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and yet the translator is forced to acknowledge that he has not only pressed an unusually large number of these irregular troops into his service, but has, in one or two instances, even transgressed the limits of the allowable, and rhymed words together for which he could neither adduce authority or analogy. His excuse, if excuse it will be admitted to be, is to be found in the above scale of the relative importance of translution, rhythm and rhyme, joined with the fact, that it is impossible (so at least he has found it) to combine all the three desirable qualities in one work. It is not with a translation as with an original poem, where an author, who writes in rhyme, is bound by its laws, and ought to force his ideas and words to suit its capacity: a translator, on the other hand, is bound by the ideas and language of his author, and these he has no right to tamper with, and, therefore, he may claim some indulgence in taking liberties with the rhyme, and endeavouring to mould it according to the form and texture of his materials : otherwise the difficulty of producing a correct metrical translation in rhyme, appears insurmountable. But granting the difficulty—the impossibility of this—it has been suggested,—“Why not translate in prose ?” To this, by those who would urge such a suggestion, it would hardly be admitted as a satisfactory answer, that it is believed there are very many who would read and be pleased with a translation of a poem in even indifferent rhymes, who would feel little gratification, and form even a less correct notion of the original, from the perusal of a translation
in the most elegant prose. If this taste be impugned, or its existence denied, there is nothing more to be said about it: the translator has proceeded upon such a supposition, and craving what he really believes to be a necessary indulgence from the public, he lays the result of his labors before them.
London, November, 1833.
THE SONG OF THE BELL.
FIRMLY wall'd within the earth,
From the heated brow
Down the sweat must flow,
An earnest word doth well betide