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Schoder, 09 4 live
IF the following pages shall be found to express the meaning of the author, with fidelity and tolerable neatness of diction, the object proposed will have been accomplished.
Some few deviations have been made from the strict letter of the text, in cases where usage, or the idiom of our language, seemed to render such a course desirable. From the peculiar nature of Elegiac compositions, which mostly run in detached couplets, the use of the conjunction copulative occurs much more frequently than would be consistent with our ideas of euphony; and we often find the poet employing in the same sentence the present, perfect, and pluperfect tenses almost indiscriminately, a strict adherence to which, in the English language, would be extremely inelegant. In many instances of this nature, and in several, where the only alternative has been either a departure from the exact words of the
author, or a violation of decorum, the former course has been adopted. The distinction between the use of the pronoun "you," and the more sententious "thou," which has been very generally neglected in prose translations of the classical writers, has been carefully observed throughout.
The several critical editions of the original text vary much in respect to punctuation; the translator has therefore adopted one or the other, according as it appeared to him the most clearly to elucidate the author's meaning. In the Fasti the text of Krebs has been followed, excepting in a few passages. In the Tristia and Pontic Epistles, he has used that given in Valpy's classics.
The Variorum editions, especially Burmann's magnum opus, and the editions of the Fasti' by Keightley, Thynne, and Stanford (productions which reflect considerable credit on their respective editors), have been carefully consulted, and many notes of especial value to the student selected therefrom. Dr. Smith's Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities, and Mr. Keightley's Mythology of Ancient Greece and Italy, have also proved fertile sources of information.
A translation of the Fasti, by Dr. Butt, of Trinity College, Dublin, was published some years since; and the first three Books have been translated by Mr. Thynne, the editor of the Latin text. The former of these is unaccompanied by notes, and the annotations given in Mr. Thynne's translation are scarcely sufficient in the hands of the English reader, for the elucidation of a work so replete with allusions to the manners, customs, superstitions, and traditions of antiquity,
and so abounding in passages of obscure and doubtful meaning.
A poetical translation of the Fasti, by John Gower, "Master of Arts, and sometime of Jesus Colledge," was published at Cambridge by Roger Daniel, the University printer, in 1640. It is an attempt to translate the poem into English verse, line for line. How the translator has performed his task will be seen from the accompanying specimens, which have been culled here and there from his work. The almost burlesque style generally employed by him, forcibly reminds us of Cotton's more famous Travesty of the first and fourth books of the Eneid, while the taste displayed is certainly not superior to that of Sternhold and Hopkins.
A poetical translation of the Fasti, assuming to be nearly literal, was published in 1757, by William Massey, "Master of a boarding-school at Wandsworth." So far as mere versification is concerned, it is somewhat better than Gower's translation, though it is by no means so faithful.
A poetical translation of the Tristia, by Wye Saltonstall, was published in the earlier part of the seventeenth cen tury; and by its fidelity, and the terseness and fluency of its language, does considerable credit to its now forgotten author.
The Pontic Epistles do not appear to have been ever published in an English form, either verse or prose.
The Invective against the Ibis was "faithfully translated into English verse by John Jones, M.A., teacher of a private