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the world, wretched, friendless, and alone.
The letter, which I received from her on the day subsequent to her departure, is to me alternately a source of pleasure and pain. In my hap
pier moments it makes me melancholy-in sorrow it is a comfort. I have preserved it for many years, and, come what will, it shall go down to the grave with me.
EXCERPTA ANTIQUARIA: MISCELLANEOUS ANTIQUITIES.
THIS is one of the most curious volumes published at the beginning of the seventeenth century; it is a thin folio of twenty-four leaves, including the musical notes; and is sufficiently described in the following title page.
The XII Wonders of the World, set and composed for the Violl de Gambo, the Lute, and the Voyce to sing the Verse, all three ioyntly, and none seuerall: also Lessons for the Lute and Base Violl to play alone: with some Lessons to play Lyra-wayes alone, or if you will, to fill up the parts, with another Violl set Lute-way, newly composed by John Maynard Lutenist at the most famous Schoole of St. Julians in Hartfordshire. London, Printed by Thomas Snodham for John Browne, and are to be solde at his Shop in Saint Dunstones Church-yard in Fleet
Maynard dedicates his musical labours to the Lady Jane Thynne of Cause-Castle in Shropshire, to whom
he very gallantly and piously wishes "Nestor's yeeres on Earth, and angel's happinesse in Heaven." It seems he had formerly taught her daughters musick, and had written and composed his present work under her hospitable roof.
The twelve Wonders consist of as many songs or madrigals, the subjects being twelve moral and virtuous characters in human life, such as an honest courtier, a religious divine, modest soldier, upright lawyer, &c. Of the harmony and melody of master Maynard's musical notes we are no judges, seeing that they are unintelligible to us, but the merit in some of the lines, added to the good sense, good sentiment, and good feeling that display themselves throughout these little metrical compositions, makes us think that they deserve more general notice, and that our readers will thank us for retrieving some of them from comparative oblivion.
Long haue I liued in court,
Superiours to adore, inferiors to despise,
To follow such as rise:
To cloake a poore desire under a rich aray,
Nor to aspire by vice, though 'twere the quicker way.
My calling is diuine, and I from God am sent,
My occupation is the noble trade, the trade of kings;
The law my calling is,
My robe, my tongue, my pen
Nor spunne out sutes in length,
Nor counsaile did bewray
Nor of both parties take;
For which I neuer spake.
I studie to vphold the slippery state of man,
Who dies when we haue done the best and all wee can.
The earth my faults doth hide, the world my cures doth see,
How many things as yet are deare alike to mee!
I onely am the man,
And though my shoe did wring,
I would not make my mone,
More happy than mine owne.
Yet court I not my wife, but yield obseruance due,
My dying husband knew how much his death would grieue mee,
Penelope herselfe did suitors entertaine.
And yet to draw on such as are of best esteeme,
Nor younger then I am, nor richer will I seeme.
I marriage would forsweare,
But that I heare men tell
That there is nothing new under the sun, we have been assured by very good authority, and every day's experience corroborates what the wisest of men affirmed. The Equitable Loan Company, and George
Rose, of Saving Banks memory, were not, perhaps, aware that their plans had been digested and acted upon in Italy, and were recommended in England some two centuries before they were born. However, such was
the fact. In a manuscript treatise by Persons the Jesuit, written in 1596, and entitled, "A Memoriall for the reformation of England, containing certayne notes and aduertisements, which seeme might be proposed in the first Parliament and Nationall Counsell of our Country, after God of his mercy shall restore it to the Catholicke Faith," we find the following passage:
It would be of greate importance, that in every cytie or greate shire-towne, there should be set vppe a poore man's banke or treasure, that might be answerable to that which is called monte della pieta, in greate cities of Italy, to wit, where poore men might either freely, or with very little interest haue money vpon suretyes, and not be forced so take it vpp at intollerable vsury, as oftentimes it happeneth to the vtter vndoing of themselfes and the generall hurt of the commonwealth. And for mainte, nance of these bankes, some rents or stocks of money were to be assigned by the councell of reformation out of the common purse at the beginning, and afterwards diuerse good people at their deaths would leaue more, and preachers were to be put in mind to remember the matter in pulpits, and curates and confessours in all good occasions, &c.
