1812 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Sir William Jones

George Dyer, in Poetics: or a Series of Poems and Disquisitions on Poetry (1812) 2:48-49.



The great father of Asiatic literature, as he has been called, — Sir William Jones, — has with great pains, perhaps too much, given us various specimens of the Arabian and Persian poets; for he acknowledges the part which he performed was rather of a critic than philologist; of a poet than interpreter. His admired Greek and Latin poets are his exemplars; and accordingly he gives, by his own testimony, Asiatic poets in the neat flow of a Grecian dress. The most elegant of the Persian poets is Hafez, possessed, too, of much fire and sublimity: he has been called the Anacreon, or rather the Horace, of the Persians. But his poetry is greatly disjointed and unconnected, rows of pearls loosely strung together, rather than bracelets of gold in well-connected links: and whoever peruses the classical poetical versions of Sir William Jones, and the literal prose translations of Mr. Scot Waring, will perceive the difference.