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When Boswell, in one of his maudlin fits of adulation, affected to consider something with Goldsmith's name to it as supplied by the Doctor, the latter could not restrain his scorn ; and said, that Goldsmith would no more come to him for a paragraph, than he would to be fed with a pap-spoon. And it is curious to observe, after all, how and in wbat place Johnson has said his good word for our trauslator. It is
the end of the Life of Waller, and amounts to this coy prophecy; that Fairfax's work, “ after Mr. Hoole's translation, will not soon be reprinted."
Mr. Hoole indeed, with superfluous ingenuity, has contrived to let as kuow, by other means than his translation, how totally unfit he was for the task. He came to it with an ignorance of all real poetry, that of his own country not excepted. After telling us that “ Fairfax's version is in stanzas that cantiot be read with pleasure by the generality of those who have a taste for English poetry,"—that it is “irksome in such a degree as to surmount curiosity, and more than 'counterbalance all the beauty of expression and sentiment to be found in that work,"--and that, as a poof of all this, “ it appears scarcely to have been read at all,"-he adds, " I do not flatter myself that I have excelled Fairfax, except in my measure and versification, and even ci these the principal recommendation is that they are modern, and better adapted to the ear of all readers of English poetry, except of the very few who have acquired a taste for the phrases and cadences of those times, when our verse, if not our language was in it's rudiments :" that is to say, at the close of our very greatest age both in poety and prose.
So little did Mr. Hoole know what he was about, either in poetry, or the versification of it,
t, that while in the course of his translation he was elaborately doing or undoing something now and then, in order to mingle a little of Dryden with Pope, he forgot, or was pot aware, that Dryden himself professed to have learnt part of his versification from Fairfax.
Jo our first INDICATOR we gave a specimen of the way in which a common-place writer would translate Shakspeare, and inelt down his fine things into nothings. The reader might take that specimen alone, as giving a full, true, and particular account of the merits of Mr. Hoole
translator of Tasso, And we will beg him still to keep it in mind, or to refer to it, as saving us the necessity of many extracts; for it is not a pleasant task to dwell upon the deinerits of any body. We will just give a comparative specimen or two of the old and modern version of Tasso, and then take our leave of Mr. Hoole, to iudulge ourselves with a few more words upon Fairfax and tasnslation. Edward Fairfax led a life which a brother poet might envy.
He was of a distinguished family, the sa
same as that of Fairfax the Parlia. ment General ; and having an estate of his own, and the greater estates of leisure and genius, be passed the whole of his days at a seat in the Forest of Knaresborough, in the bosom of his family, and in the cultiration of poetry. He appears to have had all, and more than a poet wants,-tranquillity, a fortune beyond competence, books, rural scenes, and an age that could understand him. He fourished just at the close of that golden period, that height and strong summer-time of
our poetry, when language, wisdom, and imagination were alike at their noblest, and thoughts were poured forth as profasely as words have been since. He was inclined to the music of vérsé; and tlie age was full of music, of every species ;-he was of a romantic and most probably superstitious turn of mind* ; and popular superstitions were still more in favour than during the preceding era :-he had perhaps something of the indolence, a of ; of his Italian luxuries, he met with a poet, whose tendencies were like bis own, and who was great enough to render the task of translation lonourable as well as delightful.
He accordingly produced a version of Tasso, which we do not say is equal to the original, or at all exempt from errors which a future translator (always provided he is a poet too) may ávoid; but which we nevertheless do not hesitate to pronounce the completest trauslation, and most like it's original, of any
we have ever seen. We will open our extracts with that famous blast of the trumpet, which has been so echoed in all countries, and which Voltaire quotes to shew what the Italian language can do in the way of grandeur.
Chiama gli abitator de l'ombre eterne
Lib. 4. st 3.
tinselnde it so if he could. This
which Boileau ventured to talk about ; but Mr. Hoole would have is his translation. He begins with making the trumpet convene the devils. It is Pluto åt Home, or sending a court circular.
The trumpet now with hoarse resounding breath
Hoole, Book. 4, v. 17. Fairfax, though he translates the concluding couplet rather from Virgil than Tasso, lets loose a spirit worthy of both poets. Observe the fine taste withi which he has managed to preserve the double rhymes, that make the original so resouvding.
The drearie trumpet blew a dreadful blast,
* He wrote a treatise on Dæmonology, wbich was founded on occurrences in his own family,” and is still somewhere in MS. If King James knew this, it must have been an additional incitement to his patronage of the Jerusalem, the second edition of which was printed at his desire.
Not halfe so dreadful noise the tempests cast,
Nor half so lowd the whistling winds doe sing,
FAIRFAX, B. 4. st. 3. We must not, however, take up our room with the original Italian. The next passage we shall quote is a celebrated one also, of a different descriptieč, -that of the angel descending on Mount Lebanon ;-but it is all the same to Mr. Hoole.
