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ARTICLE XI. ORLANDO Furiso; Translated from the Italian of Lodovico Ariosto; with Notes.
By John Hoole. In five volumes. 8vo. Payne. THE name of Hoole is so well This great action, however, from knosvn as a translator, and as an origi- time to time, is broken and interrupted nal writer, that commendation seems by an infinitude of episodes, and roalmost superfluous. His theatrical per- mantic adventures, artfully connected formances * have received the applause with each other, and interwoven with of crowded audiences. His tranilation the general fable. of Tarto (of which he hath lately pub To those English readers who deHihed a new edition with improve- light in works of genius, a tranflation ments t) has long been admired by the that may render familiar in our lanliterary world, while the critic has guage, one of the first poems of the placed him in a rank infinitely higher fairy kind, one to which our great than that held by Fairfax, or those Spenser has been so largely indebted, piecemeal versifiers, who have given an must be considered as a very confideraEnglith dress to various parts of the ble acquisition. Jerusalem Delivered. His Metastasio Three centuries have nearly elapsed was not quite so successful. We can- since the name of Ariosto has been cenot, however, attribute it to any de- lebrated on the continent, and held in ficiency in the version, or any inability the highest estimation by every lover in the translator. The dramas of that of Italian literature; but perhaps no charming Italian poet can never be tho- author of equal and deserved reputaroughly relished by mere English readers, tion has been so little known in this who always in theatrical compositions country to the students in poetry, who prefer plot and business, to elegance of seem to have been altogether unacjanguage and beauty of sentiment. quainted with the Orlando, a poem But to the work before us.
which amidst all the wildness of the TheOrlando Furiofo is a poem chicây most irregular narrative, abounds with founded on the manners and fictions of every beauty of a strong, vivid, and chivalry, and was written by Ariosto, in creatire imagination. continuation of Orlando Inamorato, In the year 1773, the present trananother poem of the same kind, so slator published one volume, contain: called from the paffion of Orlando for ing the firit te'n books of this work, the Princess Angelica. This love is he has now completed the whole of continued in the Poem of Ariofo, who his laborious undertaking, by an enmakes the hero lose his senses, and tire version of this wonderful work, perform the most extravagant acts of to which he has added large explanaphrenzy. From this circunstance the tory notes, which refer to those pafpoem derives its name, as we are in- fages and stories of Boyardo, which formed by Mr. Hoole, in his preface. have
connexion with Ariosto, and The great aciion of Ariosto is thein- tend to explain the historical characters vasion of France by the Saracens, which and allufions that occur in the course concludes with the victory of the of the poem. Christians, by the death or defeat of all In this edition the first volume is the Pagan leaders.
reprinted, with confiderable additions
in For an account of Mr. Hoole's Cyrus, lee our Magazine for December, 1768, Vol. XXXVII, p. 617. For Timanthes, see Feb. 1770, Vol. XXXIX. p. 59. For Cleonice, March 1775, Vol. XLIV. p. 106.
+ We propose giving an account of this second edition, as the foriner was not reviewed in our Magazine,
in the preface, life, * and notes. A ge- an Epic, formed on the manners of chineral view of the story of Boyardo is valry. Where the subject of Ariosto likewise prefixed to the poem of Ari- rises, Taffo does not appear with greatosto, by which means, the English rea- er dignity, der, if he thold be unacquainted with “ All the battles and single combats that poet, may enter upon
the of Ariosto are exceilent: in the last he rative of Ariotto with a competent is greatly superior to 'Tasso, and indeed knowledge of Bovardo's plan, as it to most other poets; for in this respect is taken up by his successor.
there appears some defect even in the The reader who peruses this work of poems of Homer and Virgil, in which Ariosto with reference to the poems of there are few good descriptions of this Homer, Virgil, Milton, or even Taffo; kind. Our own countryman, Spenser, who is filled with icleas drawn from the has succceded best in these passages, for rules of Ariftotle, and the examples of which perhaps he is not a little ina the regular Epic, will find himself debted to the Italian. strangely disappointed; the plan of Though the general battles of the Arioito, if it may be called a plan, is Iliad and Æneid are supported with different froin almost every other poem wonderful fire, and every circumstance that has ever appeared amongst us. We of terror inimitably introduced to keep may, however, perhaps, except the the mind suspended and anxious for the Fairy Queen of Spenser.
