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Link'd to the dead and stiffening wretch,
The dying on the dead !
Would see my houseless helpless head,
I saw his wing through twilight flit,
I could have smote, but lack'd the strength:
Together scared him off at length. I know no more-my latest dream
Is something of a lovely star
Which fix'd my dull eyes from afar,
An icy sickness curdling o'er
A sigh, and nothing more.'
“And there from morn till twilight bound,
That prudence might escape:
And welcome in no shape.
Hath nought to hope, and nought to leave;
With nought perhaps to grieve :-
And my dim eyes of death had need,
No hope arose of being freed: I cast my last looks up the sky,
And there between me and the sun
I saw the expecting raven fly,
Ere his repast begun;
I closed my own again once more,
Could not as yet be o'er.
A prying pitying glance on me
With her black eyes so wild and free:
No vision it could be,
But fail'd-and she approach'd and made,
With lip and finger, signs that said
And gently oped the door, and spake
But those she call'd were not awake, And she went forth; but, ere she pass'd, Another look on me she cast,
Another sign she made, to say,
And she would not delay
They bore me to the nearest hut-
Thus the vain fool who strove to glut
Sent me forth to the wilderness, Bound, naked, bleeding, and alone, To pass the desert to a throne,
What mortal his own doom may guess ?
Let none despond, let none despair!
As I shall yield when safely there. (1)
His length beneath the oak-tree shade,
With leafy couch already made,
His eyes the hastening slumbers steep.
The king had been an hour asleep.(2)
(1) “Charles, having perceived that the day was lost, at the Sublime Porte demanded that Mazeppa should be and that his only chance of safety was to retire with the delivered up to Peter, but the old Hetman of the Cossacks utmost precipitation, suffered himself to be mounted on escaped this fate by taking a disease which hastened his horseback, and with the remains of his army fled to a place death." Barrow's Peter the Great, pp. 196-203.-LE. called Perewolochna, situated in the angle formed by the (2) The copy of Maseppa sent to this country by Lord junction of the Vorskla and the Borysthenes, Here, ac | Byron is in the handwriting of Theresa, Countess Guiccioli; companied by Mazeppa, and a few hundreds of his fol and it is impossible not to suspect that the Poet had some lowers, Charles swam over the latter great river, and pro. circumstances of his own personal history in his mind, ceeding over a desolate country, in danger of perisbing when he portrayed the fair Polish Theresa, her youthful with hunger, at length reached the Bog, where he was lover, and the jealous rage of the old Count Palatine kindly received by the Turkish pacha. The Russian envoy (L. E.
TRANSLATED FROM THE ITALIAN OF PULCI.(1)
narratives of chivalry, and his harsh style. Ariosto, in his continuation, by a judicious mixture of the
gaiety of Pulci, has avoided the one; and Berui, in Tae Morganle Maggiore, of the first canto of which his reformation of Boiardo's poem, bas corrected the this translation is offered, divides with the Orlando other. Pulci may be considered as the precursor and Innamorato the honour of having formed and sug- | model of Berni altogether, as he has partly been to gested the style and story of Ariosto. The great de Ariosto, however inferior to both his copyists. He fects of Boiardo were his treating too seriously the is no less the founder of a new style of poetry very
(1) This translation was executed at Ravenna, in February, vourite among the romantic poets; who constantly finish their cantos 1820, and first saw the light in the pages of the unfortu. | with a distich, of which the words may vary, but
with a distich, of which the words may vary, but the sense is unnfare nate journal called The Liberal. The merit of it, as Lord
. All' altro canto vi farò sentire, Byron over and over states in his letters, consists in the won.
Se all' altro canto mi verrete a udire,'-Ariosto. derful verbum pro verbo closeness of the version. It was, Or at the end of another canto, according to Harrington's translation: 1 in fact, an exercise of skill in this art; and cannot be fairly
I now cut off abruptly here my rhyme, estimated, without reference to the original Italian. Those
And keep my tale unto anotber time.' who want full information, and clear philosophical views, "The forms and materials of these popular stories were adopted by as to the origin of the Romantic Poetry of the Italians, will writers of a superior class, who considered the vulgar tales of their do well to read at length an article on that subject, from the predecessors as blocks of marble finely tinted and variegated by the pen of the late Ugo Foscolo, in No. XLII. of the Quarterly
hand of nature, but which might afford a masterpiece when taste Review. We extract from it the passage in which that
fully worked and polished. The romantic poets treated the tradition
ary fictions just as Dante did the legends invented by the monks to learned writer applies himself more particularly to the
maintain their mastery over weak minds. He formed them into a porsa Morgante of Pulci. After showing that all the poets of this which became the admiration of every age and nation : but Dante and class adopted, as the ground work of their fictions, the old Petrarca were poets who, though universally celebrated, were not a wild materials which had for ages formed the stock in trade versally understood. The learned found employment in writing e of the professed story-tellers,-in those days a class of per.
