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is dissipated. Verse translations are in the main a gallery of failures. Incidentally it may be noticed, that the best and most successful translations we possess are what may be called accidental translations, translations which were undertaken not for the purpose of letting English readers enjoy a Greek or Latin author, but for some purpose of the translator's own. 'Why,' it may be asked,' are such accidental translations living things, 'when the ordinary translation is a corpse, orat best a mummy?' As an illustration take the famous passage in ‘Wordsworth's 'Grave,' in which Matthew Arnold annexes for his own purpose the greatest purple patch in the Georgics :

‘And he was happy, if to know
Causes of things, and far below
His feet to see the lurid flow
Of terror, and insane distress,

And headlong fate, be happiness.'
That is certainly live poetry. If any one wants to see what
Dryden made of it, let him turn to the translation of the
Georgics. He will find that though the words and sense are
there, all the life has been lost in the process of translation.
Take, as another example, the ordinary translations—even
Munro's—of the famous Invocation of the Second Book of
Lucretius. Unless a man has some acquaintance with the
Latin, such translations, however correct, will never set him
on fire. Then turn to the accidental translation in Bacon's
Essay on Truth:

'It is a pleasure to stand upon the shore, and to see ships tost upon the sea ; A pleasure to stand in the window of a Castle, and to see a Battaile, and the Adventures thereof, below; But no pleasure is comparable to the standing upon the vantage ground of Truth (A hill not to be commanded, and where the Ayre is alwaies cleare and serene,) and to see the Errours, and Wandrings and Mists, and Tempests, in the vale below.'

Yet one more example, the passage in ‘Tristram Shandy' in which Sterne translates Servius Sulpicius's letter to Cicero on the death of his son:

Returning out of Asia, when I sailed from Aegina towards Megara, I began to view the country round about. Aegina was behind me, Megara was before, Piraeus on the right hand, Corinth on the left. What flourishing towns now prostrate upon the earth ! Alas! alas! said I to myself, that man should disturb his soul for the loss of a child, when so much as this lies awfully buried in his presence. Remember, said I to myself again, remember thou art a man.'

Compare these noble words, which must have come home to many hearts in the days that rock and reel beneath us, with the dreary and accurate dulness of the ordinary translator.

Another striking example of successful accidental translation is the exquisite rendering, by Sir Henry Newbolt, of Martial's Epigram on Felix Antonius. It may fairly be described as one of the most living pieces of translation in our language.

'To-day, my friend is seventy-five;

He tells his tale with no regret ;

His brave old eyes are steadfast yet,
His heart the lightest heart alive.

He sees behind him green and wide

The pathway of his pilgrim years;
He sees the shore, and dreadless hears
The whisper of the creeping tide.

For out of all his days, not one

Has passed and left its unlaid ghost

To seek a light for ever lost,
Or wail a deed for ever done.

So for reward of life-long truth

He lives again, as good men can,

Redoubling his allotted span

With memories of a stainless youth.' It is interesting to contrast this deeply moving version with a translation of the same epigram made by Pope. Curiously enough the translation has never been included in Pope's Poetical Works, but remains interned among his letters. It appears in a letter to Pope from Turnbull, who reminds the poet of the translation, and then quotes it.

'At length my friend (while time with still career
Wafts on his gentle wing his eightieth year)
Sees his past days safe out of Fortune's pow'r,
Nor dreads approaching Fate's uncertain hour ;
Reviews his life, and in the strict survey
Finds not one moment he could wish away,
Pleased with the series of each happy day.
Such, such a man extends his life's short space,
And from the goal again renews the race :
For he lives twice who can at once employ
The present well, and ev'n the past enjoy.'


