The poets are called creators (Ilointai, Makers), because with their magical words, they bring forth to our eyesight the abundant images and beauties of creation. They put them there, if the reader pleases; and so are literally creators. But whether put there or discovered, whether created or invented, (for invention means nothing but finding out), there they are. If they touch us, they exist to as much purpose as any thing else which touches us. If a passage in King Lear brings the tears into our eyes, it is as real as the touch of a sorrowful hand. If the flow of a song of Anacreon's intoxicates us, it is as true to a pulse within us as the wine he drank. We hear not their sounds with ears, nor see their sights with eyes; but we hear and see both so truly, that we are moved with pleasure; and the advantage, nay, even the test, of seeing and hearing, at any time, is not in the seeing and hearing, but in the ideas we realize, and the pleasure we derive. Intellectual objects therefore, inasmuch as they come home to us, are as true a part of the population of nature, as visible ones; and they are infinitely more abundant. Between the tree of a country clown, and the tree of a Milton or Spenser, what a difference in point of productiveness ! Between the plodding of a sexton through a church-yard, and the walk of a Gray, what a difference! What a difference between the Bermudas of a ship-builder, and the Bermoothes of Shakspeare; the isle

Full of noises, Sounds, and sweet airs that give delight, and hurt not; the isle of elves and fairies, that chased the tide to and fro on the seashore; of coral-bones, and the knells of sea-nymphs; of spirits dancing on the sands, and singing amidst the hushes of the wind; of Caliban, whose brute nature enchantment had made poetical; of Ariel, who lay in cowslip bells, and rode upon the bat; of Miranda, who wept when she saw Ferdinand work so hard, and begged him to let her help; telling him,

I am your wife, if you will marry me;
If not, I'll die your maid. To be your fellow
You may deny me; but I'll be yonr servant,

Whether you will or no. Such are the discoveries which the poets make for us ; -worlds, to which that of Columbus was but a handful of brute matter.

It began to be richer for us the other day, when Flumboldt came back and told us of it's luxuriant and gigantic vegetation: of the myriads of shooting lights, which revel at evening in the southern sky; and of that grand constellation, at which Dante seems to have made so remarkable a guess (Purgatorio, Cant. 1, v. 22.) The natural warmth of the Mexican and Peruvian genius, set free from despotism, will soon do all the rest for it; awaken the sleeping riches of it's eyesight, and call forth the glad music of it's affections.

To return to our parks or landscapes, and what the poets can make of them. It is not improbable that Milton, by his Genius of the Grove at Harefield, covertly intended himself. He had been applied to by the Derbys to write some holiday poetry for them. his consent in the mouth of the Genius, whose hand, he says, curls the

He puts

ringlets of the grove, and who refreshes himself at midnight with listening to the music of the spheres: that is to say, whose hand confers new beauty on it by it's touch, and who has pleasures in solitude far richer and loftier than those of mere patrician mortals.

See how finely Ben Jonson enlivens his description of Penshurst, the family-seat of the Sydneys; now with the creations of classical mythology, and now with the rural manners of the time.

