Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub

that earthquakes, which are frequent in the neighbourhood of volcanoes, often sink large tracts of land to great depths. But the present earth bears on its surface many evident marks of its being only of a recent formation, when compared with that antiquity which many are apt to ascribe to it. It is well known, that the foil increases by decayed vegetables, and by the sediment deposited on it, from dews, rains, and snow. The thickness or thinness of -the foil indicates a greater or less time of accumulation. Now it appears, from observations which have been made in many parts of the globe, that where the surface of the earth is composed of the same materials, and situation and climate agree, the thickness of vegetable foil is the fame. But at this day, it has not acquired such a degree of growth, thar from any olculatipns which we can make we should compute its origin farther back than the deluge under Noah, according to the Mosaic account.'

This publication is fitted to impart useful information to a variety ot readers. It is one recommendation of it, that the Author has, as he himself expresses if, endeavoured as much as possib'e to adapt his diicourses to common capacities, and therefore has n')t introduced mathematical demonstration, nor minute discussion on philosophical subjects. He intimates that should it be thought worthy of a second edition, some parts of it might be corrected, and others more fully elucidated, and farther, that he has materials for a second volume, extending his observations to the establishment of the twelve tribes in Canaan. We can en! farther remark, that if a handsome subscription is an encouragement to such kind of publications, this Mr. Miln has obtained; and we trust the present performance is of a kind that will in a good degree answer the wishes and expectations of thole who have been willing to receive it under their protection, and countenance. tfJ _ ^

Art. III. kSU* 0!^-0 Jl j\jq}D L_>U£=>

SeleJl Odes from the Persian Poet HAFEZ. Translated into English Verse, with Notes critical and explanatory, by John Nott. 4to. 10s. 6d. sewed. Cadell. 1787.

OF the sprightly and voluptuous Bard of Shiraz, the name and character are sufficiently known to Orientalists. It may however excite the curiosity of the English reader to be informed, that the Poet, here introduced to his notice, conciliated the favour of an offended Emperor, by the delicacy of bis wit, and the elegance of his verses: that the most powerful monarchs of the East sought in vain to draw him from the enjoyment of literary retirement, and to purchase the praises of his Muse by all the honours and splendour of a court: and that his works were not only the admiration of the jovial and the gay, but the manual of mystic piety to the superstitious Mahometan, the

oracle, oracle, which, like the Sortes Virgiliana, determined the councils of the wife, and prognosticated the fate of armies and of states.

Mr. Nott has translated 17 Odes of Hafez, and has published them, together with the originals, with the laudable design of promoting the stu-iy of the Persian language. In his Preface, he modestly disclaims all pretensions to novelty of remark, content* ing himself with the praise of directing the attention of his readers to what has been already s'id by others. He pays a just tribute of respect to the Count Reviski, Mr. Richardson, and Sir W. Jones, in whose steps he professes to tread, not however with such implicit reverence as to leave no room for the exercise of his own j dgment. Should this specimen be approved, he gives us reason to expect in his future labours more accurate and profound researches into the principles of the Persian language, and claims the privilege, in the mean time, of being tried not by the excellence or imperfection of his work considered abstractedly, but by its correspondence with the plan he professes to have laid down. We have ever considered the study of the Persian language as a matter of so much consequence, not only in a literary, but a commercial view, that we shall not stop to examine the propriety of this requisition; and we trust that nothing that may fall from us will be thought to intimate a design of discouraging any future work with which Mr. Nott may propose to favour the Public. The most irksome pare of our task will be the examination of the 12th Ode, a translation of which was first published in the very elegant Persian grammar of a celebrated Orientalist. It is not indeed always fair to judge of an author's merit by comparing him with other writers who have treated similar subjects. But a new version of a composition already translated by the pen of Sir W. Jones, seems to challenge comparison as well as attention, and perhaps even to urge a claim to superiority, on which it is the province of criticism to decide. We certainly cannot offer a more acceptable present to our Readers; and, if this were Mr. Nott's design, we may possibly gratify him, by reprinting his own verses together with those of his predecessor.

Sir W. Jones's translation runs thus—

"Sweet maid, if thou wouldst charm my fight,

And bid these arms thy neck infold;

That rosy cheek, that lily hand

Would give thy Poet more delight

Than all Bocara's vaunted gold,

Than all the gerr»s of Samarcand.

"Boy, let yon * liquid ruby flow, And bid thy pensive heart be glad, — 1

* A melted ruby is a common periphrasis for wine in Persian poetry.

Whate'er Whate'er the frowning zealots fay; \

Tell them their Eden cannot shew
A stream so clear as Rocnabad,
A bow'r so sweet as Mosellay.

"Oh! when these fair, perfidious maids,
"Whose eyes our secret haunts infest,
Their dear destructive charms display.
Each glance my tender breast invades.
And robs my wounded soul of rest,
As Tartars seize their destin'd prey.

•' In vain with love our bosoms glow:
Can all our tears, can all our sighs
New lustre to those charms impart t
Can cheeks where living roses blow,
Where Nature spreads her richest dyes,
Require the borrow'd gloss of art?

"Speak not of fate—ah! change the theme.

And talk of odours, talk of wine,

Talk of the flow'rs that round us bloom;

*Tis all a cloud, 'tis all a dream;

To love and joy thy thoughts confine,

Nor hope to pierce the sacred gloom.

