« הקודםהמשך »
to rhythmical poetry. The doctrine that an allegorical sense was hid under the narratives of epic poetry had not yet ceased ; and he here promises a poem on the mysteries he had newly discovered in Homer. In the Preface, he declares that the last twelve books were translated in fifteen weeks : yet with the advice of his learned and valued friends, Master Robert Hews', and Master Harriots. It is certain that the whole performance betrays the negligence of haste. He pays his acknowledgements to his 6 most ancient, learned, and right. noble friend, Master Richard “ Stapilton", the first most desertfull mouer in the frame of our - Homer.” He endeavours to obviate a popular objection, perhaps not totally groundless, that he consulted the prose Latin version more than the Greek original. He says, sensibly enough, “ it is the part of euery knowing and iudicious interpreter, not 4. to follow the number and order of words, but the materiall « things themselues, and sentences to weigh diligently ; and to U clothe and adorne them with words, and such a stile and “ forme of oration, as are most apt for the language into which
they are conuerted.” The danger lies, in too lavith an application of this sort of cloathing, that it may not disguise what it should only adorn. I do not say that this is Chapman's fault : but he has by no means represented the dignity or the fimplicity Homer. He is sometimes paraphrastic and redundant, but more frequently retrenches or impoverishes what he could not feel and express. In the mean time, he labours with the inconvenience of an aukward, in harmonious, and unheroic measure, imposed by custom, but disgustful to modern ears. Yet he is not always without strength or spirit. He has enriched our language with many compound epithets, so much in the manner
• This Robert Hues, or Husius, was a scholar, a good geographer and mathema. tician, and published a tract in Latin on the Globes, Lond. 1593. 8vo. With other pieces in that way. There was also a Robert Hughes who wrote a Dictionary of the English and Persic. See Wood, ATH.
Oxon. i. 571. Hist. ANTIQUIT. UNIV.
"Already mentioned as the publisher of a poetical miscellany in 1593. Supr. p.401. “ The spirituall poems or hymnes “ of R. S.” are entered to J. Busbie, Oct. 17, 1595. REGISTR. STATION. C. fol.
of Homer, such as the filver-footed Thetis, the filver-throned Juno, the triple-feathered helme, the high-walled Thebes, the faire-haired boy, the silver-flowing floods, the bugely-peopled towns, the Grecians navy-bound, the frong-winged lance, and many. more which might be collected. Dryden reports, that Waller never could read Chapman's Homer without a degree of tranfport. Pope is of opinion, that Chapman covers his defects“ by “ a daring fiery spirit that animates his translation, which is “ something like what one might imagine Homer himself to “ have writ before he arrived to years of discretion.” But his fire is too frequently darkened, by that sort of fustian which now disfigured the diction of our tragedy.
He thus translates the comparison of Diomed to the autumnal ftar, at the beginning of the fifth book. The lines are in his best manner. From his bright helme and field did burne, a most unwearied
fire, Like rich Autumnus' golden lampe, whose brightnesse men
admire Past all the other host of starres, when with his chearefull face Fresh-washt in loftie ocean waues, he doth the skie enchase*.
The sublime imagery of Neptune's procession to aflift the Grecians, is thus rendered. The woods, and all the great hils neare, trembled beneath the
weight Of his immortall mouing feet: three steps he only tooke, Before he farr-off Æge reach'd: but, with the fourth, it shooke With his dread entrie. In the depth of those seas, did he hold His bright and glorious pallace, built of neuer-rufting gold: And there arriu'd, he put in coach his brazen-footed steeds All golden-maned, and paced with wings', and all in golden weeds
» Having wings on their feet, 3 K 2
* Fol. 63.
Himselfe he clothed. The golden scourge, most elegantly done?, He tooke, and mounted to his seate, and then the god begun To drive his chariot through the waues. From whirlpools euery
way The whales exulted under him, and knewe their king : the sea For ioy did open, and his horse * so swift and lightly flew, The vnder axeltree of brasse no drop of water drew 6.
My copy once belonged to Pope ; in which he has noted many of Chapman's absolute interpolations, extending sometimes to the length of a paragraph of twelve lines. A diligent observer will easily discern, that Pope was no careless reader of his rude predecessor. Pope complains that Chapman took advantage of an unmeasureable length of line. But in reality Pope's lines are longer than Chapman's. If Chapman affected the reputation of rendering line for line, the specious expedient of chusing a protracted measure which concatenated two lines toge. ther, undoubtedly favoured his usual propensity to periphrasis.
Chapman's commentary is only incidental, contains but a small degree of critical excursion, and is for the most part a pedantic compilation from Spondanus. He has the boldness severely to censure Scaliger's impertinence. It is remarkable that he has taken no illustrations from Eustathius, except through the citations of other commentators. But of Eustathius there was no Latin interpretation.
