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He puts on such a magisterial style of dealing with the text and with other translators that he invites attention to many of his own defects that might otherwise escape notice.
But what shall we say of the translation as a whole? May we not disregard the follies and idiosyncrasies and blunders, the flippant and silly remarks that abound in the notes, and the overweening conceit that shines through them all, and still find in the translation a work of superior merit? Unhappily, we are unable to award it any high degree of praise. It must be confessed that we have found so much to discredit Mr. Wilstach's scholarship that our faith is somewhat shaken in his ability to give even a faithful rendering of the original, to say nothing of elegance ; and yet, no doubt, he is fairly accurate in general. His study of other translators, which he boasts of, would keep him from going far astray. He professes to make “faithfulness to Virgil,” even “at the expense of English elegance,” his chief aim. That his translations are often made “at the expense of English elegance" is too true. For instance, En. IX. 65-68, - Haud aliter Rutuli," etc.:
“So Turnus : wall and camp close-barred
pour them forth where equal chance might be."
This is a fair specimen of his style, though somewhat more awkward in expression than others that might be cited. Long translates the passage thus:-
“So burns the wrath
“ Thus, while he wall and camp surveys,
Grief burns in every vein:
Aud fling them on the plain?”
Wilstach is full of violent and unnecessary inversions. One would think, at times, that he regards anastrophe as constituting the chief difference between poetry and prose. For example: “ Makes force way” (fit via vi), “ And falls he the eyes before of parents both,” “What causes him there brought?” “ The tears his face ran down,” “ For drives his powerful sword Æneas through the youth up to the hilt," " The doors within,” “ Whose ribs within." " Within" and some other prepositions are almost always postpositive.
In amplification of Virgil Mr. Wilstach sometimes goes to great lengths. For a word he is only too ready to give "a whole history.” This tendency, as well as the inverting tendency, is to some extent exemplified in the quotation given above. The oft-repeated refrain in the eighth Eclogue,
This is very pretty, but it looks too much like a sacrifice of “faithfulness to Virgil” for “English elegance.” His expansions and dilutions are exceedingly vexatious at times, when one is comparing them with the original. And so we might go on, but we fear we have wearied our readers already. Let us do full justice to Mr. Wilstach as a translator. While we cannot find that he ever rises to the height of a true poetic fervor, while the faults that we have indicated are glaring and of frequent occurrence, and while, in our opinion, there is little that can be said to charm the reader, we have, nevertheless, found many passages that
interested us, and sometimes whole pages that we read with pleasure. There is considerable smoothness of versification in the Eclogues,— more, proportionally, we think, than in the Georgics or Æneid. Occasionally happy turns of expression and felicitous renderings are to be found throughout the work; but we find it hard to select any passage of considerable length as pre-eminently worthy of quotation. After no little search, we venture to give the description of Camilla at the end of the seventh book of the Æneid, and the death of Mezentius at the end of the tenth, as showing the translator at his best. And with these we will close:
“And there, besides, came, by the Volscians sent,
The warrior maid, Camilla. Led she on
“Rushes Æneas forward, and his sword
Forth from its scabbard draws. And, 'Where,” he asks,
Into the jaws of war I came.
M. GRANT DANIELL.
TWENTY YEARS IN THE LIFE OF A QUEEN.
A SUNDAY EVENING LECTURE.
I have been moved to speak to you this evening about a book you have all heard of, and some no doubt have read, touching the life of a woman who by her birthright bas no equal in the Old World where rank still counts for worth, as I suspect it does in this New World also with a good many; for dukes and earls, as I make out, are only sour grapes to us when we cannot reach them.
It is a book from the hand and heart of this royal and noble lady, and, with another printed some years ago, contains such a record as can be found nowhere else, so far as I know, of a life which, by doom of heaven many say, for good or evil, must be lived
" In that fierce light which beats upon a throne."
It is no hard matter, to be sure, to find out about all you want to know, or ought to know, about the majority of those royal and noble persons who have worn the crown of Eng. land, from Alfred, the good shepherd, as they fondly called him, to Victoria, who has sent us this book. Their public life in the earlier times, and their most private life in the later, is an open secret; but, as you read their story down to
this good queen's time, with a few noble exceptions, you do not wonder over Emerson's grand, ruthless lines,
“God said, I am tired of kings,
I suffer them no more," —
and think of Paul's words as you trace the long succession, “Not many wise, not many mighty, not many noble are called,” remember the wicked and witty earl's idea of an epitaph for one of them,
and of Wellington's stern estimate of another : “ He was the first gentleman in Europe four hours in the day, and the greatest blackguard in England the other twenty."
There is a vast treasure of history and anecdote, state papers and chronicles, letters and journals, that throw light on these royal lives; but since Alfred was king there has been no record made by a royal hand which comes so near to the heart of a simple human worth as the record you
will find in these books, sent over to us by the Queen Victoria. While, in the things her great fore-elder says about his own most noble life, you have to pause now and then, and read between the lines, before you can feel quite sure which is the king and which the man. Still, he reaches out his hand, this good king and shepherd of the English folk, across the round millennium, and touches this of the good queen; and I see no royal hands besides so worthy to meet and clasp. He is a man, as she is a woman, of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and both, I notice, nourish tender memories of the good mother who fended for them, and held them close to her heart, and their own hearts are one in their loyalty and love for Ethelswitha and Albert. And both alike centre in the home rather than the palace as the choicest spot on the earth; and they are one in their love for the children born of pure wedlock, and have never a thought even, to hide from the searching splendor of the great white throne.