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Those who understand Persian have no need of any translation; those who are learning it will be assisted by a verbal one, however inelegant; those who neither know, nor intend to learn, it are at liberty indeed to say what they please of the images and the sentiments which such a version preserves, but have no right to give an opinion on the original composition.

Speaking of the "Enchiridon of Epictetus" translated into English prose by the Hon. Thomas Talbot, 1881, "The Saturday Review" *

says:In no true sense of the word can it be called a translation at all. It might well have been compiled from an earlier version without any reference to the Greek-text; for it is hardly too much to say that, in no single passage, is the language or the style of thought of the original reproduced, or even suggested.

Speaking of the translation in verse of the Ruba'iyyat of 'Umar-iKhayyām (d. 1123) by E. Fitzgerald, "The Times" says:—

Every lover of good literature will welcome a new edition of Mr. Fitzgerald's" Rubayat of Omar Khayyum.+" The present edition enables the student of one of the most remarkable of modern poems to compare the several versions given of it by the translator in the successive editions during his life-time.

He took such liberties indeed that he made the poem his own, as any one must acknowledge who glances at the literal rendering of the original.

But this is exactly what makes it a great poem, and gives it an independent place in English literature.

Doubtless this is intended for praise; but it appears to be exceeding dispraise. Mr. Fitzgerald's poem is a fine one and occupies an independent place in English literature; but in no sense or way is it a translation.

He has shown as a poet, his capacity; and his incapacity as a translator. The people of England, being ignorant of Persian and caught by the beauty of the English verse, give it laud; but, the work should be criticised not as a poem but as a translation. For it professes to be a translationthe verse is but an accident of decoration.

In Ode 8, though he expanded the eighteen lines of the Persian into fifty-four lines of English, Sir W. Jones (a poet and Persian scholar) has shown how impossible it is to give in English verse the sense of Persian verse.

A passage of verse can no more be transferred from one tongue to another than can be the smile on the face of this one to the face of that one.

In a few cases of wonderful success, such a translation must appear to the reader who knows the original as a song through a telephone.

7. If some should think that accuracy, either for the student or for the public generally, is unnecessary in a translation, I would ask what would be

* The 29th October 1881.

The title is so mis-spelled.
Of this translation.

b

X

thought of a loose versified translation in place of our literal and rhythmical prose-version of the Bible?

Where any attempt has been made to depart from the literal rendering all connection with the original has been lost, all the oriental imagery, and all hope of giving aid to the student.

Of Ḥafiz a passage is rendered by Nott, by Richardson, and by Ṣādik; and another passage by Ṣādik, Murid, Amator, Shi'r-Chin and by Gul-Chin in such a way that there is similarity neither between one translation and another; nor between any of the translations and that translated.*

8. That poetry may be translated into prose, the Bible proves. The French have long practised the art of giving prose-equivalents for verse, thus retaining exactness of rendering, without losing much of the melody.

M. Keynard's Dante in French prose is a better equivalent for the original than any of our rhymed versions. Of the lyrics in Greek Anthology no versified renderings are so good as the few which Sainte Beuve made in prose.

Mr. Jebbs' prose-versions of Sophocles show the limits of what English prose can do by way of reproducing poetry.

Mr. Matthew Arnold, whether knowing Heine's own wish or not, rendered that untranslatable poet into prose.

M. James Darmesteter has been successful as a prose translator of Miss Mary Robinson's (Madame Darmesteter's) verses,

Prose is coming to be regarded as the least inadequate vehicle for the rendering of foreign poetry.

The reader may peruse :

(a) "Gaspard de la Nuit" (1836) by Louis (Ludovic) Bertrand; or the modern edition (1869) by Charles Asselineau.

(b) "Petits Poëmes en Prose" by Charles Bandelaire.

(c)

"Pastels in Prose," translations from French prose-poems by Mr. Stuart Merrill with a preface by Mr. Howells.

9. The publication of the Persian text of Hafiz with useful notes, and with an accurate translation-every word weighed, every thought truly expressed, and the spirit as well as the meaning preserved,-is likely to do more for the diffusion of oriental learning than a thousand essays.

