Imatges de pÓgina

foreigner, who is so far from being acquainted with the pronunciation of our language, that he often mistakes the signification of the most common words ; of which there are many remarkable instances in this boasted translation of Julius Cæsar ; for he does not know that the word course fig. nifies method of proceeding, but imagines it means a course of dishes, or a race. Brutus replies to Cassius's proposal to kill

Cæfar ;


Our course will seem too bloody, Caius Caffius,
To cut the head off, and then hack the limbs.
Like wrath in death, and envy afterwards :

For Antony is but a limb of Cæfar.
Thus it is translated by Mr. de Voltaire.

Cette course aux Romains paraitrait trop fanglante ;
On nous reprocherait la colêre & l'envie,
Si nous coupons la tête, & puis hachons les membres,
Car Antoine n'est rien qu'un membre de Cæsar.

The following ingenious note is added by the translator. The word course, says he,

perhaps perhaps: has, an allusion to the Lupercal course. It also signifies a service of dishes at table. It is very extraordinary that a man should set up for a translator, with fo little acquaintance in the language as not to be able to distinguish whether a word in a certain period signifies a race, a service of dishes, or a mode of conduct. In a piece entitled Guillaume de Vade, and attributed to Mr. de Voltaire, there is a blunder of the same kind. Polonius 'orders his daughter not to confide in the promises of Hamlet, who, being heir to the crown, cannot have liberty of choice in marriage like a private person. He must not, says the old statesman, carve for himself as vulgar persons do. The French author translates it, he must not cut his own victuals; and runs on about morsels, as if Hamlet's dinner, not his marriage, had been the subject of debate. The translator knew not that the word carve is often used metaphorically in our language for a person's framing or fashioning his lot or portion. We say, the lover feeds on hope ; the warrior thirsts for glory : would it be


O 3

fair to translate that the lover eats a morsel of hope, and the warrior desires to drink a draught of glory? If such translations are állowed, the works of the most correct áuthor may be rendered ridiculous. It is apparent that Mr. de Voltaire has depended entirely on the assistance of a dictionary tò enable him to give the most faithful translation that can be, and the only faithful ones in the French language, of any autbor; ancient of

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It is necessary to present to those readers who do not understand French, the miserable mistakes and galimatheus of this dictionary work. Brutus, in his soliloquy meditating on what Cassius had been urging concerning Cæsar, thus expresses his apprehension, that imperiál power may change the conduct of the man.


'Tis a common proof,
That lowliness is young ambition's ladder,
i Whereto the climber upward turns his face ;

But when he once attains the upmost round,


He then unto the ladder turns his back,
Looks in the clouds, scorning the base degrees

By which he did ascend. So Cæsar may.
Thus Mr. Voltaire translates it,


On sait affez quelle est l'ambition.
L'échelle des grandeurs à ses yeux se présente ;
Elle y monte en cachant son front aux spectateurs ;
Et quand elle est haut, alors elle se montre ;
Alors jusques au ciel élevant ses regards,
D'un coup d'oeil meprifant la vanité dédaigne
Les premiers échelons qui firent fa grandeur.
C'est ce que peut Cefar.

* One knows what ambition is: the ladder of grandeurs presents itself to her ; in going up the hides her face from the spectators; when she is at the top then she shews herself; then raising her view to the heavens, with a scornful look her vanity disdains the steps of the ladder that made her greatness. This it is that Cæfar



young ambiti

In the original, lowliness is on's ladder: the man who by feign'd humility,


and courtesy, has attained to the power to which he aspired, turns his back on those humble means by which he ascended to it; the metaphor agreeing both to the man who has gained the top of the ladder, or to him who has risen to the summit of power. In the translation, ambition ascends by steps of grandeurs, hiding her face from the spectators, when she is at the top, with a look or glance of her eye her vanity disdains the first steps ftre took; which steps observe were grandeurs ; fo the allegory is, vanity and ambition disdaining grandeur ; and the image presented is a woman climbing up a ladder, which is not a very common object, but more so than vanity's disdaining grandeurs,

I am sorry the translator had not a better English dictionary, for on that, not on his own knowledge of our tongue, it is plain he depended. In another instance it misleads him. After Porcia had importuned Brutus to communicate to her the secret cause of his perturbation, he says to her,


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