Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Dr Johnson, making no bones about it

From today's Wordsmith mailing:
Poetry, indeed, cannot be translated; and, therefore, it is the poets that preserve the languages; for we would not be at the trouble to learn a language if we could have all that is written in it just as well in a translation. But as the beauties of poetry cannot be preserved in any language except that in which it was originally written, we learn the language.
-Samuel Johnson, lexicographer (1709-1784)