Edward Fairfax

English translator

Edward Fairfax (1580? – 27 January 1635) was an English translator.

Quotes edit

Tasso's Jerusalem Delivered (1600) edit

  • The golden sun rose from the silver wave,
    And with his beams enamelled every green.
    • Book I, stanza 35
  • Aurora bright her crystal gates unbarred,
    And bridegroom-like forth stept the glorious sun.
    • Book I, stanza 71
  • The rose within herself her sweetness closed.
    • Book II, stanza 18
  • Better sit still, men say, than rise to fall.
    • Book II, stanza 79
  • The throne of Cupid had an easy stair;
    His bark is fit to sail with every wind;
    The breach he makes no wisdom can repair.
    • Book IV, stanza 34
  • Patience, a praise; forbearance is a treasure;
    Sufferance, an angel is; a monster, rage.
    • Book V, stanza 47
  • Base affections fall, when virtue riseth.
    • Book V, stanza 62
  • Sorrow, misfortune's son, despair's foul sire.
    • Book XII, stanza 88
  • The rosy-fingered morn with gladsome ray
    Rose to her task from old Tithonus' lap.
    • Book XV, stanza 1
  • Nature gives beauty, fortune wealth, in vain.
    • Book XVI, stanza 65
  • Remembrance is the life of grief; his grave,
    • Book XVIII, stanza 2
  • In their speech is death, hell in their smile.
    • Book XIX, stanza 84

Quotes about Fairfax edit

Prevailing poet, whose undoubting mind
Believed the magic wonders which he sung.
William Collins
  • His diction is so pure, elegant, and full of graces, and the turn of his lines so perfectly melodious, that one cannot read [his translation] without rapture; and we scarcely imagine the original Italian has greatly the advantage in either, nor is it very probable that while Fairfax can be read, any author will attempt a new translation of Tasso with success.
    • Theophilus Cibber, The Lives of the Poets of Great Britain and Ireland, Vol. I (1753), 'The Life of Edward Fairfax', pp. 223–224
  • How have I sat, where piped the pensive wind,
    To hear his harp by British Fairfax strung;
    Prevailing poet, whose undoubting mind
    Believed the magic wonders which he sung.
    • William Collins, Ode on the Popular Superstitions of the Highlands of Scotland (written 1749, published 1788), lines 197–200
  • Spenser and Fairfax both flourished in the reign of Queen Elizabeth: great masters in our language, and who saw much farther into the beauties of our numbers than those who immediately followed them. Milton was the poetical son of Spenser, and Mr. Waller of Fairfax, for we have our lineal descents and clans as well as other families. Spenser more than once insinuates that the soul of Chaucer was transfused into his body, and that he was begotten by him two hundred years after his decease. Milton has acknowledged to me that Spenser was his original, and many besides myself have heard our famous Waller own that he derived the harmony of his numbers from the Godfrey of Bulloigne, which was turned into English by Mr. Fairfax.
  • I shall first cite Fairfax, who understood the harmony of numbers better than any person then living, except Spenser. All the world knows his excellent version (or paraphrase rather) of Tasso's Gierusalem liberata.
    • Walter Harte, "Notes Upon The Sixth Thebaid of Statius", in A Complete Edition of the Poets of Great Britain, Vol. IX (1795), "The Works of Harte", p. 847
  • Fairfax has translated Tasso with an elegance and ease, and at the same time with an exactness, which for that age are surprising.
    • David Hume, The History Of Great Britain, Under The House of Stuart, Vol. I (1759), p. 128
  • I have lit upon Fairfax's 'Godfrey of Bullen,' for half-a-crown. Rejoice with me.
    • Charles Lamb, letter to Coleridge (15 April 1797), in The Works of Charles Lamb, Vol. II (1837), p. 160
  • One of the most judicious, elegant, and haply in his time most approved of English translators, both for his choice of so worthily extolled a heroic poet as Torquato Tasso, as for the exactness of his version, in which he is judged by some to have approved himself no less a poet than in what he hath written of his own genius.
  • Milton often copies Fairfax, and not his original.

External links edit

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  • Gerusalemme Liberata – the Edward Fairfax translation, in its entirety, at The Medieval & Classical Literature Library