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coverable, to which etymology points, though in defiance of the meaning suggested both by the context and by general use. When this rule does not answer, as when the derivation is uncertain, the second is, to adopt that which of all the senses of the word appears to the translator the most common, and adhere to it inflexibly in every case, whatever absurdity or nonsense it may involve him in. I might mention also a third method, adopted sometimes, but much more rarely than either of the former, which is to combine the different meanings in the version. Thus the Hebrew word answers sometimes to Bapos, weight, sometimes to dota, glory. Hence probably has arisen the Hellenistic idiom Bapos Sons, weight of glory, 2 Cor. iv. 17. The Latin word salus means health, answering to the Greek vya; and often salvation, answering to owrnptov. The Hebrew word is equally unequivocal with the Greek, yet our translators from a respect to the Vulgate, have in one place (Psal. lxvii. 2.) combined the two meanings into saving health; a more awkward expression, because more obscure and indefinite, but which denotes no more than salvation. Perhaps not even the most literal interpreters observe inviolably these rules: But one thing is certain that in those cases wherein they assume the privilege of dispensing with them, this measure is in no respect more necessary than in many of the cases wherein they rigidly observe them. I may add another thing as equally certain, that whenever they think proper to supersede those rules, they betray a consciousness of the insufficiency of the fundamental principles of their method, as well as of the necessity there is that the translator use his best discernment and skill for directing him, first, in the discovery of the meaning of his author, and secondly, in the proper choice of words for expressing it in his version.
5. I shall exemplify the observance of the two rules abovementioned in the version I proposed to consider. And, first, for that of etymology—the passage, Genesis i. 20, which is properly rendered in the common translation, "Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature," Arias renders, "Reptificent aquæ reptile." It is true, that the word which he barbarously translates reptificent (for there is no such Latin word) is in the Hebrew conjugation called hiphil, of a verb which in kal, that is, in the simple and radical form, signifies repere, to creep. Analogically, therefore, the verb in hiphil should import to cause to creep. It had been accordingly rendered by Pagninus, a critic of the same stamp, but not such an adept as Arias, repere faciant. But in Hebrew, as in all other languages, use, both in altering and in adding, exercises an uncontrollable dominion over all the parts of speech. We have just the same evidence that the original verb in hiphil commonly signifies to produce in abundance, like fishes and reptiles, as we have that in kal it signifies to creep. Now, passing the barbarism reptificent, the sense which this ver
sion conveys, if it convey any sense, is totally different from the manifest sense of the author. It is the creation, or first production of things, which Moses is relating: Arias, in this instance, (as well as Pagnin,) seems to exhibit things as already produced, and to relate only how they were set in motion. What other meaning can we give to words importing, "Let the waters cause the creeping thing to creep?" or if, by a similar barbarism in English, we may be allowed to give a more exact representation of the barbarous Latin of Arias, "Let the waters creepify the creeper ?"
Another example of etymological version, in defiance of use and of common sense, we have in the beginning of the song of Moses, Deut. xxxii. 2. The words rendered in the English translation, "My doctrine shall drop as the rain," Arias translates, "Stillabit ut pluvia assumptio mea." The word here rendered assumptio has for its etymon a verb which commonly signifies sumo, capio. That sage interpreter, it seems, thought it of more importance to acquaint his reader with this circumstance, than with the obvious meaning of the word itself. And thus a passage which in the original is neither ambiguous nor obscure, is rendered in such a manner as would defy Edipus to unriddle.
6. As to the second rule mentioned, of adopting that which, of all the significations of the word, appears to the translator the most common, and to adhere to it inflexibly in every case, howable it may be to the context, and however much it may mar the sense of the discourse; there is hardly a page, nay a paragraph, nay a line in Arias, which does not furnish us with an example. Nor does it take place in one only, but in all the parts of speech. First, in nouns, "Et hoc verbum quo circumcidit," Josh. v. 4. The Hebrew word rendered verbum answers both to verbum and to res; but as the more common meaning is verbum, it must by this rule be made always so, in spite of the connexion. In this manner he corrects Pagnin, who had rendered the expression, justly and intelligibly," Hæc est causa quare circumcidit." In that expression, "Filius fructescens Joseph super fontem," Gen. xlix. 22, we have both his rules exemplified; the first in the barbarous participle fructescens, which has a derivation similar to the Hebrew word; the second in the substantive filius, which is no doubt the most common signification of the Herbew ben, and in the preposition super. In this manner he corrects Pagnin, who had said, not badly, "Ramus crescens Joseph juxta fontem."
