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And shall respects of fading honour vaine,
(Which like sea waves soone flow, and ebbe as farre ;) Worke more with you than either faith or zeale, Which glory bring of heav'n's endlesse weale! Ah! no, (for God) conquer yourself, and kill
This fiercenesse of your over-haughty minde, Give place, it is no feare but holy will :
For palme is to your giving place assignde, And in my yeeres of young unripened skill,
If any may sute woorth example finde, I also was provokt, yet never grew 'Gainst faithfull fierce, but did myselfe subdew.
To their advises the disdaineful hart
Of this audacious youth beturning plies,
To such well-willers he no more denies,
And with him crave to goe in earnest wise;
He parts, and of high glory a large bent
Pertakes, the spur and rod of noble sprite ; His hart all vow'd t'exploits magnificent,
Doth none but workes of rarest price endite, Midst foes (as Champion of the faith) he ment
That Palme or Cypress should his paines acquite; He'll Egypt scour, and pierce ev'n to the hole, Where from his vncouth spring Nile doth out-role. But Guelfe, when as the fierce young man thus wise,
Prest to depart, had bid them all adew, There brookes no longer stay, but speedy hies,
Where guesse might Godfrey soonest yeeld to vew, Who spying him, with voyce of higher size,
Said (Guelfe) this very time I wisht for you, And sent but late to sundry wheres about Some of our Herhaults to enquire you out. Then makes all els withdraw, and turning low,
Begins with him a grave speech to contrive, Your nephew verily (my friend Guelpho)
To headlong runnes, where heats his courage drive,
And of his deede (I deeme) can hardly showe
to just pretence arrive;
Come he to his restraint in liberty,
be to his merits I consent;
(Well wot I his untamed hardiment)
Lest he force one of slow and gentle bent,
And of his lawes, as reason doth require." We shall close our extracts with the address to the soldiers, from the conclusion of the fifth book.
you that with me past have here and there
Even from your birth, deere Christians he chose,
Vanquist, and hils, and seas, and winter throwes,
Well knowen earst in oft more grievous case,
His hand of mercy were, or holy face?
Us did, and vowes to pay to th' heavenly grace.
Comforts and with a cleere and cheerefull looke ;
A thousand sad sharp cares their lodging tooke,
'Twixt want and dearth his thoughtfull minde it shooke, How he
may fleete at sea withstand, and how Th' Arabian robbers he
breake or bow.” From the few instances in which we have compared Carew with his more successful follower, it will be immediately perceived, that the superiority of the latter principally consists in a greater
ease and freedom of style, and gracefulness of expression. The collocation of Carew's sentences frequently renders them harsh and untuneable, an evil which he has preferred even to the slightest deviation from the sense of his author. Could he have possessed Fairefax's power and sweetness of versification, and yet have retained his own scrupulous accuracy, then indeed might we have had a translation worthy of the original. As it is, this is yet a desideratum. Of the many translators of the Jerusalem, Fairefax may perhaps be said to approach nearest to the spirit of the original, and yet we have seen how frequently he ventures to combine his own imaginations with the loftier inspirations of Tasso. More than half the similies in his translation never entered into the mind of Tasso; sometimes they are fortunate and add effect to the stanza, sometimes they weaken it, and occasionally they destroy the beauty of it altogether. Fairefax seems to have caught the idea, and to have elaborated it according to the conceptions of his own fancy, while Carew on the contrary thought and felt with the mind and heart of Tasso, though unfortunately his hand was incapable of sounding the chords of the poet's lyre. Sometimes indeed, as we think our extracts fully prove, he is singularly successful, but he soon reverts to a harsh and unmusical strain. We have not thought it worth while to institute any comparison between this antique version, and the more modern attempts either of Hoole, or still more lately of the Rev. Mr. Hunt. As for the translations of Mr. Brooke and Mr. Doyne, they are, we believe, little known and less regarded. It was the intention of Gray to have attempted a version of this great poem, and he had made some progress in the translation of the fourth canto. From the pen of this highly polished poet we might have expected a correct and spirited translation, but we doubt whether he was sufficiently acquainted with the peculiar character of Italian poetry to have executed such a task with complete success.
