Tales from Chaucer, by Charles Cowden Clarke, , at sacred-texts.com
THE adult reader (should I be honoured with such) , who can scarcely fail to discern an abrupt stiffness in the construction of the sentences in the following Tales, will bear in mind the many complicated difficulties I have had to contend with in retaining, as much as possible, Chaucer's antique quaintness and distinctive character; in avoiding his repetitions, and yet in incorporating every nervous expression which constitutes the great charm of his graphic descriptions.
The task I proposed to myself was to render my translations literal with the original, to preserve their antique fashion, and withal to give them a sufficiently modern air to interest the young reader. I was to be at one and the same time "modernly antique," prosaically poetic, and comprehensively concise. He only will appreciate my frequent perplexities who shall attempt the same task—observing the same restrictions.