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so many translators. If Mr. Shadwell thinks that the third rhyme displeases the ear, we consider that he administers a somewhat Hibernian cure for this by substituting the endless pairs of jingles of which his couplets are made up. In Dante's terzina there is but one rhyme; Mr. Shadwell's stanza transforms the three lines into four, arranged into two couplets,‘rimisque fatiscit'—if we may be allowed an expression suggested by his mode of spelling-by putting two‘rimes' in the place of the one. But, further, he says (2) that the difficulty in terza rima of finding three ‘rimes' suitable to the meaning becomes much greater in translation, and frequently compels the rejection of the true sense, owing to the triple ending. The first half of this proposition may be conceded, but only shows that a terza rima translator must take greater pains than another ; and we maintain, as to the other half, that the exigency of the triple ending is by no means necessarily incompatible with the retention of the true sense, nor does it as of course lead to the further evils to which Mr. Shadwell alludes and which we will refer to hereafter.
Turning now to Mr. Shadwell's Marvellian stanza, we must express our utter dissent from his assertion that it has in it a common principle of structure with a terzina of Dante's, which more than compensates for the change of metre.
We hold, on the contrary, that it is quite as much out of touch with Dante as was Boyd's stanza, and this for a reason which is not far to seek, viz. its division, like Boyd's, into two unequal parts. It seems strange to us that Mr. Shadwell should adduce this unequal division as an argument in favour of Marvell's stanza, on the ground, as he alleges, that the concluding short couplet is peculiarly well adapted for introducing a subordinate or dependent clause of a sentence, such as Dante frequently places in the third line of the tersina. For ourselves, speaking from long and close acquaintance with the Divina Commedia, we can only say that we regard each line in each terzina throughout the poem as of equal weight and importance, and that the alleged instances to the contrary which Mr. Shadwell relies upon do not in any way alter that opinion. In proceeding to contend that Marvell's four lines are of equal capacity with Dante's three, Mr. Shadwell again ignores the cardinal fact of their unequal division. In making the comparison it is most essential to remember that a literal translation of one of Dante's lines produces an English ten-syllable line. Marvell's stanza contains twenty-eight syllables, distributed in two couplets. The
first of these consists of eight-syllable lines, and thus contains sixteen syllables in all. It therefore is shorter by two feet than it ought to be, in order to include the strict translation of two of Dante's lines, the function which Mr. Shadwell assigns to it. The second couplet, of six-syllable lines, contains twelve syllables in all, i.e. two syllables, or one foot, more than is necessary for the translation of Dante's third line. Inasmuch as the capacity of the first couplet thus falls short of, and that of the second exceeds, the requirements of literal translation, the inevitable result is that in the first couplet omissions or mistranslations are constantly met with, and that Dante's third line is expanded into the second couplet by some weak or redundant interpolation, which is called for, not merely in order to fill up the couplet, but also because of the obligation to transform the original line into the rhymes which, when split in half, it refuses to yield spontaneously. On Mr. Shadwell's very first page we find an apt instance in point. The terzina in canto i. 7-9,
Ma qui la morta poesia risurga,
O Sante Muse, poichè vostro sono,
E qui Calliope alquanto surga,' is thus rendered :
• Awake, dead Poesy, and inspire
And let Calliope
Arise and sing with me.' The invocation, in the first of these lines, to a dead thing to rouse itself from slumber is one which Dante would never have written. Neither does he call upon this dead thing to inspire him. He invokes the Muses, since, he says, he is theirs—not their servant-to make his poesy rise again as it were from death. Nor was the Muses' choir'in his thoughts, which were fixed upon the 'holy Muses' themselves. And lastly he beseeches Calliope, in particular, to elevate his style. The padding and sing with me,' substituted for a translation of alquanto,' is unwarrantable, because Dante proceeds in the following terzina to proffer that request in words which Mr. Shadwell rightly translates, thus inflicting on his readers a repetition in every sense of the term. Let our readers compare Mr. Haselfoot's rendering of this passage:
* But here may Poesy from death arise,
O holy Muses, since I am your own;
And here Calliope in loftier wise
We proceed to adduce a few more examples of Mr. Shadwell's enforced interpolations for the sake of rhyme :
Che molto poco tempo a volger era.'—Canto i. 60.
