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A different web being by the destinies
He first sunk to the bottom-like his works,
1 A drowned body lies at the bottom til! rotten; it then floats, as most people know.
TRANSLATED FROM THE ITALIAN OF PULCI.
the version is faithful to the best of the translator's ability in combining his interpretation of the one lan
THE Morgante Maggiore, of the first canto of which guage with the not very easy task of reducing it to the same versification in the other. The reader is rethis translation is offered, divides with the Orlando In-quested to remember that the antiquated language of namorato the honour of having formed and suggested Pulci, however pure, is not easy to the generality of the style and story of Ariosto. The great defects of Italians themselves, from its great mixture of Tuscan Boiardo were his treating too seriously the narratives proverbs; and he may therefore be more indulgent to of chivalry, and his harsh style. Ariosto, in his con- the present attempt. How far the translator has suctinuation, by a judicious mixture of the gaiety of Pulci, ceeded, and whether or no he shall continue the work, has avoided the one, and Berni, in his reformation of Boiardo's poem, has corrected the other. Pulci may be induced to make the experiment partly by his love for, are questions which the public will decide. considered as the precursor and model of Berni al- and partial intercourse with, the Italian language, ot together, as he has partly been to Ariosto, however which it is so easy to acquire a slight knowledge, and inferior to both his copyists. He is no less the founder with which it is so nearly impossible for a foreigner to of a new style of poetry very lately sprung up in Eng- become accurately conversant. The Italian language land. I allude to that of the ingenious Whistlecraft. is like a capricious beauty, who accords her smiles to The serious poems on Roncesvalles in the same language, all, her favours to few, and sometimes least to those who and more particularly the excellent one of Mr. Merivale, are to be traced to the same source. It has never yet been decided entirely, whether Pulci's intention was or was not to deride the religion, which is one of his favourite topics. It appears to me, that such an intention would have been no less hazardous to the poet than to the priest, particularly in that age and country; and the permission to publish the poem, and its reception among the classics of Italy, prove that it neither was nor is so interpreted. That he intended to ridicule
have courted her longest. The translator wished also to present in an English dress a part at least of a poem never yet rendered into a northern language: at the same time that it has been the original of some of the as well as of those recent experiments in poetry in most celebrated productions on this side of the Alps, England which have been already mentioned.
the monastic life, and suffered his imagination to play MORGANTE MAGGIORE.
with the simple dulness of his converted giant, seems evident enough; but surely it were as unjust to accuse him of irreligion on this account, as to denounce Fielding for his Parson Adams, Barnabas, Thwackum, Supple, and the Ordinary in Jonathan Wild,-or Scott, for the exquisite use of his Covenanters in the "Tales of my Landlord."
In the following translation I have used the liberty of the original with the proper names; as Pulci uses Gan, Ganelion, or Ganellone; Carlo, Carlo.nagno, or Carlomano; Rondel, or Rondello, etc. as it suits his Convenience, so has the translator. In other respects
In the beginning was the Word next God;
God was the Word, the Word no less was he;
Of thinking, and without him nought could be
Benign and pious, bid an angel flce,
And thou, oh Virgin! daughter, mother, bride, Of the same Lord, who gave to you each key Of heaven, and hell, and every thing beside,
The day thy Gabriel said, "All hail!" to thee, Since to thy servants pity's ne'er denied,
With flowing rhymes, a pleasant style and free, Be to my verses then benignly kind, And to the end illuminate my mind.
"T was in the season when sad Philomel
Weeps with her sister, who remembers and Deplores the ancient woes which both befell, And makes the nymphs enamour'd, to the hand Of Phaeton by Phoebus loved so well
His car (but temper'd by his sire's command) Was given, and on the horizon's verge just now Appear'd, so that Tithonus scratch'd his brow;
When I prepared my bark first to obey,
As it should still obey, the helm, my mind, And carry prose or rhyme, and this my lay
Of Charles the Emperor, whom you will find By several pens already praised; but they Who to diffuse his glory were inclined, For all that I can see in prose or verse, Have understood Charles badly-and wrote worse.
Leonardo Aretino said already,
That if, like Pepin, Charles had had a writer Of genius quick, and diligently steady,
No hero would in history look brighter; He in the cabinet being always ready,
And in the field a most victorious fighter, Who for the Church and Christian faith had wrought, Certes far more than yet is said or thought.
