« PoprzedniaDalej »
point it is quite unnecessary to di- Markham in his preface informs late. The Poem of which I now in- us, “ that this Paraphrase + was first tend to give a short description, was intended for one priuat mans repast, written with the intention to cootinue and not for a wedding - table; the the narrative of Ariosto's poble per- time when Poesie was lesse, but more formance. Of Ariosto, it is impossi- beloued ; Poets fewer, but not so ble not cordially to agree with the bilter ; and Readers in generall, by opinion expressed by Mr. Roscoe, much, much better affected."-And " that his Works contributed more in another place admonishes the Reathan those of any other Author, to der that should “
apdiffuse a true Poetical Spirit through pear in the Poem, it only lies " in his out Europe."
English apparell: and no wonder (he Pbilip Des Portes, author of this continues) for I protest the TranslaPoem, was born at Chatres, in 1546. tion was finisht, and foorth of my His writings had much effect towards hands, aboue a dozen yeares agone, helping the progress and purity of a time wherein bumbasted breeches The French Language. Few Poets and straite whale-bon'd doublets bad wet with such high reputation dur- neither use nor estimation.” ing their life, and perhaps done in As the “ Argument of the Poem” those ages were so well rewarded for sufficiently informs us of the incitheir productions, as he is report. dents it records, I shall here transed to have been. It is said he re. cribe it, and insert some occasional ceived from Charles IX. for the pre- extracts from both the original and sent poem, eight hundred crowns of translation, from which their comgold. Like some others of his Coun- parative merits may be estimated. trymen, the extensive celebrity and fame which he then enjoyed were
“ Rodomonth, King of Argier and
Sarza, beeing a man of most extreame speedily forgot, when ovce the object pride and courage, comming into of it was removed from the inter
Fraunce with King Agramant, who to course of his admirers. Of him, we
reuenge the death of Traianó his famay use the words of a well-known ther, slaine by Pipin King of Fraunce, writer respecting those whose merits bad conducted thitber a most puissant hare been over-rated by the prejua armie against Charlimaine, the sonne dices, and partialities of friends or of Pipin : after the warres were almost contemporaries, when he with much finished, and both Agramant, Mandritruth remarks, " that one generation card, Gradasso, and divers other kings seems to pride itself upoo defacing slaine, this Rodomonth vnderstanding the idols of the last; and not unfre- that Rogero, a Prince of excellent verquently they destroy to-day the golden federate and assistant vnto Agramant,
tue and prowesse, who also was a concalf which yesterday they set up; and
was not onely conuerted and becomed when idolaters turn iconoclasts, they
a Christian, but also should take to act as if the outrageousness of the
wife Bradamant, the daughter of Duke oue excess were to efface or atove for Aimon, one of the twelue Peeres of the folly of the other.” Such was Fraunce.” the fate of Des Portes, and such is the fate of a hundred others. Of the
When in the midst of the Nuptial merits of his Poem, the Reader will rejoicings, soon be enabled to judge from a few “ Charles plac't between specimens that will be introduced. The bride and bridegroom, (on whom
The translator was Gervase, or beuty feeds :) Jervis Markham, a name of frequent He saw a mighty man clad all in blacke, occurrence to collectors of Old En. Mounted vpon a mighty courser's backe.” glish Literature. And the present lit. Approaching," with disdainfull eie, tle volume may be entitled to the more Sending contemptrespect, by considering its rarity*. Thus vnto Roger and the rest he spake.
* It bears the following title : “Rhodomanths Infernall; or, the Diuell conquered. Ariostos Conclusions, &c. &c. At London, printed by V. S.” [for Ni. cholas Ling, 1598?) in sm. 8vo. El in eights. Dedicated by G. M. to Lord Mount-eagle. Of its rarity it may be sufficient to state that Ritson was ignorant of its existence he merely mentions that Nicolas Ling had a licence for printing it in 1598.
+ The French poem is comprised in 723 lines, the English is enlarged to 1192, or 149 eight-line stanzas.
