Imatges de pÓgina

Firm Island, it was necessary that the fairest dame in the world should enter the enchanted chamber. Need we add, that dame was Oriana ? " Then was the feast spread, and the marriage-bed of Amadis and Oriana made in that chamber which they had won.

Through the whole of this long work, the characters assigned to the different personages are admirably sustained. That of Amadis is the true knight-errant. Of him it might be said in the language of Lobeira's time, that he was "true, amorous, sage, secret, bounteous, full of prowess, hardy, adventurous, and chivalrous.” Don Galaor, the Ranger of knight-errantry, forms a good contrast to his brother. Lisuarte, even where swayed by the most unreasonable prejudices, shows as it were occasionally, his natural goodness, so as always to prevent the total alienation of our good opinion and interest. The advantage given by the author to the vassals and dependents over the Suzerain, shows plainly a wish to please the numerous petty princes and barons at the expense of the liege lord. This may be remarked in many

omances of chivalry, particularly in those of Charlemagne and his Paladins. Even the inferior characters are well, though slightly sketched. The presumption of the Emperor, the open gallantry and dry humour of old Grumedan the king's standard-bearer, the fidelity of Gandalin, squire to Amadis, the professional manners of Master Helisabad the physician, with many others, are all in true style and costume.

The machinery introduced in Amadis does not, as Mr Southey observes, partake much of the marvellous. Arcalaus is more to be redoubted for his courage and cunning, than for his magic. Urganda is a fay similar to those which figure in the lays of Brittany, and, except her character of a prophetess, and some legerdemain tricks of transformation, has not much that is supernatural in her character.

It remains to make some observations on Mr Southey's mode of executing his translation, which appears to us marked with the hand of a master. The abridgements are judiciously made; and although some readers may think too much has still been retained, yet the objection will only occur to such as read merely for the story, without any attention to Mr Southey's more important object of exhibiting a correct example of those romances, by which our forefathers were so much delighted, and from which we may draw such curious inferences respecting their customs, their morals, and their modes of thinking. The popular romance always preserves, to a certain degree, the manners of the


in which it was written. The novels of Fielding and Richardson are even already become valuable, as a record of the English manners of the last generation. How much, then, should we prize the volumes which describe those of the era of the victors of Cressy and Poitiers! The style of Mr Southey is, in general, what he proposed, rather antique, from the form of expression, than from the introduction of obsolete phrases. It has something of the scriptural turn, and much resembles the admirable translation of Froissart. Some words have inadvertently been used, which, to us, savour more of vulgarity than beseems the language of chivalry. Such are the phrases,“ devilry,” “ Sir Knave,” “ Don False One," and some others. But we only mention these, to show that our general praise has not been inconsiderately bestowed.

Mr Southey has made an apology for not translating the names, which convey some meaning in the original: “I have used Beltenebros, instead of the Beautiful Darkling, or the Fair Forlorn ; Florestan, instead of Forester; El Patin, instead of the Emperor Gosling; as we speak of Barbarossa, not Red-Beard; Boccanegra, not Black Muzzle ; St Peter, not Stone the Apostle.” We cannot help thinking this apology as unnecessary, as the examples are whimsical. Proper names are never rendered into a familiar dialect, but with a view of making them ridiculous; although they are sometimes translated into a less known language, to give them dignity. Thus, Mr Wood is said to have been converted into Dr Lignum, and to have gained by the exchange; while it is well known that the Portuguese ambassador, Don Pedro Francisco Correo de Sylva, was chased from the court of Charles the Second, by the ridicule attached to the nickname of Pierre du Bois, into which his sounding title was rendered by the Duke of Buckingham: and, surely, to talk of the Chief Consul Good-part, would be as absurd as the epithet

· He that would acquire an idea of the language of chivalry, cannot too often study the work of Bourchier Lord Berners.


would be inapplicable. As for Stone the Apostle, we have only heard of one bearing that name, who had also the fate of a prophet; for his doctrines were no otherwise honoured in his own country, than by the notice of the King's attorney-general."

So much for the prose edition of Amadis, with the perusal of which we have been highly gratified.

We have already given it as our opinion, that the history of Amadis was, in its original state, à metrical romance. We remember, also, to have an Italian

poem in ottava rima, called Il Amadigi, chiefly remarkable for the whimsical rule which the poet had imposed upon himself, of opening each canto with a description of the morning, and closing it with a description of the night. Mr William Stewart Rose has now favoured the public with a poetical version of the First Book of Amadis, containing the birth and earlier adventures of the hero, and closing with his gaining possession of Oriana.

In our remarks upon this poem, we are more inclined to blame, in some degree, Mr Rose's plan, than to find fault with the execution, which appears to us, upon the whole, to be nearly as perfect as


[The Rev. Richard Stone, A. M., Rector of Norton, Essex, was, May 1808, on trial in the Consistory Court, convicted of having preached and published doctrines regarding the Messiah, subversive of the authority of certain passages in two of the Evangelists, and which when called upon to revoke he refused. Sir William Scott officially reported the case to an Ecclesiastical Convocation, in which the Bishop of London forthwith pronounced sentence of degradation, depriving Mr Stone of his clerical benefice.]

the plan admitted. Mr Rose has indeed stated his pretensions so very modestly, that perhaps we are warranted in thinking, that a culpable degree of diffidence has prevented him from assuming a tone of poetry more decided and animated.

“ That the extract I now present to the public,” says Mr Rose, “ is closely translated, I cannot venture to affirm. I have, I confess, attempted to introduce some of those trifling ornaments, which even the simplest style of poetry imperiously demands, and have, in many instances, altered the arrangement, and very much contracted the narration of the original : I trust, however, that I shall not be convicted of having, in my trifling deviations, introduced any thing which is at variance with the spirit or tone of the celebrated romance."

With the alterations and abbreviations of Mr Rose we have not the most distant intention of quarrelling ; on the contrary we think, that his too close adherence to his original is the greatest defect in the book. Mr Rose was not engaged in translating a poem, but in composing one; the story of which was adopted from a prose work. We therefore do not conceive that he was obliged to limit himself to trifling ornaments, or to the very simplest style of poetry. Even in modernizing ancient poetry, and that, too, the poetry of Chaucer, containing no small portion of fire, Dryden thought himself at liberty to heighten and enlarge the descriptions of his great master. But in his versions from prose pieces,-in the tale of Theodore and Honoria, for example,-he borrowed from Boccacio only the outline of the story; the language, the conduct, and the sentiment, were all his own, and all in the highest strain of poetry. In like manner, we

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