Page:Notes and Queries - Series 9 - Volume 10.djvu/270

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262


NOTES AND QUERIES. p* s. x. OCT. 4, 1902.


He also remarks :

"In Latin we English do not pronounce the vowels right, either as to quantity or relative sound, though probably we do preserve the right accent. In Greek we do not pronounce according to accent or quantity. In Latin and in Greek we do not give ^the right pro- nunciation to most of the cbnsonants."

An oblong octavo volume in which Hawtrey had a share is now prized by students of versification. Although it bears the name of a publisher, it is said to have been printed for private circulation :

English Hexameter Translations from Schiller, Gothe, Homer, Callinus, and Meleager. London: John Murray, MDCCCXLVII. Pp. 277.

The contributors, who are indicated by their initials only, were Sir John F. W. Herschell, "William Whewell, Julius Charles Hare, J. G. Lockhart, and E. C. Hawtrey. The five friends appeal to the reader both in prose and verse. In the preface we read :

" The following English hexameters and elegiacs have been written by several persons, and at various times ; and there are therefore probably some discrepancies in the versification of different parts. It is believed, however, that these are slight ; for all the pieces are executed with the intention that the lines, being read according to the natural and ordinary pronunciation, shall run into accentual hexameters or pentameters. If this point be gained, such verses may be no less acceptable to the English than they have been to the German poetical ear, and may be found suited in our lan- guage, as well as in its sister speech, to the most earnest and elevated kinds of poetry."

This motto is also prefixed :

Art thou a lover of Song ? Would'st fain have an

utterance found it True to the ancient flow, true to the tones of the

heart, Free from the fashions of speech which tinsel the

lines of our rhymesters ?

Lend us thy listening ear : lend us thy favouring voice.

It must be confessed that even the " favour- ing voice " has not been enthusiastic about English hexameters. The contributions of Hawtrey are ' Helen on the Walls of Troy ' and ' Hector and Andromache ' from Homer, the 'War Song of Callinus,' and also the pathetic verse in which Meleager laments the death of his child :

Though the earth hide thee, yet there, even there,

my Heliodora, All that is left me I give tears of my love to thy

grave ; Tears how bitterly shed ! on thy tomb bedew'd

with my weeping, Pledge of a fond regret pledge of affection, for

thee. Piteously, piteously still but in vain grieves on

Meleager : Thou art among the dead : Acheron heeds not my

woe.


Where is the flower that I lov'd? death tore it

away in the springtide- Tore it away ; and the dust stains the fair leaves

in their bloom. Genial Earth, be it thine, at the mourner s humble

entreaty, Softly to fold to thy breast her whom I ever deplore.


As a member of the Hawtrey presented ' The


Roxburghe Club Private Diary of

William", I*irst Earl Cowper, Lord Chancellor of England,' which was printed at Eton, and makes a quarto of 59 pages, but he did not prefix any introduction or add any notes. He also edited Goethe's ' Lyrische Gedichten ' for presentation (Eton, 1833 and 1834). This, with six contributions to the first edition of the ' Arundines Garni,' completes the literary baggage of Dr. Hawtrey. His verses are almost exclusively translations. A passage in Hare's 'Guesses at Truth' attracted his attention :

" A rumpled rose-leaf lay in my path. There was one little stain on it ; but it was still very sweet. Why was it to be trampled under foot, or looked on as food for swine ? "

Of this poetic idea he gives a presentation in Italian :

Nel mio cammino un foglio

Di rosa si trov6.

Ben fu piegato,

Ben fu macchiato,

Ma dolce ancor spiro.

Si dolce ancor non merita

Un calpestar di pie ;

Con quell' odore

Non tutto muore,

Se '1 primo onor non v' e.

The same thought he turned into German :

Von ungefahr auf meiner Bahn Traf ich ein Rosenblattohen an : Zwar konnte man darauf entdecken In einer Fait' nur eine Flecken, Doch warf es immer in die Luft Den siissen wohlbekannten Duft. Und musst es den zetreten seyn, So siiss, so lieblich, und so klein ?

One of his earlier efforts, dated 1820, is this Italian version of a Latin epigram :

Un' occhio manca a Licida,

Un' occhio a Lionel la,

Nella beltade i superi

Pur vince e questi e quella. A Liouella, o Licida,


  • With some extension, or perhaps dilution,

have tried to put this idea into English rime : A rosebud on the path I saw,

Exhaling still an odour sweet, One speck of mud its only flaw,

Shall it be crushed by many feet ? Must it be trampled in the mire,

Or, rescued from its hapless fall, Unpitied shall the rose expire ?

So fair, so young, so sweet, so amall.