Roger, I am Rodomount the king yet he had slaine voluckily: and Of fruitfull Argier on the Affricke about that castle, he is bound by the bounds,
Destinies to wander for an hundred Whome virtue and renowne doth hither
yeares, because his body wanted bu. bring
riall.” To chalenge thee, false traitor, whose
Such is the argument of this Poem. name sounds
Allow me then to make a few exIn heathen eares like Jews trumps when
tracts, they ring,
The Hell Scene I conceive to be And will approoue, that in thy heart abounds
particularly striking, but it is too Falshood vnto thy chieftaine and thy long to give at full length. Attractfaith,
ed by the cries of Charon, Pluto Wbieh from thy birth thou shouldst "sweats and torments himself, while preserue til death.
he begins to fret, to scold, and And therewithall auerre, that no true frowne," and Preserpine, as she is knight
[fame, called, “the faire Lanthorne of Hell, Ought to dispute of thee, or of thy the paramour. to Dis," encourages Thogh (brasen-facde) thou shunnest not him, by calling the damned souls to the light,
[claime: his aid with fattering words, toʻresist
“In spight of Plutoes deitie,
Will there in hell ereet bis emperie.”
“ Chacun' fuit au deuant quelque part
seur! Some of these knights that hemme. Car de crainte surpris le chien engloutisFoure, five, or if full twenty, nere tlie worse ;
[fame shall win, Et les tristes fureurs de sang entretaThe more they mount, the more my
chées Whilst I immortaliz'd by this great S'estoient au fond d'Auerne honteusedeede, [shall bleed."
ment cachées." Wil triumph when thy tre'bling heart Markham renders and enlarges
Rogero singly accepts the King of these lines in the following manner : Sarza's challenge, when, after a “ sell
“ Where ere he went, the Furies fled be. fought battell,” (the description of fore him,
[their flighé, which fills more than 30 cantos) the The whilst his pride augmented by Pagan king is slaio, "whose soul, All things without hell gates ran to after his death, (retaining the vio
adore him ;
[bis sight, lence, furie, and madnesse, which he And now the draw-bridge stands within possesst in bis life) descending into On it he prowdly leaps, that quaking Hell” there quarrels with old Charon,
bore him, [King, and Knight: and buffeting and striking “up the
And vaunts himselfe thereof Lord, old man's heeles," he overturos boat For why th' Ecchiddnian curre for feare and all, and then in the translator's
[head. words)“ maketh open warres against And in the burning lake did hide bis Pluto, the god of Hell, and euen con- And now he pulls the Eban bridge in quereth and turmoileth all the diuels sunder,
[heeles, therein : till hauing ouerheated him- And hauing Charon this while by the selfe, and seeking for water to quench Like to a maull makes his old pate to his thirst, be happeneth vpon Lethe,
[lars reeles.” the riuer of Forgetfulnesse; on which,
Beating the bridge, whose rented pilwhen he had drunke, hee instantly The invocation of the Stygian forgat all that was past (except Loue) ghosts, by Pluto, 'the Infernall King,' and so relurneth backe to the earth: is remarkably singular: it is said these where he wandred, till he fouod the ghosts, Castle of Isabella, the daughter of “ Like crowes about a carrion newlie the King of Spaine ; whom aibe he
slaine, bad formerly loued most entirely, Or like small flies about a candle's flame,
So millions of the subjects vnto paine
LITERARY RETROSPECTIONS ; Condemned soules about black Pluto Or, some Remarks on the Character came."
and Genius of Johnson. But the invocation, together with the "
THERE is something,” says a manner the King of Death' their respectable and judicious wriprides represt,' though worthy of at- ter of the last century, “ so peculiar, tention, must be passed over, as al- even in the extravagances of true ready I have insensibly been led to genius, something so seductive even trespass more on your limits than in its wildest flights and vagaries, that the subject deserves. The lines ex- the fruits of its very dissipation are tracled are no unfavourable specie more esteemed by readers of taste, men of Markham's muse; and if I am than the most elaborale productions not much mistaken, ought to place of plodding industry.” him above that line of mediocrity in The general truth of this remark which so many of his contemporaries to a person extensively read in the are placed by the author of a very literary records of past ages, will interesting and most amusing work stand in need, perhaps, but of little that has recently appeared on the illustration. Manners and Literature of that age.
