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intereft, and to leave to induftry its full operation and entire reward.'
The volume concludes with Remarks on War and Military Establishments; but, as the pen of the moralift will be little regarded in the eager claims of contending nations, we need not enlarge on this fubject. That part of the chapter which is more interesting, as it relates more nearly to domestic polity, and of courfe to human happinefs, is on the comparative advantages and disadvantages of a ftanding army. These are enumerated with judgment and propriety.
We have now purfued our author, in a brief detail, through this large volume, in which we have found much to praife, and little, very little, to blame. Thofe, indeed, who may be more diffatisfied than ourselves with separate parts, fhould read the whole with attention; for the reasoning is conducted with fo much art and precifion, the connections are so minute, that we sometimes begin to doubt of the corollary, though we afterwards find it drawn with accuracy, from an unexceptionable propofition. We mention this precaution against hafty and partial criticism, because we have been more than once on the brink of the precipice.
We need not now repeat thofe commendations which we have fo freely intermixed with our account of the work itself; and we shall only add, that the language is as clear and accurate as the principles are juft and unexceptionable. It is always to be diftinguished for its precifion, and that kind of elegance, which arifes from proper words in proper places.' There are few fentences which a critic would wish to amend; and there is fometimes an expreffive energy, which few could reach.
La Pucelle; or, the Maid of Orleans: From the French of Voltaire. The First Canto. 410. 25. Wilkie.
THO HOSE works whofe merit depend on the brilliancy of wit, the acuteness of fatire, and peculiar turns of language, are tranflated with difficulty, and their beauties are very imperfectly preferved. On this account, the humorous works of Swift, the inimitable Hudibras, and some others of the fame kind, lofe their fpirit in the tranflation; and our neighbours, with little fuccefs, look for that humour wirh which we are fo much delighted. La Pucelle, on the contrary, has hitherto had no proper reprefentative in English; and we approach only to the fprightliness and fimplicity of Fontaine. In our forty-ninth volume, we reviewed a probationary canto of the former, which stepped forward with an epic dignity, and feemed
to difdain the quirks, the quips, and wanton imiles,' of the original. It was Cato at the Floralia.. Our prefent tranflator comes nearer the author in his form. His Hudibrafic fuits better with the comic vein of the story, and his fancy is ready to finish what Voltaire fometimes leaves incomplete yet, on the whole, he is a faithful, and often a happy, tranflator. He has with-held the rest of the poem, from a diffidence of fuccefs but profeffes that he is not ftudious of profit,' though his affluence is not fufficient to make him indifferent to lofs.'
There are two very respectable defcriptions of men to whom the tranflator muft particularly addrefs himself: the periodical critics, who avow themselves the guardians of the public talte; and the men of grave characters, who, alarmed at the name of Voltaire, may, on this occafion, feel themfelves the guardians, and prepare to enter the lifts as the champions, of the public morals. To the former the tranflator muft announce himself the writer of amufement, and not of profeffion; but he wishes not, under any pretences, to obtain more than his due, and his object is not to preclude criticifm, but to depreciate feverity. Acquainted with the original, the ftyle of which, like that of all fatyrical writings in French verfe, is clofe, compreft, and abrupt; they must be fenfible of the difficulties of the undertaking, and it is only for the indulgences to which thefe may be entitled, that he prefumes to folicit. If, therefore, in adapting the poem to an English drefs, the tranflator has here and there been tempted to ufe fome little latitude in the conftruction, he has only to throw himself on the candour of his judges, and to hope that he has neither been fo frequent, nor fo licentious in the use of it, as to deftroy the general fenfe and fpirit of the author, to amplify his compreffion into weakness, or overlay the character of his wit with fuperfluous ornament. To the latter, the tranflator finds it lefs difficult to addrefs himself, for his literary delinquency he feels to be greater than his moral. The Pucelle is ufually marked with the most exceptionable of its extraordinary author's productions, but the tranflator cannot fubfcribe to the propriety of this difpofition; he allows, indeed, that the poet's wit is fometimes too wanton, and his fatire fometimes too undiftinguishing; but the frippery of a declining fuperftition, the abufes and corruptions of popery in particular, and of prieftcraft in general, feem to be the juft object of the one; and to entertain the fancy rather than taint the mind, is the obvious tendency of the other. It was under this alpect of the work, that the tranflation was undertaken, in which the tranflator trufts nothing will appear to juftify clafling him amongst the open, or the infidious, enemies of virtue or religion.'
We have preferved the author's defence entire, because we think it candid, and in general juft; but we fear, that though P 2
the objections to this poem are foftened by his fatire being called too undistinguishing, and his licentious wantonness entertainment of the fancy, yet, together, they have raised fuch a hoft of enemies, as to prevent the fuccefs of a translation. While we are pleased with the author's wit, and amused with his descriptions, we cannot approve of undistinguishing attacks or lively fancy. No one, as Mr. Paley obferves, can answer to a fneer, or obviate the effect of a warm defcription by a moral leffon. It is, however, our present business to examine the translation; not to fit in judgment on the original.
As the author had prepared us for a little amplification, we were not furprifed to find an additional couplet, to exprefs a word or two, which could not be introduced into the former one; we were generally amufed at the eafy flow of verfification, and often at the happy imitation of the original. But the following lines, though lively and harmonious, are a little too far extended for the original,, which we have fubjoined.
• Le diner fait, on digère, on raifonne,
Et fur la fin de ce fortuné jour
With flowing gowns, and pompous wigs,
Till paffion founds the charge anew,
Till wak'd by fuch another day.'
But, in fpite of this amplification, we now and then perceive fome flight omiffions. One, which we remarked in our account of the former tranflation, occurs alfo in this, viz. amour est un grand fard.' If the following lines are intended to include it, they lofe the force of the original, by extending the expreffion.
"Tis love, 'tis pleafure, muft difclofe, And give at once the full-grown rose.'
The French may now retort the fatire, and speak of their line of bullion ornamenting whole, pages, when drawn into Englif wire.
On the whole, however, we have.not feen a more happy verfion of this celebrated poem. The tranflator feems to have understood his author, and to have preferved his brilliancy: if the poignancy is lefiened, it has arifen chiefly from his defire of leaving no drop of this immortal man.'
For those who wish to compare the different tranflations, we shall select, as a specimen, the fame paffage which we quoted from the former verfion, in page 224, of our fortyninth Volume. That is written in more finished verfe, and is nearer to the words of the original. This approaches more closely to the careless, roguish manner of Voltaire. The features are often exactly traced in a picture, where, from a neglect of the air and manner, we find no great refemblance of the original.
Le bon Roi Charle, au printems de fes jours,
Le taille & l'air de la nymphe des bois,
L'art d' Arachne, le doux chant des firénes;
La voir, l'aimer, fentir l'ardeur brulante
A form of that fuperior kind
As leaves defcription far behind;
A pow'r to lead the world in chains;