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knowledge, and with which it is so nearly impossible for a foreigner to become accurately conversant. The Italian language is like a capricious beauty, who accords her smiles to all, her favours to few, and sometimes least to those who 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 most celebrated productions on this side of the Alps, as well as of those recent experiments in poetry in England which have been already mentioned.

IL

MORGANTE MAGGIORE.

CANTO PRIMO.

I.

mio ;

In principio era il Verbo appresso a Dio;
Ed era Iddio il Verbo, e'l Verbo lui:
Questo era nel principio, al parer
E nulla si può far sanza costui :
Però, giusto Signor benigno e pio,
Mandami solo un de gli angeli tui,
Che m'accompagni, e rechimi a memoria
Una famosa antica e degna storia.

II.

E tu Vergine, figlia, e madre, e sposa
Di quel Signor, che ti dette le chiave
Del cielo e dell' abisso, e d'ogni cosa,
Quel dì che Gabriel tuo ti disse Ave!
Perchè tu se' de' tuo' servi pietosa,
Con dolce rime, e stil grato e soave,
Ajuta i versi miei benignamente,
E'nfino al fine allumina la mente.

THE

MORGANTE MAGGIORE.

CANTO THE FIRST.

I.

In the beginning was the Word next God;
God was the Word, the Word no less was he:
This was in the beginning, to my mode

Of thinking, and without him nought could be: Therefore, just Lord! from out thy high abode, Benign and pious, bid an angel flee,

One only, to be my companion, who

Shall help my famous, worthy, old song through.

II.

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.

III.

Era nel tempo, quando Filomena
Con la sorella si lamenta e plora,
Che si ricorda di sua antica pena,
E pe' boschetti le ninfe innamora,
E Febo il carro temperato mena,
Che 'l suo Fetonte l'ammaestra ancora ;
Ed appariva appunto all'orizzonte,
Tal che Titon si graffiava la fronte.

IV.

Quand'io varai la mia barchetta, prima
Per ubbidir chi sempre ubbidir debbe
La mente, e faticarsi in prosa e in rima,
E del mio Carlo Imperador m'increbbe ;
Che so quanti la penna ha posto in cima,
Che tutti la sua gloria prevarrebbe :
E stata quella istoria, a quel ch' i' veggio,
Di Carlo male intesa, e scritta peggio.

V.

Diceva già Lionardo Aretino,

Che s'egli avesse avuto scrittor degno,
Com'egli ebbe un Ormanno il suo Pipino
Ch'avesse diligenzia avuto e ingegno;
Sarebbe Carlo Magno un uom divino ;
Però ch'egli ebbe gran vittorie e regno,
E fece per la chiesa e per la fede
Certo assai più, che non si dice o crede.

III.

'Twas in the season when sad Philomel Weeps with her sister, who remembers and Deplores the ancient woes which both befel,

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:

IV.

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.

V.

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.

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