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James Russell Lowell, Among my books, Dante. (search)
hereof Dante was beginning to get a glimpse. We give an extempore translation of this sonnet, in which the meaning is preserved so far as is possible where the grace is left out. We remember with some compunction as we do it, that Dante has said, know every one that nothing harmonized by a musical band can be transmuted from its own speech to another without breaking all its sweetness and harmony, Convtto, Tr. I c. 7. and Cervantes was of the same mind: And here we would have forgiven Mr. Captain if he had not betrayed him (traido, traduttore traditore) to Spain and made him a Castilian, for he took away much of his native worth, and so will all those do who shall undertake to turn a poem into another tongue; for with all the care they take and ability they show, they will never reach the height of its original conception, says the Curate, speaking of a translation of Ariosto. (Don Quixote, P. I. c. 6.)— Beyond the sphere that hath the widest gyre Passeth the sigh In his o