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“ Doubting that the marvellous parts of my poem may appear unsuitable to the action, in which, perhaps, some good father of the German college shall desire more history and less poetry, I have judged that the marvel. lous may find pardon and appear more suitable if concealed under the veil of some good and holy allegory.
“To confess the truth ingenuously to your Lordship, when I began my poem I had not the smallest idea of an allegory; both as it seemed to me a superfluous and vain labour, and as every interpreter creates an allegory according to his caprice. Nor have there ever been wanting to good poets persons who furnish them in abundance, and of various kinds. . ... When I was past the middle of my poem, however, and began to meditate on the strictness of the age, it occurred to me, that an allegory might assist me in my difficulties. The idea, however, was still very indistinct, and it was only last week that I formed it in the manner you shall see. If Proclus and other Platonists, and if Plutarch among the Peripatetics, defend Homer from his opponents only by means of allegory, why may not the same liberty be allowed to me, especially when joined with other and more firm defences ? I do not believe it to be necessary that the allegory should in every point correspond with the literal sense, since no such thing exists even among the Platonists, who are in this respect the most exact. In Homer and Virgil, it can be discerned only in some particular places ; if, therefore, the two cavaliers should signify nothing, I do not think it is of much con. sequence. It would be better, indeed, that they could be made to have some signification ; but I can at present invent nothing that will suit, and I beg that your Lordship and Signor Flaminio will think of something for this purpose.”- Letters of Tasso to S. GONZAGA, Opere, vol. 10. p. 124. BLACK's Life of Tasso, I. 402.
JAMES THOMAS O'BRIEN, D.D.
FELLOW OF TRINITY COLLEGE, DUBLIN,
IS AFFECTIONATELY INSCRIBED,
SOME extracts from this translation of Faustus were published in Blackwood's Magazine so long ago as the year 1820. I believe that no part of the poem had before appeared in an English translation.
At the time I printed the extracts, it was my intention to publish a translation of the entire drama. I am afraid to confess to my readers, that, having in the first instance translated the passages from which I had received most pleasure, I satisfied myself with the feeling that I might at any time complete my task. The work, thus postponed, as I thought, for a few days or months, was indolently delayed from year to year. Other pursuits and studies engaged my time and thoughts. I will not say that I had wholly given up the intention of throwing into order these papers, which, for the greater part, have been written for several years ; on the contrary, the wish continually recurred to me, and was kept awake in my mind by the cir