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Alas! unto such ill
How many sweet thoughts, what strong
Led these their evil fortune to fulfil!' And then I turn'd unto their side my eyes, And said, Francesca, thy sad destinies Have made me sorrow till the tears arise.
But tell me, in the season of sweet sighs,
So as his dim desires to recognise ?'
Then she to me: 'The greatest of all woes
But if to learn our passion's first root preys
We read one day for pastime, seated nigh,
But oft our eyes met, and our cheeks in hue
All o'er discoloured by that reading were;
But one point only wholly us o'erthrew ; When we read the long-sigh'd-for smile of her,
To be thus kiss'd by such devoted lover, He who from me can be divided ne'er, Kiss'd my mouth, trembling in the act all
Accursed was the book and he who wrote !
That day no further leaf we did uncover.' While thus one spirit told us of their lot, The other wept, so that with pity's
I swoon'd as if by death I had been smote,
And fell down even as a dead body falls.
We shall not weary our readers with many more of our wordnibblings. It appears to us that Byron does more justice to the seguaci sui of the third line than any of the others; and yet we believe, with Rossetti, that Dante meant to convey the idea of pursuers-the great river hunted by the lesser ones until all find rest together in the sea. We do not approve Wright's noble in the fourth line, Lord Surrey's paraphrase of which is a pretty one
'I know how small a net may mesh the heart of gentle kind.' Byron's version of the sixth is also the best-Wright's is very bad indeed. We do not admire the influence prove of his ninth. The common tomb' of his tenth is false; and the commentary of the eleventh, Hell's lowest depth,' not quite correct as to the matter of fact; of 'dark and dim' we say nothing-the place which poor Francesca herself inhabits is dark and dim enough. Cary alone preserves a delicate touch in the twelfth line of Dante; da color fur' porte,' observes Rossetti—' as if whatever has been said by Francesca is to be understood as said by Paolo also; nor is this an accidental or inexact expression. We have had it twice before in the Noi pregheremmo per la tua pace and the Noi parleremo a vui'-Commento, vol. i., p. 148. The seventh tiercet of Wright is shocking. Byron gives to the leggemmo il desiato riso esser baciato, &c. a voluptuous turn, far from Dante. The versions of la bocca mi bacio, &c., are none of them good; neither Cary nor Wright has felt the beauty of Dante's placing of the tutto tremante. Byron has, but his in the act weakens his line. Wright has the advantage of his rivals in the eighteenth line-il doloroso passo. They are all unfortunate on the line about Galeotto: the lady's meaning is simply that the book, and the author of the book, were to her and Paolo what Galeot in the romance they were reading had been to Lancelot and Ginevra. Cary's love's purveyors is frigid; Byron's accursed is not true to the feeling of the speaker; nothing can be more frigid or more unlike Dante than Mr. Wright's Galeot -Galeot, he who fired its glowing page!' The next line, quel giorno, &c. is not well done by any of them. Wright misses the vi leggemmo-‘therein we read'—but this is badly amplified in Cary's in its leaves,' and still worse in Byron's 'no further leaf we did uncover.' But what are all these trifles to Mr. Leigh Hunt's grand couplet
The world was all forgot, the struggle o'er,
The spondaic solemnity and inimitable imitativeness of E caddi come corpo morto cade appears to have been felt by none of the translators except Lord Byron, who does for it as much as our language would let him. On the whole, we cannot consider Mr. Wright's version of this exquisite episode as a better one than Cary's; and though Byron's certainly is so in many respects, and though he grapples with all the difficulties of the original measure, we doubt if even he has achieved so much as would pay the cost of his labour. He forgets that Latinisms, which may be full of ease and life in Italian, are often dry and dead when transferred to English; and the effect of his translation is rather cold, excepting in the one place where it is too warm.
We recommend, by the way, to any one who likes a hearty laugh, Mr. Taaffe's elaborate commentary on the story of Francesca and Paolo. He spends about twenty pages in proving that Dante's account has been all along misunderstood-that the poet never meant to insinuate that they had been guilty of any criminal act— quel giorno on the day of the doloroso passo! The commentator never asks himself in what company has Dante placed thembeside Paris and Helen, Tristrem and Yseulte, &c.-no, nor why, unless they had erred at least as deeply as Launcelot and Queen Guinever, they should talk of the romance being their "Galeotto!' Even this nonsense, however, is scarcely worse than Rossetti's gloss on cotanto amante. Dante, it seems, was not thinking of the deep love of Launcelot, but of the love of so great a man—such a hero as one of the Knights of the Round Table. And this is brought in by the poet, that the example talis tantique viri may suggest an apology for Paolo's kiss!
We presume most of our readers will agree with us in thinking that though Cary's version might be essentially improved by such a revision as the author's health will yet we hope permit him to bestow on it, he has performed his task so well that it is a very idle business for any one else to set about a complete English Dante. In Mr. Wright's case, it certainly is our opinion that what little advantage may have been gained as to manner (and it is really but a little), is counterbalanced by losses on the side of matter; in frequent contortion of phrase, and transposition of images, and, above all, in the introduction of expletives merely for the sake of rhyme.
