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and the vain attempt of the Wanderer standing by him in the cell, to persuade him to give up bis final bope. The following passage from Moncada's dream on the eve of his condemnation, is one of those horrible realizations of torture which Mr. M. is rather too fond of employing instead of less violent methods of producing impression.
• I saw the stage before me—I was chained to the chair, amid the ringing of bells, the preaching of the Jesuits, and the shouts of the multitude. A splendid amphitheatre stood opposite,—the king and queen of Spain, and all the nobility and hierarchy of the land, were there to sce us burn...... the fires were lit, the bells rang out, the litanies were sung ;– my feet were scorched to a cinder,-my muscles cracked, my blood and marrow hissed, my flesh consumed like shrinking leather,the bones of my legs bung two black withering and moveless sticks in tho ascending blaze; it ascended, caught my hair,-I was crowned with fire,-my head was a ball of molten metal, my eyes flashed and melted in their sockets ;-) opened my mouth, it drank fire,–I closed it, the fire was within,—and still the bells rung on, and the crowd shouted, and the king and queen, and all the nobility and priesthood, looked on, and we burned and burned.'
He awoke, and the Wanderer was by himn to tempt bim with the hope of liberty. It came, however, in a less destructive shape: the buildings of the Inquisition caught fire, and the condemned captive found an opportunity of escaping. This scene is powerfully described, and the figure of Melmoth, standing on the spire of a neighbouring church to contemplate its horrors, with the various groupes of guards, prisoners, and Inquisitors, is well sketched and shadowed. Monçada found refuge in the vault of the Jew Adonijab, who sets him to read a manuscript which contained the story of a young and interesting female, born of Spanish parents, left alone in childhood on an island in the Indian ocean, found there by Melmoth, and singled out by him as his victim. In this part, there is much that is merely fantastic ; but in the scene where he is represented as shewing her the embleins of the different religions of the earth, he has fallen into a Lady Morgan-like blunder. Where did be learn that Mahadeva is a goddess ?' If Mr. Maturin will take a journey to mount Cailasa, he will find, at least if he trust the Hindoos, Mabadeva entbroned there in all the honours of masculine divinity; and though he has thought proper to represent her as possessed of little power, he will, on further inquiry, find that he is no less a being than Seeva, one of the three principal deities of Hindoostap. The beauty and ionocence of Immalee, the young lodian, and her fond attachment to him, touch the heart of the Wanderer;' he leaves her, but meets her again when restored to her family, and under the name of Isidora still cherishing the remembrance of her former state. After many
scenes of horror and death, a clandestine marriage takes place, and Isidora finally dies in the cells of the Inquisition, refusing Melmoth's offers of liberation at the expense of the hope of eternity. The fate of Isidora gave a stronger pang to the heart of her seducer, than any he had felt before. He had struggled to save her from his own fatal influence; he had, in bis own pbrase, stood between her and bimself; but the die was cast, and his victim perished. In the course of this tale, two others are incidentally related : the first contains the history of Walberg, and paints the agonies of a starving family in the colours of a Spagnoletto. Even here, however, the tempter fails ; though 'Walberg is kept from giving way only by the influence of his admirable wife. The second is the pathetic story of Elinor, whose life is occupied in a withering attendance on the steps of her lover, struck to idiotcy by calamitous events, but who resists to the last the Wanderer's conditional offers of re. storing sanity to the object of her unalterable affection. Mel. moth at length attains the stipulated period, returns to the castle of his ancestors, and after a night of shrieks and fearful sounds, disappears.
Such is the frame-work of Mr. Maturin's inventions, and such the foundation on which he has rested a strange and fantastic fabric, which, amid much extravagance, exhibits the incontestible signs of genius and power. We shall insert one extract more, with the preliminary remark, that we were not aware of its existence when we wrote the opening paragraphs of this article.
I cannot,' says Mr. Maturin in his preface,' again appear before the public in so upscemly a character as that of a writer of romances, without regretting the necessity that compels me to it. Did my profession furnish me with the means of subsistence, I should hold myself culpable indeed in having recourse to any other, but—am I allowed the choice ?"
We can only say that, while we deeply regret the necessity here intimated, we think that there are better and even more profitable subjects on which a mind like Mr. Maturin's might be employed. We should hope that the sale of his sermons might be such as to induce bim to hold on in that way; but we would, with the most friendly dispositions, caution him against staining his pages with the effusions of sectarian prejudice. They do the Puritans' no injury, certainly; but they cannot raise their Author in the estimation of moderate men on either side.
Art. IV. Memoirs of the Life and Writings of Luis de Camoens. By
John Adamson, F.S.A. London, Edinburgh, and Newcastle upon
Tyne. Two Volumes, small 8vo. (Plates) pp. 716. London. 1820. THESE two elegantly printed volumes belong quite as much
to the class of Bibliography as to that of Biography. The life of Camoens occupies the greater part of the first volume; the remainder consisting of notices concerning the Rimas or smaller poems' of the Author of the Lusiad. The second volume comprises an' Essay on the Lusiad, translated from the · Portnguese of Dom Jose Maria de Souza;' some Account of the numerous translations of the Lusiad into different languages, with specimens, and notices concerning the Translators; a list of the editions of the works of Camoens; and notices of his commentators and apologists.