"Beauty has such resistless pow'r,
That ev'n the chaste Egyptian dame
Sigh'd/or the blooming Hebrew boy:
For her how fatal was the hour,
When to the banks of Nilus came
A youth so lovely, and so coy!

"But ah! sweet maid, my counsel hear;
(Youth should attend when those advise
Whom long experience renders sage)
While music charms the ravKh'd ear,
While sparkling cups delight our eyes.
Be gay; and scorn the frowns of age.

"What cruel answer have I heard!
And yet, by Heav'n, I love thee still:
Can ought be cruel from thy lip?
Yet say, how fell that bitter word
From lips which streams of sweetness fill,
Which nought but drops of honey sip r

*' Go boldly forth, my simple lay,
Whose accents flow with artless ease,
Like Orient pearls at random strung;
Thy notes are sweet, the damsels fay,
But oh, far sweeter, if they please
The nymph for whom these notes are fung!"
Mr. Nott's version of the Ode is as follows:
4 O pride of Shiraz, nymph divine,
Accept my heart, and yield me thine:

Ther

Then, were its price all Samarcand,
The wealth Bokhara's walls command,
That pretty mole of dusky die,
Thy cheek displays, I'd gladly buy.

* Bring, bring the goblet, boy, let's drain
Each drop that it may yet contain:

For fare in all th' enchanted ground
Of Paradise, there are not sound
The fountain brinks of Rocnabad,
Mosella's bow'rs with roses clad.

* The tumult which these beauties raise.
With manners sweet, with wanton ways,;
Whose charms our city's peace annoy,
Snatch from my breast each tranquil joy;
So Turks rapacious bear away

The viands, their devoted prey.
'True beauty scorns imperfect love,
That courts what art and dress improve;
Can ought be wanting to that face.
To which the little mole gives grace,
A native bloom, complexion fair,
And ringlets of surrounding hair?

« Girls, whose brisk dance provokes to joy.
And wine, thy converse should employ;
Nor with too much presumption try
The depths of vast futurity;
Such mysteries all wisdom's lore
Ne'er could, nor ever can explore,

* I know how once the wanton prest
The bashful stripling to her breast:
As Joseph's rsauties riper grew,
Zuleikha's ^affion ripen'd too;

Till love, grown bold, at length threw by

Th'incumbring veil of chastity.

« Let precept, and instruction sage,

My valued nymph, thy mind engage;

for docile youth will not despise

The dictates of the old and wife:

To these it lends a willing ear,

And more than life esteems them dear,'

* The language anger prompts I bear;
If kind thy speech, I bless «iy fair:
But is it fit that words of gall

from lovely lips, like thine, should fall?
Lips that outblufh the ruby's red,
With luscious dews of sweetness fed I

'The verses that compose thy song

Are pearls in beauteous order strung;

Then be the tuneful magic pour'd

From forth thy lips; for heav'n has showerU

Such

Such brilliance, Hafez, on thy lays
As gilds the sparkling Pleiades.'

Mr. Nott's first stanza is certainly more faithful to the original than Sir William's. Hafez would give the wealth of Samarcand and Bokhara for the mole, /j£o«<-\\^ , fcL.

the Indian mole (as he calls it, probably in allusion to its colour) on his mistress's cheek. The loss of this idea, which is exquisitely tender and affectionate, is not adequately compensated by the spirited, but more general turn of Sir W. Jones's translation. Mr. Nott retains the fense of Hafez, though but little of his manner. The arrangement of his words is too much inverted, and the whole texture of the sentence at once roo artificial and too feeble. The last line in particular, where we might have expected most vigour, neither exhibits elegance, nor expresses passion. The second and third stanzas of our Author have nearly the fame character. In the second, the second line is absolute prose. In the third line the epithet enchanted, as it is not to be found in the original, which has simply Ovo>. the garden,

Xxt ifeX"*' f° wnen applied to Paradise, it is evidently gross and improper. The three concluding lines, though more minute and descriptive, as well as more faithful to the original, are certainly less elegant than those of Sir W. Jones. The wanton ways, as Mr. Nott renders r «j£,, and viands Uju Mji*^,

literally, feaji of plunder, in the 3d stanza, as they arc not to be found in Sir William Jones, are so much clear gain for which the English reader is indebted to Mr. Nott. The mere English reader, however, may be tempted to ask, how the verb snatch in the fourth line can agree with tumult in the first, with charms in the third, or indeed with any other noun in the sentence. In the seventh and ninth stanzas, and perhaps in the sixth, Mr. Nott certainly adheres more closely to the meaning of his author than Sir W. Jones. Indeed, we think his translation in general sufficiently faithful, though where it is least so, it is not always most elegant. Perhaps he often fails nimium premendo littus iniquum: Sir William, on the contrary, stretches a bolder fail, and launches widely into the ocean; nor have we any reason to regret that he sometimes for a moment even loses fight of shore, since he always brings back new beauties which that did not present to him.

To attempt any further comparison between the two translations, were to offer an insult to every reader of taste. The contrast is sufficiently strong, though, we fear, not much to the advantage of Mr. Nott. We wish, indeed, he had precluded the necessity of these strictures, by either omitting the Ode entirely, or by reprinting £ir W, Jones's elegant poem, instead of endeavouring

« ПредишнаНапред »