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Who, when they saw her all in mourning drest
Our readers will easily perceive by this short specimen, how very unequal Mr. Massey is to a translation of Ovid. In many places he has deviated entirely from the sense, and in every part fallen infinitely below the strength, elegance, and spirit of the original. We must beg leave, therefore, to remind him of the old Italian proverb,—“Il tradattores Tratatore,"—and hope he will never for the future traduce and injure any of those
ancients who never injured him, by thus pestering the world with such translations as even his own schoolboys ought to be whipped for.*
* ["It was the merit which Goldsmith discovered in criticising a despicable translation of Ovid's Fasti by a pedantic schoolmaster, and his · Inquiry into Polite Literature,' which first introduced him to the acquaintance of Dr. Smollet.”—AIKIN.]
XIII.-MARRIOTTS “ FEMALE CONDUCT; AN ESSAY ON
THE ART OF PLEASING.”
[From the Critical Review, 1759. “ Female Conduct ; being an
Essay on the Art of Pleasing. To be practised by the Fair Sex, before and after Marriage. A Poem, in two books. Inscribed
to Plautilla. By Thomas Marriott, Esq." 8vo.] This performance is dedicated to her royal highness the Princess of Wales, as the distinguished patroness of female virtue. In the preface, the author gives some account of the poem, and endeavors to anticipate the malevolence of the critics. presses apprehension on one subject, which, however, we will venture to say is groundless; that is, “some people will say he is too much a poet."
He might also have spared his apology, for having used "every art of persuasion and argument, either by repetition, amplification, tale, fable, example, or allegory, and every pleasing manner of conveying precepts, and enforcing doctrines." Mr. Marriott needs no excuse for that which cannot be displeasing. This poem, we are informed, is intended for the use and amusement of the female sex only: and the author hopes the salutary precepts and precautions it contains, may prove an antidote to the poison of Ovid, and all modern productions of the like pernicious nature. We hope so too, and commend the author for the morality of his undertaking.
Prefixed to the poem we find an ode on the death of the Duke of Marlborough, together with an imitation of the eighth ode of the fourth book of Horace, intended to be sent to his grace at the beginning of the new year. * In this piece, the most remark
* (Charles Spencer, second duke of Marlborough. He died at Munster, in Westphalia, in October 1758.]
able circumstance is this: Mr. Marriott, thinking Horace begins and ends too abruptly, has ventured to introduce the original with two Latin lines of his own composition, and added six at the end, to render Horace more complete. He might, however, have saved himself the trouble of lacing his own lines in the margin: the reader would have distinguished them without this precaution. Perhaps the public may be curious to see this improvement on a Roman classic. He begins, then, in this
“ Annus quando novus nascitur, illius
Natalisque dies orbe revolvitur ;
He concludes thus:
“ Orco, Musa, pios eripiens nigro,
Arces, carminibus, tollit ad igneas;
The poem itself is divided into two books, and contains many curious particulars. His account of Portia's death is very sublime :
“ Fam'd Portia, worthy of her mate and sire,
We wish Mr. Marriott would explain the manner in which the ancients drank live embers. In p. 59, he candidly owns, that he has labored hard in bringing these poems to perfection:
“ Hear me, fair pupil, ne'er despise the bard
Whose muse for your instruction labors hard."
In the next page we meet with this curious paradox:
Her witty child, let the fond mother boast,
This, for aught we know, may be the author's own case; for he seems to have a particular knack at concealing his wit.
There is something so agreeable, yet familiar, in his pre
« From smart cock'd hat, let no vain streamers fly."
“I only warn you—ne'er your teeth neglect;
White teeth will make amends for each defect."
“To singing add the force of music too.”
This is a very necessary injunction; for it is very common to hear singing without music.
Rather than pick out any more flowers of this kind, with which the poem abounds, we will make a few extracts, from which the poet's genius may be more justly estimated :
“Let no provoking words your wrath attend,
Lest passion should in dire disaster end;
If distant hints from you he'll not receive,
“ Once I through thin partition chanc'd to hear A curtain-lecture with astonish'd ear: It wak’d, and scar'd me, in the dead of night, Ere I my senses could recover quite; It sounded like a seraph's plaintive voice, So dire the sound, so solemn was the noise ! Trembling I heard, nor dard to ope my eyes, Lest I might view a horrid spectre rise. Soon I perceiv'd it was a woman's tongue, Rehearsing to her mate each nuptial wrong; Obdurate he, and stupid as a dunce, Heard unconcern’d, nor interrupted once; Till faint and spent, she falter'd in her speech, And, quite exhausted, could no longer preach; When her speech faild, she soon began to cry, And ev'ry tear had its attendant sigh. Then he, to aggravate each nuptial wrong, Wish'd death would silence soon her clam'rous tongue. Thus every curtain-lecture, preach'd in vain, Gives to the preacher, not the hearer, pain. To hint a fault requires the nicest touch, The pride of self-sufficient man is such ; Few with good grace can give or take advice, So few think others than themselves more wise ; Their faults the wisest are averse to hear; Touch gently, lest you hurt a tender ear.