ments upon their poems; but the nation, without even escepting the
higher ranks, knew them only by name. At the beginning of the 3ons holding the same place in Christendom, and more es
teenth century, a few obscure anthors began to write romanres en pecially in Italy, which their brothers still maintain all over prose and in rhyme, taking for their subject the wars of Cbarlemagne the East,-Foscolo thus proceeds:
and Orlando, or sometimes the adventures of Artbur and the Kosants
of the Round Table. These works were so pleasing, that they were "The customary forms of the parrative all find a place in romantic rapidly multiplied: but the bards of romance cared little about style poetry : such are,-tbe sententions reflections suggested by the matters or versification, they sought for adventures, and enchantments and which he has just related, or arising in anticipation of those which miracles. We here obtain at least a partial explanation of the raped he is about to relate, and which the story-teller always opens when decline of Italian poetry, and the amazing corruption of the Italia he resumes his recitations ; his defence of his own merits against the language, which took place immediately after the death of Petrare attacks of rivals in trade; and his formal leave-taking when he parts and which proceeded from bad to worse until the era of Lorenzo de from his audience, and invites them to meet him again on the mor. Medici. row. This method of winding up each portion of the poem is a fa
It was then that Pulci composed his Morgante for the amusement
| lately sprung up in England. I allude to that of the interpreted. That he intended to ridicule the moingenious Whistlecraft. The serious poems on Ron- nastic life, and suffered his imagination to play with cesvalles in the same language, and more particularly the simple dulness of his converted giant, seems evithe excellent one of Mr. Merivale, are to be traced to dent enough; but surely it were as unjust to accuse the same source. It has never yet been decided en- him of irreligion on this account, as to denounce Fieldtirely whether Pulci's intention was or was not to ing for his Parson Adams, Barnabas, Thwackum, deride the religion which is one of his favourite topics. Supple, and the Ordinary in Jonathan Wild, or It appears to me, that such an intention would have Scott, for the exquisite use of his Covenanters in the been no less hazardous to the poet than to the priest, | Tales of my Landlord. particularly in that age and country; and the permis In the following translation I have used the liberty sion to publish the poem, and its reception among the
of the original with the proper names; as Pulci uses classics of Italy, prove that it neither was nor is so Gan, Ganellon, or Ganellone ; Carlo, Carlomagno, or Carlomano; Rondel, or Rondello, etc. as it suits his to make the experiment partly by his love for, and convenience; so has the translator. In other respects partial intercourse with, the Italian language, of which the version is faithful, to the best of the translator's it is so easy to acquire a slight knowledge, and with ability, in combining his interpretation of the one lan which it is so nearly impossible for a foreigner to be! guage with the not very easy task of reducing it to | come accurately conversant. The Italian language is the same versification in the other. The reader, on like a capricious beauty, who accords her smiles to : comparing it with the original, is requested to remem all, her favours to few, and sometimes least to those ber that the antiquated language of Pulci, however who have courted her longest. The translator wisbed pure, is not easy to the generality of Italians them also to present in an English dress a part at least of selves, from its great mixture of Tuscan proverbs; and a poem never yet rendered into a northern language; he may therefore be more indulgent to the present at at the same time that it has been the original of some tempt. How far the translator has succeeded, and of the most celebrated productions on this side of the whether or no he shall continue the work, are ques- | Alps, as well as of those recent experiments in poetry tions which the public will decide. He was induced in England which have been already mentioned. (1)
of Madonna Lucrezia, the mother of Lorenzo ; and he used to recite it at table to Ficino, and Politian, and Lorenzo, and the other illustrious characters who then flourished at Florence : yet Pulci adhered strictly to the original plan of the popular story-tellers; and if his successors have embellished them so that they can scarcely be recognised, it is certain that in no other poem can they be found so genuine and native as in the Morgante. Pulci accommodated himself, though sportively, to the genius of his age : classical taste and sound criticism began to prevail, and great endeavours were making by the learned to separate bistorical truth from the chaos of fable and tradition : so that, though Pulci introduced the most extravagant fables, he affected to complain of the errors of his predecessors. I grieve,' he said, for my Emperor Charlemagne; for I see that his history bas been badly written and worse understood.'
