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TREATISE ON POETRY,
NOTES ON THE TRANSLATION AND ORIGINAL.
POETICAL AND MUSICAL IMIT.ITION.
BY THOMAS TWINING, A. M.
WHOEVER recollects, that in writing a preface he presumes, in some degree or other, to call the attention of the public more particularly to himself, will hardly be disposed to say more than he thinks necessary, and will say even that with some reluctance. To be allowed, however, to explain his own design, in his own defence, is a privilege which every writer may justly claiın; and I am too sensible of the imperfection of the following work, to deliver it up in silent confidence to the public judgment. It
may be said, I think, universally of all translation, that it should give the thoughts of the original with all the accuracy possible, and the language as closely as is consistent with the purpose which every man who writes must necessarily have in view that of being read with satisfaction. No work can be read with satisfaction if it is ill written; and every translation is undoubtedly ill written that does not, as far at least as language is concerned, read like an original; that, on the contrary, to every reader at once discovers itself to be translation, hy that constrained uncouthness of expression, harshness of phrase, and embarrassment of meaning, which necessarily result from the transfusion of idiom out of one language into another. A work so translated may be said to be translated into broken English. For the effect is much the same, whether we are imperfectly acquainted with the language in which, or adhere too servilely to the language from which, we speak : whether we write English in Greek, or Greek in English. In both cases we write one language in the idiom of another.
But in steering from this rock, the translator, if he takes too wide compass,
will be in danger of running upon another. It is singular, that Pope, in one of his early letters, should have pointed out, by a sensible and true observation, the very defect, and perhaps the