's work; it was rather due to the strong hold taken, by the theory of a literal rendering, on the poet's mind.
Overliteral-ness appears to be the Nemesis
of a genius for translating; the longer a man works, the more precise he becomes.
The second of Mr. Boyesen
's great American translators is Bryant
; and here I should utterly dissent from him. The best introduction to Homer
in English is Matthew Arnold
's ‘Essay on Translating Homer
;’ or rather it would be, but for its needless and diffuse length, which prevents many persons from really mastering it; but I do not see how any one, after reading it, can look through a page of Bryant
's version without a sense of its utter tameness and its want of almost all the qualities defined by Arnold
as essential to Homer
has finely said, at the beginning of his admirable papers on Aeschylus
in the Atlantic Monthly1
that ‘the Homeric poems offer us, as it were, a glimpse of a landscape scene by a flash of lightning.
What came before and immediately after we cannot discern.’