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Title: Early Theories of Translation
Author: Amos, Flora Ross, 1881-
Language: English
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=Columbia University=







A Division of Farrar, Straus and Giroux
New York 1973

Copyright 1920 by Columbia University Press

_Reprinted 1973
by special arrangement with Columbia University Press_

19 Union Square West
New York, N.Y. 10003

Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data

Amos, Flora Ross, 1881-
   Early theories of translation.

   Original ed. issued in series: Columbia University studies in
     English and comparative literature.

   Originally presented as the author's thesis, Columbia.

   1. Translating and interpreting. I. Title.
   II. Series: Columbia University studies in English and comparative

[PN241.A5 1973]                   418'.02                    73-397

ISBN 0-374-90176-7

_Printed in U.S.A. by_ NOBLE OFFSET PRINTERS, INC. New York, N.Y. 10003



     _This Monograph has been approved by the Department of
     English and Comparative Literature in Columbia University as
     a contribution to knowledge worthy of publication._

                                       A. H. THORNDIKE,
                                         _Executive Officer_


In the following pages I have attempted to trace certain developments in
the theory of translation as it has been formulated by English writers.
I have confined myself, of necessity, to such opinions as have been put
into words, and avoided making use of deductions from practice other
than a few obvious and generally accepted conclusions. The procedure
involves, of course, the omission of some important elements in the
history of the theory of translation, in that it ignores the
discrepancies between precept and practice, and the influence which
practice has exerted upon theory; on the other hand, however, it
confines a subject, otherwise impossibly large, within measurable
limits. The chief emphasis has been laid upon the sixteenth century, the
period of the most enthusiastic experimentation, when, though it was
still possible for the translator to rest in the comfortable medieval
conception of his art, the New Learning was offering new problems and
new ideals to every man who shared in the intellectual awakening of his
time. In the matter of theory, however, the age was one of beginnings,
of suggestions, rather than of finished, definitive results; even by the
end of the century there were still translators who had not yet
appreciated the immense difference between medieval and modern standards
of translation. To understand their position, then, it is necessary to
consider both the preceding period, with its incidental,
half-unconscious comment, and the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries,
with their systematized, unified contribution. This last material, in
especial, is included chiefly because of the light which it throws in
retrospect on the views of earlier translators, and only the main
course of theory, by this time fairly easy to follow, is traced.

The aim has in no case been to give bibliographical information. A
number of translations, important in themselves, have received no
mention because they have evoked no comment on methods. The references
given are not necessarily to first editions. Generally speaking, it has
been the prefaces to translations that have yielded material, and such
prefaces, especially during the Elizabethan period, are likely to be
included or omitted in different editions for no very clear reasons.
Quotations have been modernized, except in the case of Middle English
verse, where the original form has been kept for the sake of the metre.

The history of the theory of translation is by no means a record of
easily distinguishable, orderly progression. It shows an odd lack of
continuity. Those who give rules for translation ignore, in the great
majority of cases, the contribution of their predecessors and
contemporaries. Towards the beginning of Elizabeth's reign a small group
of critics bring to the problems of the translator both technical
scholarship and alert, original minds, but apparently the new and
significant ideas which they offer have little or no effect on the
general course of theory. Again, Tytler, whose _Essay on the Principles
on Translation_, published towards the end of the eighteenth century,
may with some reason claim to be the first detailed discussion of the
questions involved, declares that, with a few exceptions, he has "met
with nothing that has been written professedly on the subject," a
statement showing a surprising disregard for the elaborate prefaces that
accompanied the translations of his own century.

This lack of consecutiveness in criticism is probably partially
accountable for the slowness with which translators attained the power
to put into words, clearly and unmistakably, their aims and methods.
Even if one were to leave aside the childishly vague comment of
medieval writers and the awkward attempts of Elizabethan translators to
describe their processes, there would still remain in the modern period
much that is careless or misleading. The very term "translation" is long
in defining itself; more difficult terms, like "faithfulness" and
"accuracy," have widely different meanings with different writers. The
various kinds of literature are often treated in the mass with little
attempt at discrimination between them, regardless of the fact that the
problems of the translator vary with the character of his original.
Tytler's book, full of interesting detail as it is, turns from prose to
verse, from lyric to epic, from ancient to modern, till the effect it
leaves on the reader is fragmentary and confusing.

Moreover, there has never been uniformity of opinion with regard to the
aims and methods of translation. Even in the age of Pope, when, if ever,
it was safe to be dogmatic and when the theory of translation seemed
safely on the way to become standardized, one still hears the voices of
a few recalcitrants, voices which become louder and more numerous as the
century advances; in the nineteenth century the most casual survey
discovers conflicting views on matters of fundamental importance to the
translator. Who are to be the readers, who the judges, of a translation
are obviously questions of primary significance to both translator and
critic, but they are questions which have never been authoritatively
settled. When, for example, Caxton in the fifteenth century uses the
"curious" terms which he thinks will appeal to a clerk or a noble
gentleman, his critics complain because the common people cannot
understand his words. A similar situation appears in modern times when
Arnold lays down the law that the judges of an English version of Homer
must be "scholars, because scholars alone have the means of really
judging him," and Newman replies that "scholars are the tribunal of
Erudition, but of Taste the educated but unlearned public must be the
only rightful judge."

Again, critics have been hesitant in defining the all-important term
"faithfulness." To one writer fidelity may imply a reproduction of his
original as nearly as possible word for word and line for line; to
another it may mean an attempt to carry over into English the spirit of
the original, at the sacrifice, where necessary, not only of the exact
words but of the exact substance of his source. The one extreme is
likely to result in an awkward, more or less unintelligible version; the
other, as illustrated, for example, by Pope's _Homer_, may give us a
work so modified by the personality of the translator or by the
prevailing taste of his time as to be almost a new creation. But while
it is easy to point out the defects of the two methods, few critics have
had the courage to give fair consideration to both possibilities; to
treat the two aims, not as mutually exclusive, but as complementary; to
realize that the spirit and the letter may be not two but one. In the
sixteenth century Sir Thomas North translated from the French Amyot's
wise observation: "The office of a fit translator consisteth not only in
the faithful expressing of his author's meaning, but also in a certain
resembling and shadowing forth of the form of his style and manner of
his speaking"; but few English critics, in the period under our
consideration, grasped thus firmly the essential connection between
thought and style and the consequent responsibility of the translator.

Yet it is those critics who have faced all the difficulties boldly, and
who have urged upon the translator both due regard for the original and
due regard for English literary standards who have made the most
valuable contributions to theory. It is much easier to set the standard
of translation low, to settle matters as does Mr. Chesterton in his
casual disposition of Fitzgerald's _Omar_: "It is quite clear that
Fitzgerald's work is much too good to be a good translation." We can, it
is true, point to few realizations of the ideal theory, but in
approaching a literature which possesses the English Bible, that
marvelous union of faithfulness to source with faithfulness to the
genius of the English language, we can scarcely view the problem of
translation thus hopelessly.

The most stimulating and suggestive criticism, indeed, has come from men
who have seen in the very difficulty of the situation opportunities for
achievement. While the more cautious grammarian has ever been doubtful
of the quality of the translator's English, fearful of the introduction
of foreign words, foreign idioms, to the men who have cared most about
the destinies of the vernacular,--men like Caxton, More, or
Dryden,--translation has appeared not an enemy to the mother tongue, but
a means of enlarging and clarifying it. In the time of Elizabeth the
translator often directed his appeal more especially to those who loved
their country's language and wished to see it become a more adequate
medium of expression. That he should, then, look upon translation as a
promising experiment, rather than a doubtful compromise, is an essential
characteristic of the good critic.

The necessity for open-mindedness, indeed, in some degree accounts for
the tentative quality in so much of the theory of translation.
Translation fills too large a place, is too closely connected with the
whole course of literary development, to be disposed of easily. As each
succeeding period has revealed new fashions in literature, new avenues
of approach to the reader, there have been new translations and the
theorist has had to reverse or revise the opinions bequeathed to him
from a previous period. The theory of translation cannot be reduced to a
rule of thumb; it must again and again be modified to include new facts.
Thus regarded it becomes a vital part of our literary history, and has
significance both for those who love the English language and for those
who love English literature.

In conclusion, it remains only to mention a few of my many obligations.
To the libraries of Princeton and Harvard as well as Columbia University
I owe access to much useful material. It is a pleasure to acknowledge my
indebtedness to Professors Ashley H. Thorndike and William W. Lawrence
and to Professor William H. Hulme of Western Reserve University for
helpful criticism and suggestions. In especial I am deeply grateful to
Professor George Philip Krapp, who first suggested this study and who
has given me constant encouragement and guidance throughout its course.

_April, 1919._


CHAPTER                                                 PAGE

  I. THE MEDIEVAL PERIOD                                   3

 II. THE TRANSLATION OF THE BIBLE                         49

III. THE SIXTEENTH CENTURY                                81

 IV. FROM COWLEY TO POPE                                 135

     INDEX                                               181





From the comment of Anglo-Saxon writers one may derive a not inadequate
idea of the attitude generally prevailing in the medieval period with
regard to the treatment of material from foreign sources. Suggestive
statements appear in the prefaces to the works associated with the name
of Alfred. One method of translation is employed in producing an English
version of Pope Gregory's _Pastoral Care_. "I began," runs the preface,
"among other various and manifold troubles of this kingdom, to translate
into English the book which is called in Latin _Pastoralis_, and in
English _Shepherd's Book_, sometimes word by word, and sometimes
according to the sense."[1] A similar practice is described in the
_Proem_ to _The Consolation of Philosophy_ of Boethius. "King Alfred was
the interpreter of this book, and turned it from book Latin into
English, as it is now done. Now he set forth word by word, now sense
from sense, as clearly and intelligently as he was able."[2] The preface
to _St. Augustine's Soliloquies_, the beginning of which, unfortunately,
seems to be lacking, suggests another possible treatment of borrowed
material. "I gathered for myself," writes the author, "cudgels, and
stud-shafts, and horizontal shafts, and helves for each of the tools
that I could work with, and bow-timbers and bolt-timbers for every work
that I could perform, the comeliest trees, as many as I could carry.
Neither came I with a burden home, for it did not please me to bring all
the wood back, even if I could bear it. In each tree I saw something
that I needed at home; therefore I advise each one who can, and has many
wains, that he direct his steps to the same wood where I cut the
stud-shafts. Let him fetch more for himself, and load his wains with
fair beams, that he may wind many a neat wall, and erect many a rare
house, and build a fair town, and therein may dwell merrily and softly
both winter and summer, as I have not yet done."[3]

Aelfric, writing a century later, develops his theories in greater
detail. Except in the _Preface to Genesis_, they are expressed in Latin,
the language of the lettered, a fact which suggests that, unlike the
translations themselves, the prefaces were addressed to readers who
were, for the most part, opposed to translation into the vernacular and
who, in addition to this, were in all probability especially suspicious
of the methods employed by Aelfric. These methods were strongly in the
direction of popularization. Aelfric's general practice is like that of
Alfred. He declares repeatedly[4] that he translates sense for sense,
not always word for word. Furthermore, he desires rather to be clear and
simple than to adorn his style with rhetorical ornament.[5] Instead of
unfamiliar terms, he uses "the pure and open words of the language of
this people."[6] In connection with the translation of the Bible he lays
down the principle that Latin must give way to English idiom.[7] For all
these things Aelfric has definite reasons. Keeping always in mind a
clear conception of the nature of his audience, he does whatever seems
to him necessary to make his work attractive and, consequently,
profitable. Preparing his _Grammar_ for "tender youths," though he knows
that words may be interpreted in many ways, he follows a simple method
of interpretation in order that the book may not become tiresome.[8] The
_Homilies_, intended for simple people, are put into simple English,
that they may more easily reach the hearts of those who read or hear.[9]
This popularization is extended even farther. Aelfric explains[10] that
he has abbreviated both the _Homilies_[11] and the _Lives of the
Saints_,[12] again of deliberate purpose, as appears in his preface to
the latter: "Hoc sciendum etiam quod prolixiores passiones breuiamus
verbis non adeo sensu, ne fastidiosis ingeratur tedium si tanta
prolixitas erit in propria lingua quanta est in latina."

Incidentally, however, Aelfric makes it evident that his were not the
only theories of translation which the period afforded. In the preface
to the first collection of _Homilies_ he anticipates the disapproval of
those who demand greater closeness in following originals. He recognizes
the fact that his translation may displease some critics "quod non
semper verbum ex verbo, aut quod breviorem explicationem quam tractatus
auctorum habent, sive non quod per ordinem ecclesiastici ritus omnia
Evangelia percurrimus." The _Preface to Genesis_ suggests that the
writer was familiar with Jerome's insistence on the necessity for
unusual faithfulness in translating the Bible.[13] Such comment implies
a mind surprisingly awake to the problems of translation.

The translator who left the narrow path of word for word reproduction
might, in this early period, easily be led into greater deviations from
source, especially if his own creative ability came into play. The
preface to _St. Augustine's Soliloquies_ quoted above carries with it a
stimulus, not only to translation or compilation, but to work like that
of Caedmon or Cynewulf, essentially original in many respects, though
based, in the main, on material already given literary shape in other
languages. Both characteristics are recognized in Anglo-Saxon comment.
Caedmon, according to the famous passage in Bede, "all that he could
learn by hearing meditated with himself, and, as a clean animal
ruminating, turned into the sweetest verse."[14] Cynewulf in his
_Elene_, gives us a remarkable piece of author's comment[15] which
describes the action of his own mind upon material already committed to
writing by others. On the other hand, it may be noted that the
_Andreas_, based like the _Elene_ on a single written source, contains
no hint that the author owes anything to a version of the story in
another language.[16]

In the English literature which developed in course of time after the
Conquest the methods of handling borrowed material were similar in their
variety to those we have observed in Anglo-Saxon times. Translation,
faithful except for the omission or addition of certain passages,
compilation, epitome, all the gradations between the close rendering and
such an individual creation as Chaucer's _Troilus and Criseyde_, are
exemplified in the works appearing from the thirteenth century on. When
Lydgate, as late as the fifteenth century, describes one of the
processes by which literature is produced, we are reminded of
Anglo-Saxon comment. "Laurence,"[17] the poet's predecessor in
translating Boccaccio's _Falls of Princes_, is represented as

    In his Prologue affirming of reason,
    That artificers having exercise,
    May chaunge & turne by good discretion
    Shapes & formes, & newly them devise:
    As Potters whiche to that craft entende
    Breake & renue their vessels to amende.


    And semblably these clerkes in writing
    Thing that was made of auctours them beforn
    They may of newe finde & fantasye:
    Out of olde chaffe trye out full fayre corne,
    Make it more freshe & lusty to the eye,
    Their subtile witte their labour apply,
    With their colours agreable of hue,
    To make olde thinges for to seme newe.[18]

The great majority of these Middle English works contain within
themselves no clear statement as to which of the many possible methods
have been employed in their production. As in the case of the
Anglo-Saxon _Andreas_, a retelling in English of a story already
existing in another language often presents itself as if it were an
original composition. The author who puts into the vernacular of his
country a French romance may call it "my tale." At the end of _Launfal_,
a version of one of the lays of Marie de France, appears the
declaration, "Thomas Chestre made this tale."[19] The terms used to
characterize literary productions and literary processes often have not
their modern connotation. "Translate" and "translation" are applied
very loosely even as late as the sixteenth century. _The Legend of Good
Women_ names _Troilus and Criseyde_ beside _The Romance of the Rose_ as
"translated" work.[20] Osbern Bokenam, writing in the next century,
explains that he obtained the material for his legend of St. Margaret
"the last time I was in Italy, both by scripture and eke by mouth," but
he still calls the work a "translation."[21] Henry Bradshaw, purposing
in 1513 to "translate" into English the life of St. Werburge of Chester,

    Unto this rude werke myne auctours these shalbe:
    Fyrst the true legende and the venerable Bede,
    Mayster Alfrydus and Wyllyam Malusburye,
    Gyrarde, Polychronicon, and other mo in deed.[22]

Lydgate is requested to translate the legend of St. Giles "after the
tenor only"; he presents his work as a kind of "brief compilation," but
he takes no exception to the word "translate."[23] That he should
designate his _St. Margaret_, a fairly close following of one source, a
"compilation,"[24] merely strengthens the belief that the terms
"translate" and "translation" were used synonymously with various other
words. Osbern Bokenam speaks of the "translator" who "compiled" the
legend of St. Christiana in English;[25] Chaucer, one remembers,
"translated" Boethius and "made" the life of St. Cecilia.[26]

To select from this large body of literature, "made," "compiled,"
"translated," only such works as can claim to be called, in the modern
sense of the word, "translations" would be a difficult and unprofitable
task. Rather one must accept the situation as it stands and consider the
whole mass of such writings as appear, either from the claims of their
authors or on the authority of modern scholarship, to be of secondary
origin. "Translations" of this sort are numerous. Chaucer in his own
time was reckoned "grant translateur."[27] Of the books which Caxton a
century later issued from his printing press a large proportion were
English versions of Latin or French works. Our concern, indeed, is with
the larger and by no means the least valuable part of the literature
produced during the Middle English period.

The theory which accompanies this nondescript collection of translations
is scattered throughout various works, and is somewhat liable to
misinterpretation if taken out of its immediate context. Before
proceeding to consider it, however, it is necessary to notice certain
phases of the general literary situation which created peculiar
difficulties for the translator or which are likely to be confusing to
the present-day reader. As regards the translator, existing
circumstances were not encouraging. In the early part of the period he
occupied a very lowly place. As compared with Latin, or even with
French, the English language, undeveloped and unstandardized, could make
its appeal only to the unlearned. It had, in the words of a
thirteenth-century translator of Bishop Grosseteste's _Castle of Love_,
"no savor before a clerk."[28] Sometimes, it is true, the English writer
had the stimulus of patriotism. The translator of _Richard Coeur de
Lion_ feels that Englishmen ought to be able to read in their own
tongue the exploits of the English hero. The _Cursor Mundi_ is

    In to Inglis tong to rede
    For the love of Inglis lede,
    Inglis lede of Ingland.[29]

But beyond this there was little to encourage the translator. His
audience, as compared with the learned and the refined, who read Latin
and French, was ignorant and undiscriminating; his crude medium was
entirely unequal to reproducing what had been written in more highly
developed languages. It is little wonder that in these early days his
English should be termed "dim and dark." Even after Chaucer had showed
that the despised language was capable of grace and charm, the writer of
less genius must often have felt that beside the more sophisticated
Latin or French, English could boast but scanty resources.

There were difficulties and limitations also in the choice of material
to be translated. Throughout most of the period literature existed only
in manuscript; there were few large collections in any one place; travel
was not easy. Priests, according to the prologue to Mirk's _Festial_,
written in the early fifteenth century, complained of "default of
books." To aspire, as did Chaucer's Clerk, to the possession of "twenty
books" was to aspire high. Translators occasionally give interesting
details regarding the circumstances under which they read and
translated. The author of the life of St. Etheldred of Ely refers twice,
with a certain pride, to a manuscript preserved in the abbey of Godstow
which he himself has seen and from which he has drawn some of the facts
which he presents. The translator of the alliterative romance of
_Alexander_ "borrowed" various books when he undertook his English
rendering.[30] Earl Rivers, returning from the Continent, brought back a
manuscript which had been lent him by a French gentleman, and set about
the translation of his _Dictes and Sayings of the Old Philosophers_.[31]
It is not improbable that there was a good deal of borrowing, with its
attendant inconveniences. Even in the sixteenth century Sir Thomas
Elyot, if we may believe his story, was hampered by the laws of
property. He became interested in the acts and wisdom of Alexander
Severus, "which book," he says, "was first written in the Greek tongue
by his secretary Eucolpius and by good chance was lent unto me by a
gentleman of Naples called Padericus. In reading whereof I was
marvelously ravished, and as it hath ever been mine appetite, I wished
that it had been published in such a tongue as more men might understand
it. Wherefore with all diligence I endeavored myself whiles I had
leisure to translate it into English: albeit I could not so exactly
perform mine enterprise as I might have done, if the owner had not
importunately called for his book, whereby I was constrained to leave
some part of the work untranslated."[32] William Paris--to return to the
earlier period--has left on record a situation which stirs the
imagination. He translated the legend of St. Cristine while a prisoner
in the Isle of Man, the only retainer of his unfortunate lord, the Earl
of Warwick, whose captivity he chose to share.

    He made this lyfe in ynglishe soo,
    As he satte in prison of stone,
    Ever as he myghte tent therto
    Whane he had his lordes service done.[33]

One is tempted to let the fancy play on the combination of circumstances
that provided him with the particular manuscript from which he worked.
It is easy, of course, to emphasize overmuch the scarcity and the
inaccessibility of texts, but it is obvious that the translator's
choice of subject was largely conditioned by opportunity. He did not
select from the whole range of literature the work which most appealed
to his genius. It is a far cry from the Middle Ages to the seventeenth
century, with its stress on individual choice. Roscommon's advice,

    Examine how your humour is inclined,
    And what the ruling passion of your mind;
    Then seek a poet who your way does bend,
    And choose an author as you choose a friend,

seems absurd in connection with the translator who had to choose what
was within his reach, and who, in many cases, could not sit down in
undisturbed possession of his source.

The element of individual choice was also diminished by the intervention
of friends and patrons. In the fifteenth century, when translators were
becoming communicative about their affairs, there is frequent reference
to suggestion from without. Allowing for interest in the new craft of
printing, there is still so much mention in Caxton's prefaces of
commissions for translation as to make one feel that "ordering" an
English version of some foreign book had become no uncommon thing for
those who owned manuscripts and could afford such commodities as
translations. Caxton's list ranges from _The Fayttes of Armes_,
translated at the request of Henry VII from a manuscript lent by the
king himself, to _The Mirrour of the World_, "translated ... at the
request, desire, cost, and dispense of the honorable and worshipful man,
Hugh Bryce, alderman and citizen of London."[34]

One wonders also how the source, thus chosen, presented itself to the
translator's conception. His references to it are generally vague or
confused, often positively misleading. Yet to designate with any
definiteness a French or Latin text was no easy matter. When one
considers the labor that, of later years, has gone to the classification
and identification of old manuscripts, the awkward elaboration of
nomenclature necessary to distinguish them, the complications resulting
from missing pages and from the undue liberties of copyists, one realizes
something of the position of the medieval translator. Even categories were
not forthcoming for his convenience. The religious legend of _St.
Katherine of Alexandria_ is derived from "chronicles";[35] the moral tale
of _The Incestuous Daughter_ has its source in "romance";[36]
Grosseteste's allegory, _The Castle of Love_, is presented as "a romance
of English ... out of a romance that Sir Robert, Bishop of Lincoln,
made."[37] The translator who explained "I found it written in old hand"
was probably giving as adequate an account of his source as truth would

Moreover, part of the confusion had often arisen before the manuscript
came into the hands of the English translator. Often he was engaged in
translating something that was already a translation. Most frequently it
was a French version of a Latin original, but sometimes its ancestry was
complicated by the existence or the tradition of Greek or Hebrew
sources. The medieval Troy story, with its list of authorities, Dictys,
Dares, Guido delle Colonne--to cite the favorite names--shows the
situation in an aggravated form. In such cases the earlier translator's
blunders and omissions in describing his source were likely to be
perpetuated in the new rendering.

Such, roughly speaking, were the circumstances under which the
translator did his work. Some of his peculiar difficulties are,
approached from another angle, the difficulties of the present-day
reader. The presence of one or more intermediary versions, a
complication especially noticeable in England as a result of the French
occupation after the Conquest, may easily mislead us. The originals of
many of our texts are either non-extant or not yet discovered, but in
cases where we do possess the actual source which the English writer
used, a disconcerting situation often becomes evident. What at first
seemed to be the English translator's comment on his own treatment of
source is frequently only a literal rendering of a comment already
present in his original. It is more convenient to discuss the details of
such cases in another context, but any general approach to the theory of
translation in Middle English literature must include this
consideration. If we are not in possession of the exact original of a
translation, our conclusions must nearly always be discounted by the
possibility that not only the subject matter but the comment on that
subject matter came from the French or Latin source. The pronoun of the
first person must be regarded with a slight suspicion. "I" may refer to
the Englishman, but it may also refer to his predecessor who made a
translation or a compilation in French or Latin. "Compilation" suggests
another difficulty. Sometimes an apparent reference to source is only an
appeal to authority for the confirmation of a single detail, an appeal
which, again, may be the work of the English translator, but may, on the
other hand, be the contribution of his predecessor. A fairly common
situation, for example, appears in John Capgrave's _Life of St.
Augustine_, produced, as its author says, in answer to the request of a
gentlewoman that he should "translate her truly out of Latin the life of
St. Augustine, great doctor of the church." Of the work, its editor, Mr.
Munro, says, "It looks at first sight as though Capgrave had merely
translated an older Latin text, as he did in the _Life of St. Gilbert_;
but no Latin life corresponding to our text has been discovered, and as
Capgrave never refers to 'myn auctour,' and always alludes to himself
as handling the material, I incline to conclude that he is himself the
original composer, and that his reference to translation signifies his
use of Augustine's books, from which he translates whole passages."[38]
In a case like this it is evidently impossible to draw dogmatic
conclusions. It may be that Capgrave is using the word "translate" with
medieval looseness, but it is also possible that some of the comment
expressed in the first person is translated comment, and the editor adds
that, though the balance of probability is against it, "it is still
possible that a Latin life may have been used." Occasionally, it is
true, comment is stamped unmistakably as belonging to the English
translator. The translator of a _Canticum de Creatione_ declares that
there were

    --fro the incarnacioun of Jhesu
    Til this rym y telle yow
    Were turned in to englisch,
    A thousand thre hondred & seventy
    And fyve yere witterly.
    Thus in bok founden it is.[39]

Such unquestionably _English_ additions are, unfortunately, rare and the
situation remains confused.

But this is not the only difficulty which confronts the reader. He
searches with disappointing results for such general and comprehensive
statements of the medieval translator's theory as may aid in the
interpretation of detail. Such statements are few, generally late in
date, and, even when not directly translated from a predecessor, are
obviously repetitions of the conventional rule associated with the name
of Jerome and adopted in Anglo-Saxon times by Alfred and Aelfric. An
early fifteenth-century translator of the _Secreta Secretorum_, for
example, carries over into English the preface of the Latin translator:
"I have translated with great travail into open understanding of Latin
out of the language of Araby ... sometimes expounding letter by letter,
and sometimes understanding of understanding, for other manner of
speaking is with Arabs and other with Latin."[40] Lydgate makes a
similar statement:

    I wyl translate hyt sothly as I kan,
    After the lettre, in ordre effectuelly.
    Thogh I not folwe the wordes by & by,
    I schal not faille teuching the substance.[41]

Osbern Bokenam declares that he has translated

    Not wurde for wurde--for that ne may be
    In no translation, aftyr Jeromys decree--
    But fro sentence to sentence.[42]

There is little attempt at the further analysis which would give this
principle fresh significance. The translator makes scarcely any effort
to define the extent to which he may diverge from the words of his
original or to explain why such divergence is necessary. John de
Trevisa, who translated so extensively in the later fourteenth century,
does give some account of his methods, elementary, it is true, but
honest and individual. His preface to his English prose version of
Higden's _Polychronicon_ explains: "In some place I shall set word for
word, and active for active, and passive for passive, a-row right as it
standeth, without changing of the order of words. But in some place I
must change the order of words, and set active for passive and
again-ward. And in some place I must set a reason for a word and tell
what it meaneth. But for all such changing the meaning shall stand and
not be changed."[43] An explanation like this, however, is unusual.

Possibly the fact that the translation was in prose affected Trevisa's
theorizing. A prose rendering could follow its original so closely that
it was possible to describe the comparatively few changes consequent on
English usage. In verse, on the other hand, the changes involved were so
great as to discourage definition. There are, however, a few comments on
the methods to be employed in poetical renderings. According to the
_Proem_ to the _Boethius_, Alfred, in the Anglo-Saxon period, first
translated the book "from Latin into English prose," and then "wrought
it up once more into verse, as it is now done."[44] At the very
beginning of the history of Middle English literature Orm attacked the
problem of the verse translation very directly. He writes of his

    Icc hafe sett her o thiss boc
    Amang Godspelles wordess,
    All thurrh me sellfenn, manig word
    The rime swa to fillenn.[45]

Such additions, he says, are necessary if the readers are to understand
the text and if the metrical form is to be kept.

    Forr whase mot to laewedd follc
    Larspell off Goddspell tellenn,
    He mot wel ekenn manig word
    Amang Godspelless Wordess.
    & icc ne mihhte nohht min ferrs
    Ayy withth Godspelless wordess
    Wel fillenn all, & all forrthi
    Shollde icc wel offte nede
    Amang Godspelless wordess don
    Min word, min ferrs to fillenn.[46]

Later translators, however, seldom followed his lead. There are a few
comments connected with prose translations; the translator of _The Book
of the Knight of La Tour Landry_ quotes the explanation of his author
that he has chosen prose rather than verse "for to abridge it, and that
it might be better and more plainly to be understood";[47] the Lord in
Trevisa's _Dialogue_ prefixed to the _Polychronicon_ desires a
translation in prose, "for commonly prose is more clear than rhyme, more
easy and more plain to understand";[48] but apparently the only one of
Orm's successors to put into words his consciousness of the
complications which accompany a metrical rendering is the author of _The
Romance of Partenay_, whose epilogue runs:

    As ny as metre can conclude sentence,
    Cereatly by rew in it have I go.
    Nerehand stafe by staf, by gret diligence,
    Savyng that I most metre apply to;
    The wourdes meve, and sett here & ther so.[49]

What follows, however, shows that he is concerned not so much with the
peculiar difficulty of translation as with the general difficulty of
"forging" verse. Whether a man employs Latin, French, or the vernacular,
he continues,

    Be it in balede, vers, Rime, or prose,
    He most torn and wend, metrely to close.[50]

Of explicit comment on general principles, then, there is but a small
amount in connection with Middle English translations. Incidentally,
however, writers let fall a good deal of information regarding their
theories and methods. Such material must be interpreted with
considerable caution, for although the most casual survey makes it clear
that generally the translator felt bound to put into words something of
his debt and his responsibility to his predecessors, yet one does not
know how much significance should attach to this comment. He seldom
offers clear, unmistakable information as to his difficulties and his
methods of meeting them. It is peculiarly interesting to come upon such
explanation of processes as appears at one point in Capgrave's _Life of
St. Gilbert_. In telling the story of a miracle wrought upon a sick man,
Capgrave writes: "One of his brethren, which was his keeper, gave him
this counsel, that he should wind his head with a certain cloth of linen
which St. Gilbert wore. I suppose verily," continues the translator, "it
was his alb, for mine author here setteth a word 'subucula,' which is
both an alb and a shirt, and in the first part of this life the same
author saith that this holy man wore next his skin no hair as for the
hardest, nor linen as for the softest, but he went with wool, as with
the mean."[51] Such care for detail suggests the comparative methods
later employed by the translators of the Bible, but whether or not it
was common, it seldom found its way into words. The majority of writers
acquitted themselves of the translator's duty by introducing at
intervals somewhat conventional references to source, "in story as we
read," "in tale as it is told," "as saith the geste," "in rhyme I read,"
"the prose says," "as mine author doth write," "as it tells in the
book," "so saith the French tale," "as saith the Latin." Tags like these
are everywhere present, especially in verse, where they must often have
proved convenient in eking out the metre. Whether they are to be
interpreted literally is hard to determine. The reader of English
versions can seldom be certain whether variants on the more ordinary
forms are merely stylistic or result from actual differences in
situation; whether, for example, phrases like "as I have heard tell,"
"as the book says," "as I find in parchment spell" are rewordings of the
same fact or represent real distinctions.

One group of doubtful references apparently question the reliability of
the written source. In most cases the seeming doubt is probably the
result of awkward phrasing. Statements like "as the story doth us both
write and mean,"[52] "as the book says and true men tell us,"[53] "but
the book us lie,"[54] need have little more significance than the
slightly absurd declaration,

    The gospel nul I forsake nought
    _Thaugh_ it be written in parchemyn.[55]

Occasional more direct questionings incline one, however, to take the
matter a little more seriously. The translator of a _Canticum de
Creatione_, strangely fabulous in content, presents his material with
the words,

    --as we finden in lectrure,
    I not whether it be in holy scripture.[56]

The author of one of the legends of the Holy Cross says,

    This tale, quether hit be il or gode,
    I fande hit writen of the rode.
    Mani tellis diverseli,
    For thai finde diverse stori.[57]

Capgrave, in his legend of _St. Katherine_, takes issue unmistakably
with his source.

    In this reknyng myne auctour & I are too:
    ffor he accordeth not wytz cronicles that ben olde,
    But diversyth from hem, & that in many thyngis.
    There he accordeth, ther I him hold;
    And where he diversyth in ordre of theis kyngis,
    I leve hym, & to oder mennys rekenyngis
    I geve more credens whech be-fore hym and me
    Sette alle these men in ordre & degre.[58]

Except when this mistrust is made a justification for divergence from
the original, these comments contribute little to our knowledge of the
medieval translator's methods and need concern us little. More needful
of explanation is the reference which implies that the English writer is
not working from a manuscript, but is reproducing something which he has
heard read or recounted, or which he has read for himself at some time
in the past. How is one to interpret phrases like that which introduces
the story of _Golagros and Gawain_, "as true men me told," or that which
appears at the beginning of _Rauf Coilyear_, "heard I tell"? One
explanation, obviously true in some cases, is that such references are
only conventional. The concluding lines of _Ywain and Gawin_,

    Of them no more have I heard tell
    Neither in romance nor in spell,[59]

are simply a rough rendering of the French

    Ne ja plus n'en orroiz conter,
    S'an n'i vialt manconge ajoster.[60]

On the other hand, the author of the long romance of _Ipomadon_, which
follows its source with a closeness which precludes all possibility of
reproduction from memory, has tacked on two references to hearing,[61]
not only without a basis in the French but in direct contradiction to
Hue de Rotelande's account of the source of his material. In _Emare_,
"as I have heard minstrels sing in sawe" is apparently introduced as
the equivalent of the more ordinary phrases "in tale as it is told" and
"in romance as we read,"[62] the second of which is scarcely compatible
with the theory of an oral source.

One cannot always, however, dispose of the reference to hearing so
easily. Contemporary testimony shows that literature was often
transmitted by word of mouth. Thomas de Cabham mentions the
"ioculatores, qui cantant gesta principum et vitam sanctorum";[63]
Robert of Brunne complains that those who sing or say the geste of _Sir
Tristram_ do not repeat the story exactly as Thomas made it.[64] Even
though one must recognize the probability that sometimes the immediate
oral source of the minstrel's tale may have been English, one cannot
ignore the possibility that occasionally a "translated" saint's life or
romance may have been the result of hearing a French or Latin narrative
read or recited. A convincing example of reproduction from memory
appears in the legend of _St. Etheldred of Ely_, whose author recounts
certain facts,

    The whiche y founde in the abbey of Godstow y-wis,
    In hure legent as y dude there that tyme rede,

and later presents other material,

    The whiche y say at Hely y-write.[65]

Such evidence makes us regard with more attention the remark in
Capgrave's _St. Katherine_,

    --right soo dede I lere
    Of cronycles whiche (that) I saugh last,[66]

or the lines at the end of _Roberd of Cisyle_,

    Al this is write withoute lyghe
    At Rome, to ben in memorye,
    At seint Petres cherche, I knowe.[67]

It is possible also that sometimes a vague phrase like "as the story
says," or "in tale as it is told," may signify hearing instead of
reading. But in general one turns from consideration of the references
to hearing with little more than an increased respect for the superior
definiteness which belongs to the mention of the "black letters," the
"parchment," "the French book," or "the Latin book."

Leaving the general situation and examining individual types of
literature, one finds it possible to draw conclusions which are somewhat
more definite. The metrical romance--to choose one of the most popular
literary forms of the period--is nearly always garnished with references
to source scattered throughout its course in a manner that awakens
curiosity. Sometimes they do not appear at the beginning of the romance,
but are introduced in large numbers towards the end; sometimes, after a
long series of pages containing nothing of the sort, we begin to come
upon them frequently, perhaps in groups, one appearing every few lines,
so that their presence constitutes something like a quality of style.
For example, in _Bevis of Hamtoun_[68] and _The Earl of Toulouse_[69]
the first references to source come between ll. 800 and 900; in _Ywain
and Gawin_ the references appear at ll. 9, 3209, and 3669;[70] in _The
Wars of Alexander_[71] there is a perpetual harping on source, one
phrase seeming to produce another.