Thou art not, Penshurst, built to envious show,
Or touch, of marble; nor canst boast a row
Of polished pillars, or a roof of gold;
Thou hast no lantern, whereof tales are told;
Or stair, or courts; but stand’st an ancient pile:
And these, grudged at, are reverenced the while.
Thou joy'st in better marks, of soil, of air,
Of wood, of water: therein thou art fair.
Thou hast thy walks for health, as well as sport;
Thy mount, to which the Dryads do resort;
Where Pan and Bacchus their high feasts have made,
Beneath the broad beech, and the chesnut shade;
That taller tree, which of a nut was set
At his great birth, where all the Muses met.*
There, in the writhed bark, are cut the names
Of many a Sylvan, taken with his flames:
And thence the ruddy Satyrs oft provoke
The lighter Fawns to reach thy lady's oak.
Thy copse too, named of Gamage, thou hast there,
That never fails to serve thee seasoned dear,
When thou wouldst feast, or exercise thy friends.
The lower land, that to the river hends,
Thy sheep, thy bullocks, kine, and calves do feed;
The middle grounds thy mares and horses breed:
Each bank doth yield thee conies; and the tops
Fertile of wood, Ashore and Sydney copse,
To crown,—thy open table doth provide
The purple pheasant with the speckled side.
Then hath thy orchard fruit, thy garden flowers,
Fresh as the air, and new as are the hours.
The early cherry, with the later plum,
Fig, grape, and quince, each in his time doth come:
The blushing apricot, and woolly peach,
Hang on thy walls, that every child may reach;
And though thy walls be of the country stone,
They're reared with no man's ruin, no man's groan;
There's none that dwell about them wish them down;
But all come in, the farmer and the clown,
And no one empty handed, to salute
Thy lord and lady, though they have no suit.
Some bring a capon, some a rural cake,
Some nuts, some apples; some that think they make
The better cheeses, bring 'em; or else send
By their ripe daughters, whom they would commend
This way to husbands; and whose baskets bear





An emblem of themselves in plum or pear. Imagination enriches every thing. A great library contains not only books, but

The assembled souls of all that men held wise. DAVENANT.

* Sir Philip Sydney.

The moon is Homer's and Shakspeare's moon, as well as the one we look at. The sun comes out of his chamber in the east, with a spark. ling eye, "rejoicing like a bridegroom.” The commonest thing becomes like Aaron's rod, that budded. Pope called up the spirits of the Cabala to wait upon a lock of hair, and justly gave it the honours of a constellation; for he has hung it, sparkling for ever, in the eyes of posterity. A common meadow is a sorry thing to a ditcher or a coxcomb; but by the help of it's dues from imagination and the love of nature, the grass brightens for us, the air soothes us, we feel as we did in the daisied hours of childhood. It's verdures, it's sheep, it's hedge-row elms,--all these, and all else which sight, and sound, and association can give it, are made to furnish a treasure of pleasant thoughts. Even brick and mortar are vivified, as of old, at the harp of Orpheus. A metropolis becomes no longer a mere collection of houses or of trades. It puts on all the grandeur of it's history, and it's literature; it's towers, and rivers; it's art, and jewelry, and foreign wealth; it's multitude of human beings all intent upon excitement, wise or yet to learn ; the huge and sullen dignity of it's


of smoke by day; the wide gleam upwards of its lighted lustre at nighttime; and the noise of it's many chariots, heard, at the same hour, when the wind sets gently towards some quiet suburb.


We will consider the suggestion respecting a List of Books; though our Correspondent will see, in our present Number, one reason among others, which must at least prevent us from being in a hurry on the subject.

MOTTOES. Are the Mottoes in question heraldic ones; or any others already existing?

The Verses of B. and of W. B. W. have their graces and other merits; but we are obliged to be so chary in this Department, that they must think as kindly as they can of our omitting them.

Orders received by the Newsmen, by the Booksellers, and by the Publisher,

JOSEPH APPLEYARD, No. 19, Catherine-street, Strand, -Price 2d. Printed by C. H. Reynell, No. 45, Broad-street, Golden-square, London.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][merged small]

131717302 $ There he arriving round about doch flie,
!!!! And takes survey with busie, curious eye:
Now this, now that, he tasteth tenderly.


No. XXV. -WEDNESDAY, MARCH 29th, 1920.


By far the best-known translation of the Jerusalem Delivered of Tasso, is Mr. Hoole's. It has appeared, and still appears, in editions of all sizes; and is gathered as a matter of course into collections of the British

; Poets. The reason of this is, not that Mr. Hoole translated the work, but that his original was Tasso." It is the name of Tasso, solely, that has carried him on from generation to generation, like a corpse attached to the immortal spirit of the Italian, and making it dull with the burden.