And after all, Mr. Wright's rhymes are too often not very good ones-e. g. word and appeared; sire and heir; God and loud; throng and stung; hour and shore; down and stone; down and soon; then and lean; then and began (p. 271); hole and cowl; crust and post; vice and lies; again and mien; passed and possessed; flaunt and mount; hour and sure; grief and LIFE; tail and fell; two and thou; hedge and rage; east and west; waged and be-sieged; up and troop; not and shout; it and SIGHT; forsooth and mouth; news and woes (p. 259); here and prayer; DUN and DONE (p. 261); LIE and ITA-ly (p. 248); WAR and DRAW (ibid.); short and wrought p. 232); QUEST and FIRST (p. 144). Mr. Wright's ear seems to be at once Scotch, Irish, and Cockney. What is to be said to such lines and rhymes as
'Incontinence and bestiality
Is less offensive to the Deity.'-p. 98.
On Sestus; and for ever draweth forth,' &c.—p. 109.
or Then spake my guide with greater vehemence,
Is to his bosom a deserved rewARD.'-p. 126.
Mule that I was-my name was Vanni Fucci.'-p. 222. The book swarms with barbarities equally offensive. We have given Mr. Wright no small advantage, in taking our extracts from the most celebrated passages.
This gentleman has, however, done quite enough to convince us that, if he would take up some poet as yet untranslated, or only badly translated, he might render yeoman's service. He is evidently possessed of considerable talents and accomplishments-and he might easily learn to rhyme; and there is one point on which we cannot but compare him, greatly to his advantage, with too many of those who have lately been before the public in the capacity of poetical translators. 'These,' said Mad. de Sevigné, ' remind me of domestics, whose business it is to carry their master's message, and who too often contrive to make him say the reverse of what he meant.' To this Voltaire adds, 'There is another point of resemblance: they are very apt to give themselves the airs of being masters themselves.' To this last reproach Mr. Wright has never exposed himself. His notes are in general shrewd and sensible-always
ART. VI.-Mémoires pour servir à l'Histoire de la Révolution de
1830. Par M. Alex. Mazas, Secrétaire du dernier Président du Conseil des Ministres, nommé par le Roi Charles X. Paris. 8vo. 1832.
IIS is a very curious work, and, though in a light and gossiping form, one, in our opinion, of the most important that has been published on the subject of the revolution of July. Our readers are well aware how highly we estimate M. Bermond de Vachères' account of the Military Events of the Three Days; and we are far from placing this work above his, either as to the importance of the individual facts related, or as to the abilities and judgment of the narrator. But though M. Bermond accidentally gave us some insight into the policy-or rather the want of all policyof the king and his civil servants at that important crisis, his chief object was the defence of the Royal Guard, and an exposition of the series of military blunders by which, rather than by any efforts of their own, the triumph of the revolutionists was accomplished. M. Mazas
M. Mazas opens a still more instructive scene of the same drama. He shows us the king, the cabinet, and the court in a state not merely of confusion, but of imbecility-not committing blunders, but doing nothing-in the condition not even of men who were playing a great stake with bad cards and worse skill, but of mere children looking over a game of which they did not understand the play, nor foresee the consequences. No wonder that the movement of the hands and arms was feeble and uncertain, when the head that should have guided them was palsied. Perhaps no circumstance in the book shows this in a stronger light than the very fact that M. Mazas has had occasion to write it. M. Mazas was a kind of occasional tutor to the young Duke of Bordeaux, to whom he used to give lessons in French history two or three times a week. Happening to be in the palace of St. Cloud on Thursday the 29th of July, when the king as a last resource named as his prime minister the Duke de Mortmart, who also happened to be on duty at St. Cloud as Captain of the Guard-and there being, as it would seem, no one else in the château who could hold a pen-this tutor was, on the sudden, appointed Secretary to the Premier, and in this capacity drew up the royal ordonnances which repealed those of M. de Polignac, and nominated the last cabinet of Charles X. On the strength of this unexpected appointment, M. Mazas has undertaken to write the history of that less than ephemeral ministry to which he was attached; and we think that the very circumstance of the king's being in such a state of utter abandonment as to be obliged to make, extempore, a captain of his guard prime-minister and his grandson's reading-master secretary, is as extraordinary and as pregnant with moral considerations as any fact of that eventful period. We shall not now meddle with the causes which left the king thus destitute of advice and assistance; we here mention the fact itself as explanatory of the origin of the work, and confirmatory of our former opinion that no ministerial combinations had been formed, and no preparation, civil or military, made for carrying into effect the fatal Ordonnances-that the king and his cabinet may be charged with unpardonable negligence, but must be acquitted of any premeditated design against the charter and liberties of the country.
We shall now proceed to give a summary of the narrative of the tutor-secretary, premising that there is in his story an air of simplicity and candour which convinces us of the literal truth of every syllable of it: he affects no fine writing; he indulges in no sentimental flourishes, and is sparing of speculative commentaries; he deals in facts, and gives them great and small as they occurred, and as they at the moment affected him. Nor is it