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When Vice walks forth with her unsoften'd terrors, Cities and generations — fair, when free-
With Freedom — godlike Triad ! how ye sate ! Of the cold staggering race which Death is winning, The league of mightiest nations, in those hours Steals vein by vein and pulse by pulse away ;
When Venice was an envy, might abate, Yet so relieving the o'er-tortured clay,
But did not quench, her spirit - in her fate To him appcars renewal of his breath,
All verc cnwrapp'd : the feasted monarchs knew And freedom the mere numbness of his chain;
And loved their hostess, nor could learn to bate, And then be talks of life, and how again
Although they humbled — with the kingly few He feels his spirits soaring - alheit weak,
The many felt, for from all days and climes And of the fresher air, which he would seek ;
She was the voyager's worship ; - even her crimes And as he whispers knows not that he gasps,
Were of the softer order - born of Love, That his thin finger feels not what it clasps,
She drank no blood, nor fattend on the dead, And so the film comes o'er him—and the dizzy But gladden'd where her harmless conquests spread; Chamber swims round and round — and shadows busy, For these restored the Cross, that from above At which he vainly catches, flit and glcam,
Hallow'd her sheltering banners, which incessant Till the last rattle chokes the strangled scream, Flew between earth and the unholy Crescent, And all is ice and blackness, — and the earth
Which, if it waned and dwindled, Earth may thank That which it was the moment cre our birth. The city it has clothed in chains, which clank
Now, creaking in the ears of those who owe
The name of Freedom to her glorious struggles ; There is no hope for nations !
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Yet she but shares with them a common woe, Of many thousand years - the daily scene,
And call'd the “ kingdom" of a conquering foe, The flow and ebb of each recurring age,
But knows what all — and, most of all, we know The everlasting to be which hath been,
With what set gilded terms a tyrant juggles !
The name of Commonwealth is past and gone For 't is our nature strikes us down: the beasts
O'er the three fractions of the groaning globe ; Slaughter'd in hourly hecatombs for feasts
Venice is crush'd, and Holland deigns to own Are of as high an order — they must go (slaughter. A sceptre, and endures the purple robe ; Even where their driver goads them, though to
If the free Switzer yet bestrides alone
His chainless mountains, 't is but for a time,
And in its own good season tramples down
Whose vigorous offspring by dividing ocean
Are kept apart and nursed in the devotion And deem this proof of loyalty the real;
Of Freedom, which their fathers fought for, and Kissing the hand that guides you to your scars, Bequeath'd - a heritage of heart and hand, And glorying as you tread the glowing bars ?
And proud distinction from each other land, All that your sires have left you, all that Time Whose suns must bow them at a monarch's motion, Bequeaths of free, and History of sublime,
As if his senseless sceptre were a wand Spring from a different theme! -Ye see and read,
Full of the magic of exploded science -
Yet rears her crest, unconquer'd and sublime,
Her Esau-brerbren that the haughty flag,
Rights cheaply earn'd with blood.—Still, still, for ever And trample on each other to obtain
Better, though each man's life-blood were a river, The cup which brings oblivion of a chain
That it shouid flow, and overflow, than creep
Where the extinguish'd Spartans still are free,
Than stagnate in our marsh, - or o'er the deep
One spirit to the souls our fathers had, With all her seasons to repair the blight
One freeman more, America, to thee ! With a few summers, and again put forth
The Morgante Maggiore
in his continuation, by a judicious mixture of the ADVERTISEMENT.
gaiety of Pulci, has avoided the one ; and Berni, in The Morgante Maggiore, of the first canto of which bis reformation of Boiardo's poem, has corrected the this translation is offered, divides with the Orlando other. Pulci may be considered as the precursor Innamorato the honour of having formed and sug and model of Berni altogether, as he has partly been gested the style and story of Ariosto.