You still may see at Saint Liberatore,
Because of the great battle in which fell
And felon people whom Charles sent to hell: And there are bones so many, and so many, Near them Giusaffa's would seem few, if any.
Rut the world, blind and ignorant, don't prize
And hast, and may have, if thou wilt allow,
Whate'er thou hast acquired from then till now, With knightly courage, treasure, or the lance, Is sprung from out the noble blood of France.
Twelve paladins had Charles, in court, of whom
In Roncesvalles, as the villain plann'd too,
'T was Christmas-day; in Paris all his court
In festival and in triumphant sport,
The much renown'd Saint Dennis being the cause; Angiolin of Bayonne, and Oliver,
And gentle Belinghieri too came there:
Avolio, and Arino, and Othone
Of Normandy, and Richard Paladin, Wise Hamo, and the ancient Salemone,
Walter of Lion's Mount, and Baldovin, Who was the son of the sad Ganellone,
Were there, exciting too much gladness in The son of Pepin:—when his knights came hither, He groan'd with joy to see them altogether.
But watchful fortune lurking, takes good heed Ever some bar 'gainst our intents to bring. While Charles reposed him thus in word and deed, Orlando ruled court, Charles, and every thing; Curst Gan, with envy bursting, had such need
To vent his spite, that thus with Charles the king, One day he openly began to say, "Orlando must we always then obey?
"A thousand times I've been about to say,
Each have to honour thee and to obey;
But he has too much credit near the throne, Which we won't suffer, but are quite decided By such a boy to be no longer guided.
"And even at Aspramont thou didst begin
The victory was Almonte's else; his sight
"If thou rememberest being in Gascony,
When there advanced the nations out of Spain, The Christian cause had suffered shamefully,
Had not his valour driven them back again.
So that each here may have his proper part,
And with the sword he would have murder'd Gan,
Wanted but little to have slain him there;
From Ermellina, consort of the Dane,
He took Cortana, and then took Rondell,
Like him a fury counsels; his revenge
On Gan in that rash act he seem'd to take,
Then full of wrath departed from the place,
The traitor Gan remember'd by the way;
And wandering on in error a long space,
The abbot was call'd Clermont, and by blood
And Alabaster and Morgante hover
The monks could pass the convent gate no more, Nor leave their cells for water or for wood. Orlando knock'd, but none would ope, before Unto the prior it at length seem'd good; Enter'd, he said that he was taught to adore
Him who was born of Mary's holiest blood, And was baptized a Christian; and then show'd How to the abbey he had found his road.
Said the abbot, "You are welcome; what is mine
And that you may not, cavalier, conceive
To be rusticity, you shall receive
"When hither to inhabit first we came
These mountains, albeit that they are obscure,
"These make us stand, in fact, upon the watch,
You know, they can do all-we are not enough:
"Our ancient fathers living the desert in,
Our bounds, or taste the stones shower'd down for
From off Iyon mountain daily raining faster,
"The third, Morgante, 's savagest by far; he
A stone from one of their gigantic strokes, Which nearly crush'd Rondell, came tumbling over, So that he took a long leap under cover.
For God's sake, cavalier, come in with speed, The manna's falling now," the abbot cried: "This fellow does not wish my horse should feed, Dear abbot," Roland unto him replied; "Of restiveness he'd cure him had he need;
That stone seems with good-will and aim applied."
Orlando bade them take care of Rondello,
Who flung at my good horse yon corner-stone."
I would dissnade you, baron, from this strife,
"That Passamont has in his hand three darts
Such slings, clubs, ballast-stones, that yield you must, You know that giants have much stouter hearts Than us, with reason, in proportion just: If go you will, guard well against their arts,
For these are very barbarous and robust." Orlando answer'd, "This I'll see, be sure, And walk the wild on foot to be secure."
The abbot sign'd the great cross on his front,
As the abbot had directed, kept the line
Who, seeing nim alone in this design, Survey'd him fore and aft with eyes observant, Then asked him, "If he wish'd to stay as servant?"
