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versal and most requisite accomplishment*; and it is remarkable that the names of most of the early Italian scholars have passed into our language with the curtailment of French pronunciationt; while the names of less celebrated men, which have been introduced into our literature at a later period, have suffered no such diminution of syllables or letters. The influence of this foreign imitation is observable in our earliest authors, and the obligations of Chaucer to his cotemporary and model Boccaccio have never been disputed, though in the opinion of a great critic, the former“ won the race at disadvantage.” “Chaucer has refined on Boccace, and has mended the stories which he has borrowed, in his way of telling, though prose allows more liberty of thought, and the expression is more easy when unconfined by numbers." --Dryden.
Thus early were the writers of Italy introduced to the notice of our ancestors; but though by these means a general acquaintance was gained with their sentiments, the individual character of their compositions still remained unknown. The facetiousness, the jokes, nay the humour of Boccaccio were transferred into the Canterbury tales, but while we peruse them it is not the Florentine but Chaucer that we are reading. In the same manner the Sonnets of the Earl of Surrey are for the most part imitations of those of Petrarch, but yet they serve to convey a very inadequate idea of the merit and beauty of their prototypes. For a considerable time, however, our countrymen were contented with tasting the sweets of Italian song, by the medium
* This was a necessary consequence of the Norman government. The following passage from the Polychronicon of Higden, translated by Trevisa, may serve to shew the extent of this practice : “ Also gentil menne's children beth y taugt for to speke Frensche from the tyme that thei beth rokked in her cradel, and kunneth speke and playe with a childe's brooche; and uplondish men woll likne hem self to gentil men, and fondeth with grete bisynesse for to speke Frensche, for to be more ytold of;" and Trevisa himself says, “ In alle the gramer scoles of Englonde children leveth Frensch," though at the time he wrote, the custom was beginning in some instances to be discontinued—“ also gentil men haveth now mych yleft for to teche ther children Frensch."
In Chaucer, we find the Prioress Eglantine an accomplished speaker of French, though not with Parisian purity.
“ French she spake full fair and fetisly
+ It is only within late years that Boccaccio has resumed all the honours of his name.
VOL. 111. PART 1. .
of so imperfect an imitation, till at length the leaders of national taste,
« Vain of Italian arts, Italian souls," led the way to a more intimate acquaintance with the great authors, and more especially the great poets with which that fortunate country abounded.
Amongst the earliest translations of the great poets of Italy into our English verse, it is not surprising that the name of Tasso should be conspicuous. It is true that the celebrated work of Ariosto soon attracted the regards and admiration of our countrymen, especially as it possessed so many allurements from the wild originality and the boldness of imagery contained in it, which were more capable of being clothed in another language, than the faint, delicate sentiment of many of his great compatriots. The work of Tasso, however, did not lie open to this last objection, and it was peculiarly calculated to awake the interest and excite the admiration of our ancestors, as well from the heroic nature of the composition, as from the splendour and beauty of its execution. It could not have failed also, at the period when this translation was published, to have roused feelings in the minds of Englishmen which had not long lain dormant. We look on the Crusades at the present day, with something of the same emotion which we feel when we talk of the Trojan war, and Ceur de Lion and Soliman no more excite our sympathies than Achilles and Hector; but between two and three centuries ago, at the name of the red-cross and its holy warriors, the dying flame of enthusiasm quivered brightly in the hearts of our ancestors; the name of Saracen had not ceased to be hateful to their ears, and the Sepulchre of the holy City was still a shrine and a temple. It is true, that the Reformation had cut off all hopes of rearing the standard of the cross on the towers of Jerusalem-that the defenders of the Temple had been persecuted to extermination, and that the days of chivalry were almost gone by; but there yet lingered a feeling of veneration in the hearts of men for the heroic deeds of their fathers, and the places which were doubly consecrated by holiness and valour. In the history of those days, England claimed a place amongst the loftiest
“Maggior alquanto e lo squadron Britanno;" and the name of Richard had passed into a bye-word of terror.
It is not therefore surprising to find that within the space of ten years, there should have been two translations of this great poet presented to the English public, and that since that period many more versions should have been added, although some of the later translations are but little known. The volume now before us was only published six years before the first edition of Fairefax's translation, and it will therefore very naturally draw upon itself a comparison with that celebrated work; and if on such examination it should escape with tolerable credit, it will not have much to fear from its modern rivals. The Jerusalem Delivered of Fairefax is indeed a noble monument of the genius of its author, and its merits have of late years been duly appreciated ; twenty-four years after the publication of the first edition, a second appeared at the special command of James I., who in this instance at least justifies D’Israeli's defence of his character from the imputation of being a mere pedant. Since that period several editions have appeared,' to which a new one has lately been added, which has issued from the press under the editorial care of Mr. Singer. One great excellence in this translation, is undoubtedly the noble freedom and grace of the versification, which Waller is said to have studied with great improvement.