E del mio Carlo imperador m'increbbe:
Di Carlo, male intesa e scritta peggio.' And wbilst he quotes the great historian Leonardo Aretino with respect, he professes to believe the authority of the holy Archbishop Turpin, who is also one of the heroes of the poem. In another passage, where be imitates the apologies of the story-tellers, he makes
a treat allusion to the taste of his audience. I know,' he says, that 1 I must proceed straight-forward, and not tell a single lie in the
course of my tale. This is not a story of mere invention : and if I go one step out of the right road, one cbastises, another criticises, a third scolds-they try to drive me mad-but in fact they are out of their senses."
"Pulci's versification is remarkably fluent. Yet be is deficient in melody; his language is pure, and his expressions flow naturally: but his phrases are abrupt and unconnected, and he frequently writes ungrammatically. His vigour degenerates into harshness; and his love of brevity prevents the developement of his poetical imagery. He bears all the marks of rude genius; he was capable of delicate pleasantry, yet his smiles are usually bitter and severe. His humnour never arises from points, but from unexpected situations
strongly contrasted. The Emperor Charlemagne sentences King | Marsilius of Spain to be hanged for high treason; and Archbishop Turpin kindly offers his services on the occasion.
E' disse : lo vo', Marsilio, che tu muoja
L'opera santa con le sante mani." "Here we have an emperor superintending the execution of a king, who is hanged in the presence of a vast multitude, all of whom are greatly edified at beholding an archbishop officiating in the character of a finisher of the law. Before this adventure took place, Caradoro had despatched an ambassador to the emperor, complain. ing of the shameful conduct of a wicked Paladin, who had seduced the princess bis daughter. The orator does not present bimself with modern diplomatic courtesy
• Macon t'abbatta come traditore,
A Caradoro e stato scritto, O Carlo,
De la sua figlia cosa disonesta.'
He shook his head-'a sad complaint I bring
Respecting the behaviour of his daughter.' « Such scenes may appear somewhat strange; but Caradoro's ernbassy, and the execution of King Marsilius, are told in strict conformity to the notions of the common people, and as they must still be described, if we wished to imitate the popular story-tellers. If Pulei be occasionally refined and delicate, his snatches of amenity resulted froin the national character of the Florentines, and the revival of letters. But, at the same time, we must trace to national ebaracter, and to the influence of his daily companions, the buffoonery which, in the opinion of foreigners, frequently disgraces the poem. M. Ginguene has criticised Pulci in the usual style of his countrymen. He attributes modern manners to ancient times, and takes it for granted that the individuals of every other nation think and act like modern Frenchmen. On these principles, he concludes that Pulci, both with respect to his subject and to his mode of treat ing it, intended only to write burlesque poetry; because, as he says,
such buffoonery could not have been introduced into a composition recited to Lorenzo de' Medici and his enlightened guests, if the author had intended to be in earnest. In the fine portrait of Lorenzo given by Machiavelli at the end of his Florentine history, the historian complains that he took more pleasure in the company of jesters and buftoons than beseemed such a man. It is a little singular that Benedetto Varchi, a contemporary historian, makes the same complaint of Machiavelli himself. Indeed, many known anecdotes of Machiavelli, no less tban his fugitive pieces, prove that it was only when he was acting the statesman that he wished to be grave; and that he could laugh like other men when he laid aside his dignity. We do not think be was in the wrong. But, whatever opinion may be formed on the subject, we shall yet be forced to conclude that great men may be compelled to blame the manners of their times, without being able to withstand their influence. In other respects, the poem of Pulci is serious, both in subject and in tone. And here we shall repeat a general observation, which we advise our readers to apply to all the romantic poems of the Italians-That their comic humour arises from the contrast between the constant endeavours of the writers to adhere to the forms and subjects of the popular story. tellers, and the efforts made at the same time by the genius of these writers to render such materiais interesting and sublime.
