« PreviousContinue »
touched, there may be accidental tial realities. It is impossible to avoid points of similarity-nor is there the being struck with the intense idea of least equality between them. He is beauty which Ariosto possessed : it not the greatest poet who works after breathes over all those delicious nooks rules, but he who follows with most in his poem where localities of navigour and ardency the bent of his tural scenery are introduced, and is genius, and who comprehends within conspicuous in his delineations of the his grasp of intellect the widest di- graces of the female form. He beversity of powers. What avails the trays here, however, usually that boasted uniform majesty of Tasso, exuberancy of warmth already hinted when set against the boundless variety at, and loads his picture with a miof Ariosto? The poem of Tasso, with nuteness and circumstantiality of the exception of some romantic in- finishing, resembling painting in cidents, the spirit of which he may enamel : we may instance the porhave caught from Ariosto, is one con- trait of Alcina, where she presents tinued regular imitation of the clas- herself before Rogero. He is emphasical epopæa : Ariosto borrows from tically the poet of Italy: if we were the ancients as if in haste; to save to name any poem of any other counhimself trouble, or from the over- try that could at all compete with flowing abundance of his reading: the Furioso, or could serve to conbut he stamps anew whatever he bor- vey a faint reflection of the manner rows in the mint of his own eccentric of Ariosto, as well as of the character genius, and scatters around him with of his genius, we should name the a free and careless hand the wealth Oberon of Wieland. of his native original fancy. Few Now it follows from all this, that poets would have ventured to de- to transport into another language a scribe, in two immediately succeeding poem so vast, so varied, and so harcantos, stories so similar to each other monious in the truest sense of the as the rescue of Angelica and Olym- word as that of Ariosto, is one of the pia, each chained to a rock and aban- least easy conceivable undertakings. doned to an orc or sea-monster: and Much of this difficulty may be said to Perseus, the saviour of Andromeda, grow out of the language itself. The appears with more brilliant effect in lapse of time, the influx of new custhe person of Rogero, bestriding his toms, the rise of new inventions, are hippogriff, and combating at once the means of introducing new words both in the ocean and in the air. The and new forms of expression: a mulnames of Ariosto's heroes are to the titude of these words and expressions Italians as familiar as proverbs, and his become in their turn obsolete: others women are peculiarly his own. They change their meaning entirely. A are women of the age of chivalry and translator must be an adept in these magic: paladins no less than ladies : mysteries of language: we need not they ride about in armour; exchange add that he must be somewhat con blows in forest solitudes; unhorse versant with the national genius and knights; and yet it is contrived with manners. It is owing to these consingular delicacy that they never for- tinual changes that Dante wearies feit altogether their feminine charac- the patience of such of his readers as ter. In this Ariosto excels Tasso; have not the profound knowledge of whose valorous Clorinda, with all the language necessary to the full her beauty, wants the indispensable comprehension of his sublimity and weaknesses and gentle qualities that power; and there are many things reveal the sex. The particular forte in Dante's poetry which, notwitha of Ariosto, unless we except the na- standing the most diligent efforts of tiveness or arch simplicity of his hu- his commentators, remain totally obmour, is his talent at description. scure, if not unintelligible. Ariosto, His battles on earth, on the sea, and indeed, lived at a time when Dante, in the air; his storms, his sieges, and Petrarca, Boccacio, and Machiavelli, his tournaments, are full of life and had not only laid the foundations, motion, and splendour. His monsters but fixed the boundaries of the noble and his magicians have a nature of Italian tongue. By them, and bý their own; and are drawn with such Ariosto himself, it was carried to its a vivacity and consistency, as to im- highest pitch of force and beauty. press the imagination like substan- Now, though we do not meet in
Ariosto with those difficulties which assist' our reader's judginent. The
find, vades the Orlando, and especially the So well his form was treasured in her mind : openings of the Cantos; in which She questions where he goes and whence he the good old poet talks morals and
came, philosophy, like Fontaine in his Fa- While lies to all he frames ; nor less the bles : for this exquisite simplicity, dame, which bears the distinctive mark of Warn'd of his arts, for falsehood falsehood a superior genius, is precisely the rock on which a translator would be most Her country feigns; her name and race Jikely to split: he has to make his While watchful' on his hands her eye she