7. And, to show that he made as little account of the reproach of solecism as that of barbarism, he says, as absurdly as unmeaningly, "Pater fuit sedentis tentorium," Gen. iv. 20, giving a regimen to a neuter verb. Pagnin had said inhabitantis. That this is conformable to the signification of the Hebrew word in this passage, which the other is not, there can be no question; but it
might fairly bear a question, whether sedeo or inhabito be the more common meaning of the Hebrew word. The same strange rule he follows in the indeclinable parts of speech, the prepositions in particular, which being few in Hebrew, and consequently of more extensive signification, he has chosen always to render the same way, thereby darkening the clearest passages, and expressing in the most absurd manner the most elegant.
As I would avoid being tedious, I shall produce but two other examples of this, having given one already from Jacob's benediction to his sons, though the whole work abounds with examples. The expression used by Pagnin, in the account of the creation, "Dividat aquas ab aquis," Gen. i. 6, he has thus reformed, "Sit dividens inter aquas ad aquas." The other is in the account of the murder of Abel, ch. iv. 8, "Surrexit Cain ad Hebel," where Pagnin had used the preposition contra. As a specimen of the servile manner in which he traces the arrangement and construction of the original, to the total subversion of all rule and order in the language which he writes, I shall give the following passage in the New Testament, not selected as peculiar, for such are to be found in every page: "De quidem enim ministerio in sanctos, ex abundanti mihi est scribere vobis," 2 Cor. ix. 1.
8. To proceed now, as I proposed, to phrases or combinations of words I shall first produce some examples which convey a mere jargon of words, combined ungrammatically, and therefore, to those who do not understand the language out of which the the translation is made, unintelligibly. Such are the following: "Istæ generationes cœli et terræ, in creari ea, in die facere Deus terram et cœlum," Gen. ii. 4.-" Emisit eum Dominus ad colendam terram quod sumptus est inde," ch. iii. 23.-" Major iniquitas mea quam parcere," ch. iv. 13. But as, in certain cases, this manner of copying a foreign idiom makes downright nonsense, in other cases, the like combinations of corresponding words in different languages, though not unmeaning, do not convey the same meaning, nay, sometimes convey meanings the very reverse of one another. Thus, two negatives in Greek and French deny strongly, in Latin and English they affirm. col la, in Hebrew is none; non omnis, in Latin, which is a literal version, and not all, in English, denote some. In like manner, ouк, construed with ovdaç, in Greek, is still nobody; non nemo, in Latin, which is a literal version, is somebody. The words kai ov μedel σol TEOI ovdevoç, rendered properly in the common version, (Mark xii. 14,) "And carest for no man," are translated by Arias, "Et non cura est tibi de nullo,"—the very opposite the author's sentiment, which would have been more justly rendered, "Et cura est tibi de nullo;" or, as it is in the Vulgate, "Non curas quenquam." In this, however, hardly any of the metaphrasts have judged proper to observe a strict uniformity; though, I will ven
ture to say, it would be impossible to assign a good reason why in some instances they depart from that method, whilst in others they tenaciously adhere to it.
