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Ma nella bocca, ond' esce aura amorosa,
Sola rosseggia, e semplice la rosa.' How very different is Fairefax's translation-it is beautiful, but it is not the beauty of Tasso.
“The rose, the lily on her cheeke, assaies
The turn, or rather the conceit, in the last line, is entirely Fairefax's own property. The following is the description of Armida when she had concluded her appeal.
“ There silenc'd she, and seemed a disdaine,
Royall and noble, flamed in her face:
With port all framde to sad despiteous grace;
As is begot when wrath and woe embrace,
Which trickling dropt down on her vesture's hem,
If so a dewy cloud do water them,
What time first peered dawning takes his stemme,
The conquering beauty and guile of Armida is finely told, and the version of it is by no means bad.
“But whiles she sweetly speakes, and laughes sweetly,
And with this two-fold sweetnes luls the sense,
As 'gainst so rare delites voyde of defence.
Where wormewood thou or hony do dispence,
Mischiefes and medicines, which proceede of thee.” Fairefax, according to his custom, has forced two similies into this stanza; we have
“Cupid's deepe rivers have their shallow fordes."
And again :
“Achilles' lance, that woundes and heales againe."
There is much spirit in the following version.-Rinaldo is indignant at his threatened punishment.
“Rinaldo somewhat smilde, and with a face,
In which, 'twixt laughter, flashed a disdaine,
That's bond, and fit for bondage hath a graine;
Will die, 'ere base cord, hand or foot astraine :
Godfrey will yeeld, and me in prison cast,
In common fetters to uptie me fast,
'Twixt us shall chance and armes be judges plast,
This said, he cals for armes, and head and brest
In steele of finest choice most seemely shrines,
And fatall blade vnto his side combines,
(As lightning wonts) he in his armour shines :
And hart upswolne with pride to mollifie;
I know, ech hard and tough attempt will plie:
Midst armes and terrour stands your vertue hie:
Your yet cleane hands in bloud of civill warre?
Peirce Christ, of whom we part and members are ?
And shall respects of fading honour vaine,
(Which like sea waves soone flow, and ebbe as farre ;) Worke more with you than either faith or zeale, Which glory bring of heav'n's endlesse weale!
Ah! no, (for God) conquer yourself, and kill
This fiercenesse of your over-haughty minde, Give place, it is no feare but holy will :
For palme is to your giving place assignde, And in my yeeres of young unripened skill,
If any may sute woorth example finde, I also was provokt, yet never grew 'Gainst faithfull fierce, but did myselfe subdew.
To their advises the disdaineful hart
Of this audacious youth beturning plies,
To such well-willers he no more denies,
And with him crave to goe in earnest wise ;
He parts, and of high glory a large bent
Pertakes, the spur and rod of noble sprite ; His hart all vow'd t exploits magnificent,
Doth none but workes of rarest price endite, Midst foes (as Champion of the faith) he ment
That Palme or Cypress should his paines acquite; He'll Egypt scour, and pierce ev'n to the hole, Where from his vncouth spring Nile doth out-role.
But Guelfe, when as the fierce young man thus wise,
Prest to depart, had bid them all adew, There brookes no longer stay, but speedy hies,
Where guesse might Godfrey soonest yeeld to vew, Who spying him, with voyce of higher size,
Said (Guelfe) this very time I wisht for you, And sent but late to sundry wheres about Some of our Herhaults to enquire you out. Then makes all els withdraw, and turning low,
Begins with him a grave speech to contrive, Your nephew verily (my friend Guelpho)
To headlong runnes, where heats his courage drive,
And of his deede (I deeme) can hardly showe
Some cause, that may to just pretence arrive;
Come he to his restraint in liberty,
What may be to his merits I consent;
(Well wot I his untamed hardiment)
Lest he force one of slow and gentle bent,
And of his lawes, as reason doth require." We shall close our extracts with the address to the soldiers, from the conclusion of the fifth book.
“ Oh you that with me past have here and there
A thousand perils, and a thousand woes,
Even from your birth, deere Christians he chose,
Vanquist, and hils, and seas, and winter throwes,
Well knowen earst in oft more grievous case,
His hand of mercy were, or holy face?
Us did, and vowes to pay to th' heavenly grace.
Comforts and with a cleere and cheerefull looke ;
A thousand sad sharp cares their lodging tooke,
'Twixt want and dearth his thoughtfull minde it shooke, How he may fleete at sea withstand, and how
Th’ Arabian robbers he may breake or bow.” From the few instances in which we have compared Carew with his more successful follower, it will be immediately perceived, that the superiority of the latter principally consists in a greater ease and freedom of style, and gracefulness of expression. The collocation of Carew's sentences frequently renders them harsh and untuneable, an evil which he has preferred even to the slightest deviation from the sense of his author. Could he have possessed Fairefax's power and sweetness of versification, and yet have retained his own scrupulous accuracy, then indeed might we have had a translation worthy of the original. As it is, this is yet a desideratum. Of the many translators of the Jerusalem, Fairefax may perhaps be said to approach nearest to the spirit of the original, and yet we have seen how frequently he ventures to combine his own imaginations with the loftier inspirations of Tasso. More than half the similies in his translation never entered into the mind of Tasso; sometimes they are fortunate and add effect to the stanza, sometimes they weaken it, and occasionally they destroy the beauty of it altogether. Fairefax seems to have caught the idea, and to have elaborated it according to the conceptions of his own fancy, while Carew on the contrary thought and felt with the mind and heart of Tasso, though unfortunately his hand was incapable of sounding the chords of the poet's lyre. Sometimes indeed, as we think our extracts fully prove, he is singularly successful, but he soon reverts to a harsh and unmusical strain. We have not thought it worth while to institute any comparison between this antique version, and the more modern attempts either of Hoole, or still more lately of the Rev. Mr. Hunt. As for the translations of Mr. Brooke and Mr. Doyne, they are, we believe, little known and less regarded. It was the intention of Gray to have attempted a version of this great poem, and he had made some progress in the translation of the fourth canto. From the pen of this highly polished poet we might have expected a correct and spirited translation, but we doubt whether he was sufficiently acquainted with the peculiar character of Italian poetry to have executed such a task with complete success.
It is singular that Fairefax should have been ignorant of Carew's translation, and yet on a comparison of the two works we are persuaded that this must have been the case. In no instance either in style or substance does he appear to have been indebted to his predecessor. Had he been familiar with the work, he would undoubtedly not have fallen into some errors from which Carew's version is entirely free. It is impossible that Fairefax could have had access to it, else he could never have given the very extraordinary translation of the fiftyfifth stanza in the second book, which it has required all the skill of his editors to render intelligible. A more striking proof of this fact, however, is the translation of the fortieth stanza of the same book, which, though rather rude, is correct in Carew, while the meaning has been perfectly misunderstood by Fairefax.