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In advancing this opinion. I am aware that I am opposing myself to the declared sentiments of many individuals whom I greatly respect and admire. Miss Seward (and Miss Seward is in herself a host; has, both theoretically and practically, defended the Italian structure. Mr. Capel Lofft has likewise favoured the world with many sonnets, in which he shews his approval of the legitimate mo– del. by his adherence to its rules, and many of the beautiful poems of Mrs. Loit, publi-hed in the Monthly Mirror, are likewise successfully formed by those rules. Much, however, as I admire these writers, and ample as is the credence I give to their critical discrimination, I cannot, on mature reflection, subscribe to their position of the expediency of adopting this structure in our poetry, and I attribute their success in it more to their individual powers, which would have surmounted much greater difficulties, than to the adaptibility of this foreign fabric to our stubborn and intractable language. If the question, however, turn only on the propriety of giving to a poem a name which must be acknowledged to be entirely inappropriate, and to which it can have no sort of claim, I must confess that it is manifestly indefensible; and we must then either pitch upon another appellation for our quatorzain, or banish it from our language; a measure which every lover of true poetry must sincerely lament. W.
V intre seems to be nothing more than a notion, consonant to the system of things. Were a planet to fly from its orbit, it would repre-cut a vicious inan. To be at once a rake, and to glory in the character, discovers, at the same time, a bad disposition, and a a orze faste.
I Fix D increasing years cause me to esteen fewer people—yet to bear with more.
If boileticence be not in a person's will, what imports it to mankind that it is in his power z and yet we see how much more regard is generally paid to a worthless man of fortune, than to the most benevolent bezgar that ever uttered one ineffectual blessing. This is all azreeable to Mr. Burke's Thesis, that the formidable idea of power affects more deeply, than the most beautiful idea that can be
conceived of moral virtue. - - Q. Z. * *To be famous in letters was enough to incur the hatred and censure of Voltaire. If the satirist of Aquinum could say, - Si natura negat, facit indignatio versum,
REVIEW OF LITERATURE. •
Qui monet quasi adjuvat.
Poems from the Portuguese of Luis de Camoens, with Remarks on his Life and Writings, Notes, &c. by Lord Viscount Strangford. 7s. J. Carpenter. 1803.
The almost total ignorance, in England, of this extraordinary poet, until the appearance, in 1655, of Fanshaw's translation of his principal work, would be more surprising were it not that, in Portugal, even at the present period, amongst many of his countrymen, who might reasonably be thought to have thoroughly investigated, and, consequently, in a high degree to appreciate his merits, his very name is scarcely known, or only known for having belonged to a man who has written what they never read, nor ever will. If a country be not itself alive to all the beauties, and loud and frequent in the praise, of the luminous genius that may happen to adorn it, it is rarely to be hoped or expected that foreigners will be anxiously ready (if capable) to discover his excellence, and to promulgate his fame. Had we been dead to the numberless charms that overspread the pages of our immortal bard, and suffered them, with silent apathy, to moulder neglected on the shelf, the name of Shakspeare had probably never reached the shores of France, and no Voltaire (only not so envious as ignorant of his subject) had ever risen to take the fruitless pains even to abuse him.”
we may, perhaps, be allowed to observe that if Study lent him no aid, Envy invested him, as it were, by sudden inspiration, with a power of becoming a critic in all languages, arts, and sciences ! Camoens, of whom he could not read a word, shared with him the same fate as Shakespeare. But, as the Abbé de Castres justly remarks, “La plāpart de ses dissertations Litteraires sont un tribut d'hommages qu'il sepaye à lui-meme, ou des arrets prononcés contre ses Rivaux.” Such knowledge as he possessed of the Portuguese poet, he acquired through the miserable medium of Fanshaw's translation, attributing to the former all the defects of his ridiculous version. We here use the words of the editor of the original, in his preface to the reader, where he shews an honest indi ion at the tr C had received from the “ insolente e petulante Voltaire.” As Fanshaw's version is not in the hands of every one, we shall quote a few verses from it, to afford some idea of the manner in which he preserves the style and dignity of Epic poetry. A noble passage in the 9th Book of the Lusiad is thus turned :
The Malabar protests that he shall rot
In prison, if he send not for the ships.
He, constant, (and with noble anger hot)
His haughty menace weighs not at two chips.
