صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

And ost the wand'ring swain has heard his moan.
While o'er the wave the clouded moon appears
To hide her weeping face, his voice he rears
O'er the wild storm. Deep in the days of yore,
A holy pilgrim trud the nightly shore ;
Stern groans he heard; by ghostly spells controllid,
His fate, mysterious, thus the spectre told:

" By forceful Titan's warm embrace compress'd, The rock-ribb'd mother, Earth, his love confess'd: The hundred-handed giant at a birth, And me, she bore, nor slept my hopes on earth; My heart avow'd my sire's ethereal flame; Great Adamastor, then, my dreaded name. In my bold brother's glorious toils engaged, Tremendous war against the gods I waged : Yet, not to reach the throne of heaven I try, With mountain pil'd on mountain to the sky; To me the conquest of the seas befell, In his green realm the second Jove to quell. Nor did ambition all my passions hold, 'Twas love that prompted an attempt so bold. Ah me, one summer in the cool of day, I saw the Nereids on the sandy bay, With lovely Thetis from the wave advance In mirthful frolic, and the naked dance. In all her charms reveal'd the goddess trod, With fiercest fires my struggling bosom glow'd; Yet, yet I feel them burning in my heart, And hopeless, languish with the raging smart. For her, each goddess of the heavens I scorn'd, For her alone my fervent ardor burn'd. In vain I woo'd her to the lover's bed, From my grim form, with horror, mute she fled. Madd'ning with love, by force I ween to gain The silver goddess of the blue domain ; To the hoar mother of the Nereid band I tell my purpose, and her aid command: By fear impellid, old Doris tried to move, And win the spouse of Peleus to my love. The silver goddess with a smile replies, • What nyn

can yield her charms a giant's prize! Yet, from the horrors of a war to save, And guard in peace our empire of the wave, Whate'er with honor he may hope to gain, That, let him hope his wish shall soon attain.' The promis'd grace infus'd a bolder fire, And shook my mighty limbs with fierce desire. But ah, what error spreads its dreadful night, What phantoms hover o'er the lover's sight!

[ocr errors]

The war resign'd, my steps by Doris led,
While gentle eve her shadowy mantle spread,
Before my steps the snowy Thetis shone
In all her charms, all naked, and alone.
Swift as the wind with open arms I sprung,
And, round her waist with joy delirious clung:
In all the transports of the warm embrace,
A hundred kisses on her angel face,
On all its various charms my rage bestows,
And, on her cheek, my cheek enraptur'd glows.
When oh, what anguish while my shame I tell !
What fix'd despair, what rage my bosom swell!
Here was no goddess, here no heavenly charms,
A rugged mountain till'd my eager arms,
Whose rocky top, o'erhung with matted brier,
Received the kisses of my am'rous fire.
Wak'd from my dream, cold horror freez'd my blood;
Fix'd as a rock, before the rock I stood;
“O fairest goddess of the ocean train,
Behold the triumph of thy proud disdain;
Yet why,' I cried, with all I wishi'd decoy,
And, when exulting in the dream of joy,
A horrid mountain to mine arms convey?'
Maddining I spoke, and furious sprung away.
Far to the south I sought the world unknown,
Where 1, unheard, unscorn'd, might wail alone,
My foul dishonor, and my tears to hide,
And shun the triumph of the goddess' pride.
My brothers, now, by Jove's red arm o'erthrown,
Beneath huge mountains pil'd on mountains groan;
And I, who taught each echo to deplore,
And tell my sorrows to the desert shore,
I felt the hand of Jove my crimes pursue,
My stiff'ning flesh to earthy ridges grew,
And my huge bones, no more by marrow warm'd,
To horrid piles, and ribs of rock transform'd,
Yon dark-brow'd cape of monstrous size became,
Where, round me still, in triumph o'er my shame,
The silv'ry Thetis bids her surges roar,
And waft my groans along the dreary shore.""

Mickle's Translation, Canto V.



'HE Gerusalemme Liberata, or Jerusalem Delivered,

was written by Torquato Tasso, who was born at Sorrento, March 11, 1544. He was educated at Naples, Urbino, Rome, Venice, Padua, and Bologna. In 1572 he attached himself to the court of Ferrara, which he had visited in 1565 in the suite of the Cardinal d'Este, and by whose duke he had been treated with great consideration. Here his pastoral drama "Aminta" was written and performed, and here he began to write his epic. The duke, angry because of Tasso's affection for his sister Eleanora, and fearful lest the poet should dedicate his poem to the Medicis, whom he visited in 1575, and into whose service he was asked to enter, kept him under strict surveillance, and pretended to regard him as insane. Feigning sympathy and a desire to restore his mind, he had the unfortunate poet confined in a mad-house. Tasso escaped several times, but each time returned in the hope of a reconciliation with the duke. During his confinement his poem was published without his permission : first in 1580, a very imperfect version; in 1581, a genuine one. This at once brought him great fame; but while its publishers made a fortune, Tasso received nothing. Neither did the duke relent, although powerful influences were brought to bear on him. Tasso was not released until 1586, and then, broken in health, he passed the rest of his life in Rome and Naples, living on charity, though treated with great honor. He died in Rome, April 25, 1595, just before he was to have been crowned at the capitol.

The Jerusalem Delivered has for its subject the first Crusade, and the events recorded in its twenty cantos com

ovate a

prise the happenings in the camp of the Crusaders during forty days of the campaign of 1099. Its metre is the ottava rima, the eight lined rhymed stanza.

Tasso was not so successful in the delineation of character and in the description of actions as in the interpretation of feeling, being by nature a lyric rather than an epic poet. But his happy choice of subject, — for the Crusades were still fresh in the memory of the people, and chivalry was a thing of the present his zeal for the Christian cause, his impassioned delineations of love, and his exquisitely poetical treatment of his whole theme, rendered his epic irresistible.

BIBLIOGRAPHY AND CRITICISM, THE JERUSALEM DELIVERED. J. Black's Life of Tasso (with a historical and critical account of his writings), 2 vols. 1810; E. J. Hasell's Tasso, 1882 ; Rev. Robert Milman's Life of Tasso, 2 vols. 1850; Dennistown's Memoirs of the Dukes of Urbino, 1851, iii., 292-316 ; Hallam's Introduction to the Literature of Europe in the 15th, 16th, and 17th Centuries, 1839, ii., 192-199; Leigh Hunt's Stories from Italian Poets, 1888, ii., 289-474 ; Longfellow's Poets and Poetry of Europe, 1845, pp. 568-577; Sismondi's Literature of the South of Europe, Ed. 2, 1846, i., 359-391; J. A. Symonds's Renaissance in Italy, 1886, vol. 2, chapters 7-8; Edin. Rev., Oct. 1850, xcii., 294-302 ; Blackwood, 1845, lvii., 401-414; Quarterly Review, Jan. 1857, ci., 59-68.


, DELIVERED. Jerusalem Delivered, Tr. from the Italian by John Hoole. First American from Eighth London Edition, 2 vols., 1810; Jerusalem Delivered, Tr. into English Spenserian verse with life of the author by J. H. Wiffen. New ed., 1883 ; Jerusalem Delivered, Tr. by Sir John Kingston James, 2 vols., 1884; Jerusalem Delivered, Tr. into the metre of the original by C. L. Smith, 1876-79 ; Jerusalem Delivered, Tr. by Sir Edward Fairfax and edited by Prof. Henry Morley, 1889.

« السابقةمتابعة »