only that they surprise us a little by what they do not say. It may be that they do not praise the Longfellow
version because they confessedly had a share in it, yet this reason does not quite satisfy.
Nothing has been more noticeable in the popular reception of the completed work than the general preference of unsophisticated readers for those earlier translations thus heartily praised by Lowell
There has been a general complaint that the later work does not possess for the English-speaking reader the charm exerted by the original over all who can read Italian
, while those earlier and fragmentary specimens had certainly possessed something of that charm.
Those favorite versions, it must be remembered, were not the result of any cooperated labor, having been written by Professor Longfellow
in an interleaved copy of Dante
which he used in the class room.
They were three in number, all from the ‘Purgatorio’ and entitled by him respectively, ‘The Celestial Pilot,’ ‘The Terrestrial Paradise,’ and ‘Beatrice
They were first published in ‘Voices of the Night’ (1839), and twenty-eight years had passed before the later versions appeared.
Those twenty-eight years had undoubtedly enhanced in width and depth Mr. Longfellow
's knowledge of the Italian
language; their labors and sorrows had matured