A sort of instinctive reverence bas I shall conclude with two stanzas been usually observed to influence of the translation, which I hope you mankind when called to contemplate will think worthy of closing this ac- powers in whom Nature's bounty has count of a little volume, the more
been most conspicuous. entitled to regard from its being ap- Among the antient Greeks very parently hitherto only known by high honours were decreed for excelname, while it is amongst the earliest ling in genius; whether amongst the performances of an author whose Muses, in epic, lyric, or dramatic character is so well known and whose Poetry ; in the various departments of works are so uncommonly numerous, history, eloquence, and polite litera
Rodomount, to allay the burning . ture; or in their schools of science: ardour of his thirst, drinks of the wa- their distinguished votarics ters of Lethe, when he is immediately crowned with the laurels of flattering Julled from the fervour of his fury bý encomium, and the Olympian wreath 'Forgetfulnesse ;' or, according to the decorated the brows of him who rose poem,
in his profession at once to eminence
and fame. “ Sooner he had not toucht the fatall spring,
It will often, however, happen, nay, But all old memory and thought was
it may be said generally to happen, gone,
that the great (whose proverbial iaHis former warre, his rage, his com
gratitude towards Authors has probating,
[done: bably proceeded from the want of the And every acte before that present right discernment of merit, and other Hell he forgat, fiends, furies, and their causes, rather than froin an indiffer
king, (All which in consultation were alone,) the marks of their favour upon that
ence to its claims) liberally bestow And bad decreed, and taken Plutoes species of genius most congenial with crowne,
[downe. their pative habits of thinking ; whilst To make him king, and put old Ditis
a species foreign to those habits But like a man that knowes no former (though confessedly precedent in the age,
seat of literary worth) passes, pero Or infants that forget their mother's haps, with a cold acknowledgment. wombe,
If this be sometimes a characteristick Meeke as a doue, that lyon-like did
of those in whom power and grandeur rage, He finds the way through which he
have imparted the means of extensive first did come,
patronage, it may be thought no less Passes ore Styx like a conuerted sage,
à feature of those in common life, the And so ascending vp by fatall doome, aggregate of whose opinion, it is clear, Once more the aire, and earthly man- must chiefly establish or reject the sions won,
contemporary fame of an Author. As Cheering his dead eies with the lining are the prejudices or tastes of the age, sunne."
so respectively will be the mark of Yours, &c. G. H. D. attention shewn to the several species
of genius which widely diversify the which widen the boundaries of the intellectual powers of wao.
little world on which we vegetate, This reflection may be naturally bear our speculations to regions far enough excited upon contemplating, inore remote, and favour pretensions amongst those of numerous other in- of equality with those intelligences, dividuals, the life, character, and the unknown inhabitants of a bigher writings, of Dr. Jounson.
sphere, and possibly of a more priviThe idols of their respective ages, leged state of being. Constrained, whilst Pope and Garrick in their dif. however, by the evidence of long and ferent spheres of genius were the sub. mortifying experience, to distrust jects of enthusiastic eulogium, John- these Utopian scheines of mental suson, until long after the publication premacy; these pleasing illusions, of the Rambler, renained unpatro- ihese agreeable chimeras, are often in nized and almost unknown, except an instant dispelled through the inindeed to the circle of literary friends lervention of some bumiliatiog proofs with whom he was in habits of associ- of incapacity; proofs which, even ation, and amongst whom he always amongst the most favoured of the retained a sort of oracular anthority. sons of earth, inculcate a striking On a review, therefore, of the early lesson on the limited nature of the career of this justly.celebrated Critick profoundest and most subtle disquisiand Moralist, one truth must be suffi- tions in which human inquiry can ciently evident, that, however men embark. may emulate each other in awarding It is decreed in nature that the
capathe just honours of merit to a writer cities which fertilize and adorn the of extraordinary epdowments, after mind of man, are varied in an alınost Death bas removed him alike from a infinite gradation. As throughout the sense of their favours and neglects; vast succession of beings who have the mind which disdains to solicit pa. peopled this our globe, it may reasontropage where it is not offered, may ably be presumed that some shades of yet languish in comparative penury, a difference in moral susceptibility and stranger to the comforts which wealth disposition have always prevailed; cau bestow,- thus abundantly realize it is no less evident thai the gifts and ing the justice of Johøson's own endowments of genius are dispensed complaint
on a scale of variety equally great ; “Slow rises worth by poverty oppress’d.” that taste, learning, and science, preWhilst contemplating the mind in sent a field for criticism equally wide, whom beneficent Natare has implant- and equally diversified in its soils and ed powers of a colossal growth, a two- productions. fold sensation of pride and acknow- Amidst these gifts and this capacity ledgment excites the feelings: the of imparting knowledge and pleasure latier is usually the sure consequence to their species, those writers who of the pleasures flowing from the pe- have scrupulously endeavoured by the rusal of certain works, the results of worthiest and most laudable aiins to those powers ; whilst the former may promote the welfare and bappiness of be said to emanate from reflecting society, are incomparably more enupon the high “ capacious powers titled to their warıpest testimonies of which human nature occasionally dis- applause, than those the tendency of plays for the benefit and ornament of whose writings is wanifestly calcuher species.