This simple elucidation of the causes of the poetical character of the Morgante has been overlooked by the critics; and they have therefore disputed with great earnestness during the last two centuries, whether the Morgante is written in jest or earnest; and whether Pulci is not an atheist, who wrote in verse for the express purpose of scolfing at all religion. Mr. Merivale inclines, in his Orlando in Roncesvalles, to tbe opinion of M. Ginguené, that the Morgante is decidedly to be considered as a burlesque poem, and a satire against the Christian religion Yet Mr. Merivale himself acknowledges that it is wound up with a tragical effect, and dignified by religious sentiment; and is therefore forced to leave the question amongst the unexplained, and perhaps inexplicable, phenomena of the human mind. If a similar question had not been already decided, both in regard to Shakspeare and to Ariosto, it might be still a subject of dispute whether the former intended to write tragedies, and whether the other did not mean to burlesque his beroes. It is a happy thing that, with regard to those two great writers, the war has ended by the fortunate intervention of the general body of readers, who, on such occasions, for their judgment with less erudition and with less prejudice than the critics. But Pulci is little read, and his age is little known. We are told by Mr. Merivale, that the points of abstruse theology are discussed in the Morgante with a degree of sceptical freedom which we should imagine to be altogether remote from the spirit of the fifteenth century,' Mr. Merivale follows M. Ginguene, who follows Voltaire. And the philosopher of Ferney, who was always beating up in all quarters for allies against Christianity, collected all the scriptural passages of Pulci, upon which he commented in his own way. But it is only since the Council of Trent, that any doubt which might be raised on a religious dogma exposed an author to the charge of impiety; whilst, in the fifteenth century, a Catholic might be sincerely devout and yet allow himself a certain degree of latitude in theological doubt. At one and the same time the Florentines might well believe in the Gospel and laugh at a doctor of divinity: for it was exactly at this era that they had been spectators of the memorable controversies between the representatives of the eastern and Western churches. Greek and Latin bishops from every corner of Christen. dom had assembled at Florence, for the purpose of trying whether they could possibly understand each other, and when they separated, they hated each other worse than before. At the very time when Pulci was composing his Morgante, the clergy of Florence protested against the excommunications pronounced by Sixtus IV., and with expressions by which his holiness was anathematised in his turn. During these proceedings, an archbishop, convicted of being a papal emissary, was hanged from one of the windows of the government palace at Florence : this event may have suggested to Pulei the idea of converting another archbishop into a hangman. The romantic poets substituted literary and scientific observations for the trivial digressions of the story-tellers. This was a great improvement: and al. though it was not well managed by Pulci, yet he presents us with much curious incidental matter. In quoting his philosophical friend and contemporary Matteo Palmieri, he explains the instinct of brutes by a bold hypothesis-he supposes that they are animated by evil spirits. This idea gave no offence to the theologians of the ff. teenth century; but it excited mach orthodox indignation when Father Bougeant, a French monk, brought it forward as a new theory of his own. Mr. Merivale, after observing that Pulci died before the discovery of America by Columbus, quotes a passage which will become a very interesting document for the philosophical historian.' We give it in his prose translation - The water is level through its
whole extent, although, like the earth, it has the form of a globe. Mankind in those ages were much more ignorant than now. Her. cules would blush at this day for having Gred his columns. Vessels will soon pass far beyond them. They inay soon reach another he. misphere, because every thing tends to its centre; in like manner, as by a divine mystery, the earth is suspended in the midst of the stars; here below are cities and empires, which were ancient. The inhabitants of those regions were called Antipodes. They have plants and animals as well as you, and wage wars as well as you.'-Mor. kante, c. XIV. st. 220, etc.
