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1 Work thou for pleasure ; paint or sing or carve
TRANSLATED LINE FOR LINE IN THE TERZA RIMA
FREDERICK K. H. HASELFOOT, M.A.
OF UNIVERSItY COLLEGE, OXFORD
DUCKWORTH & CO.
3" HENRIETTA STREET, COVENT GARDEN, W.C.
COPY OF A LETTER FROM THE LATE CARDINAL MANNING TO THE AUTHOR.
Nov. 3. 1889.
Dear Mr Haselfoot,
I have now read through your translation of the Divina Commedia: and lose no time in telling you the result.
The careful criticism which you lent to me* is fully justified: and I accept it as it stands. I had believed that a rhymed translation of Dante was impossible: that is, that the tyranny of rhyme would have so forced the rendering as to make it .no longer Dante. But you have reproduced Dante with a singular closeness and a facility of rhyme which comes often as a surprise. Here and there I have felt the "tyranny of rhyme," but upon so large a field the number is hardly appreciable. In some instances it was like "Equus Tuticus" in the "Iter Brundusinum," of which Horace says "quod versu dicere non est."+
You have reproduced the abruptness and energy of the original in a high degree, and also the literalness of the translation. Long passages throughout, nevertheless, read off like an original poem of great
* Referring to an Article in The Church Quarterly Review for January, 1888, entitled "Two more Translations of the Divina Commedia."
+ Sat. I. v. 87.
beauty. And also there are a multitude of single lines which run like Dante's proverbs.
One other excellence is in the purity and simplicity of the English. Cary is latin is tic: but your diction is monosyllabic English.
The notes are very valuable, and to the point. I hope the book, which stands alone, may be appreciated. But like the Umbrian School of Painters such works are too high.
I have to thank you for the enjoyment of reading the Divina Commedia once more, and as it were at a sitting, with greatly increased wonder.
The Inferno and Purgatorio are wonderful; but the Paradiso for beauty, subtilty, delicacy, and elevation has no equal in uninspired poetry.
Believe me, always
Very truly your's,
Henry E. Card: Archbp.