conceals; author easy without vulgarity, and
Hoole, 534. lively without studied point: he must hit off that rambling kind of The maid Brunello knows, as soon as facility, often approaching to gossip,
found, and differing as remotely as possible And asks him whence he came and whither
(So was his image on her mind imprest) from the staid and formal manner of
bound; Hoole, and at the same time preserve And he replies and lies, as he is prest ; that flowing terseness of rhythm and The dame, who is fore-warnd and knows purity of diction which are indis- her ground, pensable to a correct delineation of Feigns too as well as he, and lies her best; the original. The author of Beppo, And changes sex and sect, and name and in some of the best passages of that
land, poem (we are too tired of Don Juan And her quick eye oft glances at his hand. to allude to it) has caught much of
Rose, stanza 76. Ariosto's manner at second-hand from We add the following (but we Ricciardetto. We say the best pas- have no room for long quotations) sages, for the unrhythmical divisions both as it is a fair specimen of Mr. which Lord Byron affects are opposed Rose's talent for descriptive elegance, not merely to the harmony of Ariosto’s and as it affords us an opportunity metre, but to that of every other. of exercising our critical vocation. Against this approximation to dogge
Second Canto, 49. rel, under the pretext of being familiar, Upwards, by little and by little, springs we would seriously caution every The winged courser; as the pilgrim crane translator of Ariosto; but we are Finds not at first his balance and his wings, happy to say that of this caution Mr. Running and scarcely rising from the Rose does not appear to 'stand in plain, need.
But when the flock is launch'd and scatThe version of this gentleman is,
ter'd, flings upon the whole, a very successful His pinions to the wind, and soars amain : effort: and with occasional excep
So straight the necromancer's upward flight, tions, it is successful in the exact The eagle scarce attempts so bold a height. points on which we have already in- This stanza has much merit, as sisted, as of the highest importance well in point of choice of diction, as to be observed. He has generally of imitative harmony ; but the concombined the garrulous ease and un-struction, and consequently the mean. premeditated manner of the original ing, are certainly mistaken: and the with a terse and equable flow of mum- force and propriety of the simile are bers.
injured accordingly. The comparison As we think this easy and idioma- is between one single winged object tic sprightliness by far the most diffi- with another, and it is strikingly accult acquisition on which a translator curate, beautiful, and happy. Now of the Orlando has a right to plume Mr. Rose loses sight of the solitary himself, we shall select one stanza to pilgrim crane, who was brought by confirm the accuracy of our opinion, Ariosto into opposition with the sorand shall prefix the correspondent cerer on his winged horse, and introversion of Hoode, as the contrast inay duces the whole army of cranes, not
Aying on in their wedge-like array, as In the note it is stated that this is is their natural habit, but rising and translated from Catullus's beautiful instantly scattering, without seeming comparison, in his Epithalamium on purpose or reason; the parallel is Manlius and Julia : and in a note to thus interrupted; for the fancy is con- the tenth Canto he mentions as a sucfused by the unnecessary allusion to cessful alteration that the whole flock of cranes, and diverted from the single bird. The truth
unapproach'd by shepherd or by flock is, Mr. Rose has misconstrued the is much more delicate than Catullus's E quando tutte sono all' aria sparso
Intorsust pecori, nullo contusus aratro : Velocissime niostra l'ali sue.
in which he may be right; but the Tutte does not, as the translator probability is, that the imitation is obviously supposes, relate to grù un- not directly, or, at least, wholly from derstood, * but agrees with ali sue in Catullus; who himself seems to have the next line ; we have thus the bold had his eye on a chorus of Euripides, hyperbole of “ when all her wings Hippolytus, 73: are scatter'd to the air," and the lonely identity of the crane is pre- This garland which my hands have deftly
σοι τονδε πλεκτον, &c. served. Might not the lines be turned thus ?
I bring thee, mistress! it is woven fresh But, once her pennons launch'd, she scat- From th' unsoil'd meadow, where no shepter'd flings
herd deems Their plumage to the winds.
That he may feed his flocks, where never Why the sex of the crane should be changed we do not see: it con- The edge of iron ; but the bee strays wild trasts better in the original with that O'er all th' unsullied mead, and modesty of the Necromancer, and obviates Bathes it with river drops : the few that are confusion.
Of untaught innocence, whose lot it is The following classical simile from From their own happy natures to be chaste, the first Canto, stanza 42, is prettily May gather of these flowers; the wicked done.