This volume is closed with fixteen Sonnets by the author, addressed to the chief nobility. It was now a common practice, by these unpoetical and empty panegyrics, to attempt to conciliate the attention, and secure the protection, of the great,
* Wrought. Finished. à For Horses.
Fol. 169, feq. - To the Duke of Lenox, the lord Chancellor, Lord Salisbury lord treasurer, earl of Suffolk, earl of Northampton, earl of Arundel, earl of Pembroke, earl of Montgomery, lord Life, countess of Montgomery, lady Wroth, countess of Bedford,
earl of Southampton, earl of Sussex, lord Walden, and fir Thomas Howard. Lady Mary Wroth, here mentioned, wife of fir Robert Wroth, was much courted by the wits of this age. She wrote a romance called URANIA, in imitation of fir Philip Sydney's ARCADIA. See Jonson's EPIGR. 103. 105.
without which it was supposed to be impossible for any poem to struggle into celebrity. Habits of submission, and the notions of subordination, now prevailed in a high degree; and men looked up to peers, on whose smiles or frowns they believed all sublunary good and evil to depend, with a reverential awe. Henry Lock subjoined to his metrical paraphrase of Ecclesiastes, and his Sundry Christian Passons contayned in two hundred Sonnets, both printed together for Field, in 1597, a set of secular sonnets to the nobility, among which are lord Buckhurst and Anne the amiable countess of Warwick d. And not to multiply more instances, Spenser in compliance with a disgraceful custom, or rather in obedience to the established tyranny of patronage, prefixed to the FAIRY QUEENE fifteen of these adulatory pieces, which in every respect are to be numbered among the meanest of his compositions.
In the year 1614, Chapman printed his version of the ODYSsey, which he dedicated to king James's favorite, Carr earl of Somerset. This was soon followed by the BATRACHOMUOMACHY, and the Hymns, and EPIGRAMS. But I find long before Chapman's time, “ A Ballett between the myce and the
frogges,” licenced to Thomas East the printer, in 1568'. And there is a ballad, “ A moste strange weddinge of the frogge “ and the mouse,” in 1580 5. He is also supposed to have translated Hesiod.
But this notion seems to have arisen from these lines of Drayton, which
d In quarto.
• This practice is touched by a satirift of those times, in PASQUILL'S MAD CAPPE, Lond. Printed by J. V. 1600. 4to. fol. 2. Speaking of every great man. He shall have ballads written in his praise, Bookes dedicate vnto his patronage ; Wittes working for his pleasure many
waies : Petegrues sought to mend his parentage.
f Registr. STATION, A. fol. 177. b. Mr. Steevens informs us, of an anony
mous interlude, called THERSYTES his humours and conceits, in 1598. See Shakesp. vol. ix. p. 166. See ibid. p. 331. And the versions of Homer perhaps produced a ballad, in 1586, “ The Lamentation of “ Hecuba and the Ladies of Troye.” Aug; 1, to E. White. RegistR. STATION. B. fol. 209. a. Again to W. Matthews, Feb. 22, 1593,
• The Lamentation of Troye “ for the death of Hector.” Ibid. fol.
é Licenced to E. White, Nov. 21, 1580:. REGISTR. STATION, B. fol. 374. b.
also contain a general and a very honourable commendation of Chapman's skill as a translator h.
Others againe there liued in my days,
I believe Chapman only translated about fourteen lines from the beginning of the second book of Hefiod's WORKS AND DAYS, “ as well as I could in hafte,” which are inserted in his commentary on the thirteenth Iliad for an occasional illustration. Here is a proof on what Nlight grounds assertions of this sort are often founded, and, for want of examination, transmitted to pofterity'.
As an original writer, Chapman belongs to the class of dramatic poets, and will not therefore be considered again at the period in which he is placed by the biographers ". His transla
See also Bolton's opinion of Chapman, supr. p. 276.
Elegy to Reynolds, ut fupr. * Fol. 185. feq.
I Since this was written, I have disco.. vered that “ Hefiod's Georgics translated “ by George Chapinan," were licenced to Miles Patrich, May 14, 1618. But I doubt if the book was printed. REGISTR, STATion. C. fol. 290. b.
m But this is said not without fome de. gree of reftriction. For Chapman wrote “ Ovid's BANQUET OP SAUCE, A Coro. “ net for his mistress Philosophy and his
amorous Zodiac. Lond. 1595. 4to." To which is added, " The AMOROUS CON. “ TENTion of Phillis and Flora,” a tranftation by Chapman from a Latin poem, written, as he says, by a Frier in the year 1400. There is also his PERSEUS AND