9. It ought withal to be observed, that several interpreters, who, in translating single words, have not confined themselves to the absurd method above-mentioned, could not be persuaded to take the same liberty with idioms and phrases. Thus Arias has but copied the Vulgate, Luke i. 37, in translating 'Orɩ ovê aduvaτησει παρα τῷ Θεῷ παν ῥημα, Quia non erit impossibile apud Deum omne verbum. In this short sentence there are no fewer than three improprieties; one arising from the mistranslation of a noun, and the other two from mistranslated idioms. 'Pnua, in Hellenistic usage, is equivalent to the Hebrew 7 daber, which, as has been observed, signifies not only verbum, a word, but res or negotium, a thing; which last is the manifest sense of it in the passage quoted: the second is the rendering of ov wav, non omne, and not, as it ought to have been, nullum: the third arises from using the future in Latin, in the enunciation of an universal truth. It ought to have been remembered, that the Hebrew has no present tense; one who writes it is, consequently, obliged often to use the other tenses, and especially the future, in enunciating general truths, for which, in all modern languages as well as in Greek and Latin, we employ the present. In consequence of these blunders, the version, as it lies, is perfectly unmeaning; whereas, no person that is even but a smatterer in Hebrew will hesitate to declare, that the sense is completely expressed in English in these words, For nothing is impossible with God.
10. There are few of the old versions which have kept entirely clear of this fault. In the ancient Latin translation called the Italic, whereof we have not now a complete copy remaining, there were many more barbarisms than in the present Vulgate. And even Jerom himself acquaints us, that, when he set about making a new version, he left several things which he knew to be not properly expressed, for fear of giving offence to the weak by his numerous and bold alterations. This idiom of non omne for nihil or nullum, seems to have been one which, in many places, though not in all, he has corrected. Thus, what in the old Italic, after the Septuagint, was "Non est omne recens sub sole." Eccles. i. 9, he has rendered perspicuously and properly, "Nihil sub sole novum." A slavish attachment to the letter in translating, without any regard to the meaning, is originally the offspring of the superstition, not of the church, but of the synagogue-where it would have been more suitable in Christian interpreters, the ministers not of the letter but of the spirit, to have allowed it to remain.
11. That this is not the way to answer the first and principal end of translating, has, I think, been sufficiently demonstrated. Instead of the sense of the original, it sometimes gives us down
right nonsense; frequently a meaning quite different; and not seldom it makes the author say in another language, the reverse of what he said in his own. Can it then be doubted, that this is not the way to attain the second end in translating? Is this a method whereby a translator can convey into his version, as much as possible in a consistency with the genius of a different language, the author's spirit and manner, and (so to speak) the very character of his style? It is evident that the first end may be attained where this is not attained. An author's meaning may be given, but in a different manner; a concise writer may be made to express himself diffusely, or a diffuse writer concisely; the sense of an elegant work may be justly given, though in a homely dress. But it does not hold conversely, that the second end may be attained without the first; for when an author's sense is not given, he is not fairly represented. Can we do justice to his manner, if, when he reasons consequentially, he be exhibited as talking incoherently; if what he writes perspicuously, be rendered ambiguously or obscurely; if what flows from his pen naturally and easily, in the true idiom and construction of his language, be rendered ruggedly and unnaturally, by the violence perpetually done to the construction of the language into which it is transmuted rather than translated? The manner of a tall man, who walks with dignity, would be wretchedly represented by a dwarf who had no other mode of imitation but to number and trace his footsteps. The immoderate strides and distortions which this ridiculous attempt would oblige the imitator to employ, could never convey to the spectators an idea of easy and graceful motion.
12. The third end of translating, that of preserving purity and perspicuity in the language into which the version is made, is not so much as aimed at by any of the literal tribe. Upon the whole, I cannot express my sentiments more justly, both of Arias and of Pagnin, than in the words of Houbigant, who, in assigning his reasons for not adopting the version of either, says, "Non facerem meam illam versionem, Ariæ Montani horridam, inficetam, obscuram, talem denique qualem composuisset, si quis homines deterrere ab sacris codicibus legendis voluisset. Non illam Pagnini, quam Arias, jam malam, fecit imitando ac interpolando pejorem." In this last remark, which may in part be justified by some of the foregoing examples, he perfectly agrees with Father Simon, who says of Arias's amendments on Pagnin's translation, "Quot correctiones, tot corruptiones." For there is hardly any thing altered that is not for the worse. Such Latin versions would be quite unintelligible, if it were not for the knowledge we have of the original, and of the common English version, which is as literal as any version ought to be, and sometimes more so. The coincidence of two or three words recalls the whole passage to * Proleg. p. 178.