After this insistence upon the necessity for the vital element in poetry it remains to ask what is that element. Alas ! it is as difficult for the critic to answer that question as for the chemist to define vitamines. Probably no man will ever be able to give a precise answer. It will remain one of the secrets of existence. But that is no reason why we should not try to fathom the mystery. If we do not succeed, the search will be sure to justify itself in our discoveries by the way. In seeking the Philosopher's Stone men became chemists. It was through the study of astrology that astronomy was born. Those scholars of the starry Heavens were like the poet who 'catched at Love and filled his hands with bays. They never found and their successors will not find to what goal or along what road the astral universe is rushing. All the astronomer knows is that each heavenly body moves, and that they also move all together as a universe, within something greater than a universe ; he does not know whence that movement comes or whither it tends. But this awe-inspiring, this dreadful, limitation of the astronomer's knowledge does not prevent him from predicting a comet or an eclipse, from measuring how far we are from our planetary neighbours, or from telling us their weight and their dimensions. In the same way, though we may never be able to define precisely the vital element in poetry, may not the search lead us to a fuller mastery of the benign mysteries of verse ?



I. Herbert Spencer. By HUGH ELLIOT. Constable. 1917. 2. The Decline of Liberty in England. By E. S. P. HAYNES.

Grant Richards. 1916. 3. Ancient Law. By Sir H. S. MAINE. With Introduction and

Notes by Sir FREDERICK POLLOCK. Murray. 1906. 4. The New Democracy and the Constitution. By W. S.

McKECHNIE. Murray. 1912. 5. Peers and Bureaucrats. By RAMSAY MUIR. Constable.


THE problems, political and social, that will require to

1 be solved when peace returns are many and intricate. The fabric of society has been shattered, and the plan of reconstruction will undoubtedly be much affected by the recent rapid development of democratic feeling in this country.

Democracy has a natural tendency towards State control; and of all the perplexing questions of the future one of the most difficult will be how to reconcile a democratic régime with the traditional liberty of our people. That liberty will be attacked after the war is certain, and the object of this article is to call attention to a menace to personal liberty which has attracted but little notice hitherto. The nature of this danger is—as is suggested by the title—that our social policy, which from time immemorial has steadily progressed from Status to Contract, is now showing a tendency to move in the opposite direction.

Status, according to the New English Dictionary, means 'the legal standing or position of a person as determined by ‘his membership of some class of persons legally enjoying 'certain rights or subject to certain conditions. In this article the word is used in antithesis to Contract, as a convenient way of describing the tendency of social policy as affecting personal liberty and freedom of contract.

In his work on ancient law, Sir Henry Maine traces the history of Status from its first appearance in the form of family dependency’; he shows how, as humanity advanced, Status was gradually superseded by Contract, and he came to the conclusion that 'the march of progressive societies has always 'been from Status to Contract.' Slavery was formerly the most complete form of Status; but since slavery has practically disappeared, State servitude—such, for instance, as that which for many generations has existed in Prussia—represents its fullest development in modern times. Sir Frederick Pollock says of Maine's dictum that “it is certainly just, and has not 'ceased to be significant.' * In this country the supersession of Status by Contract was carried so far that, by the middle of the nineteenth century, it could be asserted with truth that • a degree of individual liberty has been reached greater than


ever before existed since nations began to be formed : men 'could move about as they pleased, work at what they pleased, 'trade with whom they pleased.' f It seems incredible that the English people, in whom the love of freedom is so deeply rooted, could be induced to adopt a policy which implies a progressive encroachment upon their liberties; and there can be no doubt that if the effect of such a policy were understood it would be indignantly rejected. The danger lies in the fact that the knowledge does not exist. At first the interference of this policy with personal liberty is slight : only small sections of the population are affected by it, and the tendency is unnoticed by the general public. Such a policy is, however, capable of indefinite extension, and there are many parties in this country by whom its continuous development is ardently desired.

It is probable that the bodies, who under various names and for different reasons advocate State control of private activities, may think that the difficulties of the political and industrial situation when peace returns will offer a good opportunity for attaining their common object, and may agree to sink their differences for the nonce, and combine their forces in the hope of securing it. A few years ago such an attack upon liberty would have been obviously futile, but it is doubtful whether this can be said with equal confidence now.

The fact that the British Constitution is unwritten has great advantages, but the last few years have made its corre

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