A tale of Paraguay
A TALE OF PARAGUAY
"THEN COME THE UNSTEADY STEP THE TOTTERING PACE."
CantoII Stanza 4
Boston Published by S.G. Goodrich
TALE OF PARAGUAY,
ROBERT SOUTHEY, Esq. LL.D.
Go forth, my little book!
S. G. Goodrich Boston.
Ingraham and Hewes, Printers.
One of my friends observed to me in a letter, that many stories which are said to be founded on fact, have in reality been foundered on it. This is the case if there be any gross violation committed, or ignorance betrayed, of historical manners in the prominent parts of the narrative wherein the writer affects to observe them: or when the ground-work is taken from some part of history so popular and well known that any mixture of fiction disturbs the sense of truth. Still more so, if the subject be in itself so momentous that any allay of invention must of necessity debase it: but most of all in themes drawn from scripture, whether from the more familiar, or the more awful portions; for when what is true is sacred, whatever may be added to it is so surely felt to be false, that it appears profane.
Founded on fact the Poem is, which is here committed to the world: but whatever may be its defects, it is liable to none of these objections. The story is so singular, so simple, and withal so complete, that it must have been injured by any alteration. How faithfully it has been followed, the reader may perceive if he chooses to consult the abridged translation of Dobrizhoffer's History of the Abipones.