« IndietroContinua »
thought proper to vary the expres- Thunder is rending yonder sky, sion, and gives us “ from seas o'er And lightning wasting yonder clime, land, from land o'er ocean," probably But here, they lay their terrors by, for the purpose of showing his great And reverence the holy time. command of language. But we cannot help thinking that his alteration
This strain being finished, the drama
commences. entirely ruins the effect of the line.
The parallel between it “In conflict mad engaging." In read and the opening scene in Job (not
Meing this we feel as if we were setting Crithannah), is still carried on. our foot on a bit of rotten scaffolding, phistopheles comes forward and adand accordingly withdraw it as quick
dresses the Deity, who after some colly as possible, and leap on to the next. loquy, asks him, “Do you know
Faust ?" But what “deep-laid barriers built by
Now in giving the devil's the motions of the storm” may be, is
answer to this question, and the counmore than we can tell. The original ter-answer which he receives, we perinforms us that the restless agency of ceive that all the translators (Mr storms has the greatest possible effect Hayward not excepted) have entirely in quickening and forwarding the ope- logue. When the Deity asks “Do you
missed the point and spirit of the diarations of nature, namely, vegetation know Faust ?"—the translators make and so forth ; and there is some sense in that; but in this translation of the Mephistopheles rejoin,—“ Do you passage, there is none. In the last
mean Doctor Faust ?"-as if he reline, the word “ tenure" is evidently a
quired information, as not being sure mistake for “ tenor;" the former sig- meant, and to this the Deity is made
but what some other Faust might be nifying the condition upon which any thing is held, the latter its course or
to reply, “ Yes—my servant. Do going.
you know him?" But in our opinion Such is the manner in which Mr something far more dramatic and ef. Crithannah “closely imitates Goethe,”
fective than this is conveyed in the “ approaches to a display of his versi- original. In answer to the Deity's fication," and steers clear of « a
question, Mephistopheles replies, not cramped verbality.” Although mere
enquiringly, but sarcastically, “Oh! critics, we think we could do the thing you mean the Doctor ?"-giving him better ourselves, and shall accordingly his nickname in a tone of the bitterest make the attempt, although in trying scoffing, which irreverence is immeto cope with the original, we confess diately and sternly put down by the we feel somewhat in the predicament weighty rebuke, “ Meinen knecht,” of a pigmy endeavouring to clap the
—that is, “ He is my servant, mark head of a giant.
you, and must, therefore, be spoken of with respect. It is exactly as if one
person were to say to another, “ Do The sun is, yonder, leading loud
you know Maginn?” and that other The concert of the starry crowd,
were to rejoin,_" Oh ! to be sure, And, with a tread of thunder-force, who does not know the Doctor ?'" Fulfilling his appointed course.
and were immediately to meet with The angels gather, while they gaze, this rebuff from the first speaker-" I His strength, but fathom not his ways,
beg you to understand, sir, that he is There's not one trait of glory dimm'd
my most particular friend, and thereSince first creation's birth was hymn'd.
fore I cannot submit to hear him
called disrespectful nicknames." We And earth in rapid, rapid flight
hope that, in the next translation of Is whirling round, --you, yonder, mark
Faust, we may see this matter rectified Her dark side flashing into light,
by the light we have here hung out. And, in a moment, round to dark,
The aspiring nature of Faust's deThe sea is yonder raving hoarse,
sires, and the fruitlessness of his enThe rocks are yonder standing fast, deavours to get them gratified, are And sea and rocks, in endless course, next described by Mephistopheles, 'Mid racing spheres, are tearing past. whose language is thus interpreted.
We quote from Mr Blackie's transla
tion. And, yonder, storms in rising wrath
Are sweeping seas, and sweeping shores, “ His food and drink are of no earthly Dispersing powers along their path,
taste, That quicken earth through all her pores. His restless spirit drives him to the waste,
His madness he himself half understands; tains permission to tempt, and, if he The loveliest stars from heaven he de
can, to mislead Faust; in short, to mands,
work his will upon him, and we are And every highest joy that earth com« informed of the plan he intends to mands ;
pursue, in words to the following And all that's near, and all that's far,
effect:Sooths not his deep-moved spirit's war."
