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lengthened strain of severe invective against the governments that claim to be exclusively legitimate. It is not easy to imagine Mr. Roscoe's inducement thus to mar the wiser design which Pellico had manifested throughout his work, and expressly declared in his first chapter-.to exclude all asperity, all irritating topics and reflections, and every degree of uncharitableness; even when the facts disclosed might plainly warrant severity of remark. He felt, indeed, the dignity of his situation and character too sensibly,
“To unpack his heart with words,
And fall a cursing, like a very drab.” The persecution that he had just passed through, had been so base as well as atrocious—so equally marked with paltry malice and odious tyranny--that it was not for him to speak its character. The endeavour seemed to have been made to degrade him by those oppressions, and it became not him to say whether the attempt had been successful. All that could properly be expected from him was performed when he related the facts, so far as they could be made known without probable detriment to others; and the world, or at least all generous minds, will not fail to supply the indignant comment.
This delicacy should have been respected, also, by his translator ; but it appeared to be entirely lost on Mr. Roscoe, who, by making the book incongruous as a whole, rendered it, in a degree, distasteful to many of its English readers; and provoked a portion of the periodical press into harsh and illiberal strictures on the ingenuous narrative of the author. Yet, never was such rancour less deservedly incurred, since it would have been impossible for him to disown more explicitly or carefully all political purpose in his publication. "Like a lover,” he says, 6 ill-treated by his mistress, and manfully resolved to keep aloof from her, I shall leave politics where they are, and speak of other things."
He had, indeed, a worthier, a far more elevated aim; the whole tenor of his work shows his motives to have been sincerely such as he declared, namely, to contribute to the comfort of the unhappy, by making known the consolations that he found attainable under the greatest misfortunes--to bear witness that, in long sufferings, he had not found human nature so unworthy or so deficient in excellent characters as it is often represented; to invite to a universal charity, holding nothing worthy of hatred but deceit and moral degradation; and to repeat a truth, too often forgotten, that religion and philosophy both require a calm judgment and an energetic will, without whose union there is no justice, or dignity, or strength of principle.
It was to a work faithfully intended for such purposes as these—and, surely, not ill adapted to its object-Mr. Roscoe unaccountably chose to fasten his acrimonious treatise. On a laburnum of Italy, rich in the soft verdure of its foliage, and the balmy fragrance of its blossoms, he engrafted an English bramble, presenting thorns and briars on every side. We cannot wonder, therefore, that the admixture gave some dissatisfaction; yet several among the most respectable of the critical journals had the candour to make a discrimination, and to award to the work of Pellico the meed of their unqualified approval. A republication in this country followed, almost of course, and it is understood that a pretty large edition has been exhausted. Yet, an impediment remained to prevent its being perfectly appreciated. The translation had been unskilfully performed, so as to furnish, to those who were unacquainted with the original, a very inadequate idea of the deep and tender pathos, or the unaffected simplicity of style, that mark the production as it came from the pen of the author.
We must admit that a translator's task is truly difficult, when, aiming at more than a mere transfer of the prominent thoughts, he endeavours, by the choice and arrangement of words in another language, to 'produce the effect on the understanding and feelings of his readers that arose from a perusal of the original by such as were familiar with its diction. The difficulty is multiplied when nice shades of sentiment are to be shown, and where the phrase originally employed has been particularly simple. It is, then, a very hard task to present the exact thought unaltered by exaggeration, or diminution, dressed from the stores of a different vocabulary, in conformity with the laws of a different idiom, yet preserving the grace and ease of the original. This has, however, been satisfactorily performed in the work before us; especially in the Additions, with some exceptions as to the biography, which we shall have occasion to notice.
The first volume contains the narrative of Pellico-a narrative rather of feelings and operations of the mind, than of striking events or wonderful performances. This, excepting the difference in the version, is the same that, when originally published, was justly called a work of great truths and great omissions. The omissions were, perhaps, unavoidable, in the actual circumstances of the author's condition, and more especially in those of his many compatriots and friends, who were still liable to an aggravated' malignancy of persecution. The work also needed some completion that he thought his opportunities did not allow him to give. The omissions were supplied, in a great degree, at least, by the Additions written by M. Maroncelli, in accordance with the wishes of Pellico, and now presented to
the public, for the first time, in an English dress. These occupy the second volume, along with an excellent biography of Pellico, which, in all the European editions of the work, except the first one, was placed before the Memoirs : as it plainly should be.
It is so, at least, in the editions of Leipsic and Lugano, as well as in the French version of M. Latour; and the only exception arose from the fact that the first Italian edition, of Paris, was issued from the press in two parts—the Memoirs of Pellico preceding, by several weeks, the publication of the Additions and Biography.
We cannot divine the reason for which the more natural arrangement has now been dislocated ; and it appears to be an unhappy inversion to transfer the biographical sketch of Pellico's early youth to the end of his own account of his later years, to which it had been reasonably intended as an introduction, not an epilogue; for the biography, commencing with his birth, terminates at the date of October 7th, 1820, and the Memoirs begin on the 13th of the same month. In Europe, where the personal and literary character of Pellico are more generally. known, it may be of less consequence; but here it is altogether important that the biography should be taken first in order, so as to understand who and what he was before reading the description he has given of his imprisonment.
