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are now understood by, and offensive to, three fourths, or perhaps one half of the reading public in England. And being, therefore, understood, they are worse than useless. There is no prejudice which traders in wares of every sort, cling to more fondly, than the notion, that all the world but themselves may be gulled; yet, it is a prejudice that must be discarded by all but purblind understandings and sordid tempers. For our own parts, we confess that we indulge the hope that, if knowledge holds on its course among us, charlatanism, in all trades, will find that it has done its work, and that it must die.
We have ventured this hint to the publishers of this series of religious classics. Perhaps they may find that, having gained circulation for the work, no other means are requisite to secure the public favour, than the continued exercise of a sound discretion in the selection of their authors, and of the pains and cost which have made the undertaking hitherto creditable and advantageous to themselves.
Art. VII. 1. The Enchanted Flute, with other Poems; and Fables
from La Fontaine. By E. P. Wolferstan. 8vo. pp. 440. Price 12s.
London, 1823. 2. Eugenia : a Poem. In four Cantos. By E. P. Wolferstan. 8vo.
pp. 62. Price 3s. 6d. London, 1824. LA FONTAINE, had he written, nothing but his fables,
would be a poet which we might almost envy the French. He is our Gay with more vivacity and point, Swift, with more playfulness, amiableness, and grace, but he has a character distinct from either, inasmuch as he is perfectly French. Perhaps, our Peter Pindar comes the nearest to his style of humour, as well as his freedom of versification; and if the topics he had chosen had been less identified with the political scandal of the day, his works, cleaned and weeded, would have deserved a higher place than they can now maintain in that class of English poetry.
Mrs. Wolferstan (we believe we are correct in so designating her) has adventured on a difficult task. We have always considered La Fontaine as untranslatable--unless by Dr. Wolcot; but we frankly admit, that she has executed many of these fables with equal fidelity and spirit. If she will pardon our not giving the preference to her original poetry, we are willing to assign her no ordinary merit as a translator, and we think that these Fables will very generally and deservedly please. Every one recollects La Fontaine's fable of the Grasshopper and the Ant, the first in his book, beginning
Le cigale, ayant chanté
Quand la bise fut venue,' &c. Save and except the silver song' assigned to the insect, and the cheering influence ascribed to it, we think the fable very happily rendered as follows:
« THE GRASSHOPPER AND ANT.
pp. 150–15). The following spirited version ofLe Rat de ville et le Rat • des champs,' is more free, and yet true to the spirit of the original.
· THE TOWN AND COUNTRY MOUSE.
Sent to invite his Country Cousin
On crumbs of Cake-their Rump and Dozen.
The rich, Epicurean treasure ;
The happy meeting at her leisure.
For little Mice who love the Moon !
Just peeps and smiles, then closes soon.
«u Hark! heard you not that op'ning door?"
The Mouse of London cried, and started
But with the lightning's speed departed.
“ We'll finish our repast, however.”
“ My appetite seems gone for ever.
“ Come and partake my frugal diet ;
“ Ambitious most of ease and quiet.
“ I eat in peace, enjoy at leisure,
pp. 165-166. • The Rats in Council' is a very free translation ; but our readers will not be the less pleased with it.
« THE RATS IN COUNCIL.
Dealt to the Rats so many a mortal blow,
Did on his teeth and claws some charm bestow ;,
He sent such thousands to the shades below.
In Rats perhaps as man;
For this redoubted Kouli Khan
At length it did arrive
That he was gone to wive,
these were halcyon days !
Suspended by a cobweb cord,
Happy again to meet,
To take their oaths and seat,
A Rat of eloquencerone who could measure ye
Six hours upon his legs,
Arose, and begg'd the Barn would give attention
And such the universal joy,
How will not Hope the spirits buoy!
So well imagin’d, so profound,
And fell (hard fortune!) to the ground.
Experience has confirm'd the fact :
'Tis easier to adyise than act.' pp. 197—202. We must make room for one more, and the folloying presents itself.
* THE JUG AND THE KETTLE.
“ Earthen Jug, we'll take a ramble.”
“ Cross the 'Alps, ascend Mont Blanc;
“ Be the Journey short or long.
No, my friend, I cannot settle,”
To the smoothest path direct you,
• Earthen Jug no more, I wist,
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