« IndietroContinua »
tain within it all others that can possibly be framed on the subject. The second will be best observed by attending to the length and rhythm of the sentences, and such details as emphasis, antithesis, (i. e. double emphasis,) and alliterations. Of these latter embellishments, many will occur which it may be impossible, without the exercise of considerable ingenuity, to transfer. The importance of the third law is far too frequently overlooked in a mistaken and ignorant desire to be literal. While it has been satisfactorily demonstrated by more than one instance, that a sufficient command of language will enable a translation to approach the original so closely as to employ very nearly the same number of words consistently with "the ease of original composition;" but this fact is so often forgotten or unknown, that an easy and graceful translation is frequently condemned, in the belief that it cannot be literal.
Here it may be necessary to explain, that while, on the one hand, the wide differences of idiom and construction render it impossible that any word-for-word translation from an ancient language into English, or, in fact, from any language into another, can have the ease of original composition, or form grammatical sentences, or be at all intelligible for a faithful translation can only result from the use of equivalent phrases-still, on the other hand, such word-for-word translation is a highly indispensable discipline for the oral teacher to enforce upon beginners as a test of grammatical knowledge. The difference, in short, is that between translation, properly so called, and parsing.
The chief difficulty, as well as the great beauty, of translation, is the judicious employment of the secondary (or metaphorical) senses of words. When the primary or literal senses of the words in question are common to the two languages, the difficulty disappears; e. g. when allusion is
a Of the instances which memory supplies just now to the author, the most remarkable are, the resemblances between amentium and amantium, (in Terence); ornare and onerare (in Cicero), "to laud and to load;" τρόπον and τόπον, " disposition and position ;” κεφαλὴν and κεφάλαιον, "head and capifal" (in Demosthenes); hostis and hospes (repeatedly in Livy). A very complicated and totally untranslatable play on words is attributed to Cicero; sc. Ego quoque (coque) tibi jure (either "law" or "sauce") favebo.
made to the universal phenomena of nature, then a secondary sense can be easily transferred by an analogous phrase; but when the subject is a word used in a secondary sense, of which the primary relates to some peculiarity of time or place-such as an obsolete political or social institution— the translator has to search further for an equivalent expression. For instance, when an epithet relating literally to the spring, is applied, in a secondary sense, to the youth of a human being, an analogous phrase will readily present itself; because the phenomena are universal, and have suggested images to writers in all times and languages; but, when the allusion is to such a thing as the torch-race, or the ostracism, or the Spartan Artemisia, or the pheiditia, or the toga as an emblem of peace, it is far less easy to find words that, in a similarly secondary sense, will accurately convey the idea; so much so, that translation, in such cases, must be illustrated by a commentary.
Previously to observing, that the greater portion of idiomatic phrases in Livy are Grecisms, it may be necessary to remark, that there are to be found in Latin two distinct classes of Grecism. The first are those resemblances (generally etymological) that result from the derivation of Latin and Greek, in two parallel streams, from the kindred sources of the Zend and Sanskrit languages: the others being those forms of expression and construction which were borrowed directly from the Greek, by the Roman writers who flourished after Greece had become a Roman province. In explaining these, and indeed in treating of idioms generally, the usual practice is to deduce rules from the usages of the Classic writers; and then, when commenting on these peculiarities, to reverse the process, and refer the usages back to the rules. The use of rules so framed can only be to guide the student in composition; but in commenting, it is evident that something more philosophic is necessary, and that we must (so to speak) anatomize peculiar and mutual forms of expression, on metaphysical principles. When we speak of zeugma, hendiadys, and the various other xhuara mentioned in the technology of grammarians, we generally use a mode of illustration relating to the idioms of modern languages; in the same manner as we
explain the phenomena of astronomy in language applicable only to the optical illusions under which we see them.
The two most remarkable peculiarities in the style of Livy are the Grecisms above mentioned, and such instances of attraction as are generally considered more perfectly legitimate in poetry; such as, 1. dicitur liberatus, (ii. 5.) where the participle must be translated as an infinitive.
2. The transposition called hypallage, e. g. proximam pugnæ cladem (ii. 51.), ultionem eam fraudis (xxiii. 25.), &c. where the transposition may be either retained by a paraphrase, or obviated by inversion.
3. The substitution, called enallage, of dative for genitive; such as urbi locum, remedium timori, which admits of literal translation into the English idiom. In this instance the grammatical figure is a fiction; the dative being governed by a foregoing verb.