“ Like the famous old snake, my next of The original of these lines merely
kin, informs us that « Faust's food and
He shall feed on dust drink are not earthly ;” but the trans- With devouring lust, lator adds that they are of no earthly Headlong and hasty, taste.” Now, this is either a deser- For I'll make it tasty tion of correct colloquial language, or With all the relishing smack of sin." else it signifies that they are of no taste whatsoever an idiom certainly in com
And this brings us to the main body mon use, and which may be exemplified of the work, in which the designs of by our saying, that there is no earthly Mephistopheles are put in execution. occasion for the present amendment,
The character of Faust has been meaning thereby that there is no oc- greatly canvassed, both in this country casion whatsoever for it. But this and in Germany; about as much, latter interpretation is certainly not perhaps, as that of our own Hamlet. what the translator intends us to adopt, We do not think, therefore, that we and therefore we must pronounce him have much to add to what has already guilty of employing language not been said upon the subject. One opinreally used by men; or rather (which ion, however, (that of the late Mr is worse) of expressing himself in Coleridge, a great authority on such language really used by men when a subject) we must take this opportuthey would denote something different nity of dissenting from. Mr Colefrom that which is here intended to be ridge thought Faust “a failure,” (vide said. “ His restless spirit drives him Quarterly Review, vol. lii. p. 21.) to the waste.” This line denotes exactly His reasons for this conclusion are the opposite of what it ought to express.
thus stated. " He” (Mr C.) “conThe true meaning is, that his restless sidered the intended theme to be, the spirit drives him away from the waste, consequences of a misology, or hatred (that is, the waste region in which he and depreciation of knowledge, caused feels himself to be,) into the distant or by an originally intense thirst for the rernote, which he contemplates as knowledge baffled. But a love of presenting scenes far more delightful, knowledge for itself, and for pure ends, and as shining with all the verdure of would never produce such a misology; paradise. « Demands” and “ com- but only a love of it for base and unmands,” is no rhyme at all ; and the worthy purposes.” word “ war," in the last line is, if we Now, with great deference we hold, may say so, too much of one, for we in opposition to this doctrine, that certainly should not have met with it purity or impurity of ends has nothing here unless the word “far” had stood whatever to do with the matter; but immediately over its head. As it is, the that what lies at the basis of the conline would be much better without it. ception of Faust, and affords In a general point of view we think the ficient reason” for his misology, is whole
passage too cumbrous and over- precisely what is here objected to; loaded, and that it should have come namely, his love of knowledge for it. off more lightly, somewhat in this fan self—and this baffled. The love of shion-Mephistopheles loquitur :- knowledge for some object out of it
self-this, and this alone saves most of " As if no common human cheer
the world from being plunged into such Were good enough for him to sup, a misology as his. If all mankind were He strives to pour the far and near to indulge in a love of knowledge for Into one devouring cup,
itself alone, the world would very soon Would drink the stars, in his career,
be peopled with Fausts. Such a love And earth, with all her pleasures, up. of knowledge exercises itself in specu. And yet-poor fool! do all he will, 'Tis vain, -he cannot get his fill,
lation merely, and not in action ; and He cannot make his heart be still."
if the experiences of purely speculative
men were gathered, we think that Mephistopheles then asks and ob. most of them would be found to con
fess, bitterly confess, that indulgence Here am I-boast and wonder of the in abstract reflective thinking, (what
school; ever effect it may have ultimately Magister, Doctor, and I lead upon their nobler genius, supposing These ten years past my pupils' creed ; them to have one,) in the mean time
Winding, by dextrous words, with ease, absolutely kills, or appears to kill, all Their opinions as I please. the minor faculties of the soul-all the
And now to feel that nothing can be
known! lesser genial powers, upon the exercise of which the greater part of human
This is a thought which burns into my
heart. happiness depends. They would own,
I have been more acute than all these not without remorse, that pure speculation-that is, knowledge pursued for Doctors and authors, priests, philosophers;
triflers, itself alone-has often been tasted by
Have sounded all the depths of every them to be, as Coleridge elsewhere says, science. the bitterest and rottenest part of the Scruples, and the perplexity of doubt, core of the fruit of the forbidden tree.
Torment me not, nor fears of hell or devil; They would confess that they have at But I have lost all peace of mind : times felt philosophic reflection to be Whate'er I knew, or thought I knew, nothing less than an absolute refusal,
Seems now unmeaning or untrue. on their parts, to exercise their talents Unhappy, ignorant, and blind, in the manner in which God Almighty I cannot hope to teach mankind ;intended them to be exercised. Feel. Thus robb’d of learning's only pleasure, ing thus, and at the same time baMed Without dominion, rank, or treasure, in their pursuit, it is no wonder that Without one joy that earth can give, they should frequently become miso. Could dog-were I a dog-so live? logists, and precisely in this predica- Therefore to magic, with severe ment, and feeling habitually thus,
And patient toil, have I applied, stands the Faust before us as the true
Despairing of all other guide, representative of the class of thinkers
That from some spirit I might hear we are speaking of. If he had loved Deep truths to others unreveald, knowledge for end but knowledge
And mysteries from mankind seal'd; any --if he had loved it for the sake of
And never more, with shame of heart,
Teach things of which I know no part. 'wealth, for the sake of station, for the
Oh! for a glance into the earth! sake of power, he would have escaped To see below its dark foundations, all this—but loving it for no end but
Life's embryo seeds before their birth itself alone, it has brought him into And Nature's silent operationshis present troubles_it is but human
Thus end at once this vexing fever nature that it should have done som Of words--mere words-repeated ever. it has filled him with indignation and remorse ; and now, as the devil's prey, ground like a wounded tortoise. After
This translation gets over the he is ready to rush into what he conceives to be the very opposite ex.
