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Shall we forget
The limits of this article will not permit of our noticing a number of other plays in our possession, and from which scenes and passages of very considerable merit might be quoted. We purposely omit any notice of "Hadad," "Percy's Masque," and other similar productions of merit, as not coming within the scope of our purpose in this review. Though dramatic in their plan and construction, they are not calculated or intended for the stage; and besides, have been heretofore noticed in various periodical works, with deserved approbation. We cannot but confess, however, that a majority of the pieces in our collection may be consigned over to oblivion, without any material loss either to the present or future generations. They are marvellously defective in plot, sentiment, and dialogue; and do not even come up to the present standard of a London audience. They would hardly run a hundred nights in that great emporium of commerce and taste, without the aid of an elephant, a rhinoceros, or a star at least: they are the efforts of writers destitute of almost every requisite for dramatic composition; and who ought never to have obtruded them upon the public eye. Others, on the contrary, indicate talents which only require the discipline of study, reflection, practice, and encouragement, to attain at least a respectable eminence. Whatever talent there may be among us, it will, unless encouraged, lie inactive, like those seeds which are buried in the forests perhaps for ages, and which only vegetate into fruits and flowers, when the warm rays of the sun awaken their dormant energy, and vivify the chill bosom of the earth. The first requisite for producing a National Drama, is national encouragement. Wc do not mean pensions and premiums—but liberal praise and rewards to success—and a liberal allowance for failures. The second, is a little more taste and liberality in the managers of our theatres; and the third, is the presence of competent performers, collected in companies of sufficient strength to give effectual support to a new piece, and sufficient talent to personate an original character, without resorting to some hacknied model, which has descended from generation to generation, and like all copies, lost something of the original in the hands of each succeeding imitator.
Let not, however, our youthful aspirants after honest fame, be discouraged by the obstacles we have placed before them. Genius has often a divinity within itself; a sort of prophetic consciousness; a daring insight into futurity; an irrepressible impulse, which animates and supports it, in the midst of discouragements and neglect. But one man out of millions is a hero, a saint, or a sage. Yet this should be no obstacle to the pursuit of glory, virtue, or wisdom. If but one man out of millions attain the summit of Parnassus, let it be recollected, that his reward is immortality.scious of their importance, with undeviating perseverance, practised what he taught.
At the time when Dr. Good produced the work, the title of which is prefixed to this article, Lucretius was not extensively nor advantageously known either in this country or in England. An attempt to translate him had been made, the first in our language, by Evelyn, in the year 1656; but this was not extended beyond the first Book, and was relinquished by that learned and elegant scholar as an impracticable task. To this succeeded the version of Creech, which, however applauded at the time of its appearance, was little fitted to become a favourite in the refined period which followed it. The admirers of Lucretius were only to be found among scholars of the first rank; and their admiration, however warmly expressed, does not appear to have excited any great desire, among general readers in either country, to become familiar with his works. The translation of Creech was exceedingly diffuse; much was added by the translator, not to be found in the original; and many passages omitted, or erroneously interpreted; the versification dissonant, lame, and rugged; the phrases ill-selected and mean; and, in short, the whole was performed in the very worst style of poetical composition. Dryden had indeed produced translations of a few extracts, but these are short, and though well executed in some respects, consist only of those passages which are of a striking and poetical character. A later one, in prose, by Guernier and his colleagues, has never been popular; nor is it likely to become so, since it is impossible to exhibit the chief merit of a poet in a mode of dress which is not adapted to poetical expression and illustration. Under these circumstances, the version and commentary of Dr. Good have been highly important not only for the fame of Lucretius, but as furnishing to the English reader the only means of a correct and comprehensive knowledge of one of the best and most rational writers of antiquity. The abilities which he brought to the task were eminently suited to its satisfactory accomplishment. In scientific acquirements, and particularly those in which Lucretius is most conversant, Dr. Good possessed a distinguished reputation. His classical knowledge was extensive, accurate, and profound. His acquaintance with several of the languages of Asia, and with almost all of modern Europe, merits great praise, and may perhaps justify the application of an expression once applied to the celebrated Gray—that of being the most learned man in Europe. His familiarity not only with the author whom he has rendered, but with the numerous editions of the original, and with translations in the modern languages, his intellectual powers, and integrity of character, while they are subjects of applause with the classical scholar, entitle him to the respect, and add strength to the confidence of the English reader.