13 MAY 1882, Page 22

The Odyssey translated into English Verse. Books XIII.-XXIV. By General

Schomberg. (John Murray.)—General Schomberg's second volume differs as little as possible in quality and execution from the first. It has, regarded as a translation simply, the same high merit of careful and correct rendering of the original, as a poetical translation, the great defect of want of melody and spirit. The music, the dignity, the variety of pause which blank verse should have, are not to be found in General Schomberg's correct but languid rhythm. We may give, as a specimen, the description of the brooch of Odysseus' hunting-cloak :- " In front the brooch was wrought with rare device ; With his fore-paws and fangs, a dog held fast A dappled, panting fawn ; 'twas strange to see .. How truthfully the beasts were wrought in gold, How the dog gazed throttling the tender hart, Which struggled with his feet to free himself."

The translator takes, we see, what is surely the less likely rendering of " gazed " for Ads, rather than "grasped," and the force of xpi'mreot ?dpres—though wrought in gold, lifeless metal, yet seeming all alive —is not given ; but the translation is sufficiently close. Only the ex- pression is feeble. Match it with a stanza in the " Palace of Art," or with Mr. Matthew Arnold's picture of the tapestry in " Tristram and Iseult," and we see that it will not bear the comparison. Let us see whether he succeeds better in rhetoric than in description. Here is the speech of Odysseus, when he declares himself to the Suitors :- "Ye dogs ; ye thought I never would return, Or reach my home again, from Trojan soil ; And so my home ye spoiled ; my women slaves Ye forced to yield themselves to your vile lust ; Behind my back my wife ye dared to woo, While I was yet alive ; no dread had ye, Or of the Gods, who dwell in the high heaven, Or of man's vengeance, yet to fall on you. Now, in his toils Destruction sweeps you all."

This is careful enough ; the force of the " ma," for instance, is 611-qm/wile is duly given, yet given in a very prosaic equivalent. The fourth line is very harsh, and the whole wanting in vigour. With yet a third sample, we will conclude. It is the death of Bury- machus :-

" He spake, and forth he flashed his trenchant sword,

Brazen and double-edged, and dashed at him With a terrific shout ; the godlike chief, At the same time an arrow lanai:thing forth,

Full on the breast struck him- the feathered shaft

His liver bored ; his sword fell from his hand ; And doubled o'er the table forward pitched He writhing ; fell the viands on the floor, And the two-handled cup ; in his death-throes The earth be with his forehead struck ; his chair He overthrew, spurned by his dying heel ; And o'er his eyes, the mist of darkness fell."

Here the translation simply loses by being in verse ; the false emphasis and the awkward inversions absolutely disfigure it.