It is singular that Fairefax should have been ignorant of Carew's translation, and yet on a comparison of the two works we are persuaded that this must have been the case. In no instance either in style or substance does he appear to have been indebted to his predecessor. Had he been familiar with the work, he would undoubtedly not have fallen into some errors from which Carew's version is entirely free. It is impossible that Fairefax could have had access to it, else he could never have given the very extraordinary translation of the fiftyfifth stanza in the second book, which it has required all the skill of his editors to render intelligible. A more striking proof of this fact, however, is the translation of the fortieth stanza of the same book, which, though rather rude, is correct in Carew, while the meaning has been perfectly misunderstood by Fairefax.
per via montana, ò per silvestra,
Fera à gli huomini parue, huomo à le belue.
To chase the lion, boare, or rugged bear;
She chased oft, oft took, and oft beguilde.
Chase to the lions fierce and beares she gave,
It is evident that Fairefax was unable to make any sense of the original, and was consequently compelled to complete the stanza with an idea of his own. Can it be possible that he imagined he was translating the word fera by fairy?
We have been induced to notice this early translation of one of Italy's most brilliant productions, as our honest printer expresses it in his preface, " for the delight and benefit of those gentlemen, that love that most lively language," and from a conviction that the treasures and sweets of Italian literature were never better appreciated than at the present day. The very name of that delicious land teems with a thousand rich associations. To the patriot it is a field of old and unperishing glory, “ for there were deeds of valour done,” which are still present to the spirit. To the enthusiast of nature it is the very Eden of his hopes, and he acknowledges how justly the appellation is applied, while his eye wanders over the Campagna Felice. To the scholar, Italy is a world of treasures, richer than all the East ever poured forth, but in no heart is the name echoed with more fondness than in that of the poet. To him it recalls a thousand lofty names, a thousand fascinating images of beauty and power; it is linked to his spirit by the tenderest and the finest associations. From its cradle that country has been a land of romance; not the romance of fiction, but of a high and noble reality. Within its boundaries man has suffered almost all the vicissitudes of which his nature is capable—has exhibited the proudest and the meanest attributes of his beingsavage and uncultivated, then civilized and polished—then sinking from the height of luxury into the lowest abyss of vice-a tiller of the earth—a soldier-a citizen—a tyrant and a slaverude and unlettered--then rivalling the most polished in knowledge and in arts—the vanquisher of the earth, then the victim of a barbaric invader—the prey of superstition, and the
vassal of petty despots. Amid these numberless changes Italy has ever held the seed of noble action and high thoughts; and let us hope with Sismondi that a time may yet come, when she shall assume amongst the nations her own pre-eminent station.
Amongst so many causes of just pride, perhaps, the highest boast of this favoured land is, that she has been the birth-place of such men as Dante, and Petrarcha, and Tasso; and it is in our opinion one of the surest tests of the correctness and truth of public taste at the present day, that these old poets of Italy, and the worthy imitators of them in our own country, have regained that place in the estimation of our scholars and poets, which they seemed to be in danger of losing for ever. Notwithstanding the occasional concetti in which even the earliest of the Italian poets indulged, they uniformly addressed themselves to the heart; to rouse its sympathies and its passions was their great object. But while they thus attempted to excite the interest and the admiration of their votaries, beneath this garb of beauty and ornament was generally concealed some mystic allegory intended to enlighten and improve ; and in tales of war and fables of love there were found a symbol and a moral. Even in this warlike story, Tasso, it is said, intended to delineate a great moral picture—a representation of the most powerful passions of our being-searching into our human nature with the deep eye of the philosopher, and adorning his wisdom with the rich fascination of the poet. Our own Spenser has executed a similar attempt more palpably, and it must be acknowledged to be a difficult task to trace this scheme of Tasso's through the whole progress of his Epic. But why should the mind be perplexed with these subtle imaginations, when it can delight itself so much more truly with the spirit, the splendour, and the deliciousness of his exquisite poetry? It may indeed be questionable, whether any such occult wisdom is intended to be enforced in this noble poem, especially as the style of thinking observable in Tasso's works, is so much more simple and natural than in many others of the great Italian authors.Certainly as a pastoral poet he displays much fewer involutions of sentiment and expression than many of his celebrated countrymen, and his Epic, when compared with the works of Dante and Ariosto, possesses very little of what may be called the extravagance of poetry.
We have said that Italy was a romantic land; but amidst all her varying history, she presents few incidents more romantic than those which marked the life of Tasso, who perished the victim of too lofty an imagination and too proud a love, but with whose fortunes and fate nations have since sympathised. Never was there a prouder instance than this of the conquering
VOL. III, PART I.