event, yet those great poets do not The general faults and merits of seem to have attended, in the same Ariosto are fully discussed in the pre manner, to the single encounters of face to this translation, and in the re their heroes, the issue of which, being spective notes. An account is also generally foon determined, or at lealt given of several poems of the romance foreseen, seldom raises much anxiety kind, which were known in Italy at for the fate of the combatants. Vira the time that Ariosto wrote his Orlando, gil, it is true, has improved upon Hoand particularly of the Orlando Ina- mer, and the last important action, bemorato of Boyardo, the immediate tween Æneas and Turnus, in the 12th foundation of the Furioso.
book, is conducted with more judgeThe following passages from the ment than any single combat in the preface may impress our readers with Iliad. some just idea of the character of this « Homer, indeed, introduces the great poet:
duel between Hector and Ajax with “ Although Ariofo's poem is ac- unexampled sublimity: but, when the knowledged to be defective in plan and combatants meet, how foon is the conregularity. Yet many particular beau- flict over, and how little are the reaties of the highest species of poetry are ders kept in suspense! to be found in the several parts of it, “ Taffo has imitated this combat, in which respect Bovardo is greatly with its attendant circumftances; and deficient, who feldom attains more however he may fall sort of his great than to amuse the imagination by the original in some parts, he certainly has pleasing variety of his fotions. But I the advantage with respect to such parmuft not here omit to take notice of ticulars, as tend to aggrandize the vaone noble passage in the Inamorato, lour of his heroes. where the encounter of Orlando and "I fall produce one more instance Agrican is compared to the meeting from Homer to support the foregoing of two thunder clouds. Our great asiertion. When the mind has been Milton has the same simile in the fe- long prepared for an engagement be. cond book of Paradise Lost, when Sa tween the two great heroes of the potan and Death prepare to engage. The em, how must the expectation be exOrlando Furioso may be considered as cited from the idea of such a combat!
But * This life, which is an ingenious and valuable piece of biography, furnished us with the materials for the account of Arialto, which was presented to our readers in our baft Magazine.
But here, I believe, every unprejudiced expected, that the marvellous Mould reader will confess his disappointment, be carried to an excessive length; and when Hector is represented flying at yet many of his fi&tions are not more the mere fight of Achilles; and when, incredible than those of the Greek and after having been thrice chaced round Latin poets. The metamorphosis of the walls of Troy, he turns, at the in- the ships to nymphs, in the Eneid, is stigation of Pallas, to engage his ene as violent a machine as the leaves to my, how little appears the prowess of ships in the Orlando. The stories of the gallant Hector, who had so often the Italian poet are not more extravafood the bulwark of his country! of gant, than the legendary tales of the that Hector, who, notwithstanding faints, which were currently believed the united efforts of an army, had set in his time, and are still objects of faith fire to the Grecian fleet, and whom the with the vulgar. Yet, let it not be poet had opposed to Neptune himself!
fupposed, that this apology for Ari“ The last combat of Tancred and offo, which respects the times in which Argantes, in the 19th book of the Je- he wrote, is meant as a general defence rufalem, excells every similar passage for such kind of fictions, critically, or in the Iliad or Eneid: in the Italian even poetically considered, for some of poet the mind is kept in suspense for these the warinest of Ariosto's admirers the event; and the several turns of for- must give up as not to be defended.”. tune, between the two combatants, The concluding paragraphs, in which are well imagined : at the same time, it Mr. Hoole speaks of his own and must be confessed, that Talso has not former translations, display so much always shewn equal judgement: he has candour and ingenuity, that we should fometimes, through a partial reverence do justice neither to our readers, nor to for the examples of antiquity, follow- the author, if we suppressed them: ed his Greek master to a fault; amongst “ If novelty be any recommendation other instances, the death of Solyman of the work now offered to the public, by the hand of Rinaldo, in the 20th an English Ariosto may have that to book, muft in some fort offend the plead, notwithstanding any translation reader, like that of Hector by Achilles. that has yet appeared. We have in
“ If we peruse Ariolto attentively, deed two versions of the Orlando Fuwe shall find him free from every ob- rioso, the first of which, by Sir John jection of this kind: bis great art, in Harrington, before mentioned, pubthese rencounters, is to keep up the lished in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, atrention between hope and fear, and and dedicated to that princess, is little when he has involved ihe reader in di- known; the copies are become very ftrefs
for the danger of some favourite scarce, and the genius of the performwarrior, he, by an unexpected turn, ance, whatever merit it might claim relieves the anxiety he has raised, and at the time of the publication, affords gives victory to the seemingly conquer now little encouragement to multiply ed party.