Ne The virgin has her image in the rose
gregge nè pastor se le avvicina Shelter'd in garden on its native stock, agrees better with the line in EuWhich there in solitude and safe repose ripides than with that in Catullus : Blooms unapproach'd by shepherd or by though, after all, the coincidence may flock:
be accidental on the part of Ariosto. For this earth teems, and freshening water
In the note on this passage, p. 172, flows, And breeze, and dewy dawn, their sweets
vol. ii. Mr. Rose comments on his unlock :
own translation, and criticizes Ariosto With such the wishful youth his bosom for an oversight which is exclusively dresses,
“ But he has amplified his With such th’ enamour'd damsel braids illustration injudiciously, and after her tresses.
saying of the flower that • Every other translator seems to have stumbled on the same blunder: Harrington is misled by it to change the “ peregrina grue at the beginning of the stanza into the whole flock at once. (Harrington, by the bye, reads peregrina, and Mr. Rose pelegrina.)
And as we see strange cranes are wont to do,
Triangle-wise according to their kind. Harrington, of whom Mr. Rose pronounces that “ he cannot pretend to much merit. as a translator," (a quite gratuitous assumption) shown more judgment than himself in this instance, by retaining the measure of the distance, at which the crane first rises from the ground : “ un braccio o due." Hoole follows Harrington : and also miserably docks the simile.
Like cranes at once they spring
Aloft in air and shoot upon the wing. + By a singular mishap, Mr. Rose, when he gives the passage at length, has quoted the word ignotus.
With this the wishful youth his bosom competitor but Shakspeare, is an indresses,
stance of hebetude of taste, which With this th' enamour'd damsel braids her we should not have looked for in an tresses,
ingenious scholar, who is himself a he, in the next stanza, tells you it poet. Dryden's paraphrases of How loses whatever favour it had found race have never been equalled, any with heaven or man as soon as pluck- more than the bright parts of all his ed." Ariosto says only
other paraphrases, including Lucre Amano averne e seni e tempie ornate.
tius and Juvenal. In the passage A literary friend, who had made which shocks Mr. Rose by the liberty some progress in a stanzaic version taken with fortune, because it would of the Orlando, and whose manu- have offended pagan piety, we think script we have seen, translates the bim decidedly wrong. words, as we remember,
I can enjoy her when she's kind; And love to deck their bosoms and their But when she dances in the wind, brows;
And shakes her wings, and will not stay, which is more faithful than the ver
I puff the prostitute away, sion of Mr. Rose; but why may not
“ Is this what Horace says ?" asks Amano have the sense of optavere ? Mr, Rose: now the question pro• They would fain have adorned perly should be, “ Is this in the spitheir temples with it” if they could rit of Horace? or is it in the spirit enter the garden. Though, after all, of poetry?” and if all that Horace in what way Ariosto can be said to could do, did he write in English, have injured Catullus in his sequel, were to tell us " ! praise her when passes our capability of conjecture: steady, when she flies from me resign since Catullus uses precisely the same
what she bestowed,” we have only illustration !
to say that we think Dryden in this, Idem quum tenui carptus defloruit ungui
as in a hundred other instances, has Nulli illum pueri, nullæ optavêre puellæ.
approved himself a better poet than Cropt from the slender stem it droops and less specimen from Dryden's Virgil,
his original. Why pick out a carefades, Wish'd for no more by youths, no more by and omit to praise, as highly as they maids.
ought to be praised, and they cannot In Canto x. p. 166, stanza 112, the of the effects of human love in the
be praised too highly, his translation construction, if it be not ungram- story of Leander; his chariot-race, matical, at least appears so.
never yet equalled; his Sibyl “ when Upon the beach the courser plants his feet, all the God came rushing on her And, goaded by the rowel, towers in air,
soul;” a line worth whole folios of And gallops with Rogero in mid seat, While on the croup behind him sate the tles « on the banks of Hebrus’ freez
verbal criticism ; or his God of batfair ; Who of his banquet so the monster cheat- ing flood:” why is no “ faint praise," cheats surely: if Rogero also be at least, conceded to the dramatic meant as the antecedent of who, versification, and to that bold harmo
freedom and impetuous sweep of his They would be better.
