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help thinking it much more problematical. It is true, the fashion of the times, which permitted the poet to address in the most passionate and romantic strains the most highborn or exalted in rank, would favor the correctness of the general belief; but we find very little in Tasso's poems themselves to confirm it. Numberless are the canzoni and sonetti of which love is the theme. Dante and Petrarch were always constant; their tender effusions were always addressed to one beloved object; and this constancy it is, which awakens for them our deepest sympathy. Tasso, on the contrary, offers up his adorations to such a vast number of different names and characters, that we are at a loss to ascertain whether he sought, by this means, to conceal from the world his deep love for one, or whether he was, in reality, as inconstant as he appears, fascinated, in turn, by every lovely face, yielding to the momentary passion, but capable of no lasting impression.
We have ever considered deep feeling to be closely blended with great poetic genius; it is
, in fact, the source of all the poet's power, for it is by this that he knows how to touch our hearts, and link our sympathies with him. It is also possible for a poet to have that redundancy of thought and fancy and feeling, that without any absorbing passion, it may a relief and delight to give play to them in effusions, addressed to the person who happened at the moment to be present, or had last occupied his attention. Much censure has been heaped upon Alfonso, for his conduct toward Tasso, but, says our author:
* There is no doubt that, for a considerable period, during which the poet was engaged upon his great work, the duke countenanced him in the way most agreeable to his literary ambition and his personal vanity; for he loved rich apparel, splendid apartments, sumptuous fare, and to be associated with persons of the highest rank,-feeling that he could adorn and dignify the circle in which he moved, both as a man of genius, exalted above competition by intellectual endowments, and as a man of the world, qualified to shine in external demeanour among gentlemen and soldiers, as well as among students and men of letters.” Vol. ii., p. 143.
So many poets, many of ephemeral renown, had exhausted the subject of the Saracen wars in France and Spain. A later and more absorbing enthusiasm, had since 32
VOL. 1. NO. 2.
been awakened by the Crusades, and this was the subject fixed upon by Tasso, for a poem, which was to link his name with Homer, Virgil, and Ariosto. The“ Gerusalemme Liberata” is founded on the adventures of those chivalric spirits, who took up the cross, and rescued from the infidels the holy city. A vast number of characters are introduced, but the principal hero is Godfrey of Boulogne.
The incidents of Tasso's life are so remarkable, and so much are they blended with his personal and poetical character, that it is impossible to give even an abstract here. His writings are so numerous, so diversified, and so various, that to enter into any examination of them would require an essay much longer than the present article. They have been more often translated, than any other work of foreign literature. Besides many inferior attempts, the Jerusalem Delivered has been rendered into English by Fairfax, Hoole, Hunt, and Wiffin. This last, written in the Spenserean stanza, is generally considered the best.
During the latter part of Tasso's life, he suffered, like our own Cowper and Collins, from aberration of mind. He was troubled by visions, and haunted by spirits. To what extent this moody madness seized him, we cannot now ascertain, or how far it may have been increased, by his unnatural confinement of seven years. He was liberated in 1586, at the intercession of the Prince of of Mantua; but, though liberty might have mitigated, it seems never to have relieved him entirely from his fearful disease; the evil spirit came upon him at times, and all the enchantment of his heart could not drive it away.
On the 10th of November, Tasso arrived at Rome, sick in health and with his mental faculties so much impared, that his friends anticipated his early death.
The Pope told him, that he intended to bestow upon him “ the crown of laurel,—that from him it might receive as much honor as in times past it had conferred on others." It was, ever, deferred till the spring: but his health became so bad, that, however much his dreams of ambition might have been soothed by such an honor, it was apparent that it never could be conferred upon him living. On the 10th of April, he was seized with a violent fever. Instead of the vain glory of a coronation in this world he prepared himself, with deep religious feeling, for that immortal crown which
awaited him in the world above, and expired on the 25th of April, having just completed his 51st year. Of Tasso it may, indeed, be said, that his mind was too ethereal for its tenement of clay.