The great to Ariosto, however inferior to both his copyists. He defects of Boiardo were his treating too seriously the is no less the founder of a new style of poetry very narratives of chivalry, and his harsh style. Ariosto, lately sprung up in England. I allude to that of
1 (The following translation was executed at Ravenna, in February, 1820, and first saw the light in the pages of the unfortunate journal called The Liberal." The merit of it, as Lord Byron over and over states in his letters, consists in the wonderful verbum pro verbo closeness of the version. It was, in fact, an exercise of skill in this art, and cannot be fairly estimated, without continuous reference to the original Italian, which the reader will therefore now find placed opposite to the text. Those who want full information, and clear philosophical views, as to the origin of the Romantic Poetry of the Italians, will do well to read at length an article on that subject, from the pen of the late Ugo Foscolo, in the forty-second number of the Quarterly Review. We extract from it the passage in which that learned writer applies himself inore particularly to the Morgante of Pulci. Aller showing that all the poets of this class adopted as the groundwork of their fictions, the old wild materials which had for ages formed the stock in trade of the professed story-tellers: - in those days a class of persons holding the same place in Christendom, and more especially in Italy, which their brothers stul maintain all over the East,- Foscolo thus proceeds:
“ The customary forms of the narrative all find a place in romantic poetry : such are the sententious retlections suggested by the matters which he has just related, or arising in anticipation of those which he is about to relate, and which the story-teller always opens when he resumes his recitations ; his defence of his own merits against the attacks of rivals in trade; and his form al leave-taking when he parts from his audience, and invites them to meet him again on the morrow. This method of winding up each portion of the poem is a favourite among the romantic poets: who constantly finish their cantos with a distich, of which the worcis may vary, but the sense is uniform.
All' altro canto ve fard sentire,
Se all' altro canto ini vertete a udire.- ARIOSTO.
. I now cut off abruptly here my rhyrne,
And keep my tale unto another time.' « The forms and materials of these popular stories were adopted by writers of a superior class, who considered the vulgar tales of their predecessors as blocks of marble finely tinted and variegated by the hand of na. ture, but which might afford a masterpiece, when tastefully worked and polished. The romantic poets treated the traditionary fictions just as Dante did the legends invented by the monks to maintain their mastery over weak minds. He forned them into a poem, which became the adrni. ration of every age and nation, but Dante Tim Petrarca were prets, who, though universally celebrated, were not universally understood. The learned found employment in writing comments upon their poems; but the nation, without even excepting the higher ranks, knew them only by
At the beginning of the fifteenth century, a few obscure authors began to write romances in prose and in thyme, taking for their subject the wars of Charlemagne and Orlando, or someumes the adventures of Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. These works were so pleasing, that they were rapidly multiplied: but the bards of romance cared little about style or versification, they sought for adventures, and enchantments, and miracles. We here obtain at least a partial explanation of the rapid decline of Italian poetry, and the amazing corruption of the Italian language, which took place immediately after the death of Pe"ruch, and which proceeded froin bad to worse unul the era of Lorenzo de Medici.
" It was then that Pulci composed his Morgante for the amusement of Madonna Lucrezia, the mother of Lorenzo; and he used to recite it at table to Ficino, and Polidan, and Lorenzo, and the other illustrious characlets who then flourished at Florence : yet Pulci adhered strictly to the original plan of the popular story tellers; and if his successors have em. bellished them so that they can scarcely be recognised, it is certain that in no other poem can they be found so genuine and native as in the Mor. gante. Pulci accommodated himself, though sportively, to the genius of his age : classical taste and sound criticism hegan to prevail, and great endeavours were making by the learned to separate historical truth from the chaos of fable and tradition : so that, though Pulci introduced the most extravagant fables, he affected to complain of the errors of his prele. cessors. I grieve,' he said, for my emperor Charlemagne: for I see thas his history has been badly written and worse understood.'
E del mio Carlo imperador m' increbbe ;
Di Carlo, male intesa e scritta peggio.' "And whilst he quotes the great historian Leonardo Aretino with respect, he professes to believe the authonty of the holy Archbishop Turpin, who is also one of the heroes of the poem. In another passage, where he imitates the apologies of the story-tellers, he makes a neat allusion to the taste of his audience. I know, he says, 'that I must proceel straight. forward, and not tell a single lie in the course of my tale. This is not a
story of mere invention : and if I go one step out of the right road, ne chastises, another criticises, a third scolds they try to drive me madbut in fact they are out of their senses.'