The Portuguese have reason at once to be proud of Camoens, and to blush at his name. It is quite unnecessary to attempt to determine his relative rank among the great national poets whose works give singly a value to the literature and language of their respective countries : there can be no hesitation in placing him in that order of magnates. The name of Camoens alone would rescue Portuguese literature from insignificance, and his works are identified with the existence of the language he illustrated by his genius, and the nation whose ingratitude he was doomed to experience. Two ages and a half bave now passed, and yet, we are assured by his accomplished countryman, De Souza, although Camoens was one of the first who formed the language, no phrase used by him, or even any
word, has become obsolete or obscure. He has been termed the Portuguese Homer and the Portuguese Virgil : in some respects he might with much greater propriety be termed their Petrarch or their Tasso. But this mode of parallel is seldom successfully employed in conveying any other ideas than those of depreciation or burlesque. One cannot forget the sarcastic retort of Coleridge upon hearing Klopstock characterized as the German Milton: - A very German Milton. The era, the moral habits and circumstances of the country, the genius of the language they had to work upon, and the combined force of national and individual peculiarities, all conspire to make up a difference so palpable and so essential between the great writers whose names are assumed to be analogically descriptive of each other, as to preclude the implied comparison. And, indeed, the nearer any two writers of different countries approach each other in the circumstances referred to, the less point there is in this mode of describing them: it must be fairly extravagant, to answer the purpose of panegyric. To speak of a modern Homer, would be exquisitely absurd; for were it supposable
that a being of genius vast and original as bis, should make bis appearance among some semi-barbarous tribe of heroes, that civilization has not yet tamed down or extinguisbed, in either the old or the new world, we know that no language remains for him to employ and fashion for his purpose,-unless he were a Greek. Nor is it much less ridiculous to suppose, that a modification of genius could exist which should entitle its possessor to be aptly designated as a Roman Catholic Milton, or a Protestant Dante, a Spanish Shakspeare, or a German Petrarch. Between any two epic poems of ihe same general construction, a comparison will hold good, so far as regards the poet's conformity to certain real or imaginary rules, bis choice and management of the subject, and his conception of the characters. But when we have adjusted the comparative merits and demerits of the rival authors on these points, we may be as far as ever from forming a just estimate of the characteristic excellence of either. In this pedantic style of criticism the French decry Shakspeare, finding him guilty of violating all the unities, and being morally as well as philologically unable to upderstand him. But if the essence of poetry is expression, the true test of the poet lies in the power of expression : Ibis is his distinguisbing faculty,-bis perfect mastery of the powers of language, so that that language as breathed through by him, seems a quite different instrument from what it is in other hands. This uncommunicable, untransfusible force and grace of expression, the magic and the harmony of words, constitute in some cases the whole merit of the writer; so absolutely so, tbat when his compositions are rendered into another language, the reader unacquainted with the originals, is at at an utter loss to discover wherein that undisputed merit consists. No mere English reader, for instance, could bave conveyed to him the exquisite beauty of the odes of Horace ; nor have we ever seen a sonnet of Petrarch's done into English, which could in that shape be recognised as in any respect admirable. Translation is for the most part an expedient equally fallacious and inpotent. Pope's Iliad has been aptly termed a brilliant misrepresentation, and such are the best of the translations from the Greek and Roman Poets. To the classical scholar they can afford little pleasure; they are to him a superfluous labour; while the illiterate reader, whatever information be may gain from the perusal, (and just for this purpose only are they serviceable,) can form no other than a very inadequate or very erroneous idea of what the originals are as poetry. No more glaring instance of this needs be referred to, than Dryden's translation of Virgil; in particular, of the Georgics. Dante, among the moderns, has been more fortunate; Mr. Cary's translation has left us nothing to wish for. But Ariosto and Tasso, in the hands of Mr.
Hoole, appear scarcely worth the pains of so much smooth and neat versification. Mickle's translation of the Lusiad is a performance of a similar character, and cast in the same mould: the versification, a perpetual echo of Pope's Iliad, reininds us of Cowper's simile, though not applicable in all its severity.
· When Labour and when Dulness, club in hand,
The clock-work tintinabulum of rhyme.' For aught that appears to the contrary on the face of these translations, Homer, and Tasso, and Camoens, all wrote in much the same style; and to give colour to the mistake, the same heathen deities form part of the machinery in each poem. With regard, however, to the merits of Mr. Mickle's performance as a translation, he himself apprises us that be has not very strictly adhered to his original. Your literal translation,' he says, can have no claiin to the original felicities of expression,
the energy, elegance, and fire of the original poetry.' 'The difficulty of preserving these in any translation, we have already reinarked, but it makes rather against the validity of Mr. Mickle's apology for the very extensive liberties taken with his original, that the most literal translations have in some instances been the most felicitous in their representation of the energy and elegance of the original; and we have seldom seen what is termed a free translation, (which is often only another phrase for a careless one,) that was at all faithful to even the spirit of the original author. But the liberties taken by Mickle with:
the Lusiad,' are stated by Mr. Adamson to be . of so extensive a nature, as to have rendered his version, in the opinion of an author eminently skilled in the original language, and capable of forming a judgment of it, rather a recomposition than a translation. When it is stated, that in Canto IX. three hundred lines are introduced, which have not any corresponding passage in the Portuguese; and that numerous other material alterations could be pointed out, particularly one in the story of the Genius of the Cape; the reader will judge, how far the author above alluded to is correct in his ideas on the subject. Such Jiberties, the Portuguese say, are calculated to mislead; and they suppose a case of a future Voltaire; who, ignorant of the Portuguese language, should form an idea of the poem of Camoens through the medium of the translation of Mickle; and, reading the description of the tempest at the Cape, or the battle in Canto IX, would naturally attribute to Camoens the interpolations of his translator. That the Lusiad, as a poem, has received advantages, and derived beauties from the genius of Mickle, cannot be denied : he has comprest many passages which were weak, and by bis excellence in description, added particularly to those parts in which descriptive poetry was either used by Camoens, or could embellish. Vol. II. p. 214.