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touched, there may be accidental points of similarity-nor is there the least equality between them. He is not the greatest poet who works after rules, but he who follows with most vigour and ardency the bent of his genius, and who comprehends within his grasp of intellect the widest diversity of powers. What avails the boasted uniform majesty of Tasso, when set against the boundless variety of Ariosto? The poem of Tasso, with the exception of some romantic incidents, the spirit of which he may have caught from Ariosto, is one continued regular imitation of the classical epopea: Ariosto borrows from the ancients as if in haste; to save himself trouble, or from the overflowing abundance of his reading: but he stamps anew whatever he borrows in the mint of his own eccentric genius, and scatters around him with a free and careless hand the wealth of his native original fancy. Few poets would have ventured to describe, in two immediately succeeding cantos, stories so similar to each other as the rescue of Angelica and Olympia, each chained to a rock and abandoned to an orc or sea-monster: and Perseus, the saviour of Andromeda, appears with more brilliant effect in the person of Rogero, bestriding his hippogriff, and combating at once both in the ocean and in the air. The names of Ariosto's heroes are to the Italians as familiar as proverbs, and his women are peculiarly his own. They are women of the age of chivalry and magic: paladins no less than ladies: they ride about in armour; exchange blows in forest solitudes; unhorse knights; and yet it is contrived with singular delicacy that they never forfeit altogether their feminine charac
In this Ariosto excels Tasso; whose valorous Clorinda, with all her beauty, wants the indispensable weaknesses and gentle qualities that reveal the sex. The particular forte of Ariosto, unless we except the nativeness or arch simplicity of his humour, is his talent at description. His battles on earth, on the sea, and in the air; his storms, his sieges, and his tournaments, are full of life and motion, and splendour. His monsters and his magicians have a nature of their own; and are drawn with such a vivacity and consistency, as to impress the imagination like substan
tial realities. It is impossible to avoid being struck with the intense idea of beauty which Ariosto possessed: it breathes over all those delicious nooks in his poem where localities of natural scenery are introduced, and is conspicuous in his delineations of the graces of the female form. He betrays here, however, usually that exuberancy of warmth already hinted at, and loads his picture with a minuteness and circumstantiality of finishing, resembling painting in enamel: we may instance the portrait of Alcina, where she presents herself before Rogero. He is emphatically the poet of Italy: if we were to name any poem of any other country that could at all compete with the Furioso, or could serve to convey a faint reflection of the manner of Ariosto, as well as of the character of his genius, we should name the Oberon of Wieland.
Now it follows from all this, that to transport into another language a poem so vast, so varied, and so harmonious in the truest sense of the word as that of Ariosto, is one of the least easy conceivable undertakings. Much of this difficulty may be said to grow out of the language itself. The lapse of time, the influx of new customs, the rise of new inventions, are the means of introducing new words and new forms of expression: a multitude of these words and expressions become in their turn obsolete: others change their meaning entirely. translator must be an adept in these mysteries of language: we need not add that he must be somewhat conversant with the national genius and manners. It is owing to these continual changes that Dante wearies the patience of such of his readers as have not the profound knowledge of the language necessary to the full comprehension of his sublimity and power; and there are many things in Dante's poetry which, notwith standing the most diligent efforts of his commentators, remain totally obscure, if not unintelligible. Ariostoj indeed, lived at a time when Dante, Petrarca, Boccacio, and Machiavelli, had not only laid the foundations, but fixed the boundaries of the noble Italian tongue. By them, and by Ariosto himself, it was carried to its highest pitch of force and beauty. Now, though we do not meet in
Ariosto with those difficulties which torment the admirers of Dante (and sometimes those of Petrarch also), he is not a writer that can safely be read with half-shut eyes: we must not suffer ourselves to be led away by that simplicity of diction which pervades the Orlando, and especially the openings of the Cantos; in which the good old poet talks morals and philosophy, like Fontaine in his Fables: for this exquisite simplicity, which bears the distinctive mark of a superior genius, is precisely the rock on which a translator would be most likely to split: he has to make his author easy without vulgarity, and lively without studied point: he must hit off that rambling kind of facility, often approaching to gossip, and differing as remotely as possible from the staid and formal manner of Hoole, and at the same time preserve that flowing terseness of rhythm and purity of diction which are indispensable to a correct delineation of the original. The author of Beppo, in some of the best passages of that poem (we are too tired of Don Juan to allude to it) has caught much of Ariosto's manner at second-hand from Ricciardetto. We say the best passages, for the unrhythmical divisions which Lord Byron affects are opposed not merely to the harmony of Ariosto's metre, but to that of every other. Against this approximation to doggerel, under the pretext of being familiar, we would seriously caution every translator of Ariosto; but we are happy to say that of this caution Mr. Rose does not appear to stand in need.