The re-publication, in various quarters, of the finest translation by Fairfax,

s, will doubtless help to detach one idea from the other ; but as Mr. Hoole's version has also been often reprinted of late, and as Fairfax himself presents some dificulties in the way of popularity, a

We two i public interests of poetry.

Hoole is a singular example of the popularity which a man may obtain by taking up a great author to translate, with whom he has nothing tain by takibe

and merely subserving to the worst taste of the times. in Some readers put faith in the imposture from the mere name of the original, some from a deference to the translator's knowledge of Italian, some from the recommendation of any living author who has talent in any thing, some from a real wish to be acquainted with a great poet, some

from national self-love, some from indolence of various kinds, many from the habit of acquiescing in any thing after their own fashion, and many because the rest have done so before them. Yet many of these, with whatever sincerity they have praised the original author, would have thought no higher of him than of some middle writers of their own country, as indeed has frequently been the case ; and others, who have undertaken to agree with the lovers of his native language in their enthusiasm about his pathos and dignity, or his vivacity, naivete, &c. would have owned, if they had the courage, what

n common,


a dull follow they could not help thinking him. The rest, who really loved and understood poetry, Italian or English, could only sit still anıl wonder at all this, preferring, at the risk of being thought foolish or pedantic, the old obsolete translators of Shakspeare's time, when

our language,” saith Mr. Hoole, was in it's rudiments.” It was lucky however for this gentleman, that he had the period he wrote in alınost all to himself. There was not a single real poet surviving, except Cowper.-Gray, Armstrong, Akenside, Collins, Churchill, every body was gone who was likely to detect him publicly; and the age, in every respect, was then in the fullness of it's poetical emptiness. The French School was in it's last weedy exuberance. The apprentices and their misti esses, in their pretty transparent Acrostic masks, walked forth by hundreds to meet each other in Poet's Corner in the magazines; and as nobody knew any thing about poetry, except that it had to repeat “ ingenious" common-places, to rhyme upon heart, impart, love, prove, &c., and to pause, as Pope did, upon the fourth and fifth syllables, every body could write poetry, and admit it in others : Pope, whose real merits they did not understand after all, was the greatest poet that ever lived, next to him were Goldsmith, and Collins, and Gray, the two latter however very little understood; then, or perhaps before them, was Dr. Johnson, whom our master at school gave us as a poetical model : then came, in their respective circles, though at due distance, Mr. Jenkins, Mr. Tomkins, or Mr. Hipkins, who wrote lines on the beautiful Miss Y. of Bristol, or the charming Miss Z. of Fish Street Hill; and nothing was wanting to make such a person as Mr. Hoole, a great and popular writer with these gentlemen and ladies, but that he should write a great quantity of verses ; which he accordingly did.

That Dr. Johnson should speak a good word for Mr. Hoole, much less write a dedication for him, is not surprising ; though what a poet must he be, who goes to another to write a dedication for him! Johnson was in the habit of writing dedications for those who were conscious of not being good turners of a prose paragraph, and who wished to approach the great with a proper one; and Mr. Hoole, it seems, was among these modest persons, though he did not scruple to ap. proach Tasso and Ariosto with his poetry. The dedication, which is to the late Queen, and which expresses a wish that Tasso had lived in a happier time and experienced from the descendants of the house of Este, a more liberal and potent patronage,” is elegant and to the purpose. The good word is a mere word, and very equivocal besides. Johnson, who is now pretty generally understood not to have been so good a critic in poetry as he was strong in general understanding, and justly eminent in some respects, might have been very capable of applaading a translation upon Mr. Hoole's principles; but it is more than to be suspected, that he would have desired a higher order of workmanship out of the manufactory. Hoole was

a pitcht

too low for his admiration, though it appeared he had private qualities sufficient to secure his good wishes ; and even those, there is good reason to conclude, could not have prevented a feeling of contempt for a translator of great poets, who could come to him for a dedication.

« ElőzőTovább »