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published in 1598. He enjoyed the patronage successively of the Earls of Leicester, Southampton, and Pembroke, and at the close of the sixteenth century he was living in London on intimate terms with all the chief literary men and their patrons. There is no doubt that through Florio Montaigne spoke to Shakespeare, and probably contributed to convert the cast of his thought into a mould more serious than had yet been habitual to him. Florio's famous translation of Montaigne's Essays was licenced to Edward Blount in 1599, but was not published till 1603, in which year Florio became reader in Italian to Queen Anne at a salary of £100 a year, and on August 5th, 1604, was appointed groom of the privy chamber. After 1620 Florio resided at Fulham, where he died of the plague in 1625. There is something of the charm of an original book in the strutting display of Florio's acquired Elizabethan, but he is often far too fantastic to convey the pith of the original.
Thomas Shelton (fl. 1612), apparently an Oxford man of an old Norfolk family, seems to have entered the service of Lord Howard de Walden, afterwards Earl of Suffolk. Acquiring a knowledge of Spanish, he translated the first part of Don Quixote into English in 1607, the task (it is said) only occupying him forty days. Shelton used a reprint of the original Spanish which was issued at Brussels by Roger Celpius in 1607. On January 19th, 1611-12, at the entreaty of Shelton's friends, it was licenced for publication to Edward Blount under the title of The Delightful History of the Wittie Knight, Don Quishote. The book at once achieved the popularity that Cervantes's work has always retained in this country, in which it was the first to appear after the land of its birth. In 1616 the second part of Cervantes's novel was reprinted at Brussels, and an English translation was published by Blount in 1620. No mention of Shelton is made in this volume, but
internal evidence places it to his credit. With the second part was published a new edition of the first, and the two were often bound up together. Shelton acquitted himself like a good paraphraser, and his version is readable enough in strong idiomatic English; but the original often proved too much for him.
Sir Thomas Urquhart of Cromarty, eldest son of Thomas Urquhart, was born in 1611. He was admitted at King's College, Aberdeen, in 1622, where he proved himself to be an apt scholar. But before his "brains were ripened for eminent undertakings" he set off on the "grand tour," and travelled through France, Spain, and Italy, acquiring the accent of the several countries with such "liveliness" that he soon passed "for a native." In 1639 after taking up arms with the northern confederates who opposed the "vulgar covenant," Urquhart sailed to London, entered the service of Charles I., and in 1641 was knighted at Whitehall. Before returning to his estate (the financial conditions of which were not of the soundest), in the autumn of the ensuing year Sir Thomas published his three books of Epigrams. In 1642 he went abroad again for three years; but his affairs being mismanaged during his absence, from the close of 1645 he took up his abode in the ancestral tower of Cromarty, where, in the very year of his return, he prepared for the press his abstruse work on trigonometry called Trissotetras.
On the coronation of Charles II. at Scone, he finally quitted the old castle of Cromarty and joined the Scottish army, but, being taken prisoner at the battle of Worcester, he was lodged in the Tower of London. During the summer of 1651 he was removed to Windsor Castle, and in the next month was released on parole. Urquhart, wishing to convince Cromwell of his value to the country, traced the genealogy of the Urquharts back to Adam, inserting a line in the pedigree (like a street in a directory) with "Here is
the Flood." His next publication was The Jewel (vindicating the Scots nation and proposing the adoption of a highly ingenious universal language), which, despite its obvious extravagance, has not only many graphic and humorous touches, but much truth of observation; and in 1653 appeared his admirable translation of the first two books of Rabelais.
After 1653 practically nothing is known of Urquhart; but it is very probable he remained for some years longer in London, continuing his translation of Rabelais, a third book of which appeared after his death. (The version was completed with great adroitness by Peter Anthony Motteux in 1708.) It is stated that Sir Thomas died abroad, from an uncontrollable fit of laughter upon hearing of the Restoration early in 1660.
In an age of "concettists" and "metaphysical" writers, emblematists, and Platonists, not to speak of Muggletonians and literary quakers, Urquhart with his "antimetathetick commutation of epithets," his "illative ratiocination," his "exclamations in the front and epiphonemas in the rear," could have given points to Cowley himself. Few Englishmen before Sterne could have known the great Valois humorists as well as Urquhart did. His qualities suggest a veritable transfusion of blood from his original Rabelais (who affected craziness as a mask) into the pedantic Scots virtuoso, whose shrine might seem to have been sheer eccentricity. It seems almost a pity that the creator of Baron Bradwardine, of Jonathan Oldbuck, Dominie Sampson, and Dugald Dalgetty, not to mention James I. in The Fortunes of Nigel, should never have infused the breath of enduring life into this Ancient Pistoll.
The Rabelais is perhaps the most brilliant and the most noteworthy of these three great prose translations, but it can hardly be said that any of them survive, except as
landmarks, in the history of English prose: they have all been superseded. The ornament in all these versions is extremely fine; they are adorned with a fancifulness which is thoroughly Elizabethan in form and colour, but the first object of a translation they do not succeed in compassing. They paraphrase with an emphasis and a brilliancy that is derived, not from their author, but from their own inner consciousness, and consequently transform more than they translate.
1 Florio by the vigorous and spirited version of Charles Cotton; Shelton by Ormsby and Watt; and Urquhart by W. F. Smith (2 vols., 1893). Among the minor translators of early Elizabethan time ought perhaps to be included the great Eliza herself. She produced some renderings from Boethius, Sallust, Plutarch, and Horace. Her letters, whether in French or English, certainly illustrate the vigour of her mind, but as a prose stylist the most that can be said in extenuation is that her translations were done rapidly, and with no idea of future publication. Creighton accepts as genuine the impromptu lines made to foil her inquisitors when her life was in danger under Mary, and a direct denial of transubstantiation might have been fatal:
She was emphatically a learned lady in a period of unrivalled feminine accomplishment; spoke Italian perfectly, Latin easily, Greek moderately, turned out prose and verse indifferently well, and regarded the professional tribe of authors with a cool glance of contemptuous disapproval.
FROM TRANSITION TO TRANSFORMATION-II
Songs and Sonnets, wherein oft they hit
Thomas Sackville, Earl of Dorset-The Mirror for Magistrates -George Gascoigne The Steele Glass-Thomas Churchyard-George Whetstone-George Turberville-Totteľ's Miscellany-The Paradise of Dainty Devices-Some later Miscellanies.
BETWEEN the death of Surrey and the appearance of The Shepheards Calender in 1579, when English poetry, like a tropical forest in a south wind, begins to "rustle with growth," the field of verse is occupied by two notorious conglomerates, The Mirror for Magistrates and Tottel's Miscellany. Both of these works owed their origin (like the Lives of the Poets and Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club) to the enterprise of "stationers "the booksellers of Pope's day, the publishers of our own.
The Mirror for Magistrates was a bookseller's plan for a rhyming sequel to Lydgate's dull but popular Fall of Princes. Its main purpose was didactic; moralising such incidents of English history as illustrate the fall from high estate, the humiliation of the strong, and the fickleness of Fortune. The same theme had appealed both to Chaucer and to Gower, and the original model was the De Casibus Illustrium Virorum of Boccaccio. On its appearance in 1559 nineteen historical tragedies were narrated by six poets: Baldwin, Ferrers, Cavill, Chaloner, Phaer, and Skelton. The sources from which these poets derived their materials were mainly the chronicles of Hall and Fabyan,