Of Carew, who is supposed to be the author of the translation before us, but little is recorded. He is known as the author of a Survey of Cornwall." The volume before us was printed for “ Christopher Hunt of Exceter;" and it appears from his preface, that it was intended to publish the remaining books afterwards, from which probably a rumour of Fairefax's translation may have deterred him. Like the Gierusalemme itself, the volume before us appears to have been published without the knowledge of the author, and it may consequently be presumed to want many of its last corrections. With this fact we are made acquainted in the publisher's address to the reader. “ It was my good hap of late 'to get into my hands, an English translated copie of Sieg. Tasso's Hierusalem, done (as I was informed) by a gentleman of good sort and qualitie, and many waies commended onto me for a worke of singular worth and excellence: whereupon by the advice, or rather at the instance of some of my best friends, I determined to send it to the presse : wherein if my forwardnes 'haue fore-ranne the gentleman's good liking, yet let mee winne you to make me happie with the sweete possession of your favours, for whose sakes I haue done whatsoeuer herein is done.” This little volume may be reckoned amongst those to which Bibliomaniacs affix the alluring letters R. R. R., and which, if its excellence were doubted, might still rely for a purchaser on its rarity.
As the translations of Carew and Fairefax appeared so nearly at the same period, and as the latter has attained an acknowledged place in public estimation, it will be both the easiest and most correct mode of giving an idea of Carew's merit, to compare him occasionally with his more celebrated cotemporary, though in doing this we deprive him of a vantage-ground which he might otherwise possess. It must, however, be remembered, that when we institute a comparison like this, there are many allowances to be made, and that the general effect of a version depends very much on the licence to which the translator considers himself entitled. The object at which a translator aims is clear enough-to give the spirit of his author in words adapted as nearly as possible to the genius of the language in which he writes, being careful at the same time neither to add to, nor to take away from his original; for in the one case he is sure he is violating the author's meaning, and in the other he cannot know that his own additions would have been consonant to the author's judgment. How seldom, however, is it that we meet with a translation which can boast at the same time both of fidelity and beauty. There must in general be a sacrifice of one of these qualities: thus, in Fairefax's translation, though, when compared with more modern attempts, it is abundantly faithful, we frequently find him varying from the strict sense of the original, while at the same time we feel loth to blame him for wandering, when his aberrations lead us along such beautiful ways. Carew seems to have had more strict and confined notions of the boundaries, beyond which it does not become a translator to show himself; he follows his prototype step by step, carefully placing his foot in the very print of Tasso's, which necessarily gives him an appearance of constraint and difficulty. He adheres as much too religiously to his great original, as Pope and the translators of his school have been too
We are rather inclined to suspect that the publication before us must have been written some, though it could not have been many years anterior to the publication of it. The style savours considerably more of antiquity than Fairefax's, of which we shall now enable our readers to judge: we give the fine opening apostrophe in the first book.
Carew. O Muse! thou that thy head not compassest
With fading bayes which Helicon doth beare;
Dost golden crowne of starres immortal weare,
Enlighten thou my song; and pardon where
His sweetnesse all the world doth after runne,
The waywardst (flocking) to believe hath wonne,
So cup, his brimmes earst liquorisht about
With sweete, we give to our diseased sonne;
If our judgment be correct, these two stanzas, though most literally translated, will not be thought much inferior to Fairefax-in some respects, they are, perhaps, superior.
“O heav'nly Muse, that not with fading baies
Deckest thy brow by th' Heliconian spring ;
In heaven, where legions of bright angels sing,
My voice ennoble, and forgive the thing,
Where luring Parnasse most his sweet imparts,
To reade, perhaps, will move the dullest hearts ;
Annoint with sweets the vessels' foremost parts,
We cannot forbear giving the first of these stanzas in the original, and the reader will immediately perceive how exact, and yet how happy, Carew has been in his translation.
“O Musa, tu, che di caduchi allori
But if our translator, in these passages, may be said to equal his successor, others may be adduced, in which we think he is decidedly superior to him, though we do not introduce these isolated comparisons as perfect criteria of the relative excellence of the translations.
The commencement of the address of Peter the Hermit, is thus given by Carew.