" Pulci's rersitication is remarkably fluent. Yet he is deficient in me lody; his language is pure, and his expresions flow naturally; but his phrases are abrupt and unconnected, and he frequently wricom ungtama. tically. His vigour degenerates into harshness; and his love of brevity prevents the developement of his poetical imagery. He lears all the inarts of rude genius; he was capable of delicate pleasantry, yet his seniles are usually bitter and severe. His humour never arise froin points, but from unexpected situations strongly contrasted. The Emperor Charle. magne sentences King Marsilius of Spain to be hanged for high treason; and Archbishop Turpin kindly otfers his services on the occasion.
. E' disse: lo vo', Marsilio, che tu mugja
L'opera santa con le sante mani.. " Here we have an emperor superintending the execution of a king, who is hanged in the presence of a vast multitude, all of whom are greatly edi. fied at beholding an archbishop officiating in the character of a finisher of the law. Before this adventure took place, Caradoro haul despatched an ambassador to the emperor, complaining of the shameful conduct of a wicked Paladin, who had seduced the princess his daughter. The orator does not present himself with modern diplomnatio courtesy
Macon t'abbatta come traditore.
A Caradora stato scritto, () Carl
De la sua figlia cosa disonesta."
He sbook his head a sad complaint I bring
Respecting the behaviour of his daughter. "Such scenes may appear somewhat strange; but Caradoro's embassy, and the execution of King Marsilius, are told in strict conformity to the notions of the common people, and as they must still be described if we wished to imitate the popular story-rellers. If Pulcs he occasionally refined and delicate, his snatches of amenity resulted from the national cha. racter of the Florentines, and the revival of letters. But at the same time, we must trace to national character, and to the intluence of his daily com. panions, the buffoonery which, in the opinion of foreigners, frequently disiraces the poem. M. Ginguéné has criucised Pulct in the tixual style of his countrymen. He attributes modern manners to ancient umes, and take it for granted that the individuals of every other nation think and act like modern Frenchmen. On these principles, he concludes that Pulci, both with respect to his rubject and to his mode of treating it, intended only to write burlesque poetry; because, as he says, such buttoanery could not have been introduced into a composition recited to Lorenzo de' Medici and his enlightened guests, if the author had intended to be in eamest. In the fine portrait of Lorenzo given by Machiaveill at the end of his Florentine history, the historian complains that he took inore pleasure in the company of jesters and butfoons than beseemed such a man. It is a little singular that Benedetto Varchi, a contemporary historian, makes the same com. plaint of Machiavelli himself. Indeed, many known anecdotes of Machiavelli, no less than his fugitive pieces, prove that it was only when he was acting the statesman that he wished to be grave; and that he could laugh like other men when he laid aside his dignity. We do not think he was in the wrong. But, whatever opinion may be formed on the subject. we shall yet be forced to conclude that great men may be compelled to blame the manners of their times, without being able to withstand their influence. In other respects, the poem of Pulci is serious, both in subject and in tone. And here we shall repeat & Runeral observation, which we advise our readers to apply to all the romantic poerns of the Italians Thut their comic Aumour arises from the controer bereen the comatunt a. deavours of the priters to adhere to the forme and subjente v the popular storytellers, and the sports made at the same time by the prius aj' theu writers to reuer such materials interesting av sublime.
“ This simple elucidation of the causes of the proctical chararter of the Morgante has been overlooked by the critia and they have theretore dis puted with great earnestness during the last two centuries, whether the Morgante is written in jest or earnest; and whether Pulci is not an Atheist, who wrote in rene for the express purpose of soffing at all religion. Mr. Merivale inclines, in his Orlando in Roncesvalley, to the opinion of M. Ginguene, that the Morgante is decidedly to be considered as a hur. lesque poem, and a satire against the Christian religion. Yet Mr. Mert. vale himself acknowledges that it is wound up with a tragical effect, and dignited by religious sentiment; and is therefore forced to leare ibe question amongst the unexplained, and perhaps Ineiplicable, phenotnens of the human mind. If a similar question had not been already decided both in regard to Shakspeare and to Ariosto, it might be sulla subject of dispute whether the former intended to write tragedies, and whether the
the ingenious Whistlecraft. The serious poems on ability in combining his interpretation of the one Roncesvalles in the same language, and more par- language with the not very easy task of reducing it ticularly the excellent one of Mr. Merivale, are to to the same versification in the other. The reader, be traced to the same source. It has never yet been on comparing it with the original, is requested to decided entirely whether Pulci's intention was or remember that the antiquated language of Pulci, was not to deride the religion which is one of his however pure, is not easy to the generality of favourite topics. It appears to me, that such an in- Italians themselves, from its great mixture of Tuscan tention would have been no less hazardous to the proverbs ; and he may therefore be more indulgent poet than to the priest, particularly in that age and to the present attempt.