them by a new impression. The last • Nor will our poet be found de- translation fent into the world, was ficient in the tender and pathetic, profeffedly given by its author as a which every reader of tatte must ac- literal version, the very idea of which knowledge, when he peruses the sto- will necessarily exclude the thought of ries of Zerbino and Brandimart, the its being generally read as an Englith episode of Cloridan and Medoro, and book, of which every one will judge more especially the detail of Orlando's who is acquainted with the different madness in the 23d book, wherein the idioms of the two languages. author has displayed the most intimate Although this poem, like all the acquaintance with the human heart. Italian writings of the kind, is written
. From the general plan of Ariofto's in the octave Itanza, the present tranfable, which admits the agency of ne- Nation will be found, in that respect, cromancers, witches, spirits, and other to differ from the two first, which are preternatural powers, it will be easily rendered in the fame form of verfifi
cation as the Italian. I am aware that bad elucidation of the Don Quixote of it has been, and is ftill, the opinion of Cervantes, as a great part of the curfome, whose judgement claims no lit- toms, at least the general genius of chitle deference, that the English couplet valry, may be learned from it, withis improper for a work of this nature, out the drudgery of travelling through and that the stanza is the only man- the old romances. ner suitable to romance: to which it “ Though it is not here recommay be answered that the Italians, mended that any one should imitate the who made use of this first, applied it, extravagances of the Italian writers, and still continue to apply it, to the yet, while the enthusiastic fpirit that highest kind of poetry; it is, there- hurries away the reader continues to fore, to be considered as their heroic be regarded as the glorious criterion of style: it was not only used by Pulci, true poetry, every follower of the Boyardo, and Ariosto, in their com- Muses will find ample subject for adpositions of the Gothic fiction, but is miration in the perusal of the Orlando employed by Taffo in his truly Epic Furioso of Ariosto, an author, whom, poem of the Jerusalem, and by many with all his faults, Dryden acknowof the Italian writers in their transla- ledges to have been a GREAT POET tions of the Greek and Roman poets, an author, lately included in the highwhich, I believe, few other modern eft praise of creative genius by one of translators would think of rendering - our first critics, who thus defcribes that in the stanza. The genius of our he- general effect from which the power of roic verse admits of a great variety; every poet ought to be eitimated. and we have examples of very different Works of imagination excel by their fpecies of writing, in the works of allurement and delight; by their power Dryden and Pope, from the sublime of attracting and detaining the attenstyle of Homer and Virgil to the fa- tion. That book is good in vain miliar narratives of Boccace and Chau. which the reader throws away. He cer.
only is the master who keeps the mind « But, of all the various styles used in pleasing captivity; whole pages are by our best poets, none seems so well perused with eagerness, and in hope adapted to the mixed and familiar nar- of new pleasure are perused again; and rative as that of Dryden in his last pro- whose conclufion is perceived with an ductions, known by the name of his eye of sorrow, such as the traveller Fables, which, by their harmony, fpi- cafts upon departing day.” rit, cafe, and variety of versification, From what has been said, it may exhibit an admirable model for a tran- appear that the poem of Orlando could nator of Ariosto.
not easily be reduced to one general “ In referring to the several com- argument. It not only exceeds every mentators, I have been cautious how other poem of reputation in length, far I adopted their allegorical inter- but in variety. So that poetical readers pretations, as the temper of that class of every class may expect the highest of writers frequently leads them to entertainment from so noble a work, trace out a meaning which the poet and so able a translator; as they will himself was a stranger to: that allegory find that the sublime, the descriptive, which requires explanation is certain the pathetic, the romantic, the huly defective; and it is notorious, that mourous, and the fatyrical, are all an inventive genius can convert the blended in the Orlando Furioso. plaineit narrative into mystery, as Talso The omission of the stanza in this has done by his Jerusalem, to which translation is a proof of Mr. Hoole's he has prefixed an allegory that renders tafte, and knowledge of English poetry: the whole poem as completely visionary The numerous rhymes in Italian, and as the Fairy Queen of Spenser.
the frequency of the vowels, in their “ Should the English reader become words, renders the stanza both pleasing more acquainted with this celebrated and harmonious. In our language the Italian, he will find the Orlando no cafe is directly the reverse. The
failure of Fairfax, in his version of But danger light against my glory weighs, Tallo, proves the futility of attempting Nor life I prize coinpar'd with endleis praise
Thou seek'it to shake iny fix'd resolves in vain, to introduce. this measure into our
Behold I hate yon drear abode to gain. poetry, and as Mr. H. has employ- With loss of honour safety might be won, ed it neither in his Tallo nor in Yet more than death such safety muit I ihus. his Ariosto, succeeding translators If now I go, what can I fuffer more
Than what such numbers there have met before! of Italian poetry may consider such a
But thould Heaven's pow's to tar my arms funtain poet, as an authority fully fufficient to That he thould yield, and victor Iremain, vindicate the use of the heroic measure. Behold I make yon path secure for ail: : From such a mass of poetical inatter, Slight harai may chance, but greate : good befall. we hardly kņow what passages to select My fingle life expos'd in balance weigh,
Against the thousands I may save to-day.' in preference. We Thall, however,
'Go, then, in peace, my fon (the hermit crici) audúce a few specimens from this Heaven fend his angel Michael from the skies long and admirable work, in order 10
To guard thy person in the hour or fight!