It requires genius to contract, or to simplify, an idea.

*The Asiatic Journal, 1835, xvii. p. 277; xviii. p. 289; and 1844-45,i v. p. 234.

Those desirous of improving sink into oblivion; those hasty to correct possess every merit save that of resembling the original.

When two short lines of Persian are expanded into six, or into eight, lines of English,—many epithets must be added, many thoughts amplified, to remedy the supposed deficiencies of the original. The most wretched daub conveying likeness is preferable to the portrait even by a master conveying no likeness.

To give a literal, or perfect, translation of Hafiz in metre or in prose rendered impossible:

:

(a) by the use of words similar in sound and in formation, opposite in signification.
(b) by the recondite and lively play of words.

(c) by the many compound words, whole stanzas being crowded with compound epithets.
(d) by the mysterious and sublime allusions in Sufi poetry represented under objects of volup
tuous gratification.

is

(e) by the constant recurrence of the same rhyme without any collateral support of tones to answer in division.

10. In Persian literature, no work is more deserving of attention than the work of Hafiz. Independently of its literary beauties, it illustrates the manners of a magnificent and intelligent people at a period highly refined and polished.

When in the west, literature was ignored; when our ancestors were engaged in making ridiculous crusades and in mitigating Bulls; when our nobles were unable to sign their name,

In the east, knowledge and genius were rewarded; and Firdausi* wrote !

If verse be to please, then are the Persian poets eminently successful. No one who really understood Hafiz ever put aside his work without having received real pleasure and true gratification.†

11. On the beauty of oriental literature, I may be allowed to cite the opinion of Sir W. Jones :

Persia has produced more writers of every kind (chiefly poets) than all Europe, since their
way of life gives them leisure to pursue those arts which cannot be cultivated to advantage
without the greatest calmness and serenity of mind.

At Oxford is a manuscript§ containing the lives of a hundred and twenty-eight of the finest
Persian poets; the moderate poets are without number.

The delicacy of their life and sentiments has affected their language; and rendered it the
softest as it is one of the richest in the world.

* Firdausi (b. 931, d. 1020).

†The lays of Ḥafiz are sung on the banks of the Ganges as well as on the Danube; in the plains of South India as well as in Turkistān.

See Essay No. 1, p. 180; Grammar of the Persian language, 1828; Works v. p. 426; Discourses 1821, ii. p. 53; by Sir W. Jones, and the Calcutta Review, 1877, Ixiv. p. 257.

§ Hyper Bodl. 128.

Those authors are generally esteemed in Persia are neither slavish in their sentiments, nor ridiculous in their expression. A variety of causes have concurred to obstruct the progress of eastern literature. Some have never heard of the Asiatic writings; others will not be convinced that there is anything valuable in them. Some pretend to be busy, others are really idle. Some detest the Persians because they believe in Muḥammad, others despise their language, because they do not understand it.

We all love to excuse, or to conceal, our ignorance.

Another reason is the great scarcity of books necessary to be read before Persian can be perfectly learned.

While the writings of Greece and of Rome are studied by every man of liberal education, the works of the Persians, a nation equally distinguished in ancient history, are either wholly unknown to us or considered destitute of taste, or of invention.

In no language, Hebrew excepted, are there more pious and sublime addresses to the Being of beings, more splendid enumeration of His attributes, or more beautiful descriptions of His visible works, than in the Kurān (Arabic), in the poems of Sa'di, Nizāmi, and Firdausi (Persian), and in the four Vedas and many parts of the Purānas (Sanskrit).

12. Of the Divan-i-Hafiz, the following Odes have been translated: (a) By John Nott, 1787, seventeen Odes (in verse) :—

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(6) By John Hindley, 1799, eleven Odes (in prose and in verse)

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(c) By Samuel Robinson, 1872, one hundred Odes (in prose) :

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(d) By Hermann Bicknell, 1875,* a hundred and fifty Odes (in verse).

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In Bicknell's translation, look for the small figures S.B.E. (Sūdi Brockhaus's edition) at the foot
of each Ode.

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