Page:Os Lusíadas (Camões, tr. Burton, 1880), Volume 1.djvu/13

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Editor's Preface.

hearing of his opera takes away your breath—that is, if you are a musician—if not, it was a sin to occupy the place which would have been a seventh heaven to a musician. You don't understand it, nor pretend to do so, but you long to go again, and you do go night after night, each time unfolding new beauties in each separate passage, until you know by heart and have dissected the whole, nor even then do you tire, but enjoy it all the more.

In this translation, whenever my Husband has appeared to coin words, or to use impossible words, they are the exact rendering of Camoens; in every singularity or seeming eccentricity, the Disciple has faithfully followed his Master, his object having been not simply to write good verse, but to give a literal word-for-word rendering of his favourite hero. And he has done it to the letter, not only in the words, but in the meaning and intention of Camoens.

To the unaesthetic, to non-poets, non-linguists, non-musicians, non-artists, Burton's Lusiads will be an unknown land, an unknown tongue. One might as well expect them to enjoy a dominant seventh or an enharmonic change in harmony. To be a poet one must be a musician; to be a musician or a painter one must have a poetic temperament, or the poetry or the music will