Cyril Connolly (1903-1974), Enemies of Promise
(1938; rpt. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2008), pp. 216-217:
Another field for the Pre-Raphaelite influence was in translating.
Homer and Virgil were the pillars of an Eton education;
it would be hard to derive more pleasure then or now
than we obtained from reading them. But we read them with the
help of two official cribs, Butcher and Lang for Homer,
Mackail for Virgil. Lang believed that Homer must be translated
into the nearest English equivalent which was an Anglo-Saxon
prose reminiscent of the Sagas. He tried to manage on
a Bronze-Age vocabulary, and the Mediterranean clarity of
the Odyssey was blurred by a Wardour Street Nordic fog.
Homer, in short, was slightly Wagnerized. Mackail, who had
married Burne-Jones's daughter, gave to his Virgil an eightyish
air, the lacrimae rerum spilled over and his Christian attitude
to paganism, that it was consciously pathetic and incomplete,
like an animal that wishes it could talk, infected everything
which he translated with a morbid distress. Dido became a
bull-throated Mater Dolorosa by Rossetti. His translations
from the Greek Anthology, one of the sacred books of the inner
culture, the very soil of the Eton lilies, were even more
deleterious. They exhaled pessimism and despair, an overripe
perfection in which it was always the late afternoon or the last
stormy sunset of the ancient world, in which the authentic
gloom of Palladas was outdone by that attributed to Simonides,
Callimachus, or Plato. Meleager was the typical Pre-Raphaelite
J.D. Denniston (1887-1949), "The Loeb Lysias," Classical Review
45.6 (December, 1931) 221-222 (at 221):
Lysias is the most Gallic of Greek
writers, and his peculiar charm can
probably best be recaptured in French.
But it should not be difficult to convey
in an English translation the simplicity
and naturalness of his manner. Mr.
Lamb has not done so. He has chosen
to employ, almost throughout, a rather
stilted style, which is often cumbrous
and sometimes ugly. While Lysias
conspicuously prefers ordinary, everyday
expressions, Mr. Lamb sedulously
avoids them. He introduces us into a
somewhat remote world, whose inhabitants,
dressed in 'apparel,' 'mount' and
'descend' the stairs to the 'chamber'
(or 'apartment') in their 'dwelling,' commit
'transgressions,' 'recking nought'
of the 'public weal,' as a result
of which a 'goodly' number of them
are 'haled' to prison, though the lucky
ones are 'absolved' by the court.
'Cravens' in the field, they 'seek' only
to preserve their 'possessions.' And
they 'judge' (or 'esteem') it 'meet'
not to 'hearken' when their acquaintances, with whom they are frequently
'at feud,' 'apprise' them of what is
likely to 'befall.' They will not use
such vulgar expressions as 'no,' 'before,'
'except,' 'tell,' 'pretend,' 'inside' and
'near,' when 'nay,' 'ere,' 'save,' 'bid,'
'feign,' 'within' and 'hard by' are to
hand: only at rare moments do they
break out into slang, and complain that
they are 'hard up' for statements.