How far the translator has country; and the permission to publish the poem, succeeded, and whether or no he shall continue the and its reception among the classics of Italy, prove work, are questions which the public will decide. that it neither was nor is so interpreted. That he He was induced to make the experiment partly by intended to ridicule the monastic life, and suffered his love for, and partial intercourse with, the Italian his imagination to play with the simple dulness of language, of which it is so easy to acquire a slight his converted giant, seems evident enough; but knowledge, and with which it is so nearly impossible surely it were as unjust to accuse him of irreligion for a foreigner to become accurately conversant. on this account, as to denounce Fielding for his The Italian language is like a capricious beauty, Parson Adams, Barnabas, Thwackum, Supple, and who accords her smiles to all, her favours to few, the Ordinary in Jonathan Wild, - or Ścott, for the and sometimes least to those who have courted her exquisite use of his Covenanters in the “ Tales of longest. The translator wished also to present in my Landlord.
an English dress a part at least of a poem never yet In the following translation I have used the liberty rendered into a northern language ; at the same of the original with the proper names; as Pulci uses time that it has been the original of some of the Gan, Ganellon, or Ganellone; Carlo, Carlomagno, or most celebrated productions on this side of the Carlomano ; Rondel, or Rondello, &c., as it suits his Alps, as well as of those recent experiments in convenience ; so has the translator. In other respects poetry in England which have been already menthe version is faithful to the best of the translator's tioned.
other did not mean to burlesque his heroes. It is a happy thing that, with regard to those two great writers, the war has ended by the fortunate inter. vention of the general body of readers, who, on such occasions, form their judgment with less erudition and with less prejudice than the critics. But Pulci is little read, and his age is little known. We are told by Mr. Merivale, that the points of abstruse theology are discussed in the Morzante with a degree of sceptical freedom which we should imagine to be altogether remote from the spirit of the fifteenth century.' Mr. Verivale follow M. Ginguene, who follows Voltaire. And the philosopher of Ferney, who was always bearing up in all quarters for allies against Christianity,col. lected all the scriptural passages of Pulci, upon which he commented in his o*n way. But it is only since the Council of Trent, that any doubt which might be raised on a reinous dogma exposed an author to the charge of impiety; whilst, in the fifteenth century, a Catholic might be sincerely dejout, and yet allow himself a certain degree of latitude in theological doubt. At one and the same time the Florentines might well believe in the Gospel and laugh at a doctor of divinity: for it was exactly at this era that they had been spectators of the memorable controversies between the representatives of the eastern and western churches. Greek and Latin bishops from every corner of Christendorn had assembled at Florence for the purpose of trying whether they could possibly understand each other : and when they separated, they hated each other worse than before. At the very time when Pulci was composing his Morgante, the clergy of Florence protested against the excommunications pronounced by Sixtus IV., and with
expressions by which his holiness was anathematised in his tum. During these proceedings, an archbisholl, convicted of being a papal em is. sary, was hanged from one of the windows of the government palace at Florence: this event may have suggested to Pulci the idea of converting another archbishop into a hangman. The romantic poets substituted literary and scientific observations for the trivial digressions of the story. tellers. This was a great improvement; and although it was not well managed by Pulci, yet he presents us with much curious incidental matter. In quoting his philosophical friend and contemporary Matteo Palinieri, he explains the instinct of brutes by a bold hypothesis - he supposes that they are animated by evil spirits. This idea gave no offence to the theologians of the fifteenth century; but it excited much orthodox indignation when Father Bougeant, a French monk, brougtit it forward as a new theory of his own. Mr Merivale, after observing that Pulci died before the discovery of America by Columbus, quotes a passage' which will become a very in. teresting document for the philosophical historian.' We give it in his prose translation: -'The water is level through its whole extent, although, like the earth, it has the form of a globe. Mankind in those ages were much more ignorant than now.
