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He then unto the ladder turns his back,
By which he did ascend. So Cæsar may.
BRUTUS. On fait affez quelle est l'ambition. L'échelle des grandeurs à ses yeux se présentes Elle y monte en cachant son front aux spectateurs ; Et quand elle est haut, alors elle se montre; Alors jusques au ciel élevant ses regards, D'un coup d'ail meprisant la vanité dédaigne Les premiers échelons qui firent fa grandeur. C'est ce que peut Cefar.
“One knows what ambition is: the ladder of grandeurs presents itself to her ; in going up she hides her face from the spectators; when she is at the top then the thews herself; then raising her view to the heavens, with a scornful look her vanity disdains the steps of the ladder that made her greatness, This it is that Cæfar may do,”
In the original, Lowliness is young ambition's ladder : the man who by feign'd humi
lity lity and courtesy, has attained the power to which he aspired, turns his back on those humble means by which he ascended to it ; the metaphor agreeing both to the man, who has gained the top of the ladder, or to him who has risen to the summit of power, In the translation, ambition ascends by steps of grandeurs, hiding her face from the specţators, when ihe is at the top, with a look or glance of her eye her vanity disdains the first steps she took; which steps, observe, were grandeurs ; so the allegory is vanity and ambition disdaining grandeur ; and the image presented is a woman climbing up a ladder, which is not a very common object, but more fo than Vanity's disdaining grandeurs. As the subject of the drama is built on a conspiracy, which every one knows had not any effect, and as the author has so conducted it as to render the pardon, Augustus gives the conspirators, an act of political prudence rather than of generous clemency, there is not any thing to interest us, but the characters of Cinna, Emilia, and Maximus. Let us examine how far they are worthy to do so, as set forth in this piece; for we have no historical acquaintance with them. Emilia is the daughter of Toranius, the Tutor of Augustus, who was proscribed by him in his Triumvirate. As we have not any knowledge of this Toranius, we are no more concerned about any cruelty committed upon him, than upon any other man, so that we are not prepared to enter into the outrageous resentment of Emilia; especially as we see her, in the court of Augustus, under the sacred relation of his adopted daughter, enjaying all the privileges of that distinguished situation, and treated with the tenderness of paternal love. Nothing so much deforms the
I am sorry the translator had not a better English dictionary, for on that, not on his own knowledge of our tongue, it is plain he depended. In another instance it misleads him. After Portia had importuned Brutus, to communicate to her the secret cause of his percurbation, he says to hier,
Portia, go in a while
The dictionary was consulted for the word construe ; and thus, according to the usual form, one may suppose it to have stood : To construe, to interpret. This not serving the purpose, to interpret was next fought; ihere he finds, to interpret or to explain ; again with indefatigable industry, excited by a defire to excel all translators and translations,
he has recourse to the article to explain ; .. under this head he finds, to unfold or clear
up; fo away goes the translator to clear up the countenance of Brutus.
Va, mes sourcils froncés prennent un air plus doux, · Ġo ;” says he ; "my frowning brow shall take a softer air.”
· There are so many gross blunders in this
work, that it would be tedious to point them out; but it is to be hoped, they will deter other beaux esprits from attempting to hurt works of genius, by the malked battery of an unfair translation. Mr. Voltaire desires, that by his translation all Europe will compare the thoughts, the stile, and the judgment of Shakespear, with the thoughts, the stile, and the judgment of Corneille. It is difficult, perhaps impossible, to make the graces of style pass from one language to another; and our blank verse cannot be equal. led by French blank verse. The thoughts might in some measure have been given, if the translator had understood the words, in which Shakespear hath expressed them. Upon the judgment of both the authors in the choice of the story, in the conduct of it, in exciting the sympathies belonging to it, in the fashioning of the characters, in the nobleness of sentiment, and the representation of Roman manners, we shall upon close examination of the Cinna and Julius Cæfar be able to pronounce..