From a great many other passages in this treatise, it seems that its professors fully anticipated the speedy restoration of the Roman Catholic religion. "God," says Persons, "will most certainly at his time appointed restore the realme of England to the Catholique faith againe, as may appeare by the euident hand he holdeth now in the worke."
There is a great deal of good sense displayed in this production of the learned Jesuit's, and the following remarks on the exercises and residence for university degrees coincide so exactly with some more modern opinions on this subject, that we are tempted to transcribe the passage.
Taking of Degrees in the Vniversityes.
The degrees of bacchelours or licentiates in Divinity, Law or Physicke were not to be given to any but after their full study of their courses, to wit of foure yeares hearing in each course, and one or two yeares more to be allowed to repeate or looke over the said courses agayne, and after often publike exercises, and trialls to be made vpon them in the meane space. And after this degree of licentiate or bacchelour, other three yeares to be assigned for like triall for them, that will pretend to proceed doctors: and all these points of triall or taking degrees to be observed with rigour, and not dispensed with, nor changed into any contributions, as is now accustomed, but very rarely and vpon some greate, and extraordinary occasion. For that by this the fame and estimation of our vniversities would be exceeding great in the world abroad, and our degrees in learning would be holden in greate account, and our country would be full of learned men, with fewer titles void of substance. And
among other things a provision must be made, that such degrees as are taken abroad in some forraine vniversities of less mo
ment for money only, or favour, without merit, may be called to examination agayne, and not allowed of in England without new approbation and that vpon merit only.
DEATH!-DEATH!-how well the fatal mother cried,— (When the grim realms of pain through every bound, Trembling, as smit with anguish at the sound,
In many a ghastly echo answering sighed,)
-And NAMED her offspring!-Thou whose choice hath tried
Sin, and its bitter consequence has found,
The diseased heart,-the immedicable wound
Of conscience,joy, pure hope, and holy pride
ROSE'S ORLANDO FURIOSO.*
ARIOSTO is the chief of romancers; and he embodies in his poem the adventures of those redoubted cavaliers, with whose exploits the Spanish, Italian, and Provençal troubadours made the courts of Europe ring. We are not pledged to consider the mad pranks of Orlando as really the subject of the poem. It embraces the famous epoch, when the Saracens, having invaded France, were first vanquished by Charles Martel, and by him finally chased beyond the Pyrenees. This invasion has given birth to all those fables, by which history has been so strangely disfigured in the chivalrous romances, and which Ariosto, to borrow old Sir John Harrington's version, thus announces in his opening:
Of dames, of knights, of armes, of love's delight,
Of courtesies, of high attempts I speak : among these the madness of Orlando, the adventures of Angelica, and the loves of Roger and Bradamant, are only so many grand episodes. These tales are interwoven like the twigs of a basket: but so clear and precise is the style of narration, so tissued with gay and novel images, and dressed in such free and flowing numbers, that the curiosity is irresistibly tempted forward to the unravelment of every story; and the reader never lays down one canto without feeling the want of the other, which is to succeed. It may be thought that a decided tendency to the perusal of romantic tales and adventures is necessary to produce this degree of interest; and that it must be some such person as the heroine of Mr. Hayley, in one of the few good verses he ever wrote, when by her waning taper,
She read unconscious till the dawning day, who can weep, laugh, love, and sigh with the "extravagant and erring dames and cavaliers of the FuriOSO. We congratulate those persons who have known or felt so little of the burden of life's fretting cares and solicitudes as to feel no want of losing themselves in a tale of magic or chivalry. But they who thus pro
fess to despise necromancers (for whom we beg to say we entertain, poetically speaking, a very high respect, not to say affection) must stand convicted of despising poetry at the same time: for the teller of the tale is a poet. He is also the most popular of poets among his countrymen, notwithstanding the tenderness which Tasso has infused into his verses, and which is so captivating to the disposition of Italians: but Ariosto is also tender; as what is he not? and he gives you wit as well as poetry: he is an arch historian, with whom you must grow familiar, if you would be thoroughly acquainted with him; and amidst his feats and his transformations, and the sighings of distrest, or the warlike encounters of errant, damsels, he maintains an air of ironical bonhommie, which leaves you in doubt whether he is in jest or earnest. There are certain readers who, when they see a poem, set immediately about discovering its moral: they have been told by Bossu, that Homer sat down to write an epic lesson on the ill effects of the divisions of princes; and they will be sure to inquire after the specific moral purpose of Ariosto. The question would be rather puzzling; but we should answer, that we have less faith in the monendo of poetry, than in the delectando. The poet's first aim is to please; and he who sits down deliberately to instruct will assuredly fail of his object. We reject of course the moral allegories which Harrington extorts from Ariosto, as did others before him from Homer. It is true that most legendary fictions have a basis of allegory. The mistake lies in supposing that the poet employs them knowingly in imputing to him, in short, a philosophical purpose, where his object is simply poetic excitement.
