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MY DEAR STANHOPE,
I hold you mainly responsible for the appearance of this volume. It certainly never would have seen the light, but for the favourable opinion you were kind enough to pronounce upon the attempt which I-in common with many others—had made, to infuse into an almost literal English version of a portion of the Iliad something of the spirit, as well as the simplicity, of the great original.
Encouraged by your approval, and by your suggestion that by privately printing a few copies I might give pleasure to my friends, I have looked over, and made a selection from, a number of other Translations from various authors,
ancient and modern -- executed at lengthened intervals extending over a period of more than forty years—and I have been gratified by your assurance that you did not consider them unworthy of appearing in print.
A Translator can aspire to no higher praise than the very humble one of faithfully rendering, not only the language, but the tone and manner, of bis Author; and, as subsidiary to this object, it will be seen that in most of the following translations, I have either followed the metre of the original, or adopted one as nearly analogous to it as was consistent with the genius of the respective languages.
I will not enter into the controversy which is raging, as to the most suitable metre for an English version of HOMER, farther than to express my individual conviction, that, if justice is ever to be done to the easy flow and majestic simplicity of the grand old Poet, it can only be in the heroic blank verse; which, however, by no means excludes the occasional, though sparing, use of the hendecasyllable; as in Milton,
« With all his host
To set himself in glory above his peers.”
“The gracious signs of sweet remorse, And pious awe, that fear'd to have offended.”
Whatever may be the merits, or the defects, of these Translations, I offer them, with sincere diffidence, not to the ordeal of public criticism, but to the indulgent acceptance of personal friends; among whom I am proud to enrol, and to be allowed to inscribe on my opening page, a name so known and honoured as that of STANHOPE.
ST. JAMES'S SQUARE,