Page images
PDF
EPUB

Vive Roque, que es la señora nuestra ama mas ligera que un alcotan, y que puede ensenar al mas diestro Cordobes o Mexicano.

" By the Lord Harry, quoth Sancho, our “ Lady Mistress is as nimble as an eel. “ Let me be hang’d, if I don't think she t6 might teach the best Jockey in Cordova or $ Mexico to mount a-horseback.” Motteux.

.“ By St Roque, cried Sancho, my Lady “ Mistress is as light as a hawk *, and can s teach the most dextrous horseman to * ride." Smollet.

The chapter which treats of the puppetshow, is well translated both by Motteux and Smollet. But the discourse of the boy who explains the story of the piece, in Motteux's translation, appears somewhat more consonant to the phraseology commonly

U 2

* Mas ligera que un alcotan is more literally translated by Smollet than by Motteux ; but if Smollet piqued himself en · fidelity, why was Cordobes o Mericano omitted.

used on such occasions :-“ Now, gentle“ men, in the next place, mark that perso“ nage that peeps out there with a crown “ on his head, and a sceptre in his hand : “ That's the Emperor Charlemain.—Mind “ how the Emperor turns his back up“ on him.-Don't you see that Moor; "-hear what a smack he gives on her “ sweet lips, — and see how she spits “ and wipes her mouth with her white “ smoke-sleeve. See how she takes on, 6 and tears her hair for very madness, “ as if it was to blame for this affront.“ Now mind what a din and hurly-burly “ there is.” Motteux. This jargon appears to me to be more characteristic of the speaker than the following : ' “ And " that personage who now appears with a “ crown on his head and a sceptre in his “ hånd, is the Emperor Charlemagne.-Be" hold how the Emperor turns about and “ walks off.—Don't you see that Moor ;“ Now mind how he prints a kiss in the “ very middle of her lips, and with what “ eagerness she spits, and wipes them with “ the sleeve of her shift, lamenting aloud, “ and tearing for anger her beautiful hair, “ as if it had been guilty of the trans“ gression *.”

In the same scene of the puppet-show, the scraps of the old Moorish ballad are translated by Motteux with a corresponding naïveté of expression, which it seems to me impossible to exceed.

[ocr errors][merged small]

* Smollet has here mistaken the sense of the original, como si ellos tuvieran la culpa del maleficio : She did not blame the hair for being guilty of the transgression or offence, but for being the cause of the Moor's transgression, or, as Motteux has properly translated it, “ this affront.” In another part of the same chapter, Smollet has likewise mistaken the sense of the original. When the boy remarks, that the Moors don't observe much form or ceremony in their judicial trials, Don Quixote contradicts him, and tells him there must always be a regular process and examination of evidence to prove matters of fact, “ para sacar una verdad en limpio, menester son muchas pruebas y repruebas." Smollet applies this observation of the Knight to the boy's long-winded story, and translates the passage, “ There is not so much proof ! and counter proof required to bring truth to light.” In both these passages Smollet has departed from his prototype, Jarvis.

Jugando está a las tablas Don Gayféros,
Que ya de Melisendra está olvidado.

“ Now Gayferos the live-long day,
« Oh, errant shame! at draughts doth play ;
And, as at court most husbands do,
* Forgets his lady fair and true.” Motteut.

« Now Gayferos at tables playing,
Of Melisendra thinks no more."

Smollet.

Caballero, si á Francia ides,
Por Gayféros preguntad.

“ Quoth Melisendra, if perchance,
5 Sir Traveller, you go for France,
* For pity's sake, ask, when you're there,
For Gayferos, my husband dear.” Motteux.

** Sir Knight, if you to France do go, " For Gayferos inquire.” Smollet.

was

How miserably does the new translation sink in the above comparison ! Yet Smollet was a good poet, and most of the verse translations interspersed through this work are executed with ability. It is on this head that Motteux has assumed to himself the greatest licence. He has very presumptuously mutilated the poetry of Cervantes, by leaving out many entire stanzas from the larger compositions, and suppressing some of the smaller altogether : Yet the translation of those parts which he has retained, is possessed of much poetical merit; and in particular, those verses which are of a graver cast, are, in my opinion, superior to those of his rival. The song in the first volume, which in the original is entitled, Cana cion de Grisóstomo, and which Motteux has entitled, The Despairing Lover, is greatly abridged by the suppression of more than one-half of the stanzas in the original ; but the translation, so far as it goes, is highly poetical. The translation of this song by Smollet, though inferior as a poem, is, perhaps, more valuable on the whole, because more complete. There is, however, only a single passage, in which he maintains with Motteux a contest which is nearly equal ;

U 4

O thou, whose cruelty and hate,

The tortures of my breast proclaim,
Behold, how willingly to fate

I offer this devoted frame.

« PreviousContinue »