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amount to ? His Lordship, satiated with the pleasures of life, looks back upon them with much the same feeling that a man in the morning has about his last night's debauch. He has no warming sense of services rendered to others; of duty performed, perhaps imperfectly, but yet with an earnest and hearty will; of mutual kindness cultivated between himself and others; of humble resignation to the will of God! No! the scene, as he looks back upon it, is cold and wintry, showing marks only of scorching desolation from the heat of summer passions. And the present enjoyment, such as it is, proceeds from vacuity. Nor yet does he make it very clear, that his own history disproves the correctness of the common notion which he condemns. His retirement will scarcely furnish encouragement to any who may be anxious to leave the busy world in quest of ease. His letters form one continued lament, partly owing to his increasing deafness, partly to disappointment as to his son's success, but most of all to the absence of all the nobler motives of action in life. This is the grand defect of his whole theory. The man is liable to outlive the system, and then the world becomes a dreary blank. Cut off from society, from public life, from the domestic affections, and from the consolations of a religious faith, Chesterfield was as much isolated at sixty as the blasted oak in the centre of a barren heath. Yet over all this wretchedness, there still remained, like a coat of steel upon a skeleton, the glazed and polished surface of good-breeding which bis Lordship had laid on thick to conceal the deep defects of his early years. Even upon the bed of death, “ Give Dayrolles a chair," were the last expressed thoughts of this worldly earl. Not a single exalted sentiment feil from him, at that moment, to counteract the chill of a long career.
He was indeed, what he describes himself, one hackneyed in the ways of life. We have endeavoured to show in his history the nature and the advantages of such a training. Let those who are inclined to be fascinated by his example take warning by his fate.
In the view which we have taken, it will be seen that we have not dwelt upon the moral tendency of the advice to be found in the present work. This has already been so much descanted upon in many former publications, as well as in the pages of this Journal, that little can be added. We shall therefore, avoiding the grosser passages, simply content ourselves with extracting from the maxims addressed by his Lordship to his son such of them as seem most briefly to embody the character of the author.
“ In your friendships and in your enmities let your confidence and your hostilities have certain bounds; make not the former dangerous, nor the latter irreconcilable. There are strange vicissitudes in business."
“ It is always right to detect a fraud, and to perceive a folly; but it is often very wrong to expose either. A man of business should always have his eyes open, but must often seem to have them shut.”
“ If you would be a favorite of your king, address yourself to his weaknesses. An application to his reason will seldom prove very successful.”
"A cheerful, easy countenance and behaviour are very useful at court; they make fools think you a good-natured man; and they make designing men think you an undesigning one.”
Flattery, though a base coin, is the necessary pocket-money at court; where, by custom and consent, it has obtained such a currency, that it is no longer a fraudulent but a legal payment.'
“ The reputation of generosity is to be purchased pretty cheap; it does not depend so much upon a man's general expense, as it does upon his giving handsomely where it is proper to give at all.” — Vol. 11., pp. 322 - 326.
It would seem, by the care which his Lordship bestowed upon the sketches of the principal persons of his time, as if he must have meditated some extensive work of an historical kind, in which they would naturally have found a place. Had the whole been executed with any portion of the spirit to be found in these fragments, the author would have earned a still higher reputation than he is likely now to hold. Among them, one of the most curious is the article relating to Lord Bute, which Dr. Maty, or his successor, thought proper to suppress, whilst he published in his edition most of the rest. The portraits of Sir Robert Walpole, of Lord Hardwicke, of the elder Pitt, of the Duke of Newcastle, and of Lord Bolingbroke, will continue for ever valuable to those who wish to understand the history of the early Brunswick princes. Chesterfield's habits made him a keen observer of the virtues and vices, the merits and the follies, of other men ; whilst his judgment was not warped, as that of many is apt to be, by any excess of sympathy with or of hostility to them. In this, as in all things else, he shows his great want to have been the want of a heart. We scarcely know how better to close this view of his character, than, without meaning to excuse him, to apply his own remark upon a much bolder person than he in both extremes ; we mean his friend, Henry St. John, Lord Bolingbroke, when he says of him, Upon the whole of this extraordinary character, where good and ill were perpetually jostling each other, what can we say but, Alas! poor human nature !”
ART. VII.- A New Translation of the Proverbs, Eccle
siastes, and the Canticles, with Introductions, and Notes, chiefly Explanatory. By George R. Noyes, D. D., Hancock Professor of Hebrew, etc., and Dexter Lecturer in Harvard University. Boston: James Munroe & Co. 1846. 12mo. pp. 290.
