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"He spake, his speech a mutt'ring 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,
Thou in the hermite dost enspire these heasts,
And in the knights' harts thou the same dost shrine;
Th' ingraft, th' inborne affections thou outwrests,
So as both Gwelfe and Gwilliam chiefe in place
Did Godfrey first with name of chieftaine grace."
Now let us see Fairefax's.
"This said, the Hermite Peter rose and spake,
At my request this war was undertake
What Godfrey wills of that no question make,
* * * * • *
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,
Corny. "The olde man silenst here. What thoughts, what breasts,
Fairefax. And therewith staid his speech. 0 gratious muse!
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
A vail obscur'd the sunshine of her eyes,
Each ornament about her seemley lies,
For what the most neglects, most curious prove,
So beautie's helpt by nature, heav'n, and love.
Carew. This maide alone through preace of vulgar went,
Shadow'd her eyes, in vaile her body pent,
I note where car'de, or carelesse ornament,
Friended by heav'n, by nature, and by love,
Her mere neglects most artificial prove."
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 invented— then, the sense of the second line, which is most literally translated by Carew,
"Non copri sue bellezze, e non I'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 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,
On beds of tender grasse the beasts down lie,
Unheard was serpents' hiss, and dragons' crie,
Only that noise heav'ns rolling circles kest,
Sung lullabie, to bring the world to rest.*
Carew. Now was it night, when in deepe rest enrol'd,
Are waves and winds, and mute the world doth show,
Weari'd the beasts, and those that bottome hold
And who are lodgde in cave, or pen'd in fold,
Under their secret horrours silenced,
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,
As windes tall Cedars tosse on mountaines hore.
To her that neere him seated was before,
Who felt her hart With love's hot fever quake,
Well should'st thou know (quoth he) each Christian knight
By long acquaintance, though in armour dight.
* 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?
To this the princesse said nor more nor lesse,
Her hart with sighes, her eies with teares did swell;
But sighes and teares she wisely could suppresse,
And strove her love and hot desires to cover,
'Till hart with sighs, and eyes with teares ron over.
Carew. So strong great launce he beares, and in such guyse
That king, who from aloft his port descryes,
And sayes to her, who in next seat him nyes,
Through so long use you may to me declare
Ech Christen, though in armes they closed are.
What then is he that doth so seemely frame
Himselfe to just, and so fierce semblance beare?
Unto the ladie, for an answer came
But breath and weeping backe she doth reclame,
For her swolne eyes, a purple circle faire,
Tainted, and hoarse halfe sigh brake forth to aire."
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 Jiore."
Carew's translation of the combat between Clorinda and Tancred is very spirited, though quaint.
"Tancred's assault this while Clorinda plyes,
Ech t' other's beaver hits, the splints to skyes
For buckles broke, foorthwith the helmet flyes
From offher head, (a blow whence wonder growes,) . And golden lockes unto the wind display'd,
She midst the field appeares a youthly mayd.
Her eyes do flash, her lookes do lighten bright,
They hold? Tancred, whereon think'st thou? thy sight
This is that visage faire whence thou in light
Flames burn'st, thy hart (her picture's shrine) the case
Can show, this same is she whom quenching thirst
At solitarie spring thou sawest first.
He that of painted shield, and of her crest
A stone, she bared head covers, as best
And fell blade whirling, makes against the rest,
But threatfull him pursewes; and turne, she cries,
And to deathes twaine at once she him defies.
Stroken this knight, no strokes againe replyes,
As to regard her cheekes and fairest eyes,
From whence his bow Love uneschewed bends;
T' himselfe he sayes, ech blow unharmefull dyes,
But never blow from her faire naked face
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,
Her sparing lookes a coy regard doth beare,
Sweete roses colour in that visage faire
But in her mouth whence breath of love outgoes,
Ruddy alone and single blooms the rose."
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.