. The version of this gentleman is, upon the whole, a very successful effort: and with occasional exceptions, it is successful in the exact points on which we have already insisted, as of the highest importance to be observed. He has generally combined the garrulous ease and unpremeditated manner of the original with a terse and equable flow of mumbers.
As we think this easy and idiomatic sprightliness by far the most difficult acquisition on which a translator of the Orlando has a right to plume himself, we shall select one stanza to confirm the accuracy of our opinion, and shall prefix the correspondent version of Hoole, as the contrast inay
And he replies and lies, as he is prest; The dame, who is fore-warn'd and knows her ground,
Feigns too as well as he, and lies her best; And changes sex and sect, and name and land,
And her quick eye oft glances at his hand. Rose, stanza 76.
We add the following (but we have no room for long quotations) both as it is a fair specimen of Mr. Rose's talent for descriptive elegance, and as it affords us an opportunity of exercising our critical vocation.
Second Canto, 49.
Upwards, by little and by little, springs The winged courser; as the pilgrim crane Finds not at first his balance and his wings, Running and scarcely rising from the plain,
But when the flock is launch'd and scatter'd, flings
His pinions to the wind, and soars amain : The eagle scarce attempts so bold a height. So straight the necromancer's upward flight,
This stanza has much merit, as well in point of choice of diction, as of imitative harmony; but the construction, and consequently the meaning, are certainly mistaken: and the force and propriety of the simile are injured accordingly. The comparison is between one single winged object with another, and it is strikingly accurate, beautiful, and happy. Now Mr. Rose loses sight of the solitary pilgrim crane, who was brought by Ariosto into opposition with the sorcerer on his winged horse, and introduces the whole army of cranes, not
In the note it is stated that this is translated from Catullus's beautiful comparison, in his Epithalamium on Manlius and Julia: and in a note to the tenth Canto he mentions as a successful alteration that
unapproach'd by shepherd or by flock is much more delicate than Catullus's Intonsus† pecori, nullo contusus aratro : in which he may be right; but the probability is, that the imitation is not directly, or, at least, wholly from Catullus; who himself seems to have had his eye on a chorus of Euripides, Hippolytus, 73:
σοι τονδε πλεκτον, &c.
This garland which my hands have deftly sorted,
I bring thee, mistress! it is woven fresh From th' unsoil'd meadow, where no shepherd deems
That he may feed his flocks, where never
* 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,
Harrington, of whom Mr. Rose pronounces that "he cannot pretend to much merit. as a translator," (a quite gratuitous assumption) has 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 dresses,
With this th' enamour'd damsel braids her tresses,
he, in the next stanza, tells you it loses whatever favour it had found with heaven or man as soon as plucked." Ariosto says only
Amano averne e seni e tempie ornate. A literary friend, who had made some progress in a stanzaic version of the Orlando, and whose manuscript we have seen, translates the words, as we remember,
And love to deck their bosoms and their brows;
which is more faithful than the version of Mr. Rose; but why may not Amano have the sense of optavere? "They would fain have adorned their temples with it" if they could enter the garden. Though, after all, in what way Ariosto can be said to have injured Catullus in his sequel, passes our capability of conjecture: since Catullus uses precisely the same illustration!
Idem quum tenui carptus defloruit ungui Nulli illum pueri, nullæ optavêre puellæ. Cropt from the slender stem it droops and fades,
Wish'd for no more by youths, no more by
In Canto x. p. 166, stanza 112, the construction, if it be not ungrammatical, at least appears so.
Upon the beach the courser plants his feet, And, goaded by the rowel, towers in air, And gallops with Rogero in mid seat, While on the croup behind him sate the
Who of his banquet so the monster cheatcheats surely if Rogero also be meant as the antecedent of who, They would be better.
We are sorry that Mr. Rose, in his notes to the eighth Canto, p. 82, vol. ii. should give into the pedantic foppery of this age of verbal hypercriticism, and go out of his way to run a tilt at all our most admired old versions or paraphrases:" which, in reality, notwithstanding the critical nicety and painful polish, or elaborated ease, of modern translations, infinitely excel them in natural and spirited expression. That he should select Dryden, whose affluence of diction and ready mastery over all the resources of rhythm and powers of language laugh to scorn almost every
competitor but Shakspeare, is an instance of hebetude of taste, which we should not have looked for in an ingenious scholar, who is himself a poet. Dryden's paraphrases of Horace have never been equalled, any more than the bright parts of all his other paraphrases, including Lucretius and Juvenal. In the passage which shocks Mr. Rose by the liberty taken with fortune, because it would have offended pagan piety, we think him decidedly wrong.
