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never thought of me, or my translation. There are minutiæ in every language, which, translated into another, would spoil the version. Such extreme fidelity is, in fact, unfaithful. Such close resemblance takes away all likeness. The original is elegant, easy, natural; the copy is clumsy, constrained, unnatural. To what is this owing? To the adoption of terms not congenial to your purpose, and of a context, such as no man writing an original would make use of. Homer is every thing that a poet should be. A translation of him, so made, will be every thing a translation of Homer should not be. Because it will be written in no language under heaven. It will be English, and it will be Greek, and therefore it will be neither. He is the man, whoever he may be, (I do not pretend to be that man myself)— he is the man best qualified as a translator of Homer, who has drenched, and steeped, and soaked himself in the effusions of his genius, till he has imbibed their colour to the bone, and who, when he is thus dyed, through and through, distinguishing what is essentially Greek, from what may be habited in English, rejects the former, and is faithful to the latter, as far as the purposes of fine poetry will permit, and no farther; this, I think, may be easily proved. Homer is everywhere remarkable for ease, dignity, energy of expression, grandeur of conception, and a majestic flow of numbers. If we copy him so closely as to make every one of these excellent properties of his absolutely unattainable, which will certainly be the effect of too close a copy, instead of translating, we murder him. Therefore, after all his Lordship has said, I still hold freedom to be an indispensable. Freedom, I mean, with respect to the expression ; freedom so limited as never to leave behind the matter, but at the same time indulged with a sufficient scope, to secure the spirit, and as much as possible of the manner; I say as much as possible, because an English manner must differ from a Greek one, in order to be graceful, and for this there is no remedy. Can an ungraceful awkward translator of Homer be a good one? No; but a graceful, easy, natural, faithful version of him, will not that be a good one? Yes : allow me but this, and I insist upon it, that such a one may be produced on my principles, and can be produced on no other. Reading his Lordship’s sentiments over again, I am inclined to think that in all I have said, I have only given him back the same in other terms. He disallows both the absolute free, and the absolute close ; so do I, and if I understand myself, have said so in my preface. He wishes to recommend a medium, though he will not call it so; so do I; only we express it differently. What is it then that we dispute about? I confess my head is not good enough to-day to discover.”
This was almost the last letter Cowper wrote to Mr. Hayley, and with a very few exceptions, the last that he ever wrote at all. Shortly after he had forwarded this, he experienced a more severe attack of depression than he had ever before felt, which paralyzed all his powers, and continued almost wholly unmitigated, through the remaining period of his life. The situation to which he was now reduced, was deeply affecting ; imagination can scarcely picture to itself a scene of wretchedness more truly deplorable. Mrs. Unwin's infirmities had reduced her to a state of second childhood ; a deep-seated melancholy, which nothing could remove, preyed upon Cowper's mind, and caused him to shun the sight of all except the individual who was utterly incapable of rendering him any assistance ; his domestic expenses were daily increasing, and as his capabilities of preventing it were now entirely suspended, there was every probability of his being involved in considerable embarrassment. The providence of God, however, which had watched over, and preserved him during the whole of his life, and had appeared on his hehalf in several instances of peculiar distress, in a manner truly striking and affecting, did not abandon him in his present painful emergency. Lady Hesketh, his amiable cousin, and favourite correspondent, now generously undertook the arduous task of watching over the melancholy poet and his feeble associate. The painful duties of this important office, which every one who is at all acquainted with the great anxiety of mind required in all cases of mental aberration, will admit to be in no ordinary degree arduous, she discharged with the utmost christian tenderness and affection. Nor did she discover any disposition to relinquish her charge, though it made considerable inroads upon her health, owing to the confinement and exertion it required, until an opportunity offered of placing these interesting invalids under the care of those who she knew would feel the greatest pleasure in laying themselves out for their comfort.
Hearing nothing from Cowper for several days beyond the time when he was accustomed to write, Mr. Hayley began to fear that his apprehensions respeeting his friend's health were realized. He did not, however, receive the painful intelligence of his relapse until some time afterwards, when he was informed of it by a letter from Lady Hesketh, detailing the particulars of his distressing case. About this time the Rev. Mr. Greatheed, with whom Cowper had long been on terms of intimacy, and whom he very highly esteemed, paid him a visit. Such, however, was the distressing state to which Cowper was now reduced, that he refused to see any one, but his own domestics, on whatever friendly terms he might have been with them forinerly. The hopes that his friends had cherished, of his recovery, in some degree, at least, as the summer
advanced, were now entirely cut off; and they were all fully persuaded that unless some improvement took place in the state of his mind, the worst consequences were to be apprehended. The best advice had been taken without the slightest benefit, and the case began to appear altogether hopeless. It occurred to Lady Hesketh that probably the presence of Mr. Hayley would cheer the poet's mind, and rouse him from his present state of almost absolute spair. She suggested this to Mr. Greatheed, but said she could not venture to mention the subject in her letters to Mr. Hayley, as it appeared unreasonable to request a person to come so great a distance with so little real chance of success. Mr. Greatheed immediately wrote the following letter to Mr. Hayley, on the subject, which describes the melancholy condition to which Cowper was then reduced, and the great anxiety of mind manifested by his friends on his behalf:-“ Dear Sir, Lady Hesketh's correspondence has acquainted you with the melancholy relapse of our dear friend at Weston; but I am uncertain whether you know that within the last fortnight, he has refused food of every kind, except now and then a very small piece of toasted bread, dipped generally in water, sometimes mixed with a little wine. This her Ladyship informs me, was the case till last Saturday, since then he has eaten a little at each family meal. He persists in refusing to take such medicines as are indispensable to his state of body. In such circumstances his long continuance in life cannot be expected. How devoutly to be wished is the alleviation of his sufferings and distress! You, dear Sir, who know so well the worth of our beloved and admired friend, sympathise with us in this affliction, and deprecate his loss doubtless in no ordinary degree. You have already most effectually expressed and proved the warmth of your friendship. I cannot think that any thing but your society would have been sufficient, during the infirmity under which his mind bas long been oppressed, to have supported him against the shock of Mrs. Unwin's paralytic attack. I am certain that nothing else could have prevailed upon him to undertake the journey to Eartham. You have succeeded where his other friends knew they could not, and where they apprehended no one could. How natural, therefore, is it for them to look to you, as most likely to be instrumental, under the blessing of God, to bring him relief in the present distressing and alarming crisis. It is, indeed, not a little unreasonable to ask any person to take such a journey, to witness so melancholy a scene, with an uncertainty of the desired success, increased as the present difficulty is, by dear Mr. Cowper's aversion to all company. On these accounts Lady Hesketh does not ask it of you, rejoiced as she would be at your arrival. Am not I, dear Sir, a very presumptuous person, who, in the face of all opposition, dare do this? I am emboldened by these two powerful supporters-conscience, and experience. Were I at Eartham, I would certainly undertake the journey I have presumed to recommend, for the bare possibility of restoring Mr. Cowper to himself, to his friends, and to the public.”
Mr. Hayley was too affectionately attached to Cowper, to hesitate for a moment, what steps he should take on the receipt of this letter. The remotest probability of his being useful to his afflicted friend, was amply sufficient to have induced him to undertake a much longer journey than this, to whatever dangers and inconveniences it might have exposed him. He accordingly made immediate arrangements for a visit to Weston, where he arrived a few days afterwards, with his talented son, a youth of great promise, to whom Cowper was most affectionately attached. Little or no benefit, however, resulted from this visit. The