And promised him an office of great ease;
I come to kill you, if it shall so please
God, not to serve as footboy in your train;
And being return'd to where Orlando stood,
Who had not moved him from the spot, and swinging
And head, and set both head and helmet ringing,
Then Passamont, who thougnt him slain outright,
As to desert would almost be a wrong.
And loud he shouted, "Giant, where dost go?
Thou thought'st me doubtless for the bier outlaid; To the right about-without wings thou 'rt too slow To fly my vengeance-currish renegade! 'T was but by treachery thou laid'st me low." The giant his astonishment betray'd, And turn'd about, and stopp'd his journey on, And then he stoop'd to pick up a great stone. XXXV.
Orlando had Cortana bare in hand,
To split the head in twain was what he schemedCortana clave the skull like a true brand,
And pagan Passamont died unredeem'd.
Saying, "What grace to me thou 'st given!
And I to thee, oh Lord, am ever bound.
I know my life was saved by thee from heaven,
At least return once more to Carloman."
And having said thus much, he went his way;
To root from out a bank a rock or two.
And hurl'd a fragment of a size so large,
And Roland not avail'd him of his targe,
And in his bulky bosom made incision
With all his sword. The lout fell; but, o'erthrown, ba However by no means forgot Macone.
Morgante had a palace in his mede,
Composed of branches, logs of wood, and earth,
The giant from his sleep; and he came forth,
He thought that a fierce serpent had attack'd him,
Is nothing worth, and not an instant back'd him; But praying blessed Jesu, he was set At liberty from all the fears which rack'd him; And to the gate he came with great regret"Who knocks here?" grumbling all the while, said he "That," said Orlando, "you will quickly see." XLI.
"I come to preach to you, as to your brothers, Sent by the miserable monks-repentance; For Providence divine, in you and others,
Condemns the evil done by new acquaintance. 'Tis writ on high-your wrong must pay another's; From heaven itself is issued out this sentence; Know then, that colder now than a pilaster I left your Passamont and Alabaster."
Morgante said, "O gentle cavalier!
The Saracen rejoin'd in humble tone,
And Macon would not pity my condition; Hence to thy God, who for ye did atone
Upon the cross, preferr'd I my petition; His timely succour set me safe and free, And I a Christian am disposed to be."
Your renegado God, and worship mine,Baptize yourself with zeal, since you repent.' To which Morgante answer'd, "I'm content." XLVI.
And then Orlando to embrace him flew,
And made much of his convert, as he cried, "To the abbey I will gladly marshal you:"
To whom Morgante, "Let us go," replied;
"Since God has granted your illumination,
Morgante said, "For goodness' sake make known-
"Then," quoth the giant, "blessed be Jesu,
I wish, for your great gallantry always."
And-by the way, about the giants dead
And since it is God's pleasure, pardon me;
"Because his love of justice unto all
Him, whom I now require you to adore:
"And here our doctors are of one accord,
Coming on this point to the same conclusionThat in their thoughts who praise in heaven the Lord If pity e'er was guilty of intrusion
For their unfortunate relations stored
In hell below, and damn'd in great confusion,-
"But they in Christ have firmest hope, and all Which seems to him, to them too must appear Well done; nor could it otherwise befall;
He never can in any purpose err :
If sire or mother suffer endless thrall,
'They don't disturb themselves for him or her; What pleases God to them must joy inspire ;Such is the observance of the eternal choir."
A word unto the wise," Morgante said, "Is wont to be enough, and you shall see How much I grieve about my brethren dead; And if the will of God seem good to me, Just, as you tell me, 't is in heaven obey'dAshes to ashes,-merry let us be!
I will cut off the hands from both their trunks. And carry them unto the holy monks.
"So that all persons may be sure and certain That they are dead, and have no further feat To wander solitary this desert in,
And that they may perceive my spirit clear
He cut his brethren's hands off at these words,
Then to the abbey they went on together,
Where waited them the abbot in great doubt.
Orlando, seeing him thus agitated,
Said quickly, "Abbot, be thou of good cheer; He Christ believes, as Christian must be rated, And hath renounced his Macon false;" which hers Morgante with the hands corroborated,
A proof of both the giants' fate quite clear: Thence, with due thanks, the abbot God adored, Saying, "Thou hast contented me, oh Lord!"
He gazed; Morgante's height he calculated,
Know, that no more my wonder will arise,