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feel at home himself, but to be sure that his readers will at once make themselves very much at home with him. In such familiar epistles, the reader, to use a homely phrase, is invited to take potluck” with his author; and, in our monthly entertainment, this has often been more relished than any thing on the board.

We are also under obligations to a correspondent, who signs himself, R, for having furnished us with many interesting speculations. As often as he will write, the publick, we doubt not, will read, and we shall publish, with equal pleasure.

The faults of our work, of which no one can be more sensible than the editors, result from causes, which we can only hope to counteract, but not entirely to remove. The ANTHOLOGY has hitherto been supported by the unpaid and unregulated contributions of a few literary men, who are pleased when the publick profits by their reading, or shares in their amusements. They have yet had no extraordina ry stimulus to write, but the friendly curiosity and occasional encomiums of men like themselves. They are not enlisted in the support of any denomination of prejudices; nor are they inspired with the fanaticism of literary crusaders, associated to plant their standards on territory recovered from heathens or hereticks. They are satisfied, if they in any way contribute to the mild influence of our common christianity, and to the elegant tranquillity of literary life. They are gentle knights, who wish to guard the seats of taste and morals at home, from the incursions of the "paynim host;" happy, if they should now and then rescue a fair captive from the giants of romance, or dissolve the spell, in which many a youthful genius is held, by the enchantments of corrupt literature. If with these objects, they can retain the pleasures of lettered society,

Mundaeque parvo sub lare pauperum

Coenae, sine aulaeis et ostro,
Sollicitam explicuere frontem,

they will try to be as insensible to the neglect or contumely of the great vulgar and the small, as they are to the pelting of the pitiless storm without, when taste and good humour sit round the fire within.

The imperfections of our work, however, will yet arise, as heretofore, from the number of hands employed to fill its pages. Incon

sistencies of opinion, and varieties of taste will occasionally appear in a Magazine like this, which does not pass under the rigorous review of any single editor. Our only invariable wish will be, to avoid every thing, which may raise a blush on the cheek of the pure, or offend the enlightened reason of serious and charitable readers.

In entering on another year, we shall not suffer ourselves to be betrayed into magnificent promises, though we have new inducements to more various and vigorous exertions. The facility, with which the promises of editors are made at the present day, is exceeded only by the indifference, with which they are broken. If we have hitherto been less sanguine in promise, and more equable in performance than others, it is because, writing only to amuse and meliorate ourselves and others, we have never engaged to excite the passions, or gratify the prejudices of any party or sect. We have satisfied ourselves, if not the publick, when we have in any honourable way checked the presumptuousness of literary vanity, corrected the mistakes of reputable authors, exposed the disingenuousness of editors or publishers, encouraged the rare spirit of learned labour, rebuked the intolerance of demagogues in church or state, or in any degree promoted the cause of correct criticism, pure morals, serious and rational faith, under a generous toleration of every thing but folly, malice, fraud, or impiety.

We can venture, however, to tell the publick, that though our work has always had more readers than subscribers, a distinction more honourable than profitable, the effective patronage of the ANTHOLOGY is rapidly extending. It will in future make two volumes a year; and, as we have chosen to enlarge the circle of our labours, we will now give a short previous survey, that the publick may know the character, to which, though our work should never attain, we hope it will never cease to aspire.

American literature is not a tract where we expect any regular annual product, or where we are sure of constant improvements from the hand of well directed industry; but it is rather a kind of half cleared and half cultivated country, where you may travel till you are. out of breath, without starting any rare game, and be obliged to sit. down day after day to the same coarse, insipid fare. Of this, however, we are confident, that, as long as the price of paper in England continues so high, our presses will teem with republished novelties;

and the worst and lightest productions of English literature will continue to be scattered over our country with undistinguishing profusion. This state of the American press calls upon us for increasing vigilance, especially since we have found, in more instances than one, that some republishers and editors are not very scrupulous of alterations. With respect to native productions, we are sensible, that the office of a reviewer is a far more responsible one, than those are ready to imagine, who think it only a station, where they may praise without measure, or lacerate with impunity. We wish all our correspondents to remember, that to review well a book, that is worth reviewing, requires much accuracy, more candour, sometimes patient research, and always careful attention to grammar and propriety. The retrospective review, which we last year commenced, we hope to continue with success. In this part of our work we again solicit the aid of those, who are curious in exploring American history, or who have in their possession any rare and valuable works, relating to the literature of this country. A critique, or analysis of Mather's Magnalia, and of all our provincial histories are among our first desiderata in this branch. The miscellany department of our work will be conducted, with a particular regard in our selections to the deficiencies of American literature; and we conclude by renewing our wishes to our original correspondents, that the ANTHOLOGY may yet be the repository of the sound literature of NEW ENGLAND.



No. I.