We are sorry that Mr. Rose, in his nious fall from one couplet to annotes to the eighth Canto, p. 82, vol. other, whereby he breaks its other ii. should give into the pedantic fopVain fool and coward ! cried the
wise eternal monotony? pery of this age of verbal hypercriti. cism, and go out of his way to run a
Caught in the snare which thou thyself hast tilt at “ all our most admired old On others practise thy Ligurian arts ; versions or paraphrases:" which, in
Thin stratagems and tricks of little hearts reality, notwithstanding the critical
Are lost on me; nor shalt thou safe retire nicety and painful polish, or elaborated with vaunting lies to thy fallacious sire. ease, of modern translations, infinitely « Such is the character of all our excel them in natural and spirited most admired old versions," is it? expression. That he should select Then the best advice which we can Dryden, whose affluence of diction give to Mr. Rose is, and ready mastery over all the resources of rhythm and powers of
Tu longè sequere et vestigia semper adora. language laugh to scorn almost every
To the Editor of the London Magazine. I can add some little to your in the British navy, I cannot call upon formation on the subject of Paul a gentleman who served under the Jones. That little is authentic; and pirate Paul Jones.” moreover I am enabled to give you This awoke my curiosity, and the an original account (from his first, next time I was in company with and indeed only lieutenant), of the Commodore Dale, he, perceiving that action with the Serapis, the Gazette my conversation led that way, readily account of which appeared in your met me in it. He had been with last number.
Jones in the Ranger, as well as in the In the year 1801, two of the larg- Bon Homme Richard. What follows est frigates in the world lay near each is from his recital. other in the Bay of Gibraltar. It Paul Jones wanted (as the Bowwas a question which was the largest. street runners say) Lord Selkirk, to Some gave it that the American Presi, try upon him the experiment pracdent (Commodore Dale) had it in tising on President Laurens in the length, and the Portuguese Carlotta Tower; and if Laurens had suffered, (Commodore Duncan) in breadth. Lord Selkirk, or any other great man Each commander had a wish to survey they could get hold of, would have the vessel of the other, and yet these been put to death. Lord Selkirk was gentlemen could never be brought only preferred as being considered by together. There was a shyness as his supposed residence to be the readito who should pay the first visit. est for capture. Jones was surprised There is no more punctilious ob- and displeased at the family plate server of etiquette than a naval com- being brought on board, but the remander, jealous of the honour of his turning it would have been too seriflag, on a foreign station. A master ous a displeasure to his crew. It of ceremonies, or a king at arms, is was sold by public auction at Cadiz, nothing to him at a match of prece bought in by Jones, and sent back, dency. The wings of a ship are the as we have known. college in which he obtains this po- Commodore Dale thus related the lite acquirement, and when he comes action with the Serapis. The “ Bon to run up his pennant we may be Homme Richard” was an old East sure that a very professor in the Indiaman, bought and fitted out at a courtesies flaunts upon the quarter French port, and so christened out deck. Dale was a good humoured of compliment to Franklin, then in fellow, a square strong set man, ra- Paris, one of whose instructive tales ther inclined to corpulence, jolly and is conveyed under such a title. Havhospitable. His pride in the com- ing originally no ports in her lower mand and discipline of his squadron, deck, six were broken out (three on and the dignity of his diplomatic a side) and fitted with six French function, as the paramount of his na- eleven-pounder guns. On the upper tion in the Mediterranean, formed a deck she had twenty-four or twentyvery gentle bridle on his easy inter- six of smaller calibre. She had a course and open-heartedness. Now numerous crew, to which were addhe thought that the Portuguese com- ed some recruits of the Irish Brigade modore should " cale vurst" (Parson commanded by a lieutenant-now a Trulliber has it so), as having been general officer in the British service. earliest at the station. This was Fontenoy was one instance, and this mentioned to Duncan (a fine hard action was another, of the gallanbitten little old seaman by the way), try of these unfortunate gentlemen, and he forthwith laid down his punc- whom an invincible hereditary feeltilio in a manner that put an end ing had driven into the service of the to all hopes of an intimacy, or of a French monarch. When the last of friendly measurement of the two their protectors was dethroned, hoships. Sir,” said he, “as Com- nour brought them gladly over to modore Duncan of the Portuguese the standard of their country. navy, I would readily call first upon In this vessel, with the Alliance Commodore Dale of the American American frigate of 36 guns (a fine navy, but as Lieutenant Duncan of regular ship of war), and the Pallas