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Rampolli   By: (1824-1905)

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First Page:

RAMPOLLI

BY

GEORGE MACDONALD

CONTENTS.

PREFACE TO THE TRANSLATIONS

TRANSLATIONS FROM NOVALIS " SCHILLER " GOETHE " UHLAND " HEINE " VON SALIS SEEWIS " CLAUDIUS FROM THE DUTCH OF GENESTET FROM THE GERMAN Author to me unkown FROM PETRARCH MILTON'S ITALIAN POEMS LUTHER'S SONG BOOK

A YEAR'S DIARY OF AN OLD SOUL

PREFACE TO THE TRANSLATIONS.

I think every man who can should help his people to inherit the earth by bringing into his own of the wealth of other tongues. In the flower pots of translation I offer these few exotics, with no little labour taught to exist, I hope to breathe, in English air. Such labour is to me no less serious than delightful, for to do a man's work, in the process of carrying over, more injury than must be, is a serious wrong.

I have endeavoured, first of all, to give the spirit of the poetry.

Next, I have sought to retain each individual meaning that goes to form the matter of a poem.

Third, I have aimed at preserving the peculiar mode, the aroma of the poet's style, so far as I could do it without offence to the translating English.

Fourth, both rhythm and rime being essential elements of every poem in which they are used, I have sought to respect them rigorously.

Fifth, spirit, matter, and form truly represented, the more literal the translation the more satisfactory will be the result.

After all, translation is but a continuous effort after the impossible. There is in it a general difficulty whose root has a thousand ramifications, the whole affair being but an accommodation of difficulties, and a perfect translation from one language into another is a thing that cannot be effected. One is tempted even to say that in the whole range of speech there is no such thing as a synonym.

Much difficulty arises from the comparative paucity in English of double, or feminine rimes. But I can remember only one case in which, yielding to impossibility, I have sacrificed the feminine rime: where one thing or another must go, the less valuable must be the victom.

But sometimes a whole passage has had to suffer that a specially poetic line might retain its character.

With regard to the Hymns to the Night and the Spiritual Songs of Friedrich von Hardenberg, commonly called Novalis, it is desirable to mention that they were written when the shadow of the death of his betrothed had begun to thin before the approaching dawn of his own new life. He died in 1801, at the age of twentynine. His parents belonged to the sect called Moravians, but he had become a Roman Catholic.

Perhaps some of Luther's Songs might as well have been omitted, but they are all translated that the Songbook might be a whole. Some, I cannot tell how many or which, are from the Latin. His work is rugged, and where an occasional fault in rime occurs I have reproduced it.

In the few poems from the Italian, I have found the representation of the feminine rimes, so frequent in that language, an impossibility.

FROM NOVALIS.

HYMNS TO THE NIGHT SPIRITUAL SONGS A PARABLE (From THE DISCIPLES AT SAIS)

HYMNS TO THE NIGHT.

I.

Before all the wondrous shows of the widespread space around him, what living, sentient thing loves not the all joyous light, with its colours, its rays and undulations, its gentle omnipresence in the form of the wakening Day? The giant world of the unresting constellations inhales it as the innermost soul of life, and floats dancing in its azure flood; the sparkling, ever tranquil stone, the thoughtful, imbibing plant, and the wild, burning, multiform beast world inhales it; but more than all, the lordly stranger with the meaning eyes, the swaying walk, and the sweetly closed, melodious lips. Like a king over earthly nature, it rouses every force to countless transformations, binds and unbinds innumerable alliances, hangs its heavenly form around every earthly substance. Its presence alone reveals the marvellous splendour of the kingdoms of the world.

Aside I turn to the holy, unspeakable, mysterious Night... Continue reading book >>




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