4. The use of adjectives and pass. participles to designate abstract qualities, more usually expressed by substantives, and to be translated generally by the latter: such as, in dubio esse; in tuto esse; degeneratum. (1.53.) The English language admits a form of expression analogous to, and probably imitated from, this; for we sometimes speak of "the ideal," " the sublime," "the ignoble," &c. as abstract qualities.
5. The construction of alius with an ablative in the sense of "different from," or, "other than," imitated from the similar use of aλos with a genitive.
6. The use of the genitive signifying a cause or motive, evidently suggested by the Greek genitive in the same sense governed, according to the common explanation, by evexa or Sid suppressed.
As guides in translating, the following rules may be observed with some advantage to style.
1. A passive impersonal verb cannot be translated literally into English. The nearest approach to the meaning of such verbs lies through a paraphrase; as, for instance, ambigitur, "a question arises;" de quo agitur," the subject under discussion or consideration;" id agitur, "the design or intention is;" imperatum, "imposts laid on;" festinatum est, 'hasty measures or movements were adopted;" incepto
abiretur, (xxiv. 19.) "the attempt should be abandoned;" ad arma conclamatum, "the cry to arms was raised;" in naves conscensum est, "an embarcation was effected;" (xxi. 49.) secum agi passus est, "subm.tted to a negociation;" (xxiii. 19.) ventum est, "an approach was effected;" and so of numerous other instances.
2. The ablative absolute (really governed by a preposition suppressed) should be translated as marking the time of a collateral event; that is, with the sign "when," or "while." When, however, the present active participle is so used, the phrase generally implies a reason for or against, and should be translated with the sign "for," or "although."
3. When the present-perfect tense emphatically implies the continuation of an action from some past point of time to the present moment, it would be well to translate it by the compound English tense consisting of the auxiliary "have been," and the present participle: as, id egerunt, they have been keeping this object in view.”
4. The perfect passive participle joined with a substantive must be frequently translated not as signifying the thing done, but, the doing of the thing, or, the fact of its being done; as, defensos primos, (xxi. 52.) " the protection of the first," &c. i. e. the fact of their being protected; nomen crebro usurpatum, (xxiv. 21.) "the frequent repetition of the name;" aliæ occupatæ urbis partes, (xxiv. 22.) "the occupation of other quarters of the city;" demersa classis hostium, (Cicero Leg. Manil.) "the sinking of the enemy's fleet."
5. The historic or narrative infinitive should be translated rather as an aorist, than, according to the more general theory, as an imperfect.
6. In translating the moods and tenses, we generally retain their signs with sufficient exactness; except in those instances where an easy and familiar style requires that we should translate the subjunctive by the indicative, and the future-perfect by the present: as, quum bellum geratur, as the war is going on;" quum venerit, "when he comes;" gloriam qui spreverit, "whoever despises glory," (xxii. 39.) It may be also observed, that the present and imperfect indicative active frequently imply an attempt or endeavour,
an idea which a mere word-for-word translation cannot
7. The past participles of deponent verbs are as frequently passive as active. Of this, examples may be found every where. The reason very probably is, that verbs of this class had originally a complete active inflection, of which some few parts still remain; and that the inflection now in use was a middle voice, of which some forms are identical (as in Greek) with the passive.
8. The relative, one of the chief peculiarities of the Latin language, should be, in the great majority of instances, resolved in translation into the conjunction and the demonstrative pronoun of which it consists: for instance, quod ubi animadversum est, "but when this was observed;" cum quibus ad me venias, " and come with them to me;" qui quum abesset," although while he was away," &c. Here it may be remarked, that unde is also a relative, and not unfrequently applied to persons; sc. "from whom."
9. Nullus is often to be translated in the sense of non, and, wherever possible, with some emphatic addition; as, nullus respondit, "he answered not a word;" nullam incolumem esse crederet, (xxiii. 2.) "believed that it could not possibly be safe," (that it could never be safe.)
10. Primus with a verb should in general be translated by a short periphrasis; as, primus ingressus est," he was the first to come in:" ultimus is similarly used; ultimus excedebat prælio, "he used to be the last."
11. The comparative, when not followed by a case, should be translated by the sign "too," or 66 rather." It is unnecessary to mention, that such phrases are elliptical.
12. Ita and ut, when transposed, signify "although" and "yet."
Ita, followed by si, implies a sole and definite condition: "only on condition that," or, "only in case of," &c.
Ut, with the indicative, frequently signifies "as soon as;" and with the subjunctive," although." With a substantive, it generally implies a qualification of a foregoing assertion or opinion; as, ut in rebus asperis, "considering the difficulties of the case:" ut inter montana, "considering their position on the mountains," &c.