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Yet human language only can restore
Sir, I forbear to add to what is said,
Sandys, himself, though with an ear imperfectly trained, is found making a direct effort to reform the lax versification of his day. The volume is, in various ways, one of considerable importance in the history of English poetry.
In view of the curious solidarity of the earliest classical English school, it is not uninteresting to find Hobbes, in his Zeviathan, incidentally mentioning in these terms of respect a man at least a quarter of a century younger than himself:-‘‘Mr Sidney Godolphin, when he lived, was pleased to think my studies something, and otherwise to oblige me with real testimonies of his good opinion, great in themselves, and the greater for the worthiness of his person.”
A PPE N DIX II.
DENHAM’s Essay ON TRANSLATED VERSE.
THERE are so few translations which deserve praise, that I scarce ever saw any which deserv'd pardon; those who travel in that kind, being for the most part so unhappy, as to rob others, without enriching themselves, pulling down the same good authors, without raising their own : neither hath any author been more hardly dealt withall, than this our master [Virgil]; 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 this new way of translating this author, to those whom youth, leisure, and better fortune make fitter for such undertakings. I conceive it a vulgar error in translating poets, to affect being fidus interpres; let that care be with them 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 business alone to translate language into language, but poesie into poesie; and poesie is of so subtle a spirit, that in 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 gives 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 subject to alteration, than that of our speech: and this I think Tacitus means, by that which he calls Sermonem temporis istius auribus accommodatum ; the delight of change being as due to the curiosity of the ear, as of the eye; and therefore if Virgil must needs speak English, it were fit he should speak not only as a man of this Nation, but as a man of this Age ; and if this disguise I have put upon him (I wish I could give it a better name) sit not naturally and easily on so grave a person, yet it may become him better than that fools-coat, wherein the French and Italian have of late presented him; at least, I hope, it will not make him appear deformed, by making any part enormously bigger or less than the life, (I having made it my principal care to follow him, as he made it his to follow nature in all his proportions). Neither have I anywhere offered such violence to his sense, as to make it seem mine, and not his. Where my expressions are not so full as his, either our language, or my art were defective (but I rather suspect my self); but where mine are fuller than his, they are but the impressions which the often reading of him, hath left upon my thoughts; so that if they are not his own conceptions, they are at least the results of them; and if (being conscious of making him speak worse than he did almost in every line) I err in endeavouring sometimes to make him speak better; I hope it will be judged an error on the right hand, and such an one as may deserve pardon, if not imitation.
APPEND IX III.
WALLER’s ADDRESS TO THE QUEEN.
THE following address to Queen Henrietta Maria, under a slight concealment, was issued with some copies of the genuine edition of Waller's Poems in 1645, but immediately suppressed. It seems to me worthy of revival.
To my Lady.
Your commands for the gathering of these sticks into a faggot, had sooner been obeyed, but, intending to present you with my whole vintage, I stayed till the latest grapes were ripe, for here your Ladyship hath not only all I have done, but all I ever mean to do in this kind: not but that I may defend the attempt I have made upon poetry, by the examples (not to trouble you with history) of many wise and worthy persons of our own times, as Sir Philip Sydney, Sir Fra. Bacon, Cardinal Perron, the ablest of his country-men; and the former Pope, who they say, in stead of the triple crown, wore sometimes the poet's ivy, as an ornament, perhaps of lesser weight and