Homer was the historian of heroic traditions; Ariosto of those of chivalry: both poets were masters of human character, and of the human heart; both were, though not in the same degree, satirists; and we cannot put men in action, or paint their passions,
* The Orlando Furioso, translated into English verse from the Italian of Ludovico Ariosto, with notes, by William Stewart Rose. Vols. 1 and 2. Murray. London.
humours, and defects, without appealing to the moral sense. There is an instinct in the mind of man which leads him to extract a moral for himself from all that is interesting to humanity-from all which he can suppose himself to act or suffer; and thus the moral results of a poem are less the effect of design in the poet, than of the necessary tendency of the subjects which he treats, to impress the moral sense and awaken hope and fear, compassion and indignation. As a picture of men and women, though in incredible and impossible relations and circumstances, Ariosto's poem may thus be said to have a moral purpose: for every poem, partaking of an epic or dramatic character, and not studiously directed to the corruption of virtuous principles, must inevitably have one: the laws of the human mind, and the high instincts implanted in our nature, impel the poet to render good falth, generosity, and honour amiable, and vice and meanness odious. In so far also as by satirical inuendoes, or burlesque incidents, the poet throws a light on the follies and foibles of courts, or of society at large, he may be said to perform the functions of a moralist; for satire is only a vehicle for morality. But that Ariosto, without apparent set purpose of literary seduction, or the express design of pampering licentious inclinations, has committed offences against the interests of pure morals, his warmest admirers, however reluctantly, confess. He is not merely led astray by a joyous levity of temperament, nor does he offend against modesty in passages of ludicrous recital, when the temptation to wit might appear to offer a plea for loose and careless sallies; but on Occasions when no such excuse can avail him, he shows an evident in clination to the licentious heightening of voluptuous details. If Petrarch reared a temple to the celestial Venus, Ariosto may be said to have burned incense in the fane of Venus the terrestrial. This is the more to
be lamented, as he has described love under all its forms, and in all its circumstances and effects; and while avoiding the metaphysical coldness of Petrarch, the "unsunned snow " of whose purity has little congenial with the warmth of real passion, is not at all inferior to him either in delicacy or dignity of sentiment: we may witness the loves of Olympia, of Isabella, of Genevra, and Bradamant; the two first of these in particular may be cited as examples of whatever is most pure and exalted in the most powerful of pas sions. As it is, however, Ariosto must remain in the original a sealed book to the eyes of innocence; and that translator does little service to his country who does not unsparingly disentangle the fulsome weed from the fresh and untainted flower.
In depth of thought and force of diction, it would be idle to compare Ariosto with Dante. The latter may be considered as a sort of patriarchal poet, whose venerable superiority is at once acknowledged by succeeding poetical generations. In harmony of versification, however, Ariosto surpasses Dante; as he does Tasso in variety and freedom of rythm. When the Jerusalem Delivered rose into notice, it became a great question among the Italian literati, whether Tasso should not bear away the palm from Ariosto. Tasso had been "brutally deprest by the pedants of La Crusca, the base courtiers of Alfonso, and the miserable competitors who envied him his glory. But his indisputable merit soon raised him to the exalted station which he holds among the epic poets. Upon this, the strict observers of what are called the epic rules proclaimed Tasso as superior to Ariosto; though Tasso himself, with his native amiable modesty, always confessed (in what sense he meant to be understood is not very easy to say) that he was no more than the disciple of the poet of Ferrara. No two poets can be more unlike on a general comparison, though, as Ariosto left scarcely any style un
Mr. Rose has had the good sense and good feeling to pay attention to this. The third and fifth lines of the 69th stanza of the 11th canto might however have been more delicately select in the choice of words; members for limbs should be relegated to Moore's almanack. Sometimes it might have been better to modify rather than expunge: as for instance in the eighth canto, when Angelica, during her adventure with the hermit, is, through the translator's asterisks of omission, left in a situation of ambiguity, which she does not deserve.