Occasionally one can find a reason for the insertion of the phrase in a
given place. Sometimes its presence suggests that the translator has
come upon an unfamiliar word. In _Sir Eglamour of Artois_, speaking of a
bird that has carried off a child, the author remarks, "a griffin, saith
the book, he hight";[72] in _Partenay_, in an attempt to give a vessel
its proper name, the writer says, "I found in scripture that it was a
barge."[73] This impression of accuracy is most common in connection
with geographical proper names. In _Torrent of Portyngale_ we have the
name of a forest, "of Brasill saith the book it was"; in _Partonope of
Blois_ we find "France was named those ilke days Galles, as mine author
says,"[74] or "Mine author telleth this church hight the church of
Albigis."[75] In this same romance the reference to source accompanies a
definite bit of detail, "The French book thus doth me tell, twenty
waters he passed full fell."[76] Bevis of Hamtoun kills "forty
Sarracens, the French saith."[77] As in the case of the last
illustration, the translator frequently needs to cite his authority
because the detail he gives is somewhat difficult of belief. In _The
Sege of Melayne_ the Christian warriors recover their horses
miraculously "through the prayer of St. Denys, thus will the chronicle
say";[78] in _The Romance of Partenay_ we read of a wondrous light
appearing about a tomb, "the French maker saith he saw it with eye."[79]
Sometimes these phrases suggest that metre and rhyme do not always flow
easily for the English writer, and that in such difficulties a stock
space-filler is convenient. Lines like those in Chaucer's _Sir Thopas_,

    And so bifel upon a day,
    Forsothe _as I you telle may_
    Sir Thopas wolde outride,


    The briddes synge, _it is no nay_,
      The sparhauke and the papejay

may easily be paralleled by passages containing references to source.

A good illustration from almost every point of view of the significance
and lack of significance of the appearance of these phrases in a given
context is the version of the Alexander story usually called _The Wars
of Alexander_. The frequent references to source in this romance occur
in sporadic groups. The author begins by putting them in with some
regularity at the beginnings of the _passus_ into which he divides his
narrative, but, as the story progresses, he ceases to do so, perhaps
forgets his first purpose. Sometimes the reference to source suggests
accuracy: "And five and thirty, as I find, were in the river
drowned."[80] "Rhinoceros, as I read, the book them calls."[81] The
strength of some authority is necessary to support the weight of the
incredible marvels which the story-teller recounts. He tells of a valley
full of serpents with crowns on their heads, who fed, "as the prose
tells," on pepper, cloves, and ginger;[82] of enormous crabs with backs,
"as the book says," bigger and harder than any common stone or
cockatrice scales;[83] of the golden image of Xerxes, which on the
approach of Alexander suddenly, "as tells the text," falls to
pieces.[84] He often has recourse to an authority for support when he
takes proper names from the Latin. "Luctus it hight, the lettre and the
line thus it calls."[85] The slayers of Darius are named Besan and
Anabras, "as the book tells."[86] On the other hand, the signification
of the reference in its context can be shown to be very slight. As was
said before, the writer soon forgets to insert it at the beginning of
the new _passus_; there are plenty of marvels without any citation of
authority to add to their credibility; and though the proper name
carries its reference to the Latin, it is usually strangely distorted
from its original form. So far as bearing on the immediate context is
concerned, most of the references to source have little more meaning
than the ordinary tags, "as I you say," "as you may hear," or "as I

Apart, however, from the matter of context, one may make a rough
classification of the romances on the ground of these references.
Leaving aside the few narratives (e.g. _Sir Percival of Galles_, _King
Horn_) which contain no suggestion that they are of secondary origin,
one may distinguish two groups. There is, in the first place, a large
body of romances which refer in general terms to their originals, but do
not profess any responsibility for faithful reproduction; in the second
place, there are some romances whose authors do recognize the claims of
the original, which is in such cases nearly always definitely described,
and frequently go so far as to discuss its style or the style to be
adopted in the English rendering. The first group, which includes
considerably more than half the romances at present accessible in print,
affords a confused mass of references. As regards the least definite of
these, one finds phrases so vague as to suggest that the author himself
might have had difficulty in identifying his source, phrases where the
omission of the article ("in rhyme," "in romance," "in story") or the
use of the plural ("as books say," "as clerks tell," "as men us told,"
"in stories thus as we read") deprives the words of most of their
significance. Other references are more definite; the writer mentions
"this book," "mine author," "the Latin book," "the French book." If
these phrases are to be trusted, we may conclude that the English
translator has his text before him; they aid little, however, in
identification of that text. The fifty-six references in Malory's _Morte
d'Arthur_ to "the French book" give no particular clue to discovery of
his sources. The common formula, "as the French book says," marks the
highest degree of definiteness to which most of these romances attain.

An interesting variant from the commoner forms is the reference to
_Rom_, generally in the phrase "the book of Rom," which appears in some
of the romances. The explanation that _Rom_ is a corruption of _romance_
and that _the book of Rom_ is simply the book of romance or the book
written in the romance language, French, can easily be supported. In the
same poem _Rom_ alternates with _romance_: "In Rome this geste is
chronicled," "as the romance telleth,"[87] "in the chronicles of Rome is
the date," "in romance as we read."[88] Two versions of _Octavian_ read,
the one "in books of Rome," the other "in books of ryme."[89] On the
other hand, there are peculiarities in the use of the word not so easy
of explanation. It appears in a certain group of romances, _Octavian_,
_Le Bone Florence of Rome_, _Sir Eglamour of Artois_, _Torrent of
Portyngale_, _The Earl of Toulouse_, all of which develop in some degree
the Constance story, familiar in _The Man of Law's Tale_. In all of them
there is reference to the city of Rome, sometimes very obvious,
sometimes slight, but perhaps equally significant in the latter case
because it is introduced in an unexpected, unnecessary way. In _Le Bone
Florence of Rome_ the heroine is daughter of the Emperor of Rome, and,
the tale of her wanderings done, the story ends happily with her
reinstatement in her own city. Octavian is Emperor of Rome, and here
again the happy conclusion finds place in that city. Sir Eglamour
belongs to Artois, but he does betake himself to Rome to kill a dragon,
an episode introduced in one manuscript of the story by the phrase "as
the book of Rome says."[90] Though the scenes of _Torrent of Portyngale_
are Portugal, Norway, and Calabria, the Emperor of Rome comes to the
wedding of the hero, and Torrent himself is finally chosen Emperor,
presumably of Rome. The Earl of Toulouse, in the romance of that name,
disguises himself as a monk, and to aid in the illusion some one says of
him during his disappearance, "Gone is he to his own land: he dwells
with the Pope of Rome."[91] The Emperor in this story is Emperor of
Almaigne, but his name, strangely enough, is Diocletian. Again, in
_Octavian_, one reads in the description of a feast, "there was many a
rich geste of Rome and of France,"[92] which suggests a distinction
between a geste of Rome and a geste of France. In _Le Bone Florence of
Rome_ appears the peculiar statement, "Pope Symonde this story wrote. In
the chronicles of Rome is the date."[93] In this case the word _Rome_
seems to have been taken literally enough to cause attribution of the
story to the Pope. It is evident, then, that whether or not _Rome_ is a
corruption of _romance_, at any rate one or more of the persons who had
a hand in producing these narratives must have interpreted the word
literally, and believed that the book of Rome was a record of
occurrences in the city of Rome.[94] It is interesting to note that in
_The Man of Law's Tale_, in speaking of Maurice, the son of Constance,
Chaucer introduces a reference to the _Gesta Romanorum_:

    In the old Romayn gestes may men fynde
    Maurice's lyf, I bere it not in mynde.

Such vagueness and uncertainty, if not positive misunderstanding with
regard to source, are characteristic of many romances. It is not
difficult to find explanations for this. The writer may, as was
suggested before, be reproducing a story which he has only heard or
which he has read at some earlier time. Even if he has the book before
him, it does not necessarily bear its author's name and it is not easy
to describe it so that it can be recognized by others. Generally
speaking, his references to source are honest, so far as they go, and
can be taken at their face value. Even in cases of apparent falsity
explanations suggest themselves. There is nearly always the possibility
that false or contradictory attributions, as, for example, the mention
of "book" and "books" or "the French book" and "the Latin book" as
sources of the same romance, are merely stupidly literal renderings of
the original. In _The Romance of Partenay_, one of the few cases where
we have unquestionably the French original of the English romance, more
than once an apparent reference to source in the English is only a close
following of the French. "I found in scripture that it was a barge"
corresponds with "Je treuve que c'estoit une barge"; "as saith the
scripture" with "Ainsi que dient ly escrips";

    For the Cronike doth treteth (sic) this brefly,
    More ferther wold go, mater finde might I


    Mais en brief je m'en passeray
    Car la cronique en brief passe.
    Plus déisse, se plus trouvasse.[95]

A similar situation has already been pointed out in _Ywain and Gawin_.
The most marked example of contradictory evidence is to be found in
_Octavian_, whose author alternates "as the French says" with "as saith
the Latin."[96] Here, however, the nearest analogue to the English
romance, which contains 1962 lines, is a French romance of 5371 lines,
which begins by mentioning the "grans merueilles qui sont faites, et de
latin en romanz traites."[97] It is not impossible that the English
writer used a shorter version which emphasized this reference to the
Latin, and that his too-faithful adherence to source had confusing
results. But even if such contradictions cannot be explained, in the
mass of undistinguished romances there is scarcely anything to suggest
that the writer is trying to give his work a factitious value by
misleading references to dignified sources. His faults, as in _Ywain and
Gawin_, where the name of Chrétien is not carried over from the French,
are sins of omission, not commission.

No hard and fast line of division can be drawn between the romances just
discussed and those of the second group, with their frequent and fairly
definite references to their sources and to their methods of reproducing
them. A rough chronological division between the two groups can be made
about the year 1400. _William of Palerne_, assigned by its editor to the
year 1350, contains a slight indication of the coming change in the
claim which its author makes to have accomplished his task "as fully as
the French fully would ask."[98] Poems like Chaucer's _Knight's Tale_
and _Franklin's Tale_ have only the vague references to source of the
earlier period, though since they are presented as oral narratives, they
belong less obviously to the present discussion. The vexed question of
the signification of the references in _Troilus and Criseyde_ is outside
the scope of this discussion. Superficially considered, they are an odd
mingling of the new and the old. Phrases like "as to myn auctour listeth
to devise" (III, 1817), "as techen bokes olde" (III, 91), "as wryten
folk thorugh which it is in minde" (IV, 18) suggest the first group. The
puzzling references to Lollius have a certain definiteness, and
faithfulness to source is implied in lines like:

    And of his song nought only the sentence,
    As writ myn auctour called Lollius,
    But pleynly, save our tonges difference,
    I dar wel seyn, in al that Troilus
    Seyde in his song; lo! every word right thus
    As I shal seyn
    (I, 393-8)


    "For as myn auctour seyde, so seye I" (II, 18).

But from the beginning of the new century, in the work of men like
Lydgate and Caxton, a new habit of comment becomes noticeable.

Less distinguished translators show a similar development. The author of
_The Holy Grail_, Harry Lonelich, a London skinner, towards the end of
his work makes frequent, if perhaps mistaken, attribution of the French
romance to

    ... myn sire Robert of Borron
    Whiche that this storie Al & som
    Owt Of the latyn In to the frensh torned he
    Be holy chirches Comandment sekerle,[99]

and makes some apology for the defects of his own style:

    And I, As An unkonning Man trewly
    Into Englisch have drawen this Story;
    And thowgh that to yow not plesyng It be,
    Yit that ful Excused ye wolde haven Me
    Of my necligence and unkonning.[100]

_The Romance of Partenay_ is turned into English by a writer who
presents himself very modestly:

    I not acqueynted of birth naturall
    With frenshe his very trew parfightnesse,
    Nor enpreyntyd is in mind cordiall;
    O word For other myght take by lachesse,
    Or peradventure by unconnyngesse.[101]

He intends, however, to be a careful translator:

    As nighe as metre will conclude sentence,
    Folew I wil my president,
    Ryght as the frenshe wil yiff me evidence,
    Cereatly after myn entent,[102]

and he ends by declaring that in spite of the impossibility of giving an
exact rendering of the French in English metre, he has kept very closely
to the original. Sometimes, owing to the shortness of the French
"staffes," he has reproduced in one line two lines of the French, but,
except for this, comparison will show that the two versions are exactly

The translator of _Partonope of Blois_ does not profess such slavish
faithfulness, though he does profess great admiration for his source,

    The olde booke full well I-wryted,
    In ffrensh also, and fayre endyted,[104]

and declares himself bound to follow it closely:

    Thus seith myn auctour after whome I write.
    Blame not me: I moste endite
    As nye after hym as ever I may,
    Be it sothe or less I can not say.[105]

However, in the midst of his protestations of faithfulness, he confesses
to divergence:

    There-fore y do alle my myghthhe
    To saue my autor ynne sucche wyse
    As he that mater luste devyse,
    Where he makyth grete compleynte
    In french so fayre thatt yt to paynte
    In Englysche tunngge y saye for me
    My wyttys alle to dullet bee.
    He telleth hys tale of sentament
    I vnderstonde noghth hys entent,
    Ne wolle ne besy me to lere.[106]

He owns to the abbreviation of descriptive passages, which so many
English translators had perpetrated in silence:

    Her bewte dyscry fayne wolde I
    Affter the sentence off myne auctowre,
    Butte I pray yowe of thys grette labowre
    I mote at thys tyme excused be;[107]

    Butte who so luste to here of hur a-raye,
    Lette him go to the ffrensshe bocke,
    That Idell mater I forsoke
    To telle hyt in prose or els in ryme,
    For me thoghte hyt taryed grette tyme.
    And ys a mater full nedless.[108]

One cannot but suspect that this odd mingling of respect and freedom as
regards the original describes the attitude of many other translators of
romances, less articulate in the expression of their theory.

To deal fairly with many of the romances of this second group, one must
consider the relationship between romance and history and the uncertain
division between the two. The early chronicles of England generally
devoted an appreciable space to matters of romance, the stories of Troy,
of Aeneas, of Arthur. As in the case of the romance proper, such
chronicles were, even in the modern sense, "translated," for though the
historian usually compiled his material from more than one source, his
method was to put together long, consecutive passages from various
authors, with little attempt at assimilating them into a whole. The
distinction between history and romance was slow in arising. The _Morte
Arthure_ offers within a few lines both "romances" and "chronicles" as
authorities for its statements.[109] In Caxton's preface to _Godfrey of
Bullogne_ the enumeration of the great names of history includes Arthur
and Charlemagne, and the story of Godfrey is designated as "this noble
history which is no fable nor feigned thing." Throughout the period the
stories of Troy and of Alexander are consistently treated as history,
and their redactors frequently state that their material has come from
various places. Nearly all the English Troy stories are translations of
Guido delle Colonne's _Historia Trojana_, and they take over from their
original Guido's long discussion of authorities. The Alexander romances
present the same effect of historical accuracy in passages like the

    This passage destuted is
    In the French, well y-wis,
    Therefore I have, it to colour
    Borrowed of the Latin author;[110]

    Of what kin he came can I nought find
    In no book that I bed when I began here
    The Latin to this language lelliche to turn.[111]

The assumption of the historian's attitude was probably the largest
factor in the development of the habit of expressing responsibility for
following the source or for noting divergence from it. Less easy of
explanation is the fact that comment on style so frequently appears in
this connection. There is perhaps a touch of it even in Layamon's
account of his originals, when he approaches his French source: "Layamon
began to journey wide over this land, and procured the noble books which
he took for authority. He took the English book that Saint Bede made;
another he took in Latin that Saint Albin made, and the fair Austin, who
brought baptism hither; the third he took, (and) laid there in the
midst, that a French clerk made, who was named Wace, who well could
write.... Layamon laid before him these books, and turned the leaves ...
pen he took with fingers, and wrote on book skin, and the true words set
together, and the three books compressed into one."[112] Robert of
Brunne, in his _Chronicle of England_, dated as early as 1338, combines
a lengthy discussion of style with a clear statement of the extent to
which he has used his sources. Wace tells in French

    All that the Latyn spelles,
    ffro Eneas till Cadwaladre;
    this Mayster Wace ther leves he.
    And ryght as Mayster Wace says,
    I telle myn Inglis the same ways.[113]

Pers of Langtoft continues the history;

    & as he says, than say I,[114]

writes the translator. Robert admires his predecessors, Dares, whose
"Latyn is feyre to lere," Wace, who "rymed it in Frankis fyne," and
Pers, of whose style he says, "feyrer language non ne redis"; but he is
especially concerned with his own manner of expression. He does not
aspire to an elaborate literary style; rather, he says,

    I made it not forto be praysed,
    Bot at the lewed men were aysed.[115]

Consequently he eschews the difficult verse forms then coming into
fashion, "ryme cowee," "straungere," or "enterlace." He does not write
for the "disours," "seggers," and "harpours" of his own day, who tell
the old stories badly.

    Non tham says as thai tham wrought,
    & in ther sayng it semes noght.[116]

A confusion of pronouns makes it difficult to understand what he
considers the fault of contemporary renderings. Possibly it is that
affectation of an obsolete style to which Caxton refers in the preface
to the _Eneydos_. In any case, he himself rejects "straunge Inglis" for
"simple speche."

Unlike Robert of Brunne, Andrew of Wyntoun, writing at the beginning of
the next century, delights in the ornamental style which has added a
charm to ancient story.

    Quharfore of sic antiquiteis
    Thei that set haly thare delite
    Gestis or storyis for to write,
    Flurist fairly thare purpose
    With quaynt and curiouse circumstance,
    For to raise hertis in plesance,
    And the heraris till excite
    Be wit or will to do thare delite.[117]

The "antiquiteis" which he has in mind are obviously the tales of Troy.
Guido delle Colonne, Homer, and Virgil, he continues, all

    Fairly formyt there tretyss,
    And curiously dytit there storyis.[118]

Some writers, however, did not adopt the elevated style which such
subject matter deserves.

    Sum usit bot in plane maner
    Of air done dedis thar mater
    To writ, as did Dares of Frigy,
    That wrait of Troy all the story,
    Bot in till plane and opin style,
    But curiouse wordis or subtile.[119]

Andrew does not attempt to discuss the application of his theory to
English style, but he has perhaps suggested the reason why the question
of style counted for so much in connection with this pseudo-historical
material. In the introduction to Barbour's _Bruce_, though the point at
issue is not translation, there is a similar idea. According to Barbour,
a true story has a special claim to an attractive rendering.

    Storyss to rede ar delitabill,
    Supposs that thai be nocht bot fabill;
    Than suld storyss that suthfast wer,
    And thai war said in gud maner,
    Have doubill plesance in heryng.
    The fyrst plesance is the carpyng,
    And the tothir the suthfastness,
    That schawys the thing rycht as it wes.[120]

Lydgate, Wyntoun's contemporary, apparently shared his views. In
translating Boccaccio's _Falls of Princes_ he dispenses with stylistic

    Of freshe colours I toke no maner hede.
    But my processe playnly for to lede:
    As me semed it was to me most mete
    To set apart Rethorykes swete.[121]

But when it came to the Troy story, his matter demanded a different
treatment. He calls upon Mars

    To do socour my stile to directe,
    And of my penne the tracys to correcte,
    Whyche bareyn is of aureate licour,
    But in thi grace I fynde som favour
    For to conveye it wyth thyn influence.[122]

He also asks aid of Calliope.

    Now of thy grace be helpyng unto me,
    And of thy golde dewe lat the lycour wete
    My dulled breast, that with thyn hony swete
    Sugrest tongis of rethoricyens,
    And maistresse art to musicyens.[123]

Like Wyntoun, Lydgate pays tribute to his predecessors, the clerks who
have kept in memory the great deeds of the past

    ... thorough diligent labour,
    And enlumyned with many corious flour
    Of rethorik, to make us comprehend
    The trouthe of al.[124]

Of Guido in particular he writes that he

    ... had in writyng passynge excellence.
    For he enlumyneth by craft & cadence
    This noble story with many fresch colour
    Of rethorik, & many riche flour
    Of eloquence to make it sownde bet
    He in the story hath ymped in and set,
    That in good feyth I trowe he hath no pere.[125]

None of these men point out the relationship between the style of the
original and the style to be employed in the English rendering. Caxton,
the last writer to be considered in this connection, remarks in his
preface to _The Recuyell of the Histories of Troy_ on the "fair language
of the French, which was in prose so well and compendiously set and
written," and in the prologue to the _Eneydos_ tells how he was
attracted by the "fair and honest terms and words in French," and how,
after writing a leaf or two, he noted that his English was characterized
by "fair and strange terms." While it may be that both Caxton and
Lydgate were trying to reproduce in English the peculiar quality of
their originals, it is more probable that they beautified their own
versions as best they could, without feeling it incumbent upon them to
make their rhetorical devices correspond with those of their
predecessors. Elsewhere Caxton expresses concern only for his own
language, as it is to be judged by English readers without regard for
the qualities of the French. In most cases he characterizes his
renderings of romance as "simple and rude"; in the preface to _Charles
the Great_ he says that he uses "no gay terms, nor subtle, nor new
eloquence"; and in the preface to _Blanchardyn and Eglantine_ he
declares that he does not know "the art of rhetoric nor of such gay
terms as now be said in these days and used," and that his only desire
is to be understood by his readers. The prologue to the _Eneydos_,
however, tells a different story. According to this he has been blamed
for expressing himself in "over curious terms which could not be
understood of the common people" and requested to use "old and homely
terms." But Caxton objects to the latter as being also unintelligible.
"In my judgment," he says, "the common terms that be daily used, are
lighter to be understood than the old and ancient English." He is
writing, not for the ignorant man, but "only for a clerk and a noble
gentleman that feeleth and understandeth in feats of arms, in love, and
in noble chivalry." For this reason, he concludes, "in a mean have I
reduced and translated this said book into our English, not over rude
nor curious, but in such terms as shall be understood, by God's grace,
according to the copy." Though Caxton does not avail himself of
Wyntoun's theory that the Troy story must be told in "curious and
subtle" words, it is probable that, like other translators of his
century, he felt the attraction of the new aureate diction while he
professed the simplicity of language which existing standards demanded
of the translator.

Turning from the romance and the history and considering religious
writings, the second large group of medieval productions, one finds the
most significant translator's comment associated with the saint's
legend, though occasionally the short pious tale or the more abstract
theological treatise makes some contribution. These religious works
differ from the romances in that they are more frequently based on Latin
than on French originals, and in that they contain more deliberate and
more repeated references to the audiences to which they have been
adapted. The translator does not, like Caxton, write for "a clerk and a
noble gentleman"; instead he explains repeatedly that he has striven to
make his work understandable to the unlearned, for, as the author of
_The Child of Bristow_ pertinently remarks,

    The beste song that ever was made
    Is not worth a lekys blade
    But men wol tende ther-tille.[126]

Since Latin enditing is "cumbrous," the translator of _The Blood at
Hayles_ presents a version in English, "for plainly this the truth will
tell";[127] Osbern Bokenam will speak and write "plainly, after the
language of Southfolk speech";[128] John Capgrave, finding that the
earlier translator of the life of St. Katherine has made the work "full
hard ... right for the strangeness of his dark language," undertakes to
translate it "more openly" and "set it more plain."[129] This conception
of the audience, together with the writer's consciousness that even in
presenting narrative he is conveying spiritual truths of supreme
importance to his readers, probably increases the tendency of the
translator to incorporate into his English version such running
commentary as at intervals suggests itself to him. He may add a line or
two of explanation, of exhortation, or, if he recognizes a quotation
from the Scriptures or from the Fathers, he may supply the authority for
it. John Capgrave undertakes to translate the life of St. Gilbert "right
as I find before me, save some additions will I put thereto which men of
that order have told me, and eke other things that shall fall to my mind
in the writing which be pertinent to the matter."[130] Nicholas Love
puts into English _The Mirror of the Blessed Life of Jesus Christ_,
"with more put to in certain parts, and also with drawing out of divers
authorities and matters as it seemeth to the writer hereof most speedful
and edifying to them that be of simple understanding."[131] Such
incidental citation of authority is evident in _St. Paula_, published
by Dr. Horstmann side by side with its Latin original.[132] With more
simplicity and less display of learning, the translator of religious
works sometimes vaguely adduces authority, as did the translator of
romances, in connection with an unfamiliar name. One finds such
statements as: "Manna, so it is written";[133] "Such a fiend, as the
book tells us, is called Incubus";[134] "In the country of Champagne, as
the book tells";[135] "Cursates, saith the book, he hight";[136]

    Her body lyeth in strong castylle
    And Bulstene, seith the boke, it hight;[137]

    In the yer of ur lord of hevene
    Four hundred and eke ellevene
    Wandaly the province tok
    Of Aufrike--so seith the bok.[138]

Often, however, the reference to source is introduced apparently at
random. On the whole, indeed, the comment which accompanies religious
writings does not differ essentially in intelligibility or significance
from that associated with romances; its interest lies mainly in the fact
that it brings into greater relief tendencies more or less apparent in
the other form.

One of these is the large proportion of borrowed comment. The constant
citation of authority in a work such as, for example, _The Golden
Legend_ was likely to be reproduced in the English with varying degrees
of faithfulness. A _Life of St. Augustine_, to choose a few
illustrations from many, reproduces the Latin as in the following
examples: "as the book telleth us" replaces "dicitur enim"; "of him it
is said in Glosarie," "ut dicitur in Glossario"; "in the book of his
confessions the sooth is written for the nonce," "ut legitur in libro
iii. confessionum."[139] Robert of Brunne's _Handlyng Synne_, as printed
by the Early English Text Society with its French original, affords
numerous examples of translated references to authority.

    The tale ys wrytyn, al and sum,
    In a boke of Vitas Patrum

corresponds with

    Car en vn liure ai troué
    Qe Vitas Patrum est apelé;

    Thus seyth seynt Anselme, that hit wrote
    To thys clerkys that weyl hit wote


    Ceo nus ad Seint Ancelme dit
    Qe en la fey fut clerk parfit.

Yet there are variations in the English much more marked than in the
last example. "Cum l'estorie nus ad cunté" has become "Yn the byble men
mow hyt se"; while for

    En ve liure qe est apelez
    La sume des vertuz & des pechiez

the translator has substituted

    Thys same tale tellyth seynt Bede
    Yn hys gestys that men rede.[140]

This attempt to give the origin of a tale or of a precept more
accurately than it is given in the French or the Latin leads sometimes
to strange confusion, more especially when a reference to the Scriptures
is involved. It was admitted that the Bible was unusually difficult of
comprehension and that, if the simple were to understand it, it must be
annotated in various ways. Nicholas Love says that there have been
written "for lewd men and women ... devout meditations of Christ's life
more plain in certain parts than is expressed in the gospels of the four
evangelists."[141] With so much addition of commentary and legend, it
was often hard to tell what was and what was not in Holy Scripture, and
consequently while a narrative like _The Birth of Jesus_ cites correctly
enough the gospels for certain days, of which it gives a free
rendering,[142] there are cases of amazing attributions, like that at
the end of the legend of _Ypotis_:

    Seynt Jon the Evangelist
    Ede on eorthe with Jhesu Crist,
    This tale he wrot in latin
    In holi bok in parchemin.[143]

After the fifteenth century is reached, the translator of religious
works, like the translator of romances, becomes more garrulous in his
comment and develops a good deal of interest in English style. As a fair
representative of the period we may take Osbern Bokenam, the translator
of various saint's legends, a man very much interested in the
contemporary development of literary expression. Two qualities,
according to Bokenam, characterize his own style; he writes
"compendiously" and he avoids "gay speech." He repeatedly disclaims both
prolixity and rhetorical ornament. His

    ... form of procedyng artificyal
    Is in no wyse ner poetical.[144]

He cannot emulate the "first rhetoricians," Gower, Chaucer, and Lydgate;
he comes too late; they have already gathered "the most fresh flowers."
Moreover the ornamental style would not become him; he does not desire

    ... to have swych eloquence
    As sum curials han, ner swych asperence
    In utteryng of here subtyl conceytys
    In wych oft-tyme ful greth dysceyt is.[145]

To covet the craft of such language would be "great dotage" for an old
man like him. Yet like those of Lydgate and Caxton, Bokenam's
protestations are not entirely convincing, and in them one catches
glimpses of a lurking fondness for the wordiness of fine writing. Though
Pallas has always refused to lead him

    Of Thully Rethoryk in-to the motlyd mede,
    Flourys to gadryn of crafty eloquens,[146]

yet he has often prayed her to show him some favor. Elsewhere he finds
it necessary to apologize for the brevity of part of his work.

    Now have I shewed more compendiously
    Than it owt have ben this noble pedigree;
    But in that myn auctour I follow sothly,
    And also to eschew prolixite,
    And for my wyt is schort, as ye may se,
    To the second part I wyl me hye.[147]

The conventionality, indeed, of Bokenam's phraseology and of his
literary standards and the self-contradictory elements in his statements
leave one with the impression that he has brought little, if anything,
that is fresh and individual to add to the theory of translation.

Whether or not the medieval period made progress towards the development
of a more satisfactory theory is a doubtful question. While men like
Lydgate, Bokenam, and Caxton generally profess to have reproduced the
content of their sources and make some mention of the original writers,
their comment is confused and indefinite; they do not recognize any
compelling necessity for faithfulness; and one sometimes suspects that
they excelled their predecessors only in articulateness. As compared
with Layamon and Orm they show a development scarcely worthy of a lapse
of more than two centuries. There is perhaps, as time goes on, some
little advance towards the attainment of modern standards of scholarship
as regards confession of divergence from sources. In the early part of
the period variations from the original are only vaguely implied and
become evident only when the reader can place the English beside the
French or Latin. In _Floris and Blancheflor_, for example, a much
condensed version of a descriptive passage in the French is introduced
by the words, "I ne can tell you how richly the saddle was
wrought."[148] The romance of _Arthur_ ends with the statement,

    He that will more look,
    Read in the French book,
    And he shall find there
    Things that I leete here.[149]

_The Northern Passion_ turns from the legendary history of the Cross to
something more nearly resembling the gospel narrative with the
exhortation, "Forget not Jesus for this tale."[150] As compared with
this, writers like Nicholas Love or John Capgrave are noticeably
explicit. Love pauses at various points to explain that he is omitting
large sections of the original;[151] Capgrave calls attention to his
interpolations and refers them to their sources.[152] On the other hand,
there are constant implications that variation from source may be a
desirable thing and that explanation and apology are unnecessary.
Bokenam, for example, apologizes rather because _The Golden Legend_ does
not supply enough material and he must leave out certain things "for
ignorance."[153] Caxton says of his _Charles the Great_, "If I had been
more largely informed ... I had better made it."[154]

On the whole, the greatest merit of the later medieval translators
consists in the quantity of their comment. In spite of the vagueness and
the absence of originality in their utterances, there is an advantage in
their very garrulity. Translators needed to become more conscious and
more deliberate in their work; different methods needed to be defined;
and the habit of technical discussion had its value, even though the
quality of the commentary was not particularly good. Apart from a few
conventional formulas, this habit of comment constituted the bequest of
medieval translators to their sixteenth-century successors.


[1] Trans. in _Gregory's Pastoral Care_, ed. Sweet, E.E.T.S., p. 7.

[2] Trans. in _King Alfred's Version of the Consolations of Boethius_,
trans. Sedgefield, 1900.

[3] Trans. in Hargrove, _King Alfred's Old English Version of St.
Augustine's Soliloquies_, 1902, pp. xliii-xliv.

[4] Latin Preface of the _Catholic Homilies I_, Latin Preface of the _Lives
of the Saints_, Preface of _Pastoral Letter for Archbishop Wulfstan_. All
of these are conveniently accessible in White, _Aelfric_, Chap. XIII.

[5] Latin Preface to _Homilies II_.

[6] _Ibid._

[7] _Preface to Genesis._

[8] Latin Preface of the _Grammar_.

[9] Latin Preface to _Homilies I_.

[10] In the selections from the Bible various passages, e.g., genealogies,
are omitted without comment.

[11] Latin Preface to _Homilies I_.

[12] Latin Preface.

[13] For further comment, see Chapter II.

[14] Trans. in Thorpe, _Caedmon's Metrical Pharaphrase_, London, 1832, p.

[15] Ll. 1238 ff. For trans. see _The Christ of Cynewulf_, ed. Cook, pp.

[16] Cf. comment on l. 1, in Introduction to _Andreas_, ed. Krapp, 1906, p.
lii: "The Poem opens with the conventional formula of the epic, citing
tradition as the source of the story, though it is all plainly of literary

[17] I.e. Laurent de Premierfait.

[18] _Bochas' Falls of Princes_, 1558.

[19] Ed. Ritson, ll. 1138-9.

[20] A version, ll. 341-4. Cf. Puttenham, "... many of his books be but
bare translations out of the Latin and French ... as his books of _Troilus
and Cresseid_, and the _Romant of the Rose_," Gregory Smith, _Elizabethan
Critical Essays_, ii, 64.

[21] _Osbern Bokenam's Legenden_, ed. Horstmann, 1883, ll. 108-9, 124.

[22] _The Life of St. Werburge_, E.E.T.S., ll. 94. 127-130.

[23] _Minor Poems of Lydgate_, E.E.T.S., _Legend of St. Gyle_, ll. 9-10,

[24] _Ibid._, _Legend of St. Margaret_, l. 74.

[25] _St. Christiana_, l. 1028.

[26] _Legend of Good Women_, ll. 425-6.

[27] See the ballade by Eustache Deschamps, quoted in Chaucer, _Works_, ed.
Morris, vol. 1, p. 82.

[28] _Minor Poems of the Vernon MS_, Pt. 1, E.E.T.S., _The Castle of Love_,
l. 72.

[29] E.E.T.S., _Cotton Vesp. MS._ ll. 233-5.

[30] E.E.T.S., l. 457.

[31] See _Cambridge History of English Literature_, v. 2, p. 313.

[32] Preface to _The Image of Governance_, 1549.

[33] _Sammlung Altenglischer Legenden_, ed. Horstmann, _Christine_, ll.

[34] Preface, E.E.T.S.

[35] Capgrave, _St. Katherine of Alexandria_, E.E.T.S., Bk. 3, l. 21.

[36] In _Altenglische Legenden, Neue Folge_, l. 45.

[37] _Minor Poems of the Vernon MS._ Pt. 1, Appendix, p. 407.

[38] Introduction to Capgrave, _Lives of St. Augustine and St. Gilbert of
Sempringham_, E.E.T.S.

[39] _Sammlung Altenglischer Legenden_, p. 138, ll. 1183-8.

[40] _Three Prose Versions of Secreta Secretorum_, E.E.T.S., Epistle
Dedicatory to second.

[41] _The Pilgrimage of the Life of Man_, E.E.T.S.

[42] _Osbern Bokenam's Legenden_, _St. Agnes_, ll. 680-2.

[43] _Epistle of Sir John Trevisa_, in Pollard, _Fifteenth Century Prose
and Verse_, p. 208.

[44] In Sedgefield, _King Alfred's Version of Boethius_.

[45] Ed. White, 1852, ll. 41-4.

[46] Ll. 55-64.

[47] E.E.T.S., Preface.

[48] Pollard, _ibid._, p. 208.

[49] E.E.T.S., ll. 6553-7.

[50] Ll. 6565-6.

[51] E.E.T.S., p. 125.

[52] _Altenglische Sammlung, Neue Folge_, _St. Etheldred Eliensis_, l. 162.

[53] _Sammlung Altenglischer Legenden_, _Erasmus_, l. 4.

[54] _Ibid._, _Magdalena_, l. 48.

[55] _Minor Poems of the Vernon MS._, Pt. 1, _St. Bernard's Lamentation_,
ll. 21-2.

[56] _Sammlung Altenglischer Legenden_, _Fragment of Canticum de
Creatione_, ll. 49-50.

[57] _Legends of the Holy Rood_, E.E.T.S., _How the Holy Cross was found by
St. Helena_, ll. 684-7.

