Excerpt from The Lyrical Dramas of Aeschylus: Translated Into English Verse
The poet who publishes an original work, or the painter who ex hibits the product of his own brush, does well in the general case, to spare himself the trouble of any sort of introductory exposition or explanation for the public are apt to look upon all such preambles as a sort of forestalling of their own critical rights: besides that a good work of art contains within itself all that is necessary to unfold its own story to an intelligent spectator. A translator, however, is differently situated. In interposing himself between the original author and the public, he occupies the posmon of an Optical artist, who, when he presents to the infirm human eye the instrument that is to enable it to scan the path of the stars, is bound, not merely to guarantee the beauty, but to explain to the intelligent spectator the principle, and to make intelligible the reality of the spectacle. Or, as all similes limp, we may say that a translator stands to the public in the pos1t10n of the Old Colchian sorceress, who having cut a live body in pieces, and submitted it to a new fermentation in a magic pot, engaged to produce it again re-invigorated in all its complete ness. The spectators of such a process have a right to know, not only that something - it may be a very beautiful and a very attractive thing - has come out ofkthe cauldron, but also that the identical thing put in has come out without transmutation or transformation. And if there has been transmutation or transformation to any extent, they are entitled to know how far.
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