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“He spake, his speech a muttring short befell,
Next after solitary Peter rose,
As he from whom that voyage chiefly grows,
No doubt here fals.
The olde man silenst here. What thoughts, what breasts,
Are shut from thee, breath sacred! heat divine !
And in the knights' harts thou the same dost shrine ;
Of rule, of libertie, of honours' signe.
“This said, the Hermite Peter rose and spake,
(Who sate in counsell these great lords among)
In private cell who earst liv'd closed long,
There cast no doubts where truth is plaine and strong.
And therewith staid his speech. O gratious Muse!
What kindling motions in their brests doe frie?
That in their harts his words may fructify;
And all contentions then began to die;
How very much superior are the first lines of this last stanza in Carew's translation, and how finely they breathe the spirit of their great original, which is absolutely lost in Fairefax's tame imitation.
“Qui tacque il veglio. Hor quai pensier, quai petti,
Son chiusi a te, sant ’aura, e divo ardore?” · Carew. “ The olde man silenst here. What thoughts, what breasts,
Are shut from thee, breath sacred! heat divine !"
Fairefax. And therewith staid his speech. O'gratious muse!
What kindling motions in their brests doe frie?"
The first of these stanzas too is very incorrectly translated by Fairefax. We completely lose the fine idea in the first line of the original,
“Disse: e ai detti segui breve bisbiglio," and the characteristic epithet, il solitario Piero, is weakened and extended through a whole line,
“In private cell who earst liv'd closed long." while Peter is made to declare himself the cause of the war, words which, both in Tasso and Carew, are not put in the mouth of the Hermit, but form part of the narrative.
There is one verse in the Episode of Sofronia and Olindo, of which we give both the versions, and which may serve as a proof that we cannot always trust Fairefax in point of accuracy, though, at the same time, we must observe that his deviation, in this instance, has been productive of additional beauty.
It is Sofronia about to depart on her magnanimous purpose : Fairefax. “And forth she went, a shop for merchandize
Full of rich stuff, but none for sale expos’d;
The rose within herself her sweetnes clos'd.
By curious chance, or carelesse art, compos’d;
So beautie's helpt by nature, heav'n, and love.
Beauty she covers not, nor sets to sight;
With manner coy, yet coy in noble plight,
Where chance or art her fairest count'nance dight.
Now Tasso has nothing like the simile which Fairefax has introduced at the commencement of this stanza, and which certainly is not the most poetical one which was ever inventedthen, the sense of the second line, which is most literally translated by Carew,
“ Non coprì sue bellezze, e non l'espose ;"
a line beautifully characteristic, is altogether neglected; but, to counterbalance these inaccuracies, Fairefax has inserted a line of his own, of singular deliciousness
“ The rose within herself her sweetnes clos'd ;"
there is, however, nothing of the kind in the original. We shall
And sommon'd every restlesse eie to sleepe:
The fishes slumb'red in the silent deep,
Birds left to sing, and Philomele to weepe,
Sung lullabie, to bring the world to rest.*
Are waves and winds, and mute the world doth show,
Of billow'd sea, and of moyst streames that flow,
And painted flyers in oblivion low,
The following is the description, given by our translators, of the youthful Tancred preparing for the fight. Fairefax. “Mast-great the speare was which the gallant bore,
That in his war-like pride he made to shake,
The king, that wond'red at his brav’rie, spake
Who felt her hart with love's hot fever quake,
* As a proof of the very unwarrantable alterations in the edition of Fairefax, published in 1749, we may observe that this line is given thus :
“ Sooth'd mortal cares, and lull’d the world to rest.”
Say who is he showes so great worthinesse,
That rides so ranke, and bends his lance so fell ?
Her hart with sighes, her eies with teares did swell ;
Her love and passion she dissembled well,
This youth comes on, both fierce and faire in sight :
Him deemes amongst the best a chosen knight,
And now her heart feels in a panting plight,
Himselfe to just, and so fierce semblance beare?
On lips a sigh, and in her eyes a teare;
Though so as yet they make some muster theare,
We may again remark the interpolation of a simile in the first book of these stanzas from Fairefax.
“As windes tall cedars tosse on mountaines hore."
Carew's translation of the combat between Clorinda and Tancred is very spirited, though quaint.
“ Tancred's assault this while Clorinda plyes,
T'encounter, and in rest her launce bestowes ;
Up start, and she in part disarmed showes :
From off her head, (a blow whence wonder growes,)
Sweet ev'n in wrath, in laughter then what grace
They hold ? Tancred, whereon think'st thou ? thy sight
Where bend'st thou? know'st thou not this noble face?
Flames burnost, thy hart (her picture's shrine) the case
Tooke earst no keepe, now seeing her doth grow
She may, and him assayles, he gets her fro,
Yet at her hand peace cannot purchase so;
Nor so from sword himselfe to guard attends,
From whence his bow Love uneschewed bends;
Which force of her right hand (though armed) lends,
Falles vaine, but in my heart findes lighting place.”
The description of Armida in the following stanza, though fantastic, is exceedingly beautiful—the four last lines are quite singular for the minute accuracy, yet happy elegance, of the translation.—Had it been possible that the whole Poem could have been so perfectly transmuted into English, we might, indeed, believe that we were reading Tasso.—The copy is absolutely verbatim.
“ The winde new crisples makes in her loose haire,
Which nature selfe to waves re-crispelled,
And love's treasures and hers up wympelled,"
With yvorie is spirst and mingelled,
Ruddy alone and single blooms the rose."
“Dolce color di rosse in quel bel volto
Fra l'avorie si sparge, e si confonde:
* Concealed.A wimple is a covering for the neck.