Excerpt from The Commedia and Canzoniere of Dante Alighieri, Vol. 1 of 2: A New Translation, With Notes Essays and a Biographical Introduction
I heard from time to time that others were anticipating me. Versions of the whole or part of the. Commedia in triple rhyme appeared, and met with at least a partial acceptance, by Rev. James Ford (i E. R. Elleby C. Tomlinson (i877), Warburton Pike J. R. Sibbald J. T. Minchin Of these I know little or nothing beyond the fact that I have, within the last few month, transcribed from them, as from all other English versions to which I could gain access, the rendering of the dread inscription of H. 1 - 9. But did I know more, it would, I feel, he at once unbecom ing and unwise to express any opinion on their merits. There can, I believe, he no worse introduction to a translator's work than that he should sit in udgment on the labours of his predecessors. It may be easy to point to this faulty rhyme and that obscure construction, to meanings imperfectly apprehended and special beauties turned into commonplace mediocrities, but then there comes the thought, common alike to Horace and St. Paul, Mutato mine, do is falmla narratur, Thou that judgest doest the same things. I have no doubt that each of these versions has, like my own, its special merits and defects. I hope and believe that each of the translators has found in his work, as I have found in mine, its own best reward. Each, perhaps, has had the added comfort of a small select circle of sym pathising friends.
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