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he treats: many of which (such as the Egyptian cookery, edifices, shipping, &c.) have never been clearly described to us in any other publication, European or Oriental. The author evidently penned his remarks for the sole uge of persons resident in Eastern countries ; to whom, in "course, the various points which he discusses must have been generally familiar: but an European translator, be his learning and his attainments what they may, not possessing this previous knowlege, must inevitably be often embarrassed, and often fall into error.-Besides, it is not only where the subjects themselves are obscure that the translator of Abdollatiph has obstacles to encounter: they will also incidentally occur, even where objects are dea scribed to which he has long been accustomed by the perasal of modern travels." In order to illustrate and justify this assertion, it will be sufficient to place before our readers some totally different translations of the same Arabic passages, made by three eminent Oriental scholars, and exhibited in the volume before us, or in the Appendix annexed to it; and that we may not be suspected of selecting these variations from a large extent of the book, we shall purposely confine ourselves within the limits of two Arabic pages only, which follow each other in immediate connection.
Page 110. I. 2.
وقلما تجد في هذه المسال الصغار ما هو قطعة واحدة
.. علي بعض بل نصوصا بعض
This short passage is thus rendered by the three translators: Dr. White ; et parvulos hosce inter Obeliscos vix inperies' unum qui stet separatim ; sunt enim alii aliis inneri. Pococke; et vix reperies ex parvis his acubus quampiam, quæ una paj's esset, Verusia pars quædam ab alio gypso-distincta est,” M. Wahl ;, " Of these smaller obelisks, perhaps none is found consisting of a vhole, and not composed of pieces." . Here we are decidedly of opinion that Wahl is substantially right, and that Pococke and Dr. White are wrong. Pococke, indeed, appears to have read, by mistake, loquas instead of logues from iss gypsinn." See Abu
angit, dollatiph, page 154, line 11.
Ibid. line 5., öylas bang si These words are ren; dered by Dr. White,' in, medio munimenti :' by Pococke, in. malio domuum;"and by Wahl, “ in the middle of the dam.” We suppose the meaning of the passage to be somewhat different from that which is affixed to it by any one of the three translators. We understand it to be, just within the wall; and, in fact, such is the situation of Cleopatra's Needle, as may be seen by inspecting Norden's and Dalrymple's Plans of modern Alexandria,
Ibid. line 7. lpalis us K ui duello cibowl Lolo Dr. White ;'' Porro quod ad Berbas in Thebaide attinet, fama est pervulgata de earum magnitudine.'--Pococke; “ Quod vero ad Al Bar Abi in Saide, et narrationes de magnitudine ejus."-Wahl; so to speak a word of the Temples of Upper Egypt, much might be said of their greatness.” Here Dr. White and M. Wahl appear to have righty conceived the sense of the passage, and Pococke has evidently mistaken it. How Reiske, Schultens, and Hartmann, could contend that cool in the sense of “ Pyramids,". should be substituted for st in the passage of Abulfeda, where he speaks only of the antient Egyptian Temples, has always been matter of wonder to us. The word Berba is manifestly the Coptic word eppes temple, with the mascu- . line article ni, or , prefixed, making together repber. Nothing is more common in Arabic, than for at or $, to be changed into B, in words adopted from the Coptic. Thus, instead of Farmoudi (one of the Coptic Months) they always write Barmcudi. *.
Ibid. line 13. buelt will suul jo Dr. White ; præduro eandem ex inarmore factam ;-Pococke ; ex lapidibus duris, marmoreis ;” – Wahl; "s erected of a stone, not inferior to Basalt." The author is speaking of the Shaft of Pompey's Pillar. Dr. White's translation is just and proper, and that of Wahl is palpably wrong, since there is nothing concerning Basalt in the original. Pococke too has evidently mistaken the sense; the Shaft, it is well known, consists only of a single piece; and wbges in this passage, is certainly a singular noun, though Golius, Col. 1393, makes it the plural of bloo .
We cannot forbear to add one observation more on page 161, line 6, &c. of the Arabic text, where Dr. White's trans-, lation of the following passage appears to us to be evidently, incorrect in some particulars :
وللاسكندر الأفروديسي تاریخ صغبر ذكر قبه البهود
لشي من أخبار القبط وأما والمجوس والصابية وتعرض جالبنوس ذكو الاهرام في موضع واحد وجعله من هرم الشيخوخة
Alexander Aphrodisius, in Chronico suo parvo, agit quidem de Judæis, Magis, et Sabæis ; sed ad aliud deflecțit a rebus ges
* See De Sacy, Observations sur le Nom des Pyramides, page 32. &c.
tis. Ceptorun olienum. Quod autem ad Galenum attind, side illum locutum fuisse de Pyramidibus in loco uno, quem de de crepita senectute inscripserit.' M. Wahl's German translation is not more happy : it is thus in English: “We have also a small chronicle of Alexander Aphrodisiensis, in which this writer mentions not only the Jews, Nlagi, and Zabians, but speaks elsa particularly of the Annals of the Copts. But Galen in one place expressly mentions the Pyramids, where he begins with the old destroyed one." We conceive that the Arabic passage should be thus rendered,- in the same manner nearly as Pococke has actually translated it: “We have a small historical work of Alexander Aphrodisius, in which he makes mention of the Jews, the Magians, and the Sabians ; he speaks briefly also concerning the history of the Copts. But Golen speaks in one place of the Pyramids, and he derives their name from a word which signifies the decrepitude of old age.”— We refer the reader to a very ingenious note on the subject of the latter part of this passage, in the learned Silvestre de Sacy's Observations sur le Nom des Pyramides, page g.