Refulgent rays his beauteous locks enfold;
Hoole, B. 1. v. This closing couplet is a sad misrepresentation of the original, wh the angel is described, ou his first touch of the mountain, as balancing himself on his wings. When Mr. Hoole takes leaves of his author, it is for 'want of strength to accompany him; when Fairfax does it, it is to lead you into some beautiful corner of his own fancy. It is thus he renders the passage :
Of silver wings he tooke a 'shining paire,
And over seas and earth himselfe doth lift:
On Libanon át first his foot he set,
FAIRFAX, B. l. st. 14. The most striking part of the beautiful choral stanza describing the chaunting of the ariny is totally omitted in Hoole's version. We suppose he thought the remainder sufficient, and so indeed his reader will think.)
So pass the tuneful band with cadence sweet,
Hodle, B. 11. v. 77.
For oft resounded from ihe banks they heare
FAIRFAX, B. 11. st. 11. Another specimen of Mr. Hoole, and we have done with him. It is his close of the bird's song in book the sixteenth.
He ceas'd; th' approving choir with joy renew
Again in pairs the cooing turtles bill,
All seem impregnate with the seeds of love. Here is not the faintest resemblance of the intense though airy voluptuousness of the original. The conclusion in particular is no more like it, than a nursery-man's ledger is like the scent of his roses. · But now hear Fairfax.
He ceast; and as approoving all be spoke,
It seem'd the land, the sea, and heav'n above,
Fr.IRFAX, B. 16. st. 16. This is eren superior, we think to the original. It is the quinta pars Dectaris, and makes the senses swim aside on their own faintness. It is like the perfection of a chrystal summer's day, made a little languid rith noon, and seeming to have a sparkling and airy consciousness about it that vents itself in odorous whispers.
The reader will observe in the foregoing specimens of Hoole, how a had translator takes refuge from the real feelings of his author in ragueness and cant phrases. As he has no feeling of his own, he resorts, when any thing is mentioned, not to the thing itself, but to the terms in which it has been mentioned by the writers with whom he is most familiar. He does not translate bis author's thoughts, but his words; or rather, he attempts only to do even that; for on that very account, he does neither. To feel either properly, is to feel both.
We are greatly tempted to make many more extracts from Fairfax; laut we must restrain ourselves. In further illustration of what we hare said about the lines which he has inserted of his own, or altered 10 his own ideas, and the sympathy which he still keeps up with his author's feelings, we will just refer to his calling Armida, when she sets off, (4. v. 47.) the Syrians' “night-ambling dame,"_to the two lines (2. v. 26.) in which he calls Sophronia in the hands of the malefactors a dumb" and “ silver dove;"—to the neighing of the horses, and clattering of arms, (1. v. 73.) which, he says,
Pursue the echo 'over dale and downe; to the description of Armida (4. v. 29.) in which, with a little overmixture of conceit, yet beautiful, he tells us,
The marble goddesse, set at Gnidos naked,
She seem'd, were she uncloaib'd, or that awaked ;and to the issuing forth of the devils (4. v. 18.) which as the stanza is almost entirely his own as well as a fine one, and crowded with his favourite love of dæmonology, we shall quote entire :
Before his words the tyrant ended had,
And under every trembling leaf they sit,
Between the solid earth and walkin Ait. The faults of Fairfax are partly his own, and partly those of the period then commencing. They consist in too great a license of intersion; occasional crampness and obscurity; an over tendency to contrast; and in a singular fondness for occupying a line here and there either with epithets almost synonimous, or with a marked detail of nouns, which close his stanza like palisadoes; as for instance,
The soil was gentle, smooth, soft, delicate
With pitie, sadness, griefe, compassion, feareYet we are not sure, whether this kind of repetition does not fall in sometimes with a certain gentle and continuous beauty. It is clear, at any rate, that the Italians, from a feeling of that sort, gave rise to it themselves, though Fairfax has carried it to an excess. Petrarch and his followers sometimes heap a line with descriptive nouns or adjectives; and that delightful wild fellow Pulci seems to take a pleasure even in repeating a multitude of notes and interrogation, and beginning a whole stanza or more with the same word. The over-tendency to contrast may also be traced to the Italians, especially as Marino was now becoming admired in England, and every body had not strength to resist his crowding syrens like Milton. The other faults are perhaps owing to Fairfax's having chosen ts abide by the stanza of the original; for not being so great a master of his native language as Spenser, who with his additional line seemed to defy difficulty in this respect, and too often to no, purpose, he hampered himself with the great recurrence of rhymes, which suits Italiao much better than English. He was also, though by no means the literal translator which Hume has made him, naturally anxious in general to get the sense of his original into the same compass, which hampered him farther; and the result of all this, joined no doubt to a natural inferiority in his own genius, however true a one, is, that he is not equal to his original in the easier part of his majesty;-in his clearness, which is like that of an Italian atmosphere, -and in a certain virgin sweetness, casta melodia soave;"-in short, he is inferior, generally speaking, in simplicity.
But on the other hand, he has great beauties. If he roughened the music of Tasso a little, he still kept it music, and beautiful musie ;some of his stanzas indeed give the sweetness of the original with the still softer sweetness of an echo ; and he blew into the rest some noble organ-like notes, which perhaps the original is too deficient in. He can be also quite as stately and solemn in feeling ;-he is as fervid in his devotion, as earnest and full of ghastly apprehension in his supernatural agency, as wrapt up in leafiness in his sylvan haunts, as luxuriant and alive to tangible shapes in his voluptuousness. He feels the