reading it, we think it would have treme.
been impossible for words to have reHis soliloquy at the opening of the presented more faintly and feebly the drama affords, we think, the best key fretful fire, that, in the original pasto his feelings, character, and position; sage, leaks out in living jets from and therefore we shall quote a large
Faust's bosom ;—his sense of labour portion of it from the translators be
thrown away- his indignation-his fore us, commenting on their execu
irony—and his despair. It contains tion of the passage. Our first extract
all the vices of language we were conshall be from Dr Anster.
tending against at the beginning of tor" himself-an LL.D., and therefore, Oh! that I might but calmly tread perhaps, he could hardly have been In thy pure light the mountain's head. expected to enter completely, or at Round mountain-caves with spirits glide, least con amore, into the spirit of Or float o'er fields in thy waning tide, Faust's cruel sarcasm. But the fol. From all my knowledge qualms befreed, lowing, we can assure him, is what Bathe in thy dew-and feel relieved.” Faust intends to express-" Here am We need not waste our own time or I," says he, “ classed with masters, the reader's, by pausing to criticise and such scum,” (heisse doctor gar,) such stuff as this. Let us take a peep "and yea with doctors' by my soul!” into some of the other translations. -as if human degradation could not We carry on Faust's soliloquy from possibly sink lower. To “ lead” a the Hon. Mr Talbot's * version:person's creed, is hardly an allowable
this article, and which may be enume. Time.-Night.
rated in a very few words, when we SCENE-A high-arched narrow Gothic say that no man in Faust's situation chamber. would naturally speak so.
If the Faust at his desk-restless, words printed in italics, in the third Faust.
and fourth lines, were left out, the Alas! I have explored
sense would be as well, if not better, Philosophy and Law, and Medicine ; given. “ Here am I-boast and wonAnd over deep Divinity have pored, der of the school-Magister, Doctor." Studying with ardent and laborious zeal ; This is very far from depicting the And here I am at last, a very fool, bitter irony with which Faust is here With useless learning curst,
contemplating his magisterial and docNo wiser than at first !
torial honours. Mr Anster is a “doc
“ Oh! am I to this dungeon still conexpression : the right word is “ to
fined, shape.” Besides, if used at all, the
This cursed dismal hole, alas, expression should have been " I
Where cheerful daylight scarce can find have led. Then in the translation
A passage through the painted glass! a little further down, where Faust
Hemm'd in by books on every side, says, " I have been more acute than
Which dust begrimes, and worms devour, all these triflers,” &c., the spirit of the Which, wrapp'd in smoke-stained paper, original entirely evaporates. As in
tower, the preceding lines we found him iro- Up to the roof in dingy pride! nically classing himself with the doc
These tools—these phials--boxes without tors of the schools, so here he ought number to have been exhibited to us seriously Thi heir-loom trash, and other useless and vehemently asserting his real su- lumber, periority, and bursting high above In careless heaps together hurl'd them in the native and indignant ener- This is thy world-oh, to call this a gy of his soul. “ Could dog (were I
world !” a dog) so live?" We ask, would any There is no fair rhyme in the iteman, even in his most doggish mood, ration « confined" and « find". when speaking to himself, have natu- or worms devour” is a thousand derally interpolated such a parenthesis grees too strong, and does not express as that?
Would he not simply have the way in which these reptiles per said, as the original says, " not even a
petrate their depredations upon libradog would endure. the life that I am ries. We think we see them crunching leading?" But we shall make no
the boards, bolting the bindings, and more remarks upon these lines, as we growling over their prey.
