Imágenes de páginas

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 our memory; but we may venture to pronounce that, to an ancient Roman who knew nothing of the learning or opinions of the East, the greater part of Arias's Bible would appear no better than a jumble of words without meaning.

8 13. To all the other evil consequences resulting from such versions, we ought to add, that they necessarily lead the unlearned reader into an opinion that the original which is susceptible of them, must be totally indefinite, equivocal, and obscure. Few, without making the experiment, can allow themselves to think, that it is equally possible, by this mode of translation, completely to disfigure, and render unintelligible, what is written with plainness and simplicity, and without any ambiguity, in their mother-tongue. Yet nothing is more certain than that the most perspicuous writing, in any language, may

be totally disguised by this treatment 19. Were the ancient Greek or Latin classics, in prose or verse,

66 erant.

[ocr errors]

19 As it is impossible, without an example, to conceive how monstrous the transformation is, which it occasions, I shall here subjoin a specimen of a few English sentences translated into Latin, in the taste and manner of Arias.

Ego inveni aliquod pecus in meo frumento, et posui illa in meam libram. Ego rogavi unum qui stabat per, si ille novit cujus illa

Sed ille vertit unam viam a me, et fecit non ita mal. 66 tum ut vindicare salvum ad redire mihi ullam responsionem.

Super hoc ego rogavi unum alium qui dixit unam magnam " tabulam abiegnam in replicatione quam ego feci non sub

stare. Quam unquam ego volui non habere posita illa sur

sum, habui ego notum ad quem illa pertinebant; nam ego 56 didici post custodias quod ille fuit unus ego fui multum

aspectus ad.” Where these few lines put into the hands of a learned foreigner, who does not understand English, he might sooner learn to read Chinese, than to divine their meaning. Yet a little attention would bring an Englishman who knows Latin, soon to discover that they were intended as a version, if we may call it so, of the following words, which, in the manner of Arias, I give with the version interlined. Ego inveni aliquod pecus in meo frumento, et posui illa in meam

I found some cattle in my corn, and put them into my libram. Ego rogavi unum qui stabat per si ille novit cujus pound. I asked one who stood by if he knew whose illa erant. Sed ille vertit unam viam a me, et fecit non they were. But he turned way from me, and did not ita multum ut vindicare salvum ad redire mihi ullam responsi. 80 much vouch safe to return me. any

Super hoc ego rogavi unum alium qui dixit unam

Upon this I asked another who said magnam tabulam abiegnam in replicatione quam ego feci non great

deal in reply which I did not





[ocr errors]

to be thus rendered into any modern tongue, nobody could bear to read them. Strange indeed, that a

substare. Quam unquam ego volui non habere posita illa understand. How ever I would not have

put them sursum, habui ego notum ad quem illa pertinebant, nam ego

up, had I known to whom they belonged, for I didici post custodias quod ille fuit unus ego fui multum aspectus learned afterwards that he was one I was much beholden ad. to. Should one object that the Latin words here employed do not suit the sense of the corresponding words in the passage translated, it is admitted that they do not; but they are selected in exact conformity to the fundamental rules followed by Ari. as. Thus una via away, vindicare saldum vouchsafe, quam unquam however, tabula abiegna deal, substare understand, post custodias afterwards, aspectus beholden, are all agreeable to the primary rule of etymology, and, in no respect, worse than reptifico, where both sense and use require produco; or assumptio for doctrina, to the utter destruction of all meaning, or non omnis for nullus, which gives a meaning quite different. But by what rule, it may be asked, is pound rendered libra, in a case wherein it manifestly means septum? By the same rule, it is answered, whereby iashab is rendered sedere, in a case wherein both the sense and the construction required inhabi. tare, and daber rendered verbum, where it manifestly means res, the golden rule of uniformity, by which every term ought always to be rendered the same way, and agreeably to its most common signification, without minding whether it makes sense or nonsense so rendered. [The literal translator follows im. plicitly the sage direction given by Cajetan, “ Non sit vobis

turæ, si sensus non apparet, quia non est vestri officii esponere sed interpretari ; interpretamini sicut jacet, et relin,

[ocr errors]

treatment should ever have been accounted respectful to the sacred penmen, which, if given to any other writer, would be universally condemned, as no better than dressing him in a fool's coat.

I am not at all surprised that certain great men of the church of Rome, like Cardinal Cajetan, who (though, with foreign assistance, he translated the Psalms) did not understand a word of Hebrew, show themselves great admirers of this method. The more unintelligible the Scriptures are made, the greater is the need of an infallible interpreter, an article of which they never lose sight. But that others, who have not the same motive, and possess a degree of understanding superior to that of a Jewish cabalist, should recommend an expedient, which serves only for debasing and discrediting the dictates of the divine spirit, appears perfectly unaccountable. I shall

quatis expositoribus curam intelligendi.” Præf. Comment. in Psalm.] Now it is certain that pound occurs oftner in the sense of libra than in that of septum. But how do you ad. mit such gross solecisms as redire responsionem ? I answer, Is this more so than sedere tentorium? or do the prepositions as used here stabat per and aspectus ad, make the construction more monstrous, than inter ad in that sentence sit dividens in. ter aquas ad aquas ? Besides, there is not a word in the above specimen, which, taken severally, is not Latin : so much cannot be said for Arias, whose work is over-run with barbarisms as well as solecisms. Witness his fructescens and reptificent, in the few examples above produced. And in regard to the total incoherence and want of construction, can, any thing in this way exceed in creari ea, or in die facere Deus, or ad terram qoud sumptus est inde, or major iniquitas quam parcere?

[ocr errors]

only add, that versions of this kind are very impro. perly called translations. The French have a convenient word, travesty, by which they denote the metamorphosis of a serious work into mere burlesque by dressing it in such language as renders it ridiculous, makes the noblest thoughts appear contemptible, the richest images beggarly, and the most jua dicious observations absurd. I would not say, therefore, the Bible translated, but the Bible travestied, by Arias Montanus. For that can never deserve the name of a translation, which gives you neither the matter nor the manner of the author, but, on the contrary, often exhibits both as the reverse of what they are. Malvenda, a Dominican, is another interpreter of the same tribe with his brother Pagnin, and with Arias, whom he is said greatly to have exceeded in darkness, barbarism, and nonsense.

I never saw his version, but have reason to believe, from the accounts given of it, by good judges, that it can ap: swer no valuable purpose.



I PROCEED now to consider a little the merit of some other Latin translations of holy writ. The first, doubtless, that deserves our attention, in respect both of antiquity, and I may say, of universa

« AnteriorContinuar »