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good mister Spictatur of Crete Pritain, you must know it there is in Caernarvanshire a very pig mountain, the clory of all Wales, which is named Penmainmaure, and you must also know, it is no creat journey on foot. for me; but the road is stony and bad for shooes. Now, there is upon the forehead of this mountain a very high rock, (like a parish steeple) that cometh a huge deal over the sea; so when I am in my melancholies, and I do throw myself from it, I do desire my fery good friend to tell me in his Spictatur, if I shall be cure of my griefous lofes; for there is the sea clear as glass, and as creen as the leek. Then likewise if I be drown, and preak my neck, if Mrs. Gwinifrid will not lofe me afterwards. Pray be speedy in your answers, for I am in crete haste, and it is my tesires to do my pusiness without loss of time.
"I remain with cordial affections,
'your ever lofing friend,
'Davyth ap Shenkyn.
P. S. My law-suits have brought me to London, but I have lost my causes; and so have made my resolutions to go down and leap before the frosts begin; for I am apt to take colds.'
TRANSLATIONS OF SAPPHO'S ODE.
AMONG the many famous pieces of antiquity which are still to be seen at Rome, there is the trunk of a statue which has lost the arms, legs and head, but discovers such an exquisite workmanship in what remains
of it, that Michael Angelo declared he had learned his whole art from it. Indeed he studied it so attentively, that he made most of his statues, and even his pictures, in that gusto, to make use of the Italian phrase; for which reason this maimed statue is still called Michael Angelo's School.
A fragment of Sappho, which I design for the subject of this Paper, is in as great reputation among the poets and critics, as the mutilated figure above mentioned is among the statuaries and painters. Several of our countrymen, and Mr. Dryden in particular, seem very often to have copied after it in their dramatic writings, and in their poems upon love.
Whatever might have been the occasion of this ode, the English reader will enter into the beauties of it, if he supposes it to have been written in the person of a lover sitting by his mistress. I shall set to view three different copies of this beautiful original: the first is a translation by Catullus, the second by monsieur Boileau, and the last by a gentleman, whose translation of the Hymn to Venus has been so deservedly admired *.
Ille mi par esse Deo videtur,
Qui sedens adversus identidem te
Spectat, & audit,
Dulce ridentem; misero quod omnis
Lesbia, adspezi, nihil est super mi
Quod loquar ameus ;
Lingua sed torpet: tenuis sub artus
My learned reader will know very well the reason why one of these verses is printed in Roman letters * ; and, if he compares this translation with the original, will find that the three first stanzas are rendered almost word for word, and not only with the same elegance, but with the same short turn of expression which is so remarkable in the Greek, and so peculiar to the Sapphic ode. I cannot imagine for what reason madam Dacier has told us that this ode of Sappho is preserved entire in Longinus, since it is manifest to any one who looks into that author's quotation of it, that there must at least have been another stanza, which is not transmitted to us.
The second translation of this fragment which I shall here cite, is that of monsieur Boileau..
Heureux ! qui près de toi, pour toi seule soûpire:
Je sens de veine en veine une subtile flamme
Un nuage confus se répand sur ma vuë,
Je n'entens plus, je tombe en de douces langueurs ;
Un frisson me saisit, je tremble, je me meurs.
* It is wanting in the old copies, and has been supplied by conjecture as above.
The reader will see that this is rather an imitation than a translation. The circumstances do not lie so thick together, and follow one another with that vehemence and emotion as in the original. In short, monsieur Boileau has given us all the poetry, but not all the passion, of this famous fragment. I shall, in the last place, present my reader with the English translation.
Instead of giving any character of this last translation, I shall desire my learned reader to look into the criticisms which Longinus has made upon the original.
By that means he will know to which of the translations he ought to give the preference. I shall only add, that this translation is written in the very spirit of Sappho, and as near the Greek as the genius of our language will possibly suffer.
RECORD OF THE LOVER'S LEAP. No. 233.
I SHALL, in this Paper, discharge myself of the promise I have made to the public, by obliging them with a translation of the little Greek manuscript, which is said to have been a piece of those records that were preserved in the temple of Apollo, upon the promontory of Leucate. It is a short history of the Lover's Leap, and is inscribed, An Account of Persons, male and female, who offered up their Vows in the Temple of the Pythian Apollo, in the Forty-sixth Olympiad, and leaped from the Promontory of Leucate into the Ionian Sea, in order to cure themselves of the Passion of Love.'
This account is very dry in many parts, as only mentioning the name of the lover who leaped, the person he leaped for, and relating, in short, that he was either cured, or killed, or maimed by the fall. It indeed gives the names of so many who died by it, that it would have looked like a bill of mortality, had I translated it at full length: I have therefore made an abridgment of it, and only extracted such particular passages as have something extraordinary, either in the case or in the cure, or in the fate of the person