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lish prose, or the prose
any other language, and at the same time preserving the power and spirit of the original.
Bayard Taylor's translation of Goethe's Faust is a masterpiece in this, that it is a remarkably successful attempt to
Bayard Taylor transfer from one language to another not merely the on thoughts, the sentiment, and the exact meaning of the poetry. author, but also the form and rhythm. Mr. Taylor argues very forcibly, and we think truly, that “the value of form in a poetical work is the first question to be considered. Poetry," he observes, “is not simply a fashion of expression; it is the form of expression absolutely required by a certain class of ideas. Poetry, indeed, may be distinguished from prose by the single circumstance that it is the utterance of whatever in man cannot be perfectly uttered in any other than a rhythmical form. It is useless to say that the naked meaning is independent of the form. On the contrary, the form contributes essentially to the fulness of the meaning. In poetry which endures through its own inherent vitality, there is no forced union of these two elements. They are as intimately blended, and with the same mysterious beauty, as the sexes in the ancient Hermaphroditus. To attempt to represent poetry in prose is very much like attempting to translate music into speech.
How impossible to translate perfectly into any other form the following passage from Milton:
Now storming fury rose,
Of all their regions.
very form of this passage, as it stands before the reader's eye, contributes not a little to the emotions produced by it in the
1 Preface to Translation of Goethe's Faust.
soul of a man of taste. Change the order of the words, or attempt to state their naked meaning in prose, and the very ideas will seem to vanish. The grandeur and beauty of the passage are due as much to the rhythm, the emphatic collocation of words, the expressiveness of the form in which the whole is placed before us, as to the sublime conceptions they embody. But if so much is due to the form of poetic writing, much must be lost from any noble poem when transferred to another language shorn of these elements of power. The least we can do is to make prominent in our translations the measured forms of the original. So far as it may be done without too great violence to the idioms of our own tongue, we should preserve the same order of words, emphatic forms of statement, and abrupt transitions. In these respects Hebrew poetry is Hebrew spirit probably more capable of exact translation than that of and form may any other language. For there is no rhyme, no metric served in trans- scale, to be translated. Two things it is essential to lation.
preserve—the spirit and the form, and both of these are of such a nature as to make it possible to reproduce them to a great extent in almost any other language.'
No man, perhaps, has shown a greater power to present in English the real spirit of Hebrew poetry than Tayler Lewis. The following version of Job iv, 12-21, while not exactly following the Hebrew collocation of the words, and giving to some words a meaning scarcely sustained by Hebrew usage, does, nevertheless, bring out the spirit and force of the original in a most impressive way:
To me, at times, there steals a warning word;
They die still lacking wisdom. See the notes on this rhythmical version, in which Lewis defends the accuracy of his translation, in Lange's Commentary on Job, pp. 59, 60. See also Lewis' articles on The Emotional Element in Hebrew Translation, in the Methodist Quarterly Review, for Jan., 1862, Jan. and July, 1863, and Jan., 1864.
While the spirit and emotionality of Hebrew poetry are aue to a combination of various elements, the parallelism of sentences is a most marked feature of its outward form. of Hebrew parThis it becomes us now to exhibit more fully, for a scientific interpretation of the poetical portions of the Old Testament requires that the parallelism be not ignored. Joseph Addison Alexander, indeed, animadverts upon Bishop Lowth's “supposed discovery of rhythm or measure in the Hebrew prophets," and condemns his theory as unsound and in bad taste.' But his strictures seem to proceed on the assumption that the theory of parallelism involves the idea of metrical versification analogous to the prosody of other languages. Aside from such an assumption they have no relevancy or force. For it is indisputable that the large portions of the Hebrew scriptures, commonly regarded as poetical, are as capable of arrangement in well-defined parallelisms as the variety of Greek metres are capable of being reduced to system and rules.
The short and vivid sentences which are a peculiar characteristic of Hebrew speech would lead, by a very natural proc- The process of ess, to the formation of parallelisms in poetry. The forming paral, desire to present a subject most impressibly would in Hebrew. lead to repetition, and the tautology would show itself in slightly varying forms of one and the same thought. Thus the following, from Prov. i, 24-27:
Because I have called, and ye refuse;
At the coming upon you of distress and anguish. Other thoughts would be more forcibly expressed by setting tnem in contrast with something of an opposite nature. Hence such parallelisms as the following:
They have kneeled down and fallen;
But a prating fool shall be thrown down. Prov. x, 7, 8. See the Introduction to his Commentary on The Earlier Prophecies of Isaiah, pp. 48, 49. New York, 1846.
Such simple distichs would readily develop into more complex examples of parallelism, and we find among the Hebrew poems a great variety of forms in which the sacred writers sought to set forth their burning thoughts. The more common and regular forms of Hebrew parallelism are classified by Lowth under three general heads, which he denominates Synonymous, Antithetic, and Synthetic. These, again, may be subdivided, according as the lines form simple couplets or triplets, or have measured correspondence in sentiment and length, or are unequal, and broken by sudden bursts of passion, or by some impressive refrain.
1. SYNONYMOUS PARALLELISM. Here we place passages in which the different lines or members present the same thought in a slightly altered manner of expression. To this class belong the couplets of Prov. i, 24–27 cited above, where it will be seen there is a constant repetition of thought under a variety of words. Three kinds of synonymous parallels may be specified:
a) Identical, when the different members are composed of the same, or nearly the same, words:
Thou wert snared in the sayings of thy mouth;
6) Similar, when the sentiment is substantially the same, but language and figures are different:
For he on seas has founded it,
c) Inverted, when there is an inversion or transposition of words or sentences so as to change the order of thought:
The heavens are telling the glory of God,
For unto me is he lovingly joined, and I will deliver him;
2. ANTITHETIC PARALLELISM. Under this head come all passages in which there is a contrast or opposition of thought presented in the different sentences. This kind of parallelism abounds in the Book of Proverbs especially, for it is peculiarly adapted to express maxims of proverbial wisdom. There are two forms of antithetic parallelism:
a) Simple, when the contrast is presented in a single distich of simple sentences:
Righteousness will exalt a nation,
b) Compound, when there are two or more sentences in each member of the antithesis:
The ox has known his owner,
Isa. liv, 7, 8. 3. SYNTHETIC PARALLELISM. Synthetic or Constructive Parallelism consists, according to Lowth's definition, “only in the similar form of construction, in which word does not answer to word, and sentence to sentence, as equivalent or opposite; but there is a correspondence and equality