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He had mended the version unconsciously. Hoole could hardly, by any chance, have given a line of such deep and varied intonation, particularly as he was obliged to have rave and wave in a passage about a storm. His line is
And Neptune's white herds low above the wave;
which is very different It does justice neither to the sound of the original, nor to the idea of extent suggested by the word mare, or deep; not to mention that Ariosto says nothing about Neptune, but leaves you to that indefinite and mysterious sense of the resemblance between roaring white billows and something animated, which strikes every one who has been at sea, and doubtless suggested the ancient popular superstition to which he may also allude. But it is doing too much honour to Hoole to find fault with him for a particular passage. Let the reader, if he has any curiosity, only dip into his first book, and he may judge of all the rest by a few of his hearts and smarts,-man, span,-side, spyd, &c.
The beautiful and pathetic tale of the two friends “ Medoro and Cloridano,” says Dr. Wharton, speaking of this episode, “ is an artful and exact copy of the Nisus and
Euryalus of Virgil; yet the author hath added some original beauties to it, and in particular hath assigned a more interesting motive for this midnight excursion, than what
we find in Virgil ; for Medoro and Cloridan venture into " the field of battle to find out among the heaps of slain “ the body of their lord. This perhaps is one of the most “excellent passages in this wild and romantic author, who “yet abounds in various beauties, the merit of which ought not " to be tried by the established rules of classical criticism.” Postscript to his Virgil, quoted by Hoole. Hoole further observes on his own part (for he sometimes writes a respectable note) that in Virgil " the attempt of exploring the
enemy's camp is first suggested by Nisus, and that the “young Euryalus takes fire at the proposal; but in Ariosto " the youth is the first mover, instigated by love and grati“ tude to his dead prince, which circumstance greatly ele“ vates his character and adds to the pathos of the story.”It may
be added, that Ariosto has contrived to write the story of Angelica with that of Medoro in a manner singularly new and beautiful, and to reward the youth's virtue with life and love, without depriving the episode of its pathos. The danger also into which Medoro is brought by refusing to throw aside his master's dead body, and save himself by flight, is a circumstance exquisitely touching. On the other hand, if these are great additions, Virgil has one or two circumstances extremely natural and dramatic, which Ariosto seems to have thought it as well for his new incidents to omit; such as the discovery of Euryalus by means of the glittering belt he had carried off :---then the care he takes to provide for his mother before he sets out on the adventure, and her introduction after his death, where she gazes on his exposed head in a state of distraction, are both in the best style of the pathetic: and in short, if Virgil had been more improved upon by Ariosto than he has been, his merits would have been on a level with him, because he invented the episode. To say the truth, in comparing two good things, we are never very anxious to lean to this side or that. We are better pleased to relish them both to the full; and to like what they differ in, as well as what they have in common. Our great object is to make others sensible of the merits of as many good things as possible.
All night, the Saracens, in their battered stations,
Among the rest, two Moorish youths were there,
The one, a hunter used to every sky,
These two with others, where the ramparts lay,
Of Dardinel his master, and complain
Turning at last, he said, “ O Cloridan,
I will go forth,—I will,---and seek him yet,
Struck with amaze was Cloridan to see
Seeing that nothing bent him or could move, Cloridan cried, “ My road then shall be thine:
I too will join in such a work of love;
Thus both resolv'd, they put into their place
Cloridan stoppd a while, and said, “ Look here!
He said; and hushing, push'd directly through