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Of lumber repellant to plain comprehension,
but the reader may be gratified in knowing that the illustrious personage so addressed ordered Elizabeth Wilcox a remittance of £100, which was paid to her by the Russian minister in London. Unfortunately some interfering literary character took upon himself to correct her second letter to the emperor, thanking him for the money, whereby it was divested of that originality, the loss of which is greatly to be regretted.
(k) Among the voluminous translations that have appeared, the following productions are particularly worthy to be recorded, namely, the lucubrations of Bernardin de St. Pierre, Zimmerman, and the Reflections of Sturm: the Agathon of Wieland also possesses great merit, to which we may subjoin the effusions of Mesdames Stael and Genlis, together with Pigault le Brun, whose attempts at the ludicrous have never yet failed of procuring him success. Some short time back it was expected that a very elaborate poem, on the subject of Charlemagne*,
* would have issued from the British press, concerning a translation of which the diurnal papers regularly teemed. To prove, however, how far such assertions were correct, the writer of the present note subjoins a letter written in reply to one forwarded to L. Bonaparte by a gentleman desirous of undertaking the translation, which will sufficiently demonstrate how far any credit is to be placed on the statements made in the London newspapers. .
* Since this note was written the work has appeared, accompanied by a translation.
Since each rank is bit with the rage for enditing, (1)
As if some Jennerian virus for writing
Sir, Thorngrove, near Worcester, Oct. 28, 1811.
Before he had received your letter, M. Lucien Bonaparte was acquainted with your name, and some of your very valuable literary productions; he has not as yet made up his mind about a translation of his poem, the publisher of which will be M. Miller of Albemarle-street, and he will be intrusted with the care of any thing belonging to the translation of it, if any is ever made with the author's approbation. It was through the public papers we heard for the first time of the proposed translation they have so much, and without our knowledge, spoken of.
I have the honour to be, Sir,
Your most obedient humble servant, (Signed)
As the following anecdotes applying to the subject of translation may not prove uninteresting, I shall attach the same to the present annotation, in the hope that they may afford a portion of amusement to some of
A Mr. Thomas Cockman, who translated a favourite work of Cicero, would have done better had he rendered the word
officia” duties in lieu of offices, as he has done. He further proceeds to illustrate one of Tully's Maxims, by the familiar and modern idea of " clapping a pistol to such a man's breast!”
Had brought into vogue this disease thro' the nation, And parliament sanction'd such inoculation :
Yet in spite of this anachronism, and a general meanness prevalent throughout the style, the work has run through several editions; and Creech, in his version of Theocritus, introduces the names of Tom, Will, Dick, and of one Wolf, into the same Idyll with Thynicus, Cunisca, &c. &c.
It is not, however, in England alone that bad translators are upon record: we read of a French student who translating from the New Testament “ Erat homo qui habebat manum aridam," “ Il y eut un homme qui avait une mechante haridelle.” “That mechante haridelle,” said his preceptor, “must serve to transport you from the regions of Latin science.” Manum aridam means a withered hand; but may be translated a worn out hackney, which latter construction was put upon it by the student.
Doctor's Commons, Monday, noon. Dr. Ducarel, with his compliments to Dr. Birch, leaves this note to acquaint him with the following anecdote of Dr. Ward, which he had yesterday of Mr. Gawler, schoolmaster at Lam| beth, late one of professor Ward's pupils; viz. That the said
Dr. Ward was the author of the dedication, preface, notes at the end, punctuation, &c. &c. in Pine's Horace; and that Pine, though he had a large subscription to that work, gave Dr. Ward,
So humbly entreating the pardon of those
Whose names unrecorded I doom to repose;
for all his pains, only the mean present of two copies thereof. Mr. Gawler had this information from Dr. Ward's own mouth.
Pope Sixtus IV., although he increased the Vatican collection with many valuable MSS., and encouraged the historian Platina by making him its librarian, had yet very little taste for learning and science, which the following story will sufficiently testify: Theodore Gaza, one of those literati who had fled from the barbarous conquerors of Constantinople, presented Pope Sixtus a translation of Cicero's works into the Greek language; the Pope, who having been a Cordelier full fifty years, enjoyed more pleasure from the questions of a Duns Scotus than the effusions of Tully, received the books coldly, cast them carelessly into a corner, and then ordered his chamberlain to give the author a sum by way of remuneration, which scarcely reimbursed him for the money he had expended in purchasing the parchment whereon his work was written. “ Fool that I was,” exclaimed the Greek in his own tongue, “ to think that such an ass had a relish for any other food than thistles!” Luckily for the proverbialist, the good Pope knew nothing of the Greek language.
(1) I shall now wind up my annotations with some specimens of the puff direct, which are so common in this land of trade and universal speculation.
Since I feel that with scribes nought on earth can so
grieve 'em, As thus in a darkness Cimmerian to leave 'em;
A noted shop for Boors and shoes,
Perhaps no workman in the Trade
In substance, texture, solid worth,
Search Oxford Street from end to end,
I do not deal in common stuff,
I'd sooner lose my cash than name,
In Oxford Street, at 4 and 1,
You there will see a pair of Boots