« ZurückWeiter »
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 draw another parallel, in which we think Carew will not be deemed inferior to his successor. It is the description of Night, at the end of the second book-a description evidently taken by Tasso from Virgil.
Fairefax. "Now spread the Night her spangled canopie,
And sommon'd every restlesse eie to sleepe:
Now was it night, when in deepe rest enrol'd,
Are waves and winds, and mute the world doth show,
Of billow'd sea, and of moyst streames that flow,
Stilled their cares, and their harts suppelled."
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,
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,
Her hart with sighes, her eies with teares did swell;
So strong great launce he beares, and in such guyse
Him deemes amongst the best a chosen knight,
And now her heart feels in a panting plight,
What then is he that doth so seemely frame
Himselfe to just, and so fierce semblance beare?
On lips a sigh, and in her eyes a teare;
But breath and weeping backe she doth reclame,
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."
"Tancred's assault this while Clorinda plyes,
T'encounter, and in rest her launce bestowes;
Up start, and she in part disarmed showes:
Carew's translation of the combat between Clorinda and Tancred is very spirited, though quaint.
From off her head, (a blow whence wonder growes,)
Her eyes do flash, her lookes do lighten bright,
They hold? Tancred, whereon think'st thou? thy sight
Flames burn'st, thy hart (her picture's shrine) the case
He that of painted shield, and of her crest
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;
Stroken this knight, no strokes againe replyes,
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,
And love's treasures and hers up wympelled,*
With yvorie is spirst and mingelled,
But in her mouth whence breath of love outgoes,
The four last lines in Tasso run thus:
"Dolce color di rosse in quel bel volto
* Concealed.-A wimple is a covering for the neck.
Ma nella bocca, ond' esce aura amorosa,
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
To paint true fairenesse out in bravest sort;
Her lips, where blooms nought but the single rose,
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,
With port all framde to sad despiteous grace;
As is begot when wrath and woe embrace,
If so a dewy cloud do water them,
When to calme breath their closed lap they spred,
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,
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."
"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 :
But if for my deserts such recompense
Godfrey will yeeld, and me in prison cast,
This said, he cals for armes, and head and brest
(As lightning wonts) he in his armour shines :
I know, ech hard and tough attempt will plie:
Midst armes and terrour stands your vertue hie:
Tell me what meane you do? will you go staine
Your yet cleane hands in bloud of civill warre?
Peirce Christ, of whom we part and members are?