The Notes of Dr. White, though certainly not so numerous as we could have wished, and perhaps had a right to expect, on such an author, and from such a critic, are yet sufficient to bear honourable testimony to his acuteness and erudition. We particalarly lament, however, that he has omitted to subjoin an Index of the more remarkable Arabic words and idioms, which occur in the History of Abdollatiph. In Greek and Roman literature, no scholar is ignorant of the value of such indexes; and surely it will not be denied that they are still more valuable, and even indispensably necessary, in editions of Arabic writers: whose language is far more comprehensive, as well as less definite; and of which every Lexicon, that has yet been published, is frequently so defective in its enumeration of words, and so unsatisfactory in its definitions and explanations of their various meanings.
On the whole, we cannot take our leave of Abdollatiph, without sincerely congratulating the editor and translator on his successful completion of this edition of a work, which we confidently pronounce to be one of the most curious and valuable that has yet been imported from the East; -a work which has so long been expected by the learned world, and which, by one fatality or another, appears so many years since to have fruitlessly exercised the labour and ingenuity of two of the ablest Oriental Scholars which this country ever produced.
than the entry as blackbely changed in our
Art. II. Britannia: a National Epic Poem, in Twenty Books.
To which is prefixed, a Critical Dissertation on Epic Machinery: · By John Ogilvie, D. D. F.R.S. Edinburgh. 4to. pp. 623.
Printed at Aberdeen. 1801. The momentous period, which we have for some time con
templated, has rendered us familiar with great events. The examination of an Epic Poem was formerly a task of importance, which required much expenditure of critical oil; and which occurred so seldom, that ic formed a kind of era in our labours : but circumstances are now greatly changed : epic poems are become « as plenty as blackberries," and are seldom longer lived than the constitution of a republic, or the celebrity of a German drama. Our expectations, therefore, are not much more excited by this title, than' by one which announces a more humble and unpretending form of composition. On chese occasions, indeed, we sometimes have recourse to the physiognomy of the book ; and when this presents nothing conclusive, we are much gratified if the author courteously permits us to study his own effigy in front of his work. In this respect, Dr. Ogilvie has been particularly kind; since he has obliged us with a three-quarters représentation of his person, from a comparison of which with the effigies of the great Epic Poets, some conjecture may be formed respecting his powers.
The preliminary dissertation contains a defence of the neces. sity of Epic Machinery, in opposition to Mr. Hayley. We confess that this vindication appears to be unnecessary : the best answer to Mr. Hayley's doubts would have been found in a composition framed on the antient model, with the power and effect of antient poetry; and we are much inclined to impute the ill success of modern epic writers to a want of poetical energy, rather than to their employment of classical machinery. Indeed, if the propriety of admitting such imagery has not been already established by the several critics on the three great Epic Poems, it is in vain to repeat their observations: but, if the strength of the moderns be unequal to the ponderous arms of the antients, there is some wisdom in chusing more manageable weapons.
« The weaker warrior takes a lighter shield,” according to Mr. Popo's translation, and to those who would accommodate the plan of epic poetry to the present state of Genius, we may apply the proverb, that he who cannot be an Erasmus must think of becoming à Bishop.
In reality, Dr. Ogilvie has adopted a system of machinery of an intermediate kind, by following Dryden's invention of
the agency of Guardian Angels; a species of beings to which the century before the last allowed some degree of credit. They are now as much superannuated as the heathen mythology, and must principally depend, for their effect, on the talents of the mind which puts them in motion. In Dryden's time, this idea would have had the merit of novelty ; in our's, it could only succeed by being happily carried into execution. As the 'author has thus departed from the classical models, he ought to have spared his censure of the enchanters and elfin knights of Ariosto and Spenser. Theiropoems require neither apologies in prose, nor volumes of annotations, in order to be read and admired; and indeed, if the admissibility of supernatural agency be once conceded, the Durindaria of Orlando stands on the same footing with the celestial armour of Achilles.
The story of Dr. Ogilvie's Poem is the establishment of a Trojan colony, under Brutus, in this island; one of those fictions which admit sufficient interest and ornament to justify the choice of the Poet, and to which the present taste for black-letter reading is particularly favorable. It is written in blank verse; the employment of which the author vindicates, in his preliminary dissertation, against the objections of Dr. Johnson. On this question of the comparison of rhime with blank verse, we shall only observe that whatever is the best poetry is the best of either. If an author can write such heroic verse as that of Milton or Shakspeare, he may safely leave his performance to the protection of its own merits. Dr. Johnson, we believe, has made very few converts on this subject.
One rule of the Epopeia, however, has been infringed by the present author. It has been understood that the agency of superior beings should only be introduced on important occa. sions : but, in the poem before us, the supernatural personages are in a state of constant activity. The Guardian Angel of the country descries the approach of the Trojan fleet from the rocks, which any good pair of human eyes might have perceived; and she afterward appears to the invaders in the disguise of a shepherd, to inform them that they have landed on an island, -a truth which they might have previously guessed, and that they will be opposed by a race of giants,-a fable for which we can discover no occasion. The good and evil spirits, after the action commences, become so very busy, that the intended heroes of the piece shrink into' mere puppets, and inspire the reader with no interest in their conduct or destiny. In other respects, the fable of the poem is not liable to objection; and the author displays, on many occasions, goud sense and erudition The vital principle of poetry, however,