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stand the unfamiliar. Such comparison will play a peculiarly large part in criticism, which involves either establishing standards or judging by them.
For examples read the critical works of Francis Jeffrey, Matthew Arnold, Professor Dowden, James Russell Lowell, John Ruskin. The following is excerpted from Matthew Arnold's essay On Translating Homer :
Therefore, I say, the translator of Homer should penetrate himself with a sense of the plainness and directness of Homer's style; of the simplicity with which Homer's thought is evolved and expressed. He has Pope's fate before his eyes to show him what a divorce may be created even between the most gifted translator and Homer by an artificial evolution of thought and a literary cast of style.
Chapman's style is not artificial and literary like Pope’s, nor his movement elaborate and self-retarding like the Miltonic movement of Cowper. He is plain-spoken, fresh, vigorous, and, to a certain degree, rapid ; and all these are Homeric qualities. I cannot say that I think the movement of his fourteen-syllable line, which has been so much commended, Homeric; but on this point I shall have more to say by and by, when I come to speak of Mr. Newman's exploits. But it is not distinctly anti-Homeric, like the movement of Milton's blank verse; and it has a rapidity of its
Chapman's diction, too, is generally good, that is, appropriate to Homer; above all, the syntactical character of his style is appropriate. With these merits, what prevents his translation from being a satisfactory version of Homer? Is it merely the want of literal faithfulness to his original, imposed upon him, it is said, by the exigencies of rhyme ? Has this celebrated version, which has so many advantages, no other and deeper defect than that? Its author is a poet, and a poet, too, of the Elizabethan age ; the golden age of literature, as it is called, and on the whole truly called; for, whatever be the defects of Elizabethan literature (and they are great), we have no development of our literature to compare with it for vigor and richness. This age, too, showed what it could do in translating by producing a masterpiece — its version of the Bible.
Chapman's translation has often been praised as eminently Homeric. Keats's fine sonnet in its honor every one knows; but Keats could not read the original, and therefore could not really judge the translation. Coleridge, in praising Chapman's version, says at the same time, “ It will give you small idea of Homer.” But the grave authority of Mr. Hallam pronounces this translation to be “often exceedingly Homeric”; and its latest editor boldly declares that by what, with a deplorable style, he calls “ his own innative Homeric genius,” Chapman “has thoroughly identified himself with Homer"; and that “we pardon him even for his digressions, for they are such as we feel Homer himself would have written.”
I confess that I can never read twenty lines of Chapman's version without recurring to Bentley's cry,
66 This is not Homer !” and that from a deeper cause than any unfaithfulness occasioned by the fetters of rhyme.
I said that there were four things which eminently distinguished Homer, and with a sense of which Homer's translator should penetrate himself as fully as possible. One of these four things was, the plainness and directness of Homer's ideas. I have just been speaking of the plainness and directness of his style; but the plainness and directness of the contents of his style, of his ideas themselves, is not less remarkable. But as eminently as Homer is plain, so eminently is the Elizabethan literature in general, and Chapman in particular, fanciful.
My limits will not allow me to do more than shortly illustrate, from Chapman's version of the Iliad, what I mean when I speak of this vital difference between Homer and an Elizabethan poet in the quality of their thought; between the plain simplicity of the thought of the one, and the curious complexity of the thought of the other. As in Pope's case, I carefully abstain from choosing passages for the express purpose of making Chapman appear ridiculous ; Chapman, like Pope, merits in himself all respect, though he too, like Pope, fails to render Homer.
In that tonic speech of Sarpedon, of which I have said so much, Homer, you may remember, has :
“if indeed, but once this battle avoided, We were forever to live without growing old and immortal.” Chapman cannot be satisfied with this, but must add a fancy to it:
“if keeping back Would keep back age from us, and death, and that we might not wrack In this life's human sea at all”;
and so on. Again : “For well I know this in my mind and in my heart, the day will be when sacred Troy shall perish.” . Chapman makes this :
" And such a stormy day shall come, in mind and soul I know, When sacred Troy shall shed her towers, for tears of overthrow."
I might go on forever, but I could not give you a better illustration than this last, of what I mean by saying that the Elizabethan poet fails to render Homer because he cannot forbear to interpose a play of thought between his object and its expression. Chapman translates his object into Elizabethan, as Pope translates it into the Augustan of Queen Anne ; both convey it to us through a medium. Homer, on the other hand, sees his object and conveys it to us immediately.
SECTION II. – ARGUMENTATION.
ARGUMENT FROM SELF-EVIDENT FACTS.
Belief, as we commonly understand the term, is not knowledge. If we could not have the first without the second, considering how very deficient we are in the second, we should be in a deplorable state. For it certainly is well for the average man that he should believe something in order that he may be able to decide and act at all. It is even an open question whether it is not better for the most of us that we should believe what is actually false rather than be in continual harassing doubt. But when knowledge and belief shall be co-extensive, if that time ever comes ; when we shall positively know to be true all that we believe to be true ; then we shall have reached an ideal state. No less than this are the broad scope and the high purpose of argumentation.
Exposition, we have seen, is concerned with what things are — that is, with truth embodied in facts and relations. Argumentation goes a step farther.
only seeks to discover truth and impart a knowledge of it, but it further insists that this truth is truth, and strives to enforce a knowledge of it and thus inspire an active belief in it. Men adopt beliefs on the strength of prejudices or of insufficient knowledge. They even come to believe things because they have desired to believe them. These beliefs become second nature and are clung to with a pertinacity which even the disclosure of truth itself sometimes seems unavailing to remove. If it were not so, if men withheld belief until knowledge came, and rested it on that alone, there would be no need for argumentation as we have defined it. Simple exposition would suffice. Exposition is addressed to ignorance which needs enlightenment. Argumentation is addressed to error which needs correction. Argumentation exposes
the false as well as the true. It strives to overcome prejudice. Its purpose is thus twofold : it knocks down old error in order to set up new truth. “ To err is human.” The obverse of
advance toward higher wisdom is a deeper sense of the prevalence not only of ignorance but of actual error, until it may well-nigh seem that error is of indigenous growth among men.
For it flourishes even in the presence of the most evident and incontrovertible facts. Where this is the case, argument may indeed seem of little avail, for all argument must rest immediately or ultimately on facts. If a Brother Jasper declares that the earth is flat and - the sun do move,” how shall you convince him of the contrary? The gambler may change his cards a dozen times without succeeding in changing his luck, yet, declaring his belief in the charm, will change them the thirteenth time. There is