Pastoral Poetry and Pastoral Drama eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 648 pages of information about Pastoral Poetry and Pastoral Drama.
my undertaking, but gave me likewise this Character of the Original.  “I will not say It is a Better Poem then Pastor Fido, but to speak my Mind freely, I think it a Better Drama."’ From this it is clear that the preface was penned after 1660, and we may furthermore infer that the version was as yet unfinished when the writer was in Paris, apparently at some time during the Commonwealth.  It is therefore impossible that the preface should be intended for a translation which was printed in 1655, and which was then distinctly stated to have been composed not later than 1635.  Furthermore, I question whether either the preface or the version mentioned therein were by Sherburne at all.  There is a translation extant in a British Museum manuscript[245] purporting to be the work of Sir George Talbot, who is said to have been a friend of Sir Edward’s, into whose hands some of his papers may have come.  The translation is headed:  ’Fillis of Scirus, a Pastorall Written in Italian, by Count Guidubaldo de’ Bonarelli, and Translated into English by S’r.  G:  Talbot,’ and there follows ’The Epistle Dedicatory To his sacred Ma’ty.  Charles 2’d. &c. prophetically written at Paris, an:  57.’  The opening is not wanting in grace: 

    The dawning light breaks forth; I heare, aloofe,
    The whistling ayre, the Saints bell of the Heav’n,
    Wherewith each morne it call’s the drowsy Birds
    To offer up theyre Hymnes to th’ new-borne day. 
      But who ere saw, from night’s dark bosome, spring
    A morne soe fayre and beautifull?  Observe
    With what imperceptible hand, it steales
    The starres from Heav’n, and deck’s the earth with flow’rs: 
    Haile, lovely fields, your flow’rs in this array
    Fournish a kind of star-light to the day.

Or take again Celia’s encounter with the centaur.  And in this connexion it is worth while mentioning that, when revising his translation and introducing a number of verbal changes, in most cases distinctly for the better, Sir George appears to have been struck by the absurdity of this machinery, and throughout replaced the centaur by a ‘wild man.’  After telling how she was seized and carried to ‘the middle of a desart wood,’ Celia proceeds: 

    There, to a sturdy oake, he bound me fast,
    Doubling my bonds with knots of mine own hayre;
    Ungratefull hayre, thou ill returnst my care. 
    The Tyrant then my mantle took in hand
    And with one rash tore it from head to foote. 
    Consider whether shame my trembling pale
    Did now convert into Vermillion:  up
    I cast my eyes to Heav’n, and with lowd cryes
    Implor’d it’s ayd; then lookt downe tow’rd the earth,
    And phancy’d my dejected eyebrows hung
    Like a chast mantle ore my naked limbs. (I. iii.)

A comparison of this and the preceding renderings with the original will show that while Talbot’s is by far the more fiowing and imaginative, Sidnam’s is on the whole rather more literal, except where he appears to have misunderstood the original.  No other English translation, I believe, exists.

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Pastoral Poetry and Pastoral Drama from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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