« ElőzőTovább »
“ Filly Foal," quoth he,
IX. ~ For if no respect
persons “ Be due ’mongst sons of Adam, “ In a large extent
Thereby may be meant
XIII. For (as our masters * teach us) 66 The intent being well directed, 6 Tho' the devil trepan
The Adamical man,
* The Jesuits.
DESTRUCTION OF TROY, &c.
HERE are so few translations which deserve praise, that I scarce ever saw any which deserved pardon ; those who travel in that kind being for the most part so unhappy as to rob others without enriching themselves, pulling down the fame of good authors without raising their own : neither hath any author been more hardly dealt withal than this our master ; and the reason is evident, for, what is most excellent is most inimitable ; and if even the worst authors are yet made worse by their translators, how impossible is it not to do great injury to the best? And therefore I have not the vanity to think my copy equal to the original, nor (consequently) myself altogether guiltless of what I accuse others; but if I can do Virgil less injury than others have done, it will be in some degree to do him right; and, indeed, the hope of doing him more right is the only
scope of this essay, by opening a new way of translating this author to those whom youth, leisure, and better fortune, make fitter for such
undertakings. I conceive it is a vulgar error in translating poets,
to affect being fidus interpres; let that care be with thein who deal in matters of fact, or matters of faith : but whosoever aims at it in poetry, as he attempts what is not required, so he shall never perform what he attempts : for it is not his bu, siness alone to translate language into language but poesy into poesy; and poesy is of so subtle a spirit, that in the pouring out of one language into another it will all evaporate ; and if a new spirit be not added in the transfusion, there will remain nothing but a caput mortuum, there being certain graces and happinesses peculiar to every language, which give life and energy to the words; and whosoever offers at verbal translation shall have the misfortune of that young traveller who lost his own language abroad, and brought home no other instead of it : for the grace of the Latin will be lost by being turned into English words, and the grace of the English by being turned into the Latin phrase. And as speech is the apparel of our thoughts, so are there certain garbs and modes of speaking which vary with the times, the fashion of our clothes being not more sub