- Which, intend, by and by, to endeavour to wrapped insmoke-stained paper, tower illustrate our notion of their spirit by up to the roof in dingy pride.' The trying our own hand upon the pas- books were not wrapped in smoke. sage, and shall thus give Dr Anster stained paper; the paper was simply and others an opportunity of retalias that with which the walls of his den ting, which we fear they will be at no were papered. The word “ tower" loss to do, if they choos to ke the
appears to us to be an overcharged trouble, as we all know that practice expression here, Faust feeling nothing is very different from theory, and that but the crampness of his situation ; to preach is one thing, and to perform but a still stronger illustration of vi. another. In the mean time we conti- cious poetic diction is presented to our nue the passage, quoting from Mr notice in the word “ pride.” This, if Birch :
ever there was one, is an instance of " Oh! that thy beams, fair moon, did language wrested from its proper
use; a word denoting a passion of the For the last time on my sorrow's deep. soul employed to characterise a set of Oft at this desk I have quail'd my brain
book-shelves! - Conceive how the exThe midnight through—but quail'd in pression would look in German, (in vain
dunkelm Stolze,) or in any other When o'er my books and papers thou language. “ Hurl'd” is generally an Would’st show thy pensive friendly brow. unhappy word in poetry, and seldom
take a peep
* We, of course, give Mr Talbot the benefit of his latest emendations by quoting from the second edition of his work.
answers any good purpose, as far as cessful in losing, and must therefore we have ever seen, except that of be labour not lost, or, in other words, rhyming to “ world." Mr Blackie must be labour gained, and therefore must now favour us with a sample in the translator here says exactly the continuation of the passage.
reverse of what he intends to say.
We will conclude our selections for “ And ask I still why thrills my heart With timid beatings and oppress'd ?
the present by extracting a few more
lines from Mr Birch's translation, it And why some secret unknown smart Chills every life-pulse in my breast ?
being the latest that has come to hand. 'Stead of the living of Nature,
After giving vent to what has just Where man was placed by his Creator,
been uttered by Dr Anster, Faust Surrounds thee mouldering dust alone,
throws open the book, and contemThe grinning skull and skeleton.”
plates the sign of the Macrocosm: he
proceeds :We beg to assure our Southron
“ What rapture flows at this first glance, readers, that, whatever may be the custom in some parts of Scotland, the
Through all my senses—all my reins !
I feel youth's hallow'd high-day trance practice of pronouncing “nature” in
Re-glow throughout my nerves and veins, such a way as to make it chime sym
&c. phoneously with “ creator,” is by no
I comprehend at length the saying of the means universal in that country. Carrying on the same passage, let us give · The world of spirits is not lock’d, Dr Anster another trial.
Thy mind is shut, thy heart is dead. “ Away, away, and far away!
Up, scholar, up! and bathe unshock'd This book, where secret spells are scann'd,
Thy earthly bosom in the morning's red.'" Traced by Nostradam's own hand
66 And bathe unshock'd.” We conWill be thy strength and stay:
fess we have met with nothing in all The courses of the stars to thee
these translations which has shocked us No longer are a mystery ;
more than this rhyme. We were hardly The thoughts of nature thou canst seek,
prepared for it, even by Mr Talbot's As spirits with their brothers speak.
version of the same passage, although It is-it is the sunrise hour
we own he had done much to caseOf thy own being ; light, and power,
harden us. Let us remark in passing And fervour to the soul are given,
that we hardly think it would be safe As proudly it ascends to heaven. To ponder here o'er spells and signs,
for any reader to begin the study of Symbolic letters, circles, lines;
these translations, suddenly, with Mr And from th-ir actual use refrain,
Birch. It would be too much for his Were time and labour lost in vain.
nerves, just as it would be too severe Then ye whom I feel floating near me,
upon him to subject him to a showerSpirits, answer, ye who hear me !
bath of cold spring water on this, the “ Where secret spells are scann'd."
14th day of January, unless he were accustomed to it.
But let him graThis is an interpolation of the trans
dually inure himself, and fortify his lator, and we think a very unneces
habit by commencing with Lord sary one. It was quite enough to
Gower or Dr Anster, and proceeding mention that the book was by Nostra
on through the others; and there is damus-upon that every one must have known that it contained magic himself in time to stand even Job
no saying but what he may bring “ secret spells,” and all that sort of
Crithannah. Here, for example, in thing. It is out of keeping with the character of Faust to make him more
the present instance, Mr Talbot is minute than this. Besides, the word good enough to come forward and give
us the thing comparatively tepid :“ scann'd” is another of those that we never yet found answering any
". The realm of spirits is never barr'd, good purpose in poetry, and simply 'Tis thy soul that is fetter’d—thy heart because no man ever seriously made
that is dead! use of it in actual life.
“ To ponder
Then up, my disciple, and bathe, unhere, &c., were time and labour lost."
scared, Here the translator should have
Thy earthly breast in the morning's red!" stopped, and not added, “ in vain.” What does the reader imagine the Labour lost is labour lost; but “la original word means, which one of bour lost in vain," must be labour these translators interprets into “unwhich the workman has been unsuc. shocked," and the other into a run