So Ipoke the simple fire, and blefs'd the knight." give our readers an idea of the poem, and to enable those who understand the The following description of OrlanItalian language, to form fome judge- do's losing his fenfes, when he arrives ment of the great abilities which Mr. at the grotto in which Angelica and Hoole has displayed in the execution Medoro used to meet, and discovers of so arduous an undertaking: their passion, is finely translated: In the fifteenth book, while Aftol.
“ The winding courle the Pagan's steed puríu'd pho is travelling along the banks of Through the thick covert of th' entangled wood, the Nile, he is warned not to approach Perplex'd Orlando, who, with fruitieis pain, the dwelling of the Giant Caligorant: Two days had follow'd, nor his fight could gain;
Then reach'dastream that through a meadow ied, “ Aftolpha ftill his eager way pursu'd Whose vivid turf an emerald carpet spread To where the Nile receives the letter flood. Spangled with flowers of many a dazzling hue, But, ere he reach'd the river's mouth, he spy'd Where numerous trees in beauteous order grex, A bark that tow'rds him swiftlyftemm'd the side. Whose thadowy branches gave a kind retreat An aged 'hermit in the itern appear’d,
To tlocks, and naked swains from mid-day beats Adown his bofom way'd his lilver beard.
With ponderous cuirass, shield, and helm opprett, With frequent cries he call’d the knigbt to take Orlando foon the welcome gales contess'd; With him protection and the land forlake. And entering here to feek a short repose, "O! if thou prizett lite, my son (he said) In evil chance a dreadful feat he chose; Norleek 'it this day to mingle with the dead, A leat where ev'ry hope muit fade away Speed to the farther thore without delay, On that uniappy, that detelted day. For yonder path to death will lead thy way. "There,cating round a casualglance, he view'd Scarce shalt thou pass a few short miles, before
Full many a tree, that trembled o'er the fiori, Thine eyes thall view the dwelling red with gore. Inferib'd wiih wurds, in which, as near he drex, In this his life a dreadful giant leads,
The hand ot his Angelica he knew. Whore heigh, by many a fooi, the heightexceeds “ This place was one, of many a mead and O, human race-110 traveller, or knight
bower, Can hope t'escape alive by force or tight. For which Mcdoro, at the sultry hour, All cruelties his fiend-like arts conuive,
Ortlett the shepherd's coi, by love inspir'd, He daughters fome, and fome devours alive. And with Cathay's unrivall’d queen retird. To leize the wretch his gluiton maw destroys, Angelica and her Medoro twin'd, With cruel (port lae hitta net employ's
In amorous pojies on the sylvan rind, Of wondrous make, and near the case with care He sees, while every letter proves a dart, Hides in the yellow fands the fatal fnare, Which love infixes in his bleeding heart. Who comes untutor*d in his lubtle wiles, Fain would hc, by a thouland ways, docente Nor knows the dangus, nor lufpects the toils: His cruel thoughts, tain would he no: believe Then tuward die deitin'd place, with horrid cries, What yet he muit---then hopes fome other taur He drives the stranger, who afrighted lies, The name of his Angelica may bear. Till with loud laughter he beholds his net But, ah! (he cry'd, too lurely canl tell With tangling meines every limb beter.
These characters otticen and known fo wellNo traveller he ipares, nor knight nor daine Yet, should this action but conceal her love, Of high repute or undiitingwith’d name; Medoro then may blett Orlando prove. He fucks the marrow and the blood he drains, “ Thus, felf-deceiv'd, forlorn Orlando ftrays He chews the fleth: the bones beftrow the plains Still far from truth, itill wanders in the maze And dire with human ikins on every tide
Of doubts and fears, while in his breast he tries "He hangs his dwelling round in horrid pride. Toteed that hope his better sense denies. Then hear, mylon, content yon path to take, So the poor bird, that from his fields of air That to the fea secure thy way will make,' Lights in the fraudtul gin, or vicious Inare,
· Good father, thanks, and deern mot I despise The more he flutters, and the subtle wiles Thy protier'd love the fearless knight replies) Attempts to 'cape, the later makes the toils.