Excerpt from Kriloff's Original Fables
IN undertaking to put the fables of Kriloff into English verse, I have been stimulated and encouraged even by the very difficulties of the task, and above all induced to persevere by a profound admiration of his genius, and a conviction that out of Russia he is almost entirely unknown. Translation can in no case, I am only too well aware, come near the original work, if it be one of the highest class, and more especially if of an original and national character. Yet such translations as those of Tasso by Fairfax, and of Shakespeare in German, have nearly ful filled that impossible requisite, and without translation a large part of the world must'necessarily ignore many of the world's greatest literary productions. I cannot pre tend to the skill, nay, I may say the sympathetic genius, that reproduced Tasso and Shakespeare, but I may fairly claim some amount of indulgence on the score that the language from which I have translated is far more difficult than either Italian or English to a foreigner, and that the English public generally are never likely to know as much of it as is known of Italian in England, or of English abroad.
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