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of an abettor of illicit amours, that, the early
editions of the Decameron were inscribed PRINCE GALeotto in the title-page, in order to warn the reader of their sensual tendency. This is the reason that Francesca calls both the Romance that misled them and its author, Galeotto; that is to say, impure and false: M. Ginguené does not preserve this idea of culpability, for he construes Galeotto messagers d'amour. Neither is he happy in rendering disiato riso; besides which, he does not give “all trembling;' but what would have most merited M. Biagioli's severity is the converting of la bocca mi bació into il colla surmes levres sa bouche : for surely nothing can be worse adapted to express the first fluttering kiss of timid love than the word coller. How wide is it from Boccaccio's observation: “excellently doth our Author paint the mode of proceeding among such as love fervently; for these, whatever be the favours of. fered them, can never without trembling cull them for the first time (1). Distato riso seems taken from Catullus’ desiderio meo nitenti —- words rendered by the scholiast “my beautiful girl (*):” and perhaps the discolouring of their cheeks, scolorocci il viso, from Sapho, or the Latin of Longinus. If Dante truly had Longinus in his memory all trembling may have come from the same
(1) Comento, Vol. 1. p. 3ar. (a) . . . puella, mea, formosae. Desiderium vocatur puella cuius desiderio amator flagrat. Carm. 2. ex recen. Doering.
•ssio w. sublime source (). After what I have said in my Preface, I refrain from ever noticing M. Cary's translation excepting where I find it literally defective; yet on this one occasion, it may be allowed me, in justice to my Author, to regret that it is possible for much literal exactness to co-exist with so complete a dearth of the spirit and melody of the original. Yet even literally, he is not more happy than M. Ginguené in translating Ga. leotto, “love's purveyors. " Once more we here find Francesca repeating with complacency that her companion will never leave her: piteous then is it to behold a late commentator labouring to spoil this charming poetry by making this constancy of Paul be an increase of their punishment (•), and not a consolation; as if his faithful presence were like that of an ever-tormenting fiend, instead of being, as it truly is, a sweet, soothing circumstance that sheds enchantment over the entire passage.
This is that closing line of Francesca's speech to which I already alluded, as most delicate and sublime: sublime, from the multitudinous imagery
(1) . . . . . . tremorque Occupat totam; velut herba pallent Ora. De Sublimitate, Sect. x.
(2) Questo che ormai in eterno, persua e mia maggiore pena, dovrä essermi indivisibil compagno. Poggiali, Ed. Livorno, 1807. Vol. 8. p. 74.
it suggests of all her woes, and joys, and errors (to whatever extent we choose to draw these last); and delicate to such a degree, that, if it be true that they imply the glowing crime of adultery, it may most fairly be asserted, that never, before, or since, was an iniquitous idea conveyed in sounds so free from any thing that could be considered unbecoming of a lady's, or even of a seraph's lip. Aquino in his Latin version has paraphrased them prettily enough: Distulimus post haec sontes evolvere chartas; Sontes? — heu miseram 1 gravius nocuere remotae. It is displeasing to criticise details of a production which we unaffectedly admire as a whole : still 1 will not permit myself to conceal my opinion of Mr. Hunt's miscarriage in the imitation of this verse : “The world was all forgot, the struggle o'er, “Desperate the joy— that day we read no more.” Now in this way there is no longer the least inuendo: “that day we read no more' is certainly verbally an accurate translation; but what information does it convey? The original is pregnant with information: so much so, that, besides its obvious allusion to scenes of blood and distress, many consider it as so eloquent that it affords a sufficient proof of actual adultery; although totally unsupported by any other testimony, as we have seen Boccaccio affirms. The preceding parts of Mr. Hunt's couplet disclose in flaming terms all that -canto wr. was to be learnt; and therefore this its close, retains neither the delicacy nor the sublimity of the Italian text. It is the effect of the transposition : for in the Divine Comedy the same expressions are full of mystery, but placed, as they are in the Stony of RiMini, after all mystery is removed, they add nothing to the sense of the passage, and almost appear to be halting up for the sole purpose of filling a vacancy in the measure. The feebleness of Mr. Cary's translation here proceeds from its verbal infidelity: for he interpolates “ in its leaves, " which gives the line a verbosity quite in contrast with the characteristie simplicity of the text (). M. Ginguené succeeds better , for he follows it verbatim, ce jour-la nous n'en lumes pas davantage . . \ This (I repeat) is the verse which Boccaccio asserts to be the only foundation whereon the accusation of adultery against Francesca rests; and which he thinks insufficient to prove either that she was guilty of such a crime, or that Dante thought so. And, fairly weighed, does it indeed imply any such enormity? The answer ought not to be influenced by the circumstance of the poet's putting them here in Tartarus, or the hell-of-thedamned; for an impure thought, much more a
(1) . . . . “In its leaves
That day we read no more. "....
& Anto w. criminal kiss, is denounced by the Roman Church as a mortal transgression, if unrepented of; so that our Author, not making them repent, might place them in their actual situation without any idea of branding them with an incestuous adultery. To whatever slight extent they erred, their death was the consequence of that error; and this is quite enough to render the line infinitely asfecting , without condemning the brother and sister-in-law beyond what can be established hy history. It may be inquired, how one so rigorous as Dante in proportioning penalties to faults could consign, the pair to Tartarus for such a venial misdemeanor as a kiss; because, although the real guilt of that, as well as of every transgression * even the most heinous, depends less upon the act itself, than upon the mental disposition of the actor, yet of this internal disposition in another no one can have knowledge; so that if a poet, for example sake, is permitted to make awards on appearances, he is bound to use that permission in an exemplary manner, and not to present us with ! sentences that appear harsh. But (first remarking that the lovers, though within Tartarus, are in the suppermost, and therefore least severe circle of it, and that they are even accompanied by Achilles and other glorious personages) the question may fairly be retorted by another, — where else could he have placed them? Not in any other part of his hell certainly ... In its vestibule would have been