22 FEBRUARY 1890, Page 23

Buy Bias. Translated from the French by W. D. S.

Alexander. (Digby and Long.)—Buy Bias is, on the whole, the greatest of Victor Hugo's dramas, and Mr. Alexander has taken great pains, and has attained commensurate success, in translating it into twelve-syllable rhyming metre. While endeavouring to make his version as literal as possible, he has come upon both words and phrases which are untranslatable, and these he has sought to imitate rather than to reproduce in English. Perhaps on the whole, however, it would have been better had Mr. Alexander chosen blank verse rather than rhyme. There is a certain buckram stiffness about such a passage as this :- "" I say you shall be-rich, but you must aid

To build a fabric, which shall be so subtly made,

That, whilst it dazzles, it shall hold a fine-wrought net That shall enmesh its victim."

Four "shells" in four lines is too much even of that good thing.