« PreviousContinue »
lord chancellor Parker on his receival of the seals.
His enjoyment of these promotions was, however, but of short duration, for he died on the sixth of December, 1718, aged forty-four, and was buried on the nineteenth of the same month in Westminster-abbey..
Mr. Rowe twice entered into the conjugal state, and had a son by his first, and a daughter by his second, wife. He was a man elegant in his person and manners,
of a lively and amiable temper, yet partial to occasional solitude; he therefore frequently, retired into the country, .where, according to the relation of his friend, Dr. Welwood, he usually employed his time in the study of divinity and ecclesiastical history. He was not only well acquainted with the learned languages, but familiar with French, Italian, and Spanish, the first of which he spoke with fluency.
Mr. Rowe was the author of a single letter in the Guardian, No 118, signed with the initials of his name. In N° 98 of the same paper, Addison had given notice of the erection of a lion's head at Button's coffee-house, the expanded mouth of which was intended for the reception of such letters and papers as might be sent him by his correspondents; and Mr. Rowe, who represents himself as in the country, probably in one of his usual retirements, humorously petitions in his letter for an out-riding lion, or a couple of jackalls, for the accommodation of those who by distance are rendered incapable of paying their respects to his metropolitan Majesty.*
38. GOLDING, Mr. To Mr. Golding, concerning whose life and character no circumstances have reached the present times, has been attributed the first letter in No 250 of the Spectator. It is an elegant and entertaining essay on the language of the eyes, as descriptive of the various passions which agitate the human breast. “ Love, anger, pride, and avarice," remarks the author, “ all visibly move in those little orbs.”
The expression of love and desire in the eye, has more particularly been the theme of the poets in every age;
and some have been peculiarly happy in painting that tender languor, that tremulous and voluptuous light, that dewy radiance
• The following paragraph, which I copy from the London papers, announces the fate of this celebrated, and I may say, classical head. “ The beautiful carved and gilt Lion's Head Letter-box, which was formerly at Button's coffee-house, was on Wednesday, November the 7th, 1804, knocked down at the Shakspeare tavern, Covent-garden, to Mr. Richardson, for 171. 10s. The Antiquarian Society offered Mr. Campbell 100 guineas for this piece of curiosity not twelve months since.”
which imparts to the eye a fascination so irresistibly attractive. Anacreon possesses several exquisite delineations of this kind, and in his twenty-eighth ode has applied the term TTPOE, or humid, to the eyes of Cytherea ; an epithet which has probably given birth to an admirable line in Collins's Ode to Pity:
Long, Pity, let the nations view
And eyes of dewy light. No bard, however, has on this subject equalled Tasso ; nor can there readily be found two lines of greater beauty, or descriptive accuracy, than what the following exhibit:
Qual raggio in onda le scintilla un riso
39. Robert HARPER, the author of a letter with the signature of M. D. in N° 480 of the Spectator, was an eminent conveyancer of Lincoln’s-inn. It is related, that in this letter, which does not occupy a single page, Steele made several alterations, and that the original draught -was communicated to the annotators by the Rev. Mr. Harper, of the British Museum. The tenor of this brief epistle is such as to induce us to sup: .pose, that Mr. Harper was a man of consider
able merit, but that his abilities were obscured by an excessive, and therefore injurious, degree of diffidence.
40. Peter ANTHONY MOTTEUX, a native of France, was born' at Rouen, in Normandy, in 1660. He chose England as his place of residence on the revocation of the edict of Nantz, and for some time lived with his relation, Paul Dominique, Esq. Mr. Motteux is one of the few Frenchmen who have obtained a perfect knowledge of our language; he acquired, indeed, such an intimacy with its idiom and colloquial expression, that his translations from the Spanish and the French exhibit completely the air of original composition. " Motteux," observes Mr. Tytler, speaking of his version of Don Quixote, “ with no great abilities as an original writer, appears to me to have been endowed with a strong perception 'of the ridiculous in human character ; a just discernment of the weaknesses and follies of mankind. He seems, likewise, to have had a great command of the various styles which are accommodated to the expression both of grave burlesque, and of low humour. Inferior to Smollet in inventive genius, he seems to have equalled him in every quality which was essentially requisite to a translator of Don Quixote.--On the whole,” he .concludes, “ I am inclined to think, that the version of Motteux is by far the best we have yet seen of the romance of Cervantes."
Our author engaged, likewise, in the still more difficult task of translating Rabelais, a writer whose style is so obsolete, that but few of his own countrymen are fully able to develope his meaning. The first three books of this singular satire had been so well translated by Sir Thomas Urquhart, that Motteux only continued the version; and the whole was afterwards revised by Mr. Ozell. Mr. Tytler has pronounced the version, thus corrected, one of the most perfect specimens of the art of translation. The best critics," says he, “ in both languages have borne testimony to its faithful transfusion of the sense, and happy imitation of the style of the original; and every English reader will acknowledge, that it possesses all the ease of original composition." +
In addition to these literary labours, Motteux translated several plays, which were brought with some success on the stage; he wrote 'also several prologues and epilogues, and dedicated a poem On Tea to the Spectator. All his exertions, how
• Essay on the Principles of Translation, p. 267, 268, and 31%, & edition, 8vo. 1797.
+ Ibid. p. 396, 397.