Vos exemplaria Romana

Nocturna versate manu, versate diurna.
HOR. AR. po. 266.

THE Art of Translating, which enables us to incorporate the knowledge and improvements of all ages and countries in our own language, was sparingly cultivated by the ancients. Some of the Roman classicks, indeed, recommended translation as an exercise to improve in a language, which had become the repository of knowledge and works of taste; but no authors entire are found to have been rendered into their vernacular tongue. Quintilian and Pliny the Younger have lavished their advice upon others to adventure in a task, whose rules they were more ready to impose than to exemplify; and Cicero has added to his own recommendations on the subject, a few fragments of translations from Xenophon, Plato, and Aratus. But the rhetoricians and philosophers of Rome were satisfied with knowing the rules and theories of the Grecian schools; and, when they adopted them, they scrupled not to clothe them in a garb of their own manufacture. The poets, like most of their successors to the present time, considered the allusions, the imagery, and even the story and the fable, gained through the medium of a foreign language, as so much property acquired for their own With a sufficient degree of pride in their learning and taste, they were probably more desirous of boasting of their own genius, and originality, and native resources, than of adding to the fame of a country, which had acquired a high reputation for its wise and learned men.


Whatever influence may be ascribed to Roman pride in this respect, the moderns are free both from the danger and the imputation of that arrogance, which disclaims all assistance from the learning of the ancients. The days of Grecian and Roman literature are too remote to excite envy. It is our pride to know what the ancients knew; to detect their errours in moral and physical science; and to relish and emulate their productions of genius and taste. Our danger is that excessive reverence for antiquity, which shall make us susceptible of those frantick notions of liberty, that many of its writ ers impart, and which shall give us a visionary basis for the foundation of our moral principles. Without instituting any comparison between the progress of mankind in literature and the arts at the present age and in former times; I shall here only remark, that by means of translation we give an intelligible form and substance to the writings of antiquity, in order to gratify the curiosity and extend the knowledge of our contemporaries.

Little has been written professedly on the qualities of a good translation; and I shall not undertake to discuss them. It may be said

* Several numbers under this title, originally appeared in the Literary Miscellany, a periodical work, which was published at the University press in Cambridge for two years, 1805 and 1806, and was then discontinued. The writer has ⚫onsented to the republishing of those numbers in the Monthly Anthology, with a view to continue them.

briefly, that they consist in a faithful representation of the ideas of the original author, an imitation of his manner, and a strict regard to the idiom of the language into which he is translated.

In an anonymous Essay on the principles of translation,* nearly the same requisites, but attended with more severe restrictions, are comprised in these three propositions :

I. That the translation should give a complete transcript of the ideas of the original work.

II. That the style and manner of writing should be of the same character with that of the original.

III. That the translation should have all the ease of original composition.

These several qualities of a good translation, if not wholly incompatible, can be expected to meet rarely in the same work: for who can point to us a performance, which exhibits at once the ease and gracefulness of original writing, and the peculiar character of the author's composition? In most cases of translated works, it requires not the nice discernment of a connoisseur in style, to distinguish a copy from an original. The translator who is accurately acquainted with the language of the writer he is to translate, has in general an easy task to express his meaning; but to imitate his manner, to rise with him in all the majesty of diction, or sink to his feeble and listless phraseology; to pass from the blandishments of the softer affections to the fury of infernal passions; to lift the gentle voice of praise, or assume the angry tone of the censor; to combine the gloomy epithets of a saturnine philosophy, or to acquire the vivacity and playfulness of the man of the world, requires little less versatility of powers, than to excel in the various descriptions of original composition. From the multiplicity of books, both ancient and modern, which have been translated into our own language, it would seem that we are determined to lose nothing, that can afford either instruction or amusement. Unfortunately too these productions are not always considered as acquisitions to learning by those who are accustomed to speak, to read, and to write pure English. It is really amusing to see what sort of shew is made by the many Grecisms, and Latinisms, and Gallicisms, which are exhibited in these various translations: in the same way as we are diverted to hear half-learned foreigners discourse in barbarous phraseology, and epithets ludicrously misapplied. But they are not observed by the refined scholar without some concern; since they tend in a degree to corrupt a language, which it is equally his pride and pleasure to preserve from all impurities. The principles of a good translation have indeed been so frequently violated, that we may, with some reservation, complain with Denham:

Such is our pride, our folly, or our fate,

That few, but such as cannot write, translate.

Still there have been many successful attempts to exhibit the authors of ancient times to the English reader, which cannot be too

This anonymous Essay is ascribed by Sir Wm. Forbes, the biographer of Dr. Beattie, to the Hon. Alexander Fraser Tytler, Lord Woodhouselee, author of the Elements of general history, ancient and modern. See Beattie's Life, Appendix, p. 515.

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