while the rest of heaven was beautiful with fair, clear sky.’
Here the prose translator rightly discards the ‘oft’ of the earlier Longfellow
version, but his ‘at the beginning’ is surely nearer to the ‘at the approach’ of the first version than to the less literal ‘as day began’ of the second.
The prose ‘the eastern region’ conforms to the second version ‘the eastern hemisphere,’ but surely the Italian
‘la parte oriental’ is more nearly met by ‘the orient sky’ than by either of these heavier and more geographical substitutes, which have a flavor of the text-book.
Both the Longfellow
versions have ‘the other heaven,’ which is a literal rendering of ‘l'altro ciel,’ whereas ‘the rest of heaven’ is a shade looser in expression, and ‘fair, clear sky’ also forfeits the condensation of ‘light serene’ or ‘fair serene,’ of which two phrases the first seems the better, for reasons already given.
On the whole, if we take Professor Norton
's prose translation as the standard, Longfellow
's later version seems to me to gain scarcely anything upon the earlier in literalness, while it loses greatly in freshness and triumphant joyousness.
Nor is this in any respect an unreasonable criticism.
For what does a translation exist, after all, if not to draw us toward that quality in the original which the translator, even at his