* The more we consider the traces of ancient science, which break in transient flashes through the darkness of the middle ages, and which gradually re-illuminated the horizon, the more shall we be disposed to adopt the hypothesis suggested by Bailly, and supported by him with seductive eloquence. He maintained that all the acquirements of the Greeks and Romans had been transmitted to them as the wrecks and fragments of the knowledge once possessed by primæval nations, by empires of sages and philosophers, who were afterwards swept from the face of the globe by some overwhelming catastrophe. His theory may be considered as extravagant; but if the literary productions of the Romans were not yet extant, it would seem incredible that, after the lapse of a few centuries, the civilisation of the Augustan age could have been succeeded in Italy by such barbarity. The Italians were so ignorant, that they forgot their family names; and before the eleventh century individuals were kaown only by their Christian names. They had an indistinct idea, in the middle ages, of the existence of the antipodes: but it was a reminiscence of ancient knowledge. Dante has indicated the number and position of the stars composing the polar constellation of the Austral hemisphere. At the same time he tells us, that when Lucifer was hurled from the celestial regions, the arch-devil transfired the globe : half his body remained on our side of the centre of the earth, and hall on the other side. The shock given to the earth by his fall drove a great portion of the waters of the ocean to the southern he. misphere, and only one high mountain remained uncovered, upon which Dante places his purgatory. As the fall of Lucifer happened before the creation of Adam, it is evident that Dantè did not admit that the southern hemisphere had ever been inhabited; but, about thirty years afterwards, Petrarch, who was better versed in the an. cient writers, ventured to hint that the sun shone upon mortals who were unknown to us :
Crown'd with fresh flowers, whose colour and perfume
And be in heaven thy joyful spouse again.'
Poi si senti con un suon dolce e fioco
In eritn Israel, cantar, de Ægypto,
Che si conobbe al tremolar le penne."
The poem is filled with kings. knights, giants, and devils. There are many battles and many duels. Wars rise out of wars, and es. pires are conquered in a day. Pulci treats us with plenty of age and enchantment. His love-adventures are not peculiarly interesting : and, with the exception of four or five leading personages, his racters are of no moment. The fable turns wholly upon the haired which Ganellon, the felon knight of Maganza, bears towards Orlando and the rest of the Christian Paladins. Charlemagne is easily pro tised upon by Ganellon, his prime confidant and man of basin So he treats Orlando and his friends in the most survy mannes imaginable, and sends them out to hard service in the wars ago France. Ganellon is despatched to Spain to treat with King Mars lins, being also instructed to obtain the session of a kingdom for Orlando; but be concerts a treacherous device with the Spaniards and Orlando is killed at the battle of Roncesvalles. The intriguns od Ganellon, his spite, bis patience, his obstinacy, his dissimulaties his affected humility, and his inexhaustible powers of intrigue, are admirably depicted : and his character constitutes the chef and finest feature in the poem. Charlemagne is a worthy motarch, beat easily gulled. Orlando is a real hero, chaste and disinterestedt, who fights in good earnest for the propagation of the faith. He tizes the giant Morgante, who afterwards serves him like a faith squire. There is another giant, whose name is Margutte Morgante falis in with Margutte, and they become sworn brothers. Maryatte is a very infidel giant, ready to confess his failings, and fall drollery. He sets all a laughing, readers, giants, devils, and larges, and he finishes bus career by laughing till he bursts."
The reader is referred to Moore's Life of Lord Byron, for his letters written when he was engaged on his version of the Morgante. Great part of them is occupied with annions endeavours to ascertain whether usbergo means a helmet or a cuirass; a point on which the slightest knowledge of Ger man would have been sufficient to make him en y. l’sbergo is only another form of our own hauberk, and both are manfest corruptions of the German halsberg, i.e. covering or the neck.--LE.
(1) " About the Morgante Maggiore, I won't have a line
• Nella stagion che il ciel rapido inchina Vers' occidente, e che il dì nostro vola
A gente che di là forse l' aspetta.'
. His faithful steed, that long had served him well
And, “O my mucb-loved steed, my generous friend,
Flash'd quick ;-then closed again in endless night.'
• Bright with eternal youth and fadeless bloom,
omitted. It may circolate or it may not, but all the criti. cism on earth sha'nt touch a line, unless it be because it is badly translated. Now you say, and I say, and others say, that the translation is a good one, and so it shall go to press as it is. Pulci must answer for his own irreligion: 1 answer for the translation only." Lord B. to Mr. Murray, Ravenna, 1820.
The Morgante is the best translation that ever was or will be made." -Lord B. to Mr. Moore. Pisa, 1822,
4 The self-will of Lord Byron was in no point more conspicuous than in the determination with which he thus per. sisted in giving the preference to one or two works of his own wbich, in the eyes of all other persons, were most de. cided failures of this class was the translation from Pulci so frequently mentioned by him, which appeared afterwards in The Liberal, and which, though thus rescued from the fate of remaining unpublished, must for ever, I fear, submit to the doom of being unread.” Moore.-P.E.