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THE LOEB CLASSICAL LIBRARY
E. CAPPS, PH.D., LL.D. T. E. PAGE, LITT.D. W. H. D. ROUSE, LITT.D.
MELMOTH'S translation of Pliny's Letters, published in 1746, not only delighted contemporary critics— amongst whom Warton pronounced it a better work than the original—but deservedly ranks as a minor English classic. Apart from its literary excellence, it has the supreme merit of reflecting the spirit of the original, and that to a degree now unattainable. For it was produced when the lost art of letterwriting was in its heyday, and to compose just such letters as Pliny's the universal accomplishment of well-bred persons. His high-flown compliments, his neatly-turned platitudes, his nice blending of sense and sensibility, were stock ingredients of eighteenth century correspondence; and Melmoth himself author of a vastly admired series of imaginary letters-had the ideal style for translating him at his fingers' ends. No modern rendering can recapture the ease and felicity of Melmoth's; for they came of his living in a world so like Pliny's own that he was perfectly at home with his author's mode of thought.