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from Virgil; the beautiful, though misplaced, eulogy on a country life (i. 196.); the animated picture of Stilicho's preparations for battle, and of his and his army's indignation at their recall (ii. 171 sqq.); Rufinus's dream, and the well-told story of his assassination (ib. 394 sqq.); and the concluding scene, which, in spite of the unfortunate simile of the bees, is superior to any of the Tartarean descriptions in the Rape of Proserpine.
The short poem in honor of the Third Consulship of Honorius is remarkable for nothing but the celebrated lines “ ( nimium dilecte Deo, &c." debased as usual (and indeed more than usual) by a lame and impotent sequel. That on the Fourth Consulship of the same emperor is worthy of much more notice; the introductory and concluding portions of the poem are a mere farrago of monotonous and extravagant adulation, relieved only by the poet's unfailing copiousness of allusion and illustration, and by the lusciousness of his versification. We are repaid, however, in the body of the poem, by an address of Theodosius to his son, containing an exhortation to the public and private virtues, founded on the dictates of philosophy and the example of the old Roman worthies; a passage, for sustained moral beauty, superior to any thing in Claudian, and not often paralleled in any of the later Roman poets. (V. 214-352, and again, 396-418.) This, and such passages as this, serve to account for, and in a great measure excuse, the exaggerated opinion which Claudian's contemporaries (to say nothing of many later critics) entertained of his merits. Claudian's style naturally rises with his subject, and it is here more than usually good.
In the Nuptials of Honorius and Maria, which have been made the model of innumerable epithalamiá by the modern Latin poets, Claudian has attempted a new style, and we think unsuccessfully. With the exception of the inimitable Catullus, and perhaps one or two others, the Roman poets have uniformly failed in attempting the lighter graces. Their language was as little susceptible of the subtler beauties of diction, as they themselves were of the minute refinements of sentiment. Its very stateliness and ponderousness makes it unwieldy and unfit for the purpose. This defect may be traced in almost all their love-poetry. Venus is an inferior copy of Aphrodite. Claudian's general habits of style were also against him. What pomp and circumstance could do, he has done; but of graceful levity he was utterly incapable; the recondite delicacies and lesser shades of thought are lost in his coarse and glaring delineations. There is however much splendor and much play of fancy in his descriptions; and his Palace of Venus deservedly holds not the lowest place among the many similar pictures in ancient and modern poets. We cannot refuse ourselves the pleasure of quoting the description of Maria and her mother,
Cunctatur stupefacta Venus. Nunc ora puellæ,
Nec teneris audet foliis admittere soles, The poem concludes with a well-wrought panegyric on Stilicho. The “ Fescennina," which follow, are rather ingenious than playful. Claudian's writings are in general unexceptionably pure, but “ the custom of the country” has here betrayed him into occasional licentiousness, and accordingly into grossness; for the Romans bad not the art of being indecent with a grace.
The poem on the Gildonic war is a fragment. It is almost entirely occupied with inartificial machinery and long speeches, which bring us to the beginning of the action; like a splendid archway we could name, which leads to nothing. It possesses however considerable historical interest.
The next is on the Consulship of Mallius Theodorus; the most uniformly beautiful, and, with the exception perhaps of the Epithalamium, the most pleasing of all Claudian's
occasional poems. This is owing to the nature of the subject. The pursuits of his friend were in a great measure congenial to his own, and his peaceful virtues and love of science are the subject of the panegyric. Claudian evidently felt more at home than usual, aud his praises of philosophy, though accompanied perhaps with a little human ostentation of knowledge, contrast very agreeably with the uninteresting bustle and cumbrous pomp of his state poems. Its fault is a want of variety. The description of the consular games, at the end, would have been better omitted; they are however curious in an antiquariau view. Some of the illustrative similes are highly majestic. The line,
laceris morientes crinibus hydri Lambunt invalido Furiarum vincla veneno and the expression, “ crebrisque micantem Urbibus Italiam,"
are among the instances (few, it is true,) in Claudian, of the happy effect of a single well-chosen word.
