« 前へ次へ »
Ye dames! and ye to whom each damc is dear,
Ver. 1. Ye dames ! &c.] This celebrated tale, one of the severest satires that was ever written upon the female sex, has been imitated by several authors, particularly by the witty Fontaine, the prior of France.
Boileau has compared this tale of Fontaine with the Joconde of 11. Boullion, and not only given the preference to the former, but endeavours to shew, that for the pleasantry of narrative, Fontaine is superior to the Italian author; at the same time he candidly speaks thus of Ariosto. “ Donnez, si vous voulez, à l'Arioste toute la gloire de l'invention, ne lui denions pas le pris que lui est jestement dù, pour l'elegance, la netteté et la brevité inimitable avec laquelle il dit tant de choses en si piu de mots; ne rabaissons point malicieusement, en faveur de notre nation, le plus ingenieux aute!r des derniers Siecles.” Dissertation sur la Joconde de M. Fontaine.
It must be confessed, that several parts of this tale are highly exceptionable in the original for licentiousness of idea and language; yet, if we compare the pasages with other writers of the early times, we shall find that Ariosto is by no means entitied to exclusive cen
A general grossness then prevailed among the poets, particuJarly of the humorous kind, as our own Chaucer will sufficiently
ORLANDO FURIOSO. B. XXVIII. Vet such a tongue alike in vain essays
15 That still in you, and you alone, I live. Then pass, or with a careless eye survey Th’ opprobrious tale, the fable of a day. But to resume my task---when every guest A due attention in his looks express’d,
20 Mine host oppos'd against the Pagan sate, And thus began his story to relate.
Where Lombardy extends her fruitful plain
prove; and Spenser, in a later age, will scarcely incur less condemnation. The account of Hellenor annong the Satyrs, is equal for indelicacy to any parts of Ariosto. To this we may add, that the poets of a much more refined time have given themselves such unjustifiable liberties, that the severe eye of decency may find numer. ous passages to expunge in Prior, Dryden, and even Pope himself,
Much less he priz’d his state of kingly power,
Astolpho with surprise these words receiv'd,
Great king (the knight return'd) with truth I fear,
60 He lives content with his paternal store, Nor squanders that, nor seeks to gather more ;
And he as distant Pavia's towers would deem,
The king adds royal gifts to earnest prayers,
On wings of zeal observant laustus flew,
85 Vows that his absence she shall ever mourn, And never live to see his wish'd return. Cease, my lov'd spouse, (the tender husband cries, While equal sorrows trickle from his eyes) Cease thy dear plaints, so Fortune spced my way, 90 As but two months I my return delay, Nor Pavia's profiter'd crown should bribe my longer stay. Ah, me! (she sigh’d) and inust I then sustain Such length of absence, such an age of pain?
Ah! no, the grave
Now from her lovely neck a cross she drew,
110 Since neither time nor place his faith could move, Nor fortune, good or ill, disperse his love; Nor could her image from his thought depart, Or death's strong grasp divide it from his heart.
On that black evening, which fore-run the day 115 That her lov'd consort summon'd on his way, Increasing grief her tender soul oppressid, And oft she fainted on her husband's breast, Not once they clos'd their eyes; no tongue can tell How oft they kiss'd, how oft they vade farewel; 120 Till breaking from her soft embrace he fled, And left her drown'd in sorrow on the bed.
Scarce two short miles he journey'd, ere his mind Recall’d the treasure to his care consign’d, The precious cross, which in his thoughless haste, 125 He left behind beneath his pillow placil.