[58] E.E.T.S., Bk. 1, ll. 684-91.

[59] Ed. Ritson, ll. 4027-8.

[60] _Chevalier au Lyon_, ed. W. L. Holland, 1886, ll. 6805-6.

[61] Ed. Kölbing, 1889, ll. 144, 4514.

[62] E.E.T.S., ll. 319, 405, 216.

[63] See Chambers, _The Medieval Stage_, Appendix G.

[64] _Chronicle of England_, ed. Furnivall, ll. 93-104.

[65] _Altenglische Legenden_, _Vita St. Etheldredae Eliensis_, ll. 978-9,

[66] Bk. 4, ll. 129-130.

[67] _Sammlung Altenglischer Legenden_, ll. 435-7.

[68] E.E.T.S.

[69] Ed. Ritson.

[70] _Ibid._

[71] E.E.T.S.

[72] _Thornton Romances_, l. 848. (Here the writer is probably confused by
the two words _grype_ and _griffin_.)

[73] E.E.T.S., l. 1284.

[74] E.E.T.S., l. 318.

[75] Ll. 6983-4.

[76] Ll. 688-9.

[77] L. 3643.

[78] E.E.T.S., ll. 523-4.

[79] L. 6105.

[80] E.E.T.S., l. 4734.

[81] L. 4133.

[82] L. 5425.

[83] L. 3894.

[84] L. 2997.

[85] L. 2170.

[86] L. 2428.

[87] _The Earl of Toulouse_, ed. Ritson, ll. 1213, 1197.

[88] _Le Bone Florence of Rome_, ed. Ritson, ll. 2174, 643.

[89] Ed. Sarrazin, 1885, note on l. 10 of the two versions in Northern

[90] _Thornton Romances_, note on l. 718.

[91] L. 1150.

[92] Ll. 1275-6.

[93] Ll. 2173-4.

[94] See Miss Rickert's comment in E.E.T.S. edition of _Emare_, p. xlviii.

[95] English version, ll. 1284, 2115, 5718-9; French version, _Mellusine_,
ed. Michel, 1854, ll. 1446, 2302, 6150-2.

[96] Ll. 407, 1359.

[97] Ed. Vollmöller, 1883, ll. 5-6.

[98] E.E.T.S., l. 5522.

[99] E.E.T.S., Chap XLVI, ll. 496-9.

[100] Chap. LVI, ll. 521-5.

[101] Ll. 8-12.

[102] Ll. 15-18.

[103] See ll. 6581 ff.

[104] Ed. E.E.T.S., ll. 500-501.

[105] Ll. 7742-6.

[106] Ll. 2340-8.

[107] Ll. 5144-8.

[108] Ll. 6170-6.

[109] Ed. E.E.T.S., ll. 3200, 3218.

[110] _King Alexander_, ed. Weber, 1810, ll. 2199-2202.

[111] Alliterative romance of _Alisaunder_, E.E.T.S., ll. 456-9.

[112] Ed. Madden, 1847.

[113] Ed. Furnivall, 1887, ll. 58-62.

[114] L. 70.

[115] Ll. 83-4.

[116] Ll. 95-6.

[117] Original Chronicle, ll. 6-13.

[118] Ll. 16-17.

[119] Ll. 18-23.

[120] Ed. E.E.T.S., ll. 1-7.

[121] Prologue.

[122] Ed. E.E.T.S., ll. 29-33.

[123] Ll. 54-8.

[124] Ll. 217-20.

[125] Ll. 361-7.

[126] In _Altenglische Legenden, Neue Folge_, ll. 7-9.

[127] _Ibid._, ll. 33, 35.

[128] _Osbern Bokenam's Legenden_, _St. Agnes_, ll. 29-30.

[129] _St. Katherine of Alexandria_, _Prologue_, ll. 61-2, 232-3, 64.

[130] _Lives of St. Augustine and St. Gilbert_, _Prologue_.

[131] Oxford, Clarendon Press, _Prohemium_.

[132] In _Sammlung Altenglischer Legenden_.

[133] _Minor Poems of the Vernon MS._, _De Festo Corporis Christi_, l. 170.

[134] _Sammlung Altenglischer Legenden_, _St. Bernard_, ll. 943-4.

[135] _Ibid._, _Erasmus_, l. 41.

[136] _Altenglische Legenden, Neue Folge_, _St. Katherine_, p. 243, l. 451.

[137] _Sammlung Altenglischer Legenden_, _Christine_, ll. 489-90.

[138] _Ibid._, _St. Augustine_, ll. 1137-40.

[139] _Sammlung Altenglischer Legenden_, _St. Augustine_, ll. 43, 57-8,

[140] Ll. 169-70, 785-6, 2475-6.

[141] _Op. cit._, _Prohemium_.

[142] _Altenglische Legenden_, _Geburt Jesu_, ll. 493, 527, 715, etc.

[143] _Altenglische Legenden, Neue Folge_, _Ypotis_, ll. 613-16.

[144] _Osbern Bokenam's Legenden, St. Margaret_, ll. 84-5.

[145] _Mary Magdalen_, ll. 245-8.

[146] _St. Agnes_, ll. 13-14.

[147] _Op. cit._, _St. Anne_, ll. 209-14.

[148] E.E.T.S., l. 382.

[149] E.E.T.S., ll. 633-6.

[150] E.E.T.S., p. 146, l. 1.

[151] _Op. cit._, pp. 100, 115, 300.

[152] _Life of St. Gilbert_, pp. 103, 135. 141.

[153] _Op. cit._, _St. Katherine_, l. 49.

[154] Preface.




The English Bible took its shape under unusual conditions, which had
their share in the excellence of the final result. Appealing, as it did,
to all classes, from the scholar, alert for controversial detail, to the
unlearned layman, concerned only for his soul's welfare, it had its
growth in the vital atmosphere of strong intellectual and spiritual
activity. It was not enough that it should bear the test of the
scholar's criticism; it must also reach the understanding of Tyndale's
"boy that driveth the plough," demands difficult of satisfaction, but
conducive theoretically to a fine development of the art of translation.
To attain scholarly accuracy combined with practical intelligibility
was, then, the task of the translator.

From both angles criticism reached him. Tyndale refers to "my
translation in which they affirm unto the lay people (as I have heard
say) to be I wot not how many thousand heresies," and continues, "For
they which in times past were wont to look on no more scripture than
they found in their duns or such like devilish doctrine, have yet now so
narrowly looked on my translation that there is not so much as one I
therein if it lack a tittle over his head, but they have noted it, and
number it unto the ignorant people for an heresy."[155] Tunstall's
famous reference in his sermon at Paul's Cross to the two thousand
errors in Tyndale's Testament suggests the undiscriminating criticism,
addressed to the popular ear and basing its appeal largely on
"numbering," of which Tyndale complains. The prohibition of "open
reasoning in your open Taverns and Alehouses"[156] concerning the
meaning of Scripture, included in the draft of the proclamation for the
reading of the Great Bible, also implies that there must have been
enough of popular oral discussion to count for something in the shaping
of the English Bible. Of the serious comment of more competent judges
many records remain, enough to make it clear that, although the real
technical problems involved were often obscured by controversy and by
the common view that the divine quality of the original made human
effort negligible, nevertheless the translator did not lack the stimulus
which comes from intelligent criticism and discussion.

The Bible also had an advantage over other translations in that the idea
of _progress_ towards an accurate version early arose. Unlike the
translators of secular works, who frequently boast of the speed with
which they have accomplished their tasks, the translators of the Bible
constantly mention the long, careful labor which has gone to their
undertaking. Tyndale feels in his own work the need for revision, and so
far as opportunity serves, corrects and polishes his version. Later
translators consciously based their renderings on those of their
predecessors. St. Augustine's approval of diversity of translations was
cited again and again. Tyndale urges "those that are better seen in the
tongues than I" to "put to their hands to amend" any faults they may
find in his work.[157] George Joye, his assistant, later his would-be
rival, declares that we must learn "to depend not whole on any man's
translation."[158] "Every one," says Coverdale, "doth his best to be
nighest to the mark. And though they cannot all attain thereto yet
shooteth one nigher than another";[159] and again, "Sure I am that there
cometh more knowledge and understanding of the scripture by their
sundry translations than by all our sophistical doctors. For that one
translateth something obscurely in one place, the same translateth
another, or else he himself, more manifestly by a more plain
vocable."[160] Occasionally the number of experimenters awakened some
doubts; Cromwell suggests that the bishops make a "perfect
correction";[161] the patent granted him for the printing of the Bible
advocates one translation since "the frailty of men is such that the
diversity thereof may breed and bring forth manyfold inconveniences as
when wilful and heady folks shall confer upon the diversity of the said
translations";[162] the translators of the version of 1611 have to
"answer a third cavil ... against us, for altering and amending our
translations so oft";[163] but the conception of progress was generally
accepted, and finds fit expression in the preface to the Authorized
Version: "Yet for all that, as nothing is begun and perfected at the
same time, and the later thoughts are thought to be wiser: so, if we
building on their foundation that went before us, and being holpen by
their labors, do endeavor to make that better which they left so good;
no man, we are sure, hath cause to mislike us."[164]

But the English translators had more far-reaching opportunities to
profit by the experiences of others. In other countries than England men
were engaged in similar labors. The sixteenth century was rich in new
Latin versions of the Scriptures. The translations of Erasmus, Beza,
Pagninus, Münster, Étienne, Montanus, and Tremellius had in turn their
influence on the English renderings, and Castalio's translation into
Ciceronian Latin had at least its share of discussion. There was
constant intercourse between those interested in Bible translation in
England and on the Continent. English refugees during the persecutions
fled across the Channel, and towns such as Worms, Zurich, Antwerp, and
Geneva saw the first printing of most of the early English versions of
the Scriptures. The Great Bible was set up in Paris. Indeed foreign
printers had so large a share in the English Bible that it seemed
sometimes advisable to limit their influence. Richard Grafton writes
ironically to Cromwell regarding the text of the Bible: "Yea and to make
it yet truer than it is, therefore Dutchmen dwelling within this realm
go about the printing of it, which can neither speak good English, nor
yet write none, and they will be both the printers and correctors
thereof";[165] and Coverdale and Grafton imply a similar fear in the
case of Regnault, the Frenchman, who has been printing service books,
when they ask Cromwell that "henceforth he print no more in the English
tongue, unless he have an Englishman that is learned to be his
corrector."[166] Moreover, versions of the Scriptures in other languages
than English were not unknown in England. In 1530 Henry the Eighth was
led to prohibit "the having of holy scripture, translated into the
vulgar tongues of English, _French_, or _Dutch_."[167] Besides this
general familiarity with foreign translations and foreign printers, a
more specific indebtedness must be recognized. More's attack on the book
"which whoso calleth the New Testament calleth it by a wrong name,
except they will call it Tyndale's testament or Luther's testament"[168]
is in some degree justified in its reference to German influence.
Coverdale acknowledges the aid he has received from "the Dutch
interpreters: whom (because to their singular gifts and special
diligence in the Bible) I have been the more glad to follow."[169] The
preface to the version of 1611 says, "Neither did we think much to
consult the translators or commentators, Chaldee, Hebrew, Syrian, Greek,
or Latin, no, nor the _Spanish_, _French_, _Italian_, or _Dutch_."[170]
Doubtless a great part of the debt lay in matters of exegesis, but in
his familiarity with so great a number of translations into other
languages and with the discussion centering around these translations,
it is impossible that the English translator should have failed to
obtain suggestions, both practical and theoretical, which applied to
translation rather than to interpretation. Comments on the general aims
and methods of translation, happy turns of expression in French or
German which had their equivalents in English idiom, must frequently
have illuminated his difficulties. The translators of the Geneva Bible
show a just realization of the truth when they speak of "the great
opportunity and occasions which God hath presented unto us in this
Church, by reason of so many godly and learned men; and such diversities
of translations in divers tongues."[171]

Of the general history of Biblical translations, already so frequently
and so adequately treated, only the barest outline is here necessary.
The various Anglo-Saxon translations and the Wycliffite versions are
largely detached from the main line of development. From Tyndale's
translations to the Authorized Version of 1611 the line is surprisingly
consecutive, though in the matter of theory an early translator
occasionally anticipates views which obtain general acceptance only
after a long period of experiment and discussion. Roughly speaking, the
theory of translation has as its two extremes, the Roman Catholic and
the Puritan positions, while the 1611 version, where its preface commits
itself, compromises on the points at issue.

As is to be expected, the most definite statements of the problems
involved and of their solution are usually found in the comment of those
practically engaged in the work of translation. The widely discussed
question whether or not the people should have the Scriptures in the
vulgar tongue scarcely ever comes down to the difficulties and
possibilities of the actual undertaking. More's lengthy attack on
Tyndale's New Testament is chiefly concerned with matters of doctrine.
Apart from the prefaces to the various issues of the Bible, the most
elaborate discussion of technical matters is Fulke's _Defence of the
Sincere and True Translation of the Holy Scriptures into the English
Tongue_, a Protestant reply to the claims of the Rhemish translators,
published in 1589. Even the more definite comments are bound up with a
great mass of controversial or hortatory material, so that it is hard to
disentangle the actual contribution which is being made to the theory of
translation. Sometimes the translator settled vexed questions by using
marginal glosses, a method which might make for accuracy but was liable
to become cumbrous and confusing. Like the prefaces, the glosses
sometimes contained theological rather than linguistic comment, thus
proving a special source of controversy. A proclamation of Henry the
Eighth forbids the printing or importation of "any books of divine
scripture in the English tongue, with any additions in the margin or any
prologue ... except the same be first viewed, examined, and allowed by
the king's highness, or such of his majesty's council, or others, as it
shall please his grace to assign thereto, but only the plain sentence
and text."[172] The version of 1611 admitted only linguistic comment.

Though the Anglo-Saxon renderings of the Scriptures are for the most
part isolated from the main body of translations, there are some points
of contact. Elizabethan translators frequently cited the example of the
earlier period as an argument in favor of having the Bible in the vulgar
tongue. Nor were they entirely unfamiliar with the work of these remote
predecessors. Foxe, the martyrologist, published in 1571 an edition of
the four gospels in Anglo-Saxon under the patronage of Archbishop
Parker. Parker's well-known interest in Old English centered
particularly around the early versions of the Scriptures. Secretary
Cecil sends the Archbishop "a very ancient Bible written in Latin and
old English or Saxon," and Parker in reply comments on "the fair
antique writing with the Saxon interpretation."[173] Moreover the slight
record which survives suggests that the problems which confronted the
Anglo-Saxon translator were not unlike those which met the translator of
a later period. Aelfric's theory of translation in general is expressed
in the Latin prefaces to the _Homilies of the Anglo-Saxon Church_ and
the _Lives of the Saints_. Above all things he desires that his work may
be clear and readable. Hence he has a peculiar regard for brevity. The
_Homilies_ are rendered "non garrula verbositate"; the _Lives of the
Saints_ are abbreviated on the principle that "non semper breuitas
sermonem deturpat sed multotiens honestiorem reddit." Clear, idiomatic
English is essential even when it demands the sacrifice of verbal
accuracy. He presents not word for word but sense for sense, and prefers
the "pure and open words of the language of this people," to a more
artificial style. His Anglo-Saxon _Preface to Genesis_ implies that he
felt the need of greater faithfulness in the case of the Bible: "We dare
write no more in English than the Latin has, nor change the orders
(endebirdnisse)"; but it goes on to say that it is necessary that Latin
idiom adapt itself to English idiom.[174]

Apart from Aelfric's prefaces Anglo-Saxon translators of the Scriptures
have left no comment on their methods. One of the versions of the
Gospels, however, links itself with later translations by employing as
preface three of St. Jerome's prologues, among them the _Preface to
Eusebius_. References to Jerome's and Augustine's theories of
translation are frequent throughout the course of Biblical translation
but are generally vague. The _Preface to Eusebius_ and the _Epistle to
Pammachius_ contain the most complete statements of the principles which
guided Jerome. Both emphasize the necessity of giving sense for sense
rather than word for word, "except," says the latter, "in the case of
the Holy Scriptures where even the order of the words is a mystery."
This corresponds closely with Aelfric's theory expressed in the preface
to the _Lives of the Saints_: "Nec potuimus in ista translatione semper
verbum ex verbo transferre, sed tamen sensum ex sensu," and his
insistence in the _Preface to Genesis_ on a faithfulness which extends
even to the _endebirdnisse_ or orders.

The principle "word for word if possible; if not, sense for sense" is
common in connection with medieval translations, but is susceptible of
very different interpretations, as appears sometimes from its context.
Richard Rolle's phrasing of the theory in the preface to his translation
of the Psalter is: "I follow the letter as much as I may. And where I
find no proper English I follow the wit of the words"; but he also makes
the contradictory statement, "In this work I seek no strange English,
but lightest and commonest, and _such that is most like to the
Latin_,"[175] a peculiar conception of the translator's obligation to
his own tongue! The Prologue to the second recension of the Wycliffite
version, commonly attributed to Purvey, emphasizes, under cover of the
same apparent theory, the claims of the vernacular. "The best
translating," it runs, "is out of Latin into English, to translate after
the sentence, and not only after the words, so that the sentence be as
open, either opener, in English as in Latin, ... and if the letter may
not be sued in the translating, let the sentence be ever whole and open,
for the words owe to serve to the intent and sentence."[176] The growing
distrust of the Vulgate in some quarters probably accounts in some
measure for the translator's attempt to make the meaning if necessary
"more true and more open than it is in the Latin." In any case these
contrasted theories represent roughly the position of the Roman
Catholic and, to some extent, the Anglican party as compared with the
more distinctly Protestant attitude throughout the period when the
English Bible was taking shape, the former stressing the difficulties of
translation and consequently discouraging it, or, when permitting it,
insisting on extreme faithfulness to the original; the latter profiting
by experiment and criticism and steadily working towards a version which
would give due heed not only to the claims of the original but to the
genius of the English language.

Regarded merely as theory, however, a statement like the one just quoted
obviously failed to give adequate recognition to what the original might
justly demand, and in that respect justified the fears of those who
opposed translation. The high standard of accuracy set by such critics
demanded of the translator an increasing consciousness of the
difficulties involved and an increasingly clear conception of what
things were and were not permissible. Purvey himself contributes to this
end by a definite statement of certain changes which may be allowed the
English writer.[177] Ablative absolute or participial constructions may
be replaced by clauses of various kinds, "and this will, in many places,
make the sentence open, where to English it after the word would be dark
and doubtful. Also," he continues, "a relative, _which_, may be resolved
into his antecedent with a conjunction copulative, as thus, _which
runneth_, and _he runneth_. Also when a word is once set in a reason, it
may be set forth as oft as it is understood, either as oft as reason and
need ask; and this word _autem_ either _vero_, may stand for _forsooth_
either for _but_, and thus I use commonly; and sometimes it may stand
for _and_, as old grammarians say. Also when rightful construction is
letted by relation, I resolve it openly, thus, where this reason,
_Dominum formidabunt adversarii ejus_, should be Englished thus by the
letter, _the Lord his adversaries shall dread_, I English it thus by
resolution, _the adversaries of the Lord shall dread him_; and so of
other reasons that be like." In the later period of Biblical
translation, when grammatical information was more accessible, such
elementary comment was not likely to be committed to print, but echoes
of similar technical difficulties are occasionally heard. Tyndale,
speaking of the Hebraisms in the Greek Testament, asks his critics to
"consider the Hebrew phrase ... whose preterperfect tense and present
tense is both one, and the future tense is the optative mood also, and
the future tense is oft the imperative mood in the active voice and in
the passive voice. Likewise person for person, number for number, and
interrogation for a conditional, and such like is with the Hebrews a
common usage."[178] The men concerned in the preparation of the Bishops'
Bible discuss the rendering of tenses in the Psalms. At the beginning of
the first Psalm the Bishop of Rochester turns "the preterperfect tense
into the present tense; because the sense is too harsh in the
preterperfect tense," and the Bishop of Ely advises "the translation of
the verbs in the Psalms to be used uniformly in one tense."[179]

Purvey's explanations, however, suggest that his mind is occupied, not
merely with details, but with a somewhat larger problem. Medieval
translators were frequently disturbed by the fact that it was almost
impossible to confine an English version to the same number of words as
the Latin. When they added to the number, they feared that they were
unfaithful to the original. The need for brevity, for avoiding
superfluous words, is especially emphasized in connection with the
Bible. Conciseness, necessary for accuracy, is also an admirable quality
in itself. Aelfric's approval of this characteristic has already been
noted. The metrical preface to Rolle's Psalter reads: "This holy man in
expounding, he followeth holy doctors, and in all his Englishing right
after the Latin taketh course, and makes it _compendious_, _short_,
good, and profitable." Purvey says, "Men might expound much openlier and
_shortlier_ the Bible than the old doctors have expounded it in Latin."
Besides approving the avoidance of verbose commentary and exposition,
critics and translators are always on their guard against the employment
of over many words in translation. Tyndale, in his revision, will "seek
to bring to compendiousness that which is now translated at the
length."[180] In certain cases, he says, English reproduces the Hebrew
original more easily than does the Latin, because in Latin the
translator must "seek a compass."[181] Coverdale finds a corresponding
difficulty in turning Latin into English: "The figure called Eclipsis
divers times used in the scriptures ... though she do garnish the
sentence in Latin will not so be admitted in other tongues."[182] The
translator of the Geneva New Testament refers to the "Hebrew and Greek
phrases, which are strange to render into other tongues, and also
_short_."[183] The preface to the Rhemish Testament accuses the
Protestant translators of having in one place put into the text "three
words more ... than the Greek word doth signify."[184] Strype says of
Cheke in a passage chiefly concerned with Cheke's attempt at translation
of the Bible, "He brought in a _short_ and expressive way of writing
without long and intricate periods,"[185] a comment which suggests that
possibly the appreciation of conciseness embraced sentence structure as
well as phrasing. As Tyndale suggests, careful revision made for
brevity. In Laurence's scheme for correcting his part of the Bishop's
Bible was the heading "words superfluous";[186] the preface to the
Authorized Version says, "If anything be halting, or _superfluous_, or
not so agreeable to the original, the same may be corrected, and the
truth set in place."[187] As time went on, certain technical means were
employed to meet the situation. Coverdale incloses in brackets words not
in the Latin text; the Geneva translators put added words in italics;
Fulke criticizes the Rhemish translators for neglecting this
device;[188] and the matter is finally settled by its employment in the
Authorized Version. Fulke, however, irritated by what he considers a
superstitious regard for the number of words in the original on the part
of the Rhemish translators, puts the whole question on a common-sense
basis. He charges his opponents with making "many imperfect sentences
... because you will not seem to add that which in translation is no
addition, but a true translation."[189] "For to translate out of one
tongue into another," he says in another place, "is a matter of greater
difficulty than is commonly taken, I mean exactly to yield as much and
no more than the original containeth, when the words and phrases are so
different, that few are found which in all points signify the same
thing, neither more nor less, in divers tongues."[190] And again, "Must
not such particles in translation be always expressed to make the sense
plain, which in English without the particle hath no sense or
understanding. To translate precisely out of the Hebrew is not to
observe the number of words, but the perfect sense and meaning, as the
phrase of our tongue will serve to be understood."[191]

For the distinguishing characteristics of the Authorized Version, the
beauty of its rhythm, the vigor of its native Saxon vocabulary, there is
little to prepare one in the comment of its translators or their
predecessors. Apparently the faithful effort to render the original
truly resulted in a perfection of style of which the translator himself
was largely unconscious. The declaration in the preface to the version
of 1611 that "niceness in words was always counted the next step to
trifling,"[192] and the general condemnation of Castalio's "lewd
translation,"[193] point to a respect for the original which made the
translator merely a mouthpiece and the English language merely a medium
for a divine utterance. Possibly there is to be found in appreciation of
the style of the original Hebrew, Greek, or Latin some hint of what gave
the English version its peculiar beauty, though even here it is hard to
distinguish the tribute paid to style from that paid to content. The
characterization may be only a bit of vague comparison like that in the
preface to the Authorized Version, "Hebrew the ancientest, ... Greek the
most copious, ... Latin the finest,"[194] or the reference in the
preface to the Rhemish New Testament to the Vulgate as the translation
"of greatest majesty."[195] The prefaces to the Geneva New Testament and
the Geneva Bible combine fairly definite linguistic comment with less
obvious references to style: "And because the Hebrew and Greek phrases,
which are hard to render in other tongues, and also short, should not be
so hard, I have sometimes interpreted them without any whit diminishing
the _grace_ of the sense, as our language doth use them";[196] "Now as
we have chiefly observed the sense, and labored always to restore it to
all integrity, so have we most reverently kept the propriety of the
words, considering that the Apostles who spoke and wrote to the Gentiles
in the Greek tongue, rather constrained them to the lively phrase of the
Hebrew, than enterprised far by mollifying their language to speak as
the Gentiles did. And for this and other causes we have in many places
reserved the Hebrew phrases, notwithstanding that they may seem somewhat
hard in their ears that are not well practised and also _delight in the
sweet sounding phrases_ of the holy Scriptures."[197] On the other hand
the Rhemish translators defend the retention of these Hebrew phrases on
the ground of stylistic beauty: "There is a certain majesty and more
signification in these speeches, and therefore both Greek and Latin keep
them, although it is no more the Greek or Latin phrase, than it is the
English."[198] Of peculiar interest is Tyndale's estimate of the
relative possibilities of Hebrew, Greek, Latin, and English. Of the
Bible he writes: "They will say it cannot be translated into our tongue,
it is so rude. It is not so rude as they are false liars. For the Greek
tongue agreeth more with the English than with the Latin. And the
properties of the Hebrew tongue agreeth a thousand times more with the
English than with the Latin. The manner of speaking is both one; so that
in a thousand places thou needest not but to translate it into the
English word for word; when thou must seek a compass in the Latin, and
yet shalt have much work to translate it well-favoredly, so that it have
the same grace and sweetness, sense and pure understanding with it in
the Latin, and as it hath in the Hebrew."[199] The implication that the
English version might possess the "grace and sweetness" of the Hebrew
original suggests that Tyndale was not entirely unconscious of the charm
which his own work possessed, and which it was to transmit to later

The questions most definitely discussed by those concerned in the
translation of the Bible were questions of vocabulary. Primarily most of
these discussions centered around points of doctrine and were concerned
as largely with the meaning of the word in the original as with its
connotation in English. Yet though not in their first intention
linguistic, these discussions of necessity had their bearing on the
general problems debated by rhetoricians of the day and occasionally
resulted in definite comment on English usage, as when, for example,
More says: "And in our English tongue this word senior signifieth
nothing at all, but is a French word used in English more than half in
mockage, when one will call another my lord in scorn." With the
exception of Sir John Cheke few of the translators say anything which
can be construed as advocacy of the employment of native English words.
Of Cheke's attitude there can, of course, be no doubt. His theory is
thus described by Strype: "And moreover, in writing any discourse, he
would allow no words, but such as were pure English, or of Saxon
original; suffering no adoption of any foreign word into the English
speech, which he thought was copious enough of itself, without borrowing
words of other countries. Thus in his own translations into English, he
would not use any but pure English phrase and expression, which indeed
made his style here and there a little affected and hard: and forced him
to use sometimes odd and uncouth words."[200] His Biblical translation
was a conscious attempt at carrying out these ideas. "Upon this
account," writes Strype, "Cheke seemed to dislike the English
translation of the Bible, because in it there were so many foreign
words. Which made him once attempt a new translation of the New
Testament, and he completed the gospel of St. Matthew. And made an
entrance into St. Mark; wherein all along he labored to use only true
Anglo-Saxon words."[201] Since Cheke's translation remained in
manuscript till long after the Elizabethan period, its influence was
probably not far-reaching, but his uncompromising views must have had
their effect on his contemporaries. Taverner's Bible, a less extreme
example of the same tendency, seemingly had no influence on later

Regarding the value of synonyms there is considerable comment, the
prevailing tendency of which is not favorable to unnecessary
discrimination between pairs of words. This seems to be the attitude of
Coverdale in two somewhat confused passages in which he attempts to
consider at the same time the signification of the original word, the
practice of other translators, and the facts of English usage. Defending
diversities of translations, he says, "For that one interpreteth
something obscurely in one place, the same translateth another, or else
he himself, more manifestly by a more plain vocable of the same meaning
in another place."[203] As illustrations Coverdale mentions scribe and
lawyer; elders, and father and mother; repentance, penance, and
amendment; and continues: "And in this manner have I used in my
translation, calling it in one place penance that in another place I
call repentance; and that not only because the interpreters have done so
before me, but that the adversaries of the truth may see, how that we
abhor not this word penance as they untruly report of us, no more than
the interpreters of Latin abhor poenitare, when they read rescipiscere."
In the preface to the Latin-English Testament of 1535 he says: "And
though I seem to be all too scrupulous calling it in one place penance,
that in another I call repentance: and gelded that another calleth
chaste, this methinks ought not to offend the saying that the holy ghost
(I trust) is the author of both our doings ... and therefore I heartily
require thee think no more harm in me for calling it in one place
penance that in another I call repentance, than I think harm in him that
calleth it chaste, which by the nature of this word _Eunuchus_ I call
gelded ... And for my part I ensure thee I am indifferent to call it as
well with one term as with the other, so long as I know that it is no
prejudice nor injury to the meaning of the holy ghost."[204] Fulke in
his answer to Gregory Martin shows the same tendency to ignore
differences in meaning. Martin says: "Note also that they put the word
'just,' when faith is joined withal, as Rom. i, 'the just shall live by
faith,' to signify that justification is by faith. But if works be
joined withal and keeping the commandments, as in the place alleged,
Luke i, there they say 'righteous' to suppose justification by works."
Fulke replies: "This is a marvellous difference, never heard of (I
think) in the English tongue before, between 'just' and 'righteous,'
'justice' and 'righteousness.' I am sure there is none of our
translators, no, nor any professor of justification by faith only, that
esteemeth it the worth of one hair, whether you say in any place of
scripture 'just' or 'righteous,' 'justice' or 'righteousness'; and
therefore freely have they used sometimes the one word, sometimes the
other.... Certain it is that no Englishman knoweth the difference
between 'just' and 'righteous,' 'unjust' and 'unrighteous,' saving that
'righteousness' and 'righteous' are the more familiar English
words."[205] Martin and Fulke differ in the same way over the use of the
words "deeds" and "works." The question whether the same English word
should always be used to represent the same word in the original was
frequently a matter of discussion. It was probably in the mind of the
Archbishop of Ely when he wrote to Archbishop Parker, "And if ye
translate bonitas or misericordiam, to use it likewise in all places of
the Psalms."[206] The surprising amount of space devoted by the preface
to the version of 1611 to explaining the usage followed by the
translators gives some idea of the importance attaching to the matter.
"We have not tied ourselves," they say, "to an uniformity of phrasing,
or to an identity of words, as some peradventure would wish that we had
done, because they observe, that some learned men somewhere, have been
as exact as they could that way. Truly, that we might not vary from the
sense of that which we had translated before, if the word signified the
same in both places (for there be some words that be not of the same
sense everywhere) we were especially careful, and made a conscience,
according to our duty. But that we should express the same notion in the
same particular word; as for example, if we translate the _Hebrew_ or
_Greek_ word once by _Purpose_, never to call it _Intent_; if one where
_Journeying_, never _Travelling_; if one where _Think_, never _Suppose_;
if one where _Pain_, never _Ache_; if one where _Joy_, never _Gladness_,
etc. Thus to mince the matter, we thought to savor more of curiosity
than wisdom.... For is the kingdom of God become words or syllables? why
should we be in bondage to them if we may be free, use one precisely
when we may use another no less fit, as commodiously?"[207]

It was seldom, however, that the translator felt free to interchange
words indiscriminately. Of his treatment of the original Purvey writes:
"But in translating of words equivocal, that is, that hath many
significations under one letter, may lightly be peril, for Austin saith
in the 2nd. book of Christian Teaching, that if equivocal words be not
translated into the sense, either understanding, of the author, it is
error; as in that place of the Psalm, _the feet of them be swift to shed
out blood_, the Greek word is equivocal to _sharp_ and _swift_, and he
that translated _sharp feet_ erred, and a book that hath _sharp feet_ is
false, and must be amended; as that sentence _unkind young trees shall
not give deep roots_ oweth to be thus, _the plantings of adultery shall
not give deep roots_.... Therefore a translator hath great need to
study well the sentence, both before and after, and look that such
equivocal words accord with the sentence."[208] Consideration of the
connotation of English words is required of the translators of the
Bishops' Bible. "Item that all such words as soundeth in the Old
Testament to any offence of lightness or obscenity be expressed with
more convenient terms and phrases."[209] Generally, however, it was the
theological connotation of words that was at issue, especially the
question whether words were to be taken in their ecclesiastical or their
profane sense, that is, whether certain words which through long
association with the church had come to have a peculiar technical
meaning should be represented in English by such words as the church
habitually employed, generally words similar in form to the Latin. The
question was a large one, and affected other languages than English.
Foxe, for example, has difficulty in turning into Latin the controversy
between Archbishop Cranmer and Gardiner, Bishop of Winchester. "The
English style also stuck with him; which having so many ecclesiastical
phrases and manners of speech, no good Latin expressions could be found
to answer them."[210] In England trouble arose with the appearance of
Tyndale's New Testament. More accused him of mistranslating "three words
of great weight,"[211] priests, church, and charity, for which he had
substituted _seniors_, _congregation_, and _love_. Robert Ridley,
chaplain to the Bishop of London, wrote of Tyndale's version: "By this
translation we shall lose all these Christian words, penance, charity,
confession, grace, priest, church, which he always calleth a
congregation.--Idolatria calleth he worshipping of images."[212] Much
longer is the list of words presented to Convocation some years later by
the Bishop of Winchester "which he desired for their germane and native
meaning and for the majesty of their matter might be retained as far as
possible in their own nature or be turned into English speech as closely
as possible."[213] It goes so far as to include words like Pontifex,
Ancilla, Lites, Egenus, Zizania. This theory was largely put into
practice by the translators of the Rhemish New Testament, who say, "We
are very precise and religious in following our copy, the old vulgar
approved Latin: not only in sense, which we hope we always do, but
sometimes in the very words also and phrases,"[214] and give as
illustrations of their usage the retention of Corbana, Parasceve,
Pasche, Azymes, and similar words. Between the two extreme positions
represented by Tyndale on the one hand and the Rhemish translators on
the other, is the attitude of Grindal, who thus advises Foxe in the case
previously mentioned: "In all these matters, as also in most others, it
will be safe to hold a middle course. My judgment is the same with
regard to style. For neither is the ecclesiastical style to be
fastidiously neglected, as it is by some, especially when the heads of
controversies cannot sometimes be perspicuously explained without it,
nor, on the other hand, is it to be so superstitiously followed as to
prevent us sometimes from sprinkling it with the ornaments of
language."[215] The Authorized Version, following its custom, approves
the middle course: "We have on the one side avoided the scrupulosity of
the Puritans, who leave the old Ecclesiastical words, and betake
themselves to other, as when they put _washing_ for _Baptism_, and
_Congregation_ instead of _Church_: as also on the other side we have
shunned the obscurity of the Papists, in their _Azimes_, _Tunike_,
_Rational_, _Holocausts_, _Praepuce_, _Pasche_, and a number of such

In the interval between Tyndale's translation and the appearance of the
Authorized Version the two parties shifted their ground rather
amusingly. More accuses Tyndale of taking liberties with the prevailing
English usage, especially when he substitutes congregation for church,
and insists that the people understand by _church_ what they ought to
understand. "This is true," he says, "of the usual signification of
these words themselves in the English tongue, by the common custom of us
English people, that either now do use these words in our language, or
that have used before our days. And I say that this common custom and
usage of speech is the only thing by which we know the right and proper
signification of any word, in so much that if a word were taken out of
Latin, French, or Spanish, and were for lack of understanding of the
tongue from whence it came, used for another thing in English than it
was in the former tongue: then signifieth it in England none other thing
than as we use it and understand thereby, whatsoever it signify anywhere
else. Then say I now that in England this word congregation did never
signify the number of Christian people with a connotation or
consideration of their faith or christendom, no more than this word
assemble, which hath been taken out of the French, and now is by custom
become English, as congregation is out of the Latin."[217] Later he
returns to the charge with the words, "And then must he with his
translation make us an English vocabulary too."[218] In the later
period, however, the positions are reversed. The conservative party,
represented by the Rhemish translators, admit that they are employing
unfamiliar words, but say that it is a question of faithfulness to
originals, and that the new words "will easily grow to be current and
familiar,"[219] a contention not without basis when one considers how
much acceptance or rejection by the English Bible could affect the
status of a word. Moreover the introduction of new words into the
Scriptures had its parallel in the efforts being made elsewhere to
enrich the language. The Rhemish preface, published in 1582, almost
contemporaneously with Lyly's _Euphues_ and Sidney's _Arcadia_,
justifies its practice thus: "And why should we be squamish at new words
or phrases in the Scripture, which are necessary: when we do easily
admit and follow new words coined in court and in courtly or other
secular writings?"[220]

The points at issue received their most thorough consideration in the
controversy between Gregory Martin and William Fulke. Martin, one of the
translators of the Rhemish Testament, published, in 1582, _A Discovery
of the Manifold Corruptions of the Holy Scriptures by the Heretics of
our Days_, a book in which apparently he attacked all the Protestant
translations with which he was familiar, including Beza's Latin
Testament and even attempting to involve the English translators in the
same condemnation with Castalio. Fulke, in his _Defence of the Sincere
and True Translation of the Holy Scriptures_, reprinted Martin's
_Discovery_ and replied to it section by section. Both discussions are
fragmentary and inconsecutive, but there emerges from them at intervals
a clear statement of principles. Fundamentally the positions of the two
men are very different. Martin is not concerned with questions of
abstract scholarship, but with matters of religious belief. "But because
these places concern no controversy," he says, "I say no more."[221] He
does not hesitate to place the authority of the Fathers before the
results of contemporary scholarship. "For were not he a wise man, that
would prefer one Master Humfrey, Master Fulke, Master Whitakers, or some
of us poor men, because we have a little smack of the three tongues,
before St. Chrysostom, St. Basil, St. Augustine, St. Gregory, or St.
Thomas, that understood well none but one?"[222] Since his field is thus
narrowed, he finds it easy to lay down definite rules for translation.
Fulke, on the other hand, believes that translation may be dissociated
from matters of belief. "If the translator's purpose were evil, yet so
long as the words and sense of the original tongue will bear him, he
cannot justly be called a false and heretical translator, albeit he have
a false and heretical meaning."[223] He is not willing to accept
unsupported authority, even that of the leaders of his own party. "If
Luther misliked the Tigurine translation," he says in another attack on
the Rhemish version, "it is not sufficient to discredit it, seeing
truth, and not the opinion or authority of men is to be followed in such
matters,"[224] and again, in the _Defence_, "The Geneva bibles do not
profess to translate out of Beza's Latin, but out of the Hebrew and
Greek; and if they agree not always with Beza, what is that to the
purpose, if they agree with the truth of the original text?"[225]
Throughout the _Defence_ he is on his guard against Martin's attempts to
drive him into unqualified acceptance of any set formula of translation.

