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the Florentine who turned at hearing Dante speak in his native language, and felt his heart live again at dialect of Arno's vale," thought of his home and his country as one.
It is a feeling connected with this love of country, which most particularly strikes us in the translation of Milton. Here is an author fond of authorship, an author living among Englishmen, and well aware of the universality of their language, and yet he contents his ambition with producing a long work which none but his countrymen shall understand. It is sufficient for him if he can give them a new source of pleasure. It is enough for the true largeness of his spirit if he can give a thousand times more than he can receive, — happy in obtaining the thanks of the modern Howells and Llewellyns, and in being renowned in a country about twice the size of Yorkshire.
On opening the book, we are then struck with the delight it must afford to those who have no other language, and amused with the unreadable face it presents to those who are not acquainted with it. One's familiarity with the original, and utter inability to make out its expounder, make up a very pleasant perplexity. We will quote a passage from both, which in Milton is like the coming of an army with music, and which must present high associations, of another sort, to the Welsh reader. Satan has just numbered his forces :
" And now his heart
gets well off in every tongue and nation, — Charlemain, Carlo Mano, Carolus Magnus. Even his plain monosyllable, Carl, which Camden tells us is the only appellation on his coins, has a self-sufficing and dominant sound. But we know not that he ever cut a more imperial figure than in this lofty and solemn agnomen of Carlo Mawr. It reminds one of the mountain.* The names that abound in this passage serve only to show to greater effect the obscurity of the rest. Uthr and Prydain we can make out: Damasco and Marocco, and Trebisond, are as familiar to us as the sounds of a trumpet; but “what the devil,” as Brantome would say, is “oedd y pedditos mân ?” There happens to be a note to these words; and the idea of explanation is so united with that of a note, that one looks involuntarily for some instruction on the point. The following is the elucidation. Odd
у pedditos mân."]-Syniad yw hyn am y ddammeg o ryfel rhwyng y cròrod ac y creyrod.” Even the Preface, we find, has nothing in it for us Saxons; nor the Index either. At last, in the former, we hit upon some Greek letters, and thought that some light was going to break in upon us, when lo ! we know not for what cause, but these Greek letters contained only Welsh words.
This was “the unkindest cut of all.” But they look like some memorial about a lady, perhaps an affectionate one; and we return to our gravities.
The only remaining observation we have to make, is the
* Those rogues the punsters, who will be levelling every thing, and laying every language double, have already got hold of the translation of Mr. Owen Pughe. One of them, the other day, seeing the words "Mr. Tomkins the head of an advertisement, and finding that it concerned that late eminent writing-master, said that he was the greatest man that flourished during the last century, and that he ought to be called Penman-Mawr.
pleasure with which the great poet himself would have witnessed a translation of his work into this language : there has lately been an Icelandic version of Paradise Lost. This would have gratified him, from feelings common to all writers. The Italian ones were a matter of
But a translation into old British would have been particularly curious to one, who had meditated an epic poem on the exploits of King Arthur, and had no doubt made himself as well acquainted as possible with Welsh antiquities, for that purpose. The overflowings of this first intention of his, when it was afterwards diverted, are visible in the little streams of romance which occasionally run into its other sphere. Among the subjects also which he has left on record for tragedy, are passages from the same period ; and when he began a History of Britain, he delighted to go as far back as possible, and do justice to Briton as well as Saxon. He speaks of the intended epic poem in various parts of his writings, and talks of his subject with a zeal and even a British sort of partiality, which is as striking as the ardor of his verse. See particularly the famous passage in his Latin poem to Tasso's friend, Manso, where after expressing his wish to meet with so understanding a patron, and to write about the Round Table and Arthur, who “at that moment was preparing his wars under ground,” he bursts out in a strain like the clang of metal :
Et, O modo spiritus adsit,
And oh, did spirit come on me but fit for those high wars,
Perhaps considering what a proud patriot Milton was, notwithstanding all his cosmopolitical qualities, it affords some additional explanation to this British part of his enthusiasm, to find that his mother was of Welsh origin. His connections were probably a good deal among the countrymen of her family. His first wife was the daughter of a Powell. That he did not do what he intended, has been regretted by every poet who has alluded to it, from Dryden to Walter Scott. We remember a note in the latter's edition of Dryden, where he asks, what would not have been done with such subjects as the Perilous Chapel and the Forbidden Seat? So much, that being compelled to bring this article to a close, we dare not trust ourselves with dwelling upon it, - with fancying a thousandth part of the grand and the gorgeous things, the warlike and the peaceful, the bearded and the vermeil-cheeked, the manly, the supernatural, and the gentle, with which his poem would have burnt brightly down to us, like windows painted by enchantment.
OR, THE STORY OF DON ALPHONSO DE MELOS AND
THE JEWELLER'S DAUGHTER.
VERYBODY has heard of the bull-fights in
Spain. The noble animal is brought into an arena to make sport, as Samson was among the Philistines. And truly he presents him
self to one's imagination, as a creature equally superior with Samson to his tormentors; for the sport which he is brought in to furnish, is that of being murdered. The poor beast is not actuated by a perverse will,