Some notices of the life of Pellico had been prefixed to a French version published by M. Latour, who most handsomely acknowledged his obligations to M. Maroncelli for the statements which they comprised. When, subsequently, a republication, in Italian, was made, with additions by M. Maroncelli, he was requested to furnish a more extended biography, and his compliance produced the one before us. He declared in commencing it that, having supplied to M. Latour the materials which that gentleman had used with such success as no one coming after him might hope to attain, he could not vary from those prior statements, and therefore should not hesitate, at need, to retain what M. Latour had said, and the phrase (la redazione) in which it had been conveyed. The biography was accordingly interspersed with quotations, marked as such, from the French work, and untranslated ; but a comparison of the two will show that it was quite a different affair; being a full and philosophical account of the childhood, education, youth, and manhood, but especially the mental growth and literary progress of Pellico, instead of the slight, though beautiful sketch of Latour.
The translator gives but a turbid reflection of the original, when he makes M. Maroncelli say: “I have necessarily adopted his narrative, so far as it extends, and have sometimes borrowed his very words." No version could possibly be less
felicitous. The biographer is not speaking of what he has done, but of his purposes; and he merely asserts, at the very start, a right and intention to use again, if he shall find occasion (all'uopo], the statements that he had previously furnished. There is no idea of “ borrowing the very words” in the original; and, indeed, as the words were French, and the work he was about to write Italian, they could, plainly, be borrowed only in a quotation. There are other faults, or at least weaknesses, in this version, but none so glaring as the first; unless one that we shall notice, where the word schiaffo (a box on the ear, or slap in the face) is diluted to "a sharp rebuke;" which is quite a different thing among gentlemen and cavaliers. We are the more particular in reprehending these sins of the translator, because they manifestly proceed from carelessness, and not from any inherent difficulty in the style of the original; and, also, because we are able to say that the rest of the translation is free from the inaccuracies which have been suffered to blemish the biography. But, surely, the biography ought to have been rendered with at least equal care, as it is the most valuable part of the Additions ; approaching very nearly the interest and eloquence of Pellico's own narrative, which it excels in variety, and depth of philosophical reflections.
We cannot, indeed, more explicitly state our opinion of this biography than by saying it is worthy of the Memoirs that form its appropriate continuation; and certainly it is not easy to find a more lucid and delightful exposition of the growth of intellectual power and moral principle, from infancy to manhood, through trials and temptations, than is furnished by the two works taken together, forming an entire picture, of which the biography is an essential and important part. We shall not attempt to abridge or analyze it here ;-a few of the leading facts are all that our limits will allow.
Silvio was born at Saluzzo, in Piedmont, of parents in good circumstances, and of great amiability of character. A sickly, melancholy, gifted, and docile child, he was almost constantly at home; and imbibed, chiefly from his excellent mother, the gentleness and benevolence that eminently marked her disposition, and have been so conspicuous in his own. At the same period, the germ of his literary and social aspirations may be perceived in the lessons that he drew from his father's affectionate companionship. The recitation of dramatic selections was a family amusement so much favoured by Signor Ororato, the father, that he sometimes wrote such dialogues himself for the purpose ; and he encouraged the early attempts of Silvio at dramatic compositions; the first of which was made when he was but ten years of age. The indulgent parent likewise took
his boys with him to attend the public assemblies, where matters of political interest were debated. Doubtless, he little thought he was thus giving a bias to his son's opinions, at that tender age, so near to infancy, which would remotely lead him to ten years of imprisonment in Austrian dungeons; and when fostering that early bud of promise in the poetic talent of his puny child, as little did he look to see it expand to such excelling beauty as it afterwards attained. The patriot of Milan-the martyr at Spielberg—the great tragic poet of all Italy--could not have been within the range of the father's anticipations; but we almost dare to believe that the presentient heart of the mother impelled her to inculcate those principles of moral rectitude, of Christian love, and firm reliance on the goodness of his God, which she knew would be equally a blessing to him, in the darkest gloom of adversity, and in the brightest hour of prosperity and fame.
There are many anecdotes of his childhood, which we may suppose were communicated by him to the biographer, though probably with little view to such a use of them, during the long tedium of their confinement in the same cell at Spielberg. They are related simply, and without the appearance of exaggeration; nor are any introduced that do not tend to illustrate the peculiar character and developement of his mind; we therefore follow him through a weakly boyhood, much afflicted with disease and disordered nerves, to the stage of transition from childhood to adolescence; "an age," says his biographer, "which has no original character-a period when we cease to be one thing and are not yet another—when we are not ourselves, but merely imitators."
We do not assent to this doctrine; as our own experience and observation can supply us with no proof that there is any stage of life so void of character; but we will not pause for controversy. Prior to this, it seems, he was for the first, and, so far as we learn, the last time in love. The object of this very early passion was a little girl who died at the age of fourteen. How much Silvio was her senior we are not informed; but the impression on his heart was indelible, and furnished many a day-dream to the solitary prisoner in after years. The anniversary of her death was consecrated, even in the gloom of Spielberg, to tender remembrance of his beloved Carlotta. It is a fault of this biography that dates are not always given; we can only conjecture, therefore, that it was when he was about seventeen, he accompanied a twin sister, on her marriage, into France, where she was to reside; and, in the charming society of Lyons, the pleasures of opening manhood first broke on his delighted view. “Here he drank of the flood of life with such youthful extasy as to excite the fear that he would be