desire hint to be merry,' “ how is that possible, says he, when I am to pay every “ one of you his money again, and be obliged to you “ into the barg ai?"
The instances of a discontented temper which Theophrastus has here made ufe of, like those which he fingles out to illustrate the rest of his characters, are chosen with the greatest nicety, and full of humour. His strokes are always fine and exquisite, and though they are not sometimes violent enough to affect the imagination of a cearfe reader, cannot bur give-the highest pleasure to every man of a refined taste, who has a thorough insight into human nature.
As for the translation, I have never seen any of prose author which has pleased me more.
The gentleman who has obliged the public with it, has followed the rule which Horace has laid down for translators, by preserving every where the life and spirit of his author, without fervilely copying after him word for word. This is what the French, who have most distinguished themselves by performances of this nature, so often inculcate when they advise a transator to find out such particular elegances in his own tongue as bear soune analogy to those he fees in the original, and to express himself by such phrases as his author would probably have made use of, had he written in the language into which he is translated. By this means, as well as by throwing in a lucky word, or a short circumstance, the meaning of Theophrastus is all along explained, and the humour very often carried to a greater height. A translator, who does not thus consider the different genius of the two languages in which he is concerned, with such
pas rallel turns of thoughts and expression as correspond with one another in both of them, may value himself upon being a faithful interpreter;' but in works of wit and humour will never do justice to his author, or credit to himself.
As this is every where a judicious and a reasonable liberty, fee no chapter in Tbeaphraftus where it has been so much indulged, and in which it was so absolutely, necessary, as in the character of the Sloven. I find the translator himself, though he has taken pains to qualify it, is still apprehensive that there may be fomething too
grofs in the defcription. The reader will fee with how much delicacy he bas touched upon every particular, and cait into thauics every thing that was shocking in so nauseous a figure.
Slovenlinefs is' " such a neglect of a man's person, “ as makes him offensive to other people.” • The floven ' comes into company with a dirty pair of hands, and • a set of long nails at the end of them, and tells you. ' for an excule, that his father and grandfather used to “ do so before him. However, that he may out-go • his fore-fathers, his fingers are covered with warts of • his own railing. He is as hairy as a goat, and takes
care to let you see it. His teeth and breath are perfectly well suited to one another. He lays about him
at table after a most extraordinary manner, and takes • in a meal at a mouthful ; which he feldom diíposes of « without offending the company.
In drinking he generally makes inore haste than good fpeed. When he goes into the bath, you may easily find him out by
the scent of his oil, and distinguish him when he is ' dressed by the spots in his coat. He does not stand
upon decency in conversation, but wilf talk smut,
though a priest and his mother be in the room. He • comunits a blunder in the most folemn offices of devo• tion, and afterwards falls a laughing at it.
At a con' fort uf musick he breaks in upon the performance, • hums over the tune to himself, or if he thinks it long, “alks the musicians' “ whether they will never have
done?" " he always fpits at random, and if he is at an entertainment,' it is ten to one but it is upon the fervant who ftands behind hime?
The foregoing translation brings to my remembrance that excellent observation of my Lord Ruscommon's..
None yet have been with admiration read,
Lord Roscommon's essay on translated verse.
If after this the reader can endure the filthy representation of the same figure exposed in its worst light, he may see how it looks in the former. English version, which was published some years since, and is done from the French of Bruyere.
Naftiness or Slovenliness.
· Slovenliness is a lazy and beastly negligence of a man's own person, whereby he becomes to sordid, as to be offensive to those about him. You will see hiin come into company
when he is covered all over with a leprosy and scurt, and with very long nails, and fays, those distempers were hereditary, that his father and
grandfather had them before him. He has ulcers in • his thighs, and boils upon his hands, which he takes
no care to have cured, but lets them run on until they ' are gone beyond remedy. His arm pits are all hairy, • and most part of his body like a wild beast. His teeth
are black and rotten, which makes his breath link « so that you cannot endure him to coine nigh you; he • will also snuff up his nose and spit out as he eats, ' and uses to speak with his mouth crammed full, and • lets his victuals come out at both corners. He belches • in the cup as he is drinking, and uses nafty stinking • oil in the bath. He will intrude into the best com
pany in fordid ragged cloaths. If he goes with his 'mother to the loothlayers, he cannot then refrain from
wicked and prophane expressions. When he is making • his oblations at the temple, he will let the dish drop out of his hand, and fall a laughing, as if he had
• done fome brave exploit. At the finest confort of * mufick he cannot forbear clapping his hands and mak• ing a rude noise ; will pretend to sing along with them, i and fall a railing at thein to leave off. Sitting at table, he spits full upon the servants who waited there."
I cannot close this paper without observing, that if gentlemen of leisure and genius would take the same pains upon some other Greek or Ronian author, that has been bestowed upon this, the world would soon be convinced, that there is a great deal of difference between putting an author into English, and tranlating him.