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language of different structure. A literal translation in English might indeed explain them, and so help an imperfect scholar to understand the original if read along with it, but would not at all convey to an Englishman the effect of the original, if read by itself. The two languages differ
, so widely in their capacities and essential conditions, that the turn of expression which is neatest and clearest in the one is apt to be awkward and obscure in the other, and the translator must make his choice between a close version which shall not be readable, and a readable version wbich shall not be close. The translations here given are meant to be read by themselves; and therefore, though I have taken pains to make them substantially accurate, and have never wittingly allowed a sentence to stand in which the meaning seemed to me to be misrepresented, I have not hesitated on the other hand to vary the form of expression whenever I have thought that the meaning could thereby be conveyed more clearly In numberless cases indeed this has been done, I may say, on Bacon's own authority; a large part of the De Augmentis being in fact a translation from his own Advancement of Learning ; although, owing to the additions, modifications, and corrections almost everywhere introduced, it has seldom been practicable to preserve the wording of the original English unaltered for many sentences together. Alterations for the purpose of improving the style and adapting it to modern fashion have not been attempted. All alterations of this kind which I have seen have been in my opinion for the worse ; and no one who cares to read Bacon will find any difficulty in understanding his own English.
The selection of the works to be translated was made by Mr. Ellis, as including all that are necessary to give a complete view of Bacon's philosophical opinions.
THE FOURTH VOLUME.
WORKS PUBLISHED, OR DESIGNED FOR PUBLICATION, AS
PARTS OF THE INSTAURATIO MAGNA.