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[480] time, such rigorous conditions that I wonder he has been able to do it at all. For he has rendered the whole poem absolutely line for line, making each line express exactly what belongs to the corresponding line in the original;—not a particle more, not a particle less. In this he has been more severe with himself than any translator of Dante known to me,—more, even, than your Majesty has been. . . . .

Among my pleasures in reading your Majesty's translation of the ‘Divina Commedia,’ in the beautiful copy of the new edition you sent me last winter, and now again in reading a copy which Longfellow has sent me of his English version, is a revival of the recollection of those charming evenings in your palace, above thirty years ago, when, with Carus and Forster, I listened to Tieck as he read, at each session, a canto of the Commedia, just as it had come fresh and warm from your hand, while we each of us sat with the original Italian, and suggested any alterations that might occur to either of us. I shall never forget the conscientious kindness with which you listened to the little we could say, what careful discussions followed every doubt, how admirably Tieck read, and how delightful and instructive the whole was. A full generation of men—as generations have been reckoned from Homer's time down—has since passed away, and with it Tieck and Forster,—a fact not so remarkable, certainly, as that the three others still survive. But Carus must be very old. Does he still preserve the faculties which so long distinguished him? Is he well?1

Among the changes of life, be assured that Mrs. Ticknor and myself do not fail to hear with grieved sympathy of the heavy sorrows


1 This seems an appropriate place to introduce a memorandum made about this period by Mr. Ticknor, recalling one of the pleasures of his middle life.

‘The little meetings at Prince John's were, I believe, sometimes called the “Academia Dantesca, ” and extended through the years when the Prince was making his translation. I went to only two or three of them, in the winter of 1835-36, and never met anybody at them, except Tieck, Dr. Carus, and Karl Forster, though I believe other persons were occasionally there, especially the Mit-Regent, afterwards King Frederic. I think there are notices of them in the Life of Forster, 1846, where I am kindly remembered as meeting him at the Prince's, which I never did except on these occasions. Forster was an excellent Italian scholar, and translated, as early as 1807, from Dante. So was Carus, who made a plan of the “ Divina Commedia, ” of which he gave me a copy still to be found in my large paper Landino. Tieck was not so exact in his Italian as they were, but was more genial and agreeable.’ Forster says of Mr. Ticknor, ‘I see him often, and grow ever fonder of him,’ and admires the direct simplicity and ‘honest handshake’ of his greeting to the Prince as ‘a good contrast to our forms.’

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