Jated to injure the cause of virtue, Pleased with the fond prospects of and to introduce light views of moralisuperiority and worth which enlarged ty and religion. Instauces in our own, capacity opens to our sight, we proud. as in all other times, have been too ly imbibe notions of importance, view frequent, of talents of the first order, with greater complacency our frail accompanied with a delicacy and and short-sighted reason, and are the discrimination of taste, accomplisheasy converts to a doctrine which up- ments which render such talents far holds the dignity and excellence of more insinuating and dangerous, being the intelligence which animates us. perverted to very unwortby purposes. Vanity and ambitiou are ever unwill. Intellects, which would seein kindly ing to relinquish their favourite thesis bestowed by Heaven for alleviating of the native elevation of humanity; the common lot of life, for adorning wc are easily ioduced to cherish ideas mankind, and reflecting honour on
the country which gave them birth, If it then be found that purity of bave evinced a prompt and ready speculative doctrine and unblemishzeal in thwarting the intentions of ed morals do not always accompany their Donor, and disseminating the each other, although charity may in principles of vice, irreligion, and in- part suppress those faults which truth felicity. Scarcely, in the history of ci- cannot wholly conceal; the memory vilized society is there an age (how- of such faults considerably impairs ever pure in its general or national the lustre of a reputation (howev character) wbich bas not supplied in other respects bright), if shaded its frequent individuals, led by views with inconsistencies. wbich may be termed sordid and is- Johnson, bowever, after all the noble; whose ill-directed labours have charges which envy, malignity, or a been enlisted in any cause save that difference of literary opinion, has and of moral rectitude, and of whom it inay advance against him, must in may not inaptly be said, in the lan- this respect alone be allowed on all guage of an eloquent and sublime hands to occupy an elevated rank.-Poet,
He laboured in his writings for the
benefit and improvemeot of his coud“ When I behold a genius bright and trymen; and uniformly endeavoured base,
to maintain and illustrate, by an inOf tow'ring talents, but terrestial aims; Methinks I see,
dependence of spirit in his life and thrown from her high sphere,
conversation, those just and animated The glorious fragments of a soul im- lessons of inoral excellence which mortal,
convince and persuade in his works. With rubbish mixt, and glittering in By an unshaken and irreproachable the dust."
adherence to what he believed the
path of rectitude, he strove to susThe multiplied jitstances of this in- tain, amidst the difficulties which attellectual prostitution may have had tend unpatronized merit, and the its effect in reflecting a double lustre cheerless prospects which a scanty upon endowments of an extraordinary and precarious subsistence holdsforth, kind, expended for the moral advan- thatexalted dignity of thinking, which tage of their fellow-men; the tribute misfortunes have been found inorefreof applause which genius demands is quently to subdue, than to strengthen. then unbroken by any painful remi- It has been observed by writers who piscence of folly or depravity-the well knew the human heart, and who glow of acknowledgment is mingled had deeply studied the various mingwith the most lively testimonies of ling causes which often combine in esteem.
determining the judgments of manThe well-known Author who is the kind—that a contemporary, or even a subject of the present speculation, succeeding generation, is by no means may be justly said to illustrate both the best qualitied duly to estimate the the positions here advanced.
worth, or pronounce the panegyric, of Well calculated to favour the no- a celebrated individual. Johnson is tion of the soul's elevation and capa. yet alive in the memory of the world; city, he may likewise be held forth ihe age wbich succeeded bim can on the whole as an estimable example scarcely be said to have passed away. of the strictest moral worth, and un- The eccentricities which marked his deviating rectitude of principle. He personal character, the paradoxical may even with propriety be said to strangeness which sometimes accomclaim a juster title to consistency of panied his literary opinions, and the character than most of those who dogmatism with which he defended have embarked in the same line of any cause which humour or caprice professional life and literary inter- tempted him to espouse, are thought
Tbose persons, for example, the fair subjects of satire and animadwho have solicitously courted noto- version; the various foibles of his riety, have generally encountered the public, social, or domestic life are eye of many in society who have wish. yet, it may be said, the occasional ed to ascertain whether their conduct iheme of conversation and censure. in private life strictly accords with As, on the one hand, amongst certain the sentiments which fill and animate of his friends, his critical decisions their writings.
have been contemplated as almost GENT. MAG. January, 1818.