Ere he was quite undone.'
To cleanse themselves from sin.' [The spirits not only begin' their purgation but continue it, in some cases for hundreds of years.] Compare, with this, Canto ix. 113-14:
"fa che lavi,
To wash them thou hegin.
‘Leaving in their affright
The song that did delight.' Frequently one of the first two lines of a terzina has in whole or in part to be used in the final couplet of the stanza ; and in that case the padding is shifted into the first couplet. We come upon a glaring specimen of this artifice very early in the book, viz. the rendering of Canto i. 25–7:
Goder pareva il ciel di lor fiammelle.
Poichè privato sei di mirar quelle.'
The widowed northern sky,
Where none may these descry!' At other times the third line of a terzina is brought wholly into the first couplet, and one of the other lines is turned into the entire short couplet, as is the case in the translation of Canto ii. 94-6, which we have not room to quote. In fact, diffuseness and dislocation are everywhere conspicuous.
Mr. Pater, in his scholarly Introduction, says : 'The metre of Marvell's Ode itself strikes the note of a dignified plain song, capable, however, on demand, of a high degree of expressiveness.'
We are not concerned to dispute the justice of this remark as applied to Marvell's own composition; and far be it from us to assert that it might not be true of Mr. Shadwell's,
were he to write an original poem in the same metre. · But we think that in this translation he strikes the note of a song, plain indeed, but hardly dignified. In the straits of the second couplet ‘la navicella del suo ingegno,' so far from attaining a high degree of expressiveness, is constantly running aground. Witness such feeble jingles as the following, which we take at random':
'And let Calliope
Arise and sing with me.'
May thee both hear and see.'
Would pause and speak with me.' · Art thou not still with me,
Am I not guiding thee?'
Mentioned below of me.'
Should aught deny to thine.'
To his demand replied.'
Hath in possession.
Doomed into pit to go.'
Fastened his eyes on me.'
Nor by one hair make bald.'
'... 'Twas no pain In Utica thy death to gain,
And put thy robe away
To shine at Judgment Day.' Here, not only does the omission of the definite article before
Judgment Day' deprive the mention of that'gran dì' of all reverence and solemnity, but death is assimilated to the
' In these extracts the words in italics are interpolations. VOL. XXXVI.--NO. LXXI.
putting away in a wardrobe of finery to be worn at a subsequent festival. Still worse is the rendering of Canto xx. 22– 24, in which Hugh Capet is made to apostrophize the Blessed Virgin in this wise :
How poor wert thou,
Whereto thou didst consign
That holy load of thine.' The final couplet more fitly describes the despatch of a parcel by carrier than the Nativity.
Equally inapt phraseology occurs in the translation of Canto iv. 139; ‘Cuopre la notte già col piè Morrocco':
The covering of her feet.'
the covering of her feet' is a very different thing from Dante's ‘her covering foot.' A taking-off of shoes is suggested rather than an advance.
We pass on to consider another point in which the rules which Mr. Shadwell lays down for the right use of his metre prove too arduous for him in practice. He says that
if the whole English stanza can be put in the place of the Italian terzina, the translator has the great advantage of being able, where necessary, to rearrange the matter of the paragraph within the limits of the stanza, instead of being obliged, as the translator into blank verse or terza rima generally finds himself, to give an equivalent for the original line by line.' (The italics are ours.) In practice, however, so far from restricting each stanza to the corresponding terzina, he often forces part of a preceding or following terzina into it, and not only so, but expands the stanza into two. Considerations of space prevent us from printing the Italian original of Canto xi. 103 and 106-9, but the reader who refers to Mr Shadwell's volume will find it opposite his version. He will then see that the portion of line 103'che fama avrai tu più' is translated as the first line of the stanza which belongs to the following terzina, beginning at line 106; and two stanzas are employed in the translation of that terzina. In many instances a single Italian line is expanded into three English, e.g. Canto xiv. 151: Onde vi batte chi tutto discerne':
• Whence 'tis that He who seeth all
Chastiseth you below