Hercules would blush at this day for having fixed his coluinns. Vessels will soon pass far beyond them. They mav soon reach another hemisphere, because erery thing tends to its centre; in like manner as, by a divine mystery, the earth is suspended in the midst of the stars: here below are cities and empires, which were ancient. The inhabitants of those regions were called Antipodes. They have plants and animals as well as you, and wage wars as well as you.'- Morgante, c. xxv. $t. 229, &c.
" The more we consider the traces of ancient science, which break in transient flashes through the darkness of the middlle ages, and which gradually re-illuminated the horizon, the more shall we be disposed to adopt the hypothesis suggested by Bailly, and supported by him with secinctive eloquence. He maintained that all the acquirements of the Greeks and Romans had been transmitted to them as the wrecks and fragments of the knowledge once possessed by primeral nations, by empires of sages and philosophers, who were afterwards swept from the face of the globe by somne overwhelming catastrophe. His theory may be considered as er. travagant; but if the literary productions of the Romans were not yet eruant, it would seem incredible, that, after the lapse of a few centuries, the civilisation of the Augustan age could have been succeeded in Italy by such barbarity. The Italians were so ignorant, that they forgot their family narnesi and before the eleventh century individuals were known only by their Christian names. They had an indistinct idea, in the middle ages, of the existence or the antipoles, but it was a reminiscence of ancient kno'siege. Dante has indicated the number and position of the stars composing the polar constellation of the Austral hemisphere. At the same tine he tells us, that when Lucifer was huried from the celestial regions, the arch-devil cranstired the globe; half his body remained on our side of
the centre of the earth, and half on the other side. The shock given to
Nella stagion che il ciel rapido inchina
A gente che di la forse l' aspetta.'
• His faithful steed, that long had served him well
Flash'd quick ; – then closed again in endless night."
Bright with eternal youth and fadeless bloom,
And be in Heaven thy joyful spouse again.
• Poi si sentì con un suon dolce e tioco
In eritu Israel, cantar, de Ægypto,
Che si conobbe al tremolar le penne.'
Il Morgante Maggiore.
The Morgante Maggiore.'
CANTO THE FIRST.
God was the Word, the Word no less was he: This was in the beginning, to my mode
Of thinking, and without him nought could be : Therefore, just Lord ! from out thy high abode,
Benign and pious, bid an angel flee, One only, to be my companion, who Shall help my famous, worthy, old song through.
Ed era Idd il Verbo, e 'l Verbo lui :
Di quel Signor, che ti dette le chiave
Con la sorella si lamenta e plora,
Per ubbidir chi sempre ubbidir debbe
Che s'egli avesse avuto scrittor degno,
And thou, oh Virgin ! daughter, mother, bride
Of the same Lord, who gave to you cach key Of heaven, and hell, and every thing beside,
The day thy Gabriel said “ All hail!” to thee,
With flowing rhymes, a pleasant style and free,
Weeps with her sister, who remembers and Deplores the ancient woes which both befel,
And makes the nymphs enamour'd, to the hand Of Phaeton by Phæbus loved so well
His car (but temper'd by his sire's command)
As it should still obey, the helm, my mind,
Of Charles the Emperor, whom you will find
Who to diffuse bis glory were inclined,
That if, like Pepin, Charles had had a writer Of genius quick, and diligently steady,
No hero would in history look brighter; He in the cabinet being always ready,
And in the field a most victorious fighter, Who for the church and Christian faith had wrought, Certes, far more than yet is said or thought.
had been subjected to private judgment, notwithstanding the popes had prohibited the reading of it. His ardour did not allow him to stop and ex. amine whether this prohibition might not be posterior to the death of Pulci. Milton had studied Pulci to advantage. The knowledge which he ascribes to his devils, their despairing repentance, the lofty sentiments which he bestows upon some of them, and, above all, the principle that, notwith. standing their crime and its punishment, they retun the grandeur and per. fection of angelic nature, are all to be found in the Morgante as well as in Paradise Lost. Ariosto and Tacco hare imitatest other passages. When great poets borrow from their inferinin genius, they tum their acquisi. Lions to such advantage that it is difcuit to detect their thefts, and still more difficult to blame then.
