Page:Os Lusíadas (Camões, tr. Burton, 1880), Volume 1.djvu/17

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xiii
Preface.

exact eyes where others are purblind or blind. Only they who have personally studied the originals of his pictures can appreciate their perfect combination of fidelity and realism with Fancy and Idealism. Here it is that the traveller-translator may do good service with his specialty.

Again, like Boccaccio, Camoens reflects the Lux ex Oriente. There is a perfume of the East in everything he writes of the East: we find in his song much of its havock and all its splendour. Oriental-like, he delights in the Pathetic Fallacy; to lavish upon inanimates the attributes of animate sensation. Here again, the student of things Eastern, the "practical Orientalist," may be useful by drawing attention to points which escape the European, however learned.

There are many translators of Camoens yet to come. We are an ephemeral race, each one struggling to trample down his elder brother, like the Simoniacal Popes in the Malebolge-pit. My first excuse for adding to the half-dozen translations in the field, must be my long studies, geographical and anthropological: I can at least spare future writers the pains and penalties of saddling the exactest of poets with bad ethnology and worse topography. These may be small matters, but in local colouring every touch tells.