The crux of the controversy was the treatment of ecclesiastical words.
Martin accuses the English translators of interpreting such words in
their "etymological" sense, and consulting profane writers, Homer,
Pliny, Tully, Virgil,[226] for their meaning, instead of observing the
ecclesiastical use, which he calls "the usual taking thereof in all
vulgar speech and writing."[227] Fulke admits part of Martin's claim:
"We have also answered before that words must not always be translated
according to their original and general signification, but according to
such signification as by use they are appropried to be taken. We agree
also, that words taken by custom of speech into an ecclesiastical
meaning are not to be altered into a strange or profane
signification."[228] But ecclesiastical authority is not always a safe
guide. "How the fathers of the church have used words, it is no rule for
translators of the scriptures to follow; who oftentimes used words as
the people did take them, and not as they signified in the apostles'
time."[229] In difficult cases there is a peculiar advantage in
consulting profane writers, "who used the words most indifferently in
respect of our controversies of which they were altogether
ignorant."[230] Fulke refuses to be reduced to accept entirely either
the "common" or the "etymological" interpretation. "A translator that
hath regard to interpret for the ignorant people's instruction, may
sometimes depart from the etymology or common signification or precise
turning of word for word, and that for divers causes."[231] To one
principle, however, he will commit himself: the translator must observe
common English usage. "We are not lords of the common speech of men," he
writes, "for if we were, we would teach them to use their terms more
properly; but seeing we cannot change the use of speech, we follow
Aristotle's counsel, which is to speak and use words as the common
people useth."[232] Consequently ecclesiastical must always give way to
popular usage. "Our meaning is not, that if any Greek terms, or words of
any other language, have of long time been usurped in our English
language, the true meaning of which is unknown at this day to the common
people, but that the same terms may be either in translation or
exposition set out plainly, to inform the simplicity of the ignorant, by
such words as of them are better understood. Also when those terms are
abused by custom of speech, to signify some other thing than they were
first appointed for, or else to be taken ambiguously for divers things,
we ought not to be superstitious in these cases, but to avoid
misunderstanding we may use words according to their original
signification, as they were taken in such time as they were written by
the instruments of the Holy Ghost."[233]

Fulke's support of the claims of the English language is not confined to
general statements. Acquaintance with other languages has given him a
definite conception of the properties of his own, even in matters of
detail. He resents the importation of foreign idiom. "If you ask for the
readiest and most proper English of these words, I must answer you, 'an
image, a worshipper of images, and worshipping of images,' as we have
sometimes translated. The other that you would have, 'idol, idolater,
and idolatry,' be rather Greekish than English words; which though they
be used by many Englishmen, yet are they not understood of all as the
other be."[234] "You ... avoid the names of elders, calling them
ancients, and the wise men sages, as though you had rather speak French
than English, as we do; like as you translate _confide_, 'have a good
heart,' after the French phrase, rather than you would say as we do, 'be
of good comfort.'"[235] Though he admits that English as compared with
older languages is defective in vocabulary, he insists that this cannot
be remedied by unwarranted coinage of words. "That we have no greater
change of words to answer so many of the Hebrew tongue, it is of the
riches of that tongue, and the poverty of our mother language, which
hath but two words, image and idol, and both of them borrowed of the
Latin and Greek: as for other words equivalent, we know not any, and we
are loth to make any new words of that signification, except the
multitude of Hebrew words of the same sense coming together do sometimes
perhaps seem to require it. Therefore as the Greek hath fewer words to
express this thing than the Hebrew, so hath the Latin fewer than the
Greek, and the English fewest of all, as will appear if you would
undertake to give us English words for the thirteen Hebrew words:
except you would coin such ridiculous inkhorn terms, as you do in the
New Testament, Azymes, prepuce, neophyte, sandale, parasceve, and such
like."[236] "When you say 'evangelized,' you do not translate, but feign
a new word, which is not understood of mere English ears."[237]

Fulke describes himself as never having been "of counsel with any that
translated the scriptures into English,"[238] but his works were
regarded with respect, and probably had considerable influence on the
version of 1611.[239] Ironically enough, they did much to familiarize
the revisers with the Rhemish version and its merits. On the other hand,
Fulke's own views had a distinct value. Though on some points he is
narrowly conservative, and though some of the words which he condemns
have established themselves in the language nevertheless most of his
ideas regarding linguistic usage are remarkably sound, and, like those
of More, commend themselves to modern opinion.

Between the translators of the Bible and the translators of other works
there were few points of contact. Though similar problems confronted
both groups, they presented themselves in different guises. The question
of increasing the vocabulary, for example, is in the case of biblical
translation so complicated by the theological connotation of words as to
require a treatment peculiar to itself. Translators of the Bible were
scarcely ever translators of secular works and vice versa. The chief
link between the two kinds of translation is supplied by the metrical
versions of the Psalms. Such verse translations were counted of
sufficient importance to engage the efforts of men like Parker and
Coverdale, influential in the main course of Bible translation. Men like
Thomas Norton, the translator of Calvin's _Institutes_, Richard
Stanyhurst, the translator of _Virgil_, and others of greater literary
fame, Wyatt, Surrey, Sidney, Milton, Bacon, experimented, as time went
on, with these metrical renderings. The list even includes the name of
King James.[240]

At first there was some idea of creating for such songs a vogue in
England like that which the similar productions of Marot had enjoyed at
the French court. Translators felt free to choose what George Wither
calls "easy and passionate Psalms," and, if they desired, create
"elegant-seeming paraphrases ... trimmed ... up with rhetorical
illustrations (suitable to their fancies, and the changeable garb of
affected language)."[241] The expectations of courtly approbation were,
however, largely disappointed, but the metrical Psalms came, in time, to
have a wider and more democratic employment. Complete versions of the
Psalms in verse came to be regarded as a suitable accompaniment to the
Bible, until in the Scottish General Assembly of 1601 the proposition
for a new translation of the Bible was accompanied by a parallel
proposition for a correction of the Psalms in metre.[242]

Besides this general realization of the practical usefulness of these
versions in divine service, there was in some quarters an appreciation
of the peculiar literary quality of the Psalms which tended to express
itself in new attempts at translation. Arthur Golding, though not
himself the author of a metrical version, makes the following comment:
"For whereas the other parts of holy writ (whether they be historical,
moral, judicial, ceremonial, or prophetical) do commonly set down their
treatises in open and plain declaration: this part consisting of them
all, wrappeth up things in types and figures, describing them under
borrowed personages, and oftentimes winding in matters of prevention,
speaking of things to come as if they were past or present, and of
things past as if they were in doing, and every man is made a betrayer
of the secrets of his own heart. And forasmuch as it consisteth chiefly
of prayer and thanksgiving, or (which comprehendeth them both) of
invocation, which is a communication with God, and requireth rather an
earnest and devout lifting up of the mind than a loud or curious
utterance of the voice: there be many imperfect sentences, many broken
speeches, and many displaced words: according as the party that prayed,
was either prevented with the swiftness of his thoughts, or interrupted
with vehemency of joy or grief, or forced to surcease through infirmity,
that he might recover more strength and cheerfulness by interminding
God's former promises and benefits."[243] George Wither finds that the
style of the Psalms demands a verse translation. "The language of the
Muses," he declares, "in which the Psalms were originally written, is
not so properly expressed in the prose dialect as in verse." "I have
used some variety of verse," he explains, "because prayers, praises,
lamentations, triumphs, and subjects which are pastoral, heroical,
elegiacal, and mixed (all which are found in the Psalms) are not
properly expressed in one sort of measure."[244]

Besides such perception of the general poetic quality of the Psalms as
is found in Wither's comment, there was some realization that metrical
elements were present in various books of Scripture. Jerome, in his
_Preface to Job_, had called attention to this,[245] but the regular
translators, whose references to Jerome, though frequent, are somewhat
vague, apparently made nothing of the suggestion. Elsewhere, however,
there was an attempt to justify the inclusion of translations of the
Psalms among other metrical experiments. Googe, defending the having of
the Psalms in metre, declares that Isaiah, Jeremiah, and other parts of
the Bible "were written by the first authors in perfect and pleasant
hexameter verses."[246] Stanyhurst[247] and Fraunce[248] both tried
putting the Psalms into English hexameters. There was, however, no
accurate knowledge of the Hebrew verse system. The preface to the
American _Bay Psalm Book_, published in 1640,[249] explains that "The
psalms are penned in such verses as are suitable to the poetry of the
Hebrew language, and not in the common style of such other books of the
Old Testament as are not poetical.... Then, as all our English songs
(according to the course of our English poetry) do run in metre, so
ought David's psalms to be translated into metre, that we may sing the
Lord's songs, as in our English tongue so in such verses as are familiar
to an English ear, which are commonly metrical." It is not possible to
reproduce the Hebrew metres. "As the Lord hath hid from us the Hebrew
tunes, lest we should think ourselves bound to imitate them; so also the
course and frame (for the most part) of their Hebrew poetry, that we
might not think ourselves bound to imitate that, but that every nation
without scruple might follow as the grave sort of tunes of their own
country, so the graver sort of verses of their own country's poetry."
This had already become the common solution of the difficulty, so that
even Wither keeps to the kinds of verse used in the old Psalm books in
order that the old tunes may be used.

But though the metrical versions of the Psalms often inclined to
doggerel, and though they probably had little, if any, influence on the
Authorized Version, they made their own claims to accuracy, and even
after the appearance of the King James Bible sometimes demanded
attention as improved renderings. George Wither, for example, believes
that in using verse he is being more faithful to the Hebrew than are the
prose translations. "There is," he says, "a poetical emphasis in many
places, which requires such an alteration in the grammatical expression,
as will seem to make some difference in the judgment of the common
reader; whereas it giveth best life to the author's intention; and makes
that perspicuous which was made obscure by those mere grammatical
interpreters, who were not acquainted with the proprieties and liberties
of this kind of writing." His version is, indeed, "so easy to be
understood, that some readers have confessed, it hath been instead of a
comment unto them in sundry hard places." His rendering is not based
merely on existing English versions; he has "the warrant of best Hebrew
grammarians, the authority of the Septuagint, and Chaldean paraphrase,
the example of the ancient and of the best modern prose translators,
together with the general practice and allowance of all orthodox
expositors." Like Wither, other translators went back to original
sources and made their verse renderings real exercises in translation
rather than mere variations on the accepted English text. From this
point of view their work had perhaps some value; and though it seems
regrettable that practically nothing of permanent literary importance
should have resulted from such repeated experiments, they are
interesting at least as affording some connection between the sphere of
the regular translators and the literary world outside.


[155] _Preface to Genesis_, in Pollard, _Records of the English Bible_, p.

[156] Pollard, p. 266.

[157] _Ibid._, p. 112.

[158] _Ibid._, p. 187.

[159] _Ibid._, p. 205.

[160] Coverdale, _Prologue_ to Bible of 1535.

[161] Pollard, p. 196.

[162] _Ibid._, p. 259.

[163] _Ibid._, p. 365.

[164] _Ibid._, p. 360.

[165] Pollard, p. 220.

[166] _Ibid._, p. 239.

[167] _Ibid._, p. 163.

[168] _Ibid._, p. 126.

[169] _Ibid._, p. 203.

[170] _Ibid._, p. 371.

[171] Pollard, p. 280.

[172] Pollard, p. 241.

[173] Strype, _Life of Parker_, London, 1711, p. 536.

[174] For a further account of Aelfric's theories, see Chapter I.

[175] _The Psalter translated by Richard Rolle of Hampole_, ed. Bramley,
Oxford, 1884.

[176] Chapter 15, in Pollard, _Fifteenth Century Prose and Verse_.

[177] _Prologue_, Chapter 15.

[178] _Prologue to the New Testament_, printed in Matthew's Bible, 1551.

[179] Strype, _Life of Parker_, p. 208.

[180] Pollard, p. 116.

[181] Preface to _The Obedience of a Christian Man_, in _Doctrinal
Treatises_, Parker Society, 1848, p. 390.

[182] Pollard, p. 211.

[183] _Ibid._, p. 277.

[184] _Ibid._, p. 306.

[185] _Life of Cheke_, p. 212.

[186] Strype, _Life of Parker_, p. 404.

[187] Pollard, p. 361.

[188] Fulke, _Defence_, Parker Society, p. 552.

[189] _Defence_, p. 552.

[190] _Ibid._, p. 97.

[191] _Ibid._, p. 408.

[192] Pollard, p. 375.

[193] E.g., Fulke, _Defence_, p. 163.

[194] Pollard, p. 349.

[195] _Ibid._, p. 303.

[196] _Ibid._, p. 277.

[197] Pollard, p. 281.

[198] _Ibid._, p. 309.

[199] Preface to _The Obedience of a Christian Man, Doctrinal Treatises_,
pp. 148-9.

[200] _Life of Cheke_, p. 212.

[201] _Ibid._, p. 212.

[202] An interesting comment of later date than the Authorized Version is
found in the preface to William L'Isle's _Divers Ancient Monuments of the
Saxon Tongue_, published in 1638. L'Isle writes: "These monuments of
reverend antiquity, I mean the Saxon Bibles, to him that understandingly
reads and well considers the time wherein they were written, will in many
places convince of affected obscurity some late translations." After
criticizing the inkhorn terms of the Rhemish translators, he says, "The
Saxon hath words for Trinity, Unity, and all such foreign words as we are
now fain to use, because we have forgot better of our own." (In J. L.
Moore, _Tudor-Stuart Views on the Growth, Status, and Destiny of the
English Language_.)

[203] _Prologue_ to Bible of 1535.

[204] Pollard, p. 212.

[205] Fulke, pp. 337-8.

[206] Pollard, p. 291.

[207] _Ibid._, p. 374.

[208] _Prologue_, Chapter 15.

[209] Pollard, p. 298.

[210] Strype, _Life of Grindal_, Oxford, 1821, p. 19.

[211] Pollard, p. 127.

[212] _Ibid._, p. 124.

[213] Pollard, p. 274.

[214] _Ibid._, p. 305.

[215] Translated in _Remains of Archbishop Grindal_, Parker Society, 1843,
p. 234.

[216] Pollard, pp. 375-6.

[217] More, _Confutation of Tyndale_, _Works_, p. 417.

[218] _Ibid._, p. 427.

[219] Pollard, p. 307.

[220] Pollard, p. 291.

[221] _Defence_, p. 42.

[222] _Ibid._, p. 507.

[223] _Defence_, p. 210.

[224] _Confutation of the Rhemish Testament_, New York, 1834, p. 21.

[225] _Defence_, p. 118.

[226] _Ibid._, p. 160.

[227] _Ibid._, p. 217.

[228] _Defence_, p. 217.

[229] _Ibid._, p. 162.

[230] _Ibid._, p. 161.

[231] _Ibid._, p. 58.

[232] _Ibid._, p. 267.

[233] _Defence_, p. 217.

[234] _Ibid._, p. 179.

[235] _Ibid._, p. 90.

[236] _Defence_, p. 206.

[237] _Ibid._, p. 549.

[238] _Ibid._, p. 89.

[239] Pollard, _Introduction_, p. 37.

[240] See Holland, _The Psalmists of Britain_, London, 1843, for a detailed
account of such translations.

[241] Preface to _The Psalms of David translated into lyric verse_, 1632,
reprinted by the Spenser Society, 1881.

[242] Holland, p. 251.

[243] _Epistle Dedicatory_, to _The Psalms with M. John Calvin's
Commentaries_, 1571.

[244] _Op. cit._

[245] See _The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers_, ed. Schaff and Wace, New
York, 1893, p. 491.

[246] Holland, Note, p. 89.

[247] Published at the end of his _Virgil_.

[248] In _The Countess of Pembroke's Emanuell_, 1591.

[249] Reprinted, New York, 1903.




The Elizabethan period presents translations in astonishing number and
variety. As the spirit of the Renaissance began to inspire England,
translators responded to its stimulus with an enthusiasm denied to later
times. It was work that appealed to persons of varying ranks and of
varying degrees of learning. In the early part of the century, according
to Nash, "every private scholar, William Turner and who not, began to
vaunt their smattering of Latin in English impressions."[250] Thomas
Nicholls, the goldsmith, translated Thucydides; Queen Elizabeth
translated Boethius. The mention of women in this connection suggests
how widely the impulse was diffused. Richard Hyrde says of the
translation of Erasmus's _Treatise on the Lord's Prayer_, made by
Margaret Roper, the daughter of Sir Thomas More, "And as for the
translation thereof, I dare be bold to say it, that whoso list and well
can confer and examine the translation with the original, he shall not
fail to find that she hath showed herself not only erudite and elegant
in either tongue, but hath also used such wisdom, such discreet and
substantial judgment, in expressing lively the Latin, as a man may
peradventure miss in many things translated and turned by them that bear
the name of right wise and very well learned men."[251] Nicholas Udall
writes to Queen Katherine that there are a number of women in England
who know Greek and Latin and are "in the holy scriptures and theology
so ripe that they are able aptly, cunningly, and with much grace either
to endite or translate into the vulgar tongue for the public instruction
and edifying of the unlearned multitude."[252]

The greatness of the field was fitted to arouse and sustain the ardor of
English translators. In contrast with the number of manuscripts at
command in earlier days, the sixteenth century must have seemed
endlessly rich in books. Printing was making the Greek and Latin
classics newly accessible, and France and Italy, awake before England to
the new life, were storing the vernacular with translations and with new
creations. Translators might find their tasks difficult enough and they
might flag by the way, as Hoby confesses to have done at the end of the
third book of _The Courtier_, but plucking up courage, they went on to
the end. Hoby declares, with a vigor that suggests Bunyan's Pilgrim, "I
whetted my style and settled myself to take in hand the other three
books";[253] Edward Hellowes, after the hesitation which he describes in
the Dedication to the 1574 edition of Guevara's _Familiar Epistles_,
"began to call to mind my God, my Prince, my country, and also your
worship," and so adequately upheld, went on with his undertaking; Arthur
Golding, with a breath of relief, sees his rendering of Ovid's
_Metamorphoses_ at last complete.

    Through Ovid's work of turned shapes I have with painful pace
    Passed on, until I had attained the end of all my race.
    And now I have him made so well acquainted with our tongue,
    As that he may in English verse as in his own be sung.[254]

Sometimes the toilsomeness of the journey was lightened by
companionship. Now and then, especially in the case of religious works,
there was collaboration. Luther's _Commentary on Galatians_ was
undertaken by "certain godly men," of whom "some began it according to
such skill as they had. Others godly affected, not suffering so good a
matter in handling to be marred, put to their helping hands for the
better framing and furthering of so worthy a work."[255] From Thomas
Norton's record of the conditions under which he translated Calvin's
_Institution of the Christian Religion_, it is not difficult to feel the
atmosphere of sympathy and encouragement in which he worked. "Therefore
in the very beginning of the Queen's Majesty's most blessed reign," he
writes, "I translated it out of Latin into English, for the commodity of
the Church of Christ, at the special request of my dear friends of
worthy memory, Reginald Wolfe and Edward Whitchurch, the one Her
Majesty's Printer for the Hebrew, Greek, and Latin tongues, the other
her Highness' Printer of the books of Common Prayer. I performed my work
in the house of my said friend, Edward Whitchurch, a man well known of
upright heart and dealing, an ancient zealous Gospeller, as plain and
true a friend as ever I knew living, and as desirous to do anything to
common good, specially to the advancement of true religion.... In the
doing hereof I did not only trust mine own wit or ability, but examined
my whole doing from sentence to sentence throughout the whole book with
conference and overlooking of such learned men, as my translation being
allowed by their judgment, I did both satisfy mine own conscience that I
had done truly, and their approving of it might be a good warrant to the
reader that nothing should herein be delivered him but sound, unmingled
and uncorrupted doctrine, even in such sort as the author himself had
first framed it. All that I wrote, the grave, learned, and virtuous man,
M. David Whitehead (whom I name with honorable remembrance) did among
others, compare with the Latin, examining every sentence throughout the
whole book. Beside all this, I privately required many, and generally
all men with whom I ever had any talk of this matter, that if they found
anything either not truly translated or not plainly Englished, they
would inform me thereof, promising either to satisfy them or to amend
it."[256] Norton's next sentence, "Since which time I have not been
advertised by any man of anything which they would require to be
altered" probably expresses the fate of most of the many requests for
criticism that accompany translations, but does not essentially modify
the impression he conveys of unusually favorable conditions for such
work. One remembers that Tyndale originally anticipated with some
confidence a residence in the Bishop of London's house while he
translated the Bible. Thomas Wilson, again, says of his translation of
some of the orations of Demosthenes that "even in these my small
travails both Cambridge and Oxford men have given me their learned
advice and in some things have set to their helping hand,"[257] and
Florio declares that it is owing to the help and encouragement of "two
supporters of knowledge and friendship," Theodore Diodati and Dr.
Gwinne, that "upheld and armed" he has "passed the pikes."[258]

The translator was also sustained by a conception of the importance of
his work, a conception sometimes exaggerated, but becoming, as the
century progressed, clearly and truly defined. Between the lines of the
dedication which Henry Parker, Lord Morley, prefixes to his translation
of Petrarch's _Triumphs_,[259] one reads a pathetic story of an
appreciation which can hardly have equaled the hopes of the author. He
writes of "one of late days that was groom of the chamber with that
renowned and valiant prince of high memory, Francis the French king,
whose name I have forgotten, that did translate these triumphs to that
said king, which he took so thankfully that he gave to him for his pains
an hundred crowns, to him and to his heirs of inheritance to enjoy to
that value in land forever, and took such pleasure in it that
wheresoever he went, among his precious jewels that book always carried
with him for his pastime to look upon, and as much esteemed by him as
the richest diamond he had." Moved by patriotic emulation, Lord Morley
"translated the said book to that most worthy king, our late sovereign
lord of perpetual memory, King Henry the Eighth, who as he was a prince
above all others most excellent, so took he the work very thankfully,
marvelling much that I could do it, and thinking verily I had not done
it without help of some other, better knowing in the Italian tongue than
I; but when he knew the very truth, that I had translated the work
myself, he was more pleased therewith than he was before, and so what
his highness did with it is to me unknown."

Hyperbole in estimating the value of the translator's work is not common
among Lord Morley's successors, but their very recognition of the
secondary importance of translation often resulted in a modest yet
dignified insistence on its real value. Richard Eden says that he has
labored "not as an author but as a translator, lest I be injurious to
any man in ascribing to myself the travail of other."[260] Nicholas
Grimald qualifies a translation of Cicero as "my work," and immediately
adds, "I call it mine as Plautus and Terence called the comedies theirs
which they made out of Greek."[261] Harrington, the translator of
_Orlando Furioso_, says of his work: "I had rather men should see and
know that I borrow at all than that I steal any, and I would wish to be
called rather one of the worst translators than one of the meaner
makers, specially since the Earl of Surrey and Sir Thomas Wiat, that are
yet called the first refiners of the English tongue, were both
translators out of the Italian. Now for those that count it such a
contemptible and trifling matter to translate, I will but say to them as
M. Bartholomew Clarke, an excellent learned man and a right good
translator, said in a manner of pretty challenge, in his Preface (as I
remember) upon the Courtier, which book he translated out of Italian
into Latin. 'You,' saith he, 'that think it such a toy, lay aside my
book, and take my author in hand, and try a leaf or such a matter, and
compare it with mine.'"[262] Philemon Holland, the "translator general"
of his time, writes of his art: "As for myself, since it is neither my
hap nor hope to attain to such perfection as to bring forth something of
mine own which may quit the pains of a reader, and much less to perform
any action that might minister matter to a writer, and yet so far bound
unto my native country and the blessed state wherein I have lived, as to
render an account of my years passed and studies employed, during this
long time of peace and tranquillity, wherein (under the most gracious
and happy government of a peerless princess, assisted with so prudent,
politic, and learned Counsel) all good literature hath had free progress
and flourished in no age so much: methought I owed this duty, to leave
for my part also (after many others) some small memorial, that might
give testimony another day what fruits generally this peaceable age of
ours hath produced. Endeavored I have therefore to stand in the third
rank, and bestowed those hours which might be spared from the practice
of my profession and the necessary cares of life, to satisfy my
countrymen now living and to gratify the age ensuing in this
kind."[263] To Holland's simple acceptance of his rightful place, it is
pleasant to add the lines of the poet Daniel, whose imagination was
stirred in true Elizabethan fashion by the larger relations of the
translator. Addressing Florio, the interpreter of Montaigne to the
English people, he thanks him on behalf of both author and readers for

    ... his studious care
    Who both of him and us doth merit much,
    Having as sumptuously as he is rare
    Placed him in the best lodging of our speech,
    And made him now as free as if born here,
    And as well ours as theirs, who may be proud
    To have the franchise of his worth allowed.
    It being the proportion of a happy pen,
    Not to b'invassal'd to one monarchy,
    But dwell with all the better world of men
    Whose spirits are of one community,
    Whom neither Ocean, Deserts, Rocks, nor Sands
    Can keep from th' intertraffic of the mind.[264]

In a less exalted strain come suggestions that the translator's work is
valuable enough to deserve some tangible recognition. Thomas Fortescue
urges his reader to consider the case of workmen like himself, "assuring
thyself that none in any sort do better deserve of their country, that
none swink or sweat with like pain and anguish, that none in like sort
hazard or adventure their credit, that none desire less stipend or
salary for their travail, that none in fine are worse in this age
recompensed."[265] Nicholas Udall presents detailed reasons why it is to
be desired that "some able, worthy, and meet persons for doing such
public benefit to the commonweal as translating of good works and
writing of chronicles might by some good provision and means have some
condign sustentation in the same."[266] "Besides," he argues, "that such
a translator travaileth not to his own private commodity, but to the
benefit and public use of his country: besides that the thing is such as
must so thoroughly occupy and possess the doer, and must have him so
attent to apply that same exercise only, that he may not during that
season take in hand any other trade of business whereby to purchase his
living: besides that the thing cannot be done without bestowing of long
time, great watching, much pains, diligent study, no small charges, as
well of meat, drink, books, as also of other necessaries, the labor self
is of itself a more painful and more tedious thing than for a man to
write or prosecute any argument of his own invention. A man hath his own
invention ready at his own pleasure without lets or stops, to make such
discourse as his argument requireth: but a translator must ... at every
other word stay, and suspend both his cogitation and his pen to look
upon his author, so that he might in equal time make thrice as much as
he can be able to translate."

The belief present in the comment of both Fortescue and Udall that the
work of the translator is of peculiar service to the state is expressed
in connection with translations of every sort. Richard Taverner declares
that he has been incited to put into English part of the _Chiliades_ of
Erasmus by "the love I bear to the furtherance and adornment of my
native country."[267] William Warde translates _The Secrets of Maister
Alexis of Piemont_ in order that "as well Englishmen as Italians,
Frenchmen, or Dutchmen may suck knowledge and profit hereof."[268] John
Brende, in the Dedication of his _History of Quintus Curtius_, insists
on the importance of historical knowledge, his appreciation of which has
made him desire "that we Englishmen might be found as forward in that
behalf as other nations, which have brought all worthy histories into
their natural language."[269] Patriotic emulation of what has been done
in other countries is everywhere present as a motive. Occasionally the
Englishman shows that he has studied foreign translations for his own
guidance. Adlington, in his preface to his rendering of _The Golden Ass_
of Apuleius, says that he does not follow the original in certain
respects, "for so the French and Spanish translators have not
done";[270] Hoby says of his translation of _The Courtier_, "I have
endeavored myself to follow the very meaning and words of the author,
without being misled by fantasy or leaving out any parcel one or other,
whereof I know not how some interpreters of this book into other
languages can excuse themselves, and the more they be conferred, the
more it will perchance appear."[271] On the whole, however, the comment
confines itself to general statements like that of Grimald, who in
translating Cicero is endeavoring "to do likewise for my countrymen as
Italians, Frenchmen, Spaniards, Dutchmen, and other foreigners have
liberally done for theirs."[272] In spite of the remarkable output
England lagged behind other countries. Lord Morley complains that the
printing of a merry jest is more profitable than the putting forth of
such excellent works as those of Petrarch, of which England has "very
few or none, which I do lament in my heart, considering that as well in
French as in the Italian (in the which both tongues I have some little
knowledge) there is no excellent work in the Latin, but that straightway
they set it forth in the vulgar."[273] Morley wrote in the early days
of the movement for translation, but later translators made similar
complaints. Hoby says in the preface to _The Courtier_: "In this point
(I know not by what destiny) Englishmen are most inferior to most of all
other nations: for where they set their delight and bend themselves with
an honest strife of matching others to turn into their mother tongue not
only the witty writings of other languages but also of all philosophers,
and all sciences both Greek and Latin, our men ween it sufficient to
have a perfect knowledge to no other end but to profit themselves and
(as it were) after much pains in breaking up a gap bestow no less to
close it up again." To the end of the century translation is encouraged
or defended on the ground that it is a public duty. Thomas Danett is
urged to translate the _History_ of Philip de Comines by certain
gentlemen who think it "a great dishonor to our native land that so
worthy a history being extant in all languages almost in Christendom
should be suppressed in ours";[274] Chapman writes indignantly of Homer,
"And if Italian, French, and Spanish have not made it dainty, nor
thought it any presumption to turn him into their languages, but a fit
and honorable labor and (in respect of their country's profit and their
prince's credit) almost necessary, what curious, proud, and poor
shamefastness should let an English muse to traduce him?"[275]

Besides all this, the translator's conception of his audience encouraged
and guided his pen. While translations in general could not pretend to
the strength and universality of appeal which belonged to the Bible,
nevertheless taken in the mass and judged only by the comment associated
with them, they suggest a varied public and a surprising contact with
the essential interests of mankind. The appeals on title pages and in
prefaces to all kinds of people, from ladies and gentlemen of rank to
the common and simple sort, not infrequently resemble the calculated
praises of the advertiser, but admitting this, there still remains much
that implies a simple confidence in the response of friendly readers.
Rightly or wrongly, the translator presupposes for himself in many cases
an audience far removed from academic preoccupations. Richard Eden,
translating from the Spanish Martin Cortes' _Arte de Navigar_, says,
"Now therefore this work of the Art of Navigation being published in our
vulgar tongue, you may be assured to have more store of skilful
pilots."[276] Golding's translations of Pomponius Mela and Julius
Solinus Polyhistor are described as, "Right pleasant and profitable for
Gentlemen, Merchants, Mariners, and Travellers."[277] Hellowes, with an
excess of rhetoric which takes from his convincingness, presents
Guevara's _Familiar Epistles_ as teaching "rules for kings to rule,
counselors to counsel, prelates to practise, captains to execute,
soldiers to perform, the married to follow, the prosperous to prosecute,
and the poor in adversity to be comforted, how to write and talk with
all men in all matters at large."[278] Holland's honest simplicity gives
greater weight to a similarly sweeping characterization of Pliny's
_Natural History_ as "not appropriate to the learned only, but
accommodate to the rude peasant of the country; fitted for the painful
artisan in town or city; pertinent to the bodily health of man, woman,
or child; and in one word suiting with all sorts of people living in a
society and commonweal."[279] In the same preface the need for replying
to those who oppose translation leads Holland to insist further on the
practical applicability of his matter. Alternating his own with his
critics' position, he writes: "It is a shame (quoth one) that _Livy_
speaketh English as he doth; Latinists only owe to be acquainted with
him: as who should say the soldier were to have recourse to the
university for military skill and knowledge, or the scholar to put on
arms and pitch a camp. What should _Pliny_ (saith another) be read in
English and the mysteries couched in his books divulged; as if the
husbandman, the mason, carpenter, goldsmith, lapidary, and engraver,
with other artificers, were bound to seek unto great clerks or linguists
for instructions in their several arts." Wilson's translation of
Demosthenes, again, undertaken, it has been said, with a view to rousing
a national resistance against Spain, is described on the title page as
"most needful to be read in these dangerous days of all them that love
their country's liberty."[280]

Naturally enough, however, especially in the case of translations from
the Latin and Greek, the academic interest bulks largely in the
audience, and sometimes makes an unexpected demand for recognition in
the midst of the more practical appeal. Holland's _Pliny_, for example,
addresses itself not only to peasants and artisans but to young
students, who "by the light of the English ... shall be able more
readily to go away with the dark phrase and obscure constructions of the
Latin." Chapman, refusing to be burdened with a popular audience, begins
a preface with the insidious compliment, "I suppose you to be no mere
reader, since you intend to read Homer."[281] On the other hand, the
academic reader, whether student or critic, is, if one accepts the
translator's view, very much on the alert, anxious to confer the English
version with the original, either that he may improve his own knowledge
of the foreign language or that he may pick faults in the new rendering.
Wilson attacks the critics as "drones and no bees, lubbers and no
learners," but the fault he finds in these "croaking paddocks and
manifest overweeners of themselves" is that they are "out of reason
curious judges over the travail and painstaking of others" instead of
being themselves producers.[282] Apparently there was little fear of the
indifference which is more discouraging than hostile criticism, and
though, as is to be expected, it is the hostile criticism that is most
often reflected in prefaces, there must have been much kindly comment
like that of Webbe, who, after discussing the relations of Phaer's
_Virgil_ to the Latin, concludes, "There is not one book among the
twelve which will not yield you most excellent pleasure in conferring
the translation with the copy and marking the gallant grace which our
English speech affordeth."[283]

Such encouragements and incentives are enough to awaken the envy of the
modern translator. But the sixteenth century had also its peculiar
difficulties. The English language was neither so rich in resources nor
so carefully standardized as it has become of later times. It was often
necessary, indeed, to defend it against the charge that it was not equal
to translation. Pettie is driven to reply to those who oppose the use of
the vernacular because "they count it barren, they count it barbarous,
they count it unworthy to be accounted of."[284] Chapman says in his
preface to _Achilles' Shield_: "Some will convey their imperfections
under his Greek shield, and from thence bestow bitter arrows against the
traduction, affirming their want of admiration grows from the defect of
our language, not able to express the copiousness (coppie) and elegancy
of the original." Richard Greenway, who translated the _Annals_ of
Tacitus, admits cautiously that his medium is "perchance not so fit to
set out a piece drawn with so curious a pencil."[285] One cannot,
indeed, help recognizing that as compared with modern English
Elizabethan English was weak in resources, limited in vocabulary, and
somewhat uncertain in sentence structure. These disadvantages probably
account in part for such explanations of the relative difficulty of
translation as that of Nicholas Udall in his plea that translators
should be suitably recompensed or that of John Brende in his preface to
the translation of Quintus Curtius that "in translation a man cannot
always use his own vein, but shall be compelled to tread in the author's
steps, which is a harder and more difficult thing to do, than to walk
his own pace."[286]

Of his difficulties with sentence structure the translator says little,
a fact rather surprising to the modern reader, conscious as he is of the
awkwardness of the Elizabethan sentence. Now and then, however, he hints
at the problems which have arisen in the handling of the Latin period.
Udall writes of his translation of Erasmus: "I have in some places been
driven to use mine own judgment in rendering the true sense of the book,
to speak nothing of a great number of sentences, which by reason of so
many members, or parentheses, or digressions as have come in places, are
so long that unless they had been somewhat divided, they would have been
too hard for an unlearned brain to conceive, much more hard to contain
and keep it still."[287] Adlington, the translator of _The Golden Ass_
of Apuleius, says, "I have not so exactly passed through the author as
to point every sentence exactly as it is in the Latin."[288] A comment
of Foxe on his difficulty in translating contemporary English into Latin
suggests that he at least was conscious of the weakness of the English
sentence as compared with the Latin. Writing to Peter Martyr of his
Latin version of the controversy between Cranmer and Gardiner, he says
of the latter: "In his periods, for the most part, he is so profuse,
that he seems twice to forget himself, rather than to find his end. The
whole phrase hath in effect that structure that consisting for the most
part of relatives, it refuses almost all the grace of translation."[289]

Though the question of sentence structure was not given prominence, the
problem of rectifying deficiencies in vocabulary touched the translator
very nearly. The possibility of augmenting the language was a vital
issue in the reign of Elizabeth, but it had a peculiar significance
where translation was concerned. Here, if anywhere, the need for a large
vocabulary was felt, and in translations many new words first made their
appearance. Sir Thomas Elyot early made the connection between
translation and the movement for increase in vocabulary. In the
_Proheme_ to _The Knowledge which maketh a wise man_ he explains that in
_The Governor_ he intended "to augment the English tongue, whereby men
should ... interpret out of Greek, Latin, or any other tongue into
English."[290] Later in the century Peele praises the translator

    ... well-letter'd and discreet,
    That hath so purely naturalized
    Strange words, and made them all free denizens,[291]

and--to go somewhat outside the period--the fourth edition of Bullokar's
_English Expositor_, originally designed to teach "the interpretation of
the hardest words used in our language," is recommended on the ground
that those who know no language but the mother tongue, but "are yet
studiously desirous to read those learned and elegant treatises which
from their native original have been rendered English (of which sort,
thanks to the company of painful translators we have not a few) have
here a volume fit for their purposes, as carefully designed for their

Whether, however, the translator should be allowed to add to the
vocabulary and what methods he should employ were questions by no means
easy of settlement. As in Caxton's time, two possible means of acquiring
new words were suggested, naturalization of foreign words and revival of
words from older English sources. Against the first of these methods
there was a good deal of prejudice. Grimald in his preface to his
translation of Cicero's _De Officiis_, protests against the translation
that is "uttered with inkhorn terms and not with usual words." Other
critics are more specific in their condemnation of non-English words.
Puttenham complains that Southern, in translating Ronsard's French
rendering of Pindar's hymns and Anacreon's odes, "doth so impudently rob
the French poet both of his praise and also of his French terms, that I
cannot so much pity him as be angry with him for his injurious dealing,
our said maker not being ashamed to use these French words, _freddon_,
_egar_, _suberbous_, _filanding_, _celest_, _calabrois_, _thebanois_ and
a number of others, which have no manner of conformity with our language
either by custom or derivation which may make them tolerable."[293]
Richard Willes, in his preface to the 1577 edition of Eden's _History of
Travel in the West and East Indies_, says that though English literature
owes a large debt to Eden, still "many of his English words cannot be
excused in my opinion for smelling too much of the Latin."[294] The list
appended is not so remote from the modern English vocabulary as that
which Puttenham supplies. Willes cites "_dominators_, _ponderous_,
_ditionaries_, _portentous_, _antiques_, _despicable_, _solicitate_,
_obsequious_, _homicide_, _imbibed_, _destructive_, _prodigious_, with
other such like, in the stead of _lords_, _weighty_, _subjects_,
_wonderful_, _ancient_, _low_, _careful_, _dutiful_, _man-slaughter_,
_drunken_, _noisome_, _monstrous_, &c." Yet there were some advocates of
the use of foreign words. Florio admits with mock humility that he has
employed "some uncouth terms as _entraine_, _conscientious_, _endear_,
_tarnish_, _comport_, _efface_, _facilitate_, _amusing_, _debauching_,
_regret_, _effort_, _emotion_, and such like," and continues, "If you
like them not, take others most commonly set by them to expound them,
since they were set to make such likely French words familiar with our
English, which may well bear them,"[295] a contention which modern usage
supports. Nicholas Udall pronounces judicially in favor of both methods
of enriching the language. "Some there be," he says, "which have a mind
to renew terms that are now almost worn clean out of use, which I do not
disallow, so it be done with judgment. Some others would ampliate and
enrich their native tongue with more vocables, which also I commend, if
it be aptly and wittily assayed. So that if any other do innovate and
bring up to me a word afore not used or not heard, I would not dispraise
it: and that I do attempt to bring it into use, another man should not
cavil at."[296] George Pettie also defends the use of inkhorn terms.
"Though for my part," he says, "I use those words as little as any, yet
I know no reason why I should not use them, for it is indeed the ready
way to enrich our tongue and make it copious."[297] On the whole,
however, it was safer to advocate the formation of words from
Anglo-Saxon sources. Golding says of his translation of Philip of
Mornay: "Great care hath been taken by forming and deriving of fit names
and terms out of the fountains of our own tongue, though not altogether
most usual yet always conceivable and easy to be understood; rather than
by usurping Latin terms, or by borrowing the words of any foreign
language, lest the matters, which in some cases are mystical enough of
themselves by reason of their own profoundness, might have been made
more obscure to the unlearned by setting them down in terms utterly
unknown to them."[298] Holland says in the preface to his translation of
Livy: "I framed my pen, not to any affected phrase, but to a mean and
popular style. Wherein if I have called again into use some old words,
let it be attributed to the love of my country's language." Even in this
matter of vocabulary, it will be noted, there was something of the
stimulus of patriotism, and the possibility of improving his native
tongue must have appealed to the translator's creative power. Phaer,
indeed, alleges as one of his motives for translating Virgil "defence of
my country's language, which I have heard discommended of many, and
esteemed of some to be more than barbarous."[299]

Convinced, then, that his undertaking, though difficult, meant much both
to the individual and to the state, the translator gladly set about
making some part of the great field of foreign literature, ancient and
modern, accessible to English readers. Of the technicalities of his art
he has a good deal to say. At a time when prefaces and dedications so
frequently established personal relations between author and audience,
it was natural that the translator also should take his readers into his
confidence regarding his aims and methods. His comment, however, is
largely incidental. Generally it is applicable only to the work in hand;
it does not profess to be a statement, even on a small scale, of what
translation in general ought to be. There is no discussion in English
corresponding to the small, but comprehensive treatise on _La manière de
bien traduire d'une langue en autre_ which Étienne Dolet published at
Lyons in 1540. This casual quality is evidenced by the peculiar way in
which prefaces in different editions of the same book appear and
disappear for no apparent reason, possibly at the convenience of the
printer. It is scarcely fair to interpret as considered, deliberate
formulation of principles, utterances so unpremeditated and fragmentary.
The theory which accompanies secular translation is much less clear and
consecutive than that which accompanies the translation of the Bible.
Though in the latter case the formulation of theories of translation was
almost equally incidental, respect for the original, repeated
experiment, and constant criticism and discussion united to make certain
principles take very definite shape. Secular translation produced
nothing so homogeneous. The existence of so many translators, working
for the most part independently of each other, resulted in a confused
mass of comment whose real value it is difficult to estimate. It is true
that the new scholarship with its clearer estimate of literary values
and its appreciation of the individual's proprietary rights in his own
writings made itself strongly felt in the sphere of secular translation
and introduced new standards of accuracy, new definitions of the
latitude which might be accorded the translator; but much of the old
freedom in handling material, with the accompanying vagueness as to the
limits of the translator's function, persisted throughout the time of

In many cases the standards recognized by sixteenth-century translators
were little more exacting than those of the medieval period. With many
writers adequate recognition of source was a matter of choice rather
than of obligation. The English translator might make suitable
attribution of a work to its author and he might undertake to reproduce
its substance in its entirety, but he might, on the other hand, fail to
acknowledge any indebtedness to a predecessor or he might add or omit
material, since he was governed apparently only by the extent of his own
powers or by his conception of what would be most pleasing or edifying
to his readers. To the theory of his art he gave little serious
consideration. He did not attempt to analyse the style of the source
which he had chosen. If he praised his author, it was in the
conventional language of compliment, which showed no real discrimination
and which, one suspects, often disguised mere advertising. His estimate
of his own capabilities was only the repetition of the medieval formula,
with its profession of inadequacy for the task and its claim to have
used simple speech devoid of rhetorical ornament. That it was nothing
but a formula was recognized at the time and is good-naturedly pointed
out in the words of Harrington: "Certainly if I should confess or rather
profess that my verse is unartificial, the style rude, the phrase
barbarous, the metre unpleasant, many more would believe it to be so
than would imagine that I thought them so."[300]

This medieval quality, less excusable later in the century when the new
learning had declared itself, appears with more justification in the
comment of the early sixteenth century. Though the translator's field
was widening and was becoming more broadly European, the works chosen
for translation belonged largely to the types popular in the Middle Ages
and the comment attached to them was a repetition of timeworn phrases.
Alexander Barclay, who is best known as the author of _The Ship of
Fools_, published in 1508, but who also has to his credit several other
translations of contemporary moral and allegorical poems from Latin and
French and even, in anticipation of the newer era, a version of
Sallust's _Jugurthine War_, offers his translations of _The Ship of
Fools_[301] and of Mancini's _Mirror of Good Manners_[302] not to the
learned, who might judge of their correctness, but to "rude people," who
may hope to be benefited morally by perusing them. He has written _The
Ship of Fools_ in "common and rural terms"; he does not follow the
author "word by word"; and though he professes to have reproduced for
the most part the "sentence" of the original, he admits "sometimes
adding, sometimes detracting and taking away such things as seemeth me
unnecessary and superfluous."[303] His contemporary, Lord Berners,
writes for a more courtly audience, but he professes much the same
methods. He introduces his _Arthur of Little Britain_, "not presuming
that I have reduced it into fresh, ornate, polished English, for I know
myself insufficient in the facundious art of rhetoric, and also I am but
a learner of the language of French: howbeit I trust my simple reason
hath led me to the understanding of the true sentence of the
matter."[304] Of his translation of Froissart he says, "And in that I
have not followed mine author word by word, yet I trust I have ensued
the true report of the sentence of the matter."[305] Sir Francis Bryan,
under whose direction Berners' translation of _The Golden Book of Marcus
Aurelius_ was issued in 1535, the year after its author's death,
expresses his admiration of the "high and sweet styles"[306] of the
versions in other languages which have preceded this English rendering,
but similar phrases had been used so often in the characterization of
undistinguished writings that this comment hardly suggests the new and
peculiar quality of Guevara's style.

As the century advanced, these older, easier standards were maintained
especially among translators who chose material similar to that of
Barclay and Berners, the popular work of edification, the novella, which
took the place of the romance. The purveyors of entertaining narrative,
indeed, realized in some degree the minor importance of their work as
compared with that of more serious scholars and acted accordingly. The
preface to Turbervile's _Tragical Tales_ throws some light on the
author's idea of the comparative values of translations. He thought of
translating Lucan, but Melpomene appeared to warn him against so
ambitious an enterprise, and admitting his unfitness for the task, he
applied himself instead to this translation "out of sundry
Italians."[307] Anthony Munday apologizes for his "simple translation"
of _Palmerin d'Oliva_ by remarking that "to translate allows little
occasion of fine pen work,"[308] a comment which goes far to account for
the doubtful quality of his productions in this field.

Even when the translator of pleasant tales ranked his work high, it was
generally on the ground that his readers would receive from it profit as
well as amusement; he laid no claim to academic correctness. He
mentioned or refrained from mentioning his sources at his own
discretion. Painter, in inaugurating the vogue of the novella, is
exceptionally careful in attributing each story to its author,[309] but
Whetstone's _Rock of Regard_ contains no hint that it is translated, and
_The Petit Palace of Pettie his Pleasure_ conveys the impression of
original work. "I dare not compare," runs the prefatory _Letter to
Gentlewomen Readers_ by R. B., "this work with the former Palaces of
Pleasure, because comparisons are odious, and because they contain
histories, translated out of grave authors and learned writers; and this
containeth discourses devised by a green youthful capacity, and
repeated in a manner extempore."[310] It was, again, the personal
preference of the individual or the extent of his linguistic knowledge
that determined whether the translator should employ the original
Italian or Spanish versions of some collections or should content
himself with an intermediary French rendering. Painter, accurate as he
is in describing his sources, confesses that he has often used the
French version of Boccaccio, though, or perhaps because, it is less
finely written than its original. Thomas Fortescue uses the French
version for his translation of _The Forest_, a collection of histories
"written in three sundry tongues, in the Spanish first by Petrus Mexia,
and thence done into the Italian, and last into the French by Claudius
Gringet, late citizen of Paris."[311] The most regrettable latitude of
all, judging by theoretic standards of translation, was the careless
freedom which writers of this group were inclined to appropriate.
Anthony Munday, to take an extreme case, translating _Palmerin of
England_ from the French, makes a perfunctory apology in his Epistle
Dedicatory for his inaccuracies: "If you find the translation altered,
or the true sense in some place of a matter impaired, let this excuse
answer in default in that case. A work so large is sufficient to tire so
simple a workman in himself. Beside the printer may in some place let an
error escape."[312] Fortescue justifies, adequately enough, his omission
of various tales by the plea that "the lack of one annoyeth not or
maimeth not the other," but incidentally he throws light on the practice
of others, less conscientious, who "add or change at their pleasure."

There is perhaps danger of underrating the value of the theory which
accompanies translations of this sort. The translators have left
comparatively little comment on their methods, and it may be that now
and then more satisfactory principles were implicit. Yet even when the
translator took his task seriously, his prefatory remarks almost always
betrayed that there was something defective in his theory or careless in
his execution. Bartholomew Young translates Montemayor's _Diana_ from
the Spanish after a careful consideration of texts. "Having compared the
French copies with the Spanish original," he writes, "I judge the first
part to be exquisite, the other two corruptly done, with a confusion of
verse into prose, and leaving out in many places divers hard sentences,
and some leaves at the end of the third part, wherefore they are but
blind guides of any to be imitated."[313] After this, unhappily, in the
press of greater affairs he lets the work come from the printer
unsupervised and presumably full of errors, "the copy being very dark
and interlined, and I loath to write it out again." Robert Tofte
addresses his _Honor's Academy or the Famous Pastoral of the Fair
Shepherdess Julietta_ "to the courteous and judicious reader and to none
other"; he explains that he refuses to write for "the sottish
multitude," that monster "who knows not when aught well is or amiss";
and blames "such idle thieves as do purloin from others' mint what's
none of their own coin."[314] In spite of this, his preface makes no
mention of Nicholas de Montreux, the original author, and if it were not
for the phrase on the title page, "done into English," one would not
suspect that the book was a translation. The apology of the printer,
Thomas Creede, "Some faults no doubt there be, especially in the verses,
and to speak truth, how could it be otherwise, when he wrote all this
volume (as it were) cursorily and in haste, never having so much leisure
as to overlook one leaf after he had scribbled the same," stamps Tofte
as perhaps a facile, but certainly not a conscientious workman.

Another fashionable form of literature, the popular religious or
didactic work, was governed by standards of translation not unlike those
which controlled the fictitious narrative. In the work of Lord Berners
the romance had not yet made way for its more sophisticated rival, the
novella. His translation from Guevara, however, marked the beginning of
a new fashion. While Barclay's _Ship of Fools_ and _Mirror of Good
Manners_ were addressed, like their medieval predecessors, to "lewd"
people, with _The Golden Book_ began the vogue of a new type of didactic
literature, similar in its moral purpose and in its frequent employment
of narrative material to the religious works of the Middle Ages, but
with new stylistic elements that made their appeal, as did the novella,
not to the rustic and unlearned, but to courtly readers. The prefaces to
_The Golden Book_ and to the translations which succeeded it throw
little light on the theory of their authors, but what comment there is
points to methods like those employed by the translators of the romance
and the novella. Though later translators like Hellowes went to the
original Spanish, Berners, Bryan, and North employ instead the
intermediary French rendering. Praise of Guevara's style becomes a
wearisome repetition of conventional phrases, a rhetorical exercise for
the English writer rather than a serious attempt to analyze the
peculiarities of the Spanish. Exaggeratedly typical is the comment of
Hellowes in the 1574 edition of Guevara's _Epistles_, where he repeats
with considerable complacency the commendation of the original work
which was "contained in my former preface, as followeth. Being furnished
so fully with sincere doctrine, so unused eloquence, so high a style, so
apt similitudes, so excellent discourses, so convenient examples, so
profound sentences, so old antiquities, so ancient histories, such
variety of matter, so pleasant recreations, so strange things alleged,
and certain parcels of Scripture with such dexterity handled, that it
may hardly be discerned, whether shall be greater, either thy pleasure
by reading, or profit by following the same."[315]

Guevara himself was perhaps responsible for the failure of his
translators to make any formal recognition of responsibility for
reproducing his style. His fictitious account of the sources of _The
Golden Book_ is medieval in tone. He has translated, not word for word,
but thought for thought, and for the rudeness of his original he has
substituted a more lofty style.[316] His English translators reverse the
latter process. Hellowes affirms that his translation of the _Epistles_
"goeth agreeable unto the Author thereof," but confesses that he wants
"both gloss and hue of rare eloquence, used in the polishing of the rest
of his works." North later translated from the French Amyot's
epoch-making principle: "the office of a fit translator consisteth not
only in the faithful expressing of his author's meaning, but also in a
certain resembling and shadowing out of the form of his style and manner
of his speaking,"[317] but all that he has to say of his _Dial of
Princes_ is that he has reduced it into English "according to my small
knowledge and tender years."[318] Here again, though the translator may
sometimes have tried to adopt newer and more difficult standards, he
does not make this explicit in his comment.

Obviously, however, academic standards of accuracy were not likely to
make their first appearance in connection with fashionable court
literature; one expects to find them associated rather with the
translations of the great classical literature, which Renaissance
scholars approached with such enthusiasm and respect. One of the first
of these, the translation of the _Aeneid_ made by the Scotch poet, Gavin
Douglas, appeared, like the translations of Barclay and Berners, in the
early sixteenth century. Douglas's comment,[319] which shows a good deal
of conscious effort at definition of the translator's duties, is an odd
mingling of the medieval and the modern. He begins with a eulogy of
Virgil couched in the undiscriminating, exaggerated terms of the
previous period. Unlike the many medieval redactors of the Troy story,
however, he does not assume the historian's liberty of selection and
combination from a variety of sources. He regards Virgil as "a per se,"
and waxes indignant over Caxton's _Eneydos_, whose author represented it
as based on a French rendering of the great poet. It is, says Douglas,
"no more like than the devil and St. Austin." In proof of this he cites
Caxton's treatment of proper names. Douglas claims, reasonably enough,
that if he followed his original word for word, the result would be
unintelligible, and he appeals to St. Gregory and Horace in support of
this contention. All his plea, however, is for freedom rather than
accuracy, and one scarcely knows how to interpret his profession of

    And thus I am constrenyt, as neir I may,
    To hald his vers & go nane other way,
    Les sum history, subtill word, or the ryme
    Causith me make digressione sum tyme.

Yet whether or not Douglas's "digressions" are permissible, such
renderings as he illustrates involve no more latitude than is sanctioned
by the schoolboy's Latin Grammar. He is disturbed by the necessity for
using more words in English than the Latin has, and he feels it
incumbent upon him to explain,

    ... sum tyme of a word I mon mak thre,
    In witness of this term _oppetere_.

English, he says in another place, cannot without the use of additional
words reproduce the difference between synonymous terms like _animal_
and _homo_; _genus_, _sexus_, and _species_; _objectum_ and _subjectum_;
_arbor_ and _lignum_. Such comment, interesting because definite, is
nevertheless no more significant than that which had appeared in the
Purvey preface to the Bible more than a hundred years earlier. One is
reminded that most of the material which the present-day translator
finds in grammars of foreign languages was not yet in existence in any
generally accessible form.

Such elementary aids were, however, in process of formulation during the
sixteenth century. Mr. Foster Watson quotes from an edition of Mancinus,
published as early probably as 1520, the following directions for
putting Latin into English: "Whoso will learn to turn Latin into
English, let him first take of the easiest Latin, and when he
understandeth clearly what the Latin meaneth, let him say the English of
every Latin word that way, as the sentence may appear most clearly to
his ear, and where the English of the Latin words of the text will not
make the sentence fair, let him take the English of those Latin words by
whom (which) the Latin words of the text should be expounded and if that
(they) will not be enough to make the sentence perfect, let him add more
English, and that not only words, but also when need requireth, whole
clauses such as will agree best to the sentence."[320] By the new
methods of study advocated by men like Cheke and Ascham translation as
practiced by students must have become a much more intelligent process,
and the literary man who had received such preparatory training must
have realized that variations from the original such as had troubled
Douglas needed no apology, but might be taken for granted.

Further help was offered to students in the shape of various literal
translations from the classics. The translator of Seneca's _Hercules
Furens_ undertook the work "to conduct by some means to further
understanding the unripened scholars of this realm to whom I thought it
should be no less thankful for me to interpret some Latin work into this
our own tongue than for Erasmus in Latin to expound the Greek."[321]
"Neither could I satisfy myself," he continues, "till I had throughout
this whole tragedy of Seneca so travailed that I had in English given
verse for verse (as far as the English tongue permits) and word for word
the Latin, whereby I might both make some trial of myself and as it were
teach the little children to go that yet can but creep." Abraham
Fleming, translating Virgil's _Georgics_ "grammatically," expresses his
original "in plain words applied to blunt capacities, considering the
expositor's drift to consist in delivering a direct order of
construction for the relief of weak grammatists, not in attempting by
curious device and disposition to content courtly humanists, whose
desire he hath been more willing at this time to suspend, because he
would in some exact sort satisfy such as need the supply of his
travail."[322] William Bullokar prefaces his translation of Esop's
_Fables_ with the words: "I have translated out of Latin into English,
but not in the best phrase of English, though English be capable of the
perfect sense thereof, and might be used in the best phrase, had not my
care been to keep it somewhat nearer the Latin phrase, that the English
learner of Latin, reading over these authors in both languages, might
the more easily confer them together in their sense, and the better
understand the one by the other: and for that respect of easy
conference, I have kept the like course in my translation of Tully's
_Offices_ out of Latin into English to be imprinted shortly also."[323]

Text books like these, valuable and necessary as they were, can scarcely
claim a place in the history of literature. Bullokar himself,
recognizing this, promises that "if God lend me life and ability to
translate any other author into English hereafter, I will bend myself to
follow the excellency of English in the best phrase thereof, more than I
will bend it to the phrases of the language to be translated." In
avoiding the overliteral method, however, the translator of the classics
sometimes assumed a regrettable freedom, not only with the words but
with the substance of his source. With regard to his translation of the
_Aeneid_ Phaer represents himself as "Trusting that you, my right
worshipful masters and students of universities and such as be teachers
of children and readers of this author in Latin, will not be too much
offended though every verse answer not to your expectation. For (besides
the diversity between a construction and a translation) you know there
be many mystical secrets in this writer, which uttered in English would
show little pleasure and in my opinion are better to be untouched than
to diminish the grace of the rest with tediousness and darkness. I have
therefore followed the counsel of Horace, touching the duty of a good
interpreter, _Qui quae desperat nitescere posse, relinquit_, by which
occasion somewhat I have in places omitted, somewhat altered, and some
things I have expounded, and all to the ease of inferior readers, for
you that are learned need not to be instructed."[324] Though Jasper
Heywood's version of _Hercules Furens_ is an example of the literal
translation for the use of students, most of the other members of the
group of young men who in 1581 published their translations of Seneca
protest that they have reproduced the meaning, not the words of their
author. Alexander Neville, a precocious youth who translated the fifth
tragedy in "this sixteenth year of mine age," determined "not to be
precise in following the author word for word, but sometimes by
addition, sometimes by subtraction, to use the aptest phrases in giving
the sense that I could invent."[325] Neville's translation is
"oftentimes rudely increased with mine own simple invention";[326] John
Studley has changed the first chorus of the _Medea_, "because in it I
saw nothing but an heap of profane stories and names of profane
idols";[327] Heywood himself, since the existing text of the _Troas_ is
imperfect, admits having "with addition of mine own pen supplied the
want of some things,"[328] and says that he has also replaced the third
chorus, because much of it is "heaped number of far and strange
countries." Most radical of all is the theory according to which Thomas
Drant translated the _Satires_ of Horace. That Drant could be faithful
even to excess is evident from his preface to _The Wailings of Jeremiah_
included in the same volume with his version of Horace. "That thou
mightest have this rueful parcel of Scripture pure and sincere, not
swerved or altered, I laid it to the touchstone, the native tongue. I
weighed it with the Chaldee Targum and the Septuaginta. I desired to
jump so nigh with the Hebrew, that it doth erewhile deform the vein of
the English, the proprieties of that language and ours being in some
speeches so much dissemblable." But with Horace Drant pursues a
different course. As a moralist it is justifiable for him to translate
Horace because the Latin poet satirizes that wickedness which Jeremiah
mourned over. Horace's satire, however, is not entirely applicable to
conditions in England; "he never saw that with the view of his eye which
his pensive translator cannot but overview with the languish of his
soul." Moreover Horace's style is capable of improvement, an improvement
which Drant is quite ready to provide. "His eloquence is sometimes too
sharp, and therefore I have blunted it, and sometimes too dull, and
therefore I have whetted it, helping him to ebb and helping him to
rise." With his reader Drant is equally high-handed. "I dare not warrant
the reader to understand him in all places," he writes, "no more than he
did me. Howbeit I have made him more lightsome well nigh by one half (a
small accomplishment for one of my continuance) and if thou canst not
now in all points perceive him (thou must bear with me) in sooth the
default is thine own." After this one is somewhat prepared for Drant's
remarkable summary of his methods. "First I have now done as the people
of God were commanded to do with their captive women that were handsome
and beautiful: I have shaved off his hair and pared off his nails, that
is, I have wiped away all his vanity and superfluity of matter. Further,
I have for the most part drawn his private carpings of this or that man
to a general moral. I have Englished things not according to the vein of
the Latin propriety, but of his own vulgar tongue. I have interfered (to
remove his obscurity and sometimes to better his matter) much of mine
own devising. I have pieced his reason, eked and mended his similitudes,
mollified his hardness, prolonged his cortall kind of speeches, changed
and much altered his words, but not his sentence, or at least (I dare
say) not his purpose."[329] Even the novella does not afford examples of
such deliberate justification of undue liberty with source.

Why such a situation existed may be partially explained. The Elizabethan
writer was almost as slow as his medieval predecessor to make
distinctions between different kinds of literature. Both the novella and
the epic might be classed as "histories," and "histories" were valuable
because they aided the reader in the actual conduct of life. Arthur
Golding tells in the preface to his translation of Justin the story of
how Alexander the Great "coming into a school and finding not Homer's
works there ... gave the master a buffet with his fist: meaning that the
knowledge of _Histories_ was a thing necessary to all estates and
degrees."[330] It was the content of a work that was most important, and
comment like that of Drant makes us realize how persistent was the
conception that such content was common property which might be adjusted
to the needs of different readers. The lesser freedoms of the translator
were probably largely due to the difficulties inherent in a metrical
rendering. It is "ryme" that partially accounts for some of Douglas's
"digressions." Seneca's _Hercules Furens_, literal as the translation
purports to be, is reproduced "verse for verse, as far as the English
tongue permits." Thomas Twyne, who completed the work which Phaer began,
calls attention to the difficulty "in this kind of translation to
enforce their rime to another man's meaning."[331] Edward Hake, it is
not unlikely, expresses a common idea when he gives as one of his
reasons for employing verse rather than prose "that prose requireth a
more exact labor than metre doth."[332] If one is to believe Abraham
Fleming, one of the adherents of Gabriel Harvey, matters may be improved
by the adoption of classical metres. Fleming has translated Virgil's
_Bucolics_ and _Georgics_ "not in foolish rhyme, the nice observance
whereof many times darkeneth, corrupteth, perverteth, and falsifieth
both the sense and the signification, but with due proportion and

Seemingly, however, the translators who advocated the employment of the
hexameter made little use of the argument that to do so made it possible
to reproduce the original more faithfully. Stanyhurst, who says that in
his translation of the first four books of the _Aeneid_ he is carrying
out Ascham's wish that the university students should "apply their wits
in beautifying our English language with heroical verses," chooses
Virgil as the subject of his experiment for "his peerless style and
matchless stuff,"[334] leaving his reader with the impression that the
claims of his author were probably subordinate in the translator's mind
to his interest in Ascham's theories. Possibly he shared his master's
belief that "even the best translation is for mere necessity but an evil
imped wing to fly withal, or a heavy stump leg of wood to go
withal."[335] In discussion of the style to be employed in the metrical
rendering there was the same failure to make explicit the connection
between the original and the translation. Many critics accepted the
principle that "decorum" of style was essential in the translation of
certain kinds of poetry, but they based their demand for this quality on
its extrinsic suitability much more than on its presence in the work to
be translated. In Turbervile's elaborate comment on the style which he
has used in his translation of the _Eclogues_ of Mantuan, there is the
same baffling vagueness in his references to the quality of the original
that is felt in the prefaces of Lydgate and Caxton. "Though I have
altered the tongue," he says, "I trust I have not changed the author's
meaning or sense in anything, but played the part of a true interpreter,
observing that we call Decorum in each respect, as far as the poet's and
our mother tongue will give me leave. For as the conference between
shepherds is familiar stuff and homely, so have I shaped my style and
tempered it with such common and ordinary phrase of speech as countrymen
do use in their affairs; alway minding the saying of Horace, whose
sentence I have thus Englished:

    To set a manly head upon a horse's neck
    And all the limbs with divers plumes of divers hue to deck,
    Or paint a woman's face aloft to open show,
    And make the picture end in fish with scaly skin below,
    I think (my friends) would cause you laugh and smile to see
    How ill these ill-compacted things and numbers would agree.

For indeed he that shall translate a shepherd's tale and use the talk
and style of an heroical personage, expressing the silly man's meaning
with lofty thundering words, in my simple judgment joins (as Horace
saith) a horse's neck and a man's head together. For as the one were
monstrous to see, so were the other too fond and foolish to read.
Wherefore I have (I say) used the common country phrase according to the
person of the speakers in every Eclogue, as though indeed the man
himself should tell his tale. If there be anything herein that thou
shalt happen to mistake, neither blame the learned poet, nor control the
clownish shepherd (good reader) but me that presumed rashly to offer so
unworthy matter to thy survey."[336] Another phase of "decorum," the
necessity for employing a lofty style in dealing with the affairs of
great persons, comes in for discussion in connection with translations
of Seneca and Virgil. Jasper Heywood makes his excuses in case his
translation of the _Troas_ has "not kept the royalty of speech meet for
a tragedy";[337] Stanyhurst praises Phaer for his "picked and lofty
words";[338] but he himself is blamed by Puttenham because his own words
lack dignity. "In speaking or writing of a prince's affairs and
fortunes," writes Puttenham, "there is a certain decorum, that we may
not use the same terms in their business as we might very well do in a
meaner person's, the case being all one, such reverence is due to their
estates."[339] He instances Stanyhurst's renderings, "Aeneas was fain to
_trudge_ out of Troy" and "what moved Juno to _tug_ so great a captain
as Aeneas," and declares that the term _trudge_ is "better to be spoken
of a beggar, or of a rogue, or of a lackey," and that the word _tug_
"spoken in this case is so undecent as none other could have been
devised, and took his first original from the cart." A similar objection
to the employment of a "plain" style in telling the Troy story was made,
it will be remembered, in the early fifteenth century by Wyntoun.

The matter of decorum was to receive further attention in the
seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. In general, however, the comment
associated with verse translations does not anticipate that of later
times and is scarcely more significant than that which accompanies the
novella. So long, indeed, as the theory of translation was so largely
concerned with the claims of the reader, there was little room for
initiative. It was no mark of originality to say that the translation
must be profitable or entertaining, clear and easily understood; these
rules had already been laid down by generations of translators. The real
opportunity for a fresh, individual approach to the problems of
translation lay in consideration of the claims of the original author.
Renaissance scholarship was bringing a new knowledge of texts and
authors and encouraging a new alertness of mind in approaching texts
written in foreign languages. It was now possible, while making
faithfulness to source obligatory instead of optional, to put the matter
on a reasonable basis. The most vigorous and suggestive comment came
from a small number of men of scholarly tastes and of active minds, who
brought to the subject both learning and enthusiasm, and who were not
content with vague, conventional forms of words.

It was prose rather than verse renderings that occupied the attention of
these theorists, and in the works which they chose for translation the
intellectual was generally stronger than the artistic appeal. Their
translations, however, showed a variety peculiarly characteristic of the
English Renaissance. Interest in classical scholarship was nearly always
associated with interest in the new religious doctrines, and hence the
new theories of translation were attached impartially either to
renderings of the classics or to versions of contemporary theological
works, valuable on account of the close, careful thinking which they
contained, as contrasted with the more superficial charm of writings
like those of Guevara. An Elizabethan scholar, indeed, might have
hesitated if asked which was the more important, the Greek or Latin
classic or the theological treatise. Nash praises Golding
indiscriminately "for his industrious toil in Englishing Ovid's
_Metamorphoses_, besides many other exquisite editions of divinity
turned by him out of the French tongue into our own."[340] Golding
himself, translating one of these "exquisite editions of divinity,"
Calvin's _Sermons on the Book of Job_, insists so strongly on the
"substance, importance, and travail"[341] which belong to the work that
one is ready to believe that he ranked it higher than any of his other
translations. Nor was the contribution from this field to be despised.
Though the translation of the Bible was an isolated task which had few
relations with other forms of translation, what few affiliations it
developed were almost entirely with theological works like those of
Erasmus, Melanchthon, Calvin, and to the translation of such writings
Biblical standards of accuracy were transferred. On the other hand the
translator of Erasmus or Calvin was likely to have other and very
different interests, which did much to save him from a narrow pedantry.
Nicholas Udall, for example, who had a large share in the translation of
Erasmus's _Paraphrase on the New Testament_, also translated parts of
Terence and is best known as the author of _Ralph Roister Doister_.
Thomas Norton, who translated Calvin's _Institution of the Christian
Religion_, has been credited with a share in _Gorboduc_.

It was towards the middle of the century that these translators began to
formulate their views, and probably the decades immediately before and
after the accession of Elizabeth were more fruitful in theory than any
other part of the period. Certain centers of influence may be rather
clearly distinguished. In contemporary references to the early part of the
century Sir Thomas Elyot and Sir Thomas More are generally coupled together
as authorities on translation. Slightly later St. John's College,
Cambridge, "that most famous and fortunate nurse of all learning,"[342]
exerted through its masters and students a powerful influence. Much of the
fame of the college was due to Sir John Cheke, "a man of men," according to
Nash, "supernaturally traded in all tongues." Cheke is associated, in one
way and another, with an odd variety of translations--Nicholls' translation
of a French version of _Thucydides_,[343] Hoby's _Courtier_,[344] Wilson's
_Demosthenes_[345]--suggesting something of the range of his sympathies.

Though little of his own comment survives, the echoes of his opinions in
Ascham's _Schoolmaster_ and the preface to Wilson's _Demosthenes_ make
one suspect that his teaching was possibly the strongest force at work
at the time to produce higher standards for translation. As the century
progressed Sir William Cecil, in his early days a distinguished student
at St. John's and an intimate associate of Cheke's, maintained, in spite
of the cares of state, the tradition of his college as the patron of
various translators and the recipient of numerous dedications prefixed
to their productions. It is from the midcentury translators, however,
that the most distinctive comment emanates. United in various
combinations, now by religious sympathies, now by a common enthusiasm
for learning, now by the influence of an individual, they form a group
fairly homogeneous so far as their theories of translation are
concerned, appreciative of academic correctness, but ready to consider
also the claims of the reader and the nature of the vernacular.

The earlier translators, Elyot and More, have left small but significant
comment on methods. More's expression of theory was elicited by
Tyndale's translation of the Bible; of the technical difficulties
involved in his own translation of _The Life of Pico della Mirandola_ he
says nothing. Elyot is one of the first translators to approach his task
from a new angle. Translating from Greek to English, he observed, like
Tyndale, the differences and correspondences between the two languages.
His _Doctrinal of Princes_ was translated "to the intent only that I
would assay if our English tongue might receive the quick and proper
sentences pronounced by the Greeks."[346] The experiment had interesting
results. "And in this experience," he continues, "I have found (if I be
not much deceived) that the form of speaking, called in Greek and also
in English _Phrasis_, much nearer approacheth to that which at this day
we use, than the order of the Latin tongue. I mean in the sentences and
not in the words."

A peculiarly good exponent of the new vitality which was taking
possession of the theory of translation is Nicholas Udall, whose
opinions have been already cited in this chapter. The versatility of
intellect evinced by the list of his varied interests, dramatic,
academic, religious, showed itself also in his views regarding
translation. In the various prefaces and dedications which he
contributed to the translation of Erasmus's _Paraphrase_ he touches on
problems of all sorts--stipends for translators, the augmentation of the
English vocabulary, sentence structure in translation, the style of
Erasmus, the individual quality in the style of every writer--but all
these questions he treats lightly and undogmatically. Translation,
according to Udall, should not conform to iron rules. He is not
disturbed by the diversity of methods exhibited in the _Paraphrase_.
"Though every translator," he writes, "follow his own vein in turning
the Latin into English, yet doth none willingly swerve or dissent from
the mind and sense of his author, albeit some go more near to the words
of the author, and some use the liberty of translating at large, not so
precisely binding themselves to the strait interpretation of every word
and syllable."[347] In his own share of the translation Udall inclines
rather to the free than to the literal method. He has not been able
"fully to discharge the office of a good translator,"[348] partly
because of the ornate quality of Erasmus's style, partly because he
wishes to be understood by the unlearned. He does not feel so scrupulous
as he would if he were translating the text of Scripture, though even in
the latter connection he is guilty of the heretical opinion that "if the
translators were not altogether so precise as they are, but had some
more regard to expressing of the sense, I think in my judgment they
should do better." It will be noted, however, that Udall's advocacy of
freedom is an individual reaction, not the repetition of a formula. The
preface to his translation of the _Apophthegmes_ of Erasmus helps to
redress the balance in favor of accuracy. "I have labored," he says, "to
discharge the duty of a translator, that is, keeping and following the
sense of my book, to interpret and turn the Latin into English, with as
much grace of our vulgar tongue as in my slender power and knowledge
hath lain."[349] The rest of the preface shows that Udall, in his
concern for the quality of the English, did not make "following the
sense" an excuse for undue liberties. Writing "with a regard for young
scholars and students, who get great value from comparing languages," he
is most careful to note such slight changes and omissions as he has made
in the text. Explanations and annotations have been printed "in a small
letter with some directory mark," and "any Greek or Latin verse or word,
whereof the pith and grace of the saying dependeth" has been retained, a
sacrifice to scholarship for which he apologizes to the unlearned

Nicholas Grimald, who published his translation of Cicero's _Offices_
shortly after the accession of Elizabeth, is much more dogmatic in his
rules for translation than is Udall. "Howbeit look," runs the preface,
"what rule the Rhetorician gives in precept, to be observed of an Orator
in telling of his tale: that it be short, and without idle words: that
it be plain, and without dark sense: that it be provable, and without
any swerving from the truth: the same rule should be used in examining
and judging of translation. For if it be not as brief as the very
author's text requireth, what so is added to his perfect style shall
appear superfluous, and to serve rather to the making of some paraphrase
or commentary. Thereto if it be uttered with inkhorn terms, and not with
usual words: or if it be phrased with wrested or far-fetched forms of
speech, not fair but harsh, not easy but hard, not natural but violent
it shall seem to be. Then also, in case it yield not the meaning of the
author, but either following fancy or misled by error forsakes the true
pattern, it cannot be approved for a faithful and sure interpretation,
which ought to be taken for the greatest praise of all."[350] In
Grimald's insistence on a brevity equal to that of the original and in
his unmodified opposition to innovations in vocabulary, there is
something of pedantic narrowness. His criticism of Cicero is not
illuminating and his estimate, in this connection, of his own
accomplishment is amusingly complacent. In Cicero's work "marvellous is
the matter, flowing the eloquence, rich the store of stuff, and full
artificial the enditing: but how I," he continues, "have expressed the
same, the more the book be perused, the better it may chance to appear.
None other translation in our tongue have I seen but one, which is of
all men of any learning so well liked that they repute it and consider
it as none: yet if ye list to compare this somewhat with that nothing,
peradventure this somewhat will serve somewhat the more." Yet in spite
of his limitations Grimald has some breadth of outlook. A work like his
own, he believes, can help the reader to a greater command of the
vernacular. "Here is for him occasion both to whet his wit and also to
file his tongue. For although an Englishman hath his mother tongue and
can talk apace as he learned of his dame, yet is it one thing to tittle
tattle, I wot not how, or to chatter like a jay, and another to bestow
his words wisely, orderly, pleasantly, and pithily." The writer knows
men who could speak Latin "readily and well-favoredly, who to have done
as much in our language and to have handled the same matter, would have
been half black." Careful study of this translation will help a man "as
well in the English as the Latin, to weigh well properties of words,
fashions of phrases, and the ornaments of both."

Another interesting document is the preface entitled _The Translator to
the Reader_ which appeared in 1578 in the fourth edition of Thomas
Norton's translation of Calvin's _Institution of the Christian
Religion_. The opinions which it contains took shape some years earlier,
for the author expressly states that the translation has not been
changed at all from what it was in the first impression, published in
1561, and that the considerations which he now formulates governed him
in the beginning. Norton, like Grimald, insists on extreme accuracy in
following the original, but he bases his demand on a truth largely
ignored by translators up to this time, the essential relationship
between thought and style. He makes the following surprisingly
penetrative comment on the nature and significance of Calvin's Latin
style: "I considered how the author thereof had of long time purposely
labored to write the same most exactly, and to pack great plenty of
matter in small room of words, yea and those so circumspectly and
precisely ordered, to avoid the cavillations of such, as for enmity to
the truth therein contained, would gladly seek and abuse all advantages
which might be found by any oversight in penning of it, that the
sentences were thereby become so full as nothing might well be added
without idle superfluity, and again so nighly pared that nothing might
be minished without taking away some necessary substance of matter
therein expressed. This manner of writing, beside the peculiar terms of
arts and figures, and the difficulty of the matters themselves, being
throughout interlaced with the schoolmen's controversies, made a great
hardness in the author's own book, in that tongue wherein otherwise he
is both plentiful and easy, insomuch that it sufficeth not to read him
once, unless you can be content to read in vain." Then follows Norton's
estimate of the translator's duty in such a case: "I durst not presume
to warrant myself to have his meaning without his words. And they that
wot well what it is to translate well and faithfully, specially in
matters of religion, do know that not only the grammatical construction
of words sufficeth, but the very building and order to observe all
advantages of vehemence or grace, by placing or accent of words, maketh
much to the true setting forth of a writer's mind." Norton, however, did
not entirely forget his readers. He approached his task with "great
doubtfulness," fully conscious of the dilemma involved. "If I should
follow the words, I saw that of necessity the hardness of the
translation must needs be greater than was in the tongue wherein it was
originally written. If I should leave the course of words, and grant
myself liberty after the natural manner of my own tongue, to say that in
English which I conceived to be his meaning in Latin, I plainly
perceived how hardly I might escape error." In the end he determined "to
follow the words so near as the phrase of the English tongue would
suffer me." Unhappily Norton, like Grimald and like some of the
translators of the Bible, has an exaggerated regard for brevity. He
claims that "if the English book were printed in such paper and letter
as the Latin is, it should not exceed the Latin in quantity," and that
students "shall not find any more English than shall suffice to construe
the Latin withal, except in such few places where the great difference
of the phrases of the languages enforced me." Yet he believes that his
version is not unnecessarily hard to understand, and he urges readers
who have found it difficult to "read it ofter, in which doing you shall
find (as many have confessed to me that they have found by experience)
that those things which at first reading shall displease you for
hardness shall be found so easy as so hard matter would suffer, and for
the most part more easy than some other phrase which should with greater
looseness and smoother sliding away deceive your understanding."

Thomas Wilson, who dedicated his translation of Demosthenes to Sir
William Cecil in 1570, links himself with the earlier group of
translators by his detailed references to Cheke. Like Norton he is very
conscious of the difficulty of translation. "I never found in my life,"
he writes of this piece of work, "anything so hard for me to do." "Such
a hard thing it is," he adds later, "to bring matter out of any one
language into another." A vigorous advocate of translation, however, he
does not despise his own tongue. "The cunning is no less," he declares,
"and the praise as great in my judgment, to translate anything
excellently into English, as into any other language," and he hopes
that, if his own attempt proves unsuccessful, others will make the
trial, "that such an orator as this is might be so framed to speak our
tongue as none were able to amend him, and that he might be found to be
most like himself." Wilson comes to his task with all the equipment that
the period could afford; his preface gives evidence of a critical
acquaintance with numerous Latin renderings of his author. From Cheke,
however, he has gained something more valuable, the power to feel the
vital, permanent quality in the work of Demosthenes. Cheke, he says,
"was moved greatly to like Demosthenes above all others, for that he
saw him so familiarly applying himself to the sense and understanding of
the common people, that he sticked not to say that none ever was more
fit to make an Englishman tell his tale praiseworthily in any open
hearing either in parliament or in pulpit or otherwise, than this only
orator was." Wilson shares this opinion and, representative of the
changing standards of Elizabethan scholarship, prefers Demosthenes to
Cicero. "Demosthenes used a plain, familiar manner of writing and
speaking in all his actions," he says in his _Preface to the Reader_,
"applying himself to the people's nature and to their understanding
without using of proheme to win credit or devising conclusion to move
affections and to purchase favor after he had done his matters.... And
were it not better and more wisdom to speak plainly and nakedly after
the common sort of men in few words, than to overflow with unnecessary
and superfluous eloquence as Cicero is thought sometimes to do." "Never
did glass so truly represent man's face," he writes later, "as
Demosthenes doth show the world to us, and as it was then, so is it now,
and will be so still, till the consummation and end of all things shall
be." From Cheke Wilson has received also training in methods of
translation and especially in the handling of the vernacular. "Master
Cheke's judgment was great," he recalls, "in translating out of one
tongue into another, and better skill he had in our English speech to
judge of the phrases and properties of words and to divide sentences
than any one else that I have known. And often he would English his
matters out of the Latin or Greek upon the sudden, by looking of the
book only, without reading or construing anything at all, an usage right
worthy and very profitable for all men, as well for the understanding of
the book, as also for the aptness of framing the author's meaning, and
bettering thereby their judgment, and therewithal perfecting their
tongue and utterance of speech." In speaking of his own methods,
however, Wilson's emphasis is on his faithfulness to the original. "But
perhaps," he writes, "whereas I have been somewhat curious to follow
Demosthenes' natural phrase, it may be thought that I do speak over bare
English. Well I had rather follow his vein, the which was to speak
simply and plainly to the common people's understanding, than to
overflourish with superfluous speech, although I might thereby be
counted equal with the best that ever wrote English."

Though now and then the comment of these men is slightly vague or
inconsistent, in general they describe their methods clearly and fully.
Other translators, expressing themselves with less sureness and
adequacy, leave the impression that they have adopted similar
standards. Translations, for example, of Calvin's _Commentary on
Acts_[351] and Luther's _Commentary on Galatians_[352] are described on
their title pages as "faithfully translated" from the Latin. B. R.'s
preface to his translation of Herodotus, though its meaning is somewhat
obscured by rhetoric, suggests a suitable regard for the original.
"Neither of these," he writes of the two books which he has completed,
"are braved out in their colors as the use is nowadays, and yet so
seemly as either you will love them because they are modest, or not
mislike them because they are not impudent, since in refusing idle
pearls to make them seem gaudy, they reject not modest apparel to cause
them to go comely. The truth is (Gentlemen) in making the new attire, I
was fain to go by their old array, cutting out my cloth by another
man's measure, being great difference whether we invent a fashion of
our own, or imitate a pattern set down by another. Which I speak not to
this end, for that myself could have done more eloquently than our
author hath in Greek, but that the course of his writing being most
sweet in Greek, converted into English loseth a great part of his
grace."[353] Outside of the field of theology or of classical prose
there were translators who strove for accuracy. Hoby, profiting
doubtless by his association with Cheke, endeavored in translating _The
Courtier_ "to follow the very meaning and words of the author, without
being misled by fantasy, or leaving out any parcel one or other."[354]
Robert Peterson claims that his version of Della Casa's _Galateo_ is
"not cunningly but faithfully translated."[355] The printer of Carew's
translation of Tasso explains: "In that which is done, I have caused
the Italian to be printed together with the English, for the delight
and benefit of those gentlemen that love that most lively language. And
thereby the learned reader shall see how strict a course the translator
hath tied himself in the whole work, usurping as little liberty as any
whatsoever as ever wrote with any commendations."[356] Even translators
who do not profess to be overfaithful display a consciousness of the
existence of definite standards of accuracy. Thomas Chaloner, another
of the friends of Cheke, translating Erasmus's _Praise of Folly_ for
"mean men of baser wits and condition," chooses "to be counted a scant
true interpreter." "I have not pained myself," he says, "to render word
for word, nor proverb for proverb ... which may be thought by some
cunning translators a deadly sin."[357] To the author of the _Menechmi_
the word "translation" has a distinct connotation. The printer of the
work has found him "very loath and unwilling to hazard this to the
curious view of envious detraction, being (as he tells me) neither so
exactly written as it may carry any name of translation, nor such
liberty therein used as that he would notoriously differ from the
poet's own order."[358] Richard Knolles, whose translation of Bodin's
_Six Books of a Commonweal_ was published in 1606, employed both the
French and the Latin versions of the treatise, and describes himself as
on this account "seeking therein the true sense and meaning of the
author, rather than precisely following the strict rules of a nice
translator, in observing the very words of the author."[359] The
translators of this later time, however, seldom put into words theories
so scholarly as those formulated earlier in the period, when, even
though the demand for accuracy might sometimes be exaggerated, it was
nevertheless the result of thoughtful discrimination. There was some
reason why a man like Gabriel Harvey, living towards the end of
Elizabeth's reign, should look back with regret to the time when
England produced men like Cheke and his contemporaries.[360]

One must frequently remind oneself, however, that the absence of
expressed theory need not involve the absence of standards. Among
translators as among original writers a fondness for analyzing and
describing processes did not necessarily accompany literary skill. Much
more activity of mind and respect for originals may have existed among
verse translators than is evident from their scanty comment. The most
famous prose translators have little to say about their methods.
Golding, who produced so much both in verse and prose, and who usually
wrote prefaces to his translations, scarcely ever discusses
technicalities. Now and then, however, he lets fall an incidental remark
which suggests very definite ideals. In translating Caesar, for example,
though at first he planned merely to complete Brend's translation, he
ended by taking the whole work into his own hands, because, as he says,
"I was desirous to have the body of the whole story compacted uniform
and of one style throughout,"[361] a comment worthy of a much more
modern critic. Philemon Holland, again, contributes almost nothing to
theory, though his vigorous defense of his art and his appreciation of
the stylistic qualities of his originals bear witness to true scholarly
enthusiasm. On the whole, however, though the distinctive contribution
of the period is the plea of the renaissance scholars that a reasonable
faithfulness should be displayed, the comment of the mass of translators
shows little grasp of the new principles. When one considers, in
addition to their very inadequate expression of theory, the prevailing
characteristics of their practice, the balance turns unmistakably in
favor of a careless freedom in translation.

Some of the deficiencies in sixteenth-century theory are supplied by
Chapman, who applies himself with considerable zest to laying down the
principles which in his opinion should govern poetical translations.
Producing his versions of Homer in the last years of the sixteenth and
early years of the seventeenth century, he forms a link between the two
periods. In some respects he anticipates later critics. He attacks both
the overstrict and the overloose methods of translation:

                            the brake
    That those translators stick in, that affect
    Their word for word traductions (where they lose
    The free grace of their natural dialect,
    And shame their authors with a forced gloss)
    I laugh to see; and yet as much abhor
    More license from the words than may express
    Their full compression, and make clear the author.[362]

It is literalism, however, which bears the brunt of his attack. He is
always conscious, "how pedantical and absurd an affectation it is in the
interpretation of any author (much more of Homer) to turn him word for
word, when (according to Horace and other best lawgivers to translators)
it is the part of every knowing and judicial interpreter, not to follow
the number and order of words, but the material things themselves, and
sentences to weigh diligently, and to clothe and adorn them with words,
and such a style and form of oration, as are most apt for the language
in which they are converted."[363] Strangely enough, he thinks this
literalism the prevailing fault of translators. He hardly dares present
his work

    To reading judgments, since so gen'rally,
    Custom hath made ev'n th'ablest agents err
    In these translations; all so much apply
    Their pains and cunnings word for word to render
    Their patient authors, when they may as well
    Make fish with fowl, camels with whales, engender,
    Or their tongues' speech in other mouths compell.[364]

Chapman, however, believes that it is possible to overcome the
difficulties of translation. Although the "sense and elegancy" of Greek
and English are of "distinguished natures," he holds that it requires

    Only a judgment to make both consent
    In sense and elocution; and aspire,
    As well to reach the spirit that was spent
    In his example, as with art to pierce
    His grammar, and etymology of words.

This same theory was taken up by numerous seventeenth and eighteenth
century translators. Avoiding as it does the two extremes, it easily
commended itself to the reason. Unfortunately it was frequently
appropriated by critics who were not inclined to labor strenuously with
the problems of translation. One misses in much of the later comment the
vigorous thinking of the early Renaissance translators. The theory of
translation was not yet regarded as "a common work of building" to which
each might contribute, and much that was valuable in sixteenth-century
comment was lost by forgetfulness and neglect.


[250] Gregory Smith, _Elizabethan Critical Essays_, vol. I, p. 313.

[251] _Introduction_, in Foster Watson, _Vives and the Renaissance
Education of Women_, 1912.

[252] Letter prefixed to John, in _Paraphrase of Erasmus on the New
Testament_, London, 1548.

[253] _Dedication_, 1588.

[254] _To the Reader_, in _Shakespeare's Ovid_, ed. W. H. D. Rouse, 1904.

[255] Bishop of London's preface _To the Reader_, in _A Commentary of Dr.
Martin Luther upon the Epistle of St. Paul to the Galatians_, London, 1577.

[256] Preface to _The Institution of the Christian Religion_, London, 1578.

[257] Preface to _The Three Orations of Demosthenes_, London, 1570.

[258] Dedication of _Montaigne's Essays_, London, 1603.

[259] Reprinted, Roxburghe Club, 1887.

[260] Preface to _The Book of Metals_, in Arber, _The First Three English
Books on America_, 1885.

[261] Dedication of _Marcus Tullius Cicero's Three Books of Duties_, 1558.

[262] _A Brief Apology for Poetry_, in Gregory Smith, vol. 2, p. 219.

[263] Preface to _The Natural History of C. Plinius Secundus_, London,

[264] _Letter to John Florio_, in _Florio's Montaigne_, Tudor Translations.

[265] _To the Reader_, in _The Forest_, London, 1576.

[266] Dedication to Edward VI, in _Paraphrase of Erasmus_.

[267] _Prologue to Proverbs or Adagies with new additions gathered out of
the Chiliades of Erasmus by Richard Taverner_, London, 1539.

[268] _Epistle_ prefixed to translation, 1568.

[269] Published, Tottell, 1561.

[270] Reprinted, London, 1915.

[271] _Dedication_, in edition of 1588.

[272] _Op. cit._

[273] _Dedication_, _op. cit._

[274] _Dedication_, dated 1596, of _The History of Philip de Comines_,
London, 1601.

[275] _Dedication_ of _Achilles' Shield_ in Gregory Smith, vol. 2, p. 300.

[276] _Preface_ in Arber, _op. cit._

[277] _Preface_, dated 1584, to translation published 1590.

[278] Title page, 1574.

[279] _To the Reader_, _op. cit._

[280] London, 1570.

[281] Preface to _Seven Books of the Iliad of Homer_, in Gregory Smith,
vol. 2, p. 293.

[282] _Op. cit._

[283] Gregory Smith, vol. 1, p. 262.

[284] Preface to _Civile Conversation of Stephen Guazzo_, 1586.

[285] Dedication of _The End of Nero and Beginning of Galba_, 1598.

[286] _Op. cit._

[287] _Address to Queen Katherine_, prefixed to Luke.

[288] _Preface._

[289] Translated in Strype, _Life of Grindal_, Oxford, 1821, p. 22.

[290] Preface to _The Governor_, ed. Croft.

[291] _Ad Maecenatem Prologus to Order of the Garter_, in _Works_, ed.
Dyce, p. 584.

[292] Quoted in J. L. Moore, _Tudor-Stuart Views on the Growth, Status, and
Destiny of the English Language_.

[293] In Gregory Smith, _Elizabethan Critical Essays_, vol. 2, p. 171.

[294] Quoted in Moore, _op. cit._

[295] _To the Reader_, in 1603 edition of Montaigne's _Essays_.

[296] _Address to Queen Katherine_, prefixed to Luke.

[297] _To the Reader_ in _Civile Conversation of Stephen Guazzo_, 1586.

[298] _Preface_, 1587.

[299] _Master Phaer's Conclusion to his Interpretation of the Aeneidos of
Virgil_, in edition of 1573.

[300] _A Brief Apology for Poetry_, in Gregory Smith, vol. 1, pp. 217-18.

[301] Ed. T. H. Jamieson, Edinburgh, 1874.

[302] Reprinted, Spenser Society, 1885.

[303] _The Argument._

[304] Reprinted, London, 1814, _Prologue_.

[305] Ed. E. V. Utterson, London, 1812, _Preface_.

[306] _The Golden Book_, London, 1538, _Conclusion_.

[307] Title page, in Turbervile, _Tragical Tales_, Edinburgh, 1837.

[308] _To the Reader_, in _Palmerin d'Oliva_, London, 1637.

[309] See Painter, _Palace of Pleasure_, ed. Jacobs, 1890.

[310] _The Petit Palace of Pettie his Pleasure_, ed. Gollancz, 1908.

[311] _Dedication._

[312] _Palmerin of England_, ed. Southey, London, 1807.

[313] _Preface to divers learned gentlemen_, in _Diana of George of
Montemayor_, London, 1598.

[314] _To the Reader_, in _Honor's Academy_, London, 1610.

[315] _The Familiar Epistles of Sir Anthony of Guevara_, London, 1574, _To
the Reader_.

[316] _Prologue_ and _Argument_ of Guevara, translated in North, _Dial of
Princes_, 1619.

[317] In North, _The Lives of the Noble Grecians and Romans_, 1579.

[318] _Dedication_ in edition of 1568.

[319] _Prologue_ to Book I, _Aeneid_, reprinted Bannatyne Club.

[320] Foster Watson, _The English Grammar Schools to 1660_, Cambridge,
1908, pp. 405-6.

[321] _Dedication_, in Spearing, _The Elizabethan Translations of Seneca's
Tragedies_, Cambridge, 1912.

[322] _To the Reader_, in _The Georgics translated by A. F._, London, 1589.

[323] _Preface_, reprinted in Plessow, _Fabeldichtung in England_, Berlin,

[324] _Conclusion_, edition of 1573.

[325] _Seneca His Ten Tragedies_, 1581, _Dedication_ of Fifth.

[326] _To the Reader._

[327] _Agamemnon and Medea_ from edition of 1556, ed. Spearing, 1913,
_Preface_ of _Medea_.

[328] _To the Readers_, prefixed to _Troas_, in Spearing, _The Elizabethan
Translations of Seneca's Tragedies_.

[329] _A Medicinable Moral, that is, the two books of Horace his satires
Englished acccording to the prescription of St. Hierome_, London, 1566, _To
the Reader_.

[330] _Preface_ to the Earl of Oxford, in _The Abridgment of the Histories
of Trogus Pompeius collected and written in the Latin tongue by Justin_,
London, 1563.

[331] _To the Gentle Reader_, in Phaer's Virgil, 1583.

[332] _Epistle Dedicatory_ to _A Compendious Form of Living_, quoted in
Introduction to _News out of Powles Churchyard_, reprinted London, 1872, p.

[333] _The Bucolics of Virgil together with his Georgics_, London, 1589,
_The Argument_.

[334] _Preface_ in Gregory Smith, vol. 1, p. 137.

[335] _The Schoolmaster_, in _Works_, London, 1864, vol. 3, p. 226.

[336] _To the Reader_, prefixed to translation of _Eclogues_ of Mantuan,

[337] _To the Reader_, in _The Elizabethan Translations of Seneca's

[338] Stanyhurst's _Aeneid_, in _Arber's Scholar's Library_, p. 5.

[339] _Ibid._, _Introduction_, p. xix, quoted from _The Art of English

[340] Preface to Greene's _Menaphon_, in Gregory Smith, vol. 1, p. 315.

[341] _Dedication_, dated 1573, in edition of 1584.

[342] Gregory Smith, vol. 1, p. 313.

[343] Dedicated to Cheke.

[344] See Cheke's Letter in _The Courtier_, Tudor Translations, London,

[345] See _Epistle_ prefixed to translation.

[346] Quoted in _Life_ prefixed to _The Governor_, ed. Croft.

[347] _Address to Queen Katherine_ prefixed to _Paraphrase_.

[348] _Address to Katharine_ prefixed to Luke.

[349] _To the Reader_, in edition of 1564, literally reprinted Boston,
Lincolnshire, 1877.

[350] _To the Reader_, in _Marcus Tullius Cicero's Three Books of Duties_,

[351] Translated by Christopher Featherstone, reprinted, Edinburgh, 1844.

[352] London, 1577.

[353] _To the Gentlemen Readers_, in _Herodotus_, translated by B. R.,
London, 1584.

[354] _Op. cit._

[355] _Dedication_, in edition of 1576, reprinted, ed. Spingarn, Boston,

[356] _Preface_, in _Godfrey of Bulloigne_, London, 1594, reprinted in
Grosart, _Occasional Issues_, 1881.

[357] _To the Reader_, in edition of 1549.

[358] _The Printer to the Reader_, reprinted in _Shakespeare's Library_,

[359] _To the Reader._

[360] See _Works_, ed. Grosart, II, 50.

[361] _Dedication_, London, 1590.

[362] _To the Reader_, in _The Iliads of Homer_, Charles Scribner's Sons,
p. xvi.

[363] P. xxv.

[364] P. xv.




Although the ardor of the Elizabethan translator as he approached the
vast, almost unbroken field of foreign literature may well awaken the
envy of his modern successor, in many respects the period of Dryden and
Pope has more claim to be regarded as the Golden Age of the English
translator. Patriotic enthusiasm had, it is true, lost something of its
earlier fire, but national conditions were in general not unfavorable to
translation. Though the seventeenth century, torn by civil discords, was
very unlike the period which Holland had lovingly described as "this
long time of peace and tranquillity, wherein ... all good literature
hath had free course and flourished,"[365] yet, despite the rise and
fall of governments, the stream of translation flowed on almost
uninterruptedly. Sandys' _Ovid_ is presented by its author, after his
visit to America, as "bred in the New World, of the rudeness whereof it
cannot but participate; especially having wars and tumults to bring it
to light instead of the Muses,"[366] but the more ordinary translation,
bred at home in England during the seventeenth century, apparently
suffered little from the political strife which surrounded it, while the
eighteenth century afforded a "peace and tranquillity" even greater than
that which had prevailed under Elizabeth.

Throughout the period translation was regarded as an important labor,
deserving of every encouragement. As in the sixteenth century, friends
and patrons united to offer advice and aid to the author who engaged in
this work. Henry Brome, dedicating a translation of Horace to Sir
William Backhouse, writes of his own share of the volume, "to the
translation whereof my pleasant retirement and conveniencies at your
delightsome habitation have liberally contributed."[367] Doctor Barten
Holiday includes in his preface to a version of Juvenal and Persius an
interesting list of "worthy friends" who have assisted him. "My honored
friend, Mr. John Selden (of such eminency in the studies of antiquities
and languages) and Mr. Farnaby ... procured me a fair copy from the
famous library of St. James's, and a manuscript copy from our herald of
learning, Mr. Camden. My dear friend, the patriarch of our poets, Ben
Jonson, sent in an ancient manuscript partly written in the Saxon
character." Then follow names of less note, Casaubon, Anyan, Price.[368]
Dryden tells the same story. He has been permitted to consult the Earl
of Lauderdale's manuscript translation of Virgil. "Besides this help,
which was not inconsiderable," he writes, "Mr. Congreve has done me the
favor to review the _Aeneis_, and compare my version with the
original."[369] Later comes his recognition of indebtedness of a more
material character. "Being invited by that worthy gentleman, Sir William
Bowyer, to Denham Court, I translated the First Georgic at his house,
and the greatest part of the last Aeneid. A more friendly entertainment
no man ever found.... The Seventh Aeneid was made English at Burleigh,
the magnificent abode of the Earl of Exeter."[370]

While private individuals thus rallied to the help of the translator,
the world in general regarded his work with increasing respect. The
great Dryden thought it not unworthy of his powers to engage in putting
classical verse into English garb. His successor Pope early turned to
the same pleasant and profitable task. Johnson, the literary dictator of
the next age, described Rowe's version of Lucan as "one of the greatest
productions of English poetry."[371] The comprehensive editions of the
works of British poets which began to appear towards the end of the
eighteenth century regularly included English renderings, generally
contemporaneous, of the great poetry of other countries.

The growing dignity of this department of literature and the Augustan
fondness for literary criticism combined to produce a large body of
comment on methods of translation. The more ambitious translations of
the eighteenth century, for example, were accompanied by long prefaces,
containing, in addition to the elaborate paraphernalia of contemporary
scholarship, detailed discussion of the best rules for putting a foreign
classic into English. Almost every possible phase of the art had been
broached in one place and another before the century ended. In its last
decade there appeared the first attempt in English at a complete and
detailed treatment of the theory of translation as such, Tytler's _Essay
on the Principles of Translation_.

From the sixteenth-century theory of translation, so much of which is
incidental and uncertain in expression, it is a pleasure to come to the
deliberate, reasoned statements, unmistakable in their purpose and
meaning, of the earlier critics of our period, men like Denham, Cowley,
and Dryden. In contrast to the mass of unrelated individual opinions
attached to the translations of Elizabeth's time, the criticism of the
seventeenth century emanates, for the most part, from a small group of
men, who supply standards for lesser commentators and who, if they do
not invariably agree with one another, are yet thoroughly familiar with
one another's views. The field of discussion also has narrowed
considerably, and theory has gained by becoming less scattering.
Translation in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries showed certain
new developments, the most marked of which was the tendency among
translators who aspired to the highest rank to confine their efforts to
verse renderings of the Greek and Latin classics. A favorite remark was
that it is the greatest poet who suffers most in being turned from one
language into another. In spite of this, or perhaps for this reason, the
common ambition was to undertake Virgil, who was generally regarded as
the greatest of epic poets, and attempts to translate at least a part of
the _Aeneid_ were astonishingly frequent. As early as 1658 the Fourth
Book is described as "translated ... in our day at least ten times into
English."[372] Horace came next in popularity; by the beginning of the
eighteenth century, according to one translator, he had been
"translated, paraphrased, or criticized on by persons of all conditions
and both sexes."[373] As the century progressed, Homer usurped the place
formerly occupied by Virgil as the object of the most ambitious effort
and the center of discussion. But there were other translations of the
classics. Cooke, dedicating his translation of Hesiod to the Duke of
Argyll, says to his patron: "You, my lord, know how the works of genius
lift up the head of a nation above her neighbors, and give as much honor
as success in arms; among these we must reckon our translations of the
classics; by which when we have naturalized all Greece and Rome, we
shall be so much richer than they by so many original productions as we
have of our own."[374] Seemingly there was an attempt to naturalize "all
Greece and Rome." Anacreon, Pindar, Apollonius Rhodius, Lucretius,
Tibullus, Statius, Juvenal, Persius, Ovid, Lucan, are names taken almost
at random from the list of seventeenth and eighteenth-century
translations. Criticism, however, was ready to concern itself with the
translation of any classic, ancient or modern. Denham's two famous
pronouncements are connected, the one with his own translation of the
Second Book of the _Aeneid_, the other with Sir Richard Fanshaw's
rendering of _Il Pastor Fido_. In the later eighteenth century
voluminous comment accompanied Hoole's _Ariosto_ and Mickle's _Camoens_.

At present, however, we are concerned not with the number and variety of
these translations, but with their homogeneity. As translators showed
themselves less inclined to wander over the whole field of literature,
the theory of translation assumed much more manageable proportions. A
further limitation of the area of discussion was made by Denham, who
expressly excluded from his consideration "them who deal in matters of
fact or matters of faith,"[375] thus disposing of the theological
treatises which had formerly divided attention with the classics.

The aims of the translator were also clarified by definition of his
audience. John Vicars, publishing in 1632 _The XII. Aeneids of Virgil
translated into English decasyllables_, adduces as one of his motives
"the common good and public utility which I hoped might accrue to young
students and grammatical tyros,"[376] but later writers seldom repeat
this appeal to the learner. The next year John Brinsley issued _Virgil's
Eclogues, with his book De Apibus, translated grammatically, and also
according to the propriety of our English tongue so far as Grammar and
the verse will permit_. A significant comment in the "Directions" runs:
"As for the fear of making truants by these translations, a conceit
which arose merely upon the abuse of other translations, never intended
for this end, I hope that happy experience of this kind will in time
drive it and all like to it utterly out of schools and out of the minds
of all." Apparently the schoolmaster's ban upon the unauthorized use of
translations was establishing the distinction between the English
version which might claim to be ranked as literature and that which
Johnson later designated as "the clandestine refuge of schoolboys."[377]

Another limitation of the audience was, however, less admirable. For the
widely democratic appeal of the Elizabethan translator was substituted
an appeal to a class, distinguished, if one may believe the philosopher
Hobbes, as much by social position as by intellect. In discussing the
vocabulary to be employed by the translator, Hobbes professes opinions
not unlike those of the sixteenth-century critics. Like Puttenham, he
makes a distinction between words as suited or unsuited for the epic
style. "The names of instruments and tools of artificers, and words of
art," he says in the preface to his _Homer_, "though of use in the
schools, are far from being fit to be spoken by a hero. He may delight
in the arts themselves, and have skill in some of them, but his glory
lies not in that, but in courage, nobility, and other virtues of nature,
or in the command he has over other men." In Hobbes' objection to the
use of unfamiliar words, also, there is nothing new; but in the
standards by which he tries such terms there is something amusingly
characteristic of his time. In the choice of words, "the first
indiscretion is in the use of such words as to the readers of poesy
(which are commonly Persons of the best Quality)"--it is only fair to
reproduce Hobbes' capitalization--"are not sufficiently known. For the
work of an heroic poem is to raise admiration (principally) for three
virtues, valor, beauty, and love; to the reading whereof women no less
than men have a just pretence though their skill in language be not so
universal. And therefore foreign words, till by long use they become
vulgar, are unintelligible to them." Dryden is similarly restrained by
the thought of his readers. He does not try to reproduce the "Doric
dialect" of Theocritus, "for Theocritus writ to Sicilians, who spoke
that dialect; and I direct this part of my translations to our ladies,
who neither understand, nor will take pleasure in such homely
expressions."[378] In translating the _Aeneid_ he follows what he
conceives to have been Virgil's practice. "I will not give the reasons,"
he declares, "why I writ not always in the proper terms of navigation,
land-service, or in the cant of any profession. I will only say that
Virgil has avoided those properties, because he writ not to mariners,
soldiers, astronomers, gardeners, peasants, etc., but to all in general,
and in particular to men and ladies of the first quality, who have been
better bred than to be too nicely knowing in such things."[379]

Another element in theory which displays the strength and weakness of
the time is the treatment of the work of other countries and other
periods. A changed attitude towards the achievements of foreign
translators becomes evident early in the seventeenth century. In the
prefaces to an edition of the works of Du Bartas in English there are
signs of a growing satisfaction with the English language as a medium
and an increasing conviction that England can surpass the rest of Europe
in the work of translation. Thomas Hudson, in an address to James VI of
Scotland, attached to his translation of _The History of Judith_, quotes
an interesting conversation which he held on one occasion with that
pedantic monarch. "It pleased your Highness," he recalls, "not only to
esteem the peerless style of the Greek Homer and the Latin Virgil to be
inimitable to us (whose tongue is barbarous and corrupted), but also to
allege (partly through delight your majesty took in the haughty style of
those most famous writers, and partly to sound the opinion of others)
that also the lofty phrases, the grave inditement, the facund terms of
the French Salust (for the like resemblance) could not be followed nor
sufficiently expressed in our rough and unpolished English
language."[380] It was to prove that he could reproduce the French poet
"succinctly and sensibly in our vulgar speech" that Hudson undertook the
_Judith_. According to the complimentary verses addressed to the famous
Sylvester on his translations from the same author, the English tongue
has responded nobly to the demands put upon it. Sylvester has shown

    ... that French tongue's plenty to be such.
    And yet that ours can utter full as much.[381]

John Davies of Hereford, writing of another of Sylvester's translations,
describes English as acquitting itself well when it competes with
French, and continues

    If French to English were so strictly bound
    It would but passing lamely strive with it;
    And soon be forc'd to lose both grace and ground,
    Although they strove with equal skill and wit.[382]

An opinion characteristic of the latter part of the century is that of
the Earl of Roscommon, who, after praising the work of the earlier
French translators, says,

    From hence our generous emulation came,
    We undertook, and we performed the same:
    But now we show the world another way,
    And in translated verse do more than they.[383]

Dryden finds little to praise in the French and Italian renderings of
Virgil. "Segrais ... is wholly destitute of elevation, though his
version is much better than that of the two brothers, or any of the rest
who have attempted Virgil. Hannibal Caro is a great name among the
Italians; yet his translation is most scandalously mean."[384] "What I
have said," he declares somewhat farther on, "though it has the face of
arrogance, yet is intended for the honor of my country; and therefore I
will boldly own that this English translation has more of Virgil's
spirit in it than either the French or Italian."[385]

On translators outside their own period seventeenth-century critics
bestowed even less consideration than on their French or Italian
contemporaries. Earlier writers were forgotten, or remembered only to be
condemned. W. L., Gent., who in 1628 published a translation of Virgil's
_Eclogues_, expresses his surprise that a poet like Virgil "should yet
stand still as a _noli me tangere_, whom no man either durst or would
undertake; only Master Spenser long since translated the _Gnat_ (a
little fragment of Virgil's excellence), giving the world peradventure
to conceive that he would at one time or other have gone through with
the rest of this poet's work."[386] Vicars' translation of the _Aeneid_
is accompanied by a letter in which the author's cousin, Thomas Vicars,
congratulates him on his "great pains in transplanting this worthiest of
Latin poets into a mellow and neat English soil (a thing not done
before)."[387] Denham announces, "There are so few translations which
deserve praise, that I scarce ever saw any which deserved pardon; those
who travail in that kind being for the most part so unhappy as to rob
others without enriching themselves, pulling down the fame of good
authors without raising their own." Brome,[388] writing in 1666,
rejoices in the good fortune of Horace's "good friend Virgil ... who
being plundered of all his ornaments by the old translators, was
restored to others with double lustre by those standard-bearers of wit
and judgment, Denham and Waller,"[389] and in proof of his statements
puts side by side translations of the same passage by Phaer and Denham.
Later, in 1688, an anonymous writer recalls the work of Phaer and
Stanyhurst only to disparage it. Introducing his translation of Virgil,
"who has so long unhappily continued a stranger to tolerable English,"
he says that he has "observed how _Player_ and _Stainhurst_ of old ...
had murdered the most absolute of poets."[390] One dissenting note is
found in Robert Gould's lines prefixed to a 1687 edition of Fairfax's
_Godfrey of Bulloigne_.

    See here, you dull translators, look with shame
    Upon this stately monument of fame,
    And to amaze you more, reflect how long
    It is, since first 'twas taught the English tongue:
    In what a dark age it was brought to light;
    Dark? No, our age is dark, and that was bright.
    Of all these versions which now brightest shine,
    Most, Fairfax, are but foils to set off thine:
    Ev'n Horace can't of too much justice boast,
    His unaffected, easy style is lost:
    And Ogilby's the lumber of the stall;
    But thy translation does atone for all.[391]

Dryden, too, approves of Fairfax, considered at least as a metrist. He
includes him with Spenser among the "great masters of our language," and
adds, "many besides myself have heard our famous Waller own that he
derived the harmony of his numbers from _Godfrey of Bulloign_, which was
turned into English by Mr. Fairfax."[392] But even Dryden, who sometimes
saw beyond his own period, does not share the admiration which some of
his friends entertain for Chapman. "The Earl of Mulgrave and Mr.
Waller," he writes in the _Examen Poeticum_, "two of the best judges of
our age, have assured me that they could never read over the translation
of Chapman without incredible pleasure and extreme transport. This
admiration of theirs must needs proceed from the author himself, for the
translator has thrown him down as far as harsh numbers, improper
English, and a monstrous length of verse could carry him."[393]

In this satisfaction with their own country and their own era there
lurked certain dangers for seventeenth-century writers. The quality
becomes, as we shall see, more noticeable in the eighteenth century,
when the shackles which English taste laid upon original poetry were
imposed also upon translated verse. The theory of translation was
hampered in its development by the narrow complacency of its exponents,
and the record of this time is by no means one of uniform progress. The
seventeenth century shows clearly marked alternations of opinion; now it
sanctions extreme methods; now, by reaction, it inclines towards more
moderate views. The eighteenth century, during the greater part of its
course, produces little that is new in the way of theory, and adopts,
without much attempt to analyze them, the formulas left by the preceding
period. We may now resume the history of these developments at the point
where it was dropped in Chapter III, at the end of Elizabeth's reign.

In the first part of the new century the few minor translators who
described their methods held theories much like those of Chapman. W. L.,
Gent., in the extremely flowery and discursive preface to his version of
Virgil's _Eclogues_, says, "Some readers I make no doubt they (the
translations) will meet with in these dainty mouthed times, that will
tax me with not coming resolved word for word and line for line with the
author.... I used the freedom of a translator, not tying myself to the
tyranny of a grammatical construction but breaking the shell into many
pieces, was only careful to preserve the kernel safe and whole from the
violence of a wrong or wrested interpretation." After a long simile
drawn from the hunting field he concludes, "No more do I conceive my
course herein to be faulty though I do not affect to follow my author so
close as to tread upon his heels." John Vicars, who professes to have
robed Virgil in "a homespun English gray-coat plain," says of his
manner, "I have aimed at these three things, perspicuity of the matter,
fidelity to the author, and facility or smoothness to recreate thee my
reader. Now if any critical or curious wit tax me with a _Frustra fit
per plura &c._ and blame my not curious confinement to my author line
for line, I answer (and I hope this answer will satisfy the moderate and
ingenuous) that though peradventure I could (as in my Babel's Balm I
have done throughout the whole translation) yet in regard of the lofty
majesty of this my author's style, I would not adventure so to pinch his
spirits, as to make him seem to walk like a lifeless ghost. But on
thinking on that of Horace, _Brevis esse laboro obscurus fio_, I
presumed (yet still having an eye to the genuine sense as I was able)
to expatiate with poetical liberty, where necessity of matter and phrase
enforced." Vicars' warrant for his practice is the oftquoted caution of
Horace, _Nec verbum verbo curabis reddere_.

But the seventeenth century was not disposed to continue uninterruptedly
the tradition of previous translators. In translated, as in original
verse a new era was to begin, acclaimed as such in its own day, and
associated like the new poetry, with the names of Denham and Cowley as
both poets and critics and with that of Waller as poet. Peculiarly
characteristic of the movement was its hostility towards literal
translation, a hostility apparent also, as we have seen, in Chapman. "I
consider it a vulgar error in translating poets," writes Denham in the
preface to his _Destruction of Troy_, "to affect being Fidus Interpres,"
and again in his lines to Fanshaw:

    That servile path thou nobly dost decline
    Of tracing word by word, and line by line.
    Those are the labored births of slavish brains,
    Not the effect of poetry but pains;
    Cheap, vulgar arts, whose narrowness affords
    No flight for thoughts, but poorly sticks at words.

Sprat is anxious to claim for Cowley much of the credit for introducing
"this way of leaving verbal translations and chiefly regarding the sense
and genius of the author," which "was scarce heard of in England before
this present age."[394]

Why Chapman and later translators should have fixed upon extreme
literalness as the besetting fault of their predecessors and
contemporaries, it is hard to see. It is true that the recognition of
the desirability of faithfulness to the original was the most
distinctive contribution that sixteenth-century critics made to the
theory of translation, but this principle was largely associated with
prose renderings of a different type from that now under discussion.
If, like Denham, one excludes "matters of fact and matters of faith,"
the body of translation which remains is scarcely distinguished by
slavish adherence to the letter. As a matter of fact, however,
sixteenth-century translation was obviously an unfamiliar field to most
seventeenth-century commentators, and although their generalizations
include all who have gone before them, their illustrations are usually
drawn from the early part of their own century. Ben Jonson, whose
translation of Horace's _Art of Poetry_ is cited by Dryden as an
example of "metaphrase, or turning an author word by word and line by
line from one language to another,"[395] is perhaps largely responsible
for the mistaken impression regarding the earlier translators. Thomas
May and George Sandys are often included in the same category. Sandys'
translation of Ovid is regarded by Dryden as typical of its time. Its
literalism, its resulting lack of poetry, "proceeded from the wrong
judgment of the age in which he lived. They neither knew good verse nor
loved it; they were scholars, 'tis true, but they were pedants; and for
all their pedantic pains, all their translations want to be translated
into English."[396]

But neither Jonson, Sandys, nor May has much to say with regard to the
proper methods of translation. The most definite utterance of the group
is found in the lines which Jonson addressed to May on his translation
of Lucan:

    But who hath them interpreted, and brought
    Lucan's whole frame unto us, and so wrought
    As not the smallest joint or gentlest word
    In the great mass or machine there is stirr'd?
    The self same genius! so the world will say
    The sun translated, or the son of May.[397]

May's own preface says nothing of his theories. Sandys says of his Ovid,
"To the translation I have given what perfection my pen could bestow, by
polishing, altering, or restoring the harsh, improper, or mistaken with
a nicer exactness than perhaps is required in so long a labor,"[398] a
comment open to various interpretations. His metrical version of the
Psalms is described as "paraphrastically translated," and it is worthy
of note that Cowley, in his attack on the practice of too literal
translation, should have chosen this part of Sandys' work as
illustrative of the methods which he condemns. For the translators of
the new school, though professedly the foes of the word for word method,
carried their hostility to existing theories of translation much
farther. Cowley begins, reasonably enough, by pointing out the absurdity
of translating a poet literally. "If a man should undertake to translate
Pindar word for word, it would be thought that one madman had translated
another; as may appear when a person who understands not the original
reads the verbal traduction of him into Latin prose, than which nothing
seems more raving.... And I would gladly know what applause our best
pieces of English poesy could expect from a Frenchman or Italian, if
converted faithfully and word for word into French or Italian
prose."[399] But, ignoring the possibility of a reasonable regard for
both the original and the English, such as had been advocated by Chapman
or by minor translators like W. L. and Vicars, Cowley suggests a more
radical method. Since of necessity much of the beauty of a poem is lost
in translation, the translator must supply new beauties. "For men
resolving in no case to shoot beyond the mark," he says, "it is a
thousand to one if they shoot not short of it." "We must needs confess
that after all these losses sustained by Pindar, all we can add to him
by our wit or invention (not deserting still his subject) is not likely
to make him a richer man than he was in his own country." Finally comes
a definite statement of Cowley's method: "Upon this ground I have in
these two Odes of Pindar taken, left out and added what I please; nor
make it so much my aim to let the reader know precisely what he spoke as
what was his way and manner of speaking, which has not been yet (that I
know of) introduced into English, though it be the noblest and highest
kind of writing in verse." Denham, in his lines on Fanshaw's translation
of Guarini, had already approved of a similar method:

    A new and nobler way thou dost pursue
    To make translations and translators too.
    They but preserve the ashes, thou the flame,
    True to his sense, but truer to his fame.
    Feeding his current, where thou find'st it low
    Let'st in thine own to make it rise and flow;
    Wisely restoring whatsoever grace
    Is lost by change of times, or tongues, or place.

Denham, however, justifies the procedure for reasons which must have had
their appeal for the translator who was conscious of real creative
power. "Poesy," he says in the preface to his translation from the
_Aeneid_, "is of so subtle a spirit that in the pouring out of one
language into another it will all evaporate; and if a new spirit be not
added in transfusion, there will remain nothing but a _caput mortuum_."
The new method, which Cowley is willing to designate as _imitation_ if
the critics refuse to it the name of translation, is described by Dryden
with his usual clearness. "I take imitation of an author in their
sense," he says, "to be an endeavor of a later poet to write like one
who has written before him, on the same subject; that is, not to
translate his words, or be confined to his sense, but only to set him as
a pattern, and to write as he supposes that author would have done, had
he lived in our age, and in our country."[400]

Yet, after all, the new fashion was far from revolutionizing either the
theory or the practice of translation. Dryden says of Denham that "he
advised more liberty than he took himself," and of both Denham and
Cowley, "I dare not say that either of them have carried this libertine
way of rendering authors (as Mr Cowley calls it) so far as my definition
reaches; for in the _Pindaric Odes_ the customs and ceremonies of
ancient Greece are still observed."[401] In the theory of the less
distinguished translators of the second and third quarters of the
century, the influence of Denham and Cowley shows itself, if at all, in
the claim to have translated paraphrastically and the complacency with
which translators describe their practice as "new," a condition of
things which might have prevailed without the intervention of the method
of imitation. About the year 1680 there comes a definite reaction
against too great liberty in the treatment of foreign authors. Thomas
Creech, defining what may justly be expected of the translator of
Horace, says, "If the sense of the author is delivered, the variety of
expression kept (which I must despair of after Quintillian hath assured
us that he is most happily bold in his words) and his fancy not
debauched (for I cannot think myself able to improve Horace) 'tis all
that can be expected from a version."[402] After quoting with approval
what Cowley has said of the inadequacy of any translation, he continues:
"'Tis true he (Cowley) improves this consideration, and urges it as
concluding against all strict and faithful versions, in which I must beg
leave to dissent, thinking it better to convey down the learning of the
ancients than their empty sound suited to the present times, and show
the age their whole substance, rather than their ghost embodied in some
light air of my own." An anonymous writer presents a group of critics
who are disgusted with contemporary fashions in translation and wish to
go back to those which prevailed in the early part of the century.[403]

    Acer, incensed, exclaimed against the age,
    Said some of our new poets had of late
    Set up a lazy fashion to translate,
    Speak authors how they please, and if they call
    Stuff they make paraphrase, that answers all.
    Pedantic verse, effeminately smooth,
    Racked through all little rules of art to soothe,
    The soft'ned age industriously compile,
    Main wit and cripple fancy all the while.
    A license far beyond poetic use
    Not to translate old authors but abuse
    The wit of Romans; and their lofty sense
    Degrade into new poems made from thence,
    Disguise old Rome in our new eloquence.

Aesculape shares the opinion of Acer.

    And thought it fit wits should be more confined
    To author's sense, and to their periods too,
    Must leave out nothing, every sense must do,
    And though they cannot render verse for verse,
    Yet every period's sense they must rehearse.

Finally Metellus, speaking for the group, orders Laelius, one of their
number, to translate the Fourth Book of the _Aeneid_, keeping himself in
due subordination to Virgil.

    We all bid then translate it the old way
    Not a-la-mode, but like George Sandys or May;
    Show Virgil's every period, not steal sense
    To make up a new-fashioned poem thence.

Other translators, though not defending the literal method, do not
advocate imitation. Roscommon, in the _Essay on Translated Verse_,
demands fidelity to the substance of the original when he says,

    The genuine sense, intelligibly told,
    Shows a translator both discreet and bold.
    Excursions are inexpiably bad,
    And 'tis much safer to leave out than add,

but, unlike Phaer, he forbids the omission of difficult passages:

    Abstruse and mystic thoughts you must express,
    With painful care and seeming easiness.

Dryden considers the whole situation in detail.[404] He admires Cowley's
_Pindaric Odes_ and admits that both Pindar and his translator do not
come under ordinary rules, but he fears the effect of Cowley's example
"when writers of unequal parts to him shall imitate so bold an
undertaking," and believes that only a poet so "wild and ungovernable"
as Pindar justifies the method of Cowley. "If Virgil, or Ovid, or any
regular intelligible authors be thus used, 'tis no longer to be called
their work, when neither the thoughts nor words are drawn from the
original; but instead of them there is something new produced, which is
almost the creation of another hand.... He who is inquisitive to know an
author's thoughts will be disappointed in his expectation; and 'tis not
always that a man will be contented to have a present made him, when he
expects the payment of a debt. To state it fairly; imitation is the most
advantageous way for a translator to show himself, but the greatest
wrong which can be done to the memory and reputation of the dead."

Though imitation was not generally accepted as a standard method of
translation, certain elements in the theory of Denham and Cowley
remained popular throughout the seventeenth and even the eighteenth
century. A favorite comment in the complimentary verses attached to
translations is the assertion that the translator has not only equaled
but surpassed his original. An extreme example of this is Dryden's
fatuous reference to the Earl of Mulgrave's translation of Ovid:

    How will sweet Ovid's ghost be pleased to hear
    His fame augmented by an English peer,
    How he embellishes his Helen's loves,
    Outdoes his softness, and his sense improves.[405]

His earlier lines to Sir Robert Howard on the latter's translation of
the _Achilleis_ of Statius are somewhat less bald:

    To understand how much we owe to you,
    We must your numbers with your author's view;
    Then shall we see his work was lamely rough,
    Each figure stiff as if designed in buff;
    His colours laid so thick on every place,
    As only showed the paint, but hid the face;
    But as in perspective we beauties see
    Which in the glass, not in the picture be,
    So here our sight obligingly mistakes
    That wealth which his your bounty only makes.
    Thus vulgar dishes are by cooks disguised,
    More for their dressing than their substance prized.[406]

It was especially in cases where the original lacked smoothness and
perspicuity, the qualities which appealed most strongly to the century,
that the claim to improvement was made. Often, however, it was
associated with notably accurate versions. Cartwright calls upon the
readers of Holiday's _Persius_,

                who when they shall view
    How truly with thine author thou dost pace,
    How hand in hand ye go, what equal grace
    Thou dost observe with him in every term,
    They cannot but, if just, justly affirm
    That did your times as do your lines agree,
    He might be thought to have translated thee,
    But that he's darker, not so strong; wherein
    Thy greater art more clearly may be seen,
    Which does thy Persius' cloudy storms display
    With lightning and with thunder; both which lay
    Couched perchance in him, but wanted force
    To break, or light from darkness to divorce,
    Till thine exhaled skill compressed it so,
    That forced the clouds to break, the light to show,
    The thunder to be heard. That now each child
    Can prattle what was meant; whilst thou art styled
    Of all, with titles of true dignity
    For lofty phrase and perspicuity.[407]

J. A. addresses Lucretius in lines prefixed to Creech's translation,

    But Lord, how much you're changed, how much improv'd!
    Your native roughness all is left behind,
    But still the same good man tho' more refin'd,[408]

and Otway says to the translator:

    For when the rich original we peruse,
    And by it try the metal you produce,
    Though there indeed the purest ore we find,
    Yet still by you it something is refined;
    Thus when the great Lucretius gives a loose
    And lashes to her speed his fiery Muse,
    Still with him you maintain an equal pace,
    And bear full stretch upon him all the race;
    But when in rugged way we find him rein
    His verse, and not so smooth a stroke maintain,
    There the advantage he receives is found,
    By you taught temper, and to choose his ground.[409]

So authoritative a critic as Roscommon, however, seems to oppose
attempts at improvement when he writes,

    Your author always will the best advise,
    Fall when he falls, and when he rises, rise,

a precept which Tytler, writing at the end of the next century,
considers the one doubtful rule in _The Essay on Translated Verse_. "Far
from adopting the former part of this maxim," he declares, "I consider
it to be the duty of a poetical translator, never to suffer his original
to fall. He must maintain with him a perpetual contest of genius; he
must attend him in his highest flights, and soar, if he can, beyond him:
and when he perceives, at any time a diminution of his powers, when he
sees a drooping wing, he must raise him on his own pinions."[410]

The influence of Denham and Cowley is also seen in what is perhaps the
most significant element in the seventeenth-century theory of
translation. These men advocated freedom in translation, not because
such freedom would give the translator a greater opportunity to display
his own powers, but because it would enable him to reproduce more truly
the spirit of the original. A good translator must, first of all, know
his author intimately. Where Denham's expressions are fuller than
Virgil's, they are, he says, "but the impressions which the often
reading of him hath left upon my thoughts." Possessing this intimate
acquaintance, the English writer must try to think and write as if he
were identified with his author. Dryden, who, in spite of his general
principles, sometimes practised something uncommonly like imitation,
says in the preface to _Sylvae_: "I must acknowledge that I have many
times exceeded my commission; for I have both added and omitted, and
even sometimes very boldly made such expositions of my authors as no
Dutch commentator will forgive me.... Where I have enlarged them, I
desire the false critics would not always think that those thoughts are
wholly mine, but either that they are secretly in the poet, or may be
fairly deduced from him; or at least, if both these considerations
should fail, that my own is of a piece with his, and that if he were
living, and an Englishman, they are such as he would probably have

By a sort of irony the more faithful translator came in time to
recognize this as one of the precepts of his art, and sometimes to use
it as an argument against too much liberty. The Earl of Roscommon says
in the preface to his translation of Horace's _Art of Poetry_, "I have
kept as close as I could both to the meaning and the words of the
author, and done nothing but what I believe he would forgive if he were
alive; and I have often asked myself this question." Dryden follows his
protest against imitation by saying: "Nor must we understand the
language only of the poet, but his particular turn of thoughts and
expression, which are the characters that distinguish, and, as it were,
individuate him from all other writers. When we come thus far, 'tis
time to look into ourselves, to conform our genius to his, to give his
thought either the same turn, if our tongue will bear it, or if not, to
vary but the dress, not to alter or destroy the substance."[412] Such
faithfulness, according to Dryden, involves the appreciation and the
reproduction of the qualities in an author which distinguish him from
others, or, to use his own words, "the maintaining the character of an
author which distinguishes him from all others, and makes him appear
that individual poet whom you would interpret."[413] Dryden thinks that
English translators have not sufficiently recognized the necessity for
this. "For example, not only the thoughts, but the style and
versification of Virgil and Ovid are very different: yet I see, even in
our best poets who have translated some parts of them, that they have
confounded their several talents, and, by endeavoring only at the
sweetness and harmony of numbers, have made them so much alike that, if
I did not know the originals, I should never be able to judge by the
copies which was Virgil and which was Ovid. It was objected against a
late noble painter that he drew many graceful pictures, but few of them
were like. And this happened because he always studied himself more than
those who sat to him. In such translators I can easily distinguish the
hand which performed the work, but I cannot distinguish their poet from

But critics recognized that study and pains alone could not furnish the
translator for his work. "To be a thorough translator," says Dryden, "he
must be a thorough poet,"[414] or to put it, as does Roscommon, somewhat
more mildly, he must by nature possess the more essential
characteristics of his author. Admitting this, Creech writes with a
slight air of apology, "I cannot choose but smile to think that I, who
have ... too little ill nature (for that is commonly thought a
necessary ingredient) to be a satirist, should venture upon
Horace."[415] Dryden finds by experience that he can more easily
translate a poet akin to himself. His translations of Ovid please him.
"Whether it be the partiality of an old man to his youngest child I know
not; but they appear to me the best of all my endeavors in this kind.
Perhaps this poet is more easy to be translated than some others whom I
have lately attempted; perhaps, too, he was more according to my
genius."[416] He looks forward with pleasure to putting the whole of the
_Iliad_ into English. "And this I dare assure the world beforehand, that
I have found, by trial, Homer a more pleasing task than Virgil, though I
say not the translation will be less laborious; for the Grecian is more
according to my genius than the Latin poet."[417] The insistence on the
necessity for kinship between the author and the translator is the
principal idea in Roscommon's _Essay on Translated Verse_. According to

    Each poet with a different talent writes,
    One praises, one instructs, another bites.
    Horace could ne'er aspire to epic bays,
    Nor lofty Maro stoop to lyric lays.

This, then, is his advice to the would-be translator:

    Examine how your humour is inclined,
    And which the ruling passion of your mind;
    Then, seek a poet who your way does bend,
    And choose an author as you choose a friend.
    United by this sympathetic bond,
    You grow familiar, intimate, and fond;
    Your thoughts, your words, your styles, your souls agree,
    No longer his interpreter but he.

Though the plea of reproducing the spirit of the original was sometimes
made a pretext for undue latitude, it is evident that there was here an
important contribution to the theory of translation. In another respect,
also, the consideration of metrical effects, the seventeenth century
shows some advance,--an advance, however, which must be laid chiefly to
the credit of Dryden. Apparently there was no tendency towards
innovation and experiment in the matter of verse forms.
Seventeenth-century translators, satisfied with the couplet and kindred
measures, did not consider, as the Elizabethans had done, the
possibility of introducing classical metres. Creech says of Horace,
"'Tis certain our language is not capable of the numbers of the
poet,"[418] and leaves the matter there. Holiday says of his translation
of the same poet: "But many, no doubt, will say Horace is by me
forsaken, his lyric softness and emphatical Muse maimed; that there is a
general defection from his genuine harmony. Those I must tell, I have in
this translation rather sought his spirit than numbers; yet the music of
verse not neglected neither, since the English ear better heareth the
distich, and findeth that sweetness and air which the Latin affecteth
and (questionless) attaineth in sapphics or iambic measures."[419]
Dryden frequently complains of the difficulty of translation into
English metre, especially when the poet to be translated is Virgil. The
use of rhyme causes trouble. It "is certainly a constraint even to the
best poets, and those who make it with most ease.... What it adds to
sweetness, it takes away from sense; and he who loses the least by it
may be called a gainer. It often makes us swerve from an author's
meaning; as, if a mark be set up for an archer at a great distance, let
him aim as exactly as he can, the least wind will take his arrow, and
divert it from the white."[420] The line of the heroic couplet is not
long enough to reproduce the hexameter, and Virgil is especially
succinct. "To make him copious is to alter his character; and to
translate him line for line is impossible, because the Latin is
naturally a more succinct language than either the Italian, Spanish,
French, or even than the English, which, by reason of its monosyllables,
is far the most compendious of them. Virgil is much the closest of any
Roman poet, and the Latin hexameter has more feet than the English
heroic."[421] Yet though Dryden admits that Caro, the Italian
translator, who used blank verse, made his task easier thereby, he does
not think of abandoning the couplet for any of the verse forms which
earlier translators had tried. He finds Chapman's _Homer_ characterized
by "harsh numbers ... and a monstrous length of verse," and thinks his
own period "a much better age than was the last ... for versification
and the art of numbers."[422] Roscommon, whose version of Horace's _Art
of Poetry_ is in blank verse, says that Jonson's translation lacks
clearness as a result not only of his literalness but of "the constraint
of rhyme,"[423] but makes no further attack on the couplet as the
regular vehicle for translation.

Dryden, however, is peculiarly interested in the general effect of his
verse as compared with that of his originals. "I have attempted," he
says in the _Examen Poeticum_, "to restore Ovid to his native sweetness,
easiness, and smoothness, and to give my poetry a kind of cadence and,
as we call it, a run of verse, as like the original as the English can
come to the Latin."[424] In his study of Virgil previous to translating
the _Aeneid_ he observed "above all, the elegance of his expressions
and the harmony of his numbers."[425] Elsewhere he says of his author,
"His verse is everywhere sounding the very thing in your ears whose
sense it bears, yet the numbers are perpetually varied to increase the
delight of the reader; so that the same sounds are never repeated twice
together."[426] These metrical effects he has tried to reproduce in
English. "The turns of his verse, his breakings, his numbers, and his
gravity, I have as far imitated as the poverty of our language and the
hastiness of my performance would allow," he says in the preface to
_Sylvae_.[427] In his translation of the whole _Aeneid_ he was guided by
the same considerations. "Virgil ... is everywhere elegant, sweet, and
flowing in his hexameters. His words are not only chosen, but the places
in which he ranks them for the sound. He who removes them from the
station wherein their master set them spoils the harmony. What he says
of the Sibyl's prophecies may be as properly applied to every word of
his: they must be read in order as they lie; the least breath
discomposes them and somewhat of their divinity is lost. I cannot boast
that I have been thus exact in my verses; but I have endeavored to
follow the example of my master, and am the first Englishman, perhaps,
who made it his design to copy him in his numbers, his choice of words,
and his placing them for the sweetness of the sound. On this last
consideration I have shunned the _caesura_ as much as possibly I could:
for, wherever that is used, it gives a roughness to the verse; of which
we have little need in a language which is overstocked with
consonants."[428] Views like these contribute much to an adequate
conception of what faithfulness in translation demands.

From the lucid, intelligent comment of Dryden it is disappointing to
turn to the body of doctrine produced by his successors. In spite of the
widespread interest in translation during the eighteenth century, little
progress was made in formulating the theory of the art, and many of the
voluminous prefaces of translators deserve the criticism which Johnson
applied to Garth, "his notions are half-formed." So far as concerns the
general method of translation, the principles laid down by critics are
often mere repetitions of the conclusions already reached in the
preceding century. Most theorists were ready to adopt Dryden's view that
the translator should strike a middle course between the very free and
the very close method. Put into words by a recognized authority, so
reasonable an opinion could hardly fail of acceptance. It appealed to
the eighteenth-century mind as adequate, and more than one translator,
professing to give rules for translation, merely repeated in his own
words what Dryden had already said. Garth declares in the preface
condemned by Johnson: "Translation is commonly either verbal, a
paraphrase, or an imitation.... The manner that seems most suitable for
this present undertaking is neither to follow the author too close out
of a critical timorousness, nor abandon him too wantonly through a
poetic boldness. The original should always be kept in mind, without too
apparent a deviation from the sense. Where it is otherwise, it is not a
version but an imitation."[429] Grainger says in the introduction to his
_Tibullus_: "Verbal translations are always inelegant, because always
destitute of beauty of idiom and language; for by their fidelity to an
author's words, they become treacherous to his reputation; on the other
hand, a too wanton departure from the letter often varies the sense and
alters the manner. The translator chose the middle way, and meant
neither to tread on the heels of Tibullus nor yet to lose sight of
him."[430] The preface to Fawkes' _Theocritus_ harks back to Dryden: "A
too faithful translation, Mr. Dryden says, must be a pedantic one....
And as I have not endeavored to give a verbal translation, so neither
have I indulged myself in a rash paraphrase, which always loses the
spirit of an ancient by degenerating into the modern manners of

Yet behind these well-sounding phrases there lay, one suspects, little
vigorous thought. Both the clarity and the honesty which belong to
Dryden's utterances are absent from much of the comment of the
eighteenth century. The apparent judicial impartiality of Garth, Fawkes,
Grainger, and their contemporaries disappears on closer examination. In
reality the balance of opinion in the time of Pope and Johnson inclines
very perceptibly in favor of freedom. Imitation, it is true, soon ceases
to enter into the discussion of translation proper, but literalism is
attacked again and again, till one is ready to ask, with Dryden, "Who
defends it?" Mickle's preface to _The Lusiad_ states with unusual
frankness what was probably the underlying idea in most of the theory of
the time. Writing "not to gratify the dull few, whose greatest pleasure
is to see what the author exactly says," but "to give a poem that might
live in the English language," Mickle puts up a vigorous defense of his
methods. "Literal translation of poetry," he insists, "is a solecism.
You may construe your author, indeed, but if with some translators you
boast that you have left your author to speak for himself, that you have
neither added nor diminished, you have in reality grossly abused him,
and deceived yourself. Your literal translations can have no claim to
the original felicities of expression, the energy, elegance, and fire of
the original poetry. It may bear, indeed, a resemblance, but such an
one as a corpse in the sepulchre bears to the former man, when he moved
in the bloom and vigor of life.

    Nec verbum verbo curabis reddere, fidus

was the taste of the Augustan age. None but a poet can translate a poet.
The freedom which this precept gives will, therefore, in a poet's hands,
not only infuse the energy, elegance, and fire of the author's poetry
into his own version, but will give it also the spirit of an
original."[432] A similarly clear statement of the real facts of the
situation appears in Johnson's remarks on translators. His test for a
translation is its readability, and to attain this quality he thinks it
permissible for the translator to improve on his author. "To a thousand
cavils," he writes in the course of his comments on Pope's _Homer_, "one
answer is necessary; the purpose of a writer is to be read, and the
criticism which would destroy the power of pleasing must be blown
aside."[433] The same view comes forward in his estimate of Cowley's
work. "The Anacreon of Cowley, like the Homer of Pope, has admitted the
decoration of some modern graces, by which he is undoubtedly more
amiable to common readers, and perhaps, if they would honestly declare
their own perceptions, to far the greater part of those whom courtesy
and ignorance are content to style the learned."[434]

In certain matters, however, the translator claimed especial freedom. "A
work of this nature," says Trapp of his translation of the _Aeneid_, "is
to be regarded in two different views, both as a poem and as a
translated poem." This gives the translator some latitude. "The thought
and contrivance are his author's, but his language and the turn of his
versification are his own."[435] Pope holds the same opinion. A
translator must "give his author entire and unmaimed" but for the rest
the diction and versification are his own province.[436] Such a dictum
was sure to meet with approval, for dignity of language and smoothness
of verse were the very qualities on which the period prided itself. It
was in these respects that translators hoped to improve on the work of
the preceding age. Fawkes, the translator of Theocritus, believes that
many lines in Dryden's _Miscellany_ "will sound very harshly in the
polished ears of the present age," and that Creech's translation of his
author can be popular only with those who "having no ear for poetical
numbers, are better pleased with the rough music of the last age than
the refined harmony of this." Johnson, who strongly approved of Dryden's
performance, accepts it as natural that there should be other attempts
at the translation of Virgil, "since the English ear has been accustomed
to the mellifluence of Pope's numbers, and the diction of poetry has
become more splendid."[437] There was something of poetic justice in
this attitude towards the seventeenth century, itself so unappreciative
of the achievements of earlier translators, but exemplified in practice,
it showed the peculiar limitations of the age of Pope.

As in the seventeenth century, the heroic couplet was the predominant
form in translations. Blank verse, when employed, was generally
associated with a protest against the prevailing methods of translators.
Trapp and Brady, both of whom early in the century attempted blank verse
renderings of the _Aeneid_, justify their use of this form on the ground
that it permits greater faithfulness to the original. Brady intends to
avoid the rock upon which other translators have split, "and that seems
to me to be their translating this noble and elegant poet into rhyme; by
which they were sometimes forced to abandon the sense, and at other
times to cramp it very much, which inconveniences may probably be
avoided in blank verse."[438] Trapp makes a more violent onslaught upon
earlier translations, which he finds "commonly so very licentious that
they can scarce be called so much as paraphrases," and presents the
employment of blank verse as in some degree a remedy for this. "The
fetters of rhyme often cramp the expression and spoil the verse, and so
you can both translate more closely and also more fully express the
spirit of your author without it than with it."[439] Neither version
however was kindly received, and though there continued to be occasional
efforts to break away from what Warton calls "the Gothic shackles of
rhyme"[440] or from the oversmoothness of Augustan verse, the more
popular translators set the stamp of their approval on the couplet in
its classical perfection. Grainger, who translated Tibullus, discusses
the possibility of using the "alternate" stanza, but ends by saying that
he has generally "preferred the heroic measure, which is not better
suited to the lofty sound of the epic muse than to the complaining tone
of the elegy."[441] Hoole chooses the couplet for his version of
Ariosto, because it occupies the same place in English that the octave
stanza occupies in Italian, and because it is capable of great variety.
"Of all the various styles used by the best poets," he says, "none seems
so well adapted to the mixed and familiar narrative as that of Dryden in
his last production, known by the name of his _Fables_, which by their
harmony, spirit, ease, and variety of versification, exhibit an
admirable model for a translation of Ariosto."[442] It was, however, to
the regularity of Pope's couplet that most translators aspired. Francis,
the translator of Horace, who succeeded in pleasing his readers in spite
of his failure to conform with popular standards, puts the situation
well in a comment which recalls a similar utterance of Dryden. "The
misfortune of our translators," he says, "is that they have only one
style; and consequently all their authors, Homer, Virgil, Horace, and
Ovid, are compelled to speak in the same numbers, and the same unvaried
expression. The free-born spirit of poetry is confined in twenty
constant syllables, and the sense regularly ends with every second line,
as if the writer had not strength enough to support himself or courage
enough to venture into a third."[443]

Revolts against the couplet, then, were few and generally unsuccessful.
Prose translations of the epic, such as have in our own day attained
some popularity, were in the eighteenth century regarded with especial
disfavor. It was known that they had some vogue in France, but that was
not considered a recommendation. The English translation of Madame
Dacier's prose Homer, issued by Ozell, Oldisworth, and Broome, was
greeted with scorn. Trapp, in the preface to his Virgil, refers to the
new French fashion with true insular contempt. Segrais' translation is
"almost as good as the French language will allow, which is just as fit
for an epic poem as an ambling nag is for a war horse.... Their language
is excellent for prose, but quite otherwise for verse, especially
heroic. And therefore tho' the translating of poems into prose is a
strange modern invention, yet the French transprosers are so far in the
right because their language will not bear verse." Mickle, mentioning in
his _Dissertation on the Lusiad_ that "M. Duperron de Castera, in 1735,
gave in French prose a loose unpoetical paraphrase of the Lusiad,"
feels it necessary to append in a note his opinion that "a literal prose
translation of poetry is an attempt as absurd as to translate fire into

If there was little encouragement for the translator to experiment with
new solutions of the problems of versification, there was equally little
latitude allowed him in the other division of his peculiar province,
diction. In accordance with existing standards, critics doubled their
insistence on Decorum, a quality in which they found the productions of
former times lacking. Johnson criticizes Dryden's _Juvenal_ on the
ground that it wants the dignity of its original.[444] Fawkes finds
Creech "more rustic than any of the rustics in the Sicilian bard," and
adduces in proof many illustrations, from his calling a "noble pastoral
cup a fine two-handled pot" to his dubbing his characters "Tawney Bess,
Tom, Will, Dick" in vulgar English style.[445] Fanshaw, says Mickle in
the preface to his translation of Camoens, had not "the least idea of
the dignity of the epic style." The originals themselves, however,
presented obstacles to suitable rendering. Preston finds this so in the
case of Apollonius Rhodius, and offers this explanation of the matter:
"Ancient terms of art, even if they can be made intelligible, cannot be
rendered, with any degree of grace, into a modern language, where the
corresponding terms are debased into vulgarity by low and familiar use.
Many passages of this kind are to be found in Homer. They are frequent
also in Apollonius Rhodius; particularly so, from the exactness which he
affects in describing everything."[446] Warton, unusually tolerant of
Augustan taste in this respect, finds the same difficulty in the
_Eclogues_ and _Georgics_ of Virgil. "A poem whose excellence peculiarly
consists in the graces of diction," his preface runs, "is far more
difficult to be translated, than a work where sentiment, or passion, or
imagination is chiefly displayed.... Besides, the meanness of the terms
of husbandry is concealed and lost in a dead language, and they convey
no low and despicable image to the mind; but the coarse and common words
I was necessitated to use in the following translation, viz. _plough and
sow_, _wheat_, _dung_, _ashes_, _horse and cow_, etc., will, I fear,
unconquerably disgust many a delicate reader, if he doth not make proper
allowance for a modern compared with an ancient language."[447]
According to Hoole, the English language confines the translator within
narrow limits. A translation of Berni's _Orlando Innamorato_ into
English verse would be almost impossible, "the narrative descending to
such familiar images and expressions as would by no means suit the
genius of our language and poetry."[448] The task of translating
Ariosto, though not so hopeless, is still arduous on this account.
"There is a certain easy negligence in his muse that often assumes a
playful mode of expression incompatible with the nature of our present
poetry.... An English translator will have frequent reason to regret the
more rigid genius of the language, that rarely permits him in this
respect, to attempt even an imitation of his author."

The comments quoted in the preceding pages make one realize that, while
the translator was left astonishingly free as regarded his treatment of
the original, it was at his peril that he ran counter to contemporary
literary standards. The discussion centering around Pope's _Homer_, at
once the most popular and the most typical translation of the period,
may be taken as presenting the situation in epitome. Like other prefaces
of the time, Pope's introductory remarks are, whether intentionally or
unintentionally, misleading. He begins, in orthodox fashion, by
advocating the middle course approved by Dryden. "It is certain," he
writes, "no literal translation can be just to an excellent original in
a superior language: but it is a great mistake to imagine (as many have
done) that a rash paraphrase can make amends for this general defect;
which is no less in danger to lose the spirit of an ancient, by
deviating into the modern manners of expression." Continuing, however,
he urges an unusual degree of faithfulness. The translator must not
think of improving upon his author. "I will venture to say," he
declares, "there have not been more men misled in former times by a
servile, dull adherence to the letter, than have been deluded in ours by
a chimerical insolent hope of raising and improving their author....
'Tis a great secret in writing to know when to be plain, and when
poetical and figurative; and it is what Homer will teach us, if we will
but follow modestly in his footsteps. Where his diction is bold and
lofty, let us raise ours as high as we can; but where his is plain and
humble, we ought not to be deterred from imitating him by the fear of
incurring the censure of a mere English critic." The translator ought to
endeavor to "copy him in all the variations of his style, and the
different modulations of his numbers; to preserve, in the more active or
descriptive parts, a warmth and elevation; in the more sedate or
narrative, a plainness and solemnity; in the speeches a fullness and
perspicuity; in the sentences a shortness and gravity: not to neglect
even the little figures and turns on the words, nor sometimes the very
cast of the periods; neither to omit nor confound any rites and customs
of antiquity."

Declarations like this would, if taken alone, make one rate Pope as a
pioneer in the art of translation. Unfortunately the comment of his
critics, even of those who admired him, tells a different story. "To say
of this noble work that it is the best which ever appeared of the kind,
would be speaking in much lower terms than it deserves," writes
Melmoth, himself a successful translator, in _Fitzosborne's Letters_.
Melmoth's description of Pope's method is, however, very different from
that offered by Pope himself. "Mr. Pope," he says, "seems, in most
places, to have been inspired with the same sublime spirit that animates
his original; as he often takes fire from a single hint in his author,
and blazes out even with a stronger and brighter flame of poetry. Thus
the character of Thersites, as it stands in the English _Iliad_, is
heightened, I think, with more masterly strokes of satire than appear in
the Greek; as many of those similes in Homer, which would appear,
perhaps, to a modern eye too naked and unornamented, are painted by Pope
in all the beautiful drapery of the most graceful metaphor"--a statement
backed by citation of the famous moonlight passage, which Melmoth finds
finer than the corresponding passage in the original. There is no doubt
in the critic's mind as to the desirability of improving upon Homer.
"There is no ancient author," he declares, "more likely to betray an
injudicious interpreter into meannesses than Homer.... But a skilful
artist knows how to embellish the most ordinary subject; and what would
be low and spiritless from a less masterly pencil, becomes pleasing and
graceful when worked up by Mr. Pope."[449]

Melmoth's last comment suggests Matthew Arnold's remark, "Pope composes
with his eye on his style, into which he translates his object, whatever
it may be,"[450] but in intention the two criticisms are very different.
To the average eighteenth-century reader Homer was entirely acceptable
"when worked up by Mr. Pope." Slashing Bentley might declare that it
"must not be called Homer," but he admitted that "it was a pretty poem."
Less competent critics, unhampered by Bentley's scholarly doubts,
thought the work adequate both as a poem and as a translated poem.
Dennis, in his _Remarks upon Pope's Homer_, quotes from a recent review
some characteristic phrases. "I know not which I should most admire,"
says the reviewer, "the justness of the original, or the force and
beauty of the language, or the sounding variety of the numbers."[451]
Prior, with more honesty, refuses to bother his head over "the justness
of the original," and gratefully welcomes the English version.

    Hang Homer and Virgil; their meaning to seek,
    A man must have pok'd into Latin and Greek;
    Those who love their own tongue, we have reason to hope,
    Have read them translated by Dryden and Pope.[452]

In general, critics, whether men of letters or Grub Street reviewers,
saw both Pope's _Iliad_ and Homer's _Iliad_ through the medium of
eighteenth-century taste. Even Dennis's onslaught, which begins with a
violent contradiction of the hackneyed tribute quoted above, leaves the
impression that its vigor comes rather from personal animus than from
distrust of existing literary standards or from any new and individual
theory of translation.

With the romantic movement, however, comes criticism which presents to
us Pope's _Iliad_ as seen in the light of common day instead of through
the flattering illusions which had previously veiled it. New translators
like Macpherson and Cowper, though too courteous to direct their attack
specifically against the great Augustan, make it evident that they have
adopted new standards of faithfulness and that they no longer admire
either the diction or the versification which made Pope supreme among
his contemporaries. Macpherson gives it as his opinion that, although
Homer has been repeatedly translated into most of the languages of
modern Europe, "these versions were rather paraphrases than faithful
translations, attempts to give the spirit of Homer, without the
character and peculiarities of his poetry and diction," and that
translators have failed especially in reproducing "the magnificent
simplicity, if the epithet may be used, of the original, which can never
be characteristically expressed in the antithetical quaintness of modern
fine writing."[453] Cowper's prefaces show that he has given serious
consideration to all the opinions of the theorists of his century, and
that his own views are fundamentally opposed to those generally
professed. His own basic principle is that of fidelity to his author,
and, like every sensible critic, he sees that the translator must
preserve a mean between the free and the close methods. This approval of
compromise is not, however, a mere formula; Cowper attempts to throw
light upon it from various angles. The couplet he immediately repudiates
as an enemy to fidelity. "I will venture to assert that a just
translation of any ancient poet in rhyme is impossible," he declares.
"No human ingenuity can be equal to the task of closing every couplet
with sounds homotonous, expressing at the same time the full sense of
his original. The translator's ingenuity, indeed, in this case becomes
itself a snare, and the readier he is at invention and expedient, the
more likely he is to be betrayed into the wildest departures from the
guide whom he professes to follow."[454] The popular idea that the
translator should try to imagine to himself the style which his author
would have used had he been writing in English is to Cowper "a direction
which wants nothing but practicability to recommend it. For suppose six
persons, equally qualified for the task, employed to translate the same
Ancient into their own language, with this rule to guide them. In the
event it would be found that each had fallen on a manner different from
that of all the rest, and by probable inference it would follow that
none had fallen on the right."[455]

Cowper's advocacy of Miltonic blank verse as a suitable vehicle for a
translation of Homer need not concern us here, but another innovation on
which he lays considerable stress in his prefaces helps to throw light
on the practice and the standards of his immediate predecessors. With
more veracity than Pope, he represents himself as having followed his
author even in his "plainer" passages. "The passages which will be least
noticed, and possibly not at all, except by those who shall wish to find
me at a fault," he writes in the preface to the first edition, "are
those which have cost me abundantly the most labor. It is difficult to
kill a sheep with dignity in a modern language, to slay and prepare it
for the table, detailing every circumstance in the process. Difficult
also, without sinking below the level of poetry, to harness mules to a
wagon, particularizing every article of their furniture, straps, rings,
staples, and even the tying of the knots that kept all together. Homer,
who writes always to the eye with all his sublimity and grandeur, has
the minuteness of a Flemish painter." In the preface to his second
edition he recurs to this problem and makes a significant comment on
Pope's method of solving it. "There is no end of passages in Homer," he
repeats, "which must creep unless they be lifted; yet in all such, all
embellishment is out of the question. The hero puts on his clothes, or
refreshes himself with food and wine, or he yokes his steeds, takes a
journey, and in the evening preparation is made for his repose. To give
relief to subjects prosaic as these without seeming unseasonably tumid
is extremely difficult. Mr. Pope abridges some of them, and others he
omits; but neither of these liberties was compatible with the nature of
my undertaking."[456]

That Cowper's reaction against Pope's ideals was not a thing of sudden
growth is evident from a letter more outspoken than the prefaces. "Not
much less than thirty years since," he writes in 1788, "Alston and I
read Homer through together. The result was a discovery that there is
hardly a thing in the world of which Pope is so entirely destitute as a
taste for Homer.... I remembered how we had been disgusted; how often we
had sought the simplicity and majesty of Homer in his English
representative, and had found instead of them puerile conceits,
extravagant metaphors, and the tinsel of modern embellishment in every
possible position."[457]

Cowper's "discovery," startling, almost heretical at the time when it
was made, is now little more than a commonplace. We have long recognized
that Pope's Homer is not the real Homer; it is scarcely an exaggeration
to say, as does Mr. Andrew Lang, "It is almost as if he had taken
Homer's theme and written the poem himself."[458] Yet it is surprising
to see how nearly the eighteenth-century ambition, "to write a poem that
will live in the English language" has been answered in the case of
Pope. Though the "tinsel" of his embellishment is no longer even
"modern," his translation seems able to hold its own against later verse
renderings based on sounder theories. The Augustan translator strove to
give his work "elegance, energy, and fire," and despite the false
elegance, we can still feel something of true energy and fire as we read
the _Iliad_ and the _Odyssey_.

The truth is that, in translated as in original literature the
permanent and the transitory elements are often oddly mingled. The fate
of Pope's Homer helps us to reconcile two opposed views regarding the
future history of verse translations. Our whole study of the varying
standards set for translators makes us feel the truth of Mr. Lang's
conclusion: "There can be then, it appears, no final English translation
of Homer. In each there must be, in addition to what is Greek and
eternal, the element of what is modern, personal, and fleeting."[459]
The translator, it is obvious, must speak in the dialect and move in the
measures of his own day, thereby very often failing to attract the
attention of a later day. Yet there must be some place in our scheme for
the faith expressed by Matthew Arnold in his essays on translating
Homer, that "the task of translating Homer into English verse both will
be re-attempted, and may be re-attempted successfully."[460] For in
translation there is involved enough of creation to supply the
incalculable element which cheats the theorist. Possibly some day the
miracle may be wrought, and, in spite of changing literary fashions, we
may have our English version of Homer in a form sufficient not only for
an age but for all time.

It is this incalculable quality in creative work that has made
theorizing on the methods of translation more than a mere academic
exercise. Forced to adjust itself to the facts of actual production,
theory has had to follow new paths as literature has followed new paths,
and in the process it has acquired fresh vigor and flexibility. Even as
we leave the period of Pope, we can see the dull inadequacy of a
worn-out collection of rules giving way before the honest, individual
approach of Cowper. "Many a fair precept in poetry," says Dryden apropos
of Roscommon's rules for translation, "is like a seeming demonstration
in the mathematics, very specious in the diagram, but failing in the
mechanic operation."[461] Confronted by such discrepancies, the theorist
has again and again had to modify his "specious" rules, with the result
that the theory of translation, though a small, is yet a living and
growing element in human thought.


[365] _Preface to the Reader_, in _The Natural History of C. Plinius
Secundus_, London, 1601.

[366] _Dedication_, in _Ovid's Metamorphosis, Englished by G. S._, London,

[367] _Dedication_, in _The Poems of Horace rendered into Verse by Several
Persons_, London, 1666.

[368] _Juvenal and Persius_, translated by Barten Holyday, Oxford, 1673
(published posthumously).

[369] _Dedication of the Aeneis_, in _Essays of John Dryden_, ed. W. P.
Ker, v. 2, p. 235.

[370] _Postscript to the Reader_, _Essays_, v. 2, p. 243.

[371] _Rowe_, in _Lives of the Poets_, Dublin, 1804, p. 284.

[372] _The Argument_, in _The Passion of Dido for Aeneas_, translated by
Edmund Waller and Sidney Godolphin, London, 1658.

[373] _Dedication_, in _Translations of Horace_. John Hanway, 1730.

[374] _Dedication_, dated 1728, reprinted in _The English Poets_, London,
1810, v. 20.

[375] _Preface_ to _The Destruction of Troy_, in Denham, _Poems and
Translations_, London, 1709.

[376] _To the courteous not curious reader._

[377] Comment on Trapp's "blank version" of Virgil, in _Life of Dryden_.

[378] _Preface to Sylvae_, _Essays_, v. 1, p. 266.

[379] _Dedication of the Aeneis_, _Essays_, v. 2, p. 236.

[380] In _Du Bartas, His Divine Words and Works_, translated by Sylvester,
London, 1641.

[381] Lines by E. G., same edition.

[382] Same edition, p. 322.

[383] _An Essay on Translated Verse._

[384] _Dedication of the Aeneis_, _Essays_, v. 2, p. 220.

[385] P. 222.

[386] _To the worthy reader._

[387] _To the courteous not curious reader_, in _The XII. Aeneids of
Virgil_, 1632.

[388] Preface to _The Destruction of Troy_.

[389] Dedication of _The Poems of Horace_.

[390] _To the Reader_, in _The First Book of Virgil's Aeneis_, London,

[391] Reprinted in _Godfrey of Bulloigne_, translated by Fairfax, New York,

[392] _Essays_, v. 2, p. 249.

[393] _Essays_, v. 2, p. 14.

[394] Sprat, _Life of Cowley_, in _Prose Works of Abraham Cowley_, London,

[395] _Preface to the Translation of Ovid's Epistles_, _Essays_, v. 1, p.

[396] _Dedication of Examen Poeticum_, _Essays_, v. 2, p. 10. Johnson,
writing of the latter part of the seventeenth century, says, "The authority
of Jonson, Sandys, and Holiday had fixed the judgment of the nation" (_The
Idler_, 69), and Tytler, in his _Essay on the Principles of Translation_,
1791, says, "In poetical translation the English writers of the sixteenth,
and the greatest part of the seventeenth century, seem to have had no other
care than (in Denham's phrase) to translate language into language, and to
have placed their whole merit in presenting a literal and servile
transcript of their original."

[397] In Lucan's _Pharsalia_, translated May, 1659.

[398] _To the Reader_, in Ovid's _Metamorphosis_, translated Sandys,
London, 1640.

[399] _Preface_ to _Pindaric Odes_, reprinted in _Essays and other Prose
Writings_, Oxford, 1915.

[400] _Preface to Ovid's Epistles_, _Essays_, v. 1, p. 239.

[401] Pp. 239-40.

[402] Dedication to Dryden, 1684, in _The Odes, Satires, and Epistles of
Horace done into English_, London, 1688.

[403] _Metellus his Dialogues, Relation of a Journey to Tunbridge Wells,
with the Fourth Book of Virgil's Aeneid in English_, London, 1693.

[404] _Preface to the Translation of Ovid's Epistles_, _Essays_, vol. 1, p.

[405] _To the Earl of Roscommon on his excellent Essay on Translated

[406] In Sir Robert Howard's _Poems_, London, 1660.

[407] In Holiday's _Persius_, Fifth Edition, 1650.

[408] In Creech's _Lucretius_, Third Edition, Oxford, 1683.

[409] In Creech's _Lucretius_, Third Edition, Oxford, 1683.

[410] _Essay on the Principles of Translation_, Everyman's Library, pp.

[411] _Essays_, v. 1, p. 252.

[412] _Preface to the Translation of Ovid's Epistles_, _Essays_, v. 1, p.

[413] _Preface to Sylvae_, _Essays_, v. 1, p. 254.

[414] _Ibid._, p. 264.

[415] _Preface_, in Second Edition of _Odes of Horace_, London, 1688.

[416] _Examen Poeticum_, _Essays_, v. 2, p. 9.

[417] _Preface to the Fables_, _Essays_, v. 2, p. 251.

[418] _To the Reader_, in _The Odes, Satires, and Epistles of Horace_,
London, 1688.

[419] _Preface_ to translation of Horace, 1652.

[420] _Dedication of the Eneis_, _Essays_, v. 2, pp. 220-1.

[421] _Preface to Sylvae_, _Essays_, v. 1, pp. 256-7.

[422] _Examen Poeticum_, _Essays_, v. 2, p. 14.

[423] _Preface._

[424] _Essays_, v. 2, p. 10.

[425] _Dedication of the Eneis_, _Essays_, v. 2, p. 223.

[426] _Preface to Sylvae_, _Essays_, v. 1, p. 255.

[427] _Essays_, v. 1, p. 258.

[428] _Dedication of the Eneis_, _Essays_, v. 2, p. 215.

[429] In _Ovid's Metamorphoses translated by Dryden, Addison, Garth_, etc.,
reprinted in _The English Poets_, v. 20.

[430] _Advertisement_ to _Elegies of Tibullus_, reprinted in same volume.

[431] _Preface_ to _Idylliums of Theocritus_, reprinted in same volume.

[432] _Dissertation on The Lusiad_, reprinted in _The English Poets_, v.

[433] _Pope_, in _Lives of the Poets_, p. 568.

[434] _Cowley_, in _Lives_, p. 25.

[435] Preface of 1718, reprinted in _The Works of Virgil translated into
English blank verse by Joseph Trapp_, London, 1735.

[436] _Preface to Homer's Iliad._

[437] _Dryden_ in _Lives of the Poets_, p. 226.

[438] _Proposals for a translation of Virgil's Aeneis in Blank Verse_,
London, 1713.

[439] _Preface_, _op. cit._

[440] _Prefatory Dedication_, in _The Works of Virgil in English Verse_,
London, 1763.

[441] _Advertisement_, _op. cit._

[442] _Preface_ to _Ariosto_, reprinted in _The English Poets_, v. 21.

[443] _Preface_, reprinted in _The English Poets_, v. 19.

[444] _Dryden_, in _Lives_, p. 226.

[445] _Op. cit._

[446] _Preface_, reprinted in _The British Poets_, Chiswick, 1822, v. 90.

[447] _Prefatory Dedication_, in _The Works of Virgil in English Verse_,
London, 1763.

[448] _Preface_ to _Ariosto_, reprinted in _The English Poets_, v. 21.

[449] Pp. 53-4.

[450] _Essays_, Oxford Edition, p. 258.

[451] _Mr. Dennis's Remarks upon Pope's Homer_, London, 1717, p. 9.

[452] In _Down Hall, a Ballad_.

[453] Preface to _The Iliad of Homer_, translated by James Macpherson,
London, 1773.

[454] Preface to first edition, taken from _The Iliad of Homer, translated
by the late William Cowper_, London, 1802.

[455] Preface to first edition, taken from _The Iliad of Homer, translated
by the late William Cowper_, London, 1802.

[456] _Preface prepared by Mr. Cowper for a Second Edition_, in edition of

[457] _Letters_, ed. Wright, London, 1904, v. 3, p. 233.

[458] _History of English Literature_, p. 384.

[459] Preface to _The Odyssey of Homer done into English Prose_.

[460] Lecture, III, in _Essays_, p. 311.

[461] _Preface to Sylvae_, in _Essays_, v. 1, p. 252.



Adlington, William, 89, 94.

Aelfric, 4-5, 15, 55, 56, 58.

Alfred, 3-4, 15, 17.

_Alexander_, 10, 34.

Amyot, Jacques, xii, 106.

_Andreas_, 6, 7.

Andrew of Wyntoun, 35-6, 39, 116.

Arnold, Matthew, xi, 172, 177.

_Arthur_, 45.

Ascham, Roger, 109, 114.

Augustine, St., 50, 55.

_Authorized Version of 1611_, 51, 52, 54, 60, 61, 66, 68.

Bacon, Francis, 75.

Barbour, John, 36-7.

Barclay, Alexander, 100-1.

_Bay Psalm Book_, 77.

Bentley, Richard, 172.

Berners, Lord, 101, 105.

_Bevis of Hamtoun_, 23, 24.

_Birth of Jesus_, 43.

_Bishops' Bible_, 58, 59, 67.

_Blood of Hayles_, 40.

Bokenam, Osbern, 8, 16, 40, 43-4, 46.

_Book of the Knight of La Tour Landry_, 18.

B. R., 127-8.

Bradshaw, Henry, 8.

Brady, N., 166-7.

Brende, John, 88-9, 94, 129.

Brinsley, John, 140.

Brome, Henry, 136, 144.

Bryan, Sir Francis, 101, 105.

Bullokar, John, 95.

Bullokar, William, 109-10.

Caedmon, 6.

_Canticum de Creatione_, 15, 20.

Capgrave, John, 14, 19, 20-1, 22, 40, 45.

Carew, Richard, 128.

Cartwright, William, 155.

Castalio, 51, 61, 70.

_Castle of Love_, Grosseteste's, 9, 13.

Caxton, William, 9, 12, 31, 44, 96, 115.

  _Blanchardyn and Eglantine_, 38.

  _Charles the Great_, 38, 46.

  _Eneydos_, 35, 38, 39.

  _Fayttes of Arms_, 12.

  _Godfrey of Bullogne_, 33.

  _Mirror of the World_, 12.

  _Recuyell of the Histories of Troy_, 38.

Cecil, Sir William, 119, 125.

Chaloner, Sir Thomas, 128.

Chapman, George, 90, 92, 93, 130-1, 145, 146, 147, 150, 161.

Chaucer, Geoffrey, 9, 10, 30.

  _Franklin's Tale_, 30.

  _Knight's Tale_, 30.

  _Legend of Good Women_, 8.

  _Life of St. Cecilia_, 8.

  _Man of Law's Tale_, 27, 28.

  _Romance of the Rose_, 8.

  _Sir Thopas_, 24.

  _Troilus and Criseyde_, 6, 8, 30-1.

Cheke, Sir John, 59, 63, 108, 119, 125-6, 128.

_Child of Bristow_, 39-40.

Chrétien de Troyes, 30.

Cooke, Thomas, 138-9.

Coverdale, Miles, 50-1, 52, 59, 60, 64-5, 74.

Cowley, Abraham, 137, 147, 149-50, 151, 152, 153, 154, 156, 165.

Cowper, William, 173, 174 ff.

Creech, Thomas, 151-2, 155-6, 158-9, 160, 166, 169.

Cromwell, Thomas, 51.

_Cursor Mundi_, 10.

Cynewulf, 6.

Dacier, Mme., 168.

Danett, Thomas, 90.

Daniel, Samuel, 87.

Davies of Hereford, John, 142.

Denham, Sir John, 137, 139, 144, 147, 150-1, 154, 156, 157.

Dennis, John, 173.

Dolet, Étienne, 99.

Douglas, Gavin, 107-8.

Drant, Thomas, 111 ff.

Dryden, John, 136-7, 141, 143, 145, 148, 151, 153-4, 154-5, 157-8, 159,
    160-1, 162, 163, 166, 169, 177-8.

_Earl of Toulouse_, 23, 27.

Eden, Richard, 85, 91, 96.

_Elene_, 6.

Ely, Bishop of, 65.

Elyot, Sir Thomas, 11, 95, 118, 119-20.

_Emare_, 21.

Fairfax, Edward, 144-5.

_Falls of Princes_, Boccaccio's, 7, 37.

Fanshaw, Sir Richard, 139, 147, 169.

Fawkes, Francis, 164, 166, 169.

Fleming, Abraham, 109, 114.

Florio, John, 84, 87, 97.

_Floris and Blancheflor_, 45.

Fortescue, Thomas, 87, 103.

Foxe, John, 54, 67, 68, 94-5.

Francis, Philip, 168.

Fraunce, Abraham, 77.

Fulke, William, 54, 60, 65, 70 ff.

Garth, Sir Samuel, 163.

_Geneva Bible_, 53, 60, 61.

_Geneva New Testament_, 59, 61.

_Gesta Romanorum_, 28.

_Golagros and Gawain_, 21.

_Golden Legend_, 41.

Golding, Arthur, 75-6, 82, 91, 97-8, 113, 117-8, 129-30.

Googe, Barnaby, 77.

Gould, Robert, 144.

Grainger, James, 163-4, 167.

Greenway, Richard, 93.

Grimald, Nicholas, 85, 89, 96, 121-3.

Grindal, Archbishop, 68.

Guevara, 106.

Guido delle Colonne, 34.

Hake, Edward, 113-4.

_Handlyng Synne_, 42.

Harrington, Sir John, 85-6, 95, 100.

Harvey, Gabriel, 114, 129.

Hellowes, Edward, 82, 91, 105-6.

Heywood, Jasper, 111, 116.

Hobbes, Thomas, 140-1.

Hoby, Sir Thomas, 82, 89, 90, 119, 128.

Holiday, Barten, 136, 155, 160.

_Holy Grail_, 31.

Holland, Philemon, 86, 91-2, 98, 130, 135.

Hoole, John, 139, 167, 170.

Howard, Sir Robert, 154.

Hudson, Thomas, 142.

Hue de Rotelande, 21.

Hyrde, Richard, 81.

_Incestuous Daughter_, 13.

_Ipomadon_, 21.

James VI of Scotland, 75, 142.

Jerome, St., 5, 15, 55-6, 76.

Johnson, Samuel, 137, 140, 148, note, 163, 165, 166, 169.

Jonson, Ben, 136, 148, 149, 161.

Joye, George, 50.

_King Alexander_, 34.

_King Horn_, 26.

Knolles, Richard, 129.

Lang, Andrew, 176, 177.

_Launfal_, 7.

Laurent de Premierfait, 7.

Layamon, 34.

_Le Bone Florence of Rome_, 27, 28.

_Life of St. Augustine_, 41-2.

L'Isle, William, 63, note.

Lonelich, Harry, 31.

Love, Nicholas, 41, 43, 45.

Lydgate, John, 7, 8, 16, 31, 37-8, 44, 115.

Macpherson, James, 173-4.

Malory, Sir Thomas, 26.

Mancinus, 108.

Marot, Clement, 75.

Martin, Gregory, 65, 70-1.

May, Thomas, 148, 149.

Melmoth, William, 171, 172.

_Menechmi_, trans. of, 128.

_Metellus his Dialogues_, 152-3.

Mickle, William Julius, 139, 164-5, 168-9.

Milton, John, 75.

Mirk, John, 10.

More, Sir Thomas, 52, 53, 63, 67, 69, 118, 119.

Morley, Lord, 84-5, 89.

_Morte Arthur_, 33.

Mulgrave, Earl of, 154.

Munday, Anthony, 102, 103.

Nash, Thomas, 81, 117.

Neville, Alexander, 111.

Nicholls, Thomas, 81, 119.

North, Sir Thomas, 105, 106.

_Northern Passion_, 45.

Norton, Thomas, 74, 83-4, 118, 123-5.

_Octavian_, 27, 28, 29.

Orm, 17.

Otway, Thomas, 156.

Painter, William, 102, 103.

Paris, William, 11.

Parker, Archbishop, 54-5, 74.

_Partonope of Blois_, 24, 32-3.

Peele, George, 95.

Peterson, Robert, 128.

Pettie, George, 93, 97.

Phaer, Thomas, 93, 98, 110-1, 116, 144, 153.

_Polychronicon_, 16.

Pope, Alexander, 137, 165, 166, 170 ff.

Preston, W., 169.

Prior, Matthew, 173.

Purvey, John, 56, 57-8, 59, 66-7.

Puttenham, (?) Richard, 96, 116, 140, 144, 153.

_Rauf Coilyear_, 21.

_Rhemish Testament_, 59, 61, 62, 68, 70.

_Richard Coeur de Lion_, 9-10.

Ridley, Robert, 67.

Rivers, Earl, 10-1.

_Roberd of Cisyle_, 22-3.

Robert of Brunne, 22, 34-5, 42.

Rolle, Richard, 56, 58-9.

_Romance of Partenay_, 18, 24, 29, 31-2.

Roscommon, Earl of, 12, 143, 153, 156, 157, 158, 159, 161, 177.

Rowe, Nicholas, 137.

Sandys, George, 135, 148, 149.

_Secreta Secretorum_, 15-16.

_Sege of Melayne_, 24.

Seneca's Tragedies, trans. of, 109, 111, 113.

Sidney, Sir Philip, 75.

_Sir Eglamour of Artois_, 23, 27.

_Sir Percival of Galles_, 26.

Southern, John, 96.

Sprat, Thomas, 146.

_St. Etheldred of Ely_, 10, 22.

_St. Katherine of Alexandria_, 13.

_St. Paula_, 41.

Stanyhurst, Richard, 74, 77, 114, 116, 144.

Studley, John, 111.

Surrey, Earl of, 75.

Sylvester, Joshua, 142.

Taverner, Richard, 63, 88.

Thomas de Cabham, 22.

Tofte, Robert, 104.

_Torrent of Portyngale_, 24, 27.

Trapp, Joseph, 165, 167, 168.

Trevisa, John de, 16-17, 18.

Turbervile, George, 102, 115-6.

Twyne, Thomas, 113.

Tyndale, William, 49, 50, 58, 59, 62, 67, 84, 119.

Tytler, Alexander, x, 137, 148, note, 156.

Udall, Nicholas, 81-2, 87-8, 94, 97, 118, 120-1.

Vicars, John, 139-40, 143-4, 146-7, 150.

W. L., Gent., 143, 146, 150.

Waller, Edmund, 144, 145.

Warde, William, 88.

_Wars of Alexander_, 23, 25.

Warton, Joseph, 167, 169-70.

Webbe, William, 93.

Whetstone, George, 102.

Willes, Richard, 96-7.

_William of Palerne_, 30.

Wilson, Thomas, 84, 92-3, 119, 125 ff.

Winchester, Bishop of, 67-8.

Wither, George, 75, 76, 77, 78.

Wyatt, Sir Thomas, 75.

Young, Bartholomew, 104.

_Ypotis_, 43.

_Ywain and Gawin_, 21, 23, 29, 30.

    | Transcriber's Notes:                                       |
    |                                                            |
    | Page 14: Double quotes inside double quotes amended to     |
    | single quotes.                                             |
    | Page 26: Beween amended to between.                        |
    | Page 43: Saint's legends _sic_.                            |
    | Page 56: Insistance amended to insistence.                 |
    | Page 82: Double quotes at the end of the Golding quote     |
    | removed.                                                   |
    | Page 87: Double quotes at the end of the Daniel quote      |
    | removed.                                                   |
    | Page 97: Comma added after _amusing_.                      |
    | Page 109: Esop _sic_.                                      |
    | Page 142: Facund _sic_.                                    |
    | Page 144: Closing quotes added to the Denham quote.        |
    | Page 184: Bartholemew corrected to Bartholomew.            |
    |                                                            |
    | Note 41: Comma at the end of the footnote removed. The     |
    | comma might indicate that additional information is        |
    | missing from the footnote.                                 |
    | Note 329: Acccording _sic_.                                |
    |                                                            |
    | The variant spellings of Bulloign, Bulloigne and Bullogne  |
    | have been retained.                                        |
    |                                                            |
    | References in the notes to Ovid's _Metamormorphosis_       |
    | are as per the original.                                   |
    |                                                            |

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