Of Greek poetry earlier than Hesiod's Theogony we have only a few fragments, and those of doubtful genuineness ; and how gross are the religious ideas that pervade the Theogony few of our readers can need to be told. Its gods are base-born and depraved, clothed with every brutal and fiendish attribute ; and they are made to reach their respective seats of empire, and to attain their due prerogatives, only after a series of conflicts, a comparison with which might give dignity to a modern prize-fight, or attach tasteful associations to the passages at arms between the feline combatants that wrangle while we write. From a much earlier antiquity have come down to us the Psalms of David, and with them, in the historical books of the Jewish canon, numerous traits of the domestic and social condition of the Hebrews during David's reign, indicating a grossness and barbarity of taste, manners, and institutions vastly below the starting-point of authentic Greek history, and not many degrees in advance of the aborigines of North America. Yet to that rude age and people,
and to their half-savage king, we are indebted for a collection of sublime religious lyrics, which bear up the soul of man, in harmony with the worship of universal nature, to the one omnipotent and all-pervading Spirit, and which adequately express the most comprehensive views of the divine unity and sovereignty, and the deepest emotions of trust, gratitude, and praise, that can fill the Christian mind and heart. Whence this heaven-wide contrast? We can account for it only by supposing, that the warrior-king had access to fountains of higher inspiration than those that gushed from Helicon.
We might draw a similar inference from the translucency of the Psalms, and of the Hebrew poetry in general, through the most obscure and inaccurate version. These writings, hardly half “done into English” by King James's translators, often so rendered as not to suggest a tithe of the original signification, often gratuitously hampered with self-contradictions and perverted by gross anachronisms, are yet no less precious and nutritive to the pure and cultivated literary taste than they are to devotional feeling. Though uncounted gems of fancy, though metaphors more brilliant and graphic than all antiquity beside can furnish, lie buried beneath the rubbish of unmeaning words, still so much remains unbidden, so many are the traits of beauty and grandeur that flash perpetually upon the readers of our common English Bible, that it is often difficult to convince them that the sacred poets could be read through a clearer and more satisfying medium. There are no other writings extant, which could afford to part with so much of their significance and spirit in the process of transfusion, and still present themselves rich in all the highest attributes of true poetry.
But many portions of these writings are read aphoristically, and are understood and admired in single passages, sentences, and phrases, and not in the continuous flow of thought and imagery. Few merely English readers expect to derive connected or congruous ideas from an entire chapter of Isaiah or Ezekiel, or would think of the possibility of tracing an unbroken thread of thought from the top to the bottom of a page. Many of the passages from the prophets, which adhere to every one's memory, and are constantly quoted in the pulpit and in religious conversation, lie hemmed in between portions on which an impenetrable darkness rests, and, no doubt, equally rested to the eyes of our translators. Nor, in saying this, let us be understood as speaking reproachfully of those venerable men to whom
we are indebted for our vernacular version of the Bible. Their work was a remarkable one for their times, especially when we consider that they wrought it, not of their own free will, in the underived consciousness of adequate scholarship, but by the choice and bidding of the most foolish monarch that ever sat on the throne of England. But they had access to few philological aids in their study of the Jewish Scriptures. The critical knowledge of the Hebrew tongue, in its infancy on the continent of Europe, had hardly been sought in England; for previous professed translations from the Hebrew had leaned upon the Septuagint and the Vulgate. Nor did King James leave his translators the liberty, either to omit rendering passages which they found unintelligible, or to indicate by marginal notes when the words in the text were designed to mean nothing. Yet there are manifestly many instances in which they have purposely so thrown together English words and phrases, as to preclude the possibility of their suggesting any signification whatever.
What else can have been the design of the following sentence, from the description of the leviathan or crocodile in Job, — “Lay thine hand upon him, remember the battle, do no more" ? a sentence which the grammatical construction, without violence, permits us to render, — “If thou lay thy hand upon him, thou wilt no more remember the bat
For another specimen of the absolutely unintelligible in our common version, we might refer to a passage, the phraseology of which is familiar to every ear, but which suggests only two or three glimmerings of sense in a dreary waste of words ; namely, the first five verses of the ninth chapter of Isaiah, constituting the greater part of the Christmas morning lesson in the services of the Episcopal Church. Our readers may perhaps have become so accustomed to the sound of these words, as to think that they understand them; but we would defy the most cunning “ interpreter of dark sentences to bring the last member of the third verse into harmony with the first, or to assign a meaning to the Italicized portion of the following sentence: “Every
This, or something similar, was the translation given by Dr. Noyes, in the first edition of his JobOn referring to his second edition, we find a much less significant rendering, and one for which, on examination of the Hebrew sentence, we can discover no philological grounds of preference.