« AnteriorContinuar »
VERBALLY TRANSLATED FROM THE ORIGINAL, WITH A PREFACE,
BY SIR WILLIAM JONES.
A NEW EDITION,
COLLATED WITH THE SANSCRIT TEXT, AND ELUCIDATED WITH NOTES,
GRAVES CHAMNEY HAUGHTON, M.A. F.R.S. &c. &c.
Professor of Hindu Literature in the East-India College.
Having been for some time engaged in preparing the Institutes of Menu for publication in the Sanscrit language, it appeared to me, that as Sir William Jones's translation had been long out of print, a new edition would not only be acceptable to the publick at large, but more especially to those engaged in the study of the Sanscrit language, as the great difficulty of the original text made some help of the kind indispensable. In consequence the version of the learned translator has been carefully revised and compared ; and as variations, though of trifling importance, have been discovered, they have been carefully recorded at the end of the work. The discrepancies in question may have arisen from some variety in the readings of the manuscripts consulted by Sir William Jones. It appeared, however, advisable to take some notice of those which seemed of most importance to the Sanscrit student. The learned translator intended, as he has stated in his Preface, to mark by Italick letters all that he a 2
had borrowed from the Commentators on Menu, and to print the text of his author in Roman letters ; rangement that was intended to afford the reader a precise idea of the original work. It will easily be understood by persons accustomed to the preparation of works for the press, that a rule like this would be occasionally forgotten.
And indeed it has sometimes, though rarely, occurred, that passages have been printed in Italick that should have been put in Roman letters. Every attention has therefore been paid to fulfil the translator's intentions, and the reader may be certain that this singularly interesting record of antiquity is now submitted to him with an exactness and fidelity not attained in the former editions. But it is fair to state, that the first and twelfth books are those which are least literal : this is more particularly the case with the latter. The peculiarity of the doctrines contained in these books will account for the fact, and at the same time explain the difficulty the learned translator laboured under in conveying ideas so novel in their nature to the English reader. When, however, the probable antiquity of the original work, and the occasional obscurity of some of its texts, are considered, it must be conceded, that the translator has been generally happy in his interpretation. The great celebrity which has attended the work since its first appearance in England, encourages a hope that its republication will meet the approbation of those, who, though unacquainted with Oriental literature, take an interest in whatever regards the history of the human mind, and the progress of civilization, to which European nations are under so many obligations.