Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

lay and ecclesiastical, becomes impatient of other practice than its own, and a spirit of narrow-minded intolerance is fostered, or confirmed.

Again it encroaches on the field of private judgment. An exclusive liturgy must needs extend over a vast variety of topics, and treat them with much detail; and this detail, being wrought up into the liturgy, becomes an authoritative declaration of belief. The opinions, thus expressed, are virtually imposed upon all, laity and clergy, who use the liturgy; although they may embrace points, that are open to variety of view (as the extent of divine influence at Baptism), and might well have been left undefined, to the discretion of the minister.

These appear to be abuses arising out of the extreme application of the liturgical principle: and to our apprehension they are even more dangerous than those resulting from exclusive adherence to the opposite system. The two modes of worship may be viewed as the representatives of contrary and opposing principles. The one involves order and regularity, but also the dangers of ceremonial formality and cold indifferentism. The other is full of spirit, life and heart, but runs the risk of irregularity and confusion. With other opposing principles of analogous nature, the via media is obtained by combination; and thus, as in the political constitution, not only safety, but a high degree of good are secured. And so in the present instance, it appears to us that a combination of both systems, is a form of religious worship on the whole free from objection; and which, comprising the opposite elements, conservatism and freedom, must always possess the power of maintaining both order and spirit,—at once the form and the soul of devotion.*

Should these remarks tend to make any one in either party view the practice of the other with less disdain and repugnant intolerance, we shall bear with cheerfulness the reproaches of "compromise," "expediency," or "utilitarianism," which, we are quite prepared to expect, will be showered upon our beau-ideal of Christian worship, by the extreme partizans on either side.

*The combination here proposed nowhere exists, and, we fear, (with the views current on both sides) is nowhere soon likely to exist. We may therefore be permitted to view with satisfaction the counterbalancing influences, which the two opposite practices exercise; and that, as one is established by law in England, so the other has the equal prestige of a legal establishment in Scotland. Thus the great Neander says: "Life moves on in the midst of diversified and ever-commingling prepossessions, especially in our own time, which, torn by contrarieties (CONTRARIETIES, HOWEVER, WHICH SUBSERVE A HIGHER WISDOM BY BALANCING EACH OTHER) forms the period of transition to a new and better creation."-Life of Christ, Introd. ch. I. The words in capitals are those of a profound philosophy. There are few religious subjects, on which they will not bear; and they have a depth of application to the interesting topic, which we have been discussing.

So much space has already been occupied, that our notice of the Urdu work, placed at the head of this article, must be brief and rapid. It is a complete translation of the English prayer-book, embracing, with a few exceptions,* the whole services, ordinary and occasional, with the Articles. It has been printed separately in the Roman and Persian character.+

We have before us another Urdu translation, embracing all that the present work does, except the service on the anniversary of the Queen's accession. It was printed in 1829, at Calcutta," for the Prayer Book and Homily Society." It is a literal rendering of the prayer-book, and in the main executed with ability. It abounds however with high and difficult words, and would, in many parts, be unintelligible to the ordinary frequenters of our Churches.

The translation of 1829 has apparently formed the groundwork of the present; and has been so far improved upon, that the great mass of the learned and rare words have been vernacularized, and brought down to the comprehension of common hearers. Much skill and knowledge of native idiom have been brought to bear upon this task. The natural language of every-day life has often been applied with great happiness to the expression of what was before conveyed in a learned and recondite style. Nevertheless there still exist in the present work many rare and learned terms, which might, without much difficulty, have been replaced by more common words.‡ But the great demerit of this work arises from the attempt to make it a literal translation. It is more servile to the letter of

The exceptions are, the services for use at sea, the Gunpowder Treason, Charles the Martyr, and the Restoration of the Royal Family. The addition of the ecclesiastical tables (above 40 pages) has much swelled the book, and added to its expense. The greater part of them were quite unnecessary for the present. The perplexed calculations regarding the golden numbers and the dominical letter (ahdi haraf, aur zehbi adád) were especially needless. It has a curious effect to read so much about the Vigils, Fasts, and Days of Abstinence. "I adwal Bedárion aur Rozon aur Riázat ke dinon kí sál bhar ke liye." Considering the terms employed, and especially the associations connected with the words roza and ridzat, it is unfortunate that so much has been said about them, in the present unfixed and unenlightened state of our Native Christians. By and bye they will find out that we mean no harm by them: but, at present they may either do damage by creating wrong impressions, or possibly lead the exclamation.-" Ye observe days and months and times and years; I am afraid of you."

The chief author of this translation is, we believe, the Rev. Mr. Smith, an excellent and talented Missionary of the English Church at Benares. The opinion and advice of other Missionaries were taken regarding it. The Missionaries at Agra (no mean judges on such a question,) were not favourable to its publication, without important alterations, which were not adopted.

التجا تايب جامع As examples of these we may mention + the latter, by the way, does not give the : تحمل كر مصنوع تغيري عميم

تقديس

معمور

meaning of 'spare,' for which it is frequently used.

[ocr errors]

the original than the rendering of 1829, and, just in proportion to this servility, is the real spirit and idea of the English version injured or lost.