This is followed by the two books against Eutropius, which some critics have considered as Claudian's chef-d'ouvre. It is certainly written with unusual energy, and the ingenuity with wbich he varies the topics of abuse displays his invention in a higher point of view than even his panegyrics. His blows fall " thick and threefold." All his wealth of language and imagery, all the varieties of grave invective and cutting irony, all that art, fancy, or historical recollection can suggest to him, are expended in aggravating vileness, and making contempt itself more contemptible. Claudian had a strong propensity to the sarcastic; and his Roman predilections, as well as his party spirit, are called into full play on the present occasion. The unheard-of enormity of an eunuch-consul is the burden of his song, upon which he rings all imaginable changes. His object was to make Eutropius supremely hateful and ridiculous, and he has certainly succeeded beyond his intentions. The picture of uumixed deformity, after a time, becomes wearisome. This attempt to impart an abiding interest to a subject purely disgusting, is one which has baffled greater powers than Claudian's. We need only refer to the tenth satire of Juvenal, Churchill's “ Times," and Gifford's “ Epistle to Peter Pindar." There is also in
” some parts of the poem'a mixture of the pure heroic, which does not harmonize with its general character. The latter part of the second book is interesting as the earliest remaining instance (with the exception of Juvenal's tbird satire, wbich however is inferior to Claudian's in burlesque pomp and sustained gravity) of that species of composition which has been cultivated with such signal success in niodern times under the title of mock-heroic. For this Claudian was peculiarly well fitted by his ordinary habits of style, which, even on serious subjects, sometimes betray him to the verge of burlesque.
The English Translation of the Bible; with some sug
gestions for an improved form of the Text in a revision of its numérous Italic interpolations, and of its
; pointing, and marginal additions.
The English Translation of the Bible, published in the reign of King James the First, is deservedly acknowledged a lasting monument of the learning of that age. The various attempts and essays of individuals towards any new and improved Translation of the whole or parts of the Sacred Volume, in English, since that period, have only proved the general integrity and fidelity of the former translators, and added lustre to the character of their work.
Subsequent editions of the Bible have improved the orthography of the language in proportion to the improvement of the English tongue, and this is the only change the Translation has undergone for the long period of two centuries, including the exchange of the old Black letter for the Roman.
With respect to the punctuation, it may be difficult to pronounce on any considerable improvement: the elements of this part of the work are few, but important, and in some cases difficult: the division of chapters into paragraphs, the right placing of capital letters and distinguishing words, and the reading points, constitute these elements.
The most material and glaring defect in our English Translation is the introduction of Italic words in the body' of the text in almost every verse; as if all those words so marked and distinguished were interpolated and surreptitious, or additions of the translator to supply the defect of the Sacred Original. This consideration leads to an inquiry into their description and use.
All the words printed in Italics are reducible to two classes : 1. Grammatical; 2. Explanatory. To the first class belong all the auxiliaries of verbs and pronouns, which are by far the more numerous : and to the second class belong all words designedly introduced by the translator to explain the sense and meaning of the original, and to prevent ambiguity.
The editions of the Latin Vulgate Bible do not afford the least example or precedent for the numerous Italic interpolations objected to in the English editions, and in the Versions which
VOL. XXIX. CI. NI. NO. LVIII. R
have emanated from them in the Welsh, Irish, Gaelic, and Manks dialects; thus, as our translators seem to have followed the rule of Theodore Beza in his Latin Version, so the moderns have followed them in foisting into the text these numerous Italic additions.
It would be important to know what has been the rule of foreign translators in this respect, particularly the German, French, Dutch, Italian, Spanish, and other continental nations, in their Versions of the Bible; and whether they have followed the like practice, and to what extent: and also how far the same has been adopted in modern Translations into the languages of the East and other parts of the world.
It is certain, that the example of antiquity is avowedly against the practice, and that all the ancient Versions make no such distinctions, but do fully and absolutely express the text as text without reserve: an examination into the languages and Versions published in the several Polyglott Bibles will amply explain the practice of the ancient interpreters as to this matter.
The Greek Translation of the Old Testament, and the Latin Versions of that text, declare against the practice of such interpolation, as unmeaning and unknown; and certainly, so high a precedent as the Greek Version is an authority not to be despised; from whence not only the Latin Vulgate has obtained its rule, but has set the example for all succeeding Translations in all languages.
The Psalter Psalıns published with the English Common Prayer, as also the Epistles and Gospels, are all, and altogether uniformly printed without interpolation; there are no Italic words introduced to fill up and make good the supposed want of sense and meaning, and the reading has everywhere the advantage of a complete and perfect text, without the appearance of human intrusion or addition.
The numerous interpolated words in the Bible Psalms and other poetical books are highly derogatory to the majesty, bre, vity, and simplicity of the original Hebrew, which, if it be allowed an absolute and perfect text, should likewise be allowed an absolute and complete Translation; and if that Translation is not made, nor can be effected, without the supposed auxiliaries and interpolations here objected to, then it follows, that either the original text is defective and imperfect, or the translator is incompetent to the work, or that the blameable scrupulosity of the translators, in attempting an absolute accordancy in words and phrases, has driven them to the opposite extreme of introducing into the text words which have no foundation