“Peace to Torquarto's injured shade ! 'twas his
Byron's Childe Harold. Having introduced these volumes to the notice of our readers, we refer them to the work itself,—assuring them, that they will find in its pages much valuable and interesting information.
ART. XI.-CRITICAL NOTICES.
1. — An Analytical Index of the whole of the Public Documents relative
to Louisiana, deposited in the Archives of the Department “ De la
Until very lately, little interest has been taken in searching for and
The pamphlet, the title of which stands at the head of this notice,
“On the 7th, Mr. Delasalle was reconnoitering and visiting the shores of the
cross,-upon said column were painted the arms of France, with the following inscription :
“Louis le grand Roi de France et de Navarre, regnant le 9 Avril, 1682.'
“ All being under arms, we chanted Te Deum, l'Exaudiat, Domine salvum fac regem. After several discharges of musketry, and shouts of Vive le Roi, Mr. Delasalle erected the column, and standing near to it, spoke aloud as follows, in French:
By the most high, most powerful, invincible, most victorious Prince, Louis 'the Great, by the Grace of God King of France and Navarre, the fourteenth of
“Upon this day, the 9th of April, 1682, I, by virtue of the commission which * I hold in my hand, from his Majesty, ready to show to whom it may concern, have taken, and do take possession, in the name of his Majesty, and of the successors to his crown, of this country of Louisiana, the sea, the harbors, ports, bays, straits adjoining, and all the nations, people, provinces, cities, hamlets, villages, mines, minerals, fisheries, rivers, streams, comprised within the extent of the said Louisiana, from the mouth of the great river St. Louis, from the eastern side otherwise called Ohio, Olighin, Sipon, or Chiagona, and that by the consent of the Chasanons, Chickasas, and all other people dwelling there, with ' whom we have made alliance, as also along the river Colbert or Mississippi, and the rivers which discharge themselves into it, from its source, beyond the country of the Sioux or Nadonessious, and this with their consent, and the consent of the Motantes, Illinois, Mastigarnes, Arkansas, Natchez, Koras, who are the most considerable nations which dwell there, and who have also made alliance with us, or those with whom we are connected, as far as to its entrance into the sea or Gulf of Mexico, in the 27th degree of North latitude, even to the mouth of the river of Palures, upon the assurance which we have from all those ? nations, that we are the first Europeans who have descended or ascended the said river Colbert.
'Protesting against all those who may, in future, endeavor to seize all or any of the aforesaid country, people or lands aforesaid, to the prejudice of the right of his Majesty, here acquiring them by the consent of the aforesaid nations, to all of which, in case of need, I take as witnesses those who now hear me, and 'I require the notary here present to prepare an act of it, to serve as occasion may require.
“ All present replied to this discourse by cries of Vive le Roi, and discharges of musketry. Mr. Delasalle caused, moreover, a tree to be planted in the earth, with a cross attached to it, and a leaden plate, with a coat of arms of the French engraved on one side, with the following Latin inscription : Ludoviscus Magnus regnat : nono Aprilis, anno 1682. And on the other side, Robertus Cavellier Cum Domino de Tonty legato R. P. Zenobro membro recollecto, et viginti Gallis, primus hoc flumen inde, ab Illineoissin pago enavigabit ejusque ostium fecit permissus nono Aprilis, anno 1682.”
Mr. Forstall next proceeds to state the nature and subjects of the various documents to which he obtained access by the influence of our Ambassador, Gen. Cass. These throw much light on the early exploring expeditions made in Louisiana, the wars and irruptions by the North American Indians, &c., &c.
Among other documents, were found a memorial bearing date April, 1764, of one Mr. Brand, praying for an exclusive privilege to establish a printing office in New Orleans ; also, two letters of the same date, from M. d'Abbadie, to the duke of Choiseul, the one speaking of the first experiments in the culture of cane, with which