Page images

more; his labour has not totally been lost, and more or less of reputation must be attached to his name.

I am not unwilling to acknowledge, that when the first Edition of this Book was published, I laboured under various difficulties, and I dismissed it to the world with the consciousness, that although I had bestowed much time and great labour upon the Work, it contained various inaccuracies and defects, beyond my ability to remove, or my opportunities to supply. During the progress of that time which has elapsed in the disposal of a very considerable impression, my powers of correcting various errors, and of making various important additions, have been extended and improved. The present Edition, therefore, appears certainly with fewer imperfections, and let me be permitted to hope, with many valuable accessions.

The recent discoveries made in Africa by Parke, Browne, Hornemann, and others, and the familiar knowledge of Egypt, which has been obtained, since the invasion of that country by the French, have likewise contributed, in no small degree, to illustrate many obscurities, and to supply much important information. To these I have not been inattentive, but have every where inserted such new matter as I conceived would be most acceptable, and most useful to the English reader.


But I must not pass without notice, nor indeed without a proper tribute of acknowledgment, the new edition of the French translation of Herodotus, by the venerable Larcher. It appears that the first Edition of my translation had not come into his hands, until he was about to put a finishing hand to his last work. But it is no small source of gratification to me to be spoken of in terms of commendation by a man, whose version of Herodotus into French is perhaps the most perfect work of the kind that ever was produced. It is entitled to equal praise, whether we consider the elegance and felicity of the translation itself, or the profound and various learning, acute criticism, and comprehensive knowledge, displayed in the notes. I cannot dismiss the subject of Larcher, without expressing my delight and admiration at the candour and frankness with which he acknowledges and correets certain errors and opinions, on the subject of religion and religious history, which alone deformed his first edition.

My thanks, at the same time, are due to various persons; and first of all, to Major Rennell, who has condescended to make

my translation of Herodotus, the ground-work of a publication far beyond my praise. Whoever shall hereafter attempt to read Herodotus, without the aid of Major Rennell's most able and excellent production, will have but a very limited



[ocr errors]

knowledge of the author.

It will be perceived that I have perpetually availed myself of this writer's remarks and elucidations. But it is not to Major Rennell's public labours alone that I am indebted. I have consulted him in various perplexities, and have solicited his opinions on numerous occasions, and his communications on all, have been prompt, kind, and satisfactory.

My next acknowledgments are due to Mr. Gifford, who had the patience and the kindness to read the proof-sheets of all the books of Herodotus, the last excepted, when he was prevented by a temporary absence. But it is not this friendly office alone for which I have to thank him; he from time to time communicated various hints and amendments, the value of which can only be duly estimated by those, who know Mr. Gifford's acuteness and sagacity of remark.

When I have thanked Mr. Combe for one or two ingenious suggestions on the subject of ancient coins, I believe I shall have fulfilled all my debts of this kind.

I have now, therefore, only to express my earnest hope, that my endeavours to render this Work (a less perfect impression of which has been favourably received) more worthy of the public attention, have not been altogether vain. That many errors inay yet remain, I am not without apprehensions; and that it may be the employment of some to detect, and perhaps of a few to

aggravate aggravate them, I am not wholly unaware.

But I have arrived at that period, and attained such experience of life, that the consciousness of having, from proper motives, produced a Work interesting and useful to many readers, will outweigh all other considerations, and amply console me for any deduction which may remain to be made from my hitherto successful account with the Public.

British Museum,

October 1805




WHOEVER has employed his time on a

long and laborious work, is anxious to prove to others, as well as to himself, the utility of what he has performed; since the imputation and the consciousness of having misapplied such efforts, are almost equally unpleasing. If authority be allowed to be an adequate justification, the translator from classic writers has little occasion to argue in his own defence, the practice of the ablest men in the most enlightened countries being undeniably on his side. Of Italian and French literature, translations from the classics form no small or unimportant part; and if in our own language, accurate versions of many ancient authors be still wanting, the deficiency is owing, I conceive, to some other cause, rather than to any disapprobation of such works, in those by whom they might have been performed. Perhaps the literary rank assigned in this country to translators, is not elevated enough to gratify the ambition of the learned; perhaps the curiosity of the Public has not yet been turned suf


« PreviousContinue »