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PREFACE

TO

THE TRANSLATION

OF

OVID'S EPISTLES.'

THE

he Life of Ovid being already written in our language, before the translation of his

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"This translation, which was made by several persons, was first published in 8vo. in 1680. Qur author translated two epistles ; Canace to Macareus, and Dido to Æneas. Helen to Paris was translated by him and the Earl of Mulgrave. Another translation of the Epistle of Dido was subjoined to our author's, which was the production of Mr. Somers, then a young man; afterwards the celebrated Lord Somers.

“ In 1680, the epistles of Ovid being translated by the poets of the time, it was necessary (says Dr. Johnson) to introduce them by a preface; and Dryden, who on such occasions was regularly summoned, prefixed a discourse upon translation, which was then struggling for the liberty it now enjoys. Why it should find any difficulty in breaking the shackles of verbal interpretation, which must for ever debar it from elegance, it would be difficult to conjecture, were not the power of prejudice every day observed. The authority of Jonson, Sandys, and

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Metamorphoses,' I will not presume so far upon myself, to think I can add any thing to Mr. Sandys his undertaking. The English reader may there be satisfied, that he flourished in the reign of Augustus Cæsar ; that he was extracted from an ancient family of Roman Knights; that he was born to the inheritance of a splendid fortune; that he was designed to the study of the law, and had made considerable progress in it, before he quitted that profession for this of poetry, to which he was more naturally formed.

The cause of his banishments is unknown, because he was himself unwilling further' to provoke the Emperor, by ascribing it to any other reason than what was pretended by Augustus, which was the lasciviousness of his Elegies, and his Art of Love. It is true they are not to be excused in the severity of manners, as being able to corrupt a larger empire, if there were any, than that of Rome; yet this may be said in behalf of Ovid, that no man has ever treated the passion of

Holiday, had fixed the judgment of the nation; and it was not easily believed that a better way could be found than they had taken, though Fanshaw, Denham, Waller, and Cowley, had tried to give examples of a different practice."

* By George Sandys; first published in folio, in 1626.

3 The place of Ovid's banishment was Tomos, (now Tomeswar) a maritime town in Lower Mæsia, on the coast of the Euxine or black-sea ; about thirty-six miles from the most southern mouth of the Danube.

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