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Thomas Wentworth Higginson, The new world and the new book, XVII (search)
tic translation can be good and literal at the same time, is refuted by the very existence of Longfellow, whose instinct for the transference of his author's language seemed like a sixth sense or a special gift for that one purpose. Placing side by side his German ballads and their originals, one neither detects anything of Longfellow put in nor anything of Uhland or Heine left out. The more powerful and commanding class of translators insert themselves into the work of their authors; thus Chapman so Chapmanizes Homer that in the long run his version fails to give pleasure; and Fiztgerald has whole lines in his Agamemnon which are not in Aeschylus and are almost indistinguishable in flavor from his Omar Khayyam. Even Mrs. Austin, in that exquisite version quoted by Longfellow in his Hyperion, beginning Many a year is in its grave, has infused into it a tinge of dreamy sentiment slightly beyond that conveyed by Uhland in the original. It is perhaps more beautiful, as it stand