It has, indeed, been a cause of much regret with us, that after Mr. Mickle for we must date the respect now entertained for the bard of Lusitania from his time) had so boldly and ably led the way, by his version of the Lusíad, which poem, in the Portuguese, forms two volumes out of the five that compose the last edition (Lisbon, 1782), no one should think it not unworthy of him to rescue the larger mass of his miscellaneous productions from their long unmerited oblivion. Our wishes have at length been, in some measure, gratified by the publication of the little volume before us, for which we are beholden to Lord Viscount Strangford, who has prefaced his selections with several judicious and well-written remarks on the character and writings of his author. His Lordship commences by very truly stating, that the life of Camoens is an exception to the observation, that the memoirs of literary men are devoid of extraordinary incident, “ since its vicissitudes were so many, and so various, as almost to encourage a belief, that, in describing them, the deficiencies of fact were sometimes supplied by the pencil of romance." He then proceeds to recount them; and on the contested origin of the poet's name, we find a pleasant anecdote, which we shall not withhold from our readers. Some maintain that the patronymic appellation of his family alluded to a certain wonderful bird (the Camaj) whose mischievous sagacity discovered and punished the smallest deviation from conjugal fidelity. “Formerly, every well regulated family in Spain retained one of these terrible attendants. The infidelity of its mistress was the only circumstance which could deprive it of life. Should her guilt have been extended to any degree beyond a wish, the faithful bird immediately betrayed it, by expiring at the feet of its injured lord. It soon was difficult to find a Camaâ that had lived in the same family during three generations; and at length the species became entirely exanct!” p. 2, 3. The noble author, in the course of his remarks, with great propriety takes an opportunity of correcting the errors in Mr. Mickle's Life of Camoens, which he does from the best and surest authority. His complaints against Mr. M. are just and well-founded. He was, without doubt, exceedingly free, not only in what he said of the illustrious Portuguese, but in what he made him say. The editor of the original text indulges us in a preface, with various strictures on his translation. Upon the whole, he is candid enough to praise it, but he objects pointedly, and with a strong colour of reason, to several things, and among others, to Mr. M.'s having made so many alterations and innovations in his author; some that he has acknowledged, and some that he has not: in the number of
- * the latter is the fight in the ninth book, which is an interpolation extending, according to the editor's words, to more than three hundred verses, to which nothing correspondent is to be found in Camoens. P. 55, vol. i. orig. We are unwilling to dismiss this Portuguese writer without translating one of his comments, the singularity of the close of which will, we trust, plead a successful excuse for the digression. “It might have been hoped,” he observes, “ that in such a work as this, the translator would not have introduced any controversy respecting religion. However,” he continues, “Mickle has taken special care to shew his hatred and aversion to the catholic persuasion, advancing those ancient calumnies which have a thousand and a thousand times been refuted. He falsifies facts,” says he, “and makes ridiculous and absurd allusions, which prove nothing but the malignity of their author.” He then adds—“Talvez com este adubo quiz recommendar o seu livro ao paladar dos seus para-vender-lo melhor.” P. 60, v. i. But perhaps with this seasoning he thought to recommend his book to the palate of his countrymen, so as to procure it a better sale / Following in the steps of the common life of Camoens, his lordship tells us that “he was buried in the church of Saint Anne of the Franciscans;” and this fact we have no ground to dispute, but something further might have been adduced on this subject, which the writer of this article will, from his own knowledge, take the liberty of supplying. Residing at Buenos Ayres, the distance from thence to the church of St. Anne was considerable, but had it been multiplied we should readily have undertaken a pilgrimage to sigh over the grave that contains the sacred dust of the ill-fated Camoens. Although it is a vulgar saying in Lisbon that “none but dogs and Englishmen walk in the heat of the day,” we did not conform to this custom of our active fellow Britons, but, rising at six o'clock in the morning, we proceeded to the desired spot. At the entrance of the church we perceived three or four priests, whom we accosted for the purpose of gaining some information respecting the poet's tomb. Of his tomb, however, they professed an entire ignorance, and were some time before they knew the name of the man after whom we enquired. At length one of them being brought to comprehend the object of our pursuit, he intimated it to his brethren, which produced a sort of smile of contempt, and this was every thing we obtained from them. We could have seen a severe penance of flagellation inflicted on them with inexpressible delight!
Making our way now into the church, and having recourse to the Portuguese life of Camoens (Vol. 1. p. 139) we found that he died at Lisbon in 1579, aged 55, and was interred on the left hand side of the entrance of the door of the church of St. Anne, but that a few years after in 1595, D. Gonçalo Coutinho had him removed to the middle of the church. Nothing of this appearing, however, owing assuredly to some alterations that have since taken place, we were about to return unsatisfied, when we perceived a porter standing at the grate of a nunnery belonging to this church and the Franciscan order, who, on our asking for Camoens' tomb, knocked at a door, and immediately introduced us to an old abbess, a perfect picture of humility, penitence, and religion. She informed us, with very little ceremony, that the celebrated poet, he who
Ense simul, calamoque aurit tibi, Lys1A famam;
Camoens, the glory of Portugal, lay buried under a stair-case in the nunnery, and that no man could be admitted to visit the repository of his ashes! We shall add no more, but that this, alas! no “lying epitaph” was placed over his grave in 1629: Here lies Luis de Camoens, the Prince of the Poets of his time : he lived poor and miserable, and so he died / Having perhaps already travelled too far out of the province of a reviewer, we yield to the prudent admonition of our office, and, restraining a strong desire we feel to extend our anecdotes and remarks, again advert to the line which it is our profession to observe. We have perused Lord Strangford's translations with much pleasure, and frequent but not unmixed satisfaction. In the first part of the work, which consists of madrigals, canzonets, and rondeaux, his lordship makes very free with his original. This freedom, however, is not unproductive of the beauties of poetry, which will appear by an indiscriminate selection.
Just like Love is yonder rose, Heavenly fragrance round it throws, Yet tears its dewy leaves disclose, - - And in the midst of briars it blows, - * * * * * * * Just like love.