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Page 23, v. 103.—
For "The Holy One of Heaven—the earth
Read—" The dread Lord of heaven and earth-
Page 54, v. 2.—For"turret's" read—"tower's."
Page 58, v. 98.
For " Restored my safety, and hast led
Read—" Restored my failing strength and brought
Page 59, v. 112.—
For " I co aid not hear the words, &c.
Read—" I could not hear his parley; but he stood
Page 68, v. 6.—For " longing wish " read—" deep desires."
The first three Cantos of the following Translation are— with the exception of a very few lines, in which weak rhymes have been discarded—executed in the 'terza rima.' In translating the lists of names in the fourth Canto, I found that it would be impossible to preserve this metre without deviating from the original to an extent which it seemed to me would involve a greater evil than the sacrifice of the rhyme. I was thus led to inquire whether the maintenance of an unbroken series of final rhymes was really as indispensable as I had previously supposed. The fact that the most richly harmonious specimens of English poetry are to be found—as I think will generally be admitted —not in any of our rhyming poets, but in the blank verse of Milton, would seem to indicate that rhyme is of secondary importance in poetical composition. The musical effect of verse, whether rhymed or unrhymed, is, in fact, produced by the harmonious disposition of all its constituent sounds. These considerations suggested to me the method of versification employed in the later Cantos, in which I have endeavoured, by varying the harmony in imitation of the more ornate passages in the Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained, by retaining the movement in triplets, and connecting the triplets by means either of a final rhyme or half-rhyme or of some internal harmony, to combine something of the freedom of Miltonic verse with the two most essential characteristics of the Italian metre, viz., the separation of the triplets, and their connection by a common sound.1
In translating I have striven to be as literal as possible Nor have I in any case allowed myself to deviate to any considerable extent from the words of Dante, unless it has appeared to me that such deviation is better calculated than a more literal rendering to express either the full meaning or the harmony of the original, or the actual thought of the Poet, as opposed to the
1 A careful analysis of Milton's versification, suggested, after the completion of the third Canto, by my having accidentally observed (while studying his poetry in connection with the Miltonic epitaph discovered by Professor Morley, and published in the Times in 1868) a considerable number of final rhymes in his blank verse (see, e.g. P. L. i. 183-191, iv. 306-311, vii. 548-573), confirmed me in the opinion that the method of harmonising, which I have adopted in the later Cantos, is no illegitimate extension of the Miltonic method.