THE STORY OF DIDO AND ÆNEAS. The Fourth Book of Virgil’s “Æneid.” Translated into English Verse by Henry S. Salt. 46 pp. Watts.
In a modest form Mr. Henry S. Salt, the humanitarian, formerly of King’s and of Eton, gives us another example of his ability to translate Latin poetry. The “Story of Dido and Aeneas” is the fourth book of the Aeneid together with such passages in other books as bear upon it; and it is “taken from an unpublished translation of the Aeneid as a sample of a new attempt to render Virgil in English verse.” In his introduction, Mr. Salt concisely reviews the question of the metre into which Virgil is to be most appropriately put; he rejects all metres but the decasyllabic line, but blank verse being within the power only of a Milton, he will have his lines to rhyme, not regularly, however, but irregularly, as the rhymes fall in “Lycidas.” The result, at any rate in Mr. Salt’s hands, is decidedly pleasing; and Mr. Salt finds that it is easier to keep near the sense of the original when, as in this form, he “is free from the shackles of couplet or stanza, and the rhyme call fall early or late as may be desired.” We have not space for quotations; indeed any quotation would have to be long in order to do justice to Mr. Salt’s results: but the effect he produces is one of gravity and dignity. It was an experiment will worth trying, and one hopes that Mr. Salt will produce some more of his work; at any rate this little volume is a pleasant contribution to a fascinating problem.
Times Literary Supplement, May 20, 1926, p. 341