It is, in truth, one of the most illusory of conceits to fancy, that, by verbal transference, a correct counter-part is obtained of the idea and spirit of a passage. A translation may be etymologically perfect, and yet no more give the force of the original, than the awkward dancing of a bear represents the graceful pirouettes of the ballot. The reason is obvious. Words and phrases gather around them an idiosyncracy of their own, often quite independent of their grammatical derivation. The peculiar meaning and associations connected with them are the birth of place and circumstance, of national temperament, and the progress of civilization. A word or phrase, which has grown up in Indian Society, may thus have acquired a totally different colour, and convey an utterly divers meaning, from a word or phrase occupying nevertheless, in the English lexicon and grammar, a perfectly analogous position: and so likewise with words in construction, and the interminable diversities of relative meaning, caused by the reflex influence of one word upon another. Each bears the stamp of its own nationality; and thus ideas, conveyed from one language to another by a simply grammatical transfer of words and sentences, are liable entirely to differ from the original. "There may be a verbal counter-part, and yet no approximation to an ideal counter-part. To transfer the spirit and mind of a passage is an incomparably harder task. It requires an "intimacy with native processes of thought." The idea of the original, thoroughly grasped, must first be thrown into the mental cast and habitude of the people, for whom the translation is intended, and then into their language. An accomplished author, himself accustomed to translation, well remarks that this intimacy with the working of the native mind "is the most essential requisite" in translation.

[ocr errors]

"For where, languages, like Urdu and English, are the product of a civilization differing in history, tendency, character and development, it is obvious that even the most simple and elementary ideas, having been obtained through different channels, and having clothed themselves in forms altogether foreign the one to the other, can only be fully realized to the mind by reference to the sources whence they are derived. But any one, who has mixed with the people, and has informed himself of their social state, of which the vulgar tongue

"

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

C

is the index and the exposition, and who knows the inlets by which truth can best insinuate itself into their minds, will

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

not find any great difficulty in presenting to them a strange

idea in its most significant shape, and in determining how

the meaning in each sentence can best be expressed, so as not to run counter to the general current of their experience. Should there be no other alternative than to introduce an innovation, it will be easy for him to consider what novel mode of expression-what parallel metaphor-can be devised, consistently with the scope and genius of the language, and with least violation of idiomatic propriety."*

We are far, indeed, from saying that, in the work before us, there is no attempt at the adaptation here so excellently explained; or that the attempt has not often been successful, where it was possible to assimilate the English and the Indian composition, and preserve the idea also. But there are innumerable cases in which this was not possible, and in which the translation must be pronounced, as a transfer of meaning, entirely or in part defective.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

6

The close adhesion to English idiom has, besides these tangible effects, given a stiff, foreign and repulsive air to the whole work. It is not calculated to win its way among the native communities by coming amongst them in a naturalized and attractive dress, and must therefore share the dislike, with which every thing foreign and strange is viewed by a society on whom it is imposed.† Some of the quotations made below may illustrate this position: but the impression we refer to, it is not possible to bring out in a brief space. It is a pervading colour which affects the whole stream, though perhaps hardly perceptible in a few detached drops. This general repulsiveness destroys the effect of the happy renderings before commended. The lustre of the gem is lost in the rudeness of the setting.

No doubt the necessity of a literal version was forced upon the translator, either by the strictness of his own views, or the mandate of his ecclesiastical superiors,-which, we do not know. For our own part, we cannot perceive any reason whatever for enforcing such excessive closeness in the translation of a liturgy, at the cost of greatly impairing its usefulness. With the inspired Scriptures, it must ever be, for obvious reasons, a deeply important object to cling, with as close tenacity as possible, to an undeviating etymological transfer; though even there too striet an adherence will defeat its own purpose,

* Letter of Sir H. M. Elliot to the Government of India, prefixed to a "Specimen translation of the Penal Code. Calcutta. 1848. For private circulation."

There is a note at p. 452, Vol. IV. of this Review (No. vIII., Art. 6), which bears directly upon this subject, and to which we refer the reader.

and injure the translation, as a transfer of ideas. But with an uninspired production, the great object of which is to hold up a standard of Christian thought and faith to be the guide of public devotion, and to come in contact with many points of social life, surely it is the most unnecessary and mistaken strait-lacedness, by insisting upon a verbal translation, to impair its efficiency, and injure its suitableness for accomplishing the very objects designed by its introduction. We contend for а more common-sense and liberal course than this. We plead for the translator, that he be allowed a wide field for adapting the sense and spirit of the liturgy to native apprehension, and that a sufficient license be given him for "considering what novel modes of expression, what parallel metaphors, can be devised," to make the liturgy" consistent with the scope and genius of the language," and the mind of India.

We shall confine our remaining remarks on this translation, chiefly to a few brief notices of the daily service, as the most important and frequently repeated portion, and that on which perhaps most pains have been spent.

The preface opens " Ai piyáre bháío Bible káí muqámon men hamen shauq dilátá (dilátí?) hai, &c.* The words marked in italics are not only inelegant, being a Persicism, but do not give the idea of moveth, which could only be attained by a change of expression, or perhaps by a periphrasis. "To set forth his most worthy praise," is most literally rendered "uske bahut hi láiq-ki táríf karen ;" which gives the idea of the praise (concrete) rendered by us, being most worthy of God's acceptance,-not that praise (abstract) is most fitting to be rendered to God. Uski wajibi tarfi karen,† would express the idea, though weakly. The beautiful sentiment of the English original must be cast into another mould, to reproduce its strength in Urdu.

There is a very inelegant use of the word kamál, both here,

We quote in the Roman character much against our will, to facilitate the press. But we would strongly dissuade from the use of it, any party who wishes to write clear and idiomatic Urdu; while you write in the English character, with English stops, capitals, and paragraphs, the mind intuitively reverts to the English period and construction, and forgets the native mode of composition, formed entirely on another model. The necessities of the native reader, on the contrary, are constantly kept before the mind's eye by writing in the native character. There you have an entire uniformity-no stops, capitals, or landmarks, to guide the eye to the sense, or help the voice to modulate with the period. You are thus forced to compose independently of these helps, and are much more likely to write in a style intelligible to a native who wants them also, and whose language has gained some of its peculiarities from their absence.

and the و ذکر کنیم به تسبيحات مستوجبه او So the Persian version +

. و لنخبر بتسبحاته الجليلة Arabic

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »