Third Edition

The time that has passed since a new impression of this work was last called for has given me the opportunity of making something like a revision of the whole. I have introduced a number of changes, which I trust I am not wrong in considering as improvements; some in order to bring out the sense of the original more correctly or more fully, some in the hope of bettering the translation as a poem. Perhaps the only alterations which I need mention particularly are some introduced into the version of the catalogue at the end of the Seventh Book, a part of the poem which I did not happen to have studied as a commentator before I translated it, so that I was led inadvertently into several small errors of detail.

There is, I feel, a danger of altering too much as well as of altering too little, especially if a writer takes up his work at a considerable distance from the time when it was first produced. Gifford recast his translation of ‘Juvenal,’ three years after its original publication, with eminent success: fourteen years later he published a third edition, in which the abrupt vigour of the earlier work is too often enfeebled and diluted. I should have little difficulty in persuading myself that my translation might be rewritten with advantage; but, independently of the consideration that a wholesale change would be scarcely just to those to whose kind partiality I owe the opportunity of revision, I am by no means confident that the success of the result would justify the time and labour which I should have to expend. Even as it is, I am sometimes afraid that in trying to accommodate my version to new perceptions of the force of the original, I have substituted a less natural for a more natural mode of expression: and I have more than once allowed a reading to remain which, though possible, I do not myself now believe to be true, because I feared that such changes as I could introduce would interfere with the flow of passages which with all their defects had the advantage of being composed con amore. On the whole, the number of lines in which alteration has been made, I believe, does not exceed a hundred and fifty,—a very small percentage, I need not say, on the entire work; and, in many of these, the change is comparatively inconsiderable.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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