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“ but withal soothing and pleasing ; so she “ has been accused of procuring lovers for “ her sister (Design), and artfully engaging “ us to admire her.”

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But there are certain species of poetry, of the merits of which it will be found impossible to convey the smallest idea in a prose translation. Such is Lyric poetry,' where a greater degree of irregularity of thought, and a more unrestained exuberance of fancy, is allowable than in any other species of composition. To attempt, therefore, a translation of a lyric poem into prose, is the most absurd of all undertakings ; for those very characters of the original which are essential to it, and which constitute its highest beauties, if transferred to a prose translation, become unpardonable blemishes. The excursive range of the sentiments, and the play of fancy, which we admire in the original, degenerate in the translation into mere raving and impertinence. Of this the translation of Horace in prose, by Smart, furnishes proofs in every page.

We may certainly, from the foregoing observations, conclude, that it is impossible to do complete justice to any species of poetical composition in a prose translation ; in other words, that none but a poet can translate a poet.

CHAPTER IX.

Third General Rule-A Translation should have all the Ease of Original Composition.

-Extreme difficulty in the observance of this Rule.-Contrasted Instances of Success and Failure.Of the Necessity of sometimes sacrificing one Rule to another.

It now remains, that we consider the third general law of Translation.

In order that the merit of the original work may be so completely transfused as to produce its full effect, it is necessary, not only that the translation should contain a perfect transcript of the sentiments of the original, and present likewise a resemblance

of its style and manner ; but, That the translation should have all the ease of original composition.

When we consider those restraints within which a translator finds himself necessarily confined, with regard to the sentiments and manner of his original, it will soon appear, that this last requisite includes the most difficult part of his task * It is not easy for one who walks in trammels, to exhibit an air of grace and freedom. It is difficult, even for a capital painter, to preserve in a copy of a picture all the ease and spirit of the original ; yet the painter employs precisely the same colours, and has no other care than faithfully to imitate the touch and manner of the picture that is before him. If the original is easy and graceful, the copy will have the same qualities, in proportion as the imitation is just and perfect. The translator's task is very different : He uses not the same colours with the original, but is required to give his picture the same force and effect. He is not allowed to copy the touches of the original, yet is required, by

*« Quand il s'agit de représenter dans une autre langue “ les choses, les pensées, les expressions, les tours, les tons “ d'un ouvrage ; les choses telles qu'elles sont, sans rien ajou“ ter, ni retrancher, ni déplacer ; les pensées dans leurs cous “ leurs, leurs degrés, leurs nuances ; les tours, qui donnent le feu, l'esprit, et la vie au discours ; les expressions natu“ relles, figurées, fortes, riches, gracieuses, délicates, &c. le « tout d'après un modele qui commande durement, et qui “ veut qu'on lui obéisse d'un air aisé ; il faut, sinon autant de “ génie, du moins autant de gout pour bien traduire, que pour “ composer. Peutêtre même en faut il davantage. L'auteur qui

compose, conduit seulement par une sorte d'instinct toujours « libre, et par sa matiere qui lui présente des idées, qu'il peut « accepter ou rejetter à son gré, est maître absolu de ses pen“ sées et de ses expressions : si la pensée ne lui convient pas, “ ou si l'expression ne convient pas à la pensée, il peut rejetter, F l'une et l'autre; quæ desperat tractata nitescere posse, relin

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" quit. Le traducteur n'est maître de rien ; il est obligé de “ suivre partout son auteur, et de se plier à toutes ses varia“ tions avec une souplesse infinie. Qu'on en juge par la vam * riété des tons qui se trouvent nécessairement dans une “ même sujet, et à plus forte raison dans un même genre.« Quelle idée done ne doit-on pas avoir d'une traduction faite " avec succès ?"

BATTEUX, De la Construction Oratoire, Par. 2. .

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