I can enjoy her when she's kind;
"Is this what Horace says?" asks Mr. Rose: now the question properly should be, "Is this in the spi rit of Horace? or is it in the spirit of poetry?" and if all that Horace could do, did he write in English, were to tell us "I praise her when steady, when she flies from me resign what she bestowed," we have only to say that we think Dryden in this, as in a hundred other instances, has approved himself a better poet than his original. Why pick out a careless specimen from Dryden's Virgil, and omit to praise, as highly as they ought to be praised, and they cannot be praised too highly, his translation
of the effects of human love in the story of Leander; his chariot-race, never yet equalled; his Sibyl " when all the God came rushing on her soul;" a line worth whole folios of verbal criticism; or his God of bat
tles" on the banks of Hebrus' freezing flood:" why is no "faint praise," at least, conceded to the dramatic versification, and to that bold harmofreedom and impetuous sweep of his nious fall from one couplet to another, whereby he breaks its other wise eternal monotony?
To the Editor of the
I CAN add some little to your information on the subject of Paul Jones. That little is authentic; and moreover I am enabled to give you an original account (from his first, and indeed only lieutenant), of the action with the Serapis, the Gazette account of which appeared in your last number.
In the year 1801, two of the larg est frigates in the world lay near each other in the Bay of Gibraltar. It was a question which was the largest. Some gave it that the American President (Commodore Dale) had it in length, and the Portuguese Carlotta (Commodore Duncan) in breadth. Each commander had a wish to survey the vessel of the other, and yet these gentlemen could never be brought together. There was a shyness as to who should pay the first visit. There is no more punctilious observer of etiquette than a naval commander, jealous of the honour of his flag, on a foreign station. A master of ceremonies, or a king at arms, is nothing to him at a match of prece dency. The wings of a ship are the college in which he obtains this polite acquirement, and when he comes to run up his pennant we may be sure that a very professor in the courtesies flaunts upon the quarter deck. Dale was a good humoured fellow, a square strong set man, rather inclined to corpulence, jolly and hospitable. His pride in the command and discipline of his squadron, and the dignity of his diplomatic function, as the paramount of his nation in the Mediterranean, formed a very gentle bridle on his easy intercourse and open-heartedness. Now he thought that the Portuguese commodore should “cale vurst” (Parson Trulliber has it so), as having been earliest at the station. This was mentioned to Duncan (a fine hard bitten little old seaman by the way), and he forthwith laid down his punctilio in a manner that put an end to all hopes of an intimacy, or of a friendly measurement of the two ships." Sir," said he, "as Commodore Duncan of the Portuguese navy, I would readily call first upon Commodore Dale of the American navy, but as Lieutenant Duncan of
the British navy, I cannot call upon a gentleman who served under the pirate Paul Jones."
This awoke my curiosity, and the next time I was in company with Commodore Dale, he, perceiving that my conversation led that way, readily met me in it. He had been with Jones in the Ranger, as well as in the Bon Homme Richard. What follows is from his recital.
Paul Jones wanted (as the Bowstreet runners say) Lord Selkirk, to try upon him the experiment practising on President Laurens in the Tower; and if Laurens had suffered, Lord Selkirk, or any other great man they could get hold of, would have been put to death. Lord Selkirk was only preferred as being considered by his supposed residence to be the readiest for capture. Jones was surprised and displeased at the family plate being brought on board, but the returning it would have been too seri ous a displeasure to his crew. It was sold by public auction at Cadiz, bought in by Jones, and sent back, as we have known.
Commodore Dale thus related the action with the Serapis. The "Bon Homme Richard" was an old East Indiaman, bought and fitted out at a French port, and so christened out of compliment to Franklin, then in Paris, one of whose instructive tales is conveyed under such a title. Having originally no ports in her lower deck, six were broken out (three on a side) and fitted with six French eleven-pounder guns. On the upper deck she had twenty-four or twentysix of smaller calibre. She had a numerous crew, to which were added some recruits of the Irish Brigade commanded by a lieutenant-now a general officer in the British service. Fontenoy was one instance, and this action was another, of the gallantry of these unfortunate gentlemen, whom an invincible hereditary feeling had driven into the service of the French monarch. When the last of their protectors was dethroned, honour brought them gladly over to the standard of their country.
In this vessel, with the Alliance American frigate of 36 guns (a fine regular ship of war), and the Pallas