1769 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

George Chapman

James Granger, in Biographical History of England (1769; 1824) 2:129-30.



The works of Chapman are scarcely remembered at present; though his reputation was great as a translator, especially among those who were ignorant of the Greek language; and far from inconsiderable as a poet. He translated Homer, Hesiod, and Musaeus; and boasts of having finished half his translation of the Iliad in less than fifteen weeks; a sufficient character of the performance. He often strayed, or affected to deviate, from his author; and for two lines of solid sense, has given us twenty flimsy lines of his own [author's note: See the Preface to Pope's Homer]. He appears to have been as confident of his own immortality as any of his poetical brethren; and, as he was an enthusiast in poetry, was probably happier in his ideas of posthumous fame, than Homer himself. A curious observer may perceive in the course of Mr. Pope's translation, that he has read Chapman's. He was author of a considerable number of plays. Ob. 1634, Aet. 77.