“ The poem is filled with king, knights, giants, and devils. There are many hattles and many duels. Wars rise out of wars, and empires are conquered in a day. Puld treats us with plenty of magic and enchantment. His love adventures are not peculiariy interesting; and, with the exception of four or five leading personages, his characters are of no moment. The fab'e turns wholly upon the hatred which Ganellon, the felon knight of Maganza, lears towarris Orlando and the rest of the Christan Paladins. Charlemagne is easily practised upon lis lianellon, his prime con aidant and man of buon So he treats Orlando and his friends in the mount scurry manner imaginable, and sends thern out to bird service in the wars against France. Ganel on is despuched to Spun to treat with King Marsilius, being also instructed to obtain the cension of a kingdom for Orlando: but he concerts a treacherous device with the Spaniards, and Orlando is killed
at the battle of Roncesvalles. The intrigues of Ganellon, his spite, his patience, his obstinacs, his dissunulation, his affected humility, and his inexhaustible powers of intrique, are admirahly depicted, and his character constitutes the chief and finest feature in the poem. Charlemagne is a worthy monarch, but easily filled. Oriundo is a real hero, chaste and disinterested, and who tights in good earnest for the propagation of the faith. He baptizes the giant Morgante, who afterwards serres hima like a faithful squire. There is another piant, whose name is Varrutte. Vorgante falls in with largutte: and they become sworn brothers. Mar. gutte is a very infidel giant, ready to confess his failings, and full of drolety. He sets ail a-laughing, readers, giants, devils, and heroes; and he finishes his career by laughing till be bursts.")
1 (" About the Morgante Maggiore, I won't have a line omitted. It may circulate or it may not, but all the criticism on earth sha'n't touch a line, unless it be because it is badly translated. Now you say, and I say, and others say, that the translation is a good one, and so it shall go to press as it is. Pulci must answer for his own irreligion : 1 answer for the translation only." - Lord Byron to Jr. Murray, 1829. " Why don't you publish my Pulci, - the best thing I ever wrote."- 16. 1821.)
Quella badía là presso a Manoppello,
The abbey, no great way from Manopell,
Because of the great battle in which fell A pagan king, according to the story,
And felon people whom Charles sent to hell : And there are bones so many, and so many, Near them Giusaffa's would seem few, if any.
Le sue virtù, com’io vorrei vedere :
His virtues as I wish to see them : thou,
And hast, and may have, if thou wilt allow, All proper customs and true courtesies :
Whate'er thou hast acquired from them till now
The wisest and most famous was Orlando;
In Roncesvalles, as the villain plann'd too, While the horn rang so loud, and knell'd the doom
Of their sad rout, though he did all knight can do; And Dante in his comedy has given To him a happy seat with Charles in heaven.,
VIII. Dodici paladini aveva in corte
Carlo; e'l più savio a famoso era Orlando : Gan traditor lo condusse a la morte In Roncisvalle un trattato ordinando ; Là dove il corno sono tanto forte Dopo la dolorosa rotta, quando Ne la sua commedia Dante qui dice, E mettelo con Carlo in ciel felice.
Carlo la corte avea tutta in Parigi :
IX. ’T was Christmas-day; in Paris all his court
Charles held ; the chief, say, Orlando was, The Dane; Astolfo there too did resort,
Also Ansuigi, the gay time to pass In festival and in triumphal sport,
The much-renown'd St. Dennis being the cause ; Angiolin of Bayonne, and Oliver, And gentle Belinghieri too came there :
Di Normandía, Riccardo Paladino,
Per guastar sempre ciascun nostro effetto:
X. Avolio, and Arino, and Othone
Of Normandy, and Richard Paladin, Wise Hamo, and the ancient Salamone,
Walter of Lion's Mount and Baldovin, Who was the son of the sad Ganellone,
Were there, exciting too much gladness in
Ever some bar 'gainst our intents to bring :
Orlando ruled court, Charles, and every thing ; Curst Gan, with envy bursting, had such need
To vent his spite, that thus with Charles the king One day he openly began to say, “ Orlando must we always then obey ?
XII. “A thousand times I've been about to say,
Orlando too presumptuously goes on; Here are we, counts, kings, dukes, to own thy sway,
Hamo, and Otho, Ogier, Solomon, Each have to honour thee and to obey ;
But he has too much credit near the throne, Which we won't suffer, but are quite decided By such a boy to be no longer guided.
Oriando ha in se troppa presunzione: