Saturday, August 18, 2007

William Cowper & Translation

TO Joseph Hill

Olney, April 5, 1786.

I did, as you suppose, bestow all possible con- sideration on the subject of an apology for my Homerican undertaking. I turned the matter about in my mind a hundred different ways, and, in every way in which it would present itself, found it an impracticable business. It is impossible for me, with what delicacy soever I may manage it, to state the objections that lie against Pope's trans- lation, without incurring odium and the imputation of arrogance ; foreseeing this danger, I choose to say nothing.

W.[illiam] C.[owper]

P.S. You may well wonder at my courage, who have undertaken a work of such enormous length. You would wonder more if you knew that I trans- lated the whole Iliad with no other help than a Clavis. But I have since equipped myself better for this immense journey, and am revising the work in company with a good commentator.

-